How Do People Really Feel About Amazon's Big Announcement? Here's What We Found Out.

In September 2017, Amazon released a public request for proposals from cities vying to become the location for its second headquarters -- setting into motion over a year of events that have caused a range of emotions and responses.

By mid-October of that year, the company had received 238 bids. By January, the list of contenders had been narrowed to 20 finalists. And starting last week, rumors were swirling that Amazon had decided months ago that it would split its second quarters -- commonly dubbed "HQ2" -- among two cities.

Those cities, it was officially announced this week, are Crystal City, Virginia, and Long Island City, New York.

The response has been mixed. Some officials in both locations have lauded the selection.

"I'm really excited about the potential Amazon offers," said U.S. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia in a statement.

"Welcome to Queens, #HQ2," wrote New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a tweet -- only to receive a range of replies, including "NOPE, NYC doesn’t want this."

But in a sea of tweets, praise, and outrage, we wanted to know: How does the average internet user, perhaps representing those most likely to use Amazon, really feel about this announcement?

We had questions and set out to get as many answers as possible -- so we ran a survey of over 2,500 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada. Here's what we learned.

Many Are Unfamiliar With the Amazon HQ2 Journey

Location Awareness

For every survey question we ran, between 20-50% of respondents indicated that the question was the first they had heard of HQ2 at all.

For instance, when we posed the question -- "Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., 'HQ2,' between two cities. Without looking it up, do you know which two cities were selected?" -- a quarter of respondents indicated that weren't familiar with HQ2.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Without looking it up, do you know which two cities were selected?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Without looking it up, do you know which two cities were selected_ (1) 

Otherwise, the highest number of respondents said they were aware of which two cities were selected, though the split among responses was fairly even.

Shock Factor

We found similar results when asking respondents how surprised they were with the HQ2 city selections. Again, close to a quarter of respondents said they were previously unaware of the Amazon location saga.

"Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Did you find this news surprising?"

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Did you find this news surprising_ 

But out of those who were familiar with it, just under a third of respondents said that they were somewhat surprised by the news. Few people, it seemed, were caught completely off-guard by the cities selected for HQ2.

Location Expectations

For respondents who were surprised, we wanted to know which cities they previously thought might be chosen as the new home for HQ2. 

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Prior to this announcement, which location were you expecting Amazon to select?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Prior to this announcement, which location were you expecting Amazon to select_ (2)

Adjusting for the percentage of respondents who said they were unfamiliar with HQ2 prior to seeing this question, we found that the highest number indicated they expected Toronto to be selected.

However, that could be due to the fact that a somewhat disproportionate number of respondents from Canada -- nearly 40% -- selected Toronto as their answer.

Responses by Region (5)-1

Otherwise, the second-highest number of respondents said they believed New York would be chosen, aligning with the general lack of surprise we saw among respondents in previous questions.

Overall Impact

Finally, we wanted to measure how people feel about what type of impact HQ2 might have on the locations where it's slated to be located.

First, we asked people to measure how positive or negative the overall impact of the presence of HQ2 in the cities selected could be.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Do you think that HQ2 will have a positive or negative impact on the locations selected?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. Do you think that HQ2 will have a positive or negative impact on the locations selected_ (1)

In general, respondents indicate a positive outlook for the cities where Amazon's HQ2 will be located, with about half answering that the impact will be beneficial in some way.

As for what the specifics of those impacts look like, we also asked respondents what sort of outcomes they expect to see as a result of Amazon moving into these locations.

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. What sort of impact, both positive and negative, do you think HQ2 will have on the locations selected?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would split its second headquarters -- a.k.a., “HQ2,” between two cities. What sort of impact, both positive and negative, do you think HQ2 will have on the locations selected_ (Choose all (2)

Most respondents believe that job creation will be the highest (positive) impact area, with 49% indicating that they think the opening of HQ2 will create employment opportunities across a range of skill sets and career progress.

The Impact on the Marketing and SMB World

Amazon isn't alone, however, in its wooing of east coast talent. Not long after the HQ2 locations were announced, Google CFO Ruth Porat said at a Wall Street Journal event that the search giant would double its workforce in New York City over the next decade.

It's a move that prompts further questions -- such as, "Why all the attention at the opposite end of the U.S. from Silicon Valley?" 

