5 Ways to Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance in Your Small Business

When it comes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, startups are leading the charge. In fact, thinking like a startup is one of the best ways to attract top talent and keep them happy. From flexible work hours to company retreats, 53% of surveyed employees say job perks offer a better quality of life both in the office and outside of it.

Work-life balance

Keeping employees engaged and happy in their jobs is key to success, especially in a highly efficient, small team. If you’re considering implementing more perks to excite employees, here are some tips from other small business CEOs and managers who introduced new strategies to help their employees maintain a healthier work-life balance.…



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NATSO Alternative Fuels Council Unveils RFS RIN Management Service

NATSO Inc. and the Alternative Fuels Council (NATSOAltFuels.com), on Oct. 1 launched a new RIN Management Service designed to help fuel retailers that blend and sell renewable fuels to more efficiently participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and manage their Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).

The Alternative Fuels Council’s RIN Management Service will help those who buy, sell and blend biodiesel, ethanol, renewable diesel, and renewable CNG to manage the complex compliance requirements under the RFS. Under the RIN Management program, participants will: (1) consult with experts on the RFS and Low Carbon Fuel Standard compliance; (2) get help registering for EPA’s RFS program as well as for the IRS Blenders License; (3) access sources for fuel supply options; (4) secure advice and assistance for state incentive programs; and (5) monitor the status of impending IRS Blender’s Tax Credits.

Program participants also gain access to an exclusive software program that provides real-time RIN management, a system of record for all RIN transactions, as well as RIN account reconciliations. Through this software, blenders and marketers can reduce the staff time that it takes to comply with the RFS by as much as 75 percent. In addition, knowledgeable Alternative Fuels Council staff will perform EPA-required quarterly reporting as well as end-of-year third-party CPA audits.

“Complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard requires fuel retailers to navigate a series of complex requirements that demand a significant amount of time and a high level of accuracy,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “As the number of fuel retailers entering the biodiesel and alternative fuels market continues to expand, it was clear that our industry needed to streamline and simplify this process for our members so that they can more effectively allocate staff and resources to running their businesses.”

NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Fialkov is scheduled to speak on Oct. 2 at OPIS' three-day “RFS2, RINS & Biodiesel Forum” in Chicago, Ill., about fuel marketers' and retailers' view of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). As part of his presentation, Fialkov will discuss the fuel retailing community’s concerns with how the RFS has been implemented in recent months and outline how the RFS can be improved. Fialkov also will discuss NATSO’s Alternative Fuels Council and how it can help fuel retailers leverage the resources necessary to learn about and incorporate alternative fuels into their supply offerings. (Fialkov will speak Oct. 2 at 4:30 p.m. CDT.)

"Bringing new fuels to market and managing renewable identification numbers is a time-consuming task,” said NATSO Fuels Specialist Jeff Hove. “This program allows fuel retailers to access highly skilled professionals to help them expedite the process while accurately meeting their compliance needs. It effectively removes the hurdles that stand in the way of many fuel retailers from entering the alternative fuels and RIN markets, which may significantly increase fuel margins.”

NATSO launched the Alternative Fuels Council earlier in 2018 to help fuel retailers leverage the resources necessary to learn about and incorporate alternative fuels into their supply offerings. The new RIN Management Service marks the second offering from the Alternative Fuels Council this year.

[NATSO Launches Alternative Fuels Council]

The Alternative Fuels Council previously unveiled a Biodiesel Fuel Quality Plan designed to help those who blend, market, and distribute biodiesel blends ensure the final product that they sell to consumers meets a minimum standard of quality. A step-by-step guide to the blending process directs users through fuel quality management, including sampling procedures, protocols and proposed schedules, to help ensure that alternative fuel meets the required ASTM fuel quality standards.  The Alternative Fuels Council also helps facilitate fuel testing and analysis for marketers at a substantially discounted price.

To learn more about the Alternative Fuels Council, the RIN Management Service and the Biodiesel Fuel Quality Plan visit NATSOAltFuels.com or email Jeff Hove or Ginger Laidlaw



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15 Creative Exercises That Are Better Than Brainstorming

We're all familiar with traditional brainstorming as a way to produce new ideas. You sit in a room with a whiteboard and work with whatever comes to mind. Maybe you play a few rounds of word association to strengthen your ideas, or pull up Google and use research to flesh them out.

