November 27, 2014

Our Top Story This Week: A New SBA Administrator is Approved

reading sofa

It’s time again for the Small Business Trends news roundup. Our editorial team keeps you up to date with the news and information most critical for running your small business.

SBA

U.S. Senate appoints new SBA administrator. Appointed by the President in January, Maria Contreras-Sweet has finally been approved by the Senate. She brings with her experience from the banking sector where she helped found the ProAmérica Bank in Los Angeles with family and friends.

SBA backed loans are now online. A tech company called Better Finance is responsible. The company has launched a site called Smartbiz. With backing from Sacramento’s Golden Pacific Bank and the U.S. Small Business Administration, businesses need wait only days instead of months for approval.

SBA shares winners for Small Business Person of the Year. There are winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. A national winner will be chosen in mid-May during what is anticipated to be National Small Business Week. Stand by. Announcements for the event have not yet been made.

Online Photo and Video

Instagram hits 200 million users. Actually, there have been a lot of milestones for the photo sharing community over the last six months. Take the launch of Instagram’s first advertising effort, and the site’s growing importance to retailers, for example.

Vimeo has these Instagram and Vine alternatives. Video is a powerful online marketing and communications tool. Instagram and Vine certainly seem to be leading the pack. But, hold on. There do seem to be some other options you might consider.

You must see this. The video not only went viral in an incredibly short period of time, it also put a small fashion brand on the map. And it did all this without breaking the bank. Let’s see what small businesses can learn about creating similarly compelling content.

Social Media and Messaging

Twitter is playing favorites. Or that’s one way of looking at the new feature called “Fave People.” Much like Twitter’s list feature, it’s a way of cutting down on some of the noise. It’s only available in Twitter’s alpha app for now. So it remains to be seen whether it will be popular enough with testers to be rolled out to everyone.

Do you know how to Tango? In a world full of messaging apps, Tango is the latest to make big  news. What it adds to the mix is video, voice messaging and a dash of social engagement. The Tango community is growing fast. Is this a place your business should have a presence?

Marketing

See how this Wichita dealership turned things around. A union demonstration is probably not on most small business owners’ lists of things they want to see outside their door. But this local business decided to do the best they could with the hand they were dealt. The result was a priceless piece of marketing.

The Hipster Tax Crisis boost your business. Well, maybe the crisis itself won’t. (There really isn’t one.) But certainly the very clever online video campaign H&R Block has created to update its image will inspire you, no matter what your marketing budget.

Operations

J & J Staffing shares secrets of success. The key is to really work hard for the people who walk into your door, says Sean E. Malady, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. When you succeed, the marketing takes care of itself.

Small online publishers should be watching the competition. Business Insider and BuzzFeed are forces to be reckoned with, certainly. But are they really the models that smaller publisher’s should emulate? Maybe not, insists one writer.

Honesty is important in business. If you don’t believe that, just look at how bad things can get otherwise. It’s not just a question of maintaining a good reputation. Being less than honest can commit you to a set of fictional expectations for your business that are hard to maintain. It will lead to unfulfilled expectations and loss of productivity, too.

Dell acquires StatSoft. The acquisition of the analytics company seems to keep Dell on course to becoming more than a hardware brand. Dell offers software and services, too. But where is the company’s dedication to its small business customers?

Opinion

Does the Post Office belong in the banking business? Small Business Trends Founder and Publisher Anita Campbell looks at some of the viewpoints on an issue that is still just speculation. But one of the concerns is certainly whether it would involve the organization spreading itself too thin.

Tech

Android Wear will soon power smartwatches and other wearable devices. But it also provides a new potential tool for entrepreneurs improving on their productivity. And it will open a whole new world of opportunities for small developers creating apps for the devices powered by Google’s new operating system.

Reading Photo via Shutterstock

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