"Not everybody—big surprise—wants to live in Silicon Valley," Porat said at the time, "so we want to make sure we have the opportunity to build vibrant centers across the country.”

But ask HubSpot VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson, and you'll learn that tech talent on the east coast isn't a new concept.

"There is a rising tide factor here. The east coast was already a magnet for tech talent," Keaney Anderson explains. "Amazon moving here further solidifies that and could bring more people into the region."

So how does that bode for the small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) in the areas where these tech giants will be growing, and the marketers often responsible for crafting their messages to this increasingly competitive talent pool?

Is it a positive development, in that there's more talent to go around? Or will it become more challenging for SMBs to attract good talent when newly adjacent to Big Tech?

It all goes back to that messaging, Keaney Anderson says.

"If you’re in Amazon’s geographical shadow, you are going to need to put some thought into your culture and what you have to offer that is unique to talent," she suggests. "Not everyone wants to work for a giant company, even a really interesting one like Amazon. You need to decide what your differentiation is, as an SMB, to offer recruits."

HubSpot VP of Marketing Jon Dick agrees that SMBs should lean into that variation of talent.

"Having more jobs open, regardless of where they are, does create more competition. But that can be a good thing," he explains. "Large tech companies and SMBs attract different people."



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Take Part in our Cyber Monday Contest to Win an Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet

It’s one of the fastest growing shopping days on the calendar.

Cyber Monday!

And now, it’ll be your chance to win a new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.

It’s a big day for a lot of our readers who have been working so hard for this moment, to put their online businesses to the ultimate test. To celebrate that hard work, Small Business Trends is giving away a latest generation Amazon Kindle Fire 7 tablet.

This handy little companion has a stunning 7″ IPS display. It’s super thin and light and perfect for taking on business trips. Inside, its got a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 8 GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for up to 256 GB of expandable storage. The battery lasts up to 8 hours.

It’s handy for some business tasks but it’s best when you need to get away from work for a bit and unwind.

Check out the contest widget below to enter. Perform more tasks for multiple entries and come back every day for more chances to enter.

Small Business Trends – Fire Tablet Giveaway

This article, "Take Part in our Cyber Monday Contest to Win an Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Take Part in our Cyber Monday Contest to Win an Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet

It’s one of the fastest growing shopping days on the calendar.

Cyber Monday!

And now, it’ll be your chance to win a new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.

It’s a big day for a lot of our readers who have been working so hard for this moment, to put their online businesses to the ultimate test. To celebrate that hard work, Small Business Trends is giving away a latest generation Amazon Kindle Fire 7 tablet.

This handy little companion has a stunning 7″ IPS display. It’s super thin and light and perfect for taking on business trips. Inside, its got a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 8 GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for up to 256 GB of expandable storage. The battery lasts up to 8 hours.

It’s handy for some business tasks but it’s best when you need to get away from work for a bit and unwind.

Check out the contest widget below to enter. Perform more tasks for multiple entries and come back every day for more chances to enter.

Small Business Trends – Fire Tablet Giveaway

This article, "Take Part in our Cyber Monday Contest to Win an Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Tips for Making the Switch to Biodiesel

ThoughtLeaderBanner.png

/// Guest post by contributor Renewable Energy Group

Are you interested in biodiesel but concerned about the upfront investment? I have good news.

For truck stops and other retailers, biodiesel blends can likely be incorporated into your existing infrastructure with no modifications. And for your customers, diesel vehicles can start running on biodiesel blends right away.

Here’s what you need to know about adding biodiesel to your operations.

Drop-In Fuel
>Biodiesel is a drop-in solution that works in petroleum diesel equipment.

Infrastructure —Use your existing storage tanks and other infrastructure after you switch to biodiesel blends. For retailers, the federal government says dispensers containing B5 and lower do not need to be labeled, although you should check local regulations.

Some retailers choose to blend the fuel themselves. This may require a dedicated storage tank for the B100 and a blending system, but the return on investment is often achieved within months.

Vehicles —No modifications are needed. Just fuel up your diesel vehicles with biodiesel blends and hit the road.

All major OEMs support biodiesel blends up to B5, meaning the fuel is 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent petroleum diesel. Nearly 90 percent of medium- and heavy-duty truck OEMs support B20.

