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Top 10 Freelance Gigs Available in the US Right Now

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2018-03-16 15:30

FlexJobs has reported the top freelance career fields and the top 30 companies hiring this workforce so far in 2018.

While freelancers aren’t eligible for benefits, they have more flexibility and freedom than traditional employees. This may explain why a FlexJobs survey showed freelancers working remotely or from home are generally happier than more traditional employees. In the US, the total number of workers freelancing has risen to 35 percent.

Small businesses are the fastest growing segment of organizations using remote workers and freelancers. As freelancers are also technically identified as small businesses, these two groups are changing the labor market and how talent is acquired.

Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, explained how this work model has changed the workforce in the past decade. In a press release, she explains, “The demographics of freelancers are just as varied, spanning generations, educational backgrounds and career levels, but they share an important commonality, which is that they freelance because they value work-life balance and flexible work arrangements can help them achieve it.”

Top Careers and Jobs

The top five careers were in computer and IT, accounting and finance, HR and recruiting, editing, and administrative. Freelance jobs such as data analyst, receptionist, project manager, bookkeeper, content designer, QA specialist, chemist, proposal writer, and HR specialist were posted on FlexJobs matching those careers.

The 10 Top Freelance Fields

The top 10 freelance jobs in the U.S. at present include:

  1. Computer & IT
  2. Accounting & Finance
  3. HR & Recruiting
  4. Editing, Proofreading, and Writing
  5. Administrative
  6. Project Management
  7. Data Entry
  8. Research Analysis
  9. Software Development
  10. Technical Support
The Companies

The list of companies hiring freelancers shows there is no one specific industry. Companies across all segments are using the pool of workers who identify themselves as freelancers.

The Top 30 Companies Hiring for Freelance Jobs in 2018 So Far

Freelancers seeing work may want to pursue it with one of these 30 companies already known for offering these opportunities:

  1. Kelly Services
  2. Real Staffing
  3. Kforce
  4. Accounting Principals
  5. Randstad
  6. Ajilon
  7. Dahl Consulting
  8. Computer Futures
  9. Onward Search
  10. Robert Half International
  11. Creative Group
  12. Aerotek
  13. TEKsystems
  14. Adecco
  15. VocoVision
  16. WinterWyman
  17. AFIRM
  18. EXL
  19. 24 Seven
  20. Apex Systems
  21. Judge Group
  22. excelHR
  23. ics – Infinity Consulting Solutions
  24. Facebook
  25. Paladin
  26. Horizontal Integration
  27. Procom Services
  28. i. Systems
  29. K12
  30. MATRIX Resources
Looking for a Job?

If you are a freelancer, FlexJobs makes the following five recommendations to land your next job.

  1. Figure out your freelance niche.
  2. Set up a solid freelance foundation.
  3. Consider your network.
  4. Reach out to old employers.
  5. Drum up new business, because as a freelancer, you are your own business.

FlexJobs has a good vantage point of the trends taking place with remote jobs. The company offers an online platform for job seekers and companies featuring freelance work opportunities in more than 50 categories. The 2018 top 100 list, as well as this roundup, was whittled down from the more than 49,000 organizations who posted the highest number of freelance job openings on FlexJobs for the year.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Top 10 Freelance Gigs Available in the US Right Now" was first published on Small Business Trends

In the News: Big Business Tools Now Available to Small Business

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2018-03-16 13:40

Technology is giving small businesses advantages previously only enjoyed by big companies. This week, a lot of companies serving small businesses released new tools to help companies like yours bridge the tech gap.

QuickBooks released a new platform for accountants to manage small businesses. Salesforce and Salesfloor each have new products out to help with turning browsers into customers. And Wix has a new logo tool to boost your marketing efforts.

There’s all this and plenty more happening this week. Check out all the headlines in this week’s small business news and information roundup.

Management QuickBooks  Accountant Apps Provision Small Businesses and their Financial Advisors

The new release of QuickBooks Accountant Apps Program from Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) gives accountants a platform for making top-rated apps available for their customers. QuickBooks Accountant Apps Program Accountants can now provision, purchase and manage apps recommended by accounting professionals and fully compatible with the QuickBooks suite of products.

