Banks, Other Lenders See Small Business Approval Rates Drop in May

Biz2Credit Lending Index May 2017: Banks, Other Lenders See Small Business Approval Rates Drop in May

May turned out to be a tough month for small businesses seeking funds.

Loan approval rates at big banks, small banks, alternative lenders and credit unions declined, the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index has revealed.

Biz2Credit Lending Index May 2017

Approval Rates Drop Almost Everywhere

The newly published report reveals approval rates at big banks fell two-tenths of a percent from April’s 24.3 percent figure, a post-recession high, to 24.1 percent in May.

It’s worth noting the decline comes after approval rates at big banks rose for most of the year.

Small banks were no different, with approval rates dropping to 48.8 percent, down from April’s 49 percent figure.

Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Arora explained, “Small banks are approving almost half of their business funding requests. The demand for SBA-backed loans in the marketplace remains strong. As SBA loans are popular with both borrowers and lenders.”

Approval rates at credit unions continued to fall, dropping one-tenth of a percent in May to 40.5 percent. This marked another new low for this category.

Arora remarked, “Their volume is low, and they are becoming less relevant in small business lending. I don’t see this changing any time soon.”

Approval rates dropped at alternative lenders as well, declining by two-tenths of a percent in May, as non-bank lenders granted 57.7% of the funding requests.

Institutional Lenders Provided Some Respite

The only ray of hope came from institutional lenders who reported a slight improvement in approval rates. In May, institutional lenders’ loan approval rates rose to 63.8 percent, marking a new high on the index.

It also marked the fifth time in the past six months that this category of lenders reported an increase in funding approval percentages.

“The U.S. dollar remains strong against the euro, the British pound, and other international currencies. For this reason, foreign investors continue to look for high yields from America’s small business credit marketplace,” said Arora.

Biz2Credit’s May 2017 edition of its report analyzes the results of more than 1,000 small business loan applications.

Image: Biz2Credit.com

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GoDaddy Introduces New Small Business Security Features

Battle Back Against Hackers with GoDaddy Website Security

If you have a small business website, you know how dangerous malware and viruses can be. Open the wrong email and you can infect your entire network. It’s important to be protected against online attacks on your reputation too.

Compounding the need for new security products is the evolution of malware. The malware created by today’s hackers is becoming automated and harder to combat.

Battle Back Against Hackers with GoDaddy Website Security

GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY) is battling back against the hackers and malware that can disrupt your small business. The company has just introduced GoDaddy Website Security that’s powered by Sucuri. Small business owners with websites they want to protect can choose from  plans with different features.

There are three different plans to choose from with an Express version offering 30 minute response times. The Essential product offers response times of 12 hours as does the Deluxe model. These products start at $6.99 per month up to $399.99 per year.

Google Blacklist Monitoring

Each of the plans guarantees malware and hack removal by an expert team. They also offer Google blacklist monitoring and protection to ensure your company’s reputation stays good. Blacklisting is used to ruin a company’s online reputation. If a small businesses is blacklisted, Go Daddy’s security professionals will work to remove the company name and website from the offending category.

All plans included with Go Daddy’s new product have Web Application Firewall (WAF) protection.

In a recent press release, Kevin Doerr, Senior Vice President of Security Products at GoDaddy, spoke about why small business needs this tool.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘why would a hacker target me? I’m just a small business’,” he said. “But hackers aren’t what you see in the movies — they now build sophisticated tools that hunt for known vulnerabilities on any website.”

Image: GoDaddy

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How to Post a Job on Indeed

How to Post a Job on Indeed

Finding the core set of hires to get your company up and running is time consuming and can be expensive. So Indeed has become the largest job site by making it easier and cheaper to find the right talent for your business.

What is Indeed?

Indeed is a jobsite platform with more than 200 million unique visitors every month in over 60 countries around the world. Indeed has a search engine designed to quickly find the most relevant query by employees so they can find the right company. You can post job ads for free or sponsor a job with a pay per click model.

