August 19, 2017

Microsoft Unveils Beta Version of Outlook.com, HP Debuts Small Business Printer


If you use Microsoft’s Outlook for business email better hurry and get your comments in so you can have a voice in how the platform evolves. Microsoft is seeking feedback for a beta version of what comes next. Also, if  your small business still relies on printer having a printer, a new HP device specifically designed for this has been introduced.

Check out these headlines and more below in this week’s Small Business Trends News and information roundup.

Technology Trends

Microsoft Unveils Outlook.com Beta Version and Wants Your Feedback

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) has unveiled a new beta version of Outlook.com, complete with a fresh new design and intelligent features. Outlook Beta Launched Microsoft says the new Outlook.com, its free personal email service, is a smarter opt-in web experience. But plenty of business users will find the service helpful too.

HP Debuts New Wide Format Printer for Small Businesses

Mobile-enabled printing is allowing small businesses to access their printers remotely from their smartphone, tablet or laptop. The new OfficeJet Pro 7720 Wide Format All-in-One printer by HP (NYSE:HPQ) is going to have mobile-enabled printing capability with a price point small businesses can afford.

Popular  Business Platform WordPress Gets First Maintenance Release for Update 4.8

Small business favorite publishing platform WordPress has just announced its first maintenance release — 4.8.1 —  since the release of its latest update in June. Named after American jazz pianist and composer William John “Bill” Evans, WordPress 4.8 “Evans” was released June 8 and has already been downloaded more than 13 million times.

Economy

Proposed New York Law Could Require Government to Buy American

You’ve already heard about some of the “Buy American” initiatives that are attempting to support American manufacturers. But what if buying American made products was actually required by law? That’s what one lawmaker has proposed for certain government purchases in central New York. Ted Morton is an Erie County Legislator who has proposed this new rule.

Small Business Loan Approvals Hit New Post-Recession High, Biz2Credit Reports

Big banks have brought good news for small businesses. According to the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly analysis of loan approval rates, big banks approved 24.5 percent of funding requests, a new post-recession high in July.

Franchise

Save Local Business Act Addresses Joint Employer Issue for Franchises

Lawmakers have unveiled a bipartisan bill designed to roll back the controversial joint employer rule franchise owners argue has created “extreme” liability issues across a wide range of industries. The Save Local Business Act According to members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Save Local Business Act (H.R.

Best Franchise Bargains Based in Maine and Montana, Recent Data Suggests

When starting a franchise, the location of the company’s corporate headquarters seems to be a factor in determining cost. For example, franchises headquartered away from the coasts seem to be a better buy. That’s with the exception of those based in the upper mid-west and south. Howmuch.net has crunched the data pulled from a list of the nation’s finest franchise opportunities.

Marketing Tips

Marketing Emails Sent at 4 p.m. have the Highest Open Rate

Planning to send your next marketing email? Consider sending it at 4 p.m. Turns out it’s the best time to get a response from your target audience. This interesting insight comes from a new study by email marketing software provider, GetResponse. The report found emails sent at 4 p.m. receive the highest open rate (25.13 percent).

Expert Suggests Yelp Alternative to Market Your Business

Andrew Zimmern thinks Yelp is useless. The host of “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” on the Travel Channel offered an alternative to looking up restaurants on Yelp in an interview with Business Insider. His issue with the review site is that it crowdsources a lack of expertise.

Sheetz Rewards Unofficial Brand Ambassador with Free T-Shirt

Brand ambassadors can come in many different forms. Sometimes you can carefully craft a strategy to entice customers to promote your business in very specific ways. But sometimes customers come up with their own unique ways to promote your business — and you just have to run with it. Such is the case with Andy Peck, who created the Instagram account Mozzaratings.

Retail Trends

Little Caesars Pizza Portal Provides Inspiration for Business Automation

Pizza chain Little Caesars just unveiled its new Automated Pizza Portal — a system for ordering and picking up pizza that could provide some inspiration for small business automation.