Marketing Tips Wix Now Has a Logo Maker for Small Businesses

The new Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) Logo Maker gives small businesses the ability to create a free logo to boost their marketing efforts. Thousands of small businesses rely on Wix and its DIY website building platform to create their site. With the Wix Logo Maker, you will be able to create a logo designed by you to fit your brand and customizable to be displayed across different platforms.

The New PicMonkey Focuses on Selling to Small Business Brands

PicMonkey has announced a new visual communication platform looking to address the space between Adobe and Canva. The missing middle is an addressable emerging market worth $5 billion potentially serving both personal and professional customers including individuals, small to medium businesses and social media teams.

Retail Trends Holiday Returns by Customers are at 28%, Survey Says

The 2017 holiday season saw 28 percent of the gifts people purchased returned, at a value of $90 billion. The new infographic, report and survey by RedStag Fulfillment and Optro not only looks at the return rates of gifts, but how they impact businesses.

Paysafe and Verifone Offer Mobile POS to Restaurants and Small Retailers

A new partnership between Verifone (NYSE: PAY) and Paysafe will provide quick service for restaurants and small and medium-sized businesses across the United States with innovative payment solutions. Paysafe is a global provider of payment solutions while Verifone specializes in connecting payment devices to the cloud.

Sales New Salesforce Essentials Gives Small Businesses Enterprise Level Tools

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) just announced the release of Essentials providing small businesses for the first time with a variety of apps for what the company calls the number one global CRM platform. Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials are the first Salesforce Essential apps available.

SALESmanago Offers Entrepreneurs One of Its Marketing Tools for Free

SALESmanago is giving a single marketing automation tool free to young entrepreneurs and startups in all industries. The offer from SALESmanago is invaluable for individuals and companies just starting their entrepreneurial journey. And with digital presence now a key component for business success, using digital channels for your marketing is critical.

Economy Small Businesses Add 68,000 Jobs in February

With 10,000 more jobs than January, the ADP Small Business Report shows private sector small business employment increased by 68,000 jobs in February. February 2018 ADP Small Business Report The ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) report is stressing the importance of small businesses in contributing to the overall economy of the country.

Employment March Madness Will Draw Your Employees’ Focus from Work, Surveys Says

The madness has begun. And if you have millennial employees, there’s a good chance the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will distract them. Employee Productivity During March Madness You’re likely to see the famed basketball tournament brackets floating around your office.

Small Biz Spotlight Spotlight: How One Company Aims to Go from Selling Socks to Changing the World

Some businesses start with a major change or innovation. Others start with something small — like a sock. The Cause International is an example of the latter. But though the idea started small, the team still hopes it can make a big impact. The clothing company puts a major focus on giving back to communities around the world, from Chicago to Guatemala.

Small Business Loans Government Says Most Poultry Farms Are NOT Small Businesses, Can’t Get SBA Loans

An evaluation made by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Inspector General regarding loans made to poultry farmers and growers concluded most do not meet regulatory and SBA requirements for eligibility.

US Chamber of Commerce Backs New Bill to Help Main Street Businesses

The US Chamber of Commerce sent a “key vote” letter to the Senate in support of S.2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The bill looks to provide community banks with regulatory relief after the blanket implementation of financial regulations following the 2008 financial crisis.

Small Business Operations BlueJeans Updates Meetings Platform, Can Your Small Business Team Benefit?

BlueJeans has redesigned and updated its meeting platform with a new user experience to better serve the collaborative workforce of today — including your small business team. The latest BlueJeans desktop app was developed and then tested with thousands of users to make sure it delivered with the new features.

Social Media The New YouTube Studio Offers More Insight for Your Small Business Channel

The new YouTube Studio is finally here. YouTube Studio is Out of Beta YouTube Studio features a new dashboard and three new metrics to help you gauge the popularity of your videos uploaded to the site. The tools help you manage your videos and all the other activity on your channels. These updates were launched in beta a little while ago.

Taxes Cracking the Code on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: How It Will Impact Your Business

Normally at this time of year, individuals and small business owners are solely focused on their 2017 taxes. But with the passage of the sweeping tax overhaul, this is no ordinary year. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act takes affect starting with your 2018 return and beyond, but the changes are so significant, it’s important to understand the bill and how it will impact your small business.