The Benefits of Sponsoring a Job

When you sponsor a job, it increases traffic to your jobs by up to 400 percent and it is up to 5 times more likely to get clicks than organic jobs.

The company also has a publisher network of more than 25,000 partner sites, including Bloomberg.com, USNews.com, AARP.org and others. Job boards, business information sites, career expert sites, publishers, blogs and search engines are also part of the network. The delivers a large audience of passive and active job candidates to run your company.

Sponsored Job Pay Structure

The model Indeed uses for its sponsored jobs is pay per click (PPC). If you are not familiar with this structure, you are charged every time someone clicks on your ad. You set the budget, and it will not go beyond your daily spend limit.

Your budget will determine how many people see your ads as well as how you rank against other companies posting jobs. The price will vary according to location, number and type of jobs, an industry.

How to Post a Job on Indeed

So if you are looking for the right talent, here is how to post a job on Indeed.

Get Started

Log on to Indeed.com and click on Employers / Post Job, this will take you to this page where you will create an account.

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Get Started

In the next page, you enter the business information, which will be followed by posting the job to find your employee.

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Company Details

The following pages ask more details about the position, including title, salary, full, par-time or other arrangements.

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Job Details

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Job Details 2

The settings for the application will ask you where you want to receive resumes or other documents.

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Job Details 3

In the next page, you will describe the position. This is an important step, because a well written job title can increase your traffic. According to Indeed.com’s Director of Employer Insights, Kevin Walkerby, it can be by as much as 1000 percent.

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Job Details 4

After describing the job, you can request detailed information about the candidates.  Everything from education to languages, licenses, work authorization and more can be requested.

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Job Details 5

The confirmation page lets you review everything you have filled out and you are ready to post the job.

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Preview Job Posting

The job is now ready to be posted on Indeed.com, but before you move forward, you are given the option to sponsor the job. By sponsoring a job, your add will be the first job people see in the search results.

How to Post a Job on Indeed - Sponsor Job Option

The application recommends a budget for a daily average, and you can set an end date to finalize the sponsorship. If you accept, you will fill the billing information in the next page and the job will be posted on Indeed.

Take Advantage of the Built-in ATS

Once you post a job on Indeed, you can use their built-in applicant tracking system, or ATS, to manage your posting and keep track of who is applying. The dashboard lets you see their resumes, email them and schedule interviews on one page.

The ATS also generates performance reports to track how your sponsored jobs are performing. You can track the number of clicks and views, which you can use to adjust your spend and strategy.

Conclusion

The process of placing an ad on Indeed is straightforward and very easy. If you opt to sponsor your job, make sure you set a budget you can afford, and calculate the amount before committing. This way you will be sure to spend only the amount you have allocated.

Images: Indeed.com

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Overcoming Resistance to Change: 5 Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Sponsored Post

Overcoming Resistance to Change: 5 Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Sooner or later as a business owner, you are going to want to change something in your company. You’ll get excited by the potential, only problem is, the rest of your team may not be on board.

The change you want to implement might be a new software system. Perhaps the change involves shifting around duties, making your team nervous. Whatever form of change is occurring, I’ve learned a few techniques to help the transition and encourage the team to embrace change, not resist it.

Here are five ‘tried and tested’ methods I’ve learned the hard way about overcoming resistance to change in a small business:

Explain the Big Picture

You know the big picture. You know what you want to accomplish and why. But have you stopped to convey the full picture to your team? If you have, have you done it recently?

Sometimes we assume the big picture is obvious. However, it may not be obvious to them. Or, some team members may have forgotten because the last time you discussed the topic was months ago, and certain team members may not be in the loop at all.

Gather your team together and lay out the vision you’re trying to accomplish, and the reasons for the change.

If everyone can see the end goal, they might just agree with it and get behind it. Give them the opportunity to ask questions so you can dispel misconceptions or unfounded fears.

Show How Change Helps Team Members in Their Daily Work

Sometimes a change such as implementing new software or a new process may seem like more work for individual employees. Show team members how the change will make their jobs easier or better. Show them the “what’s in it for me” at their level, through specific examples.

