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48 Hour Start-up: Can You Really Launch a Business in Just 2 days?

48 Hour Start-up: Can You Really Launch a Business in Just 2 days?As the business world encounters technology, the barriers keeping many entrepreneurs out are slowly disappearing. Previously, you needed a huge investment of cash, good connections, a 50-page business plan, and a prayer. Now you just need a laptop and seven days. Actually, with 48 Hour Start-up: From Idea to Launch in 1 Weekend you might only need two.

What is 48 Hour Start-Up About?

The book 48 Hour Start-up is actually what it sounds like. Serial entrepreneur Fraser Doherty MBE wants to help prospective entrepreneurs discover and refine a launchable idea in just two days. Doherty’s reasoning behind his 48-hour deadline is simple. He argues that prospective entrepreneurs (aka wantrepreneurs) spend too much time and energy obsessing over the “perfect idea”. The time they waste waiting for the “perfect idea” is time that could be used refining and adapting that business idea for the customers who will actually use it.

48 Hour Start-up was designed to be a hacked version of the business-creating method developed since the start of Doherty’s first business. As Doherty readily admits, he had no idea what he was doing.He just knew that he liked money, liked selling things and liked connecting with people. That business is still running to this day, in part, because of the principles Doherty learned through either a mentor, experience (one of his first positions was “bacon boy” in Scotland), or by stumbling across it. In 48 Hour Start-up, he shares advice on how to find and shape a viable business idea that is ready to launch in two days.

Doherty is an entrepreneur, business owner and author from Scotland. Doherty’s first business as a teenager, SuperJam, featured an all-fruit jam that was inspired by his grandmother’s recipes. The incredible success of SuperJam earned Doherty the honor of becoming the youngest ever supplier to work with a retail chain and a spot in the National Museum of Scotland. Doherty is also the co-founder of Beer 52, a craft beer subscription service. In 2014, he became a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

What Was Best About 48 Hour Start-Up?

There are two key aspects of 48 Hour Start-up, the author’s transparency and his approach. In many startup advice books, authors are afraid to share their mistakes. In his book Doherty is very transparent about the trials he faced as an entrepreneur. These anecdotes are brief. They show his thinking process at the time, which is a theme throughout the entire book. Following its own philosophy that entrepreneurs need to leverage speed, the book doesn’t get stalled with fancy charts (there aren’t any) or financial projections, For those readers wanting a down-to-Earth business advice book, 48 Hour Start-up might be a welcome read.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

48 Hour Start-up is extremely helpful when it comes to the initial decisions for entrepreneurs to consider when starting a business. The book continually reinforces the theme that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to involve complicated financial projections, elaborate presentations or extraordinary innovation. It is just a simple idea executed well. One area that could use more attention, though, concerns strategy and market research. The book doesn’t provide a lot of focus or direction on what strategies to consider after the 48-hour experiment is over or how to conduct more detailed research to maintain a business in the future.

Why Read 48 Hour Start-Up?

48 Hour Start-up is designed for entrepreneurs who have gone through a couple of business ideas but haven’t made that initial step to get started. It is also for serial entrepreneurs seeking to improve their thinking process in preparation for a new venture. For beginners, the book is a chance to brainstorm a business idea within the book’s deadline of two days. For serial entrepreneurs, the book is a jargon-free guide to refining the principles of business idea creation. If a serial entrepreneur can’t think of a good business idea, 48 Hour Start-up will provide practical advice with the inspirational real-life story of a businessman who started an empire right from his grandmother’s kitchen.

This article, “48 Hour Start-up: Can You Really Launch a Business in Just 2 days?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Join This Twitter Chat During National #SmallBusinessWeek

How to Start Advertising on Twitter for Only $50

National Small Business Week is just around the corner. That means there are plenty of different events and opportunities for small businesses to network and grow.

One such opportunity is an upcoming Twitter chat hosted by SCORE. The #SmallBusinessWeek Twitter chat takes place on May 2 and will feature a small business-focused discussion encompassing a variety of relevant topics.

And that’s not the only upcoming event that might be of interest to your small business. You can check out the Featured Events section for more information on the National #SmallBusinessWeek Twitter chat and more.

Then check out the list below for even more upcoming small business events.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

National #SmallBusinessWeek Twitter Chat, Hosted by SCORENational #SmallBusinessWeek Twitter Chat, Hosted by SCORE
May 02, 2017, Online, Twitter

Join SCORE as they host a National Small Business Week Twitter Chat on Tuesday, May 2 from 12:30-1:30 pm EST. Please follow SCORE’s Twitter @SCOREMentors ?and use the chat hashtag #SmallBusinessWeek to participate in the discussion. See you there!