Lawyers and Law Firms Not Seeing the Benefits of Federal Tax Cuts

Law firms aren’t jumping for joy in the same way many other small businesses are because of the recent passage of a new tax bill. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes plenty of deductions and changes that could benefit small businesses in various industries. But it also imposes some new limits on deductions that may be especially relevant for law firms.

Technology Trends Kradle Launches Small Business Management Software

Kradle announces a new software package designed to help small and medium-sized businesses in any industry manage their operations. The company touts its product as a self-managed software allowing businesses to achieve their competitive potential.

Microsoft iOS Camera App Turns Business Cards into Contacts

The Microsoft Pix camera app for your iPhone now has a business-friendly feature. The app lets you scan the business card of a contact you’ve just met. It takes the information on that business card and then updates your Contact data for that person. The app also scours LinkedIn to find the new business contact’s profile so the two of you can connect.

Only 20% of Tech Jobs are Held by Women, How About at Your Business? (INFOGRAPHIC)

After a long slump, the tech industry appears to be finally back in business. Surprisingly, however, that has not brought cheer for women techies. Women in Technology Statistics According to data compiled by virtual event solutions company, Evia, women make up less than 20 percent of U.S. tech jobs, even though they make up more than half of the U.S. workforce.
Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "In the News: Big Business Tools Now Available to Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

Lawrence Cole of Google: Machine Learning Taking SEO Out of Black Box, Giving SMBs More Access to Insights

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2018-03-16 12:00

Last year at Nextiva’s NextCon event, one of the featured presentations was from Lawrence Cole, the Head of Mid-Market, U.S. West for Google. It was such a good session that I’ve been wanting to have him join me for a conversation for this series ever since.

2018 Search Marketing Trends

And this week I was able to talk with him and get his take on a number of themes around search, SEO, conversion rate optimization and how machine learning is democratizing the availability of insights in all these areas.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.  To hear the full interview,  watch the video below, or click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

* * * * *

Small Business Trends:  Maybe you can give us a little of your personal background.

Lawrence Cole: I actually got my start working as an engineer quite some time ago. I was a software engineer for EarthLink at the start of my career, back when they were, I guess you could say cresting in their trajectory some years ago.

I spent a lot of time in the logistics industry. I work in the crosses of several different departments, and functions.

I also spent a great deal of my time in the small business space. Starting small companies, working from small companies, so I spent a great deal of time developing an understanding what small companies go through. Even some of the initial digital marketing skills that I’m now able to apply, and lead new teams.

In a large tech company, they really began with me being a person who, either from my own, or someone else’s small businesses, figuring out things such as search engine optimization, email marketing, digital marketing. Even before we had social media, and Google Adwords, and these sorts of platforms. I’ve had kind of a mix of large company engagement, and small company engagement. Even now, a lot of the teams that I lead deal primarily with small companies, and start-ups. Sometimes maybe starting to begin to startup a small companies. Now they scale into half a billion, or a couple of billion dollars in revenue.


Small Business Trends:  How has search engine optimization changed over the last couple of years or so, and is it as important, or is it more important today than it was a couple years ago?

Lawrence Cole: I think it’s always important, because it is just one of many ways to get in front of people. I think that search engine optimization has become a little more commoditized than it used to be, which also, I think makes it a little more equitable of an opportunity. I can remember doing well in search engines had a lot to do with you being in a certain loop of people who had figured out some things, and they were way ahead of everyone else. Now, with all the information, with it is much less of a black box. It’s available for everyone, but it also makes it a lot more competitive as well, because the tools for success are more common in knowledge than they used to be. But, like I said, it’s always a worthy investment.

I think that you should look at a marketing and customer acquisition strategy very wholistically, as opposed to hanging your hat on any one thing by search engine optimization, or social media, or ads spend, to look at it in its totality, and to figure out, more important than anything else, where your perfect customer lives. One of the best platforms, and method is to reach out to them.

Small Business Trends:  There’s a lot of emphasis on CRO, conversion rate optimization. It seems like there’s so much coming at people. They’re looking for information. They’re making quick decisions. They’re also making quick decisions as to where do they spend that little piece of time that they have to try to figure out the challenge that you’re trying to solve. Maybe you could talk a little about the urgency of trying to get that person’s attentions that’s doing a search, and converting that attention into an actual interaction opportunity.

