Small Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. -

Small Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. - lehighvalleylive.comSmall Business Saturday draws 40+ Lehigh Valley participants. Here are their deals. - lehighvalleylive.comPosted: 29 May 2020 04:42 PM PDT More than 40 Lehigh Valley small business owners Saturday will be offering virtual deals on what they say will be one of their biggest shopping sales annually.Small Business Saturday typically is timed for following Black Friday in November. The nationwide effort for the past decade encourages communities to shop local as it kicks off the busiest shopping season of the year.The chamber is moving this year to hold the event twice -- this time with social distancing -- as many businesses struggle to survive financially during the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close their doors on March 19. Restaurants were then forced to offer menu items by takeout only with curbside pickup or delivery.Lehigh Val…

Microsoft: Multi-Factor Authentication Is 99 Percent Effective…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week - Forbes

Microsoft: Multi-Factor Authentication Is 99 Percent Effective…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week - Forbes

Microsoft: Multi-Factor Authentication Is 99 Percent Effective…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week - Forbes

Posted: 01 Sep 2019 04:00 AM PDT

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Microsoft says that multi-factor authentication blocks 99% of account hacks.

If users want to block 99% of automated attacks, Microsoft is saying that enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) will do the trick. The strategy will work for profiles other than Microsoft accounts as well, and it is recommended that MFA is enabled no matter what other security measures simple or complex are in place. Google also echoed the advice this past May, explaining that users who choose to provide a recovery phone number were strengthening the security of their account, making it seem like multi-factor authentication is the way to go. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

If your employees are gaining entry into their systems using just a password then you're asking for trouble. Most of the big tech companies – like Microsoft – say that multi-factor authentication (where a text, fingerprint or email is also required periodically) is 99% effective. You need to make sure you've setup the same type of security on your system.

2 — Google will shut down Google Hire in 2020.

After launching a mere two years ago, job application tracking system by Google called Google Hire will be shutting down. The idea behind Google Hire which was geared mainly toward small to medium-sized businesses was to streamline the process of hiring individuals in a way that seamlessly combined those steps with the capabilities in G Suite, such as scheduling interviews through calendar, etc. Google announced that despite the system's success they would like to focus more on other elements of Google. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Two lessons here. The first is that Google Hire is going away so if you've been using it you'll need to consider other similar applications like LinkedIn or Indeed. More importantly, it never ceases to amaze me how willing Google is to send apps or products that aren't performing up to expectations right to the graveyard. We should all be as decisive when it comes to our products and services, right?

3 — QuickBooks simplifies health insurance for small business owners.

QuickBooks Online Payroll customers will now be able to easily and affordably support their employees from within QuickBooks through their integration with the online platform SimplyInsured. The integration will now allow small businesses to compare plans in order to find the ones that best suit their budget and once they have chosen a plan easily apply. (Source: Business Wire)

Why this is important for your business:

Intuit's focus is on helping streamline and simplify insurance benefits for businesses owners in an effort to encourage them to offer quality health insurance for your employees. It seems to be a potentially good way to simplify the choices we face and help us make better decisions. Given so many of us use QuickBooks, it's a service worth looking at.

4 — Verizon will automatically opt Android customers into its anti-robocall app.

Verizon will now be automatically enrolling Android users who are deemed eligible in their Call Filter Service, which will help block incessant robocalls and spam by either forwarding calls right to voicemail or detailing that the call could be spam in the caller ID. Android users who pay-as-they-go and those users who have iOS will still be required to manually download the app. (Source: Engadget

Why this is important for your business:

I'm a Verizon customer that receives dozens of robocalls a day and can't wait to see this feature enacted.

5— Yelp will let users personalize their homepage and search results

Yelp users will now be able to personalize their homepage and search results based on what they specify in their personal preferences. Unlike other apps that also personalize user experience, Yelp isn't using an algorithm. Instead they are explicitly relying on your answers to the questions they give, allowing for users to change their preferences as needed. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Rather than having to reenter information each time a search is done such as dietary restrictions or lifestyle once preferences are updated, Yelp will keep those moving forward, filtering out unrelated or unwanted results. This should be a faster and more accurate methodology for keeping your Yelp pages current.

10 Unique Strategies and Expert Tips for Your Small Business - Small Business Trends

Posted: 31 Aug 2019 09:00 AM PDT

Is your business stuck in neutral? If you want to take things to the next level, you might need to access new tools and resources. Things like video marketing, expert insights and even memes can help you break out of a rut and help you grow effectively. Here are tips from members of the online small business community for utilizing these strategies.

Boost Your Traffic With Video Marketing

Video can be a powerful medium for getting a message across to your potential customers. But it can also help you drive traffic to your website and other online content. Learn more about this process and how to make the most of it for your business in this Search Engine Watch post by Nat McNeely.

