5 Quick Tips About Welding Helmets

One can never be too safe, especially when your work demands handling dangerous equipment. Professional welders deal in such hazardous environment that they can’t afford to overlook their safety protocol and that includes their attire and gears.

Welder

The welders not only have to protect themselves from the heat and sparks but also the UV radiation and infrared light that can affect your eyes and even cause permanent blindness. Thus using a helmet has become indispensable along with your gloves. The helmet should cover your eyes, face as well as neck should be part of your everyday gear.

But wearing a helmet need not be cumbersome any more.…



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NATSO Analysis: Tobacco Policy Update

Two recent developments underscore the need for all NATSO members that sell tobacco products to ensure that they are not selling tobacco products -- including e-cigarettes and vaping products -- to minors: A recent "enforcement blitz" specifically targeting retailers of JUUL products; and the Food and Drug Administration's victory in a lawsuit allowing FDA to fine retailers for multiple violations as a result of a single inspection (which NATSO had long argued is impermissible under federal law). Together these developments underscore the need for NATSO members to have strong employee training programs in place to ensure they are complying with federal law.

Enforcement Blitz

On April 6, FDA began a "large-scale, undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes -- specifically JUUL products -- to minors at both brick-and-mortar and online retailers. This "blitz" involves FDA sponsored compliance checks utilizing underage minors to attempt to purchase e-cigarettes at retail stores. Since the beginning of March, the FDA has issued more than 40 warning letters to retailers for illegally selling JUUL products to youth. FDA has also demanded that Juul Labs turn over company documents about the marketing and research behind its products, including whether JUUL is intentionally appealing to the youth market despite its statements to the contrary. JUUL products are apparently popular especially because they do not look like traditional e-cigarette and vaping products and thus can be hidden from parents and authorities. The company reportedly increased its revenue by as much as 700 percent in 2017.

NATSO members are reminded that the FDA treats e-cigarettes and vaping products as though they are traditional cigarettes, and thus all retailers are legally required to check for identification for any purchases from customers under the age of 30, and are not permitted to sell such products to individuals under the age of 18.

Litigation Regarding Multiple-Penalties

In March 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the FDA's practice of issuing multiple tobacco retailer violations that result from a single consumer transaction. NATSO and others representing tobacco retailers had long argued that the federal Tobacco Control Act only permitted FDA to issue a single violation resulting from a single enforcement inspection. FDA had long argued otherwise, and the court agreed with FDA. This significantly raises the specter of multiple violations. For example, federal law both requires tobacco retailers to check I.D.'s for all tobacco purchasers under the age of 30, and prohibits tobacco retailers from selling tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18. If a cashier fails to check I.D. and sells a tobacco product (including vaping products) to individuals under age 18, this would inherently count as two violations (and thus higher penalties).

What Can You Do?

It is essential that all tobacco retailers have strong employee training programs in place. First, employee training programs obviously improve line employees' ability to comply with federal law and avoid unlawful sales. Second, federal law provides for less severe penalties when retailers have in place an adequate training program for employees. These lower penalties include a Warning Letter for the first violation (rather than a fine) and lower fines for subsequent violations. than would be levied if the retailer did not have an adequate training program in place.

The FDA has released a guidance document on tobacco retailer training programs, which is available here. Additionally, NATSO has prepared this document for members only outlining the various issues that FDA inspections will cover, as well as how retailers should respond if they are accused of violating the law.

NATSO has partnered with We Card, a non-profit organization that offers resources to train-and-educate store associates to identify and prevent age-restricted product sales to minors. Get We Card in-store signage, online training, mystery shopping services, or learn more about FDA requirements of retailers, state law summaries, and more at www.wecard.org.



via Business Feeds

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO-Friendly

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO Friendly

Getting your website ranked higher through search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty important, but how does it really work? So many of us focus on “beating the algorithm” to get the coveted high rankings, even though they change all the time. What does it take to get to the top and stay there? We asked 16 entrepreneurs for their best tips on working SEO to their advantage. This is what they had to say.

“Trying to take advantage of SEO can be a challenge, thanks in large part to constantly changing algorithms that emphasize different aspects of your content. Given these frequent changes, how can you create SEO-friendly content that lasts?”

