Tuesday, March 5, 2019

small business

small business


Berks organization launches small-business podcast - Reading Eagle

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 07:03 PM PST

"The Small Business Resource Show" is a weekly show that features interviews from members of the Small Business Resource Association.

Written by Reading Eagle

A new Berks County organization aimed at small businesses announced it launched a podcast and teamed up with a veteran business podcaster.

"The Small Business Resource Show" is a weekly podcast that features interviews from members of the Small Business Resource Association as well as SBRA staff, hosted by podcaster Justin Schenck of the Growth Now Movement.

"The show was created as a tool small-business owners could use to learn more about growing small business in a world that favors big business," said Mark Kramer, chief marketing officer at the SBRA, which is in the Good Life Financial building, 2395 Lancaster Pike, Cumru Township.

Realizing that small-business owners sometimes find it difficult to find the time to attend workshops and seminars the SBRA offers to provide the knowledge and training, "The SBR Show" provides them with an opportunity to access that information on their own time. Podcast topics are new each week and feature information about marketing, sales training, business financing, self-improvement and how to adapt in today's business marketplace.

"The SBR Show" is featured on Apple iTunes and is also accessible to members on the SBRA website, sbrassociation.org.

SBA offers remote access tips for small business

Whether employees or vendors use company-issued devices or their own, if they're connecting to your network, security should be priority No. 1. Here are a few tips from the Small Business Administration:

Change any preset router passwords and the default name of your router. And keep the router's software up to date, which may mean regular visits to the manufacturer's website for the latest security patches.

Consider enabling full-disk encryption for laptops and other mobile devices that connect remotely to your network. Check your operating system for this option, which will protect data stored on the device if they're lost or stolen, a particular concern if the device contains sensitive information.

Change smartphone settings to stop automatic connections to public Wi-Fi.

Keep up-to-date antivirus software on all devices that connect to your network.

Require employees and vendors to use secure connections when connecting remotely to your network.

Over 90 Searcy businesses apply for Small Business Revolution - THV11.com KTHV

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 05:12 PM PST

SEARCY, Ark. — Dozens of small businesses in Searcy have already applied for their chance to be featured on the Hulu show Small Business Revolution.

Searcy was revealed as the grand prize winner last week after a four-month-long application process. Small Business Revolution will pick six businesses in Searcy to be featured on the show. Those businesses get a complete makeover and advice from the shows hosts Ty Pennington and Amanda Brinkman.

"I'm just so excited [about it], I can feel my heart start racing again," Jo Ellis said.

Ellis is the proud owner of a nonprofit called "Make.Do.," the goal of her business is to bring people together through creativity.

Ellis runs her business mostly by herself, which is why she is hoping to be picked for Small Business Revolution. Since starting her business in 2016, she has put together the logo, website and physical space all by herself.

"I've never had any professional strategic planning or advice or council. So it would be an incredible experience for Make.Do. to be able to learn from people who do this for a living," she said.

Mat Faulkner helped get Searcy on the show. He said over 90 small businesses have applied so far.

"It is definitely a makeover show. Deluxe wants to find businesses who really need help with their branding and marketing so they can do a good flip," Faulkner said.

He said owners apply on MySearcy.com and are asked a variety of questions about their businesses.

"They want a variety of types of businesses. So they're not going to have all restaurants or all boutiques, they're going to want a range," Faulkner said.

Ellis said being selected would help take her nonprofit to the next level.

"It would be an amazing experience, but the reality is only 6 businesses get chosen," Ellis said. "This is still going to bless out entire town no matter who gets chosen."

On Friday, March 22, Small Business Revolution hosts Ty Pennington and Amanda Brinkman will announce the six small business winners of the 500-thousand dollar makeover. The party will take place at the Robbins Sanford Grand hall.

Applications for small businesses close Tuesday, March 5.

5 Things for Small Business Owners to Celebrate this Mardi Gras - Nav

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 12:03 AM PST

Today is Mardi Gras – a day filled with beads, bright colors, and probably a little too much food and spirits. Regardless of its excessive overtones, it's still a day meant to celebrate and celebrate we shall. While I can't offer you a delectable slice of King Cake or a glass of traditional milk punch, I can give you some reasons to kick back and enjoy your role as a small business owner.