Nationwide Supply
Biodiesel is a mature industry, and domestic producers can get you product no matter where you are. I recommend that you look for a producer that offers:

  • Not just biodiesel, but also blended fuel and ULSD
  • Distribution via truck, rail, ship and barge
  • An extensive network of terminals, including ones co-located with petroleum diesel terminals
  • Customer support that goes beyond a sales rep and includes technical assistance and logistics and supply chain management

What Fleets Say
That’s what you should look for in a producer. But what about your customers? What fleets will want to know above all else is how biodiesel affects performance. Let’s ask the people who know diesel equipment best — diesel technicians.

“If two trucks were side by side and one ran biodiesel and one didn’t, you would not be able to tell the difference,” says Joe Siadak, lead technician at Mahoney Environmental, a large nationwide trucking fleet.

When his company made the switch to biodiesel blends up to B20, he expected more fuel system failures and increased filter change intervals. The reality is they’ve had fewer problems with fuel injectors and after-treatment systems with biodiesel.

In Rochester, Minnesota, city buses have been running on biodiesel blends for nearly 20 years. Maintenance Manager Roger Ritchie has been there the entire time.

“I’m 100 percent on board with biodiesel,” he says. “Our equipment has lasted and done a really good job.”

Learn What Biodiesel Can Do for You

Making the switch is easy. To explore next steps, feel free to contact me at (515) 239-8166 or
troy.shoen@regi.com. Learn more about REG at regi.com.

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.



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Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 Helps Businesses Save on Postage

Sponsored Post

Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 Helps Businesses Save on Postage

Shipping costs go up every year and for small businesses it means losing a bigger chunk from their bottom line. The Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 is a comprehensive shipping and mailing solution which will automate the shipping process and save you money while doing it.

This is a fully integrated all-in-one solution designed to simplify shipping and mailing from a single station. There is no more guess work in your small business. You are ready to process your mail and packages for shipping with SendPro C200.

As the company says, you will be able to identify, locate, communicate, ship and pay enabling the full commerce continuum of today’s physical and digital retail ecosystem.

Small businesses will have access to the latest features that were only available to large enterprises – at a reasonable price.

The Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 makes small business workflow more efficient while lowering shipping costs.  The device can be rented starting at $36.99 per month.

Pitney Bowes SendPro C200

As an all-in-one unit, the Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 is controlled with a large color touch screen connected to Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud. This allows you to get the latest information on all shipping costs across carriers, so you can find savings with USPS, UPS or FedEx depending on the shipping service you choose.

With the SendPro C200, you are always up to date with shipping rates.

When you are ready to ship a package, you can weigh it on the integrated scale, select your carrier, compare delivery service and print a shipping label.

Before you send the package, you can verify the address across all three carriers to make sure you are shipping the item to a legitimate location. And once it is shipped, you can track it with secure access from your computer or mobile app so you can keep your customers informed until they get their package.

If you are sending letters or flats, the SendPro C200 can print postage and seal envelopes in one step processing at up to 40 envelopes per minute.

As part of the Pitney Bowes system, you will be able to get discounts with USPS retail rates and negotiated discounts. And as a certified provider of UPS, Pitney Bowes can help you with UPS savings on next day air, ground and residential.

The fact that the SendPro C200 lets you choose between carriers has become even more important with the announcement of a planned rate increase by the USPS beginning Jan. 27, 2019.

If approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the change would raise the price of a First Class Mail Forever Stamps from 50 to 55 cents while First-Class metered letters would rise in cost from 47 cents to 50 cents — still a 5 cent savings over stamps.

Meanwhile, additional ounces for First-Class letters will decrease from 21 cents to 15 cents. However, product prices for mail services are expected to see a 2.5 percent hike while Priority Mail increases by 5.9 percent and Priority Mail Express by 3.9 percent.

With Pitney Bowes’ new product, clients can save money despite the rate changes by using it to choose the least expensive option amongst a variety of carriers.

Growth of Shipping

According to the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index, the total number of shipped parcels globally grew by 17% in 2017 to 74.4 billion. In the US, it was up by 8% to 11.9 billion.

This growth is in great part being driven by ecommerce, which has made shipping an integral part of small business operations, and one that gets more expensive every year. Mailing and shipping costs therefore are becoming a growing concern.

In an exclusive interview with Small Business Trends, Chris Giles, Vice President of Global Product Management, at Pitney Bowes, gave our small business audience some of the ways they can save on shipping earlier this year.