How to Be SEO Friendly

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Create Industry-Leading Useful Content That Fills a Need

“Don’t just create content to create content. Create content that solves a problem, explains a solution or answers your customer’s questions. Invest in quality research and design to present that content to your customers in a way that isn’t boring, is easy to navigate and is better than anything else on the topic.” ~ Shawn SchulzeNames.org

2. Write to Connect With Your Customers, Not Search Engines

“The biggest mistake we see comes in writing for search engines at the expense of the customer. Remember that while the copy gets them to the front door, if they hate what they find when they walk in, they’ll leave. Since Google takes customer experience into account when ranking, a site that continually turns off visitors won’t rank well long term, even if the content is perfectly optimized.” ~ Jeff JahnDynamiX

3. Ensure Your Content is Mobile Friendly

“To keep your content SEO friendly, ensure your website is mobile responsive. Compress heavy image files, remove flash videos or animations, disable intrusive pop-ups and make sure all titles, tags and descriptions are optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, all content should provide value, but also be easy to consume.” ~ Kristin MarquetCreative Development Agency, LLC

4. Don’t Just Focus on Keywords

“Keywords are obviously an important part of the algorithms, but loading your content up with keywords is the opposite of what you want to do. Focus on fulfilling a need for your customers and answering their questions via your content. While the content can and should be centered around keywords, the quality of the content is what matters and will help it stand the test of time.” ~ Kristy KnichelKnichel Logistics

5. Go Above and Beyond

“What can you do to blow away all of the other search results for your target keywords? If it’s a list, create a custom list plugin with as much additional information about the topic that you can find. If it’s a difficult subject, create videos and mix them into the content. If it’s simple, perhaps the topic isn’t broad enough to create amazing content for. Go above and beyond and see how Google will reward you.” ~ Ajay PaghdalOutreachMama

6. Just Create Amazing Content

“The days of gaming search engines with little hacks and tricks are over. Google is far too advanced for that now. So what’s the secret to modern SEO? Just create amazing content that your audience is looking for. Simple as that. Sure you have to follow basic fundamentals like a responsive website, fast page load times, etc. But don’t get hung up on tiny details or trying to game the system.” ~ Jeff CayleyWorldwide Cyclery

7. Don’t Forget to Link

“Adding internal links not only shows your authority in a particular sector, but it can also lead to more posts that offer additional value. A string of value-added posts can make it easier for search engines to interpret your primary themes. External links to evidence-based, reputable source material show that you are a subject matter expert that is able to support your information with other outside facts and statistics. Be sure not to go overboard with the linking. Only link to internal or external sources that make sense. They should add something to what you are offering. Excessive linking can cause you to rank lower in searches.” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

8. Keep Creating Relevant and Fresh Content

“One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is creating fresh content on a regular basis. This is even more important than keywords or any advanced SEO tactics. Google favors sites that consistently publish new content that addresses readers’ needs. Don’t neglect other factors such as keywords and backlinks but consistency is the most important factor.” ~ Shawn PoratScorely

9. Optimize Your Thinking

You search for content every day. Next time take notice of what you’re typing into the search box. You’re either typing in words, phrases or questions. Now apply that approach to your content. Keywords are important, but the way you phrase your title and h2 tags should encompass the question, then the phrase, then finally keywords that you’re trying to hit — in that order.” ~ Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

10. Create Evergreen Content

“Providing SEO content is an investment that will render results three to six months down the line. By making it evergreen, you’re ensuring that your content will always be relevant. It’s information that can pop up in search engine results for years to come as long as the product you’re selling is still in demand.” ~ Patrick BarnhillSpecialist ID, Inc.

11. Bring Value to Every Piece of Content

“It cannot be said enough, don’t focus on SEO tricks, focus on value. The more you generate value for people, the more likely you will be to rank for the content. Yes, you need to have the right kind of distribution for the content and an effective strategy to engage any potentially relevant and influential blogs that may want to reference you. Otherwise, you must focus on value.” ~ Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

12. Keep Audiences Engaged Over Time

“Extensive research is often the key to creating content that will keep your target audience interested and entertained. Creating content takes more than just writing ability. It also requires a level of expertise in your subject matter and knowledge of industry trends. It is unlikely that any singular piece of content will be a permanent resource for your audience, but regularly churning out insightful, consistent and up to date pieces will keep audiences engaged over time.” ~ Zohar Steinbergtoken payments

13. Enhance Social Media Management

“Sites like Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin rank very high in search engines. Maintaining and updating your businesses’ social media profiles is an easy way to piggyback off the giants who have mastered the art of SEO.” ~ Cassie PetreyCrowd Surf

14. Focus on Retention

“With SEO algorithms shifting constantly, it can be a Sisyphean task trying to update every piece of content to each change. What I focus on is providing excellent SEO when content is first published in order to drive up exposure and then attempt to retain as much of that exposure as possible through engagement strategies. This ensures that my content doesn’t have to be consistently SEO friendly to last.” ~ Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

15. Don’t Overthink the Technical Side

“Much like how truly SEO-friendly content is all about adding value (not tricking the algorithm), your approach to technical optimizations should prioritize fastidious organization. Is it easy for visitors to find any and all content? Are your pages, written content and media files as simply organized and as clearly labeled as possible? Optimize to the readers, not search bots.” ~ Ryan WilsonFiveFifty

16. Allow Length to be Your Advantage

“Everyone repeats the same thing: “Forget about ‘The Algorithm.’ Just write for your audience.” However, “The Algorithm” adds more weight to longer content than your audience does. Plus, “The Algorithm” loves to see synonyms of your keyword. Longer content will automatically have more keyword synonyms. Longer content (with additional keyword synonyms) will appease “The Algorithm” and your audience.” ~ Christopher TedderClinger Holsters

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO-Friendly" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO-Friendly

Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO Friendly

Getting your website ranked higher through search engine optimization (SEO) is pretty important, but how does it really work? So many of us focus on “beating the algorithm” to get the coveted high rankings, even though they change all the time. What does it take to get to the top and stay there? We asked 16 entrepreneurs for their best tips on working SEO to their advantage. This is what they had to say.