Lawrence Cole: I think one of the distinctions about customer acquisition as things have changed over the years is that focusing on urgency is not necessarily the way you want to go. For one, it is very difficult to influence consumers to do anything they don’t want to do in this economy. There are so many choices… There are so much that are educated on what their choices are, and their habits have changed. They spend a lot more time researching, because they can on their phone at their fingertips. Typically, when someone’s seriously considering what we have to offer, they probably already determined that they want what you have. They’re just trying to decide who to get it from.

In terms of optimizing for conversions, my advice is to focus on being as frictionless as possible. Making it simple, and as easy, and seamless as possible. Reducing the number of steps that it takes to be able to get to whatever it is you have to offer. I can’t tell you how many time that I, as a consumer, have been on the way to buying something from a company, and they ended up losing my money, because it just took me too many steps, or I had to wait too long, or something would not load. I just went elsewhere, and bought the exact same thing from someone else.

So, I think making your process as friction free as possible. Looking at things like the speed of your site, the number of steps that it takes to get to your shopping cart, the number of different types of payment that you take, do you even take PayPal, and not look just on your regular desktop site. You need to think about mobile, because more and more people are competing to go from, not just researching on mobile, but being very comfortable at purchasing on mobile, as well. Especially for things that are not huge, and major purchases. I think that all of those things should be considerations, but the bottom line focus really should be on how frictionless as possible can you make your customer acquisition process.

Small Business Trends:  It’s been months, but I remember in your presentation you talked about how Google has about seven properties that have over a billion active users. An incredible amount of interactions that Google has an opportunity to look at. How could a small business, how could any kind of business who’s looking to build relationships, look at any of the ways that Google, and the data that Google has to help them, leverage that data and be more strategic with the way that they interact, or try to get the attention of somebody they’re trying to do business with?

Lawrence Cole:  One of perennial challenges with small businesses, Brent, is a lack of access to leverage; Not having the financial resources, not having the headcount resources to compete with larger concerns in the same space. One of the things that is going to, and is already begun to democratize that, is machine learning; and how Google, in particular is using and leveraging machine learning in our products to look at a innumerable number of signals across those several properties. To be able to collect really smart data that can help small businesses to optimize the return they’re getting from what they’re investing.

When I began managing paid advertising, everything was manageable, and your results had a lot to do with the skill of the person who was managing your account. What machine learning is doing, is it’s taking the focus of optimization away from human knowledge, and it’s shifting it over to machine knowledge, and machine learning, so that even a small business can compete very well if they can be smart about how they’re leveraging automation. Then things like remarketing, and some of the audience based targeting options, customer matching – matching for similar audiences- that Google has available to everyone on its platform.

Small Business Trends:  Talk a little about video. It captures people’s attention in a way that text just doesn’t. When you look at the opportunity that video presents for engagement from a customer-vendor perspective, what do you think small businesses need to know, and maybe they just don’t seem to be embracing well enough?

Lawrence Cole:  I believe that one of the misnomers is that a small business can’t compete in video, because they don’t have access to large scale production, equipment, or talent, to write, et cetera. The reality is that there are many ways to scan that casts. For instance, I think that the most important thing is to understand how ubiquitous video is becoming. By 2020, something like 90% of the time people spend online will be watching videos. A lot of it is who is understanding what the folks that you are looking to target see is important. What are they watching? You can leverage that without a video. You can place an ad next to a video, or on a video, and be able to leverage that without any production at all. Or, you can produce things very cheaply, or pay to get them produced very cheaply.

Let’s say you don’t have a big budget to spend on marketing that video. Producing something as simple as a how-to, can be very powerful, because people forget that YouTube, which is a part of the Google family, is the number two search engine in the world, next to Google search. I tell people that people go to Google search to look up what … they usually go to YouTube to look up how. So, if I had a haven’t tie a bow tie, like two years, I can relearn how to do it, I go to YouTube to do that. If I forget how to,  YouTube tells me how to do that.

You have this type of powerful service that lands to needing to tell a story about it, or show someone how to do it, how to use it. You can actually do it very well for free, by just simply putting a YouTube video up that helps to drive traffic to your site, or your app based on the quality of your content, and also how good of a job you do at second targeting. Those are two options. One is there is cost, but it doesn’t require video, the other one requires video, but it has little to no costs. That will allow small business to be able to answer in that space with the goal, of course, of scaling.

