SYMPOSIA, More Events Aim to Help Businesses in 2017

Now that 2016 is coming to a close, it’s time for business owners to turn their attention to the year ahead. And there are plenty of great business events that could help entrepreneurs and professionals make necessary changes going forward.

In January, for instance, the SYMPOSIA Conference is a two-day event for women entrepreneurs. You can gain inspiration and lessons from successful women across different fields.

And in the Spring, EntreLeadership 1-Day and Secret Knock also offer their own benefits to entrepreneurs across a variety of industries.

You can learn more about each of those events in the Featured Events section. And then check out even more events to add to your 2017 calendar in the list below.

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

SYMPOSIA Conference for Women EntrepreneursSYMPOSIA Conference for Women Entrepreneurs
January 27, 2017, San Francisco, California

Skyrocket your business with two days of inspiration and lessons learned from 7 powerful women entrepreneurs who have found the courage to follow their dreams and build 7+ figure businesses with perseverance, determination and grit! #symposia2017


EntreLeadership 1-DayEntreLeadership 1-Day
April 11, 2017, Los Angeles, California

Grow yourself, your team & your profits! At EntreLeadership 1-Day, you will learn the six essentials of business: leadership, people, money, time, team, and higher calling. Dave Ramsey will be joined by business experts Chris Hogan & Christy Wright.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ10 ($10 off)


Secret KnockSecret Knock
May 22, 2017, Los Angeles, California

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.


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.

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10 Ways to Improve Your Online Marketing Game in 2017

If you plan to run a business in 2017, you need an online marketing strategy. And if you plan to up your online marketing game in the new year, you might be able to benefit from some advice from members of our small business community. Here are some of their top tips for upping your online marketing game in 2017.

Create Awesome Headlines That Convert

When creating content for the new year, you need to make sure you have strong headlines. Those headlines can draw people’s attention and help you ultimately gain more customers. Here, Hassan Ud-deen shares tips on creating headlines that convert on the Hardenbrook blog.

Get Customers to Trust Your Ecommerce Store

If you sell products online, then garnering trust between your business and potential customers is a must. If you’re looking for your store to gain some traction, take a look at this post on Getentrepreneurial.com by Megha Parikh.

Promote Affiliate Offers on Facebook

Affiliate offers can be a great way to increase the income for your business. And Facebook can be a great platform to promote those offers. In this post on the No Passive Income blog, Erik Emanuelli points out a few methods you can use to promote affiliate offers on Facebook. And BizSugar members comment on the post too.

Use This B2B Marketing Strategy That Works

When marketing to business customers, your strategies might vary from businesses that market to consumers. But there’s one simple strategy that you can use to increase your sales, as outlined in this post by Stefan Schulz on the Orpical Group blog.

Maximize Results for Your Products Using Technology

Technology can help you innovate and come up with new offerings. But it can also help you market and maximize results for those products. This Techlofy post by Nitesh Mishra includes some tips for using technology to make the most of your products.

Stop Trying to Innovate With Your Content

While content marketing can be a great strategy for all different types of businesses, some go about it the wrong way. In this Content Marketing Institute post, Marcia Riefer Johnston explains why you should stop trying to innovate with your content. And the BizSugar community also shares thoughts on the post.

Read More and Become an Expert Blogger in 30 Days

If you want to use blogging to market your business in 2017, then you need to become an expert blogger. And one of the best ways to improve your writing is to read more. This Process Street post by Ben Mulholland explains how you can accomplish that in just 30 days.

Generate More Comments to Your Blog Posts

Blogging is a great way to increase engagement between your business and customers. But if you can’t start conversations, then it isn’t likely to do your business much good. In this post, Ann Smarty of MyBlogU shares some tips for generating more blog comments.

Use These Resources to Up Your Webinar Marketing Mojo

Webinars can be another great resource for small businesses looking to gain traction online. And there are plenty of resources you can use to up your webinar game, like the ones listed in this Resonance Content Marketing post and podcast by Rachel Parker. You can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.

