Rex Hammock – Small business information, insight and resources | Thu, 15 Nov 2018 17:41:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Your Small Business Should Still be Using Flickr | 2018 Wed, 14 Nov 2018 18:53:36 +0000

We’ve been a fan of Flickr since its earliest days. Five years ago, we wrote how glad we were that Flickr appeared to be putting its house in order. But alas, things went down in a hurry. In that article, “Your Small Business Should be Using Flickr,” we wished (out loud) for the Flickr we once knew: that let us organize our photographs and use them in various ways — for both professional and personal use. We wished for the time when Flickr was a community with robust groups who not only shared photos but shared passions and help.

In April, Flickr was rescued by an independent, family business who also owns SmugMug.

Our response was like that of web-community pioneer Anil Dash:

A sustainable future

With new owners, Flickr has a promising future. For example, the owners knew that giving away a terabyte of storage (for free) is not a viable business model. (Remember, the new owners are a family business.)

Recently, they have re-defined the benefits of a “Flickr Pro” subscription and have placed a limit on photos one can store on a free account. Here are other highlights of Flickr’s new approach:

Free account | Limited to 1,000 photos or videos. New simple login (translation: not a Yahoo login).

Flickr Pro features | Less than half the photography storage cost of Apple, Amazon, or Google

Unlimited storage
Full resolution
Ad-free browsing
Advanced stats
Resolutions up to 5K
10-minute videos
Premier product support
“Partner” discounts
Discounts on Creative Cloud from Adobe
50% off a custom portfolio site on SmugMug
Peak Design gear

Pro | Annual subscription plan

Annual Plan | $4.17 $2.92/month*
*Billed annually

Pro | Monthly plan


Read the Fine Print | As we always suggest, be sure to review the details before changing your account.



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By the Numbers: U.S. Veteran-Owned Businesses | 2018 Thu, 08 Nov 2018 14:36:01 +0000

(Updated | November 8, 2018)

As we’ve  often shared, military veterans can be great employees–and great owners–of small businesses. The following statistics related to U.S military veterans who own businesses were issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy in April 2017. The source of the data is the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners conducted in 2012. That survey had 80 sets of data containing veteran-related information released in December 2015 and February 2016. The complete study and sources can be found in this PDF.

Overview of  veteran-owned businesses

2.52 million |  Businesses in the U.S. that are majority-owned by veterans

442,485 | Veteran-owned businesses with employees
2.08 million | Self-employed veteran businesses (no employees)

9.1% | Percentage of all U.S. businesses that are majority-owned by veterans

$1.14 trillion | Total annual revenues of veteran-owned businesses
5.03 million | Total number of employees of veteran-owned businesses
$195 billion | Annual payroll of veteran-owned businesses

Ranking of industries for veteran-owned businesses

The top seven industries for veteran-owned firms as a percentage of all veteran-owned businesses.

16.6% | Professional, scientific, and technical services
12.2% | Construction
11.8% | Other services
8.6%  | Real estate
8.1% | Retail trade
8.1% | Retail trade
8.0% | Administrative and support

Industries with the highest percentage of veteran-owned businesses

While 9.1 percent of all U.S. businesses are veteran-owned, the percentage of veteran-owned businesses varies by industry.

12.8% | Finance and insurance (Percentage of industry businesses owned by veterans)
12.1% | Transportation and warehousing
11.4% | Construction
11.3% | Agriculture, forestry and fishing
10.9% | Utilities
10.8% | Professional, scientific, and technical services
10.2% | Manufacturing

video via YouTube

Veteran-owned firms by gender

84.3% | Male veteran-owned businesses
15.2% | Female veteran-owned businesses

Veteran-owned firms by owners’ race or ethnicity

Multiple categories could be chosen. Self-identified answer.

85.1% | White
10.7% | African American
7% | Hispanic
2.1% | Asian American
1.3% | American Indian or Alaska Native
.3% | Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander

States with most veteran-owned businesses

252,377 | California
213,590 |  Texas
185,756 | Florida
137,532 | New York
97,969 | Pennsylvania

States where the highest percentage of all businesses are veteran-owned 

13% | South Carolina
12.2% |  New Hampshire
11.7% | Virginia
11.7% | Alaska
11.4% | Mississippi

Who are the major customers of veteran-owned small businesses?

Major customers are those who account for 10 percent or more of a firm’s sales.

67.6% | Consumers
37.9% | Businesses
5.1% | State and local governments
3.2% | Federal government


Veteran business owners are older than business owners in general.

