December 18, 2014

Small Business News Roundup For Week Ending August 24

News breaking out

Didn’t have time to read everything this week?  The Small Business Trends editorial team keeps you informed with our easy-to-scan recaps.

Let’s jump right in with the most popular and important small business news stories on the site this week.

Outages, Outages … Toil and Trouble

Amazon downtime may have cost the company. More than $66,000 a minute, one source reckons. Of course, with a household name like Amazon, those visitors probably returned later. But for a lesser-known and smaller business, can you count on visitors remembering and coming back?  Or will they just go to your online competitor?  We have a practical tip for dealing with downtime on your website. (Besides pulling your hair out, that is.)

Microsoft outage rivals Amazon’s. In length, that is — not necessarily in actual sales dollars it cost the company. Of course, it may have cost YOU money if you were one of those Outlook.com users. It may have taken three days to get your service fully restored. Ouch.

If you own an iMac, your video card could be faulty. No worries though. Apple has recently announced a program that not only helps you figure out whether you need a new card. The company will replace it free.

People may be opening fewer of your marketing emails. That is, if the people you are emailing happen to have GMail accounts. There are worriers out there who have been antsy about the new GMail tabs, and one study suggests 18% fewer opens.  Still, it may be too early to blame Google for this.

Services

GoDaddy acquires Locu. The deal could be big news for small businesses in need of Web services. GoDaddy already offers a website building tool. And the new addition of Locu will help businesses extend their local-marketing reach.

Fiverr reaches 2 million “gigs.”  Fiverr has its share of questionable services offered (such as those spammy “I’ll get you 10,000 Twitter followers in 1 day” offers). However, as long as you stay away from that kind of stuff, Fiverr can be a source of inexpensive and quick virtual labor. Small services start at $5.  Here are some tips on how to use the site.

New service offers small biz PR. A group calling itself the National Association of Local Advertisers has a new service that goes beyond distributing press releases. They will write them and help you develop a press campaign, too.

Social Media

72 percent of your Twitter followers are likely to buy from you. And that’s only the beginning of the helpful ROI and other information you’ll find in a new survey commissioned by Twitter, and released this week. Also learn why people follow your business on Twitter.  Hey – give them what they are looking for!

Facebook has new embedded posts. They may remind you of embedded tweets. But trust us, there are some differences. And if you’re worried about the shelf-life of your Facebook posts, this is one way to address it.

Franchises are embracing social media. But as this new approach to marketing and PR evolves, challenges remain. Franchise correspondent Joel Libava gives us a look at how things have changed.

Tech

Smartwatches coming from Samsung and Apple. Wearable tech is getting more popular.  These kinds of watches are already available from companies like Pebble and Sony. Though they can’t yet be used as a phone or even to, say, update your Facebook page, they are great accessories that work along with  smartphones.

New intelligent coffee kiosk coming. It could be an interesting business model. It could also be another alternative to supplying your staff with their morning cup of joe.

Startups

Americans aren’t investing in startups. In fact, only about 5.3 percent of Americans invested in startups in the three years leading up to 2012, recent data suggests. That’s despite all the focus on venture and angel funding.  Unless the startup entrepreneur is a relative, it’s not likely the average American will be investing in a startup anytime soon.  Scott Shane, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University, has more.

Choosing a fiscal year explained. Not every business can choose a fiscal year for income tax reporting purposes. For those that can, Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet, reviews the options. See whether your business can choose.

Operations

Better benefits could lure better talent. A recent report suggests small businesses are competing for a limited pool of interested and qualified applicants. That means leaving some positions unfilled. One possible incentive is a great benefits package, says Michael W. Zuna, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Aflac U.S.

WordPress explained for the entrepreneur. Few content management systems worth the time are simple or easy. But Jennifer Shaheen, CEO and President of The Technology Therapy Group, gives an overview of the benefits the WordPress platform has to offer.

Marketing

Grumpy Cat is a marketing machine. We’ve written before about this photogenic feline with the unforgettable face. The cat, named Tardar Sauce but known as Grumpy Cat, can teach us all a few lessons about branding in the digital age.

Don’t get your hashtags hijacked. Ever see a brand’s Twitter hashtag being used for snark and sarcasm? Don’t let that happen to your marketing campaign.   Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell gives some pointers of the types of hashtags susceptible to hijacking — and how to avoid it.

Book Reviews

How to develop more business. Moving too slowly on business development can kill your business, or make it stagnate. Pierre DeBois reviews The Professional’s Guide to Business Development: How To Win Business In The Professional Services.

Feel the love with Loveworks. Great marketing of your brand isn’t just about the facts. It’s about emotion, too. Ivana Taylor reviews Loveworks: How the World’s Top Marketers Make Emotional Connections to Win in the Marketplace.

News image, Shutterstock.

3 Comments ▼

Shawn Hessinger - Editor


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Editor for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and social media networker with more than a decade of experience in the traditional newspaper business before moving to the digital world. He was the former community manager of BizSugar and the former community editor at AllAnalytics, a site dedicated to professionals in the business intelligence and analytics community.

3 Reactions

  1. Shawn,

    Ah, outages… I love reading about them. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t like companies and users to suffer from the consequences, but I like to learn what those companies are doing to deal with customers’ anger.

    IMO, it’s beyond customer care; it’s about getting users in the loop, letting them know what the companies are doing to mitigate the issues and how long the downtime will last, as well as ensuring users about the safety of their account and data.

    It’s a pain, but it’s a must do – or else…

  2. Another great week SmallBizTrends. I am loving the posts on the Email opens and Twitter follower conversion. Being a passionate SEO, I know how conversions can mean to a business. I am always fascinated with these case studies as they help me think on what I should do next for my client websites.

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