Drive More Repeat Visitors Through SEO

Repeat visitors are necessary for any business hoping to be successful online. And you can ensure some of that repeat business through the tips in a post about SEO by Neil Patel.

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: sbtips@gmail.com.

Plan 2017 Photo via Shutterstock

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Could Business Meetings of the Future Be in Virtual Reality?

Could Virtual Reality Conferencing Be the Business Meetings of the Future?

A new offering from virtual reality company Oculus, now owned by Facebook, could have interesting implications for small businesses. Oculus Rooms and Parties are new features for Gear VR users. They’ll also be available on Oculus Rift devices in 2017.

Parties are essentially group voice calls that take place in virtual reality. You can add up to three friends to a party and chat over VR. And Oculus Rooms are private virtual spaces that you and your friends can spend time in.

These rooms can mimic places where you might spend time in the real world. So if you want to watch TV with friends who live far away, you can start a Party with those friends and then select a room and watch videos together or even play games.

Virtual Reality Conferencing

For now, the features are being marketed mainly to consumers. But for businesses with very small teams, these new features could potentially open the door for VR meetings. Of course, that would mean your whole team would need to be outfitted with Gear VR or Oculus Rift devices. But if you have a small team of remote workers, Parties and Rooms offer an interesting possibility for your team to communicate in a whole new way.

There are already plenty of options for holding remote meetings, from video chat platforms to actual conferencing programs. But not all of those other communication tools let you actually feel like you’re in the same room as people. So depending on the content of your meetings, virtual reality could potentially be a unique opportunity to update your team communication strategy.

And as the technology evolves, VR companies are likely to come out with more features and tools, maybe even some specifically aimed at helping businesses host meetings in VR.

Image: Oculus

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Bigger Business Blueprint Bridges Gap Between Conceptual Innovation and Practice

Bigger Business Blueprint Bridges Gap Between Conceptual Innovation and PracticeDespite all of the “buzz” around innovation, it still remains an elusive quality that only a few companies (like Apple, Facebook and Google) have. For everybody else, the advice is some version of “do whatever Facebook or Google does”. While this might be helpful for some business owners, this advice isn’t a reliable path toward success. Your business can’t innovate like Facebook. It has to innovate like your business.

That’s where Bigger Business Blueprint: Modern Marketing, Innovation & Scalable Growth comes in. The book seeks to fill in the gap between innovation as a concept and as a practice.

What is Bigger Business Blueprint About?

Bigger Business Blueprint: Modern Marketing, Innovation & Scalable Growth was written for the express purpose of outlining a path toward strategic innovation. Innovation, as the book discusses, comes in two basic flavors, strategic or accidental. You either plan for it or you get lucky.

The issue is that most business owners chase strategic innovation while pursuing the opposite (innovation-by-luck). Both strategic innovation and innovation-by-luck look the same from an outsider’s perspective. From an insider’s perspective, it’s two totally different mindsets. As the author of Bigger Business Blueprint shares, business owners with a strategic innovation mindset are able to leverage their resources for maximum output. They don’t waste time trying to find innovation like a needle in the proverbial haystack. Instead, they build a strong business first and integrate innovation into the process.

The book digs even further into the traits of a strategically innovative business. In particular, he identifies the following characteristics:

  • Automated: Comfortable with adapting technology for their purpose
  • Measurement-oriented: Focused on tracking and learning from data
  • Honest: Realistic and transparent about their current position
  • Collaborative: Shares information instead of locking it away in silos
  • Succession-focused: Has a plan for the continued operation of business

These traits separate businesses that chase the next trend from those that anticipate and leverage the future. To get to that point, business owners need to take a comprehensive and broad look at their business framework, something the book outlines in various sections. As readers go through these sections, they can start connecting the dots between their large-scale thinking plans and their day-to-day strategies.

Author Jason Palliser began in the loan and real estate industry. Palliser leveraged the skills gained from those industries to become a speaker, trainer, consultant and entrepreneur who loves sports and the occasional good prank.

What Was Best About Bigger Business Blueprint?

