Top Small Business News Stories for the End of May

Indie books and bookstores

This week in small business news, the “hybrids” march on… hybrid tablet laptops, that is.  Plus, there are new opportunities in book and app publishing.  And a small printer that’s smart, impresses.

The Small Business Trends editorial team brings you news stories important to small business owners and what they mean to you.

Tech Tools

HP introduces yet another tablet laptop hybrid. “Hybrid” seems to be the trend this year with so many of them appearing in the market. This is not the first hybrid offering from HP this year, but it seems like the most business oriented. Called the Split x2, it features a 13.3 inch display screen, runs on Windows and is due out in August.

Save on a trip to the print center with Brother smart printers. Brother USA has introduced a new line of printers designed to help small business owners complete more printing tasks in-house – especially for high-volumes where high quality is needed. The printers are compact, with “high capacity” toner creating better quality printed materials for less money.

Upload your files faster. Minbox offers a solution the company says is much faster than Dropbox or other similar applications. In fact, it’s #freakingfast, the company says.  Right now it’s mostly of value for graphics designers, photographers and videographers who routinely deal with very large files they need to share with co-workers, clients partners and others.

Infusionsoft now has a sync for Gmail. Customer Relationship Software is nothing new for small businesses. Now one company is integrating its CRM platform with email. The combination is meant to seamlessly connect the software you use to keep track of your customers with the service you use most often to communicate day to day.


Changes at a major book distributor offer opportunities for small publishers. If youself-publish or are an “indie” publisher, particularly one using print on demand, there may be opportunities opening up to get your titles into brick-and-mortar bookstores. Baker & Taylor, a major distributor, is making some interesting changes.

Amazon introduces a marketplace for fan fiction. The online retailer is creating a new business model in an unusual field. Those interested in writing fiction based on popular TV shows like Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries can now earn some money from their work. Is there a business model here?

Does your small business have an app? A recent presentation at Google’s I/O event revealed the growing market for in-app purchases and subscription business models. Both the Google Play store and Apple Store show impressive revenue growth. Is this an opportunity for your business?

Social Media

Only 2 to 48 percent of what you post on Facebook will be seen by fans. But Mari Smith, who has been dubbed the “Queen of Facebook,” suggests the social networking site is still a great tool to market your small business. To do this most effectively, use what Smith calls the 80/20 rule when posting ontent.

Entrepreneurs can no longer afford to ignore Google Plus. Content marketer Amie Marse shares some interesting stats. Of the world’s 100 top brands, only 72 have Google Plus accounts. Of those, only 40 percent update their account regularly. Here are five reasons Marse says your business should be using the Google social site.

The problem with social media.  In this post, marketer John Follis laments the concerns small businesses have over social media’s effectiveness. But is this the whole story?

Book Reviews

Will your business be part of the revolution? “The Gamification Revolution: How Leaders Leverage Game Mechanics to Crush The Competition” looks at a new trend. Pierre DeBois reviews the book and gives a look at how gamification is used to engage your company and customers.

Add some guilty pleasures to your summer reading. Business book junkies also read other kinds of books.  Small Business Trends book editor Ivana Taylor shares eight titles you won’t want to leave off your list for reading at the beach or on vacation.  Self help titles abound!!!


TaskRabbit helps businesses find temporary help. Small businesses now have another source for recruiting temporary help. TaskRabbit will expand its services once primarily used by people seeking help for odd jobs.  It will be best for businesses that are looking for local help for simple projects, in our view.  Check out TaskRabbit for Business and determine whether it will help your company.

CorpNet offers to help manage your corporate compliance. Keeping up with state corporate filing requirements can be a challenge. CorpNet just launched a service aimed at helping. The free service can help your business stay up to date — and not incur penalities.


Artists market work with Grumpy Cat brand. The Grumpy Cat phenomenon has gone viral on the Web. Now, a group of artists is using it as a method for marketing their work. We’ve included a small sample of Grumpy Cat art for your viewing pleasure.

A recent study shows American products still have appeal. Rieva Lesonky shares details from the Harris Interactive report. The study shows Americans of both genders and all political parties and ages are interested in buying American. If you sell American products, how do you let customers know?

Don’t let celebrities steal your star power on Google. Ann Smarty looks at a unique problem for online reputation management. Smarty makes some suggestions for what to do if you share a name with a celebrity and how it can affect your reputation on Google.

What is a SERP? If your business has an online component, this is something you must understand — especially if you communicate with SEO professionals. The acronym stands for “search engine results page.” Find out what it means and why it is important.


Getting things done. In remarks at a recent recent InfusionCon conference, productivity guru David Allen had these tips for getting tasks completed when you have too much on your plate. Get stuff out of your head, and onto paper.

Family leave is a two-edged sword. Rieva Lesonsky looks at the question of whether you should offer family leave in your business. Statistics show dads are far less likely to take the leave, even if it is offered. The question is whether you can afford it if they do.

“The Internship” — lighthearted summer movie about Google and generations. Some complain this movie is a giant product placement for Google. But we think online enthusiasts will be fascinated by this look into the work culture at Google.    Watch the trailer and read the overview.


NFIB says businesses still need more credit. Scott Shane, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University, explores what seems an ongoing problem in the small business community. If your business is having similar problems, read on.

CNET co-founder goes bankrupt. The plight of Halsey Minor, co-founder of CNET and an investor in and a company which became Google Voice, is a cautionary tale. Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell looks at Halsey’s successes, missteps and what other entrepreneurs can learn.

Bookstore, Shutterstock

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Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

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