Top Stories: Facebook Unveils Features, Payment Options Shift





As the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook can be an integral part of your customer communication strategy. This week, the platform added a few new features that could impact the way your business uses it to connect with people in the future.

The expansion of Facebook Place Tips could help local businesses better connect with the customers who are actually visiting their stores. And the new Saved Replies feature could help businesses better organize their responses to customers who reach out to them online.

These are just a few of the headlines from the past week that could have an impact on your small business. Read on for the full list in this week’s Small Business Trends community news and information roundup.



Social Media

Connect with Store Visitors as Facebook Place Tips Expands

Facebook has announced it is opening Facebook Place Tips up to more local businesses in an effort to help business owners better connect with their customers online while they are in-store. Facebook originally introduced Place Tips back in January and has been testing the service for the last six months.

Facebook Will Soon Let You Give “Saved Replies” to Customers

You have worked hard on your business’s Facebook page and customers regularly leave comments awaiting your reply. But you can’t always respond to everyone immediately. So what can you do? Soon, it seems, you will be able to use a new feature being tested called Facebook Saved Replies.

Finance

On October 1st, Card Fraud Liability is Changing. Is Your Small Business Ready?

Beginning October 1, 2015, small business owners will be liable for any card-present fraud that occurs when a customer uses a credit card with an EMV chip if the business doesn’t have a chip-enabled card reader. To protect themselves, small business owners should install chip-enabled card readers.

New Square Reader Accepts Apple Pay and EMV Chip Cards

Square, the payment solution that allows merchants to accept debit and credit cards right from a mobile device, has just announced its newest product. The announcement came from Square founder Jack Dorsey on Twitter when the CEO shared a link to Square Reader.

The Downside of Encouraging Small Business Owners to Tap Home Equity

The housing bust has adversely affected small business access to credit. Declining home values have made it more difficult for small business owners to use the equity in their homes to finance their companies. In response, some small business advocates have proposed making it easier for small business owners to tap home equity as a source of business capital.

Non-Profit

Blimpie Franchise Raises Money for Low Income Housing

Back in 2012, the Affordable Homes of South Texas (AHSTI) knew it was in trouble. As a non-profit organization, it was running low on funds. There was no way they could provide for the increasing demand of new homes in its area. Rather than let his organization go under, director Bobby Calvillo came up with a creative solution.

Coffee Chain Finds Profit — With Nonprofits?

While it’s not unusual for small businesses to want to give back, Coffeed has made that one of it’s primary goals. Founded back in 2012 by Frank ‘Turtle’ Raffaele in Long Island, this cafe regularly donates between 3-10 percent of its profits to different nonprofit organizations and local charities.



Mobile & VoIP

Lenovo Magic View is Here, But Do You Need One?

At Lenovo’s Tech World event in Beijing the company revealed a new concept smartwatch that many feel bears a striking resemblance to Motorola’s Moto 360. This new smartwatch is the Lenovo Magic View, a name that refers to the virtual display the watch sports.

With Lenovo Smart Cast, Your Phone Becomes a Projector

Our smartphones are being built to do so much more than answer calls. Cameras are getting more sophisticated. A simple device turns it into an impromptu payment portal. And now Lenovo is going to have a smartphone double as a projector. It’s development name is Smart Cast and if all goes according to plan, it will be a first-of-its-kind device.

Ooma Business Promoter Can Generate Your Sales Leads

Ooma has primarily focused its efforts on VoIP communications. Now, the company has added a new service to its Ooma Office platform that’s aimed at generating sales leads for your business. It’s called Ooma Office Business Promoter and the company says it could double your marketing budget potential.

Management

JotForm Now Offers Adobe eSign Service

Business is increasingly performed in a “virtual” workspace, which has fueled a growing demand for digital signature technology. JotForm, a form-building platform, recently launched the Adobe Document Cloud eSign Widget, which allows users to embed esigning into any form. Adobe Document Cloud eSign Services (formerly known as Echosign) allows users to sign electronic documents.



Retail & B2B

Entrepreneur Opens Brooklyn Storefront After 16 Years in Business

Sigal de-Mayo just opened her very first brick-and-mortar store for her business, Insiders1, in Brooklyn. But the entrepreneur, who creates and sells fashion accessories and similar products using photos and collages, isn’t new to the business world. In fact, she’s been selling the same types of products at street fairs and markets for about 16 years.

New Sam’s Club Service “Club Pickup” Lets You Refill Business Orders with a Click

Sam’s Club, which offers free pickup for online orders, says it has “dramatically” enhanced this service to include new features designed to help the warehouse club’s small business members (among other customers) save on that most precious of commodities: time.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: MTX Connect Keeps Business Travelers in Touch

For business owners who have to travel frequently, wireless connectivity issues can be troublesome. Ilya Balashov and Mike Kornev were very familiar with those connectivity issues. As frequent business travelers, they became frustrated with the high roaming costs and inability to connect in certain locations. So, they came up with their own solution.

Tablets & Dashboards

Giant Touchscreen? Pre-order Microsoft Surface Hub July 1

Trying to collaborate during meetings remotely can be a huge frustration. Participants can feel left out, unheard, and disjointed. But Microsoft may have a solution for conference room woes, the Microsoft Surface Hub. Microsoft first unveiled the Surface Hub, the company’s new large-screen collaboration device, at the Windows 10 event back in January.



Xero Introduces a New Analytics Dashboard for Your Business

Xero, the New Zealand-based accounting software company, has unveiled a new product that will allow small businesses to enter the realm of big data. The company’s business performance dashboard, unveiled June 3 at its Xero-Con in Denver, lets smaller companies understand how their businesses are performing and make decisions based on that data.

In Development

Detroit is Trying to Become the Next Major Tech Hub

Detroit isn’t exactly known as a tech hub. But some people and organizations are looking to change that. One such organization is TechTown Detroit, a non-profit business incubator located in an old General Motors factory in the city’s Midtown neighborhood. The TechTown Detroit building is a five-story building currently playing host to about 40 small businesses.

MIITO Could Replace Your Electric Kettle

Electric kettles are a staple in many homes around the world. The convenience of quickly heating water for tea, or maybe even a cup of ramen, really can’t be beat. But two former students of the Design Academy Eindhoven have found a way to possibly improve this common kitchen appliance.

Highlights from the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Keynote

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off with a lengthy keynote on Monday, June 8 in San Francisco. You might not have been able to attend but here are some highlights from the events first day. Apple revealed the newest versions of its OS X and iOS 9 operating systems. Both of these operating systems are set to roll out to everyone this fall, free of charge.



Silicon Valley Fashion Week? Think Drone Modeling, Skateboard Chic

Whether you’re a retailer, a fashion blogger or a personal stylist, if your small business touches upon the fashion industry in any way, look out. A new trend some are calling “geek chic” should be on your radar. Forget about the fall from popularity of wearables like Google Glass.

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