The best part of Bigger Business Blueprint is the book’s focus on going deeper into innovation as a process. Many books on innovation focus on it as some magical principle that can be translated from an innovative company (like Google) to another company. The author recognizes that innovation doesn’t work like that in reality. Palliser invites readers to look at their current processes and succession plans before they start innovation plans. This is a key step missing in innovation books for business owners and entrepreneurs.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Bigger Business Blueprint helps readers understand the gap between their current business setup and their future innovation potential. It doesn’t, however, avoid the “checklist syndrome” the author warned against in the beginning of the book. The “checklist syndrome” occurs when an author overwhelms the reader with too many options to get started. The author attempts to rectify the problem with a detailed outline in the book, but more information needs to be provided on turning this outline into a sustainable process for innovation.

Why Read Bigger Business Blueprint?

Bigger Business Blueprint urges readers to think about innovation from the ground-level. If you, as a business leader or manager, are tired of reading about the magical innovation of Google without a road map, this book provides it along with the major road stops along the way. Many of these road stops may be familiar, but Palliser shows how these road stops connect to the broader goal of innovation. The author then goes on to show how business succession can be incorporated into innovation as well, a topic often missing from other innovation books.

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Did You Know? Times Square New Year’s Eve Party Started As a Business Event (Watch)

When you think about New Year’s Eve, a few things likely come to mind. There’s the champagne, noisemakers, silly glasses — and of course, Times Square.

But that famous annual celebration didn’t actually start out as just a New Year’s party. In fact, it has a history that is steeped in the business world.

The party started in 1904. That’s the year that the New York Times moved its headquarters to that intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue — more commonly known as Times Square. In fact, the newspaper is what gave Times Square its current name. Before that, it was known as the Long Acre Square.

So when the Times moved its headquarters there, owner Adolph Ochs decided to throw a big party to introduce the building and ring in the new year. It was so popular that it caught on and they continued the party for years after.

A Good Example of the Benefits of Hosting a Business Event

Of course, today’s event isn’t directly related to the New York Times anymore. In fact, the building isn’t even home to the Times or any other business — except a Walgreens — today. But this little history lesson does demonstrate how powerful parties or events can be for businesses. Sometimes, they even take on a life of their own.

Times Square Photo via Shutterstock

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4 Methods For Better Email Marketing In 2017

A New Year, some time to reassess Business strategies, and getting a head start on slaying 2017. This post will discuss some developing Email Marketing trends, offer 4 methods for email strategy in ’17, and help push your Business on the Cusp of greatness over the top towards the success you deserve.

New Subscriber Retention

During the recent Holiday Season, your site acquired new subscribers and first-time buyers (hopefully). I am sure that you are aware that these new email recipients are extremely valuable to your business. It is paramount to keep them close to your Business/Brand – and to nurture them. The last thing you want is to scare them away before the next buying cycle.

Here are some suggestions.

  • Utilize the appropriate frequency.New “Holiday” subscribers most likely are gift purchasers. You may want to segment them out to receive fewer emails.
  • Broadcast relevant offers.With the proper tracking in place, you have the ability to analyze what new customers purchased, and the amounts – send them relevant offers.
  • Be Grateful.Let these New Subscribers know they are a valuable to you. Treat them to a special offer or a quick “thank you.”

Mobile First

Your Email Strategy for 2017 should emphasize mobile, making it as easy as possible for subscribers to complete your Call To Action (CTA) from an email opened on a smartphone. About 1/3 of all purchases online are now done on a tablet or phone. By not designing emails for smartphones – to better push subscribers through your sales funnel – you are wasting time and money and losing out to your competitors.

A Mobile-Responsive email is one thing, but getting clicks is another.

Here are some tips on how to increase opens and clicks from mobile subscribers.

  • Be mobile responsive.Ensure that your emails render correctly across all browsers and screen sizes.  A study from MailChimp and Litmus shows responsive design increased clicks by nearly 15 percent.
  • Consider length, begin your story Emails that are too long, or take a while to get to the point, can dramatically reduce your open rate. The whole point of the email is to trigger an action, you have 8-10 seconds to capture the interest of your subscribers. Begin your story in the email and continue the conversation on the Landing Page you send them to.