But there are many alternative exercises for tackling problems and developing new ideas, both individually and in a group setting.

Click here to take inspiration from the most remarkable marketing and ad campaigns we've ever seen.

Ranging from structured to silly, here are 15 creative brainstorming exercises and techniques to help you get your problem-solving juices flowing.

Visual Activities

1. Storyboarding

Five panels on a pink storyboarding graphic for brainstorming

If you're trying to design a process, storyboarding can help you see where your collective understanding of a problem supports or conflicts with a proposed solution, and where more thought/research is needed. By developing a visual story to explore the problem at hand as a narrative, your team will be able to see how ideas interact and connect to form a solution.

Sticky notes are your friend. Take a few minutes to have everyone on the team write out their ideas as individual notes. These don't have to be complete thoughts -- physically pinning up quotes, pictures, user info, and the like can help you see new relationships between different components.

Once you have a group of sticky notes to work from, start arranging them on the board as a progression: first this, then that. Organizing your ideas as a continuous series will help you see new connections and eliminate extraneous material that doesn't support your end goal.

2. Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a fairly common term nowadays -- in fact, many types of software provide automated mind-mapping templates so you can better organize your data. Well, it also happens to be a great way to organize your ideas.

  • To create a mind map for creativity purposes, write down the task or problem you're trying to solve at the center of your idea sheet (feel free to do this on your computer, but whiteboards are ideal).
  • Then, expand on this problem by surrounding it with terms that better describe what you need. If your problem is low website traffic, for example, some terms to write around this phrase might be "organic traffic," "trusted content," "SEO," and "video strategy."
  • Once your mind map has this first layer, add a second layer to each of your needs describing how you might be able to solve for these individual challenges. Around "SEO," you might write "topic clusters," "dedicated SEO strategist," and "video marketing course."

Keep adding to your mind map using the steps above until you've sufficiently broken down your problem into manageable parts. It's a fantastic problem-solving technique that fosters creative answers to subjects that might otherwise seem uninspiring.

3. Group Sketching

Pink drawing on piece of paper for group sketching

You don't have to be an artist or a designer to benefit from sketching. Visual thinking can help to trigger and develop ideas that discussion and writing might otherwise leave unturned. Similar to brain-writing, group sketching involves participants building on each other's ideas.

Each member of your team will sketch an image related in a central way to a concept, idea or topic you want to explore further. Each sketch is then passed to someone else, who sketches another related image on the same piece of paper. This is repeated multiple times around the group. The final images are then reviewed and discussed with the aim of discovering connections that individuals hadn't spotted on their own.

Idea Sorting Techniques

4. Word Banking

If you assume "work banking" is a fancy term for "word association," well, you're right. But in a word banking session, what you do with the words you come with is much more sophisticated.

While word associations often focus on pairs of words, word banking asks you to form big groups of terms that all describe just a few themes or topics. Creating word banks in a business setting can help you dismantle a project into manageable parts -- kind of like a mind map, as described in technique #2 earlier in this article.

Then, when your work bank is complete, you can retroactively form connections between the terms you came up with, and use those connections to craft ideas that are guaranteed to include all of your most important characteristics.

5. S.C.A.M.P.E.R.

Mobile device surrounded by pink icons showing the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. brainstorming technique

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is essentially a process for expanding and improving upon ideas by testing and questioning them from different angles. For each letter of the mnemonic, ask yourself a related question about your project or the problem at hand:

  • Substitute, e.g.: What would happen to the project if we swapped X for Y?
  • Combine, e.g.: What would happen to the project if we combined X and Y?
  • Adapt, e.g.: What changes would need to be made to adapt this project to a different context?
  • Modify, e.g.: What could we modify to create more value on this project?
  • Put to another use, e.g.: What other uses or applications might this project have?
  • Eliminate, e.g.: What could we remove from the project to simplify it?
  • Reverse, e.g.: How could we reorganize this project to make it more effective?

This method forces you to approach your project or problem in unexpected ways. Each question asks you to dig a little deeper into the issue and consider new possibilities.

6. S.W.O.T. Analysis

Entrepreneurs and business leaders know exactly what a SWOT analysis is. Well, it also happens to be a helpful brainstorming exercise.