74% | 55 years old and over (veteran-owned business)
41% | 55 years old and over (“all owners”)

11.7% | Under 45 years old (veteran-owned business)
32.5% | Under 45 years old (“all owners”)

3.4% | Under 35 years old (veteran-owned business)
13.5% | Under 35 years old (“all owners”)


Method of  veteran-owned business startup

85.3%  | Founded (not purchased or inherited) their self-employed business
74.3% | Founded (not purchased or inherited) their business with employees

10.8% | Owners who purchased their businesses
2.7% | Inherited their businesses
2.8% | Acquired their ownership by transfer or as gift

Full Report (PDF) | Veteran-Owned Businesses and Their Owners, Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners

Photo: istock

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Apple Unveils New Mac mini, iPad Pro, and MacBook Air | 10.2018 Tue, 30 Oct 2018 23:15:47 +0000

Apple today (10.30.2018) unveiled the next generation of some of its most popular office and mobile tech tools. “Apple has brought the MacBook Air back to life today, announcing the first proper refresh of its super thin laptop line in three years,” said Nick Statt of The Verge. Below, find some of the highlights of each device along with links to Apple’s description of each.

iPad Pro

  • Advanced new cameras and sensors
  • High-speed USB-C connector
  • Louder speakers
  • Faster wireless
  • Thinner device
  • All-day battery life
  • 25 percent smaller in volume
  • 11-inch or 12.9-inch Liquid Retina displays
  • Face ID to unlock iPad with a glance
  • Up to 1TB of storage

Prices, Sizes, and Configurations

The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be available in silver and space gray finishes in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB configurations as well as a new 1TB option.

$799 | Price for 11-inch Wi-Fi iPad Pro model (Plus configuration options)
$949 | Price for 11-ince Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Pro model (Plus configuration options)

$999 | Price for 12.9-inch Wi-Fi iPad Pro model (Plus configuration options)
$1,149 | Price for 12.9-inch Wi-Fi for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model (Plus configuration options)

Apple PencilAmong the features of the second generation of the Apple Pencil

  • Magnetically attaches to iPad Pro
  • Wirelessly charges while magnetically attached
  • Built-in, touch sensor enables the Apple Pencil to detect taps that introduce new way to interact within apps
  • Note: The Apple Pencil is sold separately from the iPad Pro

Price | $129.00

Smart Keyboard Folio

  • A full-size keyboard
  • Never needs to be charged or paired
  • Adjustable for lap or desk use
  • Protects front and back of iPad Pro in a thin design
  • Note: The Smart Keyboard Folio is sold separately from the iPad Pro

Price | $199.00

MacBook Air

  • Available in silver, space gray, and gold (picture above)
  • 13-inch Retina display
  • Apple-designed keyboard
  • Available in silver, space gray, and gold
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Wide stereo sound
  • Apple T2 Security Chip
  • Three Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Touch ID
  • Features SSDs up to 1.5 TB in capacity
  • Memory up to 60 percent faster than the previous generation

12 hours | battery life during wireless web use
13 hours | iTunes movie playback
10 percent | Thinner than the previous generation
2.75 lbs | Weight of MacBook Air, a quarter pound lighter than the previous generation

Prices start at $1,995

Mac mini

    • All-flash storage
    • Faster performance and memory
    • Five times the performance of previous generations
    • T2 Security Chip
    • SSD controller with on-the-fly data encryption
    • HEVC video transcoding that’s up to 30 times faster than earlier generations
    • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
    • HMDI 2.0
    • Two USB-A ports
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • 10Gb Ethernet option

Prices start at $799

Images | Apple



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Square Unveils Terminal, an ‘All in One’ Portable Point of Sale Device Thu, 18 Oct 2018 20:06:55 +0000

Square Inc., a pioneer in the mobile payment processing category with its point-of-sale credit card readers and plug-in smartphone peripherals, today unveiled (10.18.2018) a new device intended to replace its legacy hardware device. The Square Terminal is described as an “all-in-one” mobile device that will replace keypad credit card processing devices. In addition to accepting credit cards, Terminal will also process mobile payments through Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC.

An expanded Square ecosystem

The new mobile product was designed by an in-house hardware team to be wifi enabled and have an all-day battery life. According to the company, these features will enable sellers like restaurant waiters, salon stylists or shop owners to check-out customers anywhere throughout the business . Owners can also charge customers by manually inputting a payment amount, or by selecting from an inventory displayed on the screen. Sellers can add items and track sales through Square software, which they can set up on their phones or desktops.

Costs & Fees

2.6% | Transaction fee
+10¢ | Additional fee per payment

$399 | Price of the device
-$300 | Incentive credit for sellers that switch to Square

Images via Square Inc.

