20% of All Searches are Made with Voice (INFOGRAPHIC)

Online Advertising Trends: 20% of All Searches are Voice Searches

A new and very interactive infographic by Adzooma takes a look at how online advertising will be trending in 2018. And one of the data points is the growth of voice search, which now makes up 20 percent of inquiries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices.

Online Advertising Trends

In addition to the upcoming trends in 2018, the infographic also provides tips to stay abreast of changing technologies, new SEO requirements, and the way we communicate digitally. Adzooma also looks at audience targeting, Google, PPC, images and videos along with voice search.

The reason your small business needs to keep up with the information in this infographic is that online and mobile advertising is taking over traditional advertising around the world. And if you don’t know where your customers are, buying ads in a medium they don’t use will yield a low return on your investment.

The data for the infographic comes from Adzooma, which specializes in Small business online advertising, and from Search Engine Land, Google, and other sources.

Integrating Voice Technology into Your Small Business

Voice search is growing, and according to the data below, it will account for 50 percent of all searches by 2020. So making your website, ads and other digital assets voice friendly is key to ensuring you won’t be left out now and in the near future.

Online Advertising Trends: 20% of All Searches are Voice Searches

Another benefit of using voice technology is it conveys a more clear intent of what users are searching for. This gives marketers, SEO specialists and your small business a much better way to make your ads and marketing campaigns easier to find.

Location-based optimization or GPS-based SEO is growing along with video ads. And mobile will continue to be the key technology driving online advertising, which now stands at 43 percent of all digital ad spend.

According to Adzooma, the glue holding it all together is still Google. Not only does it deliver around $2 for every cent spent on Google Adwords, but it now has 32.4 percent of mobile spend advertising too.

You can take a look at the interactive infographic below to find out more about audience targeting, PPC and more.

Photo via ShutterstockOther images: Adzooma

This article, "20% of All Searches are Made with Voice (INFOGRAPHIC)" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

20% of All Searches are Made with Voice (INFOGRAPHIC)

Online Advertising Trends: 20% of All Searches are Voice Searches

A new and very interactive infographic by Adzooma takes a look at how online advertising will be trending in 2018. And one of the data points is the growth of voice search, which now makes up 20 percent of inquiries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices.

Online Advertising Trends

In addition to the upcoming trends in 2018, the infographic also provides tips to stay abreast of changing technologies, new SEO requirements, and the way we communicate digitally. Adzooma also looks at audience targeting, Google, PPC, images and videos along with voice search.

The reason your small business needs to keep up with the information in this infographic is that online and mobile advertising is taking over traditional advertising around the world. And if you don’t know where your customers are, buying ads in a medium they don’t use will yield a low return on your investment.

The data for the infographic comes from Adzooma, which specializes in Small business online advertising, and from Search Engine Land, Google, and other sources.

Integrating Voice Technology into Your Small Business

Voice search is growing, and according to the data below, it will account for 50 percent of all searches by 2020. So making your website, ads and other digital assets voice friendly is key to ensuring you won’t be left out now and in the near future.

Online Advertising Trends: 20% of All Searches are Voice Searches

Another benefit of using voice technology is it conveys a more clear intent of what users are searching for. This gives marketers, SEO specialists and your small business a much better way to make your ads and marketing campaigns easier to find.

Location-based optimization or GPS-based SEO is growing along with video ads. And mobile will continue to be the key technology driving online advertising, which now stands at 43 percent of all digital ad spend.

According to Adzooma, the glue holding it all together is still Google. Not only does it deliver around $2 for every cent spent on Google Adwords, but it now has 32.4 percent of mobile spend advertising too.

You can take a look at the interactive infographic below to find out more about audience targeting, PPC and more.

Photo via ShutterstockOther images: Adzooma

This article, "20% of All Searches are Made with Voice (INFOGRAPHIC)" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How to Use Blockchain and Big Data for Better Small Business Profits

How Small Businesses Can Utilize Big Data Blockchain for Analytics

In this age of the Internet of Things, the need for businesses to make data  driven decisions has become critical. The amount of consumer data available for analysis continues to grow exponentially, creating more opportunities for businesses to tap into it.

Effective use of big data means better decision making and hence business profitability and growth. According to a report by EY, the robust growth in big data is disrupting the way businesses compete and operate. Businesses that are able to derive value from their data are emerging as leaders in their industries while those that do not are finding themselves being pushed to obsolescence.

