Top small business news stories this week looked at what to do when you get suspended on Twitter, and policy changes. We also brought you information about new products such as the latest BlackBerry, a new tablet hybrid, and the possibility of a color book e-reader. Also in the headlines is the life and times of a 26-year-old tech tycoon who has made it big … really big!
Read on as the Small Business Trends editorial team takes you behind the scenes with these stories and more. We don’t just bring you a bunch of noise — we add context to show you how the news affects your business.
How to come back from a Twitter suspension. Lately, members of the small business community have experienced unwarranted suspensions on Twitter. Contributors to Small Business Trends and even one of our own team member’s accounts were shut down without notice. We give a behind-the-scenes look at one Twitter suspension — and how to recover from it. First step – don’t panic!
Google+ Still missing the boat with big brands. Google+ may be popular with users, but some brands don’t seem to feel the same. A recent study finds that 40 percent of the major brands with a presence on Google+ have either never posted content on the social media site or do so infrequently. However, as we point out, that’s not a good reason for small businesses to stay away. Get your Google+ page up and active, and don’t wait until you have to play catch up.
Hangout with pizzazz. You’ve probably heard of Google Hangouts. Some of us may even use them for business. But now an app allows you to add a dash of style as well. We show you Hangout Magix, a tool that will give you new options when it comes to adding Google Hangout graphics like logos, speaker names and titles, captions and more.
New BlackBerry Q5 – 3 So Far This Year for BlackBerry. The new Q5 smartphone is aimed at developing markets, not at North America. But the phone is a reminder of how pervasive mobile devices have become in the world … and how BlackBerry is reinventing itself with the BlackBerry 10 software platform.
HP targets iPad with new hybrid tablet. What’s cheaper than an iPad and able to function as both a tablet and a laptop? It’s called the SlateBook x2, and it’s coming in July from HP. The device is priced at $475, just $20 under the current iPad’s recommended manufacturer retail price. And hey, you get a keyboard, which business users love.
Could a color Kindle e-reader be on the way? Sure the Kindle Fire already displays content in color, but it’s really a tablet computer rather than a book e-reader. A new color e-reader would offer advantages over its black and white counterpart without some of the disadvantages of a tablet (such as price and battery life). Rumors abound based on an acquisition Amazon made – although so far no confirmation has come out of the book etailing giant.
Immigration: E-Verify isn’t required for all businesses – YET. This online system lets employers check with a government database to be sure workers are legally able to work in the U.S. The trouble is that using it is costly in terms of time and productivity, especially to small businesses. In the opinion of many it needs to be simplified. It could also be mandatory in just four years, if Senate bill 744 making its way through Congress now is passed. But if there’s any good news in this, it’s that a provision to accelerate mandatory adoption to just 18 months was defeated in committee. So we’ve got that going for us.
Feds owe $3 million dollars in fees to small businesses. The U.S. owes a lot to small businesses in more ways than one. A recent investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Small Business shows the U.S. federal government owes 1,281 small businesses approximately $3 million collectively in termination fees after the government failed to meet its minimum purchase commitment of at least $25,000 each on the GSA schedule. Small business contractors, rejoice.
NFIB Celebrates 70 years. We look back at the history of the organization as it celebrates its 70th birthday. Learn how and why the National Federation of Independent Business was founded. Learn about its 300,000 members and why we need a strong advocate like the NFIB on the side of small businesses.
Who wants to be a millionaire? It’s probably the dream of every tech entrepreneur young or old to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. This week, David Karp, founder of social blogging platform Tumblr, proved entrepreneur dreams can come true. Karp’s site was bought by Yahoo for $1 billion making the 26-year old the latest tech tycoon and overnight mega-millionaire.
Stay Alive. Your business’s survival may depend upon it. Literally! A study recently found that companies whose majority owner had passed away within the first 10 years of founding performed much worse as time went on — even when there was a company management team in place to carry on. So remember, having the founding entrepreneur stay alive is good for business.
Marketing & Resources
What is Gangnam Style? If you still haven’t heard of Korean-based rapper Psy and his monster hit, read on. Psy became a global sensation when his music video — a self-made effort — reached 1 billion views. And his success can teach small business owners more than you might think about marketing on a budget and standing out from the crowd.
Who’s in your ExpertCircle? Here’s a new Web service for small business owners who trust their peers’ judgment when selecting products and vendors for their businesses. The site, launched by Doc Stoc, allows you to submit your favorite products and vendors for others to see and to endorse or critique vendors and services on the site.
Learn from your customers. Customer experience is an important thing for companies to pay attention to. Your customers are the life blood of your business, of course. In this panel discussion, three industry leaders talk about what customer experience means to their companies.
Main Streets May Soon Be Without a Bank. Rohit Arora, CEO and Co-founder of Biz2Credit pulls together some scary numbers regarding the U.S. banking industry. They’re especially frightening for entrepreneurs in need of funding. Over the last three years, banks have been steadily closing branches around the country, leaving some communities without a local bank, he said.
Looking for a financing alternative? Financing for small businesses has never been so complex or has involved so many options. Pierre Debois reviews a book with a funny sounding title. But “Spank the Bank: The Guide to Alternative Business Financing” may provide some of the answers you need.