Google is Shutting Down the Consumer Version of Google+, What You Should Know Tue, 09 Oct 2018 16:58:54 +0000

In March, Google engineers discovered a bug that could have given developers private data to hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social media network. The company chose not to disclose its discovery of the bug at the time. Reporters from the Wall Street Journal published a memo prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warning that disclosing the incident would likely trigger “immediate regulatory interest” and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica. In a blog post yesterday, Ben Smith, Google Fellow and vice president of engineering, announced that Google had “found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.”


Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+ 

As part of the post, Smith announced that Google is shutting down the consumer version of Google+, the beleaguered social network that was supposed to be Google’s answer to Facebook. However, users stayed away from it in droves.

Google will still support the “corporate social network” version of Google+ that is part of its paid version of G-Suite. “Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network,” said Smith. “We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses.”

Google will be shutting the consumer version of Google+ during the next 10-month period. Over the coming months, Google will provide Google+ users related information, including ways they can download and migrate their data.

What NOT to do! Do not confuse your Google+ Profile page with your Google business listing

If you manage a Google+ profile page for your business, DO NOT CONFUSE your Google+ profile page (that’s being shuttered) with your company’s Google business listing.

Your Google business listing (also called Google My Business) is a very, very important way to keep your Google listing up to date on search results and Google Maps.

For more information about managing your Google listing see: The Guide to Managing a Listing on Google Search and Maps.

One more time

Google business listing |  GOOD
Google+ profile | GOING AWAY

Are you impatient? Here’s how to delete your Google+ profile anytime

  • Go to
  • Sign in
  • If you see an upgrade page, you don’t have a Google+ profile.
  • If you don’t see an upgrade page, follow the instructions
    ]]> Freelancer Marketplace Upwork’s IPO is Another Thumbs-up for On-Demand Economy Wed, 03 Oct 2018 15:05:39 +0000 (Note: At, we do not typically report on startups, venture funding or public offerings. We believe that information is covered well by others. We make an exception when the company relates to a small business niche we follow regularly, like alternative funding, on-demand economy, co-working space, and various types of networked marketplaces, like Upwork and others that serve one of the largest small business categories, freelancers.)

    The freelancer marketplace Upwork went public this morning (Wednesday, October 3, 2018) on the Nasdaq stock exchange. It priced shares at $15 apiece, raising $187 million through its initial public offering. That gave Upwork an initial market capitalization of nearly $1.6 billion.

    (We don’t like to use the term “Uber for X,” but if you must call it something, call it an Uber for Freelancers. Competitors include, and Fiverr.)

    In its filing, Upwork included these statistics for the twelve months that ended June 30, 2018.

    $1.56 billion | “Gross services volume” (a metric Upwork uses that represents the total amount of transactions carried out between freelancers and clients using its network).

    2 million | Number of projects enabled

    375,000 | Number of freelancers registered on Upwork

    475,000 | Number of clients registered on Upwork

    180 | Number of countries served by Upwork

    Upwork was formed in 2014 when Elance and oDesk, two of the earliest and largest online talent marketplaces, combined as a new company.

    Photo | GettyImages

    Facebook’s Network Attack | Here’s What You Should Know | 10.28.2018 Fri, 28 Sep 2018 19:05:40 +0000

    Facebook today (Friday, 9.28.2018) said an attack to its network led to the exposure of information from nearly 50 million of its users. Company engineers first discovered the security issue on Tuesday. “We’re taking this incredibly seriously and wanted to let everyone know what’s happened and the immediate action we’ve taken to protect people’s security,” Guy Rosen, vice president of product management, said in a Facebook statement.

    What the attackers did

    The attackers exploited a feature in Facebook’s code. The exploit allowed them to steal Facebook “access tokens,” which are like digital “keys” that enable people to stay logged in to Facebook without needing to re-enter a password every time they use the application. The company said it did not know the origin or identity of the attackers, nor had it fully assessed the scope of the attack.

    What Facebook has done in response to the attack

    According to Facebook, these are the steps the company has taken since discovering the attack.

    1 | Fixed the vulnerability and informed law enforcement.

    2 | Reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts Facebook knows were affected to protect their security.

    3 | Reset access tokens for another 40 million accounts as a precaution (meaning that 90 million accounts must log back in).

    What Facebook says you should do

    Log back into facebook | Around 90 million people will now have to log back in to Facebook, or any of their apps that use Facebook Login.

    Look for the notification | After you log back in, you will get a notification at the top of your News Feed explaining what happened.

    If necessary, visit the Facebook Help Center | If you are having trouble logging back into Facebook — for example, because you’ve forgotten your password — visit the Facebook Help Center.