Learn How to Use Memes for Your Marketing Message

If you've spent any time online over the past several years, then you're probably familiar with memes. But what you might not know is that they can actually help your marketing efforts. Julia Enthoven dives into the concept and offers some helpful tips in this Social Media Examiner post.

Stand Out from the Competition on Social Media

Your business probably already uses some social media platforms for promotion and communication. But chances are, your competitors use them too. If you want your business to stand out, read the tips in this post by Moss Clement of Moss Media. Then see what BizSugar members are saying about the post here.

Survive SEO Algorithm Changes

SEO can be one of the most effective online marketing tactics for any business. But constant algorithm updates can change things in an instant. If you want to survive those upgrades, you might want to follow instructions that come right from the source — Google. Neil Patel explores Google's advice in this blog post.

Use Squeeze Pages to Generate Leads

Are you dissatisfied with how your website is performing in terms of lead generation? You might be better off driving new potential customers to a squeeze page instead of your basic home page. Michal Leszczynski examines the concept and offers tips for using squeeze pages in this GetResponse post.

Boost Your Business with Marketing Podcasts

If you're looking for new ways to improve your company's marketing strategy, you might be able to find some unique tips and insights from podcasts. In this TopRank Marketing post, Lane Ellis lists ten options for marketers to add to their regular rotation.

Address the Cyber Skills Education Gap

If you have a small team working for your small business, you might notice a difference in skills when it comes to using various tech tools. Instead of only seeking out people who already have specific, in-demand skills, you can use education to close that gap. David Wagner elaborates in this post on the SMB CEO blog.

Learn from Other Google My Business Listings

Google My Business can be a very effective way for local companies to reach new customers. If you want to make the most of it, you could try learning from what others are doing. In this Bright Local post and video, Kristian Bannister details findings from a recent study and explains what they mean for other companies.

Get Motivated by Expert Entrepreneurs

Motivation is essential for running any successful venture. If you're feeling a bit unmotivated, it can help to turn to the experts. Carol Roth shares motivation from more than 150 entrepreneurs in this post. And BizSugar members weighed in with thoughts here.

Save Money for Your Business

No matter what types of marketing or growth strategies you want to try for your business, you probably need some kind of funding. If you're not able to access extra capital, you need to find ways to save money on your regular operations. Check out this Daily Bits post by Fleur Hamilton for tips.

If you'd like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:


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Recession Warning Signs Are Flashing. 4 Tips To Protect Your Small Business During A Downturn. - Forbes

Posted: 31 Aug 2019 10:45 AM PDT

Provided by Ivy Walker

Three out of four economists predict that the US economy will enter a recession by 2021. Some economists are predicting that the next recession could be deeper and more severe than the previous one in light of the fact that business and household debts are at higher levels than they were prior to the Great Recession of 2007-09, a global trade war is ramping up and there's been a significant increase in the federal debt.

Small Businesses Take A Bigger Hit During Recessions

According to a study conducted by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, recessions hit smaller firms much harder than larger ones. Without access to the kind of reserves large corporations often have, small businesses have a difficult time absorbing declines in customer spending. The simultaneous pullback in bank lending can sap small firms' ability to fund day-to-day operations. This inevitably leads to an increase in bankruptcies and business closures. 

While a recession and the resulting impacts on customer spending and bank credit are outside of entrepreneurs' control, one important and often overlooked factor remains firmly within it: Preparation.

According to a famous economic adage: "economic expansions don't die of old age". They are inevitable. Just as you think about and make plans for business growth, it's also imperative to think about and make plans for a downturn in business.

Photo provided by Nick Gialamas

Surviving and Thriving During a Downturn

Nick Gialamas knows a thing or two about making plans. His company, Forest Financial Group—an employee benefits consulting firm, survived—and thrived—during two recessions before being sold to HUB International in 2015.

"I started my company in 1998 at the height of the tech boom", he says. "We came into the market focused on technology start-ups. In 2001, the bottom fell out of the tech market. Recession hit and those businesses started closing or downsizing.  We were selling employee benefits, primarily health insurance, to employers. We were definitely not a recession-proof business."

Gialamas had to learn how to sustain a major hit fairly early in the lifecycle of his company.

"The first thing I learned was don't panic. Markets go down and businesses downsize. Recessions impact all of us. I realized as I was struggling, so were many of my clients. I needed to be sure to stay positive. I started asking myself how can I help them get through the issues in their businesses? I had to get creative and come up with solutions to help them save on their healthcare spend. It was also a good opportunity to find new customers."

Gialamas says the lessons he learned during his first recession helped him to prepare his business for the next one, the Great Recession, which was far worse.

