Small Business Around the Web

By Lauren Simonds | Posted September 19, 2014

So much small business advice; so little time. That's why we crank out this weekly roundup of interesting, helpful, and inspiring articles around the Web. You don’t have a lot of time to waste, so peruse the links and find a nugget of information that could boost your productivity, increase your bottom line, and help you grow your business.

Ecommerce

  • The most important element of any online store is the actual design of the site. When customers land on your ecommerce website, you have mere seconds to either keep their interest or see them click away to do business with someone else. It's hard enough to attract customers online: don’t drive them away with bad website design.

Entrepreneurship

  • We all know that when you run your own business, you're working all the time. While our recent ancestors fought and died to win a 40-hour work week, an entrepreneur knows that he or she will be hard at it for however many hours it takes. But what about your employees? A recent Gallup poll showed that, in the U.S., full-time employees work an average 46.7 hours. Understanding current national working trends and your company's expectations for hours worked can benefit your business, especially when it comes to recruiting.
  • What happens when, after years of running your business, you just don’t have the same passion, energy, or interest that you had earlier in your career? This happens.

Finance

  • Finding the money to get a great business idea off the ground—or to grow an existing business—in this economy can be a real challenge. But don’t give up. Instead, consider alternative ways to secure a cash infusion.
  • The Internet's abuzz this week over Apple's new iPhone 6. But the company also announced another buzz-worthy product: a new mobile payments platform called Apple Pay. Major banks and credit card companies—not to mention thousands of retailers have signed on with Apple Pay. Should small business owners join up? Before you answer, you should know that Wal-Mart and Best Buy are throwing a wrench into the mobile payments works. It's called CurrentC.
  • Looking for online financial resources to help tame your business? You're bound to find something useful in this list of 16 sites.

Marketing

  • Pssst. Listen up. The best way to showcase your products and services on line is through video. So tap your inner Spielberg, learn how to create basic product videos, and you can engage customers, improve your conversion rates and increase your revenue—for not a lot of money.
  • Pssst. Listen up again. Once you get those product videos up and out into the world where people can see them, you know what's going to help you most? Word-of-mouth advertising. OK, it works even without the video part. But you need to know how to get people talking about your products and services online.
  • What's the most important aspect of an email newsletter campaign, a blog post or even everyday business email? The headline. If it stinks, no one will open your newsletter, read your blog, or click on your email. And no one will learn about your great idea, product, or company. What’s the answer? Write better headlines.

 Public Relations

  • Word-of-mouth is all well and good (seriously, that stuff works), but sometimes you need media coverage. Speaking as a (cranky) journalist and as an (equally cranky) editor, I can confirm that getting the media's attention is no easy task. There's a right way to do it, and these tips might help.

Security

  • So many small businesses have moved part or all of their business into the cloud, and as a result, they save money, increasing their productivity and competing with much larger companies. Of courses, it's not all rainbows and unicorns up in that cloud. Cloud security is an issue, and small business owners can't afford to not take an active role in protecting their business.
  • You've probably noticed the increased frequency with which retail stores have had their security breached and their customers' personal data stolen. It's not just the big box stores, although certainly we hear more about them. Understand that small retailers are equally at risk. It's time for small businesses to take this seriously.

Tech

  • Owners of iPads and iPhones rejoice: the new iOS 8 upgrade is here. Lots of new features, but one of my favorites lets you use third-party keyboards. Yay!
  • You know darned well that your small business (even if you are the only person in your small business) needs a website. But maybe you can't afford to pay someone to build it. Maybe you don’t have the skills to build it yourself. Fear not, and read this list.

Friday Fun

  • You know those days when you wonder why the hell you ever started your own business? Why you thought you wanted to be the boss? Yeah. On those days, click on this link and read. There now…don’t you feel better?

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com. Follow her on Twitter.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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