Mastercard disrupts payment industry with innovation driven by Microsoft 365


Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Microsoft.

Disruption in the payment industry is all about simplification, expedience, and secure global connections. Mastercard is leading the charge to a “world beyond cash,” creating products and services such as the company’s new digital wallet, Masterpass, and tokenization solutions that improve the security of digital payments. These advances continue the company’s long history of innovation, rooted firmly in its culture and people. That’s why it’s so exciting that Mastercard uses Microsoft 365 to incentivize and engage its employees through highly secure, modern workplaces—where creative collaboration happens as quickly and seamlessly as any Mastercard payment.

Here’s what Ed McLaughlin, president of Mastercard Operations and Technology, has to say about the company’s adoption of Microsoft Cloud solutions:

“Mastercard connects people, financial institutions, merchants, and businesses across the globe. As one of the largest technology companies in the payments space, we give our employees the tools they need to deliver continual innovation to our customers and do it securely. We selected Microsoft 365 to support a modern workplace for our 11,900 employees, giving them the capability to collaborate on the fly and deliver their best work.”

I like to think of how we are amplifying the ingenuity and creative thinking that goes on every day at Mastercard through continuous improvements to the Office 365 platform. For example, we are weaving Microsoft machine learning and AI capabilities throughout Office 365 apps. One new feature, Insights in Excel, automatically highlights patterns, outliers, and trends in data, so employees see different perspectives on their business information to spark new ideas.

I’m looking forward to seeing the next iteration of Mastercard’s take on disruption in the global payment ecosystem!

—Ron Markezich

The post Mastercard disrupts payment industry with innovation driven by Microsoft 365 appeared first on Office Blogs.



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Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Could Threaten Your Small Business’s Computers

Fixes for Processor Flaws Meltdown and Spectre Not Happening Any Time Soon

Nearly every computer manufactured in the past 20 years is affected by Meltdown and Spectre, two momentous computer bugs. And the rollout of the patches is not going well, leading an expert in the field to say it will take years for full implementation.

Fixes for Processor Flaws a Long Way Off

One of those experts is Paul Kocher, who was part of the research team that discovered Spectre. He told Selena Larson of CNN Money, “If you look at how long it’s going to take for all of the relevant software on your PC, including the drivers and such are updated, you’re probably looking at many years before that process is done.”

Small businesses that rely on computers for their daily operations don’t have years. So the questions are what are these bugs, how vulnerable is your computer and are the patches working?

What are Meltdown and Spectre?

Explaining Meltdown and Spectre is a bit complicated. But basically, here is what takes place. When the processor on your computer performs speculative execution and caching, the data is supposed to be isolated and protected.

Speculative execution is used by computer chips to essentially predict the future enabling them to execute functions faster. It starts working on probabilities before you make a choice by tackling multiple logical branches.

Caching is used to speed up memory access by using a small amount of memory storage called CPU cache. Because it lives on the CPU and speculative executions are also stored in cache, issues with protected memory arise.

If this vulnerability is exploited, hackers can gain access to data which until the discovery of these bugs was deemed protected.

You can take a look at the video by RedHat to get another perspective on the bugs.

Affected Computers

The flaw in the processors goes back 20 years so most if not all brands will be affected. Intel did introduce a fix but later warned computer companies to wait before implementing the patches. Microsoft, AppleGoogle, and Firefox have issued fixes so you can go to their sites and get more information by clicking on the name of the respective company.

If you want a more detailed explanation, the Google Project Zero team has the information here.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Could Threaten Your Small Business’s Computers" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Could Threaten Your Small Business’s Computers

Fixes for Processor Flaws Meltdown and Spectre Not Happening Any Time Soon

Nearly every computer manufactured in the past 20 years is affected by Meltdown and Spectre, two momentous computer bugs. And the rollout of the patches is not going well, leading an expert in the field to say it will take years for full implementation.

Fixes for Processor Flaws a Long Way Off

One of those experts is Paul Kocher, who was part of the research team that discovered Spectre. He told Selena Larson of CNN Money, “If you look at how long it’s going to take for all of the relevant software on your PC, including the drivers and such are updated, you’re probably looking at many years before that process is done.”

Small businesses that rely on computers for their daily operations don’t have years. So the questions are what are these bugs, how vulnerable is your computer and are the patches working?

What are Meltdown and Spectre?

Explaining Meltdown and Spectre is a bit complicated. But basically, here is what takes place. When the processor on your computer performs speculative execution and caching, the data is supposed to be isolated and protected.

Speculative execution is used by computer chips to essentially predict the future enabling them to execute functions faster. It starts working on probabilities before you make a choice by tackling multiple logical branches.