Create An Email Calendar

Develop an email draft calendar for 2017, including the types of emails broadcasts or promotions you want to run throughout the year, as far in the future as you can. They can be repeats of campaigns that shined in 2016, new subjects, or even mimicking what your competitors have done. By physically writing a plan on a calendar, as a high-level schedule, you have one less excuse for not connecting with your subscribers.

Your Email Calendar will provide a high-level overview that can be refined monthly. As the next month approaches, finalize offers, update themes, review frequencies, and create better emails.

Master 1 Email Improvement In 2017

A Business’ return on investment from email marketing is usually great because of the low cost to send emails. Nevertheless, you should allocate budget to make at least one overall improvement in your email marketing for 2017.

Some ideas that will generate good results, such as the following:

  • Upgrade to a more advanced email deployment tool, one that allows segmentation, abandoned cart emails, and other automated emails;
  • Develop a number of responsive design templates;
  • Audit your database, including email verification and data appends (applying as much customer info as possible with their email address);
  • Consult an Email Marketing expert for advanced techniques – Like Cusp Creative 🙂

 

There is no reason why 2017 should not be a better year for your Email Marketing if you follow the above methods. Like anything else in the Universe, you get what you give. In 2017 give yourself the tools to succeed, make success a priority, and push yourself over The Cusp.

Facebook Launches Live Video Chat, Pinterest Introduces Trending Topics

Live chat and live video streaming are likely to be big parts of marketing and communication strategies for many businesses in 2016. And for businesses that plan on using those strategies, there are a few new tools to choose from.

Recently, Facebook announced a new group video chat feature. And for marketers who regularly use Pinterest, the image sharing platform released a list of 100 trending topics you may want to keep in mind. Learn about this and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Social Media

Facebook Messenger Introduces Group Video Chat — with Up to Six People at a Time

Back in September, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) launched Messenger Instant Video to allow Facebook Messenger users to broadcast real-time video in Messenger text exchanges. Now the social networking giant has introduced Group Video Chat in Messenger, a real-time video option that has practical business applications.

Top 100 Trending Topics for Pinterest Marketers Heading Into 2017

Pinterest has revealed trends it predicts will dominate in 2017. The third annual Pinterest 100 report (PDF) narrows down the top trends in 10 key categories the image sharing social network expects to be hot in the new year.

How to Use the New Instagram Live

In the last few weeks, Instagram announced it was adding a live feature to its now popular Instagram stories — and it has. Live videos are already popping up on Instagram! The new feature allows users to stream real-time videos via Instagram Stories. But unlike Facebook Live and Periscope, Instagram Live videos aren’t hosted on the platform.

Snapchat Could Use Augmented Reality to Differentiate From Facebook, Instagram (Watch)

How do you compete with huge brands like Facebook and Instagram? Well, if you’re Snapchat, you acquire new technology startups. Snap Inc., the company that owns Snapchat, just acquired Cimagine, an augmented reality firm based in Israel. Right now, Cimagine mainly makes tools for home retailers and manufacturers.

Economy

Will Fed Rate Hike Mean Easier Access to Small Business Loans?

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate Wednesday for only the second time since the 2008 recession, citing falling unemployment and low inflation as key factors in its decision. According to Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen, the country has seen sustained economic growth over the past few years.

Minimum Wage Going Up in Many Communities: Is Your Business Affected?

Two significant events are set to take place in New York City on New Year’s Eve. One will be, as always, the ball drop in Times Square. The other is that minimum wage workers will be among the first across the country to receive a new mandated pay hike in 2017.

Marketing Tips

More Millennials Living With Parents And What This Means for Your Business (Watch)

A lot of young adults are still living with their parents. In fact, data released by real estate tracker Trulia indicates that nearly 40 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds lived with a parent or other family member in 2015. That’s the highest percentage since the Great Depression came to a close in 1940. Of course, there are several factors that contribute to this.

