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“Must Read” Small Business News This Past Week



small business news must reads

In case you missed it, here is the “must read” small business news from the past week.  Highlights include a new e-commerce tool from mobile payment company, Square. You can also read about a startup that offers you a new resource for video chat — and another offering a way to digitize your snail mail.

The Small Business Trends editorial team collects the news that will help you grow your business, and puts it in perspective. Read on.

E-Commerce

E-Merchants Get Boost From Square Market. Square, maker of the pocket-sized credit card reader, has launched a new e-commerce site giving each user a free online store. Is your business represented in the new Square Market?

Where do your best e-commerce customers come from? If you answered social media, some recent data collected by Custora will surprise you. Learn more about the customers that bring your online business the greatest lifetime value.

Online marketing is an art. Meet Christine Goldbeck. In 2008, Goldbeck opened a brick and mortar art gallery in Middletown, PA. But today her website, ChristineGoldbeck.com, accounts for a large amount of her saless. Goldbeck’s experience can show local small business owners what online marketing can do for their bottom lines.

Startups

Spreecast offers video chat in your Web browser. Online video chat options include Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and more. So what makes Spreecast so different than the rest? Start with the fact that it’s not part of another service and requires no software to download.

Outbox digitizes your physical mail. A growing startup has a new solution for dealing with your snail mail. They’ll pick it up from your house or mailing address and turn it into digital form for easier management. This service is only available in two cities so far.

Let lawyers bid for your business. UpCounsel takes the principle used by TaskRabbit and applies it to the legal profession. Instead of hiring people for errands as in the case of TaskRabbit, UpCounsel lets you post your legal needs.

Latest Trends

Your customers are using fewer PCs. A decline in the number of PCs shipped over the last five quarters marks the longest slump in the industry’s history. But what does this decline signal for small businesses whose customers find them primarily online?

A new survey tells us what women want. At work anyway. And the answer, based on data collected by LinkedIn, is balance and control. Check out this overview from Rieva Lesonsky.

Small business owners healthy but uninsured. Small business owners are in better shape, health-wise, than those who put time in for an employer. That’s a good thing, says Scott Shane, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. Because they’re also more likely to be uninsured.

Resources

Corporate document templates for free. CorpNet’s got them. Resources include Meeting Minutes Templates. These will help you prepare corporate documents to adopt or amend bylaws, appoint directors, select an accounting period, appoint officers to your board and more.

Google AdWords Unveils Image Extensions. If seeing is believing, then a new Google AdWords feature will increase the persuasiveness of your ads. Here’s more on the new Google AdWords upgrade.

Facebook rolls out Graph Search to all U.S. users. But the benefit of the newly tweaked service to   small businesses remains to be seen, says Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell. Here’s an overview.

Entrepreneurship

Thinking of buying a franchise? Keep these 11 important considerations in mind. The Young Entrepreneur Council suggests you do your homework when selecting the franchise that’s right for you. Avoid mistakes by evaluating your options carefully.

The business world is increasingly global. Tessa Farnsworth Curry, managing editor and regular contributor of a site about women in business, is on an adventure. Living and working in Peru for the summer, Curry tells us what she’s learned about the importance of a global perspective.

Failing your way to success. No one likes failure, entrepreneurs perhaps least of all. However, as entrepreneur Ivan Widjaya explains, failure is absolutely necessary for future success. Ivan gives an example from the NBA and teaches us more.

Competitive intelligence. Brent Leary interviews John Clark, CEO of RivalIQ, about using business intelligence to your company’s advantage. Multiple channels and an unending flow of information provide both more opportunities and more challenges.

Continuing Education

Bizapalooza is coming. A free online conference aims to improve your small business bottom line. It’s the brainchild of Ivana Taylor.  If you can’t make the live webinars, you can always watch the archives later on your own schedule. Sign up!

Shutterstock sends you back to school. The popular stock photo site introduces Skillfeed. It’s a set of video tutorials. The aim is to improve users’ skills in Web development, graphic design, photography, video, mobile development, 3D/motion design, and audio.

Editor’s Update: Shutterstock made a decision to close its Skillfeed website as of Sept. 30, 2015.

Books and E-Books

Apple and the small e-book publisher. A U.S. District Justice recently agreed with the U.S. Justice Department that Apple was guilty of violating federal antitrust laws. For all the small e-book publishers out there, the decision and its fallout may affect your strategy for the future.

A book about using big data for your business.  There is more information available to your business today than ever before. That means more data to make your business competitive. But it also means more opportunities for error. Pierre DeBois reviews Number Sense: How To Use Big Data To Your Advantage by Kaiser Fung which explores both issues.

Newspaper, Shutterstock

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Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends. A professional journalist with more than a decade of experience in the traditional newspaper business, he has another 10 years of experience in digital media for trade publications and news sites. Shawn has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and eventually managing editor with responsibility for nine weekly newspapers, the Berks Mont Newspapers. He is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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