Caching is used to speed up memory access by using a small amount of memory storage called CPU cache. Because it lives on the CPU and speculative executions are also stored in cache, issues with protected memory arise.

If this vulnerability is exploited, hackers can gain access to data which until the discovery of these bugs was deemed protected.

You can take a look at the video by RedHat to get another perspective on the bugs.

Affected Computers

The flaw in the processors goes back 20 years so most if not all brands will be affected. Intel did introduce a fix but later warned computer companies to wait before implementing the patches. Microsoft, AppleGoogle, and Firefox have issued fixes so you can go to their sites and get more information by clicking on the name of the respective company.

If you want a more detailed explanation, the Google Project Zero team has the information here.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Could Threaten Your Small Business’s Computers" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

3 Ways Distilled Biodiesel Can Give Truckstops a Competitive Advantage

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/// Guest post by contributor Jon ScharingsonRenewable Energy Group

Each year around this time, when temperatures are at their lowest, is when the number of questions I receive about biodiesel Cloud Point seem to hit their peak.

Cloud Point is the temperature at which wax crystals cause fuel to appear cloudy — and it’s commonly used to determine biodiesel’s cold performance properties.

When I get those questions — or when I hear concerns about a higher Cloud Point product — I use it as an opportunity to share with that person the advantages of biodiesel that has been purified using distillation. And that’s what I’ll do in this blog post, because truck stop operators should know about the significant benefits they and their customers can realize with distilled biodiesel, including:

  1. Superior cold weather performance after blending with petroleum diesel
  2. Lower carbon intensity (CI) and increased Cetane through feedstock flexibility
  3. Easier blending with petroleum diesel

Those are the top three benefits we’ll focus on in this article. If you want to take a deeper dive into the topic, including the science behind distillation, download our free white paper on distilled biodiesel.

Superior cold weather performance
Distilled biodiesel has advanced cold performance properties because distillation does a better job than other purification methods at removing certain minor components that can contribute to filter plugging issues when using biodiesel blends. Far too often people think Cloud Point is the only thing that matters when using biodiesel blends in cold conditions. But distilled biodiesel with a higher Cloud Point can outperform undistilled low cloud biodiesel in cold weather after blending with petroleum diesel.

Feedstock flexibility
The ability to create high-quality biodiesel from a variety of feedstocks — feedstock flexibility, as we call it at REG — has a couple of big advantages. One is the ability to make biodiesel from feedstocks such as animal fats, used cooking oil and inedible corn oil that can provide a lower carbon intensity  score, which is the measure of greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing and consuming a fuel. As an added bonus, biodiesel Cetane increases along with Cloud Point, so customers get a premium Cetane fuel when using higher Cloud Point distilled biodiesel, which improves combustion quality and reduces undesirable exhaust emissions.

Some of the feedstocks with favorable CI scores and higher Cetane can result in biodiesel with a higher Cloud Point. But with Cloud Point being less of an issue with a distilled product, users can get a fuel with lower carbon intensity to help them reach sustainability goals and increased Cetane to improve engine performance — all while performing well in cold weather. 

Feedstock flexibility also provides more nimbleness in the commodity markets. If a particular feedstock is experiencing price or supply fluctuations, we can turn to another feedstock and know that our end product will still meet customer specifications expectations.
Ease of blending
You may be sensing a theme related to the removal of minor components in the distillation process — and it has yet another benefit. It helps create the purest type of biodiesel. A purer biodiesel means there are fewer minor components. Fewer minor components means less effort is required to fully mix the biodiesel molecules and petroleum diesel molecules. 

Free white paper
If you’d like to learn more about distilled biodiesel, including the distillation process and how it differs from the traditional method of purifying biodiesel, read this white paper. 

 /// Read more guest posts on biodiesel posts here

Photos credit: Renewable Energy Group

{Guest Post} Guest post provided by NATSO Chairman's Circle member Jon Scharingson, Renewable Energy Group. REG is a leading North American advanced biofuels producer and developer of renewable chemicals. REG utilizes a nationwide production, distribution and logistics system as part of an integrated value chain model to focus on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels and converting diverse feedstocks into renewable chemicals. Learn more about Renewable Energy Group.

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO Inc. The posts should not be considered legal advice. Qualified professionals should be sought regarding advice and questions specific to your circumstances.



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Trump Addresses Small Business in State of the Union Address, But Leaders Say More is Needed

Trump Addresses Small Business in the State of the Union Address -- Dems Say He Comes Up Short

President Donald Trump noted small business and even invited two small business owners and one of their employees to sit with First Lady Melania Trump to watch the speech.

Trump delivered his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night and spent a large portion of that time focused on the economy. And while many small business leaders praised the administration’s efforts thus far, some also added more is needed.