TECHSPO Toronto 2017TECHSPO Toronto 2017
May 18, 2017, Toronto, Ontario

TECHSPO Toronto 2017 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. TECHSPO Toronto brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Toronto 2017 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will be joining.


Secret KnockSecret Knock
May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, Calif.

Secret Knock is going to be the single greatest event for the top entrepreneurs and action-takers in the world to connect, share ideas, and help take each other to the next level. Each of the attendees have believed in themselves enough to get to where they are, and they are not stopping now. Secure your application for one of the few spots left at the Secret Knock.


Sales World 2017Sales World 2017
November 08, 2017, Online

Sales World 2017 takes place November 8th to 9th, 2017, Online; Live and On Demand. It is the largest Sales Industry Event in the World and will be attended by over 10,000 Sales Professionals. It’s the one sales event you can’t afford to miss!


DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 – Digital Marketing Conference
November 14, 2017, Online

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference takes place November 14th to 16th, 2017. Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools.


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Twitter chat photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Join This Twitter Chat During National #SmallBusinessWeek” was first published on Small Business Trends

Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft Brand

Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft BrandBrands aren’t what they used to be. In the past, brands were a physical symbol that represented value. When you bought a Coca-Cola, the red logo assured that you were getting a good soda. Nowadays, brands have become more complicated. They still represent a physical product, but they can mean a lot more than that. In The Rise Of The Craft Brand: Why Small is Going to Be Huge, author Ben Zifkin explains how this changing definition of branding can be leveraged to help a small business compete with a large-sized competitor.

What is The Rise of the Craft Brand About?

The central message of The Rise Of The Craft Brand is about technology’s disruption of the relationship between branding, distribution and commerce. Just a few years ago, the only way to get a Ralph Lauren shirt was to find a retailer, like Macy’s or Sears, that sold that product. With the rise of technology like the internet, you don’t even need to leave your chair to purchase that Ralph Lauren shirt from Amazon, the Ralph Lauren site, or any number of online stores and auctions.

This disruption between branding, distribution and commerce has resulted in the emergence of craft branding. Craft branding, unlike other types of branding, doesn’t depend on going big. The goal isn’t to reach every customer in the world. The goal of craft branding is to produce specialty. Craft branding is the strategic marriage of a small business brand and technology. When these two get together, big-name retailers are in trouble.

Why should big-name retailers be frightened by craft branding? There are a couple of reasons. First, many big-name retailers (although this is slightly changing) rely on mass-produced brands that don’t have the flexibility of a craft brand. The old-school brand of the past was a physical symbol focused on getting a transaction from mass-produced items (like a Coca-Cola bottle). Craft brands are different. They can afford to charge higher prices and produce on a smaller scale because they can leverage technology and a deeper relationship with an audience that wants a distinctive experience.

The Rise of the Craft Brand explores how small brands, like Under Armour were able to leverage their resources to become disruptive competitors to established businesses like Nike.

Zifkin is a former software engineer and consultant, founder and CEO of Hubba, a B2B network that connects retailers and brands. An avid supporter of technology is on the board of directors for Ladies Learning to Code and Hacker You.

What Was Best About The Rise of the Craft Brand?

Rise of the Craft Brand approaches the topic of a branding from a different (and much-needed) perspective. The trend in business books has been to discuss branding as a concrete “thing” that a person or business does. Rise of the Craft Brand expands that concept of branding and demonstrates how commerce will be affected by it. The brands profiled in this book provide a glimpse of how current businesses are adapting now for that upcoming future.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Rise of the Craft Brand celebrates the empowering potential of small businesses to make a big impact but it could use more detail to flesh out the concept of a “craft brand”. First, the book identifies a few characteristics of craft brands” but fails to show how craft brands differ from other types of brand. Second, the book fails to outline a specific strategy for craft brands. The author shares his own personal experience with Hubba along with other businesses but there isn’t enough detail for a full-fledged strategy. Having this kind of strategy might help struggling small business owners.

Why Read The Rise of the Craft Brand?

“For any business leader interested in the future of commerce, Rise of the Craft Brand offers a glimpse into the technology that is disrupting big-name retailers. This disruption is changing the ways that brands are created and developed, leaving room for small businesses to make a big marketing impact without a large-scale budget. For those who want a sneak peek of what this disruption looks like in the present, Rise of the Craft Brand profiles small businesses that were able to benefit from this disruption and launch into a powerful brand while following their own path to success.

This article, “Technology Disruption Has Lead to the Rise Of The Craft Brand” was first published on Small Business Trends

Tax Cuts, Lending Upticks Make Small Business Headlines

Small businesses got some welcome news this week — in the form of President Donald Trump’s proposed tax cuts.