As Geoffrey Moore, the famous American organizational theorist, author and management consultant puts it, without big data, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out into the web like a deer on a freeway. But is every business utilizing big data today? The answer is no! While most Fortune 500 companies have a big data strategy in place, the majority of small and medium enterprises do not. This is because implementing an effective big data strategy requires specialized skills and expensive software the majority of these businesses cannot afford.

Introducing Big Data Blockchain

However, with the blockchain technology, businesses will now be able to leverage big data analytics without having to worry about cost or complexity. But before we discuss how blockchain is enabling businesses to implement big data strategies effectively and at low costs, let us first look at the relationship between the blockchain technology and big data.

While big data analytics is about deriving insights from large pools of data, blockchain is about enabling fully transparent P2P transactions and also protecting consumers’ data from exploitation by third parties. The blockchain technology involves an immutable public ledger where transactions can automatically be verified and information stored securely hence eliminating the need for intermediaries.

With this in mind, it is logical to conclude blockchain systems provide a rich data source for analytics while ensuring that the presented data is accurate and the users’ sensitive data is protected. According to VentureBeat, the application of the blockchain technology in big data and analytics makes it possible to turn insights and questions into assets. Apart from guaranteeing data security and accuracy, blockchain minimizes costs through the decentralization of data storage.

Small Businesses and Big Data Blockchain

But how does blockchain help small and medium enterprises with limited budgets take advantage of big data and analytics? The answer to this question lies in the decentralization of the process. Blockchain platforms powered by AI and Machine Learning are providing an avenue where businesses can access high-quality data and insights at a low cost and without having to buy complicated software or hire data scientists. Through these platforms, consumers and data providers can securely allow access to their data and in return get rewarded in cryptocurrencies.

Endor, a blockchain platform developed by MIT engineers, is a good example of how AI and blockchain are interacting to improve big data analytics. The platform seeks to become the “Google for predictive analysis” by enabling businesses to ask predictive questions in plain language and get automated accurate predictions. To make this happen, Endor has introduced a new Social Physics Technology, where machines and scientific data can integrate to predict social issues.

Social Physics is a scientific discipline that utilizes large data, data analysis and the mathematics of human psychology and biology to understand human behavior. Consumers who share their data with the Endor platform are paid in EDRs which can be converted into other cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies.

Another up-and-coming blockchain project is also bent on shaping the way small businesses process and utilize big data. Slated to be launched in the MCW 2018, Wibson will let users and consumers sell their data directly to advertisers; creating a system in which small businesses can pinpoint their audiences with surgical precision and target an already engaged userbase.

Instead of a costly “shotgun approach” to advertising, small businesses will be able to figure out the exact niches that need approaching and will be able to rely on their newly acquired user data to direct their marketing efforts.

As the blockchain technology continues to gain acceptance in mainstream institutions, its roles in big data analytics are bound to become more pronounced. This is therefore the best time for small and medium enterprises to start utilizing the available options and for investors to get in the game.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How to Use Blockchain and Big Data for Better Small Business Profits" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How to Use Blockchain and Big Data for Better Small Business Profits

How Small Businesses Can Utilize Big Data Blockchain for Analytics

In this age of the Internet of Things, the need for businesses to make data  driven decisions has become critical. The amount of consumer data available for analysis continues to grow exponentially, creating more opportunities for businesses to tap into it.

Effective use of big data means better decision making and hence business profitability and growth. According to a report by EY, the robust growth in big data is disrupting the way businesses compete and operate. Businesses that are able to derive value from their data are emerging as leaders in their industries while those that do not are finding themselves being pushed to obsolescence.

As Geoffrey Moore, the famous American organizational theorist, author and management consultant puts it, without big data, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out into the web like a deer on a freeway. But is every business utilizing big data today? The answer is no! While most Fortune 500 companies have a big data strategy in place, the majority of small and medium enterprises do not. This is because implementing an effective big data strategy requires specialized skills and expensive software the majority of these businesses cannot afford.

Introducing Big Data Blockchain

However, with the blockchain technology, businesses will now be able to leverage big data analytics without having to worry about cost or complexity. But before we discuss how blockchain is enabling businesses to implement big data strategies effectively and at low costs, let us first look at the relationship between the blockchain technology and big data.

While big data analytics is about deriving insights from large pools of data, blockchain is about enabling fully transparent P2P transactions and also protecting consumers’ data from exploitation by third parties. The blockchain technology involves an immutable public ledger where transactions can automatically be verified and information stored securely hence eliminating the need for intermediaries.