S.W.O.T. stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. And when launching a company, it's your textbook starting point (literally -- there isn't a single business school textbook in the world that doesn't have a version of it).

But while a company's founder might use a SWOT analysis to create his or her business model, brainstormers can use the same diagram to better organize their ideas.

Your SWOT analysis doesn't have to be all that complicated when brainstorming. In fact, it can simply be four columns on a whiteboard during your average "shout it out" ideas meeting. When thinking of a new logo design, for instance, ask yourself what you like most about your current logo (strengths). What do you dislike about it (weaknesses)? What should it have more of (opportunities)? What other company logos should you be mindful of (threats)?

7. Six Thinking Hats

There's a whole host of problem-solving exercises and tools that help participants to put themselves into the shoes of another. This particular tool was invented by Edward de Bono, a psychologist, author, and consultant who pioneered the technique in his 1985 book Six Thinking Hats. The method involves breaking down ideas into six areas of thought:

When approaching a new problem or project, have each member of your team put on one of these different "hats" for the discussion. Each "hat" represents a unique set of priorities and perspectives that will help focus your discussion and consider the project from a wide variety of angles.

For example, if you're wearing the "Devil's Advocate" hat, it's your job to consider the project's limitations and challenges. It may feel uncomfortable at first to temporarily adopt a very narrow form of thinking, but the extremes can help teams fully explore a project or idea.

Creative Exercises and Games

8. Zero Draft

Sheets of paper with lines of text showing the zero draft brainstorming technique

The Zero Draft is an ideation technique for individuals often used by writers and is essentially a form of focused free-writing. For marketers and agency professionals, it can help focus the first stages of a new project by establishing what you currently know and getting your initial ideas out of your brain and onto paper.

Taking your central theme or topic:

  1. Write down everything you currently know about the subject.
  2. Write down what you need or want to know about the subject, but don't currently know.
  3. Reflect on why the subject is important.
  4. Add anything else that takes your fancy -- this is a chance to get whatever's floating around in your head out into the world.

The Zero Draft method is all about getting everything you can think of relating to your topic down on paper, so don't be concerned if it looks messy and unfocused. The goal is just to get past the initial block that often plagues creative professionals in the early stages of a new project.

9. Brain Netting

Creative exercises and ideas meetings always go better the more people you have in the room. Unfortunately, that means remote employees might not be solicited for their input as much as they should be. Brain netting is the act of connecting with folks electronically to make sure everyone can offer their input and feedback on a project.

Brain netting doesn't just have to be a group phone call, though. Company messaging platforms like Slack are the perfect way to get everyone into a chatroom to spill their ideas. As ideas are submitted, each chatroom member can even vote for their favorites and combine the best qualities of multiple concepts.

10. Questioning Assumptions

Two presenters in pink outfits using a drawing board for questioning assumptions

We all carry assumptions with us -- assumptions about what is and isn't possible, about what people want, what will work, and what won't. This exercise forces us to challenge these and put everything on the table.

Draw up a list of all the assumptions you can think of about your currently project -- true or not -- and discuss the list as a group, questioning each one. Doing this at various stages in your campaign development can spark fresh ideas, as well as identify knowledge gaps.

11. Wishing

White horse next to pink unicorn to show the wishing technique for brainstorming

This technique encourages your team to let imaginations run wild. Ask participants to dream up the most unattainable, extreme, and impractical solutions they can think of to a given problem. Create a list of a few dozen wishes pertaining to the task at hand.

Focusing on a selection of wishes, consider and discuss the ideas in detail, with the aim of triggering new but more realistic concepts to pursue. What makes them so impossible? How can that idea be scaled down? Which features of that wish could we integrate into this other approach? You might be surprised to discover applicable, real-world solutions among your team's wildest wishes.

12. Alter-Egos / Heroes

Pink illustration of a super hero as part of a creative brainstorming exercise

This is a fun exercise where small groups imagine how they would go about solving a given problem if their team were led by a famous character, fictional or real. How would Cat Woman go about positioning your brand as a thought leader in virtual reality? What would Steve Jobs do to improve your latest communications package? How would Don Draper get your core messages across to millennials?

You can either chose someone you think embodies the right qualities for the job to help develop your vision, or someone at the opposite end of that scale, to explore less conventional ideas.