Small Business in the State of the Union

Here’s what the President said during his State of the Union speech regarding small business:

Small business confidence is at an all-time high. And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.

Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.

Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.

Keplinger and her brother, Staub, are co-founders of Dayton, Ohio-based Staub Manufacturing Solutions. They say that the policies Trump has pushed forward in his first year in office have revived their business and even made good on a promise to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., to the benefit of their company, specifically.

Their company is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers and Keplinger and Staub met with Trump at the White House last year and in 2016. Trump also visited their facility in Dayton to hear what changes he could make to help small businesses.

“In welcoming NAM member manufacturers to the State of the Union, President Trump has once again demonstrated that manufacturing workers are at the center of his agenda and that manufacturers not only have a seat at the table in this administration, they also have the best seats in the House,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, in a prepared statement.

“Thanks to regulatory relief and tax reform, Staub Manufacturing Solutions is able to invest in its employees’ future with raises, bonuses, new hires and an expanded facility. Manufacturing workers are seeing the same good news every day at other companies across America. Small manufacturers are at the heart of the NAM and our industry. They are the strength of our economy and our country, and it is tremendously encouraging to have a President who is eager to recognize their contributions to the state of our union with the whole nation watching,” Timmons said.

Check out this video NAM produced ahead of the State of the Union to feature Staub:

In the time since the President visited the company, Staub Manufacturing has grown from 23 employees to 37. Prior to this, the company founders say they were struggling to make payroll.

Reaction from the business community was largely positive but called on Trump for more help for small business.

National Small Business Association President and CEO Todd McCracken said in his own prepared statement following the speech:

“In addition to highlighting the current high levels of small business optimism, President Trump correctly emphasized the importance of tax reform to business — something NSBA ultimately supported. However, NSBA continues to press for action on the pieces of the small business tax agenda left out of the most recent reform, the need to address tax complexity, parity among all forms of business, and  the looming U.S. debt.

“President Trump highlighted his plans to provide federal funds for infrastructure projects with an emphasis on innovation –something that ought to deeply involve the most innovative business sector in the U.S.: small business,” McCracken added. “Doing business with the federal government is an extremely convoluted process for small businesses, and any kind of broad spending initiative that seeks innovative approaches must make small-business involvement a pillar, and remove barriers to their participation.”

McCracken concluded by explaining: “President Trump emphasized the economic growth and low unemployment we’ve seen in recent months. Small business access to credit and capital, however, continues to lag — a fact that prevents many smaller companies from fully participating in the ongoing national economic growth. According to data from NSBA’s forthcoming Economic Report, more than one-quarter of small businesses still cannot obtain adequate financing.”

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council President and CEO Karen Kerrigan echoed those sentiments. She largely cheered the speech but also called on Trump to open access to more funding for small business.

In her own statement, Kerrigan said:

“President Trump delivered a powerful address about the state of our nation and how pro-growth policies have lifted the economy and small business optimism. Building on his policy successes by advancing the next layer of small business priorities will fuel the dynamism and energy that our economy needs to extend opportunity and the promise of the American dream to everyone.”

Kerrigan added: “Several issues that small business owners want to hear more about include efforts to lower health costs, and improve access to growth capital and global markets. These are key areas that will boost entrepreneurship and small business growth. We look forward to working with the Administration and his team on these specific issues, as well as all of our priorities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

To counter that sentiment, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the leading Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, said Trump came up short for small businesses. In her statement to the press, received by email, Velázquez said:

“President Trump had a chance tonight to reach across the aisle, but instead opted for partisan rhetoric and empty promises. By failing to offer meaningful solutions to issues like immigration and infrastructure reform, the President yet again turned his back on America’s millions of small businesses.”

She added: “Our economy and the small business sector continue to benefit from policy decisions made under President Obama and the small business confidence numbers cited in the President’s speech reflect that economic inertia.”

“In other areas, the President’s proposals tonight directly threaten our small business sector,” Velázquez said. “Immigration and entrepreneurship have long stood as twin pillars fundamental to American prosperity. Immigrants start businesses at rates double that of the broader population and, by demonizing immigrants, the President threatens to undermine what has long been a key ingredient to our economic success.”

She  added: “One thing is clear — America’s small businesses deserve a better deal. As lawmakers, it is our duty to cross party lines and develop lasting policies that ensure entrepreneurship remains the bedrock of the American dream. There was little substantive in tonight’s speech to suggest the President is ready to give our entrepreneurs the support they need to succeed.”

Did you watch or listen to Trump’s State of the Union?

You can watch the full address here:

What were your reactions to the speech? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Image: WhiteHouse.gov/YouTube

This article, "Trump Addresses Small Business in State of the Union Address, But Leaders Say More is Needed" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Trump Addresses Small Business in State of the Union Address, But Leaders Say More is Needed

Trump Addresses Small Business in the State of the Union Address -- Dems Say He Comes Up Short

President Donald Trump noted small business and even invited two small business owners and one of their employees to sit with First Lady Melania Trump to watch the speech.