Small Business Trends:  One last question, before we search, what do small business need to know about voice search, and how quickly do they need to start thinking about it being a need to be prepared, versus nice to be prepared for it?

Lawrence Cole:  One of the things about a small business is that it’s so much nimble than larger competitors, and that market allowed the companies that I’ve worked with to become large, who have become companies that drive hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in revenue. It’s because they entered a market as a small competitor, and they got ahead of the curve on a trend. In terms of any trend that we know is going to become fairly ubiquitous, whether it’s mobile, video, voice. Those are all things that a small business person should be looking at, and relentlessly thinking about ways that they can cut some of the larger competitors off at the pass by being a fast mover in new trends, and being able to use that to siphon some of the market share.

The thing about larger companies is that they typically take a longer time, and to be able to catch on to trend, they have a lot more loops, and they often wait, and look at the market, and see how things shift first, before they invest.  Small companies, they absolutely need to be at the forefront of any trend that comes out. At the very least being educated on it, and maybe doing some light, and extensive testing to see if it works for you.

Small Business Trends:  Lawrence, this has been great. I really appreciate the time. Where can people learn a little bit more about some of the things that we just talked about?

Lawrence Cole:  One of the places that I would send people to is actually  Google Adwords Academy that’s free. It’s a wealth of information. It’s kind of a gateway to a lot of the tools, and resources that we have to offer. To begin to develop a general acumen around some of the best practices.

Again, when I started doing digital marketing, all of this stuff was a black box. You had to find someone, or pay someone who was willing to give you the secret sauce, if you will, of how to be successful online. Now, it’s all free information that’s just out there for everyone. I would definitely start there.

This article, "Lawrence Cole of Google: Machine Learning Taking SEO Out of Black Box, Giving SMBs More Access to Insights" was first published on Small Business Trends Revamps Competitor Keyword Matrix to Analyze Your Competition

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2018-03-16 10:30

If you want to find out the successful search strategies of your competition,, a subsidiary of Amazon, has added gap analyses to its suite of competitive analytics tools to make it happen.

Marketers and site owners will be able to use the new features to close the gap with their competition and discover existing but not previously seen opportunities. will now have Competitor Backlink Checker and new updates to Competitor Keyword Matrix for identifying the keyword and backlink strategies your competition is using effectively.

As part of the different moving parts in search engine optimization, keyword and backlink strategies may not be familiar to most small business owners. In fact, many small businesses lack SEO knowledge, with 54 percent indicating they don’t even have an SEO budget, according to a recent survey.

The platform simplifies SEO so you can focus more on your business, whether its marketing or another industry with an online presence. Andrew Ramm, President of, explains what the new enhancement will offer marketers.

On the company blog, he explains, “By taking advantage of these competitor gap analysis tools – and combining them with our robust SEO research and site audit capabilities — marketers will be able to find, reach and convert their target audience more effectively.”

The Revamped SEO Tools from Alexa

The Competitor Keyword Matrix tool lets you compare up to 10 sites at the same time so you can see keywords different from yours being used by the competition.

The matrix list can include popular or similar sites competing with yours and expose the top keywords responsible for driving traffic to them. When you identify the keywords, you can add those keywords in your own content marketing efforts.

The Competitor Backlink Checker allows you to visually compare backlinks for up to 10 sites at a time. You will be able to evaluate which of your competitor’s sites are linking the most and highlight those that haven’t earned links. Jennifer Yesbeck, Marketing Manager at Alexa, adds, “Armed with this knowledge, marketers can plan their backlink strategy and build an outreach list.”

Give a Try

You can try, including the new features, with a free seven-day trial. If you choose to move forward, there is an Essentials plan for $99 per month and an Advanced version for $149 per month. The features include different levels of site audits, keyword search, backlink checker, competitive analysis tools, pageviews and more.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, " Revamps Competitor Keyword Matrix to Analyze Your Competition" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Places to Get Payroll Services and More for Your Small Business

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2018-03-16 09:30

If your small business has a team of employees, then you need a payroll service to manage all of those payments and details. A good small business payroll service should automatically calculate how much pay each employee earns during every pay period, then process those payments and calculate taxes and reports to help you keep your financial records in order.