13. Forced Connections

Desk lamp plus banana equals question mark

This exercise involves bringing together ideas that serve very different needs or interests to form a new concept. You see this sort of thinking all the time in products like the Apple watch, the Swiss Army knife, smartphones, or even sofa beds.

To put this method into practice, bring a bag of random items to your next meeting, or draw up two lists of unrelated items on the board. Ask team members to pick two or more items and explore different ways they can be connected. This technique can produce some silly results, but it's ultimately a helpful way of getting your team out of a creative rut.

14. Reverse Brainstorming

In certain corporations and government entities, data security is the highest priority. So high, in fact, that these organizations have been known to hire hackers -- many of whom have committed internet crimes -- to hack their systems and find out where the weaknesses are.

This "reverse" approach to security, wherein you hack your own company, is considered one of the best ways to secure a server from intrusion. And for us, it's the inspiration behind this fourth brainstorming technique.

When you reverse brainstorm, you essentially work to create problems rather than solutions. 'Why on Earth would you want to do that?' You might ask. Creating problems teaches you what not to do so you're more intuitive to the needs of your project. Think of it like hacking your company to find out where the weaknesses are.

Say, for example, you want to drive awareness to a new product. As a marketer, you have many promotional channels at your disposal, but you don't know how to use them or where to start. In a reverse brainstorming session, you might come up with the following:

  • Avoid hyperlinks to the product's purchase page
  • Don't tweet about the product
  • Criticize the features of your product

Obviously, these are all horrible ideas if your goal is to promote the product. But, take the reverse of these ideas, and you've effectively created three excellent starting points for a supportive campaign: Link to the product in a series of blog posts, develop a Twitter campaign around the product, and identify specific features of the product that prospects would be most interested in reading or hearing about.

15. Brain-Writing

Sheet of paper with four people brain-writing during a brainstorming activity

In this exercise, participants simply write down a few rough ideas for solving a particular problem on a piece of paper. Each piece of paper is then passed on to someone else, who reads it silently and adds their own ideas to the page. This process is repeated until everyone has had a chance to add to each original piece of paper. The notes can then be gathered, ready for discussion.

The big advantage of brain-writing is that it makes sure everybody is given the opportunity to have their thoughts and ideas thoroughly considered by the group. This avoids the loudest or most extroverted people unintentionally dominating the sessions.

This is a modified excerpt from Creative Ideation for Digital Marketers: Theory to Practice by Dani Mansfield.

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60% of Americans Would Pay More for Made In America, Report Says (INFOGRAPHIC)

A product with the “Made in the USA” tag is more than a slogan, as it represents the manufacturing capability of the country. And according to an infographic from Standard Textile, US manufacturing drives more innovation than any other sector in the country.

The infographic is titled, “Advanced U.S. Manufacturing: Strengthening Communities and the Economy.” And it points out how quality manufacturing using advanced technologies affects the overall economy and gives US companies a competitive edge.

This competitive edge comes in the form of consumer preference. According to the infographic, 80% prefer products with the “Made in USA” tag. So much so, 60% of Americans said they are willing to pay 10% more for products made in the country.

One of the reasons for this preference is quality. Sixty-six percent of Americans said they associate “Made in the USA” with high quality.

Compared to the US, China had more than double the number of product recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2016 China had 179 and the US 73.

Innovation, Jobs and Investment

Advanced manufacturing in the US is responsible for more than 75% of all private sector R&D, which drives more innovation. These innovations, in turn, create new high paying manufacturing jobs, with an average of $26 per hour.

Overall, US manufacturing employs 8.5% of the workforce with a total of 12.5 million people which include jobs for workers without college degrees.

When it comes to return on investments, manufacturing adds $1.89 for every dollar spent in the sector. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAN) says the total multiplier effect for manufacturing is $3.60 for every $1.00 of value-added output. It goes on to say one manufacturing employee generates another 3.4 workers elsewhere.

 

Small Business Manufacturing

According to the NAM, the vast majority of manufacturers are small firms. Of the 251,774 manufacturing companies, only 3,813 are large enterprises. In fact, the NAM says three-quarters of the firms have less than 20 employees.

For these small firms, the implementation of new technologies and innovative manufacturing processes are essential for being able to compete globally.

You can look at the rest of the data on the Advanced U.S. Manufacturing: Strengthening Communities and the Economy from Standard Textile below.