    If you don’t see the notification and want to take the precautionary action of logging out of Facebook, visit the “Security and Login” section in settings. It lists the places you are logged into Facebook with a one-click option to log out of them all.


    On its 20th Anniversary, What Google Sees in the Future of Search Thu, 27 Sep 2018 17:49:28 +0000

    In a celebration of its 20th anniversary, Google announced its “next chapter” is driven by three fundamental shifts in how the company thinks about search. As most of us spend at least a part of every day using Google to find what we need, it’s worth looking at what these fundamental shifts will be. Each headline links to a more in-depth view of the shift. The quotes are from Ben Gomes, Google VP of Search, News, and Assistant.

    A shift from answers to journeys

    “To help you resume tasks where you left off and learn new interests and hobbies, we’re bringing new features to Search that help you with ongoing information needs.”

    A shift from queries to providing a queryless way to get to information

    “We can surface relevant information related to your interests, even when you don’t have a specific query in mind.”

    A shift from text to a more visual way of finding information

    “We’re bringing more visual content to Search and completely redesigning Google Images to help you find information more easily.”

    “Providing greater access to information is fundamental to what we do, and there are always more ways we can help people access the information they need. That’s what pushes us forward to continue to make Search better for our users.”

    Ben Gomes, Google VP of Search, News, and Assistant

    20th-anniversary video provided by Google

    Image via Google

    Tip for Marketers Targeting Small Business: SMBs Don’t Use the Term SMB Thu, 20 Sep 2018 17:30:23 +0000 (Originally Shared on on April 14, 2014. We can’t say this enough.)

    As within any tribe of professionals, it’s normal for those who market products and services to small businesses to develop an inside language of buzz-terms and acronyms as shortcuts for long strings of words or common concepts. As business-to-business marketers can’t do what consumer marketers do when they describe customers as a set of demographics (women, ages 18-21, for example), marketing strategies for reaching small business decision makers tend to describe the customer by the size of a company (revenues or employees), the industry “vertical,” or other factors like location. For that reason, the proxies for consumer-like demographics have evolved into terms like:

    • Microbusiness
    • Small office/home office (SOHO)
    • Small and mid-sized (or medium-sized) business (SMB)
    • Small and medium enterprise (SME)

    As marketing strategy terms, those labels may make sense. However, if you are not a marketer to small business, but an actual small business, there’s a big possibility that you have no idea what any of those terms actually mean. And even if you did, you’d likely prefer to be described as a small business, anyway.

    When strategy words escape the marketing department.

    Often by accident, the inside-baseball marketing terms that we use while developing and managing a marketing strategy become so much a part of a marketer’s vocabulary, the terms start creeping into conversations with people who, by the blank looks on their faces,  have no idea what we’re talking about. Strangely, that doesn’t stop us from using them. We even start naming products and services with acronyms no one in the target audience ever use (see graphic below).

    The problem with using “strategy labels” like SMB or microbusiness when communicating with customers.

    dont call it smb

    Even though it is quite normal to talk in the marketing department with the language of demographics and target markets, if you were a consumer marketer, I doubt you’d ever approve the slogan, “This Bud’s for Males, 21-34.” But that’s exactly what you do when you brand something the “SMB Solution Center.”

    When marketing to small business owners and managers, use the labels they use.

    Next time you talk with one, listen to how a small business owner or manager describes himself or herself and you’ll never hear an acronym used in their description (unless they are a CPA, or perhaps, an ENT). They’ll self-identify using phrases like, “I run a business” or “I have a bike shop” or “I’m an electrician.” They will use terms like small business or family business or independent business to differentiate their companies from certain types of businesses they know have negative connotations among customers (as I’ll note shortly). Rarely do the people who own and run small businesses, even fast-growing ones, call themselves an entrepreneur. However, in recent years, they’ve stopped correcting others who say they are. While they may admire entrepreneurs, most small business owners  think the term refers to someone else.

    In three decades of marketing products and services to small business owners, I have never once heard a small business owner or manager describe himself or herself or their companies using any of the following terms: microbusiness, SOHO, mid-sized or SMB.

    Small Business owners and managers want their companies to be called a small business because they view it as a competitive advantage

    pew-view of institutions

    (Click to enlarge image.)

    (Source: Pew Research via USA Today, 4/23/2010)

    The findings of a 2010 study by Pew Research may shed some light on why a business of any size would like to be identified  as a small business. According to the Pew study, Americans trust the institution of “small business” even more than they trust religious organizations and universities.

    gallup survey of small business

    (Click to enlarge.)