The three ways a small business can do to save on shipping are by being accurate when calculating rates, always seeking out discounts, and making the right selection of carrier.

Weigh your mail with a scale so you don’t overpay on shipping packages. The SendPro C200 has a built-in scale and is digitally connected so all rates are always up to date.

Carrier discounts for volume are often lower than you might think. Pitney Bowes has pre-negotiated a 3 cents postage discount with the USPS. When you are shipping through an authorized vendor or are shipping a volume of mail, you can get discounts that are often up to 39% off the retail rate.

With SendPro C200 you can switch between carriers to get the best price for the type of package, destination and delivery time you need. The same package going to Maine will cost three different amounts depending on whether you select USPS, UPS or FedEx — and USPS isn’t always the cheapest option. Check the rates to make sure you are getting the best one.

Bottom line: When it comes to saving money on shipping, the Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 does it all.

Photo: Pitney Bowes

This article, "Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 Helps Businesses Save on Postage" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 Helps Businesses Save on Postage

Sponsored Post

Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 Helps Businesses Save on Postage

Shipping costs go up every year and for small businesses it means losing a bigger chunk from their bottom line. The Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 is a comprehensive shipping and mailing solution which will automate the shipping process and save you money while doing it.

This is a fully integrated all-in-one solution designed to simplify shipping and mailing from a single station. There is no more guess work in your small business. You are ready to process your mail and packages for shipping with SendPro C200.

As the company says, you will be able to identify, locate, communicate, ship and pay enabling the full commerce continuum of today’s physical and digital retail ecosystem.

Small businesses will have access to the latest features that were only available to large enterprises – at a reasonable price.

The Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 makes small business workflow more efficient while lowering shipping costs.  The device can be rented starting at $36.99 per month.

Pitney Bowes SendPro C200

As an all-in-one unit, the Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 is controlled with a large color touch screen connected to Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud. This allows you to get the latest information on all shipping costs across carriers, so you can find savings with USPS, UPS or FedEx depending on the shipping service you choose.

With the SendPro C200, you are always up to date with shipping rates.

When you are ready to ship a package, you can weigh it on the integrated scale, select your carrier, compare delivery service and print a shipping label.

Before you send the package, you can verify the address across all three carriers to make sure you are shipping the item to a legitimate location. And once it is shipped, you can track it with secure access from your computer or mobile app so you can keep your customers informed until they get their package.

If you are sending letters or flats, the SendPro C200 can print postage and seal envelopes in one step processing at up to 40 envelopes per minute.

As part of the Pitney Bowes system, you will be able to get discounts with USPS retail rates and negotiated discounts. And as a certified provider of UPS, Pitney Bowes can help you with UPS savings on next day air, ground and residential.

The fact that the SendPro C200 lets you choose between carriers has become even more important with the announcement of a planned rate increase by the USPS beginning Jan. 27, 2019.

If approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, the change would raise the price of a First Class Mail Forever Stamps from 50 to 55 cents while First-Class metered letters would rise in cost from 47 cents to 50 cents — still a 5 cent savings over stamps.

Meanwhile, additional ounces for First-Class letters will decrease from 21 cents to 15 cents. However, product prices for mail services are expected to see a 2.5 percent hike while Priority Mail increases by 5.9 percent and Priority Mail Express by 3.9 percent.

With Pitney Bowes’ new product, clients can save money despite the rate changes by using it to choose the least expensive option amongst a variety of carriers.

Growth of Shipping

According to the Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index, the total number of shipped parcels globally grew by 17% in 2017 to 74.4 billion. In the US, it was up by 8% to 11.9 billion.

This growth is in great part being driven by ecommerce, which has made shipping an integral part of small business operations, and one that gets more expensive every year. Mailing and shipping costs therefore are becoming a growing concern.

In an exclusive interview with Small Business Trends, Chris Giles, Vice President of Global Product Management, at Pitney Bowes, gave our small business audience some of the ways they can save on shipping earlier this year.

The three ways a small business can do to save on shipping are by being accurate when calculating rates, always seeking out discounts, and making the right selection of carrier.

Weigh your mail with a scale so you don’t overpay on shipping packages. The SendPro C200 has a built-in scale and is digitally connected so all rates are always up to date.

Carrier discounts for volume are often lower than you might think. Pitney Bowes has pre-negotiated a 3 cents postage discount with the USPS. When you are shipping through an authorized vendor or are shipping a volume of mail, you can get discounts that are often up to 39% off the retail rate.