“Trying to take advantage of SEO can be a challenge, thanks in large part to constantly changing algorithms that emphasize different aspects of your content. Given these frequent changes, how can you create SEO-friendly content that lasts?”

How to Be SEO Friendly

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Create Industry-Leading Useful Content That Fills a Need

“Don’t just create content to create content. Create content that solves a problem, explains a solution or answers your customer’s questions. Invest in quality research and design to present that content to your customers in a way that isn’t boring, is easy to navigate and is better than anything else on the topic.” ~ Shawn SchulzeNames.org

2. Write to Connect With Your Customers, Not Search Engines

“The biggest mistake we see comes in writing for search engines at the expense of the customer. Remember that while the copy gets them to the front door, if they hate what they find when they walk in, they’ll leave. Since Google takes customer experience into account when ranking, a site that continually turns off visitors won’t rank well long term, even if the content is perfectly optimized.” ~ Jeff JahnDynamiX

3. Ensure Your Content is Mobile Friendly

“To keep your content SEO friendly, ensure your website is mobile responsive. Compress heavy image files, remove flash videos or animations, disable intrusive pop-ups and make sure all titles, tags and descriptions are optimized for mobile devices. Additionally, all content should provide value, but also be easy to consume.” ~ Kristin MarquetCreative Development Agency, LLC

4. Don’t Just Focus on Keywords

“Keywords are obviously an important part of the algorithms, but loading your content up with keywords is the opposite of what you want to do. Focus on fulfilling a need for your customers and answering their questions via your content. While the content can and should be centered around keywords, the quality of the content is what matters and will help it stand the test of time.” ~ Kristy KnichelKnichel Logistics

5. Go Above and Beyond

“What can you do to blow away all of the other search results for your target keywords? If it’s a list, create a custom list plugin with as much additional information about the topic that you can find. If it’s a difficult subject, create videos and mix them into the content. If it’s simple, perhaps the topic isn’t broad enough to create amazing content for. Go above and beyond and see how Google will reward you.” ~ Ajay PaghdalOutreachMama

6. Just Create Amazing Content

“The days of gaming search engines with little hacks and tricks are over. Google is far too advanced for that now. So what’s the secret to modern SEO? Just create amazing content that your audience is looking for. Simple as that. Sure you have to follow basic fundamentals like a responsive website, fast page load times, etc. But don’t get hung up on tiny details or trying to game the system.” ~ Jeff CayleyWorldwide Cyclery

7. Don’t Forget to Link

“Adding internal links not only shows your authority in a particular sector, but it can also lead to more posts that offer additional value. A string of value-added posts can make it easier for search engines to interpret your primary themes. External links to evidence-based, reputable source material show that you are a subject matter expert that is able to support your information with other outside facts and statistics. Be sure not to go overboard with the linking. Only link to internal or external sources that make sense. They should add something to what you are offering. Excessive linking can cause you to rank lower in searches.” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

8. Keep Creating Relevant and Fresh Content

“One of the biggest challenges with content marketing is creating fresh content on a regular basis. This is even more important than keywords or any advanced SEO tactics. Google favors sites that consistently publish new content that addresses readers’ needs. Don’t neglect other factors such as keywords and backlinks but consistency is the most important factor.” ~ Shawn PoratScorely

9. Optimize Your Thinking

You search for content every day. Next time take notice of what you’re typing into the search box. You’re either typing in words, phrases or questions. Now apply that approach to your content. Keywords are important, but the way you phrase your title and h2 tags should encompass the question, then the phrase, then finally keywords that you’re trying to hit — in that order.” ~ Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

10. Create Evergreen Content

“Providing SEO content is an investment that will render results three to six months down the line. By making it evergreen, you’re ensuring that your content will always be relevant. It’s information that can pop up in search engine results for years to come as long as the product you’re selling is still in demand.” ~ Patrick BarnhillSpecialist ID, Inc.