Take the example of implementing shared cloud files and storage using a tool like Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business. At first glance, it may seem like more work for each individual to have to learn new software and processes. However, once implemented it can save them time because files are easier to find when they need one. They won’t have to manually sync files from one device to another, if they work on multiple devices.

In other words, be prepared with examples to explain how the change can help them — not just how it will help the company.

Reassure that Jobs are not at Stake

Another reason employees may be resistant to change has to do with fear their job may be eliminated. This can especially be true if new technology automates and streamlines tasks.

Job security is the seventh most important factor for employee happiness, a study from Boston Consulting Group concludes.

You’d be amazed the crazy things employees can talk themselves into believing, in the absence of hearing anything different from you. They’ll be dusting off resumes — even while you never mentioned or thought of anyone losing their jobs.

Unless you intend to downsize (that’s a different story), reassure your employees that new technology isn’t about eliminating jobs. Instead it’s about improving job conditions and opportunities for everyone. Although, you may have to state that a couple of times for it to sink in.

Give Positive Feedback

Have you ever heard of the “Pride System’?

The system is promoted by international business consultant Gregory Smith, author of “Boosting Employee Engagement.”

As part of the Pride System, Smith encourages creating a positive working environment with greater employee involvement through positive recognition.

Praise and reward employees for taking even the smallest steps toward change. Rewards don’t have to be money. In fact, they shouldn’t be financial. Granting the primo parking spot for a week or simply giving public congratulations may do more for rewarding someone who embraces change than a cash bonus. Through positive feedback and rewards, you get your team engaged in wanting the change.

Invoke Fun

Last but certainly not least, make the change process fun. Making it all about schedules and tasks and things they absolutely positively must do is, well, boring.

Making change fun doesn’t have to be challenging or expensive. Small things, like giving a new initiative a fun project name, can help.

When you achieve an interim milestone, communicate that and throw an office party.  Or have someone create a 60-second video featuring your employees to commemorate it.

Interject gamification, badges and awards for fun competition, too.

Above all, strive to create a working environment in which change feels good and interjects a bit of excitement. And you’ll find any resistance begins to evaporate and the team starts to embrace it.

At the time of this writing, Anita Campbell is participating in the Microsoft Small Business Ambassador program.

Working at Desk Photo via Shutterstock

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Specialty Food Show Brings Some Unique Niches to the Forefront

The Summer Fancy Food Show Brings Some Unique Niches to the Forefront

The Summer Fancy Food Show takes place in New York this week, showcasing hundreds of specialty food makers with some really unique products.

The Summer Fancy Food Show

The Specialty Food Organization puts on the show each summer, along with one in California each winter. There, they award some of the most innovative and high quality products from food entrepreneurs, while also discussing and showcasing food trends that could impact businesses in the coming years.

The Specialty Food Organization represents more than 3,500 food entrepreneurs — some with really interesting niches. This year’s show features products like chickpea chips, goat milk caramel and even hemp-based water. The organization puts an emphasis on artisanal food businesses and those that create specialty products with quality ingredients.

But it also keeps an eye on trends that could impact food businesses. This year, for example, about a third of the show’s attendees said they plan on creating more plant-based and vegan friendly foods.

More than anything, these eexhibitors showcase just how many different niches and opportunities there are for food businesses. If you can come up with something truly unique, especially if it really appeals to a specific audience or uses ingredients that people are clamoring for, you can potentially find success.

Image: Specialty Food Organization

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7 Ways to Find Readers and Subscribers When No One Knows You Yet

"You don't have to just wait for your audience to stumble across you." – Sonia Simone

The early days of a new blog, podcast, or video channel are actually a sort of magical time.

It’s quiet. No one has shown up yet. You can say or do nearly anything. You have the opportunity to experiment and play without fear.

And, let’s face it … we all want to get past it as quickly as humanly possible.

While I truly would encourage you to stop and smell those roses, I also appreciate that we start websites because we want to build and serve audiences.

If you have something cooking and you’d like to accelerate the process of pulling your audience together, here are seven things I’ve found useful for my own projects.