Payroll Services for Small Business

If you’re looking for a new payroll service, here are a few options that are great for small businesses.

Intuit Payroll

Perhaps the biggest name in payroll solutions, Intuit offers a few different plans for different types and sizes of businesses. There’s a basic option for the smallest businesses, one that includes tax information and a more robust HR solution. The basic plan starts at just $16 per month. You can also integrate your chosen platform with QuickBooks to easily manage your finances automatically.


With a few different plans to choose from, Paychex offers a basic and affordable option for small businesses called Paychex Flex, built for teams of up to 49. The cloud-based system also offers mobile functionality and employee self-service options. You can also choose to access more advanced options like benefits management and 401(k) contributions.


A basic payroll calculating service, OnPay lets businesses create payroll checks and access reports based on those payments. The system can also automatically calculate and submit tax payments to the proper tax agencies. The service runs for a $36 monthly fee, plus $4 per person per month.


Alongside its accounting software, Xero offers a payroll service that lets businesses calculate payments, manage employee hours, approve time off and set up direct deposits or cut checks. This solution is made to run seamlessly with other Xero programs, and can also easily integrate with other business management platforms.


Gusto is a cloud-based payroll solution with options for employees and contractors. It also calculates taxes automatically, generates reports and integrates with a variety of accounting and HR solutions. The monthly cost for the most basic option starts at $45 per month.


Part of Sage’s full business management solution, the company’s payroll service includes a few different options. You can start out with Sage Essentials to manage ten employees or less. And you can work your way up to Sage Payroll Full Service, where a professional actually manages your payroll for you.


Built for businesses with anywhere between 5 and 5,000 employees, Insperity is built to scale with your business. The solution can help you easily onboard new hires and manage payments and benefits. It also features a self-service portal to help team members manage their own details.


This online payroll platform allows businesses to manage payroll, employee attendance, benefits and more. Paycor also includes a mobile platform and alerts to notify you if there are any expenses that seem out of the ordinary.

Square Payroll

Built to integrate with the Square POS and payments system, Square Payroll is built specifically for businesses with hourly employees. It lets team members sign in and out on a register. Then it manages payments, taxes and even direct deposits. The employee payroll platform starts at $34 per month, or $5 per month if you’re only working with contractors.


Jumpstart:HR is a more fully featured HR management platform that also includes payroll administration. There are a few different specific plans available for businesses of different sizes. The company also provides HR consulting and even background check and other onboarding services.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Places to Get Payroll Services and More for Your Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

Wix Now Has a Logo Maker for Small Businesses

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2018-03-16 08:30

The new Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) Logo Maker gives small businesses the ability to create a free logo to boost their marketing efforts.

Thousands of small businesses rely on Wix and its DIY website building platform to create their site.

With the Wix Logo Maker, you will be able to create a logo designed by you to fit your brand and customizable to be displayed across different platforms. Wix says it has put together all the tools you need to design your own logo, along with a guide to help you choose the right colors, fonts and best practices.

Small businesses and startups just beginning their entrepreneurial journey should take as much consideration in the creation of their logo as large enterprises. Corporations spend considerable resources in creating the right logo because it passively communicates with potential customers wherever it is displayed.

If you create a logo that captures the attention of your potential customers, they will want to know the company behind it.

The Wix Logo Maker

Just like a designer, the Wix Logo Maker starts by asking you relevant questions about your business, industry and adjectives describing the overall feel you want your logo to communicate.

“Based on your answers, the powerful algorithm will then automatically generate a selection of variations of what your future logo might look like. Simply pick your favorite and get ready to customize,” writes Wix Community and Social Media Manager Taira Sabo on the official company blog.

You will be able to customize the fonts, icons, and colors as well as making the necessary adjustments for the platform or platforms where the log is to be displayed. This includes your website and social media channels for digital formats, and business cards or banners in the physical world.

If you are going to create your own logo, Sabo recommends you make it simple, versatile, timeless and appropriate.

The Logo Maker is now available for free with a Wix account.