 

An informative graphic showcasing many facts and figures, detailing ways in which advanced U.S. manufacturing strengthens communities, grows the economy, and protects the environment.

Image: Standard Textile

This article, "60% of Americans Would Pay More for Made In America, Report Says (INFOGRAPHIC)" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

60% of Americans Would Pay More for Made In America, Report Says (INFOGRAPHIC)

A product with the “Made in the USA” tag is more than a slogan, as it represents the manufacturing capability of the country. And according to an infographic from Standard Textile, US manufacturing drives more innovation than any other sector in the country.

The infographic is titled, “Advanced U.S. Manufacturing: Strengthening Communities and the Economy.” And it points out how quality manufacturing using advanced technologies affects the overall economy and gives US companies a competitive edge.

This competitive edge comes in the form of consumer preference. According to the infographic, 80% prefer products with the “Made in USA” tag. So much so, 60% of Americans said they are willing to pay 10% more for products made in the country.

One of the reasons for this preference is quality. Sixty-six percent of Americans said they associate “Made in the USA” with high quality.

Compared to the US, China had more than double the number of product recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2016 China had 179 and the US 73.

Innovation, Jobs and Investment

Advanced manufacturing in the US is responsible for more than 75% of all private sector R&D, which drives more innovation. These innovations, in turn, create new high paying manufacturing jobs, with an average of $26 per hour.

Overall, US manufacturing employs 8.5% of the workforce with a total of 12.5 million people which include jobs for workers without college degrees.

When it comes to return on investments, manufacturing adds $1.89 for every dollar spent in the sector. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAN) says the total multiplier effect for manufacturing is $3.60 for every $1.00 of value-added output. It goes on to say one manufacturing employee generates another 3.4 workers elsewhere.

 

Small Business Manufacturing

According to the NAM, the vast majority of manufacturers are small firms. Of the 251,774 manufacturing companies, only 3,813 are large enterprises. In fact, the NAM says three-quarters of the firms have less than 20 employees.

For these small firms, the implementation of new technologies and innovative manufacturing processes are essential for being able to compete globally.

You can look at the rest of the data on the Advanced U.S. Manufacturing: Strengthening Communities and the Economy from Standard Textile below.

 

An informative graphic showcasing many facts and figures, detailing ways in which advanced U.S. manufacturing strengthens communities, grows the economy, and protects the environment.

Image: Standard Textile

This article, "60% of Americans Would Pay More for Made In America, Report Says (INFOGRAPHIC)" was first published on Small Business Trends



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It Takes 191 Days for a Company to Realize There’s Been a Data Breach, Report Says

Data Breach Statistics: It Takes 191 Days for a Company to Realize There's Been a Data Breach

Cases of unauthorized persons stealing or accessing sensitive small business data like intellectual property, employees’ personal information or even financial records have been rising.

What’s sad is that when a data breach occurs, companies take an average of 191 days to realize it has happened, according to a recent report highlighted by TekMonks, a global enterprise software development and IT services company.

This slow response to cyber-attacks is alarming. It puts small businesses in a precarious position and demonstrates a dire need for cyber-security awareness and preparedness in every business.

Slow Response to Cyber-Attacks Hurting Small Businesses

“If your firm isn’t top of cybersecurity, you never know when the next attack is coming and what they will steal,” writes TekMonks on its company blog.

In 2017, there was a total of 1,579 publicly disclosed data breaches, adds the software and IT services firm co-headquartered in Toronto, ON, Canada and Chicago, IL, USA, in a neat infographic the company created pointing out alarming cybersecurity facts.

Of the data breaches reported last year, 75% of them were caused by external sources.

A total of 1,946,181,599 records containing personal and other sensitive data were compromised, costing businesses an average of $3.62 million in damages, per TekMonks’ figures. The time cost for businesses was an average of 66 days to fully contain a data breach.

What are you doing to protect your small business from costly data breaches?

Alarming Facts, Data Breach Statistics, and Tips on Cybersecurity – Infographic

Ginni Rometty, president, chair and CEO of IBM, is quoted as saying cyber-crime is the greatest threat to every company in the world. She’s probably right considering that anyone connected to the internet, from top executives to junior employees, are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

As a small business owner, you need to take steps to protect your business, including implementing secure communication methods, watching out for phishing emails and buying cyber liability insurance. Reports indicate 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyber-attack.

