It's time for another roundup of small business tips, technology, advice and entrepreneurial inspiration. Here's what caught my eye on the Interwebs this week; I hope you find something here that helps you drive your small business forward.
- The crisp air that just arrived here in New England air tells me that autumn's right around the corner, which can mean only one thing: you're about to get seriously busy preparing your ecommerce business for the holiday season. Whether you're a seasoned veteran of the annual retail rush or you've just hung your ecommerce shingle, now is the time to develop your plan of action. These five ecommerce stats can help.
- Take a look around at the people in your business. If they all look like you, you're business isn’t as effective or as successful as it could be. Don’t take my word for it. Look what workplace diversity did for IBM—and what it could do for your business.
- One effective way to invest in—and grow—your business is through networking. It's an especially critical skill to develop in this age where everyone's promoting themselves through social media. Try these small business networking tips to help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Building a small business is tough, but we live in an age where technology lets the little guy (or gal) go head-to-head with big business. But that may all change if the big ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and the FCC turn technology against us—and effectively hamstring small business growth—by killing Net Neutrality.
- What influences you as a small business owner? Is it your peers, your mentor, or your personal relationships? A new report from the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) breaks it down.
- In the rush of day-to-day operations, meetings, marketing plans, and your next networking event, take a few moments and just be…grateful. It's good for the soul and it's good for business. In the words of Alfred North Whitehead, "No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude." You'll find plenty more inspirational gratitude for you right here.
- Do you take your business seriously? Assuming you said yes, one tell-tale sign that you may not be as serious as you think is the way you deliver tax data to your accountant. Paper receipts—and even spreadsheets—just don’t cut it anymore. Here are seven reasons why you should use small business accounting software.
- Getting ready to lease your first office or expand into a larger space? Congrats all around. Now's the time to hone your negotiating skills, because there's a lot that can go wrong, which could end up costing you a bundle.
- Are you ready to break away, dig deep, and go beyond the standard everybody-does-this kind of email marketing? If you want to grow your lists and expand your customer base, try some of these advanced email marketing tactics.
- The products and services your small business provides are the best, right? And naturally you want to make sure that your customers know it in no uncertain terms. Funny thing, though. Companies that market their products and services as the best often get more returns and complaints.
- Small businesses fight what can feel like a losing battle with search engine optimization (SEO). A business that no one can find through Google is a business that most likely won’t be around much longer. The problem is that Google keeps changing its rules, and small businesses are left trying to hit a moving target. But there's a way to fight back and to stay on Google's radar (and in its good graces): local citations.
- With all the noise and clamor over the iPhone 6 announcement, Android phone owners may feel a bit left out. Well, don’t. You've got the Moto X (2014) phone to cheer you up. According to Gizmodo, it's "still the Android phone for everyone."
- If you're starting a business and paired up with a small business accelerator, incubator or VC fund (other restrictions apply), you could be eligible for Google's Cloud Platform for Startups. That could mean $100,000 of free credits for the cloud computing service. Yeah, that might help get your business off the ground.
- Waltz into your weekend with this awesome send up of Apple advertising. From the good folks at Ikea: Behold, the bookbook.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com. Follow her on Twitter.
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