Image: Wix

This article, "Wix Now Has a Logo Maker for Small Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends

When it Comes to Excitement, the Sales Report Never Disappoints

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2018-03-16 07:30

We cartoonists have to worry about weird details. For example:

How many ups and downs are funny?
Would a curvy line be funnier?
Should it dip below the bottom axis, and if so how often?
How should the graph end?

It took me a few tries before I decided that this line graph was funny enough, but I think I got it.

This article, "When it Comes to Excitement, the Sales Report Never Disappoints" was first published on Small Business Trends

Tillerson Departure Could Impact What Your Business Pays for Oil

Small Business Trends - Fri, 2018-03-16 06:30

President Donald Trump’s decision to fire outgoing State Secretary Rex Tillerson could pitch oil prices upward as the White House is expected to become more aggressive toward foreign oil companies.

Impact of Rex Tillerson on Oil Prices

Tillerson’s ousting could tilt the balance of power away from oil producers in Iran and Venezuela, analysts told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. Replacing the former ExxonMobil CEO with CIA Director Mike Pompeo will likely prompt oil prices to pitch upward, they added.

“The Rexit scenario is bullish for oil because Pompeo is a known hawk against Iran and I think he will embolden Donald Trump to exit the nuclear agreement when he has to make the decision in May,” Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy for RBC Capital Markets, told reporters Wednesday.

She was referring to Pompeo’s well-known animus to the 2015 international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which, if eliminated, could reimpose economic sanctions on Iran that would limit its oil exports and reduce global supply. Pompeo has also expressed interest in slapping energy sanctions against OPEC member Venezuela.

Oil prices edged slightly higher Wednesday ahead of U.S. inventory data that are expected to show a rise in crude stocks. Other analysts suggest that the oil markets don’t appear spooked by Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas.

Surging non-OPEC oil supply is likely smothering any geopolitical angst from Tillerson’s ouster, according to Bloomberg’s Liam Denning. Another possible reason for the oil market’s relative nonplussed position on Pompeo, he added, is fatigue with the chaotic nature of the Trump administration.

Trump’s ever-changing governing ethos makes “it tough to draw any conclusions about the direction of policy, much less wager money on it,” Denning said, adding that it is not clear if eliminating the Iran agreement would effectively cut off Iranian barrels.

“Europe has been a big buyer of these since the deal went into effect, and China’s imports of Iranian oil have jumped too,” he added.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Tillerson Departure Could Impact What Your Business Pays for Oil" was first published on Small Business Trends

New Salesforce Essentials Gives Small Businesses Enterprise Level Tools

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2018-03-15 15:45

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) just announced the release of Essentials providing small businesses for the first time with a variety of apps for what the company calls the number one global CRM platform. Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials are the first Salesforce Essential apps available.

The apps are backed with the power of Salesforce Trailhead, Einstein AI, Lightning and AppExchange, which will give small businesses access to enterprise-grade CRM solutions. Salesforce says this is going to future-proof businesses in a rapidly evolving digital environment while allowing them to work smarter and faster with a strong focus on customers.

Small businesses spend a considerable amount of time on manual processes. According to Salesforce, this can amount to 23 percent of an averages small business’s workday. This means a quarter of their time could be better used to drive more productive business initiatives, such as growth. Salesforce Essentials has been designed to overcome this challenge in an easy to use platform small organizations can capitalize on.

In a press release, Mike Rosenbaum, Executive Vice President of CRM Applications at Salesforce, said, “With Essentials, we’ve taken the full power of Salesforce and tailored it for the unique needs of small businesses. Essentials is easy to set up and use — and it’s future-proof, so small businesses can add new capabilities quickly and easily as they grow.”

Salesforce Innovation for Small Business

Salesforce Essentials delivers the same innovative solutions and CRM platform used by 83 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Salesforce said the only difference is it has been optimized to address the needs of small businesses.

The tools include using Trailhead to quickly get started with Salesforce and learn what you can do with the technology. Once you know your way around, you can use Salesforce’s AI platform Einstein to work smarter and also work faster with the Salesforce Lightning platform and the Salesforce Mobile App.

When you are up and running, and ready for your next step, scalability will not be an issue because Essentials is built on the world’s No. 1 CRM platform.


The New Apps

Sales Cloud Essentials gives small sales teams the ability to work smarter and sell more quickly by increasing efficiencies in the sales process. Teams can access comprehensive customer history, including activity history, key contacts, customer communications and internal account discussions in one place with Lightning Sales Console. The information, which includes reports and dashboards of company performance, can be accessed from anywhere with the Salesforce Mobile App.