With this in mind, it is logical to conclude blockchain systems provide a rich data source for analytics while ensuring that the presented data is accurate and the users’ sensitive data is protected. According to VentureBeat, the application of the blockchain technology in big data and analytics makes it possible to turn insights and questions into assets. Apart from guaranteeing data security and accuracy, blockchain minimizes costs through the decentralization of data storage.

Small Businesses and Big Data Blockchain

But how does blockchain help small and medium enterprises with limited budgets take advantage of big data and analytics? The answer to this question lies in the decentralization of the process. Blockchain platforms powered by AI and Machine Learning are providing an avenue where businesses can access high-quality data and insights at a low cost and without having to buy complicated software or hire data scientists. Through these platforms, consumers and data providers can securely allow access to their data and in return get rewarded in cryptocurrencies.

Endor, a blockchain platform developed by MIT engineers, is a good example of how AI and blockchain are interacting to improve big data analytics. The platform seeks to become the “Google for predictive analysis” by enabling businesses to ask predictive questions in plain language and get automated accurate predictions. To make this happen, Endor has introduced a new Social Physics Technology, where machines and scientific data can integrate to predict social issues.

Social Physics is a scientific discipline that utilizes large data, data analysis and the mathematics of human psychology and biology to understand human behavior. Consumers who share their data with the Endor platform are paid in EDRs which can be converted into other cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies.

Another up-and-coming blockchain project is also bent on shaping the way small businesses process and utilize big data. Slated to be launched in the MCW 2018, Wibson will let users and consumers sell their data directly to advertisers; creating a system in which small businesses can pinpoint their audiences with surgical precision and target an already engaged userbase.

Instead of a costly “shotgun approach” to advertising, small businesses will be able to figure out the exact niches that need approaching and will be able to rely on their newly acquired user data to direct their marketing efforts.

As the blockchain technology continues to gain acceptance in mainstream institutions, its roles in big data analytics are bound to become more pronounced. This is therefore the best time for small and medium enterprises to start utilizing the available options and for investors to get in the game.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How to Use Blockchain and Big Data for Better Small Business Profits" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

30+ Free SMB Resources for Growth and Innovation

Sponsored Post

30+ Free SMB Resources for Growth and Innovation

Your business may be small now, but with the right technology, tools, and resources you can grow faster than ever. Here’s a collection of 30+ awesome, free resources to help and inspire your growing business.

Growth

  1. Growth Kit (worksheet). Take your growing business to the next level with this kit full of additional resources, special offers, and a 5-step guide to a better sales pitch.
  2. SBA.gov (website). With information on starting out, business laws, loans and grants, the Small Business Administration website provides a plethora of resources and help for small businesses.
  3. GrowthHackers Growth Studies (website). Case studies on hot, fast-growing companies to serve as inspiration. You can also join the community to ask and share your tips and stories.
  4. Startup Collections (website). A hodge-podge of resources to power your startup, with collections for everything from building a bot to WordPress to finding freelancers to learning to code.
  5. Score.org (website). Score provides guidance and assistance to startups and existing businesses. Their library houses templates for balance sheets, business plans and more.
  6. Top Technology Trends to Grow Your Business (interactive). The SMB Group shares the top three trends for small businesses to drive growth.
  7. Breaking Down Your Business (podcast). We like this podcast because it’s short and to the point, with each episode centered around “5 Things” you’ll learn (topics include, how to hired, the latest new business rules and how to build momentum), useful tools, and other small business advice.

Team/Culture/Leadership building

  1. Hyper Island Toolbox (website). A curated collection of methods and tools for innovation, team building, leadership, and more.
  2. Trailhead (e-learning). Did you know Trailhead is not just for learning about Salesforce solutions? Check out the trails on how to cultivate equality at workbeing a great manager, and even MBA essentials from the Drucker School of Management.
  3. 18 Tips on Maintaining a Dynamic Office Culture (interactive). Advice from small business founders, CEOs, and researchers on what small to medium businesses can do to keep up the energy at work as they grow.