Trump delivered his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night and spent a large portion of that time focused on the economy. And while many small business leaders praised the administration’s efforts thus far, some also added more is needed.

Small Business in the State of the Union

Here’s what the President said during his State of the Union speech regarding small business:

Small business confidence is at an all-time high. And just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.

Small businesses have also received a massive tax cut, and can now deduct 20 percent of their business income.

Here tonight are Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger of Staub Manufacturing — a small business in Ohio. They have just finished the best year in their 20-year history. Because of tax reform, they are handing out raises, hiring an additional 14 people, and expanding into the building next door.

Keplinger and her brother, Staub, are co-founders of Dayton, Ohio-based Staub Manufacturing Solutions. They say that the policies Trump has pushed forward in his first year in office have revived their business and even made good on a promise to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., to the benefit of their company, specifically.

Their company is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers and Keplinger and Staub met with Trump at the White House last year and in 2016. Trump also visited their facility in Dayton to hear what changes he could make to help small businesses.

“In welcoming NAM member manufacturers to the State of the Union, President Trump has once again demonstrated that manufacturing workers are at the center of his agenda and that manufacturers not only have a seat at the table in this administration, they also have the best seats in the House,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, in a prepared statement.

“Thanks to regulatory relief and tax reform, Staub Manufacturing Solutions is able to invest in its employees’ future with raises, bonuses, new hires and an expanded facility. Manufacturing workers are seeing the same good news every day at other companies across America. Small manufacturers are at the heart of the NAM and our industry. They are the strength of our economy and our country, and it is tremendously encouraging to have a President who is eager to recognize their contributions to the state of our union with the whole nation watching,” Timmons said.

Check out this video NAM produced ahead of the State of the Union to feature Staub:

In the time since the President visited the company, Staub Manufacturing has grown from 23 employees to 37. Prior to this, the company founders say they were struggling to make payroll.

Reaction from the business community was largely positive but called on Trump for more help for small business.

National Small Business Association President and CEO Todd McCracken said in his own prepared statement following the speech:

“In addition to highlighting the current high levels of small business optimism, President Trump correctly emphasized the importance of tax reform to business — something NSBA ultimately supported. However, NSBA continues to press for action on the pieces of the small business tax agenda left out of the most recent reform, the need to address tax complexity, parity among all forms of business, and  the looming U.S. debt.

“President Trump highlighted his plans to provide federal funds for infrastructure projects with an emphasis on innovation –something that ought to deeply involve the most innovative business sector in the U.S.: small business,” McCracken added. “Doing business with the federal government is an extremely convoluted process for small businesses, and any kind of broad spending initiative that seeks innovative approaches must make small-business involvement a pillar, and remove barriers to their participation.”

McCracken concluded by explaining: “President Trump emphasized the economic growth and low unemployment we’ve seen in recent months. Small business access to credit and capital, however, continues to lag — a fact that prevents many smaller companies from fully participating in the ongoing national economic growth. According to data from NSBA’s forthcoming Economic Report, more than one-quarter of small businesses still cannot obtain adequate financing.”

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council President and CEO Karen Kerrigan echoed those sentiments. She largely cheered the speech but also called on Trump to open access to more funding for small business.

In her own statement, Kerrigan said:

“President Trump delivered a powerful address about the state of our nation and how pro-growth policies have lifted the economy and small business optimism. Building on his policy successes by advancing the next layer of small business priorities will fuel the dynamism and energy that our economy needs to extend opportunity and the promise of the American dream to everyone.”

Kerrigan added: “Several issues that small business owners want to hear more about include efforts to lower health costs, and improve access to growth capital and global markets. These are key areas that will boost entrepreneurship and small business growth. We look forward to working with the Administration and his team on these specific issues, as well as all of our priorities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

To counter that sentiment, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), the leading Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, said Trump came up short for small businesses. In her statement to the press, received by email, Velázquez said:

“President Trump had a chance tonight to reach across the aisle, but instead opted for partisan rhetoric and empty promises. By failing to offer meaningful solutions to issues like immigration and infrastructure reform, the President yet again turned his back on America’s millions of small businesses.”

She added: “Our economy and the small business sector continue to benefit from policy decisions made under President Obama and the small business confidence numbers cited in the President’s speech reflect that economic inertia.”

“In other areas, the President’s proposals tonight directly threaten our small business sector,” Velázquez said. “Immigration and entrepreneurship have long stood as twin pillars fundamental to American prosperity. Immigrants start businesses at rates double that of the broader population and, by demonizing immigrants, the President threatens to undermine what has long been a key ingredient to our economic success.”