Before we start on that, though, you must absolutely understand who you want to serve. What they believe, what they fear, what they know, what they don’t know. Keep digging and keep researching until you have someone in mind who feels like a genuine individual person.

Once you have a vibrant Who in mind, let’s get to work building an audience of them.

#1: Be ready for the traffic you get

At the beginning, when we’re squeaking along with just a few site visitors, it’s particularly important to capture every little scrap of attention we can.

So before you start trying tactics to get more new visitors, make sure that:

  • You have at least a few interesting other bits of content for visitors to look at
  • Your site doesn’t look like a dog’s breakfast
  • You have a good way to capture visitor email addresses

If you’re making something interesting, you may well find that those first subscribers go on to become some of your most loyal fans. Give them a way to stay in touch by offering a smart email subscription that delivers plenty of value.

You’re not going to get a zillion visitors in the early days. But if you can spark and maintain solid relationships with the ones you do get, you’ll start to pick up momentum.

#2: Answer the right questions

Once you (truly, madly, deeply) understand your Who, you’re ready to think about how to best serve them.

One time-honored tactic comes from sales consultant Marcus Sheridan — answer every question you’ve ever seen, received, or heard of in your topic.

The idea isn’t to write a 150,000-word manual. Instead, make each answer a single blog post — and keep the answers simple and useful.

This does a few things for you:

  • It gets you past that dread of the “blank page.” Answering questions is pretty straightforward.
  • It reveals any knowledge gaps that you need to work on.
  • It spurs you to head out into the digital world and start hunting for those questions. That’s a great way to learn a lot about your audience.
  • It creates a steady stream of fresh content. This is helpful for search engine optimization, but, more importantly, it makes your site interesting for human beings.

Figure out a calendar you can stick to for these. Since they’re fairly easy to create, you might publish two of them a week for six months or more. Every other week, swap in a more in-depth article that’s got more meat to it.

You may want to have a few of these done in advance, because I promise you’ll have days when even a 10-minute post is going to be tough to get created and published.

This is also a great way for you to start developing good publishing habits.

I refer folks all the time to Pamela Wilson’s post on publishing one strong piece of content a week, as a model for the steps you want to go through. These quick Q&A posts don’t need as much promotion, but it’s still a good opportunity to practice your process on lower-risk content.

#3: Do one epic thing

If you want influencers to link to you, social media darlings to share you, and potential customers to connect with you, you have to do something to deserve all of that attention.

You have to do something epic.

You might be epically good at what you do. You might be able to pull off some kind of epic stunt.

But most likely, your venture into the realm of epic is going to involve creating a seriously good piece of content.

Boring blog posts, weak videos, or copycat podcast episodes won’t cut it. (We already knew that, right?)

Not every piece of content is going to be a home run. But, at least once in a while, you need to swing for the fences.

Make time regularly to create and publish content that’s more thorough, or more creative — or maybe more innovative, empathetic, or far-reaching.

You’ll create a few near-misses before you come up with one that’s genuinely epic. So you should probably get started on those early attempts. Maybe today.

#4: Be a social butterfly

You might love social media, or you might avoid it like the zombie apocalypse. Either way, it’s a good place to look for new connections.

When you’re growing your audience, schedule one or two short sessions on one relevant social platform every day.

Most likely, it will be a combination of those.

If you’re trying to get a site off the ground, you don’t have hours every day to waste on Facebook. But two well-planned, 10-minute sessions every day can do you a world of good.

Facebook is the biggest dog at the moment, but it isn’t the only option. Instagram has been showing a lot of promise lately, and for the right business, Pinterest can be a winner. And for those with B2B products and services, LinkedIn is refreshingly drama-free — and a place where people expect to do business.

If you have trouble with keeping yourself to short sessions, consider a productivity app to help out.

And don’t fall into the trap of building a giant community on a social platform — and neglecting your own site. Your time is typically better spent optimizing your content to get more shares and building up a good volume of high-value content.

#5: Take one controversial stand

We all know that one person on social media who flips the table over every irritation or slight.