Sales

  1. Expand Your Pipeline: 6 Small Business Tips for Growing Your Prospect Base (ebook). This resources shares the strategies, tools to define, segment and track new prospects.
  2. 100 Sales Tips for 2017 (ebook). Get ready to sell like a machine with these tips and insights from various sales leaders.
  3. Four Ways to Transform and Accelerate Your Sales Cycle (ebook). This Forbes Insights ebook shares four ways growing companies can accelerate sales in a highly competitive environment: the right team, a marketing mindset, automation and connected data.
  4. Sales Hacker U (e-learning). Enroll to get access to free courses to build up you and your team’s sales muscles. Some of the course topics include, “How to Triple Your Sales Qualified Meetings” and “Cold Email: How to Generate Over $1 Billion Using Cold Email.”
  5. Quotable (website). A collection of insights from sales leaders from big and small. Also be sure to check out their podcasts and subscribe to the biweekly newsletter for the latest content.

Marketing

  1. How To Grow Small Business With Marketing (ebook). A great overview of how to get started across email marketing, social media, lead management, SEO and SEM.
  2. B2B Marketer’s Lead Generation Field Guide (ebook). Learn how to find more leads and send better qualified leads to your sales team.
  3. Complete Guide to Social Media for B2B Marketers (ebook). Learn about what content resonates best with which social media channel and how to measure your efforts.
  4. How to Create a Killer Content Marketing Strategy (slideshare). Content is king, as they say! Go in-depth on how to build your content marketing strategy with tips and insights from content marketing experts. Plus, check out the free ebook!
  5. Marketing Cloudcast (podcast). Easy, commute-listening to learn about the key trends, technologies, and topics in marketing today. We talk real-world challenges and solutions to help your company — and career.

Service:

  1. 5 tips for choosing the right customer service technology (webinar). Learn from service experts on how to choose and set up the right service technology for your growing business.
  2. 4 Steps to Incredible Customer Service (interactive). Get the insights and actionable steps to build an incredible customer service program.
  3. The 6 Questions You Need to Ask When Scaling Your Customer Service (ebook). Ready to scale up your service? Make sure to cover these questions when planning your service roadmap.
  4. 20 Best Practices for Customer Service (interactive). Make sure you’re providing top-notch customer service with these best practices.
  5. 4 Ways to Improve Customer Service with a Conversational Approach (blog). Research shows that consumers and buyers will switch brands if they don’t see the effort of companies to personalize their communications to them—get the tips on how to service with conversation.

IT:

  1. 30 Apps for Small Businesses (ebook). A great collection of the best apps for small and growing businesses to connect all their business workflows together.
  2. SMB Apps on AppExchange (App store). A ready-to-go collection of apps for small businesses to connect all business workflows and processes.
  3. 15 Success Stories of Business Growth with Apps (ebook). Hear from 15 small business leaders who innovate by using apps to grow their businesses across the fields of transportation, healthcare, technology, and more.
  4. Quip (app). Collaborate with your team seamlessly. Create, share, and discuss your docs and spreadsheets with your team in real-time, without email and from anywhere.

Legal:

  1. Founder’s Workbench (website). Check out this web resource that offers free legal documents to help you get your business started.
  2. FindLaw (website). FindLaw has a section dedicated to providing legal help for small businesses to reference on a variety of legal topics.

Funding/Finance:

  1. How to Build a Pitch Deck (slideshare). Get started on your pitch deck with this wonderful slideshare guide.
  2. Perfecting Your Pitch Deck (article). After you’ve completed your deck, read this article to make sure you’ve optimized and perfected your deck.
  3. Top 5 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Applying for a Loan (blog). Take care to avoid these errors when going for a loan.
  4. List of 108 Small Business Grants (blog). Fundera has provided an awesome list of grants available to small business.
  5. Wave (app). If you’ve already set up shop, check out the Wave app (not to be confused with Salesforce Wave Analytics, which provides a suite of awesome analytics apps for sales, service, and marketing.) The Wave app provides free and easy accounting, invoicing and more.

Know more great resources for SMBs, startups and future founders can utilize? Share with us on social media with #SalesforceGROW.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "30+ Free SMB Resources for Growth and Innovation" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

30+ Free SMB Resources for Growth and Innovation

Sponsored Post

30+ Free SMB Resources for Growth and Innovation

Your business may be small now, but with the right technology, tools, and resources you can grow faster than ever. Here’s a collection of 30+ awesome, free resources to help and inspire your growing business.