"One of the most important things I learned is you've got to stress test your business", he says. "You have to think about how you survive the worse-case scenario. We did this annually."

"When we looked at it, a lot of our business was coming from a few big accounts. So, what would happen if a recession caused us to lose one of those accounts? We figured out that we needed to be prepared for that possibility, and always be out selling so that we could sustain the loss of any business during a downturn."

Gialamas offers this advice to entrepreneurs:

  1. Selling cures everything - "Grow the top line and it will solve for a lot of your problems."
  2. Stress-test your business - "Do an annual SWOT analysis. Know what your strengths are and figure out how to strengthen your weaknesses. Think about how you'll manage profitability, how you'll retain employees. Look for additional streams of revenue."
  3. Focus on what you're good at - "Focus is critical. You don't want to get dispersed in too many different directions. Focus on what you are really good at and then build from there. We focused on employee benefits/healthcare insurance. We didn't branch out into offering all other kinds of insurance products. We stuck to what we were good at."
  4. Get creative with how you service your clients - "We realized that smaller was better because what we lacked in size, we were able to make up with the ability to get things done. We didn't have bureaucracy. We spent our time focusing on fostering incredible relationships with our customers, partners and vendors.

"Recessions don't last forever," Gialamas says. "Figuring out how you can survive and thrive ahead of time is the key."

Small Businesses in Focus at Fleet Week - NBC Southern California

Posted: 31 Aug 2019 11:37 PM PDT

Local small business owners graduate Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program - Nebraska City News Press

Posted: 31 Aug 2019 11:03 PM PDT

DES MOINES — A year ago at the 2018 Iowa State Fair, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses made a commitment to serve entrepreneurs in rural and urban communities across Iowa. On Aug. 9, the program returned to the iconic State Fair to celebrate its first two cohorts of 73 Iowa entrepreneurs, joined by Gov. Kim Reynolds, supermodel and entrepreneur Tyra Banks and Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO David Solomon.

Business owners represented diverse industries, including farming and welding, and hailed from 20 different counties statewide. Small business owners and their families, friends and employees had a front row seat to a modern take on a commencement speech – a conversation with Tyra Banks, moderated by David Solomon. The conversation explored Banks' career and her perspective on programs such as Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses — including the value of investing in growing your skillset and knowledge.

"I want to offer my congratulations to the graduates, their families and employees," said David M. Solomon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "The success of this program in Iowa was made possible by all of our local and national partners, including Governor Reynolds and President Denson. We were thrilled to celebrate the innovation and determination of small business owners, and I was able to see first-hand how they are applying the program's lessons to drive economic growth and opportunity across Iowa."

"Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is truly unique - a proven model providing business owners with the tools they need to succeed through access to business education, capital and support services," said Reynolds. "Goldman Sachs is known for being a smart investor – and their investment in the small businesses of Iowa is no exception. We're proud to have a partner in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses to help lift and empower Iowa's main street small businesses."

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses helps entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education and business support services. The program, which is provided at no cost with support from the Goldman Sachs Foundation, offers a curriculum designed in partnership with Babson College, recently named No. 1 for Entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report for the 22nd year in a row.

"DMACC has enjoyed leading this statewide effort working with the Goldman Sachs Foundation to improve the economic prospects of small businesses. This important program advances the State of Iowa, our communities, and the growth of participating companies. Our team looks forward to continuing to bring 10,000 Small Businesses to Iowa's business community" stated Rob Denson, DMACC President.

Local graduates include (1st Class) Dylan Book, BigDeal Enterprises, Adel; (2nd Class) Clint Dudley, Shade Tree Auto, Grimes; (2nd Class) Elizabeth Holland, Adel Veterinary Clinic, Adel; (2nd Class) Lisa Thilges, Prairie View Animal Hospital, Grimes; (1st Class) Mike Vaughn, BDI Signs, Grimes.

To date, more than 8,600 small business owners from all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have graduated from the program. Program results are strong: 67 percent of graduates see revenue growth six months after completing the program; 47 percent report creating net new jobs six months after completing the program

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses delivers a practical business education for small business owners across Iowa at DMACC, in partnership with Iowa's community colleges. Eligible businesses have been in business for at least two years, have at least $100,000 in revenue, and have at least two full-time employees (including the business owner). Businesses of all types and across all industries are encouraged to apply.

Accepted applicants receive hands-on education for business growth, access to highly-trained, small business professionals and an expanded peer network of small business owners from across the country. The program is part of the Goldman Sachs Foundation's philanthropic efforts to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity.

Applications for the education program are currently being accepted. Visit to apply. The program is offered at no cost to business owners accepted through a competitive application process.


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