The Small Business Tech Report

By Lauren Simonds | Posted May 01, 2015

Occasionally on Fridays I like to wander around the Web (yes, they pay me for that) and look for articles I might have missed and that may appeal to small business owners and entrepreneurs—both actual and aspiring.

Topics include great small business advice, Gary Vaynerchuk, Windows 10, Elon Musk, a potential cure for global warming, and apps to help you spring clean your physical and digital life. And, in lieu of cat videos, an inspiring act of kindness.

Entrepreneurs

  • Entrepreneurs are born idea people, with a seemingly endless supply of light bulbs flashing over their heads. But it takes more than good ideas to find your market niche and to build a successful business. It's even harder to do if you're not familiar with the market that's drawn your interest.

    So what's an entrepreneur to do? Look to others who have gone before you. In this case, Zeynep Ilgaz, who co-founded Confirm BioSciences and TestCountry with her husband, offers advice on finding the ideal business niche.

 small business tips

  • Entrepreneurs also face a lot of difficult situations in the course of growing a business (I pulled that gem from the Captain Obvious file). But how you respond to negative business situations can make all the difference. Gary Vaynerchuk weighs in on the subject, and I've heard that he knows a thing or two million about business.
  • Earlier we talked about finding a business niche. But what about reinventing an industry that might be considered stale, stodgy, or simply too ingrained to change? As they say in B-school, who's ready for disruptive innovation? These guys snapped the hotel industry out of a deep sleep and created a new way to compete.

Windows 10

  • Microsoft's new operating system—coming soon to, well everywhere—holds a lot of promise for small business. For starters, it's a free upgrade from Windows 7. But wait, there's more.
  • Then again, not everyone is ready to throw a ticker tape parade for Windows 10.  While Microsoft hyperventilates about a world where the new OS will be installed on a billion devices by 2018, some folks have serious doubts that achieving Microsoft's vision will be quite so simple.
  • An even more extreme point of view paints Windows 10—or at least certain aspects of it—as downright dystopian. One writer worries that the software's new lock screen will turn into an ad platform sold to the highest corporate bidder.

Can Technology Save the World?

  • What do you get when you combine semiconducting nanowires, bacteria, and solar energy? Give up? You get technology that converts carbon dioxide—a.k.a. planet-killing greenhouse gas—into a whole bunch of things like pharmaceutical drugs, biodegradable plastics or liquid fuels.

    Developed by The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, it's essentially man-made photosynthesis. It's also fascinating, potentially planet-saving stuff. And you can read more about it here.
  • If you prefer your planet-saving technology in a more readily available state, then check out the new whole-house batteries developed by Elon Musk and the folks at Tesla. Go green!

Feel Good Friday

  • I think it's fairly safe to say that Spring has finally sprung. As your thoughts turn to spring cleaning, these five apps can help you ditch or recycle all manner of physical and digital junk—from your snail-mail box, computers, mobile devices, office and home. Kicking the crap out of your life feels good.
  • We offer a lot of tips here at Small Business Computing, but they don’t compare to the tip that this anonymous New York man left for his waitress. It's a story worth reading and sharing, and I hope this selfless act of pay-it-forward kindness sets the tone for your weekend and beyond. This world desperately needs more kindness.

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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