Growth

  1. Growth Kit (worksheet). Take your growing business to the next level with this kit full of additional resources, special offers, and a 5-step guide to a better sales pitch.
  2. SBA.gov (website). With information on starting out, business laws, loans and grants, the Small Business Administration website provides a plethora of resources and help for small businesses.
  3. GrowthHackers Growth Studies (website). Case studies on hot, fast-growing companies to serve as inspiration. You can also join the community to ask and share your tips and stories.
  4. Startup Collections (website). A hodge-podge of resources to power your startup, with collections for everything from building a bot to WordPress to finding freelancers to learning to code.
  5. Score.org (website). Score provides guidance and assistance to startups and existing businesses. Their library houses templates for balance sheets, business plans and more.
  6. Top Technology Trends to Grow Your Business (interactive). The SMB Group shares the top three trends for small businesses to drive growth.
  7. Breaking Down Your Business (podcast). We like this podcast because it’s short and to the point, with each episode centered around “5 Things” you’ll learn (topics include, how to hired, the latest new business rules and how to build momentum), useful tools, and other small business advice.

Team/Culture/Leadership building

  1. Hyper Island Toolbox (website). A curated collection of methods and tools for innovation, team building, leadership, and more.
  2. Trailhead (e-learning). Did you know Trailhead is not just for learning about Salesforce solutions? Check out the trails on how to cultivate equality at workbeing a great manager, and even MBA essentials from the Drucker School of Management.
  3. 18 Tips on Maintaining a Dynamic Office Culture (interactive). Advice from small business founders, CEOs, and researchers on what small to medium businesses can do to keep up the energy at work as they grow.

Sales

  1. Expand Your Pipeline: 6 Small Business Tips for Growing Your Prospect Base (ebook). This resources shares the strategies, tools to define, segment and track new prospects.
  2. 100 Sales Tips for 2017 (ebook). Get ready to sell like a machine with these tips and insights from various sales leaders.
  3. Four Ways to Transform and Accelerate Your Sales Cycle (ebook). This Forbes Insights ebook shares four ways growing companies can accelerate sales in a highly competitive environment: the right team, a marketing mindset, automation and connected data.
  4. Sales Hacker U (e-learning). Enroll to get access to free courses to build up you and your team’s sales muscles. Some of the course topics include, “How to Triple Your Sales Qualified Meetings” and “Cold Email: How to Generate Over $1 Billion Using Cold Email.”
  5. Quotable (website). A collection of insights from sales leaders from big and small. Also be sure to check out their podcasts and subscribe to the biweekly newsletter for the latest content.

Marketing

  1. How To Grow Small Business With Marketing (ebook). A great overview of how to get started across email marketing, social media, lead management, SEO and SEM.
  2. B2B Marketer’s Lead Generation Field Guide (ebook). Learn how to find more leads and send better qualified leads to your sales team.
  3. Complete Guide to Social Media for B2B Marketers (ebook). Learn about what content resonates best with which social media channel and how to measure your efforts.
  4. How to Create a Killer Content Marketing Strategy (slideshare). Content is king, as they say! Go in-depth on how to build your content marketing strategy with tips and insights from content marketing experts. Plus, check out the free ebook!
  5. Marketing Cloudcast (podcast). Easy, commute-listening to learn about the key trends, technologies, and topics in marketing today. We talk real-world challenges and solutions to help your company — and career.

Service:

  1. 5 tips for choosing the right customer service technology (webinar). Learn from service experts on how to choose and set up the right service technology for your growing business.
  2. 4 Steps to Incredible Customer Service (interactive). Get the insights and actionable steps to build an incredible customer service program.
  3. The 6 Questions You Need to Ask When Scaling Your Customer Service (ebook). Ready to scale up your service? Make sure to cover these questions when planning your service roadmap.
  4. 20 Best Practices for Customer Service (interactive). Make sure you’re providing top-notch customer service with these best practices.
  5. 4 Ways to Improve Customer Service with a Conversational Approach (blog). Research shows that consumers and buyers will switch brands if they don’t see the effort of companies to personalize their communications to them—get the tips on how to service with conversation.

IT:

  1. 30 Apps for Small Businesses (ebook). A great collection of the best apps for small and growing businesses to connect all their business workflows together.
  2. SMB Apps on AppExchange (App store). A ready-to-go collection of apps for small businesses to connect all business workflows and processes.
  3. 15 Success Stories of Business Growth with Apps (ebook). Hear from 15 small business leaders who innovate by using apps to grow their businesses across the fields of transportation, healthcare, technology, and more.
  4. Quip (app). Collaborate with your team seamlessly. Create, share, and discuss your docs and spreadsheets with your team in real-time, without email and from anywhere.