She  added: “One thing is clear — America’s small businesses deserve a better deal. As lawmakers, it is our duty to cross party lines and develop lasting policies that ensure entrepreneurship remains the bedrock of the American dream. There was little substantive in tonight’s speech to suggest the President is ready to give our entrepreneurs the support they need to succeed.”

Did you watch or listen to Trump’s State of the Union?

You can watch the full address here:

What were your reactions to the speech? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Image: WhiteHouse.gov/YouTube

This article, "Trump Addresses Small Business in State of the Union Address, But Leaders Say More is Needed" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How Michelle Weinstein Built a Business as the Pitch Queen

Sales Pitch Tips from Michelle Weinstein, The Pitch Queen

As a small business owner, you have to constantly be selling. It’s not just about selling products to customers, either. You have to sell investors on your company, sell new employees on jobs with your business and sell ideas to clients.

Michelle Weinstein, a.k.a. The Pitch Queen, is well aware of the importance of selling. She recently spoke with me as part of Small Business Trends’ exclusive Smart Hustle Report, where she discussed her journey to entrepreneurship and the important lessons she’s learned along the way.

“In the world of being an entrepreneur and working for yourself and starting your own company, you are always pitching yourself,” she said.

A former financial analyst, fitness coach and meal planning service provider, Weinstein has built up her sales experience in a variety of industries. She’s pitched to major outlets like Costco and the Vitamin Shoppe and appeared on Shark Tank.

Now, she shares that knowledge as a strategist and online using platforms like Facebook Live and her podcast, Success Unfiltered. She mainly focuses on high value selling. But she also offers some valuable insights for any business owner that could use some sales help.

Check out some of the top tips from the discussion below. You can listen to the full episode here for even more insights.

Sales Pitch Tips

Take Lessons from Every Situation

You don’t have to be pitching a huge investor to learn valuable sales lessons. Weinstein actually says she learned some of her most valuable lessons by working as a cocktail waitress when she was 18.

She explains, “All of these things relate to everything I do today and what I teach today. It is about building rapport and relationships.”

So whether you’re crafting a major pitch or just asking for a raise at your day job, you can take it as an opportunity to craft your pitching skills.

Listen for Pain Points

But when it comes to pitching, it’s not actually all about what you have to say. It’s more important to listen to the person you’re selling to. Specifically, Weinstein says, you should listen for complaints or pain points so you can find ways to frame your product or service as a solution.

Weinstein says, “The number one thing for you to work on when it comes to pitching whatever it is, especially if it’s a high ticket offer, that you’re doing about 20 percent of the talking and 80 percent of the listening.”

Actually Ask for What You Want

From there, you have to learn how to actually ask for what you want. According to Weinstein, too many entrepreneurs craft great pitches that leave out a specific call to action.

Weinstein says, “I would say a lot of us start businesses and have these great programs and then you’re on the phone with a client or you’re pitching to raise money and you never even ask for the money. You don’t ask for the sale.”

Image: Michelle Weinstein

This article, "How Michelle Weinstein Built a Business as the Pitch Queen" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

How Michelle Weinstein Built a Business as the Pitch Queen

Sales Pitch Tips from Michelle Weinstein, The Pitch Queen

As a small business owner, you have to constantly be selling. It’s not just about selling products to customers, either. You have to sell investors on your company, sell new employees on jobs with your business and sell ideas to clients.

Michelle Weinstein, a.k.a. The Pitch Queen, is well aware of the importance of selling. She recently spoke with me as part of Small Business Trends’ exclusive Smart Hustle Report, where she discussed her journey to entrepreneurship and the important lessons she’s learned along the way.

“In the world of being an entrepreneur and working for yourself and starting your own company, you are always pitching yourself,” she said.

A former financial analyst, fitness coach and meal planning service provider, Weinstein has built up her sales experience in a variety of industries. She’s pitched to major outlets like Costco and the Vitamin Shoppe and appeared on Shark Tank.

Now, she shares that knowledge as a strategist and online using platforms like Facebook Live and her podcast, Success Unfiltered. She mainly focuses on high value selling. But she also offers some valuable insights for any business owner that could use some sales help.

Check out some of the top tips from the discussion below. You can listen to the full episode here for even more insights.

Sales Pitch Tips

Take Lessons from Every Situation

You don’t have to be pitching a huge investor to learn valuable sales lessons. Weinstein actually says she learned some of her most valuable lessons by working as a cocktail waitress when she was 18.

She explains, “All of these things relate to everything I do today and what I teach today. It is about building rapport and relationships.”

So whether you’re crafting a major pitch or just asking for a raise at your day job, you can take it as an opportunity to craft your pitching skills.