11. Bring Value to Every Piece of Content

“It cannot be said enough, don’t focus on SEO tricks, focus on value. The more you generate value for people, the more likely you will be to rank for the content. Yes, you need to have the right kind of distribution for the content and an effective strategy to engage any potentially relevant and influential blogs that may want to reference you. Otherwise, you must focus on value.” ~ Nicole MunozStart Ranking Now

12. Keep Audiences Engaged Over Time

“Extensive research is often the key to creating content that will keep your target audience interested and entertained. Creating content takes more than just writing ability. It also requires a level of expertise in your subject matter and knowledge of industry trends. It is unlikely that any singular piece of content will be a permanent resource for your audience, but regularly churning out insightful, consistent and up to date pieces will keep audiences engaged over time.” ~ Zohar Steinbergtoken payments

13. Enhance Social Media Management

“Sites like Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin rank very high in search engines. Maintaining and updating your businesses’ social media profiles is an easy way to piggyback off the giants who have mastered the art of SEO.” ~ Cassie PetreyCrowd Surf

14. Focus on Retention

“With SEO algorithms shifting constantly, it can be a Sisyphean task trying to update every piece of content to each change. What I focus on is providing excellent SEO when content is first published in order to drive up exposure and then attempt to retain as much of that exposure as possible through engagement strategies. This ensures that my content doesn’t have to be consistently SEO friendly to last.” ~ Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

15. Don’t Overthink the Technical Side

“Much like how truly SEO-friendly content is all about adding value (not tricking the algorithm), your approach to technical optimizations should prioritize fastidious organization. Is it easy for visitors to find any and all content? Are your pages, written content and media files as simply organized and as clearly labeled as possible? Optimize to the readers, not search bots.” ~ Ryan WilsonFiveFifty

16. Allow Length to be Your Advantage

“Everyone repeats the same thing: “Forget about ‘The Algorithm.’ Just write for your audience.” However, “The Algorithm” adds more weight to longer content than your audience does. Plus, “The Algorithm” loves to see synonyms of your keyword. Longer content will automatically have more keyword synonyms. Longer content (with additional keyword synonyms) will appease “The Algorithm” and your audience.” ~ Christopher TedderClinger Holsters

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Forget the Algorithm: 16 Ways to Be SEO-Friendly" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Faster, Fresher, Better: Announcing Link Explorer, Moz's New Link Building Tool

Posted by SarahBird

More link data. Fresher link data. Faster link data.

Today, I’m delighted to share that after eons of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and love, Moz is taking a major step forward on our commitment to provide the best SEO tools money can buy.

We’ve rebuilt our link technology from the ground up and the data is now broadly available throughout Moz tools. It’s bigger, fresher, and much, much faster than our legacy link tech. And we’re just getting started! The best way to quickly understand the potential power of our revolutionary new link tech is to play with the beta of our Link Explorer.

Introducing Link Explorer, the newest addition to the Moz toolset!

We’ve heard your frustrations with Open Site Explorer and we know that you want more from Moz and your link building tools. OSE has done more than put in its time. Groundbreaking when it launched in 2008, it’s worked long and hard bring link data to the masses. It deserves the honor of a graceful retirement.

OSE represents our past; the new Link Explorer is our fast, innovative, ambitious future.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Link Explorer beta:

  • It’s 20x larger and 30x fresher than OSE (RIP)
  • Despite its huge index size, the app is lightning fast! I can’t stand waiting so this might be my number-one fav improvement.
  • We’re introducing Link Tracking Lists to make managing your link building efforts a breeze. Sometimes the simple things make the biggest difference, like when they started making vans with doors on each side. You’ll never go back.
  • Link Explorer includes historic data, a painful gap in OSE. Studying your gained/lost linking domains is fast and easy.
  • The new UX surfaces competitive insights much more quickly
  • Increases the size and freshness of the index improved the quality of Domain Authority and Spam Score. Voilà.

All this, and we’re only in beta.

Dive into your link data now!

Here’s a deeper dive into my favorites:

#1: The sheer size, quality, and speed of it all

We’re committed to data quality. Here are some ways that shows up in the Moz tools:

  • When we collect rankings, we evaluate the natural first page of rankings to ensure that the placement and content of featured snippets and other SERP features are correctly situated (as can happen when ranking are collected in 50- or 100-page batches). This is more expensive, but we think the tradeoff is worth it.
  • We were the first to build a hybrid search volume model using clickstream data. We still believe our model is the most accurate.
  • Our SERP corpus, which powers Keywords by Site, is completely refreshed every two weeks. We actively update up to 15 million of the keywords each month to remove keywords that are no longer being searched and replace them with trending keywords and terms. This helps keep our keyword data set fresh and relevant.

The new Link Explorer index extends this commitment to data quality. OSE wasn’t cutting it and we’re thrilled to unleash this new tech.

Link Explorer is over 20x larger and 30x fresher than our legacy link index. Bonus points: the underlying technology is very cost-efficient, making it much less expensive for us to scale over time. This frees up resources to focus on feature delivery. BOOM!

One of my top pet peeves is waiting. I feel physical pain while waiting in lines and for apps to load. I can’t stand growing old waiting for a page to load (amirite?).

The new Link Explorer app is delightfully, impossibly fast. It’s like magic. That’s how link research should be. Magical.

#2: Historical data showing discovered and lost linking domains

If you’re a visual person, this report gives you an immediate idea of how your link building efforts are going. A spike you weren't expecting could be a sign of spam network monkey business. Deep-dive effortlessly on the links you lost and gained so you can spend your valuable time doing thoughtful, human outreach.