These Were the Best Viral Campaigns of 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, it’s a great time to look back on all the different marketing campaigns of the past year. Some were more effective than others at getting consumers’ attention. And there’s a lot you can potentially learn from looking at those viral marketing campaigns. Here are some of the most popular ones from 2016.

Retail Trends

Mall Fights: Yet Another Reason For Customers to Shop Online

Massive brawls broke out at malls across the country a day after Christmas. Police say almost all of the brawls were initiated by juveniles. Some were minor scuffles at food courts. Others were violent clashes that led to mass evacuations.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Kanbanize Helps Businesses Measure Success

Small business owners are required to wear many different hats. But managing every single process and looking at all the analytics and results to make sure your business runs as efficiently as possible can be incredibly time consuming. That’s where process management tools like Kanbanize come in.

Technology Trends

Take That Amazon! 7-Eleven Drone Delivery Has Already Started in the U.S.

Move over Amazon! 7-Eleven, the iconic chain of convenience stores with locations throughout the United States and Canada, has already completed more than 70 routine commercial drone deliveries in the U.S. And all this while mega-online retailer Amazon, which first floated the idea in a big way, remains mired in regulatory red tape and forced to test its deliveries overseas.

Wow! Self-Making Bed Shows an Example of a Real-World Market Need

If necessity is the mother of invention, Kickstarter is its playpen. SMARTDUVET: the self-making bed, is a campaign that launched on Kickstarter and has already surpassed its $30,000 (Canadian) goal by almost $11,000 as of this posting. If there is one thing Kickstarter has highlighted is, there is a market for almost every imaginable idea.

Here’s a First for Apple – But Not a Good One (Watch)

If you think that one bad customer review can be bad for business, just think about how much a negative review from a trusted authority like Consumer Reports would hurt. Unfortunately for Apple, the tech giant is about to find out. For the first time ever, Consumer Reports decided not to recommend the new line of Macbook Pros over battery life concerns.

Image: Facebook

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Darnell Holloway of Yelp: Bad Review 33 Percent More Likely to Be Upgraded with a Quick Personalized Response

The below conversation with Darnell Holloway, Director of Business Outreach for Yelp (NYSE:YELP), is the last of three interviews that took place at Salesforce’s Small Business Basecamp in New York City earlier this month. The event brought together Amazon Business, Chase, LegalZoom, FreshBooks, Revel, SquareSpace, WeWork, Zenefits, RingCentral and Yelp to help show small businesses how CRM and related technologies can help them scale their abilities to find and keep customers more efficiently.

Discover How to Respond to a Bad Review on Yelp and More

Holloway shares with us how small businesses can compete, thrive and survive in the Feedback Economy, why Yelp doesn’t recommend small businesses ask customers to leave reviews, and why the speed at which you respond to a negative review can be critical to getting it updated to something more positive.

Below is the edited transcript. To view the full conversation, click on the embedded video below.

* * * * *

Do you know how to respond to a bad review on Yelp? Darnell Holloway, Yelp's Director of Business Outreach says that a quick and personal response is best.Small Business Trends: Talk a little bit about Yelp from a B2B perspective.

Darnell Holloway: Yelp is a fantastic tool for business owners. The first thing that any business should do is claim their page on Yelp. It’s super easy. You go to biz.yelp.com. You have access to a suite of free tools that allows you to add photos to your page, complete your profile and also respond to reviews. That’s the entry point for any business out there. Everybody out there should go claim their page. It’s going to allow you to start managing and verifying and connecting with consumers.

Small Business Trends: Tell me what the review [feedback] economy is and how important is it today for small business to be a part of it?

Darnell Holloway: The Feedback Economy is a concept that we now live in a world where consumers are relying on online reviews for every type of purchasing decision. When it comes to Yelp specifically, we know that reviews play a big part in where people are going to spend their money.

Nielsen did a study. They found that 82 percent of Yelp users are on the site because they intend to buy a product or a service, and of course they’re going to look at a business’ reviews. It’s important for businesses to pay attention their reviews.