Here are five reasons you can celebrate this year.

5 Reasons to Celebrate

1. 2019 Is the Year of Personalization

With steep competition coming from all angles, it can be hard for small business owners to gain loyal customers. However, one-way small business owners may overcome this hurdle is through personalization. According to a SalesForce survey, 84 percent of consumers site being treated like a person is of primary importance, and nearly 60 percent say that "tailored engagement based on past interactions is very important" in winning repeat business.

As a small business owner, this puts you and your employees in the prime position to woo customers through personalization. And though this certainly can and should represent the need for data-driven marketing strategies that utilize available consumer info, it also means that small business owners are at a unique advantage.

Unlike big box retailers, small business owners often have the opportunity to cultivate more intimate relationships with their customers and their community, particularly when they pay attention to the details often missed by algorithms and data sets.

2. Local SEO Is Powerful and You're in Control

For many small businesses, dumping dollar after dollar into marketing channels can be difficult, and though a strong marketing budget can certainly help, there are other ways you can boost your brand. This is particularly true when it comes to your local SEO efforts.

Customer reviews play an important part in the big picture. According to a recent study, a full 84 percent of consumers trust internet reviews as much as personal ones. And, according to a recent Google Local Rankings Survey, Google reviews, when combined with social signals (Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.), personalization, behavioral signals (click to call, CTR, etc.) can account for over 30 percent of your ranking.

In other words, the more positive reviews and engagement, the better your chances at locking in a better ranking in your local search results. That may not seem like a big deal, but for small business owners, it means the ability to easily improve and leverage local SEO without killing your budget.

3. It's Never Been Easier to Manage Basic Business Operations – All Hail the Apps

As your business grows, you'll likely need to increase your staffing efforts, particularly when it comes to departments and initiatives that rely on a specific skill set – like marketing and accounting – but if you're fairly new to the game or don't have advanced needs, you're in luck.

Today's business owners have access to thousands of apps that make their everyday life easier. From automating payroll to executing your social strategy, there's "an app for that," and many of them are free or low cost, especially for beginner users.

Plus, since we know that small businesses have the best chance at offering a personalized customer experience, it's worth mentioning that there are even tools that can help you strengthen the bond between you and your customers.

4. Remote Work Is Booming & Small Businesses are Benefiting

For some small businesses, remote workers are out of the question. After all, how could a skilled barista in Austin, TX serve up a piping hot, perfectly poured Latte in Philadelphia, PA. But, for small businesses that aren't limited to real-time, on-premise interactions, advancements in remote work can have real potential.

According to a report by FlexJobs, over 3.9 million Americans worked from home at least part-time, as it's expected that the number will continue to grow.

Why is this good for you?  For one, the opportunity, even if it's occasional, can increase employee satisfaction as well as cut back on some costs. Beyond that, however, the remote workforce can also put you, your employees, and your clients in touch with highly skilled or niche professionals that may not otherwise be available in your immediate area, even if it's just for consulting purposes.

5. Small Business Lending is Thriving, and so are Your Borrowing Options

Though there are some concerns about the future of the economy, that has not stopped small business owners from enjoying a relatively strong period of funding.

As of January 2019, small business loan approvals from traditional, big banks held strong at a 27 percent – a record high that hasn't been seen since the Great Recession. And while big banks and the SBA certainly have made this a friendly climate for small business owners seeking loans, they certainly aren't the only contributing factor.

The rise of online lending, also referred to as fintech lending, has also made it easier for small business owners to access the funds they need, and perhaps more importantly, when they need them. The qualifications and funding time frames vary from lender to lender, many of today's fintech companies have less stringent eligibility requirements and can originate funds as soon as the same business day.

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GDPR: What Small Businesses Need To Know - Forbes

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 05:00 AM PST

If you read financial news with any kind of regularity, you have likely come across the acronym GDPR over the past several months. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. This law was enacted by the European Union and went into full effect in May of 2018. Even if you own a business in the U.S. without a physical presence in the EU, you more than likely have a web presence in the EU that collects data over the internet.

GDPR applies to local content and targeted marketing campaigns and practices, so if you're an American-based service or product company that caters to an EU audience, you're likely affected. At my own company, we refined our security implementation and processes with an outside counsel by reviewing our data supply chains and creating new consent procedures. Based on these recent updates, here are my top lessons on what other business owners need to know.