#3: Link Tracking Lists

Folks, this is a big one. Throw out (at least one of... ha. ha.) those unwieldy spreadsheets and get on board with Link Tracking Lists, because these are the future. Have you been chasing a link from a particular site? Wondering if your outreach emails have borne fruit yet? Want to know if you’ve successfully placed a link, and how you’re linking? Link Tracking Lists cut out a huge time-suck when it comes to checking back on which of your target sites have actually linked back to you.

Why announce the beta today?

We’re sharing this now for a few reasons:

  • The new Link Explorer data and app have been available in beta to a limited audience. Even with a quiet, narrow release, the SEO community has been talking about it and asking good questions about our plans. Now that the Link Explorer beta is in broad release throughout all of Moz products and the broader Moz audience can play with it, we’re expecting even more curiosity and excitement.
  • If you’re relying on our legacy link technology, this is further notice to shift your applications and reporting to the new-and-improved tech. OSE will be retired soon! We’re making it easier for API customers to get the new data by providing a translation layer for the legacy API.
  • We want and need your feedback. We are committed to building the very best link building tool on the planet. You can expect us to invest heavily here. We need your help to guide our efforts and help us make the most impactful tradeoffs. This is your invitation to shape our roadmap.

Today’s release of our new Link Explorer technology is a revolution in Moz tools, not an evolution. We’ve made a major leap forward in our link index technology that delivers a ton of immediate value to Moz customers and the broader Moz Community.

Even though there are impactful improvements around the corner, this ambitious beta stands on its own two feet. OSE wasn’t cutting it and we’re proud of this new, fledgling tech.

What’s on the horizon for Link Explorer?

We’ve got even more features coming in the weeks and months ahead. Please let us know if we’re on the right track.

  • Link Building Assistant: a way to quickly identify new link acquisition opportunities
  • A more accurate and useful Link Intersect feature
  • Link Alerts to notify you when you get a link from a URL you were tracking in a list
  • Changes to how we count redirects: Currently we don't count links to a redirect as links to the target of the redirect (that's a lot of redirects), but we have this planned for the future.
  • Significantly scaling up our crawling to further improve freshness and size

Go forth, and explore:

Try the new Link Explorer!

Tomorrow Russ Jones will be sharing a post that discusses the importance of quality metrics when it comes to a link index, and don’t miss our pinned Q&A post answering questions about Domain Authority and Page Authority changes or our FAQ in the Help Hub.

We’ll be releasing early and often. Watch this space, and don’t hold back your feedback. Help us shape the future of Links at Moz. We’re listening!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!



via Business Feeds

38% of Small Businesses Believe Employee Talent is Key to Success, WalletHub Says

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

The 2018 Small Business Owner Survey from WalletHub has revealed access to a talented workforce is an important factor for their success. More than a third, or 38 percent, of small businesses, said this issue was more important than other factors.

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

Access to talent was more important than limited regulations (25 percent), low taxes (21 percent), easy access to credit (13 percent), and government incentives (3 percent). With a low unemployment rate and more jobs being created (241,000 jobs in March 2018) the job market is tight, which explains why this is a big concern for small businesses.

This issue was also highlighted at the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business Summit: The Big Power of Small Business held in February of this year. One of the key takeaways from the summit was 70 percent of small businesses are struggling to find and retain skilled employees.

The data from WalletHub comes from a nationally represented survey of more than 150 business owners carried out from 4/9/18 to 4/19/18. WalletHub offers free credit scores and full credit reports along with credit-improvement advice, savings alerts, and wallet surveillance.

Highlights From the Survey

Besides the challenges of finding the right talent, small business owners are generally optimistic. Seven in 10 said now is a good time for growth.

When it comes to financial windfalls, in this case, the savings from the Trump tax reforms, 40 percent said they are going to spend it on business development. Another 28 percent said it was going to executive/investor bonuses and 23 percent are adding it to their cash reserves. Only seven percent said it would go to employee compensation, while the remaining two percent said they would use it to hire more people.

As a company specializing in credit monitoring, WalletHub also asked small business owners their thought on credit cards and banks.

For 29 percent of the respondents, low fees was the most important feature in a business credit card. Expense management tools, good customer service, ongoing rewards and low regular APR was indicated by 18, 14, 11, and 10 percent of the respondents respectively.

Close to two thirds or 63 percent also said they pay too much on the processing fees for their credit card. Addressing the issue of security, an overwhelming majority or 90 percent said user protection on their business cards should be at least just as good as on personal cards.

As to business bank accounts, good customer service, monthly fee, and interest rate were the top three important features for 33, 26, and 18 percent of business owners respectively.

You can take a look at the rest of the WalletHub data in the infographic below.