With SendPro C200 you can switch between carriers to get the best price for the type of package, destination and delivery time you need. The same package going to Maine will cost three different amounts depending on whether you select USPS, UPS or FedEx — and USPS isn’t always the cheapest option. Check the rates to make sure you are getting the best one.

Bottom line: When it comes to saving money on shipping, the Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 does it all.

Photo: Pitney Bowes

This article, "Pitney Bowes SendPro C200 Helps Businesses Save on Postage" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday 2018

Small Business Saturday 2018 is around the corner, as communities gear up for a day of supporting small businesses across the United States.

If you’re a small business, an employee at a small business, or a supporter of small businesses and want to become involved in Small Business Saturday 2018, take a look at everything you need to know about this day dedicated to supporting small businesses.

Small Business Saturday is always celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Small Business Saturday 2018 is taking place on November 24.

Unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which focus on larger retailers and ecommerce stores, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to shop at predominantly small and local retailers and to use small, local service such as restaurants and other independent local businesses.

By encouraging people to ‘Shop Small’, Small Business Saturday helps bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.

The campaign was launched in 2010 by American Express, a time when many small businesses in the United States were struggling as a result of the recession.

The Small Business Coalition was also formed this year, made up of non-profit trade groups, public officials and municipalities, designed to actively encourage consumers to shop small.

A year later, the small business movement had gained national support, with many businesses and organizations across the country acknowledging and promoting Small Business Saturday. The same year, the Senate passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday.

Support for the movement continues to grow and in 2013, more than 1,400 organizations and individuals had signed up as Neighborhood Champions, promoting and participating in community activities and events on Small Business Saturday.

By 2017, the number of Neighborhood Champions across the country had grown to over 7,200. The movement has been a resounding success. As American Express notes, since the initiative began, consumers in the U.S. have reported spending an estimated $85 billion at local, independent retailers and restaurants.

Consumers remain supportive of the campaign, with 90% of shoppers believing it has a positive impact on their community.

Small Business Saturday 2018 Local Events

On November 24, 2018, communities across the United States will be hosting events and activities in celebration of Small Business Saturday 2018.

One key event is taking place at the New York Chamber of Commerce. Hosted by Watkins Glen in the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, the event will kick-off the Small Business Saturday 2018 party, with pop-up stores, crafts for kids, a story hour, a welcome station for shoppers, and much more.

Meanwhile, over in Santa Monica, the Montana Avenue Merchants Association, Buy Local Santa Monica and Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, are taking part in an event of fun and festivities to mark and celebrate Small Business Saturday 2018.

The event will see Montana Avenue lined with participating merchants offering special deals and promotions, as well surprises unveiled on the day.

On Small Business Saturday 2018, Neighborhood Champions in all 50 states will be taking to the streets, working tirelessly to unite shoppers and small businesses. These champions of small businesses will be handing out Shop Small tote bags, balloons, posters and more, to small businesses and shoppers to help raise awareness and support.

You can find out about Small Business Saturday 2018 local events taking place on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page @SmallBusinessSaturday.

Promote Your Own Business and the Small Business Movement

If you own a small business and would like to become involved in Small Business Saturday, you can download posters, email templates, social posts, and more, from the Shop Small Studio to show you are involved and promoting this small business movement.

Compliments of American Express, these downloadable materials, which include how-to videos, event planning advice and calendars, and everything you’ll need to promote your business and spread the word, are all free from the Shop Small store.

Plan a Small Business Saturday 2018 Event

If you’re a small business supporter keen to become involved in this national campaign, why not host your own local event? Whether it’s a pop-up market, a food festival, or a kick-off breakfast, organizing a local event will help bring your community together and help connect customers with local business.

Use the American Express Event Flyer and Event Planning Checklist to help promote your Small Business Saturday event.

Or simply get out on November 24 and shop or eat out at a small local business. Invite friends and family to shop and dine with you, as when it comes to supporting small businesses – the more the merrier.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday 2018" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday 2018

Small Business Saturday 2018 is around the corner, as communities gear up for a day of supporting small businesses across the United States.

If you’re a small business, an employee at a small business, or a supporter of small businesses and want to become involved in Small Business Saturday 2018, take a look at everything you need to know about this day dedicated to supporting small businesses.