Listen for Pain Points

But when it comes to pitching, it’s not actually all about what you have to say. It’s more important to listen to the person you’re selling to. Specifically, Weinstein says, you should listen for complaints or pain points so you can find ways to frame your product or service as a solution.

Weinstein says, “The number one thing for you to work on when it comes to pitching whatever it is, especially if it’s a high ticket offer, that you’re doing about 20 percent of the talking and 80 percent of the listening.”

Actually Ask for What You Want

From there, you have to learn how to actually ask for what you want. According to Weinstein, too many entrepreneurs craft great pitches that leave out a specific call to action.

Weinstein says, “I would say a lot of us start businesses and have these great programs and then you’re on the phone with a client or you’re pitching to raise money and you never even ask for the money. You don’t ask for the sale.”

Image: Michelle Weinstein

This article, "How Michelle Weinstein Built a Business as the Pitch Queen" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting, But Should Your Small Business Get Into the Act?

Most Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting for Business

Morning Consult and its survey of 336,370 Americans has revealed the most polarizing brands in the country aren’t exactly hurting for business. The top 10 brands are directly or indirectly related to the President, with Trump Hotels taking the number one spot.

This is the inaugural survey of Morning Consult’s Most Polarizing Brands designed to rank brands, companies and organization deemed the most divisive between Republicans and Democrats. The top 30 brands were selected from a pool of 1,900 organizations in a survey carried out online from October 3, 2017, to January 2, 2018, from a national sample of U.S. adults.

Most Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting for Business

While becoming a polarizing brand can have negative consequences, it doesn’t seem to be affecting these large businesses. The same probably can’t be said for small businesses, especially if they are located in an area where the demographic is not supporting their political views.

Here are some of the highlights from the survey.

The most unfavorable brands for Democrats included Trump Hotels at 55 percent, Fox News at 43 percent, and Diet Pepsi at 39 percent. Republicans also listed media outlets not particularly enjoyed by the President in the top 10, but the NFL came in first at 49 percent followed by CNN with 48 percent. Interestingly Republicans and Democrats share a dislike of one particular brand. Diet Pepsi also came in third with Republicans at 39 percent.

Independents had a different take on what was really unfavorable because Diet Pepsi was tops at 45 percent, Diet Mountain Dew was second at 41 percent and Red Bull was third at 35 percent.

The split among respondents was 32 percent Democrat, 34 percent Republican, and 34 percent independent.

Most Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting for Business

For Republicans, media companies dominated the top 30 taking all the spots from number two all the way to number 15, as well as others down the line. The division was down Democratic and Republican lines, with Trump supporters choosing the same likes and dislikes as the President. And for Democrats, brands associated with Trump were disliked.

In sports, the NBA and the NFL were preferred by Democrats, while NASCAR and the NHL were favored by Republicans. But when it comes time to order pizza to watch the big game, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, and Pizza Hut, were favored by Republicans over Democrats by a wide margin.

What about big box stores? Walmart was the choice for Republicans while Democrats preferred Target.

Small business owners are often cautioned against becoming political in marketing or other communications. Although there are obviously exceptions.

If you are marketing political T-shirts favoring a particular point of view or an online media channel with a distinct political viewpoint, becoming political in your marketing might make perfect sense.

It should also be remembered that not all the brands in question took a public political stand and most have strong enough business models to survive shifting sentiments. So small business owners must decide before being branded political whether the designation will help in the long run.

Images: Morning Consult

This article, "Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting, But Should Your Small Business Get Into the Act?" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting, But Should Your Small Business Get Into the Act?

Most Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting for Business

Morning Consult and its survey of 336,370 Americans has revealed the most polarizing brands in the country aren’t exactly hurting for business. The top 10 brands are directly or indirectly related to the President, with Trump Hotels taking the number one spot.

This is the inaugural survey of Morning Consult’s Most Polarizing Brands designed to rank brands, companies and organization deemed the most divisive between Republicans and Democrats. The top 30 brands were selected from a pool of 1,900 organizations in a survey carried out online from October 3, 2017, to January 2, 2018, from a national sample of U.S. adults.

Most Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting for Business

While becoming a polarizing brand can have negative consequences, it doesn’t seem to be affecting these large businesses. The same probably can’t be said for small businesses, especially if they are located in an area where the demographic is not supporting their political views.

Here are some of the highlights from the survey.

The most unfavorable brands for Democrats included Trump Hotels at 55 percent, Fox News at 43 percent, and Diet Pepsi at 39 percent. Republicans also listed media outlets not particularly enjoyed by the President in the top 10, but the NFL came in first at 49 percent followed by CNN with 48 percent. Interestingly Republicans and Democrats share a dislike of one particular brand. Diet Pepsi also came in third with Republicans at 39 percent.

