Amazon launched a new phone this week. Meanwhile, the comment period began for a plan to raise minimum wage for federal contractors. As a small business owner, you may not have time to follow all the news pertinent to you. The Small Business Trends editorial team has your back. Enjoy our roundup of the week’s top stories.
Amazon Launches a Phone! Fire Has a Scan and Buy Feature . The new Amazon Fire Phone announced this afternoon in Seattle by the online mega-retailer has specs that put it on par with Motorola’s Moto X. They include a 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass HD resolution display, rubbery surface and metallic buttons. There’s also a 13-megapixel rear facing camera. But it’s what you can do with that camera that really seems to make this phone unique.
Video Will Be 79 Percent of Online Traffic by 2018, Says Cisco . If you’re not using online video to market your small business or brand, you’re likely missing out on a lot of traffic. And now is probably a good time to get started. A new study from Cisco, the company’s VNI Global IP Traffic and Service Adoption Forecasts, 2013–2018, reveals this. The study says that by 2018, 79 percent of all Internet traffic will be video-related.
Warning: Be Sure to Back Up Sensitive Documents on Your Phone . Researchers say a new kind of malware will encrypt all the files on your phone and then demand a ransom to release them. With an increasing reliance on mobile devices among small business owners, one danger is the loss of valuable documents carried on your mobile device.
DOL to Seek Comments on Minimum Wage For Government Contracts . The Department of Labor will seek comments on a proposed rule raising minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10. The comment period is expected to extend from June 17 to July 17. The rule change is the result of an executive order signed by President Barrack Obama Feb. 12.
Get Ready for Lower Capital Investment Expensing . The amount the U.S. tax law allows businesses to deduct in a year for investments in new property, equipment and computer software is falling. From 2010 to 2013, businesses could deduct up to $500,000 in investments in a single year instead of depreciating that investment over time. But this year, due to changes in the tax code, that amount could fall to just $25,000 a year.
Web & Mobile
Amazon App Has Coupons, Reviews Like Groupon, Yelp . Does this sound familiar? An Amazon app gives customers coupons and also has reviews of some local businesses. Called Amazon Local, it is a free download from the Apple iTunes Store. Amazon says the app allows customers to: “…view and buy offers in seconds, whether it’s a fast-selling Amazon MP3 deal, a special chef dinner, or a luxurious massage.
Microsoft Releases Outlook Web App for Some Android Users . We’ve heard that Microsoft is planning to release an Android version of its Windows Office bundle before the end of the year. Now we see an Android version of the Outlook Web App, Microsoft’s email and calendar software popular with business users, is up on Google Play.
You Might be Using Small Business Workbench and Not Even Know It . You may regularly use accounting software to keep track of simple debits and credits in your business. But creators of a new e-tool claim theirs will let you do even more.
Pangea Today: Their News. Their Voices. Your Language . “We want to make people more aware of what’s going on in other parts of the world. And we want to make them excited to hear about another culture.” That’s the goal of Pangea Today, says Nelly Yusupova, head of marketing strategy and technology for the newly-launched news aggregation website.
Judge Says LinkedIn Can Be Sued Over Aggressive Email Tactics . You’ve worked hard to maintain a good online reputation. That means you’re careful not to be constantly updating your social media streams with repetitive marketing pitches or overbearing posts. And that includes your email etiquette, too. It also means not inundating your contacts’ inboxes with one marketing message after another.
What Kickstarter’s Revised Rules Mean to You . Plenty of ventures have used the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to get up and running. Projects range from a company offering a new home brewing kit to one creating an innovative new game console. The site’s success has also spawned a wide variety of competing crowdfunding sites, giving those interested in raising money for a business or other project more options.
Wikipedia to PR Firms: Sockpuppets Not Welcome . Wikipedia doesn’t want any more Sockpuppets. Hey, that’s not our term — it’s a term Wikipedia actually used. First, some marketers and businesses apparently faked tons of reviews on sites like Yelp. Now, marketing and PR firms may be using hundreds of fake accounts to try to improve clients’ images on Wikipedia.
Small Businesses: Is the Great Recession Over for You ? Here’s some positive news: small business optimism is back to pre-Great Recession levels. Small business owners are feeling more optimistic than anytime since September 2007. That’s according to the latest Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). And that is indeed good news to see conditions bouncing back.
Chirpify Adds Analytics to Social Commerce, Acquires Measureful . The social commerce space is heating up. We recently learned about social commerce site Soldsie. The site lets customers buy from your Facebook or Instagram site just by commenting. Now, Chirpify, a social commerce site that’s been around for about four years, is adding analytics to its social media selling tools with the acquisition of social analytics startup, Measureful.
Richard Owen, Satmetrix: Net Promoter Score’s Role in the Age of Social Customers . The Net Promoter Score has been used for years to help companies understand the role customer loyalty plays in the financial health of their organizations – assisting them in determining what actions should be taken to drive referrals and longer customer relationships.
Hotel Pattee: Community Support Drives Business Onward . Would you go to a town where you knew almost nobody just to purchase a business that had already failed twice? You would if you were entrepreneurs Jay and Denise Hartz. Prior to an initial trip in August 2013 to Perry, Iowa with plans to purchase the historic Hotel Pattee, the Hartzs literally knew a handful of people in town.
The Role of Entrepreneurship in Rising Income Inequality . Income inequality is growing in America, and it has much of the chattering class in an uproar. Between 1981 and 2011, the share of income (including capital gains, but excluding government transfers) of the highest earning one percent increased from 8.9 to 19.
Will Your Next Business Suit Be an Executive Hoodie ? Whoever thinks that hoodies don’t belong in the workplace has probably never seen the Executive Pinstripe Hoodie from Betabrand. The Executive Hoodie is made from suit fabric and retails for $168. Mark Zuckerberg provided the inspiration behind the hoodie, and its launch coincided with the social media giant’s IPO.
Are You a Stay at Home Mom in Need of a Voice and Business Outlet ? Entrepreneurship has been a growing trend with moms for decades. Holly Hurd was one of those moms. She started her own financial trading company out of college and eventually developed and sold her own hedge fund. She also had several other entrepreneurial ventures throughout the years, including a line of furniture and books on business related topics.
Live Awards Coverage: Meet a Few Rule Breakers . Successful entrepreneurs are risk takers and rule breakers. And the Rule Breaker Awards celebrate the success of business owners who do things “their way.” This was the first year for the event. The inaugural Rule Breaker Awards ceremony was held on June 10, 2014 at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York City.
Outdoor tablet  image via shutterstock