In addition, a recent report suggests that small business loans at institutional lenders and small banks are on the rise. You can read about these news items and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Finance

Small Businesses Big Winners in Proposed Trump Tax Cuts

Historic tax cuts for American small businesses could be just around the corner. In an announcement at the White House today, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveiled proposed sweeping reforms to the tax code for all U.S. businesses. At the same time, President Donald Trump’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn presented proposals to overhaul the personal tax code.

Small Business Loans at Institutional Lenders, Small Banks on the Uptick

The latest Biz2Credt Small Business Lending Index shows a positive outlook for small business loans based on their approval rates. Specific upticks were measured at institutional lenders and small banks.

Economy

National Small Business Week: The History of an Entrepreneurial Tradition

A lot has changed in America since the 1960s and while many things are different in today’s United States, at least one of the fundamentals driving us all forward is still the same.

Residents of This State Want to Work from Home More than Anyone Else in the US

A not-so-surprising trend is gathering steam across the U.S. The trend, which is indicative of what is happening in other markets around the world, is that more and more workers want to work from home. To better understanding how this trend is taking shape in the U.S, a New York-startup called AND CO set out to identify the states that have the most residents who want to work from home.

Marketing Tips

Chocolate Rain 10th Anniversary Calls Attention to Power of Viral Marketing

This week marks the tenth anniversary of viral sensation “Chocolate Rain” by singer and internet personality Tay Zonday. And this milestone isn’t just about celebrating a flash-in-the-pan online hit. It also serves as an important reminder for businesses. Chocolate Rain was one of the first truly viral internet sensations.

How to Use Different Types of Content When Marketing Your Small Business (Infographic)

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 6 years, you’ve probably heard about using content marketing to promote your small business. Even as a solopreneur, content marketing works to bolster brand awareness, build your reputation, attract customers, and keep your website fresh. However, with all the noise online, content marketing has gotten harder.

Retail Trends

Amazon’s New Subscription Service Should Have You Rethinking Your Products

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) just added a new marketplace, Subscribe with Amazon, to help consumers find digital subscriptions, highlighting a potential opportunity for companies to increase ongoing revenue streams. Subscribe with Amazon Digital subscriptions can include things like Amazon’s Prime service, music streaming services and even online newspaper subscriptions.

New Trend: Marijuana — at the Drive-Thru?

Ever since states like Colorado started legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use, most customers have had to go into stores to make their purchases. But that’s no longer the case for customers of one Colorado business. Tumbleweed Express is a drive-thru marijuana dispensary in Colorado. It’s housed in an old car wash.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Brickell Men’s Products Offers Natural Grooming Options

There are plenty of natural and luxury grooming products out there for women. But the market for similar men’s products isn’t nearly as robust. Enter Brickell Men’s Products. The company started because of a lack of natural skin care options and has started to offer more and more grooming options without all the chemicals found in most other men’s products.

Social Media

LinkedIn Reaches 500 Million User Mark; 9 Million Businesses Use Site

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) has hit a major milestone. The social media site just hit the half-billion user mark. That’s right — 500 million users. Further, there are now 9 million businesses actively on the site. The power of this community benefits a global audience, allowing businesses and their perspective employees and clients to connect like never before.

Startup

What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur? (INFOGRAPHIC)

What separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest? Among other things, prior work experience seems to be a key deciding factor. According to data gathered by accommodation booking agent Central London Apartments, 96 percent of successful entrepreneurs credited “prior work experience” for their success.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, Leveraged a Local Market for Global Success

Jack Ma built one of the world’s largest eCommerce companies, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) by leveraging opportunities in a local market. Ma was born in Hangzhou, China, in 1964. He grew up poor and started off by giving English tours to foreigners for free. Today, his net worth amounts to approximately $28.

Technology Trends

Google Says Websites Shouldn’t Mark Republished Content for Index

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) recently suggested more steps toward eliminating duplicate content across the web. And website owners, including small business owners, may want to pay attention considering the search engine has a history of eventually penalizing sites for not taking heed.

10 Ways Digital Signatures are Changing How Contracts are Signed

Development in digital technology has introduced new levels of efficiency across almost all industries. In the business world, everything from the way companies communicate to accounting, HR, marketing and even how documents are signed has been improved.

YouTube Provides Update on Restricted Mode Filter

YouTube is making more changes to the now-controversial Restricted Mode. YouTube Updates Restricted Mode In an official post on the YouTube Creators Blog, the site’s vice president of product management, Johanna Wright, says the algorithm that filtered content out of Restricted Mode was wrong.

More Entrepreneurs Hiring Help for DIY Website Builder Tools

DIY website builder tools have seen amazing growth in the marketplace. And it’s no surprise why. With tools from vendors such as Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Jimdo and WordPress.com, you build your own website through a do-it-yourself experience. With them, it’s possible to have a classy-looking website online in a matter of a few hours or less.