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

Images: WalletHub

This article, "38% of Small Businesses Believe Employee Talent is Key to Success, WalletHub Says" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

38% of Small Businesses Believe Employee Talent is Key to Success, WalletHub Says

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

The 2018 Small Business Owner Survey from WalletHub has revealed access to a talented workforce is an important factor for their success. More than a third, or 38 percent, of small businesses, said this issue was more important than other factors.

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

Access to talent was more important than limited regulations (25 percent), low taxes (21 percent), easy access to credit (13 percent), and government incentives (3 percent). With a low unemployment rate and more jobs being created (241,000 jobs in March 2018) the job market is tight, which explains why this is a big concern for small businesses.

This issue was also highlighted at the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business Summit: The Big Power of Small Business held in February of this year. One of the key takeaways from the summit was 70 percent of small businesses are struggling to find and retain skilled employees.

The data from WalletHub comes from a nationally represented survey of more than 150 business owners carried out from 4/9/18 to 4/19/18. WalletHub offers free credit scores and full credit reports along with credit-improvement advice, savings alerts, and wallet surveillance.

Highlights From the Survey

Besides the challenges of finding the right talent, small business owners are generally optimistic. Seven in 10 said now is a good time for growth.

When it comes to financial windfalls, in this case, the savings from the Trump tax reforms, 40 percent said they are going to spend it on business development. Another 28 percent said it was going to executive/investor bonuses and 23 percent are adding it to their cash reserves. Only seven percent said it would go to employee compensation, while the remaining two percent said they would use it to hire more people.

As a company specializing in credit monitoring, WalletHub also asked small business owners their thought on credit cards and banks.

For 29 percent of the respondents, low fees was the most important feature in a business credit card. Expense management tools, good customer service, ongoing rewards and low regular APR was indicated by 18, 14, 11, and 10 percent of the respondents respectively.

Close to two thirds or 63 percent also said they pay too much on the processing fees for their credit card. Addressing the issue of security, an overwhelming majority or 90 percent said user protection on their business cards should be at least just as good as on personal cards.

As to business bank accounts, good customer service, monthly fee, and interest rate were the top three important features for 33, 26, and 18 percent of business owners respectively.

You can take a look at the rest of the WalletHub data in the infographic below.

2018 Small Business Owner Survey

Images: WalletHub

This article, "38% of Small Businesses Believe Employee Talent is Key to Success, WalletHub Says" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

4 Ways to Improve Customer Service

If you are in a business that has customers, then that means at some point you have to decide what kind of priority customer service is. In some industries, it’s not that big of a deal. In other sectors, the only way you’re going to make it is if you have better customer service than all of your competitors.

Helpful customer service

So, what are some ways to improve your fundamental customer service value?

You can make financial transactions easier. You and your employees can have better social skills when interacting with customers. You can make a point to improve your processes consistently so that your customers keep coming back to revisit those improvements.…



RSS Business Feeds

10 Steps to Becoming a Global Small Business

10 Tips for a Small Business Going Global

Small businesses should always be looking for a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of American companies export and over half of those ship goods and services to only one other country.

Small Business Trends spoke with Jeremy Melis, a Director of Small Business Marketing and Digital Customer Engagement for UPS. He supplied some tips on how smaller enterprises can take advantage of international markets.

Tips for a Small Business Going Global

Get Online – If You Haven’t Already

“Traditionally you’d see more small businesses start local, then expand regionally, nationally and then internationally,” he says. “Today we’re seeing a slight shift in that trend with some start-ups and business in the artisan communities beginning online.”

He says websites, web stores and online marketplaces are important building blocks for going global.  GoDaddy offers one version with good photo editing tools.

Market via Social Media

Taking advantage of social media platforms is a great way to market a local business that wants to go national or international. Some of the bigger players in the social media management space can be a big help by simplifying the process.

Use Multiple Channels

It’s good to spread the net wide. You can comple, a web store on your website by adding several marketplaces to further your online reach.  Look for technology here that allows you to pull these in with a click of the mouse. Check out places like Shopify.

Dig into Pricing Models

One of the problems small businesses find when they try to go global is competing with bigger competition and free shipping. Melis says a little detective work should pay off and allow for some wiggle room. Specifically, looking to see if “free shipping” is really baked into a competitor’s pricing model can work to your advantage as you can adjust your pricing accordingly.

Develop a Good Returns Policy

This is one spoke in a successful business wheel you can’t afford to ignore if you want to go global. Unfortunately, lots of smaller companies don’t place a necessary focus here.

It’s especially important online so you need to develop and communicate a clear policy.

Fid Tools for Managing Those Returns

“Once you have a good returns policy in place, small business should look for tools to make the process part of returns easier,” Melis says pointing to UPS Returns Manager.

These should bolster the customer experience through pre-set options and the click of a mouse. They are a great way to drive customer loyalty.

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Tweaking your small business or setting one up to go global can be daunting. The Small Business Administration has a portal where you can team up with small business counselors.