    (Source: Gallup, Surveyed: June 1-4, 2013)

    In similar research conducted by the Gallup organization last year, “the institution of  small business” ranked #2 when the U.S. military was added to the list. Still, the findings show there’s plenty of goodwill in the marketplace for small businesses. To be a “small business” is to be trusted. To be something else is to be less trusted. 

    The term “small business” has statutory definitions that benefit a wide variety of businesses, and that are baked into thousands of state and federal laws, regulations and administrative codes.

    Another reason a small business (or, even a mid-sized one) wants to be called a small business is quite practical and bottomline oriented. The term “small business” appears 996 times in the U.S. Code, the massive collection of all U.S. laws. Here’s how many times the following terms appear in the code: Mid-sized business:  0;  SMB: 0, Microbusiness: 0. Unlike the marketing-department strategy terms “mid-sized” “SMB” or “microbusiness,” the definition of  small business has been standardized and codified by the U.S. government (and like other government creations, it’s quite complex). Nearly all federal legislation appropriating government funds includes language requiring part of those funds be spent with companies designated (and defined) in the law as a “small business.” For an example, visit this Small Business Set Aside FAQ on the website of the U.S. General Services Administration. Knowing precisely what a small business is can keep a company from being subjected to certain regulations or taxes. Because such things as SBA loans and government contracts hinge on a very precise understanding of what the term”small business” legally means, those who run small businesses don’t devote any time wondering if they fall within the parameters of measurements dreamed up by marketers. Being what the government defines as a small business is more important to them than, say, the desire of Walmart’s Sams Club to redefine a huge segment of small businesses as “microbusinesses.”

    Multiply the following by 50 states: The House Committee on Small Business, The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, The Small Business Administration.

    sba building

    (Illustration:, photo: Google Maps Street View)

    As noted in the previous point, the process of codifying the term “small business” has taken place over a period of six decades. Each state and territory uses the term “small business” for agencies, committees and programs. The term small business is actually  written in stone on the front of an office building in Washington, DC. (see graphic). From a lobbying standpoint, any strategy that appears to break up the trusted institution of  “small business” into smaller segments called “micros” and “mid-sized” would appear to be a divide-and-conquer strategy that could negatively impact the ability of small businesses to have a unified message.

    Small Business Saturday

    small business saturday

    Five years ago, when American Express chose to put its marketing muscle behind the idea of supporting a “Small Business Saturday,” they closed the door on those who might want it to be called Microbusiness Saturday or Small and Mid-sized Business Saturday. In other words, tens of millions of dollars have gone into a campaign that encourages small businesses, of any size, to call themselves a small business on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

    And finally: No one has ever said the following sentence, ‘My goal in life is to one day start and run an SMB.’


    (Photo: Joshua Ommen via Flickr)

    Again, there is nothing wrong with using any acronym you want when discussing marketing strategy behind closed doors. But when you start using terms like SMB, those who don’t know what SMB might mean will do what we all do: Google it. And they’ll be even more perplexed when they discover that the first several links on the Google search results page will explain to the small business owner that an SMB is a “‘Server Message Block’ that operates as an application-layer network protocol mainly used for providing shared access to files, printers, serial ports, and miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network.”

    Of course, if you aren’t a networking engineer, after reading that, you’d still have no idea what an SMB is.

    So now you know what it feels like when you call a small business an SMB.

    Amazon Storefronts Will Promote One Million Products Sold by 20,000 U.S. Small Businesses Tue, 18 Sep 2018 18:33:35 +0000

    Over the past few years, Amazon has curated various types of products available on the Amazon Marketplace to create niche or theme shops. For example, we have previously featured such shops as Amazon Handmade (crafts) and Amazon Exclusives (products from inventors and creators). Yesterday (9.18.2018), Amazon launched Amazon Storefronts, a collection of products exclusively from U.S. small businesses selling on Amazon.

    “We’ve created a custom, one-stop shopping experience for customers looking for interesting, innovative and high-quality products from American businesses from all across the country,” said Nicholas Denissen, vice president for Amazon. (While called “Storefronts,” the small businesses will not have individual online shops.) The Amazon Storefronts website will feature over one million products and deals from nearly 20,000 U.S. small businesses. Storefronts will feature a variety of product categories including Back to School, Halloween, Home, Kitchen, Pet Supplies and Books. The products will also be featured across the Amazon Marketplace and will be supported by a major advertising campaign. (See below.)

    The aim of the promotion is to encourage shoppers to buy from U.S. small businesses and will feature products from all 50 states, according to Denissen.

    Media provided by Amazon