Infusionsoft Propel Supplies Mobile Marketing Experience

Infusionsoft used the kickoff of day one of  #ICON17 to announce Infusionsoft Propel, the latest mobile based solution from the company. “You need to be connected and present with your customers in the ways they want to be connected,” said COO Terry Hicks in an announcement streamed on the company’s Facebook page.

WordPress Announces Yet Another Maintenance Update

WordPress 4.7.4 is now available. The release contains 47 maintenance enhancements and fixes. Chief among them includes a visual editor compatibility fix for an upcoming version of Chrome. With the new update, uploading audio and video files will no longer result in broken thumbnails.

Guru Introduces New Feature to Get Paid As You Complete Tasks

Starting May 2, all freelancers working in the Guru platform will be able to create task-based agreements that will see them get paid once they complete their tasks. Guru Task-Based Agreements “We already introduced recurring billing to give you greater control over how you get paid,” said Guru’s communications manager Anna Bassham in an official post on the Guru blog.

Have You Seen the New Home Page for Google Analytics?

Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has a new home landing page for its popular analytics service. The page features clear data sets and simplified language, generally making it easier for anyone to navigate and understand.

Image: WhiteHouse.gov/YouTube

This article, “Tax Cuts, Lending Upticks Make Small Business Headlines” was first published on Small Business Trends

The Firm’s Success Did Not Come Without Setbacks

Oxford Comma Business Cartoon

So this is a fairly normal cartoon. You take a phrase, play with the language, add a little surprise. Standard issue.

Unfortunately, upon taking another look at it, I noticed that while someone snuck in a however, I apparently left out a few commas. The caption should read “We did it, no ifs, ands, or buts. But …”

As a huge proponent of the Oxford comma, my apologies.

This article, “The Firm’s Success Did Not Come Without Setbacks” was first published on Small Business Trends

How To Manage Your Budget as a Freelancer

3 Budgeting Tips for Freelancers

Alysse Dalessandro doesn’t have a conventional budget. This is in part because she doesn’t have a steady income. The Ohio-based writer is a full-time freelancer.

Her situation isn’t unique. Roughly 55 million Americans freelance, and 25 percent report doing so full time, according to a 2016 survey by Upwork and the Freelancers Union.“I don’t know when my money is going to come. I don’t know if it’s going to come sometimes,” Dalessandro says. “So a traditional budget doesn’t work for me.”

Budgeting Tips for Freelancers

Irregular paychecks make budgeting difficult, but they also make it essential. These tips can help freelancers and contractors create workable spending plans.

1. Track Your Cash Flow

Those with a regular paycheck often know their monthly income to the penny. For freelancers, it’s more of a guessing game.

Dalessandro makes that game easier by recording each assignment, the date she invoiced her client and if and when the invoice was paid. That way no money falls through the cracks.

“I try to be really conscious of where the money is, where it ends up and making sure that I’m putting money aside,” Dalessandro says. “There was a time I was paycheck to paycheck, and that’s freelance paycheck to paycheck, which is scarier.”

While Dalessandro keeps records of all her business expenses, she’s not great about logging personal ones.

“I do that all in my head and I wouldn’t advise that,” Dalessandro says. “People use planners for a reason.”

Robert Reed, a partner at Partnership Financial LLC, a financial planning firm in Columbus, Ohio, says tracking outgoing money is as important as tracking what’s coming in.

“People quite often don’t know what they spend or more importantly, what they spend it on,” Reed says. “You need to know how much it costs you to live.”

2. Set Financial Priorities

The 50/30/20 budget is a good way to allocate your income, even if that income is irregular. Using this model, you’d spend 50% of your income on needs, such as housing, insurance, food, transportation. Take care of fixed expenses, including your car payment and rent or mortgage, as soon as money comes in to ensure they’re paid on time. Then you’re free to spend 30% of your income on wants, such as clothing or a gym membership. The remaining 20% goes toward savings and debt payments.

Dalessandro tries to save 50% of her income each month. That 50% goes to her emergency fund and her tax fund, a must-have for freelancers and contractors, who are responsible for paying quarterly estimated income taxes.

Whatever Dalessandro has left after paying bills and saving is her spending money — and sometimes even that goes into savings.

In 2016, for example, she saved $1,522 for a trip to Italy using the 52-week challenge. Each week, she put money into a jar. The amount corresponded with the week, so she put $1 in during the first week, $2 during the second week, and so on until week 52. Every dollar came from her spending money.

“This worked for me because it forced me to save money I wouldn’t have otherwise,” she says, adding that once the money was in the jar, it was out of play. “I was really, really good about not touching the money.”