That’s exhausting and counterproductive.

But there’s a word for people who never take a difficult stand, never ruffle any feathers, and never speak out:

Boring.

Whether or not you overtly address politics is up to you. But, as Brian Clark likes to say, “This is the internet — there’s potential for controversy in any strong statement.”

Whether your niche is fitness, dog training, finance, parenting, or knitting — there are fiercely passionate camps around certain topics.

Do some real research. Question your own biases. Weigh the evidence and consider other points of view. Be willing to be swayed by reliable evidence that contradicts your assumptions.

And once you feel confident that your position is grounded with solid evidence, take your stand in the camp you believe is right.

You can literally enrage some people by asserting that the earth is round.

Trying to placate the ignorant doesn’t change the roundness of the earth.

Speak up.

(By the way, if you click the link above, how cool would it be to have a Science Emergency Defense Plan with NdGT on tap.)

#6: Buy a little traffic with money

So if you have a steady, consistent stream of useful material (your question and answer content), along with a few epic pieces, and you’ve taken a stand in your topic … is there anything else to do to get the ball rolling?

You can always try buying a bit of traffic with social media ads.

This is a game with rules that change almost daily, but it’s a game worth playing. Pick the most financially viable platform of the moment (right now it’s Facebook) and buy a little bit of traffic.

“A little bit” is not $1,000 worth of traffic. It’s not $100. Maybe spend $10 this week. And, if budget permits, $10 next week.

Think “risking your Frappuccino,” not “risking your mortgage.”

Learning to buy small amounts of traffic will give your momentum a bit of a push. It will also teach you all kinds of useful things that you’ll be glad you understand when you get more successful or have an offer you’d like to promote.

#7: Buy a little more traffic with time

The other way to “buy” some traffic is to put time and energy into writing guest post content for other sites. You may also find it valuable to appear on other people’s podcasts.

Like #6, this makes sense once you’ve got something worth checking out on your own site.

Guest posting broadens your audience and gives you a great opportunity to form relationships with other web publishers. It can also have nice SEO benefits … but that typically comes down the line, when your site’s a little more mature.

Remember to only submit excellent material for guest posts. It just isn’t smart to show less-than-great work on a larger stage.

Where are you on your journey?

Do you have all the traffic and subscribers you want? Still working on it? Found any great strategies for building an audience in the early days?

Let us know in the comments! :)

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Spotlight: Millennial Couple Brings Clean Juice to the Masses

Spotlight: Millennial Couple Brings the Clean Juice Franchise to the Masses

Clean eating isn’t just about improving health. It can be an entire lifestyle shift. And for one couple, it even led to a great business opportunity.

The founders of Clean Juice decided to start their business after seeing just how much of an impact clean eating made for them personally. Read about their journey and more in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Sells healthy juice and food options.

Co-founder Landon Eckles told Small Business Trends, “We sell Organic, Fresh Juices, Smoothies, Protein Smoothies, Acai Bowls, Cold Pressed Juices, Juice Cleanses, and a few complementary bites – everyone’s favorite being Avocado Toast!”

Business Niche

Offering a certified organic juice franchise.

Eckles says, “Clean Juice’s main distinguisher is that we are the first and only USDA certified organic juice bar franchise. In fact, we decided to create the business because certified organic produce was non-negotiable for us. We found that there was no franchise option that served all organic produce in their products, so set out to create a juice bar that was able to bring this option to their guests. We also really believe in leading with kindness and making sure our guest experience is top notch.”

How the Business Got Started

After the couple realized the importance of clean eating.

Eckles says, “Kat [Eckles, co-founder], a self-proclaimed recovering Taco Bell addict, discovered the importance of eating an organic, plant based eating after we had our first daughter a decade ago. Immediately becoming obsessed with a daily green smoothie, she realized how different this kind of eating made her feel and she was hooked. I caught on a few years later and made juicing and blending a staple in our home. Feeling the huge change it made to our own energy levels and overall wellness, we knew it was something we needed to bring to the masses.”