Consider Compliance and Tax Issues

There might be different tax codes and other compliance issues you’ll need to look at. For example, you might need licenses to ship some products like technology outside America.

Find a Local Business Contact

You can learn a lot about what you need to know about a foreign market online. However, contacting local business associations to get some names can provide important insider information about how business gets done in new destinations.  

Start with A Logical First Step

Melis points to a proven path for small business globalization and Canada as a first step. Small companies often stay on the continent but jump the border to become international that way.

“It’s a huge population relatively close so it’s a common first step to go north,” he says.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Steps to Becoming a Global Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



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10 Steps to Becoming a Global Small Business

10 Tips for a Small Business Going Global

Small businesses should always be looking for a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of American companies export and over half of those ship goods and services to only one other country.

Small Business Trends spoke with Jeremy Melis, a Director of Small Business Marketing and Digital Customer Engagement for UPS. He supplied some tips on how smaller enterprises can take advantage of international markets.

Tips for a Small Business Going Global

Get Online – If You Haven’t Already

“Traditionally you’d see more small businesses start local, then expand regionally, nationally and then internationally,” he says. “Today we’re seeing a slight shift in that trend with some start-ups and business in the artisan communities beginning online.”

He says websites, web stores and online marketplaces are important building blocks for going global.  GoDaddy offers one version with good photo editing tools.

Market via Social Media

Taking advantage of social media platforms is a great way to market a local business that wants to go national or international. Some of the bigger players in the social media management space can be a big help by simplifying the process.

Use Multiple Channels

It’s good to spread the net wide. You can comple, a web store on your website by adding several marketplaces to further your online reach.  Look for technology here that allows you to pull these in with a click of the mouse. Check out places like Shopify.

Dig into Pricing Models

One of the problems small businesses find when they try to go global is competing with bigger competition and free shipping. Melis says a little detective work should pay off and allow for some wiggle room. Specifically, looking to see if “free shipping” is really baked into a competitor’s pricing model can work to your advantage as you can adjust your pricing accordingly.

Develop a Good Returns Policy

This is one spoke in a successful business wheel you can’t afford to ignore if you want to go global. Unfortunately, lots of smaller companies don’t place a necessary focus here.

It’s especially important online so you need to develop and communicate a clear policy.

Fid Tools for Managing Those Returns

“Once you have a good returns policy in place, small business should look for tools to make the process part of returns easier,” Melis says pointing to UPS Returns Manager.

These should bolster the customer experience through pre-set options and the click of a mouse. They are a great way to drive customer loyalty.

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Tweaking your small business or setting one up to go global can be daunting. The Small Business Administration has a portal where you can team up with small business counselors.

Consider Compliance and Tax Issues

There might be different tax codes and other compliance issues you’ll need to look at. For example, you might need licenses to ship some products like technology outside America.

Find a Local Business Contact

You can learn a lot about what you need to know about a foreign market online. However, contacting local business associations to get some names can provide important insider information about how business gets done in new destinations.  

Start with A Logical First Step

Melis points to a proven path for small business globalization and Canada as a first step. Small companies often stay on the continent but jump the border to become international that way.

“It’s a huge population relatively close so it’s a common first step to go north,” he says.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Steps to Becoming a Global Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How To Reduce Stress In Your Financial Life

No one ever said that dealing with finances was easy. In fact, without knowledge or practice, it can actually be extremely difficult.

Stressful financial life

Balancing incomings, outgoings, necessary costs and debts can seem like a never-ending juggling act and as a result, stress is a fairly common response. While you could turn to a payday loan from a Wizzcash lender in the case of a financial emergency, keeping track of your finances for the most part can help reduce stress considerably and ensure your budgets are kept to at all times.

Here, we’re exploring how you can reduce stress in your financial life.…



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The Tech Skills Gap

Sponsored Post

The Tech Skills Gap

Each year, thousands of vacant tech positions go unfilled. Companies want to hire top-notch, highly skilled information technology professionals, but they just can’t seem to find them.

The overwhelming demand for qualified candidates has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to attract new talent and retain their existing employees. Additionally, the sheer pace of technological change can put companies’ technological infrastructures at risk due to the need to frequently train incumbent workers.

This IT skills gap is only expected to grow over the next five years. The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) predicts as many as 1.8 million IT jobs could be unfilled by 2022 opens in new window. That’s a 20 percent bump from what the same study revealed two years earlier.

Two critical forces contribute to the difficulties companies face with hiring, retention and skills:

  • The rapid pace of technological change
  • The impact of IT as a core function of modern business

Pace of Change

In recent years, technology has evolved at a such a breakneck speed, it’s hard to keep pace. Colleges and universities, for one, have fallen behind. Schools cannot create and deliver programs quick enough to accommodate technological change. Consequently, less than 3 percent of college graduates obtain a degree in computer science opens in new windowor information systems.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggests the key to closing the “digital divide” begins at the K-12 level opens in new window.