3. Keep It Simple

“I’m a big believer in baby steps,” Reed says. “Starting off and setting up some complicated tracking system never works out.”

So skip the complicated software. Instead, start with a simple spreadsheet or free service — something you can stick with.

Level Money is a great bare-bones budgeting app that shows how much you have to spend at any given moment. Mint allows you to track spending and pay bills, and alerts users to low funds and due dates. Both are free and offer a good starting point.

Dalessandro says her system works for her. She’s never paid a bill late and she’s setting money aside.

“You’re told unless you create this perfect budget, that’s the only way you can save. That is overwhelming,” she says. “I think you need to meet yourself where you are.”

Budgeting Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How To Manage Your Budget as a Freelancer” was first published on Small Business Trends

LinkedIn Reaches 500 Million User Mark; 9 Million Businesses Use Site

 

LinkedIn Reaches the 500 Million User Mark

LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) has hit a major milestone. The social media site just hit the half-billion user mark.

That’s right — 500 million users. Further, there are now 9 million businesses actively on the site.

The power of this community benefits a global audience, allowing businesses and their perspective employees and clients to connect like never before.

LinkedIn Reaches the 500 Million User Mark

“We now have half a billion members in 200 countries connecting, and engaging with one another in professional conversations and finding opportunities through these connections on LinkedIn,” the company says in a statement.

LinkedIn continues to lead the professional sector of social media. Since being acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for $26.2 billion, LinkedIn has added features that are tailored to businesses. For instance, the LinkedIn Small Business area of the site provides resources in three key areas: branding, marketing, sales, and hiring.

Branding

The vast network of users creates an audience for business to tell their unique story. Considered the Facebook of business, LinkedIn creates a platform to showcase your business model as well as the faces behind the scene.

Marketing

With a pool of 500 million users and more than 9 million business, the marketing potential within LinkedIn is huge. Marketing campaigns have the potential to create more meaningful relationships when compared to standard methods.

Sales

The LinkedIn space creates an unspoken environment of trust. Transactions are initiated on an even playing field with direct access to customers and decision makers.

Your business can use the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to create filters and reach your chosen prospects.

Hiring

Recruiting is where LinkedIn shines and the basis of its platform. With the new milestone of half a billion users, you’re guaranteed to find the right candidate.

LinkedIn’s blog publishes more than 100,000 articles every week, making it a one-stop resource worthy for small businesses to visit.

These are just some of the services available to small businesses on LinkedIn. Are you one of the half-billion active users on LinkedIn? When is the last time you logged in to the site? And is your small business or brand active on the site?

Image: LinkedIn

This article, “LinkedIn Reaches 500 Million User Mark; 9 Million Businesses Use Site” was first published on Small Business Trends

The Ultimate Guide to Green Practices for Your Small Business

The Ultimate Guide to Green Practices for Your Small Business

Adopting greener working practices that prioritize creating a more sustainable business which is kinder to our environment, is becoming a leader concern for small businesses. Not only can crafting sustainable practices help businesses save money on the likes of energy bills, but it also ensures a business adapts a more environmentally-responsible reputation.

Green Practices

If you’re looking for ways to make your small business greener, check out Small Business Trends’ ultimate guide to green practices for your small business.

Recycling

Recycling is one of the easiest and most effective ways for a small business to become greener. Simply placing recycling bins next to photocopiers and in other strategic places in an office or work premises will encourage employees to place waste in an appropriate recycling container.

Recycling comes with multiple tangible benefits for small businesses, including lowering waste costs, making savings on new purchases, increasing morale within the workforce, improving the image of a brand, and, of course, meaning the business is doing its bit to help conserve energy and materials, and save the environment.

As the Environmental Protection Agency states, approximately 75 percent of solid waste that’s thrown away is recyclable. By being savvy about recycling at work and encouraging workers to adopt recycling practices will ensure a small business starts to positively contribute to the environment.

Energy Saving

When you’re not at your desk, why does your computer need to be switched on? Similarly, when the office is empty, why do lights need to be left on? Energy is an unavoidable business expense but fortunately there are many ways a business can make energy savings and thereby reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

One of the simplest ways to reduce energy consumption is to switch off. Whether it’s appliances, lights, heating or the radio, switching off equipment when it’s not in use will save on power.

Instead of relying on artificial lighting, use natural daylight whenever possible. Why? because it’s free! So, open the blinds and clear the windows to let as much natural light filter into the office as possible.

Switching to energy-efficient equipment might require a fairly large initial investment but can save your small business money on energy bills in the long-term, not to mention ensure you operate a greener business. As can installing occupancy sensors in rooms that are not constantly occupied, such as bathrooms, cloakrooms and conference halls, which automatically switch off the lighting when the room becomes vacant.