Small Business Saturday is always celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and Small Business Saturday 2018 is taking place on November 24.

Unlike Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which focus on larger retailers and ecommerce stores, Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to shop at predominantly small and local retailers and to use small, local service such as restaurants and other independent local businesses.

By encouraging people to ‘Shop Small’, Small Business Saturday helps bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.

The campaign was launched in 2010 by American Express, a time when many small businesses in the United States were struggling as a result of the recession.

The Small Business Coalition was also formed this year, made up of non-profit trade groups, public officials and municipalities, designed to actively encourage consumers to shop small.

A year later, the small business movement had gained national support, with many businesses and organizations across the country acknowledging and promoting Small Business Saturday. The same year, the Senate passed a resolution in support of Small Business Saturday.

Support for the movement continues to grow and in 2013, more than 1,400 organizations and individuals had signed up as Neighborhood Champions, promoting and participating in community activities and events on Small Business Saturday.

By 2017, the number of Neighborhood Champions across the country had grown to over 7,200. The movement has been a resounding success. As American Express notes, since the initiative began, consumers in the U.S. have reported spending an estimated $85 billion at local, independent retailers and restaurants.

Consumers remain supportive of the campaign, with 90% of shoppers believing it has a positive impact on their community.

Small Business Saturday 2018 Local Events

On November 24, 2018, communities across the United States will be hosting events and activities in celebration of Small Business Saturday 2018.

One key event is taking place at the New York Chamber of Commerce. Hosted by Watkins Glen in the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, the event will kick-off the Small Business Saturday 2018 party, with pop-up stores, crafts for kids, a story hour, a welcome station for shoppers, and much more.

Meanwhile, over in Santa Monica, the Montana Avenue Merchants Association, Buy Local Santa Monica and Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, are taking part in an event of fun and festivities to mark and celebrate Small Business Saturday 2018.

The event will see Montana Avenue lined with participating merchants offering special deals and promotions, as well surprises unveiled on the day.

On Small Business Saturday 2018, Neighborhood Champions in all 50 states will be taking to the streets, working tirelessly to unite shoppers and small businesses. These champions of small businesses will be handing out Shop Small tote bags, balloons, posters and more, to small businesses and shoppers to help raise awareness and support.

You can find out about Small Business Saturday 2018 local events taking place on the Small Business Saturday Facebook page @SmallBusinessSaturday.

Promote Your Own Business and the Small Business Movement

If you own a small business and would like to become involved in Small Business Saturday, you can download posters, email templates, social posts, and more, from the Shop Small Studio to show you are involved and promoting this small business movement.

Compliments of American Express, these downloadable materials, which include how-to videos, event planning advice and calendars, and everything you’ll need to promote your business and spread the word, are all free from the Shop Small store.

Plan a Small Business Saturday 2018 Event

If you’re a small business supporter keen to become involved in this national campaign, why not host your own local event? Whether it’s a pop-up market, a food festival, or a kick-off breakfast, organizing a local event will help bring your community together and help connect customers with local business.

Use the American Express Event Flyer and Event Planning Checklist to help promote your Small Business Saturday event.

Or simply get out on November 24 and shop or eat out at a small local business. Invite friends and family to shop and dine with you, as when it comes to supporting small businesses – the more the merrier.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Everything You Need to Know About Small Business Saturday 2018" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Google Shares Tips for Attracting More Customers Online This Holiday Season

Online Ad Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season is responsible for generating a large percentage of the yearly profits for many businesses. A new infographic from Google wants to help you prepare your site and ads for the increased activity which will come your way as the season moves along.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the holiday sales during November and December 2017 was up 5.5% with a total of $691.9 billion. The NFR is predicting the numbers for 2018 will be higher yet again, with a forecast that says the sales could hit $720.89 billion.

It is important to note the NRF came in short of its $678.75 billion to $682 billion forecast for 2017. So, the numbers could be much higher.

Online Ad Tips for the Holiday Season

For many small business owners who are now just as much online, or more, as they are with their brick and mortar presence, this infographic offers a wealth of information.

Google Insights

It is a given traffic is considerably higher during the holiday season. The numbers Google highlights are significant enough businesses should seriously consider making the necessary changes to optimize their sites.

How much is the increase? According to Google, it is 22.11% on Thanksgiving, 23.11% on Black Friday, 26.11% on Cyber Monday, 25.12% on Christmas, and 31.12 on New Year.