Spotlight: Millennial Couple Brings the Clean Juice Franchise to the Masses

Biggest Win

Building a great team.

Eckles says, “There are a lot of ‘wins’ we could talk about when reflecting on the last few years of being in business. We could talk about when we broke that million dollar threshold, or when we finally go our organic certification, or when we opened the doors to our first franchise store; however, what will always be the biggest win in our hearts is the team that has come together to make Clean Juice a success. Our home office staff and our employees in our stores are nothing short of incredible and are such a crucial part of our success.”

Biggest Risk

Building the brand in the first place.

Eckles explains, “We are a millennial couple with five kids and people might think that franchising is a risk for us. It was indeed a huge step but we believe that if you are passionate about something, you will make it work. Founding Clean Juice was a huge commitment which we had to self-fund – we used all our savings and maxed multiple credit cards. It was scary and over-whelming, but we learned how to rely on God and have certainly been overwhelmingly blessed with our growth.”

Lesson Learned

Plan for the future.

Eckles says, “We will be moving to our third office in 2 years later in 2017, so I think planning more strategically for future growth would have been beneficial. We thought our first office of 600 sqft. would be able to sustain us for 2 years, and we are about to move into 7500 sqft. which is awesome!”

Spotlight: Millennial Couple Brings the Clean Juice Franchise to the Masses

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Helping the community.

Eckles says, “We would love to use it to help make a difference in our communities. We have an initiative called JAJO where we do a service project each quarter and we would love to use that money to really create a project where we make a big difference.”

Favorite Quote

“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.”

Eckles explains, “We have incorporated our favorite Bible verse, 3 John 1:2 , into our mission statement. This is also our favorite quote, which has served as a great inspiration throughout our lives.”

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Clean Juice; Top Image: Landon and Kat Eckles

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What is Google Posts? If You Don’t Know, You’d Better Read This

What is Google Posts? If You Don’t Know, You’d Better Read This

There’s a new tool for establishing your digital presence on the web, but it isn’t available to your small business just yet.

Google Posts lets your business create content on Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), which can then be optimized to rank high in search results.

When it was first launched in 2016, it was during the Presidential campaign, and it was intended for the candidates. This greatly limited its use, and Google expanded the service to a number of local businesses in March of the same year.

Fast forward one year later, and it now includes sports teams, museums and movies, along with select people and businesses.

What Can Google Posts Do?

Put simply, the goal of Google Posts is to allow users to communicate directly in search results. This goes beyond the Knowledge Panel by highlighting content, information, products or services.

The posts can be images, videos or even animated GIFs. You can add inline links on the posts to drive traffic to a particular page, service or product.

Google says, “This enhanced format allows searchers to hear directly from the primary source — you — and complements existing results from across the web.”

Posting

Your postings show up instantly in search results on mobile and desktop platforms. Whether they are text, images, videos or events, you can schedule the time and duration of a post. If you are launching a product, opening a pop-up store or running a promotion, this is a great feature for getting immediate access.

Once you post, Google’s analytics goes to work and gives you updates on how many people see and interact with your content.

Google Posts - Create a Post

How is Google Posts Different from Google+?

Google+ will help your small business by working together with Google Search to rank your content high on search results. It also integrates with Google for Business services to provide business information, such as location, directions, phone number, photos and reviews. And when it comes to posts, you can promote posts, specials, deals and other content.

The difference with Google Posts is the interaction capability. You can communicate something directly in search results.

Availability

There is no telling when Google will make Google Posts available to everyone, but if you want to use it for your small business, you can request access.  If the company supports your category and geography, it will verify some information and keep you updated on the status of your approval via email. Google says you can expect the first correspondence within a week of submitting your form.

Images: Google

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iPhone Celebrates 10th Anniversary, Shows Risks and Rewards of Creating a Whole New Product

iPhone 10th Anniversary: Phone Demonstrates the Challenge of Innovation

This week 10 years ago, the original iPhone was released to the public.

Now we know that the iPhone is a hugely successful and transforming product. But back then, Apple took a huge risk in creating something so different from what customers were used to.