Going Paperless

We’re firmly entrenched in the digital era, so why not ditch the use of paper almost entirely and opt for solely digital forms of communication and paperwork, an accomplishment that will not only save a small business money but put it on the environmentally-friendly business highway.

Small businesses can adapt paperless principles through a myriad of efforts. Some of the most effective ways to ditch paper in favor of digitalized communication is by sharing files digitally, storing files in the cloud-based systems, such as Dropbox, phasing out photocopying and faxing, swapping paper bills and statements for digital ones, encouraging digital communications, generating digital business cards, using electronic signatures, making meetings paperless and training staff to be ore digitally competent.

As well as helping to save the environment from man-made demise, going paperless at work comes with other advantages, such as improving collaboration among members of staff.

Reducing Heating and Cooling Costs

Cold winters and hot summers take their toll on a business’s energy costs. Whilst heating and cooling expenses are unavoidable for most businesses, there are a number of fairly simple techniques you can implement to help reduce such costs.

According to the Department of Energy, warm air escaping from a building equates to around 20 percent of heating costs. Preventing drafts by weather-proofing doors, sealing window frames and other leaks can significantly reduce heating costs in a building.

Smart thermostats, which enable businesses to set temperatures for different times of the day can help a business save hundreds of dollars throughout the winter. As can ensuring the company’s boiler is running efficiently!

In the summer, the cooling demands in offices can be equally as energy-draining. Using ceiling fans and encouraging the use of desk fans will mean the workspace is less reliant on costly air-conditioning to cool the building down.

Utility companies often offer energy saving incentives, which are worth investigating. For example, some energy suppliers will lower a commercial customer’s energy bills in return for allowing the business to cycle off air conditioning during peak time periods.

Greener Ways to Travel

Commuting to work by vehicle and going on business trips can wreak havoc on a company’s carbon footprint.

Counter the negative effects of business travel by walking or cycling to work and encouraging colleagues and employees to travel to work by such methods. If cycling or walking to work isn’t possible, encourage staff to share lifts with one another to help cut down on the emissions being produced on the commute to work.

A World Economic Forum Report from 2008 revealed that business travel accounts for an average 15 percent – 20 percent of a company’s total carbon emissions. If your business does require a hefty amount of business travel, opt for greener ways to travel other than planes. Trains, for example, use 50 percent less fuel per passenger than an airplane for the same trip, making trains a much greener choice for business travelers.

Virtual Staffing

Hiring virtual staff that work remotely and provide virtual staffing and reception tasks opposed to in-house employees that require office space, comes with a number of benefits to small businesses. As such virtual staff do not have to travel to work and can conduct business tasks from their own locations, virtual staffing can be an effective way for small businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and become more environmentally astute.

Donate to Earth Tax

Another lesser known and lesser practiced ways companies can go green is to donate a percentage of its profits to Earth Tax. The clothing brand, Patagonia, has introduced a new way to raise money for environmental causes — an earth tax. The outdoor clothing brand calls for business to donate 1 percent of their annual sales to grass root organizations dedicated to environmental causes and promoting sustainable agriculture practices. As of 2016, Patagonia had donated $70 million to such initiatives.

With a little time, effort and imagination, there’s plenty of ways small businesses can become greener and save money and expand their credibility in the process.

Save the World Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Ultimate Guide to Green Practices for Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

Really Big List of National #SmallBusinessWeek Events

National Small Business Week 2017 Events

This year, National Small Business Week takes place from April 30 through May 6. And there are tons of different events, contests and other celebrations scheduled throughout the week.

The U.S. Small Business Administration hosts many of the events. But other businesses and communities throughout the country also celebrate with their own contests, luncheons, promotions and more.

National Small Business Week 2017 Events

The list below includes events from the SBA and more. You can see if there’s anything of interest in your local area or online. We’re also going to add to the list throughout the week. So keep checking back for even more Small Business Week opportunities.

Sunday, April 30

“Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” Workshop

From Google and NectarSpot Marketing and Design Company, this workshop will focus on how businesses can use online tools, like those from Google, to make their offerings more visible to local consumers online. The event takes place from 1 PM to 4:30 PM CT in Naperville, Ill.

Monday, May 1

NSBW Awards Luncheon

In Washington, DC, the SBA kicks off National Small Business Week with an awards luncheon on Monday from 11:30 AM to 2 PM ET. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon will announce the National Small Business Person of the year, along with other awards.

From Birth to Legacy: Creating a Business with Lasting Impact

Taking place from 8:30 AM to noon PT, this free workshop takes place at Oakland City Hall in Oakland, Calif. and features multiple sessions all focused on building a business that sticks around for the long haul. The city also hosts a number of other events at City Hall through the rest of the day.