Celebrate and Buy at National Farmers Market Week Aug 6 to 12

It’s National Farmers Market Week this week, from August 6 to 12, 2017. Last Thursday U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed the Proclamation designating this week as “National Farmers Market Week.”  This is the 18th year the U.S. Department of Agriculture has supported National Farmers Market Week.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Tigris Events Provides Event Support, Marketing Services

Events offer so many opportunities for small businesses to connect with potential customers and promote their offerings. And that’s just one of the specialties of marketing and promotions agency Tigris Events. Read more about the company and how it differentiates itself in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Helps businesses hold marketing events.

Mobile Technology

Google Says New Algorithm Could Make It Easier for Others to Find Your App

By 2017 the Google Play store reached an impressive 2.7 million app publications, with more than 82 billion apps being downloaded in 2016. So how can you weed out the best applications from a staggering 2.7 million apps? Well, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is going to make it easier with a recently improved search and discovery algorithms which will highlight quality apps.

3D Super Mario Bros Video Suggests Use of Augmented Reality in Business

Ever wish you could jump inside a video game? That’s becoming a more realistic possibility thanks to new technology like augmented reality. That possibility was demonstrated very clearly in a video that went viral this summer showing an augmented reality version of a Super Mario game. Abhishek Singh is the creator of the app featured in the video.

These Solar Powered Clothes May Be Able to Charge Your Phone

Tech and fashion aren’t two industries that normally have a lot of overlap. But ISHU is a company that’s trying to change this. The company has already gained notoriety due to its “anti-paparazzi scarf” — a scarf reflecting flash from a camera so it’s more difficult to photograph the wearer. And now, the company is working on a line of solar powered clothing.

Small Business Operations

2 of 3 Managed Service Providers Not Offering Adequate Cybersecurity Support

Security has become the one issue everyone must deal with in the connected world we live in. For small businesses who are coming under increasing attack, it is even more pressing. A new survey report from Kaspersky Lab only increases this anxiety, as it reports two-in-three managed service providers (MSPs) are suffering from a shortage of qualified cybersecurity staff.

USDA  Launches Mentorship Initiative to Help Farms, Ranches and Local Rural Businesses

Acquiring the necessary expertise to successfully run a business in any industry takes time. Without the proper guidance, the trial and error method is costly in terms of time, capital and other resources. The launch of a mentorship initiative between the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and SCORE will support new farmers and ranchers so they can avoid these mistakes.

SageWorks Releases CashSage Tool to Measure Your Cash Flow – Free!

Shifting pieces like operating costs and profit margins around to increase cash flow makes for a game of financial chess for small businesses.  Now, an online dashboard allows business owners to use  a series of sliders to see how changing important benchmarks can accomplish this goal.

Social Media

Google Plans Snapchat Rival, How Can Your Business Benefit?

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is reportedly working on creating a Snapchat rival. And it could be something worth watching for small businesses. The company is in talks to transform its Instant News Articles into something similar to Snapchat’s Discover feature.

Facebook Will Put Faster Loading Sites Top of News Feeds

A one second delay in page load time translates to reduction in conversions, page views and customer satisfaction of 7, 11, and 16 percent respectively. And as mobile becomes the primary means of internet access for more users, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has announced a new upcoming update to News Feed which will direct users to faster-loading links on mobile.

10 Ways Your Business Can Use the New Facebook Cover Video Feature

You can now upload a video to the cover image area of your business’s Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page. That means you have the opportunity to pack even more interest and information into the top of your Facebook business page. Videos can be between 20 and 90 seconds long. So you have a limited amount of time to work with.

Startup

What is Indiegogo for Entrepreneurs?

Crowdfunding platforms have turned traditional funding on its head, so much so it is poised to surpass venture capital or VC funding. With more than $34 billion raised in 2016 through different crowdfunding platforms, the launch of Indiegogo for Entrepreneurs is an attempt to support those seeking funding from concept to market.

78 Percent in Survey Seldom Meet Someone Who Makes A Strong First Impression

Are you making a good first impression? Researchers with the UK’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) think not. The organization has created a special division called RADA in Business to pass on dramatic skills useful to the business community.

Microsoft photo via Shutterstock

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