SmallBusiness.com https://smallbusiness.com Small business information, insight and resources | SmallBusiness.com Thu, 18 Oct 2018 20:18:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Square Unveils Terminal, an ‘All in One’ Portable Point of Sale Device https://smallbusiness.com/payments/square-terminal/ https://smallbusiness.com/payments/square-terminal/#respond Thu, 18 Oct 2018 20:06:55 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=33269

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.

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Scholars Claim These are the Best Times of Day for Social Media Posts https://smallbusiness.com/marketing/best-times-for-social-media-posts/ https://smallbusiness.com/marketing/best-times-for-social-media-posts/#respond Thu, 18 Oct 2018 17:19:02 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=33250

A social media manager tasked with posting ten stories in a day with a budget to promote four of those stories can schedule the sequence of social media posts in over seven trillion ways. Which of those seven trillion options should they choose to post?


 

Recently, three graduate business school academics (Vamsi K. Kanuri of Notre Dame, and Shrihari Sridhar and Yixing Chen of Texas A&M) tackled a vexing problem for those who market their companies with social media posts (and tweets, we guess): “What are the best times to post?” (Really, we don’t make up these research projects. We even read it in the Harvard Business Review.)

It’s an important issue, according to the professors, as U.S. companies are expected to spend more than $37 billion dollars annually on social media by 2020 — representing 24 percent of the economy’s total digital advertising spend. And a lot of these dollars will be spent by small businesses.

Rather than posting randomly, there is a better way to spend that advertising budget, say the professors. Their research on circadian rhythms suggests that content platforms like CNN, ESPN, National Geographic, etc. can enhance their profit payoffs by at least eight percent by:

  • Posting content following the biological responses of their audience’s sleep-wake cycles
  • Targeting content types to when the audience is most naturally receptive to it

Working Memory

According to their research, the professors’ posting recommendations are tied into what is called, “Human Working Memory.”  This type of memory is highest when we wake up in the morning, lowest in mid-afternoon, and moderate in the evening. “Higher availability of working memory makes individuals alert and feel the need to seek information. This means that consumers’ desire to engage with content will likely be highest in the morning, lowest in the afternoon, and moderate in the evening,” they write.

Here are some of the recommendations they culled from their interviews:

  • All else equal, posting content in the morning results in higher engagement.
  • Boosting posts (paying to promote posts) is most effective when the target audience is experiencing low working memory.
  • Assuming the majority of the audience start their day in the morning, it is ideal to post content conveying high-arousal emotion (i.e., angry or worried) in the morning and “deep think” content in the afternoon.
  • A firm does not need an additional boosting budget to increase gross profits. Simply rearranging the posts to match content preferences of the target audience can do the trick.
  • Increasing boosting budget does not necessarily increase gross profits. There is a tipping point where additional spending results in only marginal increases in gross profits.

Harvard Business Review | A Study Shows the Best Times of Day to Post to Social Media

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]]> https://smallbusiness.com/marketing/best-times-for-social-media-posts/feed/ 0 Small Businesses Are Selling for Record-High Prices | Q-3 2018 https://smallbusiness.com/economy/business-selling/ https://smallbusiness.com/economy/business-selling/#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 18:13:09 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=33197

The prices small businesses sold for during the third quarter of 2018 reached record highs, according to the 2018 third-quarter Insight Report from BizBuySell.com, the online business-for-sale marketplace. The record sale prices are related to stronger business financials which also hit new levels in Q-3″ according to Bob House, president of BizBuySell.com. “With buyers able to offset increasing prices by acquiring healthier businesses, the result is a well-balanced market. To be in a place where both buyers and sellers are able to capitalize without the other party losing out is fantastic and a testament to the strong will of entrepreneurs.”


$249,000 | Median sales price of a small business during Q-3, 2018
10.7% | Percentage growth of median sales price (year-over-year) (Highest increase since BizBuySell started collecting data in 2007)

2018 Q3 Small Businesses Sale Price vs Asking Price

Buyers are purchasing businesses with better financial footings

$530,995 (up 7.4% year-over-year) | Median revenue
$116,229 (up 2.8% year-over-year) | Median cash flow

2018 Q3 Key Financials for Sold Small Businesses

 

Tariffs and elections take center stage as market aims to continue record pace

Even as small business asking prices have continued to rise, buyer demand has not swayed thanks to the attractive financials absorbed in an acquisition. However, as witnessed during the Great Recession, small business success is greatly tied to the performance of the overall economy.

