Top Stories: A Crowdfunding Service is Acquired and a Social Site Gets a New Look

Top Stories: A Crowdfunding Service is Acquired and a Social Site Gets a New Look

Small Business owners have little time to keep up with the news important to them. Let the Small Business Trends editorial team help you keep track of what’s important. Read our roundup below.

Online Services

Dropbox has raised yet more funding and could be going public. But there are other useful cloud storage options out there. Online storage is becoming an increasingly hot market. Small businesses need to find an economic place to put their valuable data in the clouds. We’ve compiled a list that should at least get you started considering your options.

Fundable acquires LaunchRock. Basically, launch rock is a place entrepreneurs with a new product or service can set up a simple, no-nonsense landing page. The idea then is that they can use the site to start a pre-launch following. Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell gives us an overview of what the acquisition by crowdfunding site Fundable could mean.

Stripe may be a new way to take credit card payments on your site. The kicker is that you don’t have to invest in the server space or security necessary to encrypt and store your customers’ credit card information. Stripe processes the information on its own site for you. A recently announced redesign has introduced even more features.

Google wants to pay for referrals to its paid apps service. Specifically, Google says it will pay $15 per referral to its Google Apps for Business Service.  Like the popular free Google Web apps, this service includes features like Gmail, Google Drive and calendar. But starting at $5 per user, this version offers an enhanced menu of services for business users.

Want some free photos to use on your website? Certainly online publishers, like all small business owners, are always looking for deals. But this one comes with some drawbacks you may find less appealing then paying for photos. How about showing someone else’s ads on your website for free?


T-mobile plan offers more data, but comparisons are tricky. Actually, we say comparing these programs is like comparing apples and oranges. But pick your own analogy. The T-Mobile plan is the latest example of how carriers are beginning to base their packages on data transfer instead of voice or texting. The question is how you use your mobile device and what plan would be best for you.

Yahoo wants to sell ads for mobile apps. It’s not a new idea. Among big Web properties, Facebook really pioneered the mobile app ad as a way to collect money from this rapidly growing market. But for independent developers including small businesses that have created their own apps, this could be another great opportunity to get the word out about your product.

Social Media

Facebook for Business is changing. Specifically, the new pages for businesses and brands will look a lot more like the layout for personal profiles. So now your business’s profile will look a lot more like the personal pages of you and your friends. This means information on your business neatly collected on the left side of the page. It also means your business feed will be centralized letting your fans know exactly where to look for the latest about your company.

Twitter ad rates still seem to be falling. It’s not necessarily anything to worry about and it could even be a great thing for your company. If there are users you’re trying to reach on Twitter, there are ways to do that now with little cost. But if you’re wondering why these rates are so cheap, well, it’s a bit more complicated then you might think.

Retail businesses have discovered Instagram. Recent media reports are centering on the ability the popular photo sharing software has to drive conversions and help generate sales. We’re not talking about Instagram’s new advertising services. These are just photos shared by people like you and me.


It’s time to chuck that old operating system. The time has come. In April, Microsoft will be discontinuing support for its XP operating system. Microsoft just launched some new fixes to patch vulnerabilities in the system. Small businesses tend to stay with what works. But once Microsoft ceases support for XP, using it will no longer be a practical option. Here are the alternatives.

Choices are exploding for invoicing software. We’ve done posts on the choices out there for your business before. But recently, Tradeshift has reinforced the importance of the growing field with news it had raised $75 million in venture funds. We’ve also collected a list of other key players in the field.


Think big but take small steps. Some of the world’s most successful companies — take Google, for example — grew from very humble beginnings. But growing your business from a tiny startup to a huge company, or just into a healthy thriving small business, takes a very specific approach.


One ring to rule them all. This Bluetooth ring is the latest in wearable technology. But much more than that, it could be another tremendous productivity tool. Consider that by simply waiving your hand or drawing shapes or letters in the air, you can compose and send emails, open apps and more. The first to get their hands on this ring will likely be contributors to the Kickstarter campaign.


IRS emails could mean real trouble this tax season. No, it’s not because you’re being audited. Think about it. You’d have to have already filed your return to be audited, right? Instead, security company Symantec warns there’s a lot of scammers and hackers around this time of year. Don’t be their next victim by being careless.

Reading Photo via Shutterstock

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.