Tuesday, May 2

Facebook Live with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon

For those who are more interested in online events, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon and Facebook’s VP and Chief Privacy Officer for Policy Erin Egan will chat on Facebook Live on May 2 from 11:30 AM to noon ET. The conversation will center around how to build a successful business. And you can even submit your own questions for consideration.

Oakland Retailers and Restaurants

In Oakland, Calif., this event focuses on highlighting the city’s shopping and dining scene. It will also include information about current trends, best practices and opportunities for those local businesses.

Legal Issues for Businesses

Another event put on by the City of Oakland, this event takes place at City Hall and shares some information about the legal issues that impact all different types of small businesses.

Grow Your Business Online Workshop

In Nashua, N.H., the Neighborhood Merchant Alliance and Donation Network puts on this event aimed at helping small businesses use SEO, online advertising and other tools to help them gain visibility.

The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses

Hosted by SCORE, this webinar features Visa Economist Jay Hawkins and a discussion about the current state of the U.S. economy and how it can impact small businesses going forward. You can register for the event online. And it starts at 2 PM ET.

Wednesday, May 3

National Small Business Week Road Tour Kick-Off

This year, the National Small Business Week road tour makes its first stop on May 3 in Indianapolis, Ind. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon will be on site to honor local businesses. And the event will take place from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM ET.

Oakland Makers & Artists Day

This networking event takes place at Oakland City Hall in Oakland, Calif. and features opportunities for artists and makers to share ideas, resources and more. The event is free and features several different sessions all aimed at helping artists and creative business owners thrive.

5 Fabulous Habits of Local Business Champions

This informative webinar from SCORE focuses on the habits that can help local business owners gain success. It takes place for about an hour starting at 2 PM ET. And you can register for the free event online.

Grow Your Business Online

Another webinar from SCORE, this event offers tips about connecting with customers online. Starting at 4 PM ET, the webinar features by Anastasia Kudrez, Speaker at Google’s Get Your Business Online.

Thursday, May 4

National Small Business Week Road Tour Stop

Then, the National Small Business Week road tour will make its next stop on May 4 in Arlington, Texas. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon will visit with local business owners from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM CT. And you can also watch the event live on SBA’s website or Facebook page.

Oakland Small Business Taskforce Town Hall

This free town hall event features a panel of business experts and taskforce members in Oakland, Calif. Small business owners and entrepreneurs in the area can attend the event to share thoughts and start conversations about issues that impact businesses in the area.

How to Write Your Email Content in 15 Minutes or Less

Hosted by Bria Sullivan, Webinar Content Developer at Constant Contact, and Dave Charest, Senior Manager of Content & Social Media Marketing at Constant Contact, this is another free webinar from SCORE. The live webinar starts at 3:30 PM ET and takes place for about an hour.

Find the Hidden Money in America

There are tons of hidden opportunities for entrepreneurs. This free webinar from SCORE, sponsored by Chase, features some tips for finding those seemingly hidden opportunities to make money and grow your business. The webinar starts at 5 PM ET.

Friday, May 5

National Small Business Week Final Road Tour Stop

Finally, the National Small Business Week road tour will make its final stop on May 5 in Fresno, Calif. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon will meet with local business owners who will share their stories with event attendees. And you can also watch the event live on SBA’s website and Facebook page.

Pathways to Capital Workshop

For businesses in Oakland, Calif. that want to learn more about different ways to access capital, this free event at Oakland City Hall may be of interest. From 9 AM to 2 PM, the event features financing workshops and panels all about how businesses can access capital.

Saturday, May 6

Shop, Dine, Visit Oakland!

In Oakland, Calif., the city wraps up Small Business Week by encouraging residents and visitors to stop by many of the local businesses throughout the city for sales, promotions and other specials. There’s also a wine festival and other events taking place throughout the city during the day.

Events Running All Week

UPS Store Pitch Off Contest

Small business owners and startups can enter the UPS Store’s Pitch Off contest from April 18 through May 31 by uploading a 90-second video describing their business or idea on the UPS Store’s website. Then family and friends will have the chance to vote on the video entries throughout May.

Did we miss a National Small Business Week 2016 event? Let us know by leaving a comment below or emailing sbtips@gmail.com.

This article, “Really Big List of National #SmallBusinessWeek Events” was first published on Small Business Trends

National Small Business Week: The History of an Entrepreneurial Tradition

Small Business Week and the SBA

A lot has changed in America since the 1960s and while many things are different in today’s United States, at least one of the fundamentals driving us all forward is still the same. While our values shift and IT creates realities considered science fiction back in the days of the Hippies and gas guzzling cars, the importance of small business remains one of this country’s immovable bedrocks.