Independents had a different take on what was really unfavorable because Diet Pepsi was tops at 45 percent, Diet Mountain Dew was second at 41 percent and Red Bull was third at 35 percent.

The split among respondents was 32 percent Democrat, 34 percent Republican, and 34 percent independent.

Most Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting for Business

For Republicans, media companies dominated the top 30 taking all the spots from number two all the way to number 15, as well as others down the line. The division was down Democratic and Republican lines, with Trump supporters choosing the same likes and dislikes as the President. And for Democrats, brands associated with Trump were disliked.

In sports, the NBA and the NFL were preferred by Democrats, while NASCAR and the NHL were favored by Republicans. But when it comes time to order pizza to watch the big game, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, and Pizza Hut, were favored by Republicans over Democrats by a wide margin.

What about big box stores? Walmart was the choice for Republicans while Democrats preferred Target.

Obviously, small business owners are often cautioned against becoming political in marketing or communication. All though there are obviously exceptions.

If you are marketing political T-shirts favoring a particular point of view or an online media channel with a distinct political viewpoint, becoming political in your marketing might make perfect sense.

It should also be remembered that not all the brands in question took a public political stand and most have strong enough business models to survive shifting sentiments. So small business owners must decide before being branded political whether the designation will help in the long run.

Images: Morning Consult

This article, "Polarizing Brands Not Exactly Hurting, But Should Your Small Business Get Into the Act?" was first published on Small Business Trends



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President Calls on Congress to Produce $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill in State of the Union

President Donald Trump called on Congress to produce a bipartisan $1.5 trillion bill for new infrastructure investment during his first State of the Union address last night, saying it would provide a safe, fast, reliable and modern infrastructure that the U.S. economy needs.

The President spoke at a high level about his vision for an infrastructure plan, but gave no insight into how such a massive bill would be paid for.

President Trump reiterated his clear intent to shift responsibility for financing infrastructure projects from the federal government to the states and private sector, stating that every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and that where appropriate the U.S. should tap private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.

The President also called for streamlining the permitting and approval process to no more than two years, calling it a “disgrace” that it can now take “10 years to get a minor permit approval for the building of a simple road.”

NATSO thinks it is imperative that the federal government maintain its strong national role in infrastructure development, and not relinquish its responsibility to the states or the private sector.

NATSO has long supported increasing the nation’s motor fuels taxes to fund infrastructure and has urged the Administration to seek sustainable solutions to funding infrastructure that don’t harm American businesses and highway users.

Immediately following the State of the Union, the White House emailed a fact sheet to media that confirmed some of the information contained in a document leaked earlier this month and widely speculated to the funding principles for the Administration’s infrastructure plan but which the Administration refused to verify.

That leaked document called for half of all federal funding to come in the form of a grant program that would primarily benefit states that develop their own revenue-raising mechanisms in lieu of a coherent and unified national infrastructure strategy. Another 25 percent would go toward rural infrastructure, and 10 percent would put spent on “transformative” projects. Additionally, 7 percent would bolster existing federal credit programs and 5 percent would be used to establish a federal capital financing fund.

That document also specifically called for allowing states more flexibility to toll on interstates and would give states the ability to redirect those tolling revenues for transportation projects other than for the roads on which they were collected. It further called for providing states with the ability to commercialize interstate rest areas.

The President gave no indication during his speech as to when the Administration would put forth official guidelines for such a massive infrastructure proposal. However, it has been widely speculated that they could come out within the next two weeks.

Responding to the President’s State of the Union address, the Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates said the President touts a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package in vague and grandiose terms and fails to address the most significant aspect of the plan – where funding will come from.

“If Trump relies on the private sector and forcing states and localities to come up with their own funding, Trump’s infrastructure plan could result in a patchwork of tolls that span coast to coast. This approach is not innovative or good policy - it is simply a nationwide call for #TrumpTolls,” ATFI said. “There is a real opportunity for a long-term solution to our transportation infrastructure needs, but it shouldn’t include tolling our interstates.”

ATFI said that an infrastructure plan relying on Trump Tolls to pay for roads is a complete reversal of President Trump’s commitment to putting America First. “We urge President Trump not to choose Wall Street over Main Street. Tolls would take money from hardworking Americans and give huge profits to toll road investors.”

 



via Business Feeds

Video Trends of 2018 Your Business Needs to Employ

Video marketing has gained massive steam over the last couple of years and 2018 is the year you should be using it to drive your leads and sales. It is the best way to announce business changes, business events, contests, and product releases. It can be overwhelming when you don’t know where to start or how to begin.

Today we look at some trends and how they can best help your business in the coming year.