I will say that Yelp is a platform that allows businesses to roll up their sleeves and engage when they are getting reviews. I mentioned that people can respond. That’s part of that suite of free tools. Every business out there should get in the habit of responding to their reviews, whether they’re positive or negative, within 24 hours.

Small Business Trends: How do you help a company recruit their customers to write reviews for them on their behalf? What’s the best way for them to go about doing that?

Darnell Holloway: I’m glad that you brought that up, because we recommend that you don’t ask for reviews. That might seem counter-intuitive, but instead, what you want to do is focus on good customer service, first and foremost, in the offline world. There is a direct correlation between customer service and reviews on Yelp. Our data science team found that if somebody mentions good customer service in a review, that review is five times as likely to be five star versus one star.

The first thing is you want to be customer-service oriented if you want to get good reviews. The second thing is you do want to engage with your profile as well. You want to do things like adding photos, adding content. Why? Because the more content you have, the more traffic that you’re going to get on Yelp, that flywheel starts, and then you’re going to get more reviews as well.

You also want to let people know that you have a presence on Yelp, so while you don’t want to go out and solicit reviews, you do want to let people know that you’re on there. You can do that by putting html badges on your website. You can put signage in your storefront. We give stickers away that say, “Find us on Yelp, at Yelp.com/brand”.

Responding to reviews is incredibly important. One interesting bit of information that our data science recently surfaced is that if a business responds to a negative review within 24 hours, if they send a personalized message that reviewer is 33% more likely to upgrade the rating and the review.

Small Business Trends: Any other factoids you could share?

Darnell Holloway: Another interesting trend for Yelp right now is that transactions are on the rise. Yelp has always been about connecting people with great local businesses, and at the same time, it’s undergone a little bit of an evolution. When I joined the company back in 2009, it was a desktop review site. Yelp.com, you go to Yelp, you read reviews, you find the businesses that you’re looking for, and then you go there in the offline world.

Now, we’ve evolved into a great mobile app. Most of our searches are happening on mobile. Most of our content is being added via mobile devices. Also, people are transacting directly from Yelp. It’s a transactions platform. I think that’s a interesting trend for businesses to pay attention to. We see a lot more Yelp users engaging in that way.

If you’re thinking of restaurants, we recently acquired Eat24. We also have Yelp Reservations, so people can now order food delivery or book a table through the Yelp app. If you need to go to the dentist, we partner with Demandforce. If you need to buy flowers, we’ve got BloomNation on there as a partner. I think that’s a interesting thing, an interesting trend for businesses to pay attention to.

Then also, we developed a tool recently called Request A Quote, that allows service-based businesses to take quotes directly from people on the Yelp app. Let’s say that I have a leaky faucet in my apartment. I could use the Yelp app and find a plumber, and I can request a quote right there from the app. I can also take pictures of the pipe underneath my sink. At the same time, I can also request quotes from multiple plumbers to make sure that I’m finding the person who’s available, who would come to my place within an hour or so to get the work done.

I would say that’s an interesting trend for businesses to pay attention to is the transactions. Start to think of Yelp as more than just a review site, but also a transactions platform.

Small Business Trends: The review and the transaction are happening nearer and nearer in proximity, closer and closer in time.

Darnell Holloway: If you are a business, one thing that you mention in terms of time, I highly recommend that you respond to your reviews within 24 hours, but as far as when the transactions happen after a review, it’s important to know that people can write reviews on their Yelp app as well, and a lot of that content is happening on mobile devices. You may see some of that as well.

I would also say that it’s important to note that business out there need to pay attention to their content. That’s something that we haven’t talked about as much, but literally, the content that they can control on their page includes photos and information about themselves. What we’re finding is that if businesses are adding more photos, if they’re adding content, they have a fully built-out Yelp listing, and they’re doing that from day one, they’re going to accelerate the rate at which they’re likely to get their first review.

Small Business Trends: Tell us where people can learn more.

Darnell Holloway: They can go to officialblog.yelp.com. They can also check out yelp.com/support if they have any questions, and then finally, they can claim their page at biz.yelp.com.


