In this week’s small business news roundup, a new Microsoft Office version is on the way. And some new digital payment options could make a world of difference to your business. Entrepreneurship takes plenty of time. That makes it hard to keep up with the news that’s important to you. The Small Business Trends editorial team has you covered. Enjoy!
Android Users, You May Be the Next to Get a Tablet Version of Microsoft Office. If you’re a fan of Android but need some core Microsoft software like Word, Excel and PowerPoint for business, there’s some exciting news coming out of Redman. A touch screen tablet version of Microsoft Office is coming for Android and could be here by the end of 2014.
Google Says the Wrong People Could be Reading Your Gmail. If you use Gmail for business and regularly send messages with sensitive information, did you know it may not be safe? Google now says 40 to 50 percent of Gmail sent to recipients on another email provider aren’t encrypted end-to-end. This means there’s no way to guarantee that only the recipient of your emails sees your message.
Lookout! This Security Software Uses Selfies to Battle Phone Theft. You’re on a business trip or at an event. Suddenly you realize your phone is missing. As a business owner, you probably have much more than vacation photos and a couple of personal phone numbers on your phone.
What is “The Internet of Things” and Why Should You Care?. It’s not just your phone and your watch that are smart anymore. These days, many more devices than just your computer are connected to the Internet. As we know, scads of other devices, software and many other tools are now connected and exchanging data – creating this Internet of Things.
After Months of Testing, Square Now Officially Offers Cash Advances. The testing began back in May with a small number of merchants. Now the new merchant cash advance program, from credit card reader and online eCommerce services provider Square, is officially up and running. Called Square Capital, the program seems pretty simple. According to the company’s website, eligibility is based (obviously) on being a registered Square merchant.
Flint Mobile Lets You Scan Rather Than Swipe Credit Cards With A Smartphone. You’ve heard of tablets being adapted into a POS. Flint Mobile has created an app it says will allow businesses to accept credit card payments outside the typical retail setting without even having a card reader. The Flint app lets you scan a credit card rather than swipe it using only your smartphone.
20 Digital Transaction Options for Small Businesses. The digital transaction field is getting more and more crowded. Sure, there are industry standards like PayPal and Square. But small business owners have a lot of digital payment options when it comes to accepting payments from your customers and clients. Many of the options we found go way beyond being able to accept credit cards at affordable rates with little up-front cost.
Political & Legal
Is the USDOJ Trying to Shut Down Businesses it Doesn’t Like? What if government officials suddenly decided they didn’t like your business? Then they went to your bank and warned them you were a bad risk and that the government had its eye on you? Suppose the government brought so much pressure to bear that before long, your bank closed down your account or refused to open new ones in your name or the name of your business.
Guess Who Is Having Second Thoughts About the Minimum Wage in Seattle?. You’d expect certain objections to approval of a $15 minimum wage in Seattle this week. The International Franchise Association, for example, isn’t happy. The oldest and largest trade organization of its kind represents franchises worldwide. And it wasted no time in filing a discrimination suit against the city over the new rules.
85% of Small Businesses Get Customers Through Word of Mouth. Verizon, in conjunction with Small Business Trends, conducted a survey of Philadelphia small business owners in May of 2014. One of the questions was: How do your customers find out about your business? The answer was telling – and not because it was a surprise.
Researchers Determine the Perfect Way to Ask an Online Favor. As a small business owner, you may never have considered posting a request online for beer money or enough cash to cover your take-out pizza bill for the weekend. That’s just as well, because as it turns out, requests of this kind are not the ones that get the most positive response on the Web.
Fund Raising & Financial Management
Patreon Offers Crowdfunding for Content Creators Like You. If you’re familiar with crowdfunding and sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you know these are often intense projects that require a lot funding in a short amount of time.
Tallie Takes You From Receipts to Balance Sheet in the Cloud. Imagine a world where receipts are collected digitally without the need for paper and where they could be imported directly into your expense sheet without manual input. Imagine a world where your sales team or other employees while traveling wouldn’t need to waste their time (and yours) typing in receipts.
Marketing & Customer Service
Restaurants, Facebook Has Streamlined the Process of Posting Menus. Facebook is trying to become the go-to place for finding local restaurants. For those that already have a Facebook fan page, you’re aware that it gives you the opportunity to post updates like specials and special events. And, of course, the page also allows your most loyal and enthusiastic customers to “like” you.
Trustpilot To Business Owners: Online Reviews Are Your Friend. If you own a brick and mortar business, Yelp is the best way to spread the word through word of mouth from your customers. But if your business is online, consider directing satisfied customers to a Web service called Trustpilot. The site claims to be gaining 300,000 new users and 400,000 new reviews every month.
Use SocialCentiv to Strike While the Iron is Hot with Your Customers on Twitter. Twitter is awesome. It’s growing and there are so many of us Tweeting away – all kinds of things. The challenge is that since there is so much on Twitter, you can’t possibly keep up to what’s relevant to drive leads (and customers) to your business. SocialCentiv, from the team at HipLogiq, helps you not only keep up, but respond to users as well.
Bloomforth Offers Bundling Small Business Services in the Cloud. This week we shine the spotlight on Bloomforth. The company, founded by CEO Quy Vo, has 16 employees and is still a new startup, just 4 months old. Its ambitious goal is to create small business cloud software that handles newsletters, point-of-sale, inventory management, appointment booking, and employee time keeping. Here are more details.
Two Moms Create Business Niche With Prenatal Vitamin Water. When Stacy Rauen and Amber Wilcox were going through their respective pregnancies, they couldn’t believe there wasn’t an easier way to get their necessary prenatal vitamins. Both women had difficulty with the standard pills due to their size and taste. Those factors, mixed with persistent morning sickness, made getting the necessary vitamins tough.
Scribd Now Offers 400,000 Books to Read on Monthly Subscription. Scribd started out as a site where anyone could upload and share any kind of content — from legal documents to sheet music to historical documents. It calls itself the world’s largest digital library. The site, launched in 2007, last year made a major shift in its business model.
Reading Photo via Shutterstock
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Another round-up of interesting posts this week, particularly the pre-natal vitamin water (which I think is a simple, logical and FAB idea!), Flint’s new app (which is cool, but concerning re: security), and Patreon crowdfunding which I’ve just read and think is brilliant!