30%  | Percentage of owners who say they will be negatively affected by the tariffs.
76% |  Percentage of owners who approve the tariffs (including half of those believed to be negatively impacted)

30% | Percentage of buyers who approve the tariffs
23% | Percentage of buyers who said if tariffs remain in place, they would be less likely to purchase a small business

90% | Percent of Republican business owners who support the tariffs
27% | Percent of Democratic business owners who support the tariffs


“We’ve now had a few record-breaking years in a row in terms of transactions and it appears 2018 will be no different,” said BizBuySell.com’s House. “The fact that small businesses are selling for the highest price to date and demand hasn’t slowed shows how much confidence both sides have in today’s market.”

2018 Q3 Small Business Sales by Sector

Charts | BizBuySell.com Photo | GettyImages

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Are you one of the 50 million users (they now say 30 million) whose Facebook accounts were breached recently? Here’s how to find out if you were and what to do.  (via Brian X. Chen of NYTimes.com and  Josh Constine of TechCrunch.com)


While logged in to your Facebook account, click to this Facebook Help page. 

If you see the following message, congratulations!

Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?

Facebook’s response if you are not impacted | “Our investigation is still ongoing, but based on what we’ve learned so far, the attackers did not gain access to information associated with your Facebook account.”

If you see the answer “yes,” here’s what to do.

  1. Watch out for spam or scam calls, emails or messages as your contact info could have been sold to criminal hackers.
  2. Be on alert for phishing attempts that may try to email you and get you to sign in to one of your online accounts on a fake page that will steal your data. Facebook provides this advice.
  3. If you’ve had your personal bio info accessed, you may want to contact your bank or cell phone provider and add additional security layers such as a pin code.
  4. That’s because hackers may have enough biographical info to perform social engineering attacks where they pretend to be you and use stolen data to answer security questions and gain access to your accounts so they can spam your friends, steal and sell your social media handles, or port your phone number to their phone to intercept two-factor authentication prompts.

How to delete  your Facebook and Instagram accounts forever

If you’ve decided it’s time to delete Facebook from your digital life, New York Times tech reporter Brian X. Chen has put together in-depth directions for removing both Facebook and Instagram. He also includes reasons you may not want to go all the way.

Note | If you use Facebook for marketing your business, we strongly suggest that you hold off on pulling the plug.

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Owning a Business Can Cause Lots of Worry. Here’s Why and How to Overcome it https://smallbusiness.com/employees/small-business-fear/ https://smallbusiness.com/employees/small-business-fear/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 21:53:15 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=33164

If you are a small business owner, the answer to this question is predictable: “Do you worry too much? Well, it shouldn’t be that way…but too often it is. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 31.1 percent of U.S. adults experience some form of anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. So even if you don’t own a business,  chances are you are still going to worry from time to time — or more often. According to the Anxiety and Depression American Association (ADAA) almost 40 million American adults suffer from chronic worrying of other related anxiety disorders. Writing for the wellness blog, Pick the Brain, Marwan Jamal recently outlined some reasons why people worry so much and what can be done to address the problem. (See entire article here.)


(Note | Excessive worry can be a sign of serious depression or anxiety or other types of mental illness. If you or a family member is experiencing serious anxiety or depression, you can use this directory provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to find local help.)


 

Some reasons why small business owners — and others —  are consumed with worry

#1 | Seeking unattainable certainty and control

Two things that cause great anxiety are (1) lack of control and (2) uncertainty. For that reason, you may think that the key to reducing worrying is to seek more certainty about the things you`re afraid of. But most of the problems that chronic worriers deal with are caused by their refusal to accept the possibility of a negative event happening in the future.  Accept that you can’t control the uncontrollable, nor certainty in an uncertain world. If you don’t accept that, it will make things worse.”

#2 | Attempting to suppress your worries

Worrying suppresses emotional expression, which will make it tougher to overcome a fear. Communicate your worries to other people instead of keeping them suppressed. Call somebody, keep a journal or simply talk loudly to yourself.

3# | Thinking rather than doing

Worry burns up the energy you need to get the job done. You should bash through any worries. Take more action than you think you should. Exercise, yoga and other techniques can help you get back on track.