And the process for creating the product was far from easy.

The Challenge of Innovation

Andy Grignon, iPhone’s former senior manager, recently said in an interview, “When you make a new laptop, when you make a new desktop, whatever, you start with a thing that works. You change the screen, maybe add a new little feature here and there. But that’s it — you’re done. iPhone was brand new from the chip up.”

It took more than two years for the team to create the original iPhone. In that time, they had to keep the product totally secret while they built a totally new product from the ground up.

It seems crazy now to think that the iPhone may not have succeeded. But there was actually a fairly decent chance of that happening. For one, consumers weren’t used to the device itself. At the time, people were still using phones with buttons instead of touchscreens. Then there was a whole new operating system for people to get used to. And the idea of customizing the experience with apps was new to a lot of people as well.

That’s a lot to ask customers to adapt to all at once. But of course, they did. And the iPhone became a huge success and ushered in a whole new wave of smartphones.

Your small business might not be creating the next iPhone. But any time you work on a product that’s completely new and innovative, you face some of these same challenges. You have to put a lot of work into creating something that is a brand new idea. And you also take a lot of risk in asking customers to adapt to something so new. But as seen with the iPhone, those risks can potentially come with huge rewards.

iPhone Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “iPhone Celebrates 10th Anniversary, Shows Risks and Rewards of Creating a Whole New Product” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Good Financial Business Decisions: Here Are 4 Reasons You May Not Be Making Them

The Effect of Human Nature on Financial Decision Making

Many small business owners lack the skills to make good financial business decisions. But it is not always a result of their lack of experience, interest or education in this difficult area.

The Effect of Human Nature on Financial Decision Making

According to John Howe, author of “The Foolish Corner: Avoiding Mind Traps in Personal Financial Decisions”, it involves human nature and the evolutionary instincts that take over inside of every person when faced with these types of choices. He says that the first step in making better financial business decisions is to be aware that there are internal biases that are affecting each outcome.

They include:

1. Overconfidence. This is when the small business owner is so sure of the outcome despite market data and feedback telling them otherwise. They do need optimism, but when it mushrooms into blinding overconfidence, they ignore reality and it becomes a problem.  This happens many times because they have made a big financial bet where they do not feel they can turn back. Solution: The successful small business owner knows when stop, pivot and move on to a new strategy.  A safety switch to insure against overconfidence is to have reliable sounding boards from trustworthy sources. These can’t just be “yes men” that will agree with every financial business decision the owner makes. Rather, they need to be advisors or mentors that can play a devil’s advocate role and are not afraid to disagree on a regular basis.

2. Supercharged emotion. Financial business decisions around money can be emotional. Things like wanting to win at any cost or extracting revenge based on the past can also be factors. Overall, most competitive small business owners hate to lose at anything. This can only end up clouding their judgement.  Solution: Base decisions on results from a variety of sources. Ask advisors who are not emotionally involved with a particular decision to give their viewpoint. The small business owner needs to try to name the emotions they are feeling that are not grounded in fact based conclusions.

3. Internal bias. Every owner has a predisposition they bring to any decision making. It helps them frame the problem and then, the solution. In their own mind, this is based on what has worked or not worked in the past. Solution: A small business owner needs to know that their outlook is not always accurate or actually optimal. Again, ask an advisor who is outside the company or the process to give their viewpoint.

4. Peer pressure. For many small business owners, it is more comfortable to follow what others are doing. They make financial decisions based on what is popular or generally accepted since they want to “keep up with the Joneses”. They are afraid if they do not invest when or how others do, they will be single out as a loser when everyone else has success. Solution: Get comfortable in dissenting from what others think. Analyze the decisions to be made with all the pros and cons that are separate from any outside pressure or paths that others have taken before.

It’s a balancing act. Small business owners do need to trust their experience and instinct when making financial business decisions. At the same time, they need to understand what gets in the way of the an optimal outcome.

Credit Card Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Good Financial Business Decisions: Here Are 4 Reasons You May Not Be Making Them” was first published on Small Business Trends

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