Check out TekMonks’ insightful infographic below to learn more about other shocking cybersecurity facts that show why a data breach is such a big threat to your small business.

Data Breach Statistics: It Takes 191 Days for a Company to Realize There's Been a Data Breach

Image: Tekmonks

This article, "It Takes 191 Days for a Company to Realize There’s Been a Data Breach, Report Says" was first published on Small Business Trends



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It Takes 191 Days for a Company to Realize There’s Been a Data Breach, Report Says

Data Breach Statistics: It Takes 191 Days for a Company to Realize There's Been a Data Breach

Cases of unauthorized persons stealing or accessing sensitive small business data like intellectual property, employees’ personal information or even financial records have been rising.

What’s sad is that when a data breach occurs, companies take an average of 191 days to realize it has happened, according to a recent report highlighted by TekMonks, a global enterprise software development and IT services company.

This slow response to cyber-attacks is alarming. It puts small businesses in a precarious position and demonstrates a dire need for cyber-security awareness and preparedness in every business.

Slow Response to Cyber-Attacks Hurting Small Businesses

“If your firm isn’t top of cybersecurity, you never know when the next attack is coming and what they will steal,” writes TekMonks on its company blog.

In 2017, there was a total of 1,579 publicly disclosed data breaches, adds the software and IT services firm co-headquartered in Toronto, ON, Canada and Chicago, IL, USA, in a neat infographic the company created pointing out alarming cybersecurity facts.

Of the data breaches reported last year, 75% of them were caused by external sources.

A total of 1,946,181,599 records containing personal and other sensitive data were compromised, costing businesses an average of $3.62 million in damages, per TekMonks’ figures. The time cost for businesses was an average of 66 days to fully contain a data breach.

What are you doing to protect your small business from costly data breaches?

Alarming Facts, Data Breach Statistics, and Tips on Cybersecurity – Infographic

Ginni Rometty, president, chair and CEO of IBM, is quoted as saying cyber-crime is the greatest threat to every company in the world. She’s probably right considering that anyone connected to the internet, from top executives to junior employees, are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

As a small business owner, you need to take steps to protect your business, including implementing secure communication methods, watching out for phishing emails and buying cyber liability insurance. Reports indicate 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyber-attack.

Check out TekMonks’ insightful infographic below to learn more about other shocking cybersecurity facts that show why a data breach is such a big threat to your small business.

Data Breach Statistics: It Takes 191 Days for a Company to Realize There's Been a Data Breach

Image: Tekmonks

This article, "It Takes 191 Days for a Company to Realize There’s Been a Data Breach, Report Says" was first published on Small Business Trends



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LinkedIn Refresh Creates New Professional Communities for Business

LinkedIn Groups Relaunch Introduces Major Refresh

A month after announcing the redesign of its Groups platform, LinkedIn unveiled Groups Experiences to build a shared space for professional communities.

LinkedIn Groups Relaunch

On its blog, LinkedIn said the new platform was built from the ground up after hearing how important Groups was for its users. The improvements will bring connectivity, communications, and collaboration tools the company has been developing front and center in the website and app.

The integration of these tools will give the 562 plus million users on LinkedIn more ways to find the resources they need and be part of groups they are interested in.

For small business owners, Groups offers a private space where likeminded individuals with similar industry affiliations can share experiences, new skill sets, developments and more. It is also a valuable resource for finding good candidates for businesses looking to make their next hire.

LinkedIn Groups Relaunch Introduces Major Refresh

The New Group Experiences

One of the most requested feedbacks was to have more ways to carry out engaging conversations. Group administrators wanted better ways for their members to communicate and participate with each other.

Group members can now post different types of media such as videos and images to enrich their conversations. And when someone comments on your post, you will be notified so you can respond as soon as possible. The notification also applies anytime users request to join your group.

All of these features can be accessed on the LinkedIn Android and iOS app so you can respond no matter where you are. Group admins can message members, accept a request for joining, or delete posts which are not following group rules from their mobile device.

In addition to these features, LinkedIn said coming soon you will be able to navigate to your groups with less effort, keep the conversation going from your LinkedIn Feed, and discover new groups that match your interests easily.