Prepare your Ads

Google says you should get ready for the holiday season by preparing your ads so you can get more from Google AdSense.

To do this you should use responsive ads so your ads look the same no matter what device people open them in. As Google points out, searchers hunt for gifts on multiple devices and without responsive ads, the long load times can result in high abandonment rates.

You can further get your ads ready and make the profitably using Ad Balance to show only the best performing ads. This will create more space for your holiday content.

Speaking of content, you should also create more holiday content to populate the space with Auto ads.

Last but not least, make your ads more viewable by placing them in different locations or sizes for your users. Once you have made these changes, it is time to attract more users to your site.

Attracting More Users

Attracting users to their site is one of the biggest challenges small business owners face. The competition is fierce, not only from local small businesses but also from other small and large retailers from around the world.

The infographic says you should offer searchers more choice. As an example, Google says mobile searches for “Stores like …” are up 60% in the last two years.

By figuring out what store your store is similar to and adding them to your keywords is one way to get more eyes on your site.

The next suggestion is to increase your mobile presence by creating a mobile site or app just for the holidays. With 64% of smartphone shoppers searching on their device to get ideas before they go to a store, this is a great way to get them walking through your front door.

Google also recommends trying video and knowing your audience better.

You can take a look at the rest of the suggestion from Google in the infographic below.

Online Ad Tips for the Holiday Season

Image: Google AdSense

This article, "Google Shares Tips for Attracting More Customers Online This Holiday Season" was first published on Small Business Trends



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How to Improve your Business’s Credit Score

While business confidence levels in the UK have remained relatively high in recent times, it appears as though the looming spectre of Brexit is finally beginning to take its toll. Most tellingly, the ICAEW Business Confidence Monitor showed that sentiment declined sharply at the beginning of the fourth quarter, falling to -12.3 in October. To put this into perspective, it’s the lowest level since April 2009, when the country was managing the fall-out from the great recession.

business credit score

While entrepreneurs may be growing increasingly concerned as Brexit approaches, however, it’s important that they take practical steps to safeguard their ventures. One of the most important measures is to improve (or at least consolidate) your credit score, so here are some simple steps you achieve this:

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The post How to Improve your Business’s Credit Score appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.



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Google Shares Tips for Attracting More Customers Online This Holiday Season

Online Ad Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday shopping season is responsible for generating a large percentage of the yearly profits for many businesses. A new infographic from Google wants to help you prepare your site and ads for the increased activity which will come your way as the season moves along.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the holiday sales during November and December 2017 was up 5.5% with a total of $691.9 billion. The NFR is predicting the numbers for 2018 will be higher yet again, with a forecast that says the sales could hit $720.89 billion.

It is important to note the NRF came in short of its $678.75 billion to $682 billion forecast for 2017. So, the numbers could be much higher.

Online Ad Tips for the Holiday Season

For many small business owners who are now just as much online, or more, as they are with their brick and mortar presence, this infographic offers a wealth of information.

Google Insights

It is a given traffic is considerably higher during the holiday season. The numbers Google highlights are significant enough businesses should seriously consider making the necessary changes to optimize their sites.

How much is the increase? According to Google, it is 22.11% on Thanksgiving, 23.11% on Black Friday, 26.11% on Cyber Monday, 25.12% on Christmas, and 31.12 on New Year.

Prepare your Ads

Google says you should get ready for the holiday season by preparing your ads so you can get more from Google AdSense.

To do this you should use responsive ads so your ads look the same no matter what device people open them in. As Google points out, searchers hunt for gifts on multiple devices and without responsive ads, the long load times can result in high abandonment rates.

You can further get your ads ready and make the profitably using Ad Balance to show only the best performing ads. This will create more space for your holiday content.

Speaking of content, you should also create more holiday content to populate the space with Auto ads.

Last but not least, make your ads more viewable by placing them in different locations or sizes for your users. Once you have made these changes, it is time to attract more users to your site.

Attracting More Users

Attracting users to their site is one of the biggest challenges small business owners face. The competition is fierce, not only from local small businesses but also from other small and large retailers from around the world.

The infographic says you should offer searchers more choice. As an example, Google says mobile searches for “Stores like …” are up 60% in the last two years.

By figuring out what store your store is similar to and adding them to your keywords is one way to get more eyes on your site.