Compliance Conundrums

Compliance with the GDPR will impact your company in a number of ways. Unless you have already taken steps to ensure that data is handled in detailed and highly specific manners, you will need to do so now.

The first step to take in remaining GDPR-compliant is to communicate with your customers and users — collect consent to receive emails, and update privacy policies and terms of services. In addition, educate them on how their information is being used and, when and if data is submitted, that it will be safeguarded. Creating a transparent message of how customer data will be used builds company integrity and emphasizes your commitment to GDPR compliance.

One of the efforts you may need to make in order to achieve compliance is to alter the way you store personal electronic data. Because any EU resident may request deletion of his or her information, all personal data related to a single individual must be easily accessible in a complete, accurate and portable form. In addition, because individuals must be notified in the event of certain high-risk situations and officials must be alerted in the event of a breach, it will be important to put protocols in place appropriate to these situations. A host of other nuanced requirements may apply to your business, so it is important to seek legal counsel if you need assistance ensuring full and proper compliance.

One of the biggest, and most time-sensitive, GDPR concerns is data breaching. The strict GDPR 72-hour breach notification rule mandates that a company's data controller (an individual who "determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data," per GDPR Section 4) report any event where data is not only stolen but changed, lost or accidentally disclosed within 72 hours of discovery.

For U.S. companies, a state-by-state breakdown is compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, with whom to submit a report to. If your business operates in all 50 states, unfortunately, you would need to submit 50 reports. If deemed to be a high-risk breach where data subjects are adversely affected, personal data breach notifications must be sent out. Unlike the breach notification, there is no immediate deadline for issuing the personal data breach notifications, but they should be sent as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the breach, fines of up to 2% of global revenue may be issued.

What GDPR Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses with more than 250 employees are required to be GDPR-compliant and designate a data protection officer (DPO), an expert of data protection law and procedures. Smaller companies under 250 employees are required to comply with the GDPR if they process personal or sensitive overseas data on a regular basis.

For small businesses that may rely heavily on networking (whether in person or through digital channels) to grow, this can mean putting in more work for not only company expansion but GDPR compliance. Under GDPR, it is illegal for a small business owner to take someone's contact details from a business card or a LinkedIn connection's contact information and add it to a contact list without his/her direct consent; receiving someone's contact information doesn't imply consent.

Large corporations have in-house teams of attorneys to assist in GDPR compliance. Even without such a large resource, small businesses can still achieve GDPR success: Understand GDPR. Know how your company collects data and where potential breaches may occur. Create a consent policy to acquire user personal data, and make sure that it offers an active opt-in option. If this is a large undertaking for you as a small business owner, resources are still available for your disposable. Consider hiring a contractor to assist in remaining GDPR compliant.

Remaining GDPR Compliant

Because GDPR noncompliance can lead to fines and penalties, it is essential to appoint a data controller who is able to demonstrate knowledge and processes of GDPR compliance. This includes data protection policies and how to adhere to GDPR code of conduct. The data controller can be a designated employee of the company, or a contracted individual. The controller must make sure principles are adhered to throughout the whole data processing life cycle, including lawfulness, fairness and transparency, data minimization, accuracy, storage limitation and integrity, and confidentiality of personal data.

Finding The Right Attorney To Help

If you have questions about compliance generally or complying with the General Data Protection Regulation, you should consult with an experienced business attorney. Most GDPR focused lawyers will provide the initial call free of charge to assess your website. When interviewing attorney candidates, look to see if they have prior experience working with companies of similar size to yours, as well as experience completing both domestic and international compliance projects.

GDPR Summary

GDPR is changing the way businesses source and safeguard user data. For small businesses processing data, compliance is within reach. Understanding GDPR, building data users' trust and data usage awareness, and making legal arrangements to safeguard that data are all essential to the process.

The information provided here is not legal advice and does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on any specific matter. For legal advice, you should consult with an attorney concerning your specific situation.

Searcy businesses apply for Small Business Revolution makeover - THV11.com KTHV

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 04:59 PM PST

Dozens of small businesses in Searcy have already applied for their chance to be featured on the Hulu show Small Business Revolution.

Published: 6:52 PM CST March 4, 2019

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