That’s why celebrating National Small Business Week is as much a part of our collective experience as baseball and the Fourth of July. It’s fitting that some of the folks championing the event that runs from April 30 – May 6 are located at the Small Business Administration (SBA) in Washington D.C.

Small Business Week and the SBA

Proclamation

“Every year since 1963 the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing that the country should honor and recognize National Small Business Week,” Stephen Morris, Online Media Coordinator for the U.S. Small Business Administration told Small Business Trends.

“In the U.S., small business is the backbone of the economy. They create two out of three new jobs and more than half of Americans own or work for small businesses.”

The SBA has long been the main federal agency that deals with small business issues. They deal with everything from supplying advice and assistance on how to start and manage a small business to a variety of specific loan programs and guarantees as well as contracts.

Involvement

The agency’s involvement with National Small Business Week stretches back to the earliest days of the event. Consider President Lyndon B. Johnson’s comments during National Small Business Week on May 24, 1965, where he specifically mentioned small business loans guaranteed by the SBA.

“Small businesses constitute more than 95 percent of all of the businesses in this country. They employ 40 percent of our entire labor force. They provide a livelihood for more than 75 million American citizens. Local development companies financed by SBA have created nearly 8,000 new jobs.”

Roots

The SBA traces its roots back to 1932, The Great Depression and the  Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). This is the grandparent of the modern version of the SBA. There were several other predecessors that took shape during WWII and the Korean War. Then on July 30, 1953, Congress created the early version of the modern SBA through the Small Business Act.

The social conscious of the SBA was evident quickly. The  Equal Opportunity Loan (EOL) Program was developed in 1964 to attack poverty by relaxing collateral and credit requirements.

Main Goal

“Today, our main goal is to educate and inform small business owners about the resources that are available to them,” Morris said adding that the SBA started planning for this year’s National Small Business Week immediately after they wrapped up last year’s festivities.

“All of our 68 district offices will be doing an event this year with many doing multiple events during the week for the small business community they represent.”

Some of the events planed for this year will cut a wide swath since they will be available online through the SBA website. Morris says this year’s event will start on Sunday and have a definite online flare.

Broadcast

“That Sunday at 4 p.m., we are going to broadcast a social media panel discussion that will deal with social media best practices for small business. That will be broadcast live from Washington D.C.”

One of the highlights will take place the following Monday when the SBA announces the National Small Business Person of the year winner. The schedule also includes comments from new SBA administrator Linda McMahon. She was the CEO at the World Wrestling Entertainment . McMahon and her husband ,Vince, built the empire that made her a billionaire. She was confirmed Feb 14th.

National

At the beginning of the week, McMahon will meet with and recognize  national small business owners in Washington D.C. She will attend events in NYC and other locations before finishing off with an event in Fresno, California. The SBA has 10 Regions and 68 Districts which will hold other events during National Small Business Week.

There will also be a series of webinars throughout the week on a series of different topics to be announced shortly. These are an opportunity for small business owners all across America to gain new knowledge and engage with thought leaders. There will be a total of five of these events during the week.

Social Media

The social media aspect to these events helps the SBA to get the word out to small business owners on a scale that’s only possible online. In fact, Morris says last year there were “hundreds of millions of impressions on social media,” with over 10,000 small business owners participating in the events carried out in cyberspace.

“It’s all become a really big online event which obviously  wasn’t the case back in 1963, but the Internet has become a really big part of how to reach small business owners. Besides, that’s where small business does business these days so that’s where we go to reach them.”

Online Small Business

As his title suggests, Morris is no stranger to the online small business space since he handles all the social media for the SBA. He says the administration realized several years ago the importance of the trend towards an online presence.

Still, he says the SBA favors a multi-pronged approach.

“While we definitely regard social media as an important way to reach small business owners, it’s not the only thing that we do,” he says. “ We have a bottom-line mentality that should resonate with small business owners. We carefully calculated all the returns on investments and that dictates things like how often we post in which networks we use most often.”

Advantages

He goes on to say that one of the advantages to the new digital media is the robust analytics that weren’t available back in the days of AM radios and bell bottom pants.

Regardless of the delivery method, the sentiment around National Small Business Week hasn’t changed. Today it might have a strong online presence, but the prevailing mission is still as black and white as an old television set in the desire to foster all aspects of small business.

Award

“Every year we give an award for a business that has recovered from a disaster,” he says mentioning how a business that was damaged in Hurricane Sandy last year received help.

“We brought them to D.C . to recognize and celebrate how they got their business back up on their feet as well as the contributions they made to their community.”

Small Business Trends a supporting co-sponsor of National Small Business Week.

Small Business Administration Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “National Small Business Week: The History of an Entrepreneurial Tradition” was first published on Small Business Trends