Legal:

  1. Founder’s Workbench (website). Check out this web resource that offers free legal documents to help you get your business started.
  2. FindLaw (website). FindLaw has a section dedicated to providing legal help for small businesses to reference on a variety of legal topics.

Funding/Finance:

  1. How to Build a Pitch Deck (slideshare). Get started on your pitch deck with this wonderful slideshare guide.
  2. Perfecting Your Pitch Deck (article). After you’ve completed your deck, read this article to make sure you’ve optimized and perfected your deck.
  3. Top 5 Mistakes Small Businesses Make When Applying for a Loan (blog). Take care to avoid these errors when going for a loan.
  4. List of 108 Small Business Grants (blog). Fundera has provided an awesome list of grants available to small business.
  5. Wave (app). If you’ve already set up shop, check out the Wave app (not to be confused with Salesforce Wave Analytics, which provides a suite of awesome analytics apps for sales, service, and marketing.) The Wave app provides free and easy accounting, invoicing and more.

Know more great resources for SMBs, startups and future founders can utilize? Share with us on social media with #SalesforceGROW.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "30+ Free SMB Resources for Growth and Innovation" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

8 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from the Flu Pandemic

8 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from the Flu Pandemic

This year, the flu is more than just a nuisance: it’s killing unusually high numbers of people, many of whom had only mild symptoms at first. As of last week, more than 48 states were still reporting widespread cases of the flu, according to CBS News. Overall, this flu season may cost U.S. businesses as much as $21 billion, predicts consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

How Can You Protect Your Small Business from the Flu?

How can you keep your small business from suffering lost productivity and income? Here are some steps to follow.

  • Provide basic flu education. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers useful guidelines for preventing the spread of flu at work that you can share with your employees, such as the importance of frequent hand washing and the correct way to cover coughs and sneezes.  Distribute this information to employees and post it in common areas.
  • Clean and disinfect your office frequently. Challenger, Gray & Christmas suggests treating common areas and shared workspaces the way gyms treat exercise equipment: Clean them frequently throughout the day using disinfecting wipes. Doorknobs, copier buttons, point-of-sale devices, elevator buttons, stair railings and vending machine buttons are other areas to clean frequently. Finally, don’t forget about computer keyboards. Provide disinfecting wipes your employees can use to wipe down their keyboards regularly (make sure they follow the computer manufacturers’ recommendations for cleaning the device.)
  • Encourage employees to get the flu vaccine. Employees often skip getting vaccinated because they’re too busy and don’t want to take time to make a doctors’ appointment. Provide lists of local pharmacies that still have flu vaccines and encourage employees to stop by before or after work or during their lunch breaks (or even give them an hour off to do it). Talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of vaccinating employees at work. Some pharmacies may be willing to come to your location, especially if you join forces with other businesses nearby to offer the vaccinations to a larger number of employees.
  • Avoid group gatherings. The trend toward open-space offices could be one of the culprits in this year’s extreme flu season, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. When employees are seated right next to each other without even the barrier of cubicle walls, it’s much easier for viruses to spread. Try to avoid meetings that aren’t absolutely necessary, and keep even essential meetings brief.
  • Let employees work from home. Gathering in confined spaces (like offices) with poor air circulation promotes the spread of the flu virus. If you already have employees who can work remotely, encouraging them to do so is a smart way to help keep everyone healthy.
  • Send sick employees home. I hope you already offer your employees paid sick days, but even if you don’t normally do so, you may need to make some exceptions until this flu season ends. When you consider the potential cost to your business of an employee with flu coming to work and infecting customers and coworkers, the cost of paying for sick days won’t seem as onerous.
  • Provide supplies to encourage good health. Take a cue from schoolteachers and set out pump dispensers of hand sanitizer in common areas or places your employees frequently pass through. Provide plenty of tissues, as well as trashcans for disposing of them. Make sure your employee restrooms are well stocked with hand soap.
  • Make a business continuity plan. For small business with only a few employees, a bad case of the flu that spreads through the group can effectively put your company out of business for the duration of the illness. Create a plan for how you will keep your company up and running when key people are out sick, so you won’t let your customers down.

Keeping your employees healthy is a key step in maintaining a healthy business—not just during flu season, but all year long.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "8 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from the Flu Pandemic" was first published on Small Business Trends



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