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Now What? CEO Asks Users How to Improve Twitter

CEO Asked Users How to Improve Twitter

Has the future of Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) come down to this — asking users for ideas on how to grow?

It seems so. On Thursday, Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey took to the site soliciting ideas for Twitter’s future.

Dorsey is talking about a tweet sent by Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky on Dec. 26. In that tweet, Chesky essentially asks the same thing.

OK, asking for feedback from users isn’t exactly unheard of, especially in the world of online startups where entrepreneurs see it as a virtue. But this hasn’t exactly been a banner year for Twitter — or couple of years for that matter! .

In fact, his was supposed to be the whole reason for putting Dorsey back at the helm of Twitter permanently.

So, under the #Twitter2017 hashtag, Dorsey shouldn’t have been surprised to see this …

Since Dorsey’s return, Twitter has suffered declining stock prices and declining revenues despite ongoing efforts to monetize the platform. And don’t forget the launch of Twitter Moments unlikely to be of much use to Twitter’s core community of small business entrepreneurs, social influencers and thought leaders.

Then, of course, remember the promised innovations and tweaks that never seemed to come off as announced.  Twitter also allowed Vine to wither and die. Arguably one of its most trendsetting and promising technologies, Vine was shuttered with almost no effort introduce new features or monetize.

Some users were able to get past the company issues and talk about the site and how it works or doesn’t work for them.

The ability to edit tweets is apparently something a lot of users want. One user observes:

And this user wants to be able to search tweets that he’s already sent.

What about the 140 character limit? It’s not fair when a link you’re including takes more than half that, as these users observe.

It’s also good to know there are Twitter purists out there. But if this version of Twitter is only working for a few users and it’s failing to make money, it seems this user is going to be disappointed in the long run:

Image: Twitter/@jack

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4 Quick End of Year Legal Tips for Small Businesses

4 Quick End of Year Legal Tips for Small Businesses

It’s that time of the year again when businesses find themselves immersed in paperwork, calculations and holiday parties.

With so much going on for them, businesses tend to leave out the legal work for next year. Legal experts say that’s not the wisest thing to do.

According to Charley Moore, attorney, founder and CEO of Rocket Lawyer, planning before the year end can help ensure small businesses “have a happy, healthy and legally sound New Year.”

To make lives easier, Moore offers the following legal tips to help small and medium-sized business owners.

4 End of Year Legal Tips for Small Businesses

Don’t Wait to Incorporate

For businesses that want to grow in the new year, incorporating is an important step. Moore calls it “the first step” to limit liability that shields personal assets from business failure.

It can also offer tax advantages such as the ability to deduct fringe benefits like travel expenses.

Incorporating your business provides you with a sound corporate foundation to grow and mitigate risks of failure.

Get It In Writing

According to Rocket Lawyer’s small business index, the biggest legal issues facing small businesses are contract negotiations (24 percent) and failing to collect payments (18 percent). Getting everything in writing can help you avoid these legal hassles.

Moore advises, “Whether it’s a new employee or a repeat client, never assume anything is binding unless it’s in a contract.”

A legal contract works for both parties and establishes accountability. That’s good for you and your client or employee.

Refresh or Create Your Business Will

A Buy-Sell Agreement, also known as a Business Will, is a document that helps businesses prepare for future. If you are in a partnership, this document details what happens should one party leave the business.

If you already have a Buy-Sell Agreement or an estate plan, make sure you review it annually. This is especially important if you have changes in life circumstances such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, among other reasons.

An updated Buy-Sell Agreement or estate plan will protect your interests and make it easier for your successor to assume responsibility.

Keep Good Counsel

As the new administration takes office in the new year, complying with government regulations should be on top of your priority list. You should “consult a business attorney more than once a year rather than wait until a big issue arises,” suggests Moore.

He adds, “It’s better to pay a little up front than a lot down the road, especially when dealing with federal regulations.”

Gavel Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “4 Quick End of Year Legal Tips for Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends

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