According to the blog, there will be more features in the coming months including new moderation tools for admins.

The new LinkedIn Groups experience is being rolled out now. Groups will be migrated automatically to the new platform on desktop and mobile.

Image: LinkedIn

This article, "LinkedIn Refresh Creates New Professional Communities for Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



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LinkedIn Refresh Creates New Professional Communities for Business

LinkedIn Groups Relaunch Introduces Major Refresh

A month after announcing the redesign of its Groups platform, LinkedIn unveiled Groups Experiences to build a shared space for professional communities.

LinkedIn Groups Relaunch

On its blog, LinkedIn said the new platform was built from the ground up after hearing how important Groups was for its users. The improvements will bring connectivity, communications, and collaboration tools the company has been developing front and center in the website and app.

The integration of these tools will give the 562 plus million users on LinkedIn more ways to find the resources they need and be part of groups they are interested in.

For small business owners, Groups offers a private space where likeminded individuals with similar industry affiliations can share experiences, new skill sets, developments and more. It is also a valuable resource for finding good candidates for businesses looking to make their next hire.

LinkedIn Groups Relaunch Introduces Major Refresh

The New Group Experiences

One of the most requested feedbacks was to have more ways to carry out engaging conversations. Group administrators wanted better ways for their members to communicate and participate with each other.

Group members can now post different types of media such as videos and images to enrich their conversations. And when someone comments on your post, you will be notified so you can respond as soon as possible. The notification also applies anytime users request to join your group.

All of these features can be accessed on the LinkedIn Android and iOS app so you can respond no matter where you are. Group admins can message members, accept a request for joining, or delete posts which are not following group rules from their mobile device.

In addition to these features, LinkedIn said coming soon you will be able to navigate to your groups with less effort, keep the conversation going from your LinkedIn Feed, and discover new groups that match your interests easily.

According to the blog, there will be more features in the coming months including new moderation tools for admins.

The new LinkedIn Groups experience is being rolled out now. Groups will be migrated automatically to the new platform on desktop and mobile.

Image: LinkedIn

This article, "LinkedIn Refresh Creates New Professional Communities for Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



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The Epic Business Fails of the World’s Top Entrepreneurs (INFOGRAPHIC)

Successful Entrepreneurs Who Failed (INFOGRAPHIC)

The journey of an entrepreneur is often filled with depressing lows, debt and doubt, but according to Bloomberg, entrepreneurs who fail find more success the second time around. In fact, a recently published infographic by POUND COFFEE clearly shows that some of the world’s most accomplished entrepreneurs failed at least once, if not multiple times, before blazing the trail to success.

Successful Entrepreneurs Who Failed

Below are a few successful entrepreneurs that failed before they ever succeeded.

Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel, billionaire investor and venture capitalist, was Facebook’s first institutional investor and was also one of the PayPal founders. But Thiel also failed as anyone else could ever fail. An early hedge fund he co-founded, Clarium Capital, lost ninety percent of its $7 billion dollars in assets. But failure didn’t stop him. Thiel has gone on to co-found several other startups, including Mithril Capital and Valar Ventures.

Sir James Dyson

Sir James Dyson wasn’t always known as the inventor of a wildly successful home product. Dyson worked on more than 5,000 prototypes that all flopped and failed before finding the right one for his Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington wasn’t always the darling of the online publishing world. Before her publication took off, Huffington was rejected by 36 different book publishers before finally getting her second book accepted for publication. She could have easily given up and moved on, but she didn’t.

Christina Wallace

Before ever becoming the vice president of the Startup Institute, Christina Wallace had to deal with the epic failure of her company – Quincy Apparel. The failure led her to stay in bed depressed for weeks, but she bounced back and used some of the lessons she learned from that failure to help the startup community.

Colonel Sanders

While Colonel Sanders requires no introduction today, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken faced his own bout of failures and rejections. His recipe was reportedly rejected over 1,000 times before a restaurant picked it up. Sanders founded KFC when he was 56 years old.

Below is POUND COFFEE’s complete infographic that features eighteen failures from successful entrepreneurs.

Successful Entrepreneurs Who Failed (INFOGRAPHIC)

Image: Pound Coffee

This article, "The Epic Business Fails of the World’s Top Entrepreneurs (INFOGRAPHIC)" was first published on Small Business Trends



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