#4  | Believing that things are worse than they really are 

Remind yourself and accept this truth: Ninety-five percent of worries never come true,” says Professor Evelyn Behar from the University of Illinois. “And with the things that do come true, people end up coping much better than they ever expected.”


Via | PickTheBrain.com “Do you worry too much? 4 Worrying Mistakes You Should Stop Making

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Google is Shutting Down the Consumer Version of Google+, What You Should Know https://smallbusiness.com/google/google-plus-profile/ https://smallbusiness.com/google/google-plus-profile/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 16:58:54 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=33146

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.”


via GIPHY

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 SmallBusiness.com 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 http://plus.google.com/downgrade
  • 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
    ]]> https://smallbusiness.com/google/google-plus-profile/feed/ 0 Today is Columbus Day: What’s Open, What’s Not, Who’s Working, Who’s Not (and Why) | 2018 https://smallbusiness.com/seasonal/columbus-day-holiday-open-working-observing/ https://smallbusiness.com/seasonal/columbus-day-holiday-open-working-observing/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 11:39:40 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=29463
    Columbus Day is one of the most inconsistently celebrated holidays in the U.S. Here’s what we mean:
    • It’s one of 10 official federal holidays, which means federal workers get the day off
    • Because federal offices will be closed, so will banks and the bond markets that trade in U.S. government debt
    • However, some banks will stay opened
    • The U.S. Postal Service will be closed
    • FedEx and UPS are open
    • U.S. stock markets will remain open

    Native American groups and other critics, citing Columbus’ mistreatment of natives – have advocated changing the holiday to something else. (“Exploration Day” is one suggestion).

    For the first time this year, Columbus, Ohio will not observe its namesake’s holiday.

    Other states and local governments juggle around the date of a Columbus Day holiday so that workers can have a more practical day off from work. For example, the state of Tennessee has a holiday for Columbus Day, but has moved its observance (and the date for state employees to get a day off from work) to the Friday after Thanksgiving. (Thus, state workers in Tennesse get a holiday for “Black Friday.”)

    What state governments are closed today and are giving their employees a vacation

    • 23 states (plus the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico) give their workers Columbus Day as a paid holiday.
    • For other states, Columbus Day may be a paid day off or no different from any regular Monday.

Columbus_Day

Columbus Day facts and trivia

VIA | Pew Research Center FactTank

illustration: vecteezy.com

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In addition to the U.S. federal holiday Columbus Day, some U.S. cities are beginning to use today to observe “Indigenous People’s Day,” according to CNN. Because at SmallBusiness.com, every day is Small Business Day, we’re happy also to point to these resources for native American small business owners and those who are considering starting a business. (Update, October 8, 2018)


The Office of Native American Affairs

Housed within the U.S. Small Business Administration, its mission is to ensure that American Indians, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians seeking to create, develop and expand small businesses have full access to the necessary business development and expansion tools available through the Agency’s entrepreneurial development, lending and procurement programs.

National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is “to develop and expand an American Indian private sector which employs Indian labor, increases the number of viable tribal and individual Indian businesses, and positively impacts and involves reservation communities, by establishing business relationships between Indian enterprises and private industry.”

SBA Learning Center: Native American Business Primer

An online course designed to assist Native peoples who’re thinking about starting a business, or who’re in the early stages of starting a business.

First Nations Development Institute

The First Nations Development Institute is a non-profit organization that “invests in and creates innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities.”

American Indian Business Leaders

The AIBL is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering business students. Its programs are designed to engage students in activities that stimulate, enhance, and expand educational experiences beyond traditional academic methods.

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Freelancer Marketplace Upwork’s IPO is Another Thumbs-up for On-Demand Economy https://smallbusiness.com/on-demand-economy/upwork/ https://smallbusiness.com/on-demand-economy/upwork/#respond Wed, 03 Oct 2018 15:05:39 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=33081 (Note: At SmallBusiness.com, 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 Voices.comFreelancer.com, 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

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Facebook’s Network Attack | Here’s What You Should Know | 10.28.2018 https://smallbusiness.com/security/facebooks-network-attack-heres-what-you-should-know/ Fri, 28 Sep 2018 19:05:40 +0000 https://smallbusiness.com/?p=33005

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.


 

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