“It’s clear our educational institutions are not producing enough workers to keep up with the demand that rapid innovation has imposed on our economy,” Duncan said.

IT at the Core of Modern Business

The rapid evolution of IT has established it as a critical function and embedded it into the core of contemporary business. This shift has developed across all industries, even those that are historically non-technical. As a result, more and more companies compete for talent in the marketplace, which makes hiring and employee retention a greater concern.

Always in ‘Hiring Mode’

Despite the skills gap, companies are still looking to expand their IT staffs. According to the GISWS, one-third of hiring managers indicated they expect to increase their workforces by at least 15 percent.

That’s likely because most IT department heads do not believe their existing employees have the desired skills needed to address the company’s needs.

Of the 1,300 IT leaders surveyed by TEKSystems opens in new window, more than 60 percent of them said the skills gap “severely or moderately impacts their team or organization.” As a result, these companies remain in an unending “hiring mode.”

Not only are lengthy candidate searches burdensome, they are expensive. Costs — direct and indirect — associated with going outside to fill a $60,000-per-year position can reach $100,000. Tack on another $50,000 for a bad hire, something more than two-thirds of U.S. employers experience at some point.

The Software Guild Talent System

To help companies mitigate extraneous hiring costs and successfully attract, retain and develop technology workers, The Software Guild has implemented a talent system that attracts high-quality talent and upskills existing employees — from IT and other departments within the organization — to fill in-demand roles.

The talent system provides up-to-date training in a range of programs designed for skill levels from beginner to advanced, including:

  • Java (Expertise Level: Beginner)
  • .NET/C# (Expertise Level: Beginner)

As a corporate partner, The Software Guild assists in identifying a company’s technology needs and develops a system to fill much-needed positions with external candidates and current employees. The Guild then cultivates a professional development track for employees to stay engaged and hone their skills, which ultimately improves retention.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "The Tech Skills Gap" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

The Tech Skills Gap

Sponsored Post

The Tech Skills Gap

Each year, thousands of vacant tech positions go unfilled. Companies want to hire top-notch, highly skilled information technology professionals, but they just can’t seem to find them.

The overwhelming demand for qualified candidates has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to attract new talent and retain their existing employees. Additionally, the sheer pace of technological change can put companies’ technological infrastructures at risk due to the need to frequently train incumbent workers.

This IT skills gap is only expected to grow over the next five years. The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) predicts as many as 1.8 million IT jobs could be unfilled by 2022 opens in new window. That’s a 20 percent bump from what the same study revealed two years earlier.

Two critical forces contribute to the difficulties companies face with hiring, retention and skills:

  • The rapid pace of technological change
  • The impact of IT as a core function of modern business

Pace of Change

In recent years, technology has evolved at a such a breakneck speed, it’s hard to keep pace. Colleges and universities, for one, have fallen behind. Schools cannot create and deliver programs quick enough to accommodate technological change. Consequently, less than 3 percent of college graduates obtain a degree in computer science opens in new windowor information systems.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggests the key to closing the “digital divide” begins at the K-12 level opens in new window.

“It’s clear our educational institutions are not producing enough workers to keep up with the demand that rapid innovation has imposed on our economy,” Duncan said.

IT at the Core of Modern Business

The rapid evolution of IT has established it as a critical function and embedded it into the core of contemporary business. This shift has developed across all industries, even those that are historically non-technical. As a result, more and more companies compete for talent in the marketplace, which makes hiring and employee retention a greater concern.

Always in ‘Hiring Mode’

Despite the skills gap, companies are still looking to expand their IT staffs. According to the GISWS, one-third of hiring managers indicated they expect to increase their workforces by at least 15 percent.

That’s likely because most IT department heads do not believe their existing employees have the desired skills needed to address the company’s needs.

Of the 1,300 IT leaders surveyed by TEKSystems opens in new window, more than 60 percent of them said the skills gap “severely or moderately impacts their team or organization.” As a result, these companies remain in an unending “hiring mode.”

Not only are lengthy candidate searches burdensome, they are expensive. Costs — direct and indirect — associated with going outside to fill a $60,000-per-year position can reach $100,000. Tack on another $50,000 for a bad hire, something more than two-thirds of U.S. employers experience at some point.

The Software Guild Talent System

To help companies mitigate extraneous hiring costs and successfully attract, retain and develop technology workers, The Software Guild has implemented a talent system that attracts high-quality talent and upskills existing employees — from IT and other departments within the organization — to fill in-demand roles.

The talent system provides up-to-date training in a range of programs designed for skill levels from beginner to advanced, including:

  • Java (Expertise Level: Beginner)
  • .NET/C# (Expertise Level: Beginner)

As a corporate partner, The Software Guild assists in identifying a company’s technology needs and develops a system to fill much-needed positions with external candidates and current employees. The Guild then cultivates a professional development track for employees to stay engaged and hone their skills, which ultimately improves retention.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "The Tech Skills Gap" was first published on Small Business Trends



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