The next suggestion is to increase your mobile presence by creating a mobile site or app just for the holidays. With 64% of smartphone shoppers searching on their device to get ideas before they go to a store, this is a great way to get them walking through your front door.

Google also recommends trying video and knowing your audience better.

You can take a look at the rest of the suggestion from Google in the infographic below.

Online Ad Tips for the Holiday Season

Image: Google AdSense

This article, "Google Shares Tips for Attracting More Customers Online This Holiday Season" was first published on Small Business Trends



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Spotlight: Online Product Photography Creates Quality Visuals for Ecommerce Companies

Spotlight: Online Product Photography Company Creates Quality Visuals for Ecommerce

If you have an ecommerce company, you probably know the importance of offering quality visuals for your site. Online Product Photography knows that more than most. The company actually started as a retailer and switched over to photography after they couldn’t find a quality solution for their own needs. Read more about the team’s journey below in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Offers a variety of product photography options for ecommerce businesses.

Co-founder Peter Geerts told Small Business Trends, “When consumers buy online or via a catalogue they only have a picture or a video to rely on, hence you want to make sure you showcase your great products in the best possible way. Whether you are a small eCommerce start-up or a multinational company, we can offer the right solution tailored to your needs. From simple eCommerce product pack shots to 360 degrees product presentations or video & 3D modelling, we offer it all.”

Business Niche

Covering all aspects of the process.

Geerts says, “At Online Product Photography we provide free account management for all our clients. It’s a deliberate choice as many of our competitors just try to offer the lowest possible price per picture. We don’t believe this could ever be a sustainable business model, as professional product photography is very complex and believe you pay for quality. Therefore, we help all our customers in finding the perfect solution within their budget constraints. Contracting a product photographer can be very stressful and customers might wonder if they are missing out on important details or opportunities. Therefore, we have a dedicated account manager for every client that assist them from start to finish.”

Spotlight: Online Product Photography Company Creates Quality Visuals for Ecommerce

How the Business Got Started

As a furniture company.

Geerts explains, “Our business started when our company started a furniture project. We realized quickly that a good photographer for our products was vital. When we searched online, we found a lot of small businesses that offered product photography services, but most of them have poor websites, no price indication or a difficult order process. We realized quickly that we could make more money in the photography business than with our furniture project if we could have a certain scale and a professional framework.”

Biggest Win

Opening product photography studios all over Europe.

Geerts says, “This gave us a lot of flexibility. By opening multiple studios, we could lower the waiting time for our our customers and at the same time improve our product service. Furthermore, every studio is specialized in different services and they have a different cost structure. The latter allows us to maximize profits.”

Biggest Risk

Opening a Product Photography studio in Bucharest, Romania.

Geerts adds, “We were very skeptical in the beginning as had no experience of working in Eastern Europe and we had no idea about the quality they could offer. All our studios till then were in Western Europe (London, Paris, Madrid). The risk was enormous, as one unhappy client can destroy your reputation. We traveled several times to Romania in order to prepare the opening of our photo studio there. After all, it turned out that Romanian photographers are just as motivated (or maybe even more) than Spanish, French or British ones. We never regretted opening the studio there, but it could have a very negative impact on our business.”

Lesson Learned

Control as much of the process as possible.

Geerts says, “In the beginning, we subcontracted special services, like 360 degree photography or ghost mannequin photography. But in the service world, it’s very annoying when you depend on third parties. There is nothing more frustrating when you promise a client they will receive their photos by a certain date and your subcontractor does not deliver on time.”

Spotlight: Online Product Photography Company Creates Quality Visuals for Ecommerce

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Purchasing more equipment and studio space.

Geerts says, “We would definitely further invest in state of the art equipment (360 degree and model robots) and secondly open more studios in other European countries like Germany and The Netherlands as eCommerce is also booming in those countries.”

Team Tradition

Rotating annual events.

Geerts explains, “As we have offices all over Europe and the UK, we gather every year in a different country for a team building event. One team is hosting the event and invites all colleagues from the other countries. We saw it’s a fun and engaging way to share the best practices from one studio to another. Despite the high travel costs, we never regretted organizing a single event as we always saw an immediate positive impact. (Better quality, reduced costs, standardization,…)”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Online Product Photography, Facebook

This article, "Spotlight: Online Product Photography Creates Quality Visuals for Ecommerce Companies" was first published on Small Business Trends



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