Videographer

Make It Easy – Hire A Videographer

If you have never done a video before, it can do you a lot of good to hire someone who knows how to produce a video.…



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Zoho Transactions Approval Aims to Reduce Mistakes in Purchase Orders

Zoho Transactions Approval Workflow Aims to Reduce Mistakes in Purchase Orders

A new feature called Transactions Approval from Zoho will lower or get rid of mistakes made during sales and purchase transactions within the Zoho Finance apps, the company says.

With this new feature, you and your employees will be able to verify and approve transactions within Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice and Zoho Inventory apps. Having an approval workflow in place will translate into fewer mistakes and more efficient operations.

For small business owners who count on different employees to carry out more than one task, the chances of making mistakes become that much higher. With a manual process, sales and purchase transactions can have conflicting information on them. And often times the mistakes are not recognized until they are further down the pipeline.

By the time the discrepancy has been identified, you might’ve already sent invoices to your customers. This will not only result in more work for your company when trying to repair the damage, but it could also negatively affect the relationships you have with your customers.

Enabling Zoho Transactions Approval Features on the Apps

When you enable the Transactions Approval on the Zoho apps, every transaction can be set up to require approval before it is sent out to customers, suppliers or vendors. Individuals who have been designated to make the approval will be able to verify the transactions and make any corrections if they are needed before they are approved.

Catching mistakes early in the process delivers a more accurate inventory, accounts receivable and overall delivery of products and services to customers and business partners.

Zoho Transactions Approval Workflow Aims to Reduce Mistakes in Purchase Orders

Once the feature has been enabled and a transaction is sent for approval an in-app notification is sent to the designated individual. This means you don’t have to make phone calls, send emails or physically locate the contact person to get a signature. They can sign into the app, verify the transaction and make the approval.

Approval Workflow for Your Business

Having an approval workflow in place should improve the productivity of your company and increase the efficiency of the processes you have in place. While in the past this meant physically tracking down the necessary individuals for their signatures, digital technology has eliminated the different pain points associated with the procedure.

If you implement an automated approval system for your business, it can move projects along faster, reduce late payments, ensure deliveries and improve customer service. The Transactions Approval from Zoho does this for your books, invoices and inventory.

If you want to start using Transactions Approval, you can go to the help documentation page of Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice, and Zoho Inventory to get started.

Images: Zoho

This article, "Zoho Transactions Approval Aims to Reduce Mistakes in Purchase Orders" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Zoho Transactions Approval Aims to Reduce Mistakes in Purchase Orders

Zoho Transactions Approval Workflow Aims to Reduce Mistakes in Purchase Orders

A new feature called Transactions Approval from Zoho will lower or get rid of mistakes made during sales and purchase transactions within the Zoho Finance apps, the company says.

With this new feature, you and your employees will be able to verify and approve transactions within Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice and Zoho Inventory apps. Having an approval workflow in place will translate into fewer mistakes and more efficient operations.

For small business owners who count on different employees to carry out more than one task, the chances of making mistakes become that much higher. With a manual process, sales and purchase transactions can have conflicting information on them. And often times the mistakes are not recognized until they are further down the pipeline.

By the time the discrepancy has been identified, you might’ve already sent invoices to your customers. This will not only result in more work for your company when trying to repair the damage, but it could also negatively affect the relationships you have with your customers.

Enabling Zoho Transactions Approval Features on the Apps

When you enable the Transactions Approval on the Zoho apps, every transaction can be set up to require approval before it is sent out to customers, suppliers or vendors. Individuals who have been designated to make the approval will be able to verify the transactions and make any corrections if they are needed before they are approved.

Catching mistakes early in the process delivers a more accurate inventory, accounts receivable and overall delivery of products and services to customers and business partners.

Zoho Transactions Approval Workflow Aims to Reduce Mistakes in Purchase Orders

Once the feature has been enabled and a transaction is sent for approval an in-app notification is sent to the designated individual. This means you don’t have to make phone calls, send emails or physically locate the contact person to get a signature. They can sign into the app, verify the transaction and make the approval.

Approval Workflow for Your Business

Having an approval workflow in place should improve the productivity of your company and increase the efficiency of the processes you have in place. While in the past this meant physically tracking down the necessary individuals for their signatures, digital technology has eliminated the different pain points associated with the procedure.

If you implement an automated approval system for your business, it can move projects along faster, reduce late payments, ensure deliveries and improve customer service. The Transactions Approval from Zoho does this for your books, invoices and inventory.

If you want to start using Transactions Approval, you can go to the help documentation page of Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice, and Zoho Inventory to get started.

Images: Zoho

This article, "Zoho Transactions Approval Aims to Reduce Mistakes in Purchase Orders" was first published on Small Business Trends



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