Service Cloud Essentials makes it easy to set up a help desk to deliver personalized customer service instantly. It gives service agents a complete view of all customer interactions in a single and unified desktop view. This lets agents understand the history and context of each call so disputes can be resolved quickly and accurately.

Customers can make contact via phone, email, Twitter or Facebook. And the Service Cloud Mobile app lets agents provide customer service from anywhere.

Salesforce Essentials Launched – Pricing and Availability

The Salesforce Essentials apps, Sales Cloud Essentials and Service Cloud Essentials are available now. They are priced at $25 per month per user, but you can try them at no cost for 30 days.

Image: Salesforce

This article, "New Salesforce Essentials Gives Small Businesses Enterprise Level Tools" was first published on Small Business Trends

March Madness Will Draw Your Employees’ Focus from Work, Surveys Says

Small Business Trends - Thu, 2018-03-15 13:30

The madness has begun. And if you have millennial employees, there’s a good chance the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will distract them.

Employee Productivity During March Madness

You’re likely to see the famed basketball tournament brackets floating around your office. And the chatter at the water cooler may have more to do with underdogs and Cinderellas than it does with getting that big project done on time. In fact, the March Madness tournament is likely to cost American businesses, overall, at least $600 million this year.

That figure comes from employees spending time filling out their brackets and following the results instead of doing work. That’s a lot of down time.

And it’s likely the most time wasted is being done by millennials.

New data from The Tylt shows that employees in the millennial group are likely to put off a work deadline to catch the games on TV (or wherever they’re watching these days). According to a survey conducted recently, 55.8 percent of millennial employees put their brackets first over a work project. Just 44.2 percent of those surveyed say work comes first when it comes to the work and basketball balance.

It seems small business owners are up against it like a 16-seed facing a 1-seed in the opening round of the tournament. There may be no way of preventing employees from following the tournament, even when they’re at work.

Another survey from The Tylt shows 63.5 percent of employees are going to watch the early basketball games on Thursday and Friday (the first and second rounds of the tournament) while they’re at work. Only 36.5 percent of employees say they’ll only watch games at home.

The Office Pool

So, with the odds against you, what can you do to take advantage of your distracted employees?

An office pool may be the answer. Of course, you’ll want to make sure this is a legal office pool with no money involved. Instead of a cash prize, offer some type of work-related prize, like access to a prime parking spot or the keys to the executive restroom.

More Tylt data shows office pools (legal or not) are quite popular among millennials. Among those surveyed, 78.5 percent say “Office Pools FTW” while just 21.5 percent say the pools have no place at work.

All this information shows it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to prevent your employees from getting distracted by the basketball tournament. At the very least, keep a majority of your employees engaged with their work while they’re tracking their brackets.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "March Madness Will Draw Your Employees’ Focus from Work, Surveys Says" was first published on Small Business Trends

Cracking the Code on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: How It Will Impact Your Business

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2018-03-14 15:30

Normally at this time of year, individuals and small business owners are solely focused on their 2017 taxes. But with the passage of the sweeping tax overhaul, this is no ordinary year. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act takes affect starting with your 2018 return and beyond, but the changes are so significant, it’s important to understand the bill and how it will impact your small business.

Tax Planning for 2018

For small businesses, the two biggest changes are the lowering of the tax rate for C Corporations and the 20 percent tax deduction for pass-through entities. Here’s a high level look at both.

20% Deduction for Pass-through Income

The law creates a brand new tax deduction for owners of pass-through entities like sole proprietors, members of LLCs, partners in partnerships and shareholders in S Corporations. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, these individuals can generally deduct 20% of their qualified business income (QBI) from a pass-through entity. Sounds good, right? And it is — but there are a few details to know:

  • Haven’t heard of QBI before? You’ll become familiar with it now. QBI is the net amount of income, gain, deduction, and loss with respect to the trade or business. It does not include investment-related income/loss (i.e. capital gain/loss, dividend income or interest income).
  • Service business limitations: The law places limitations on virtually every occupation that provides a personal service (the two notable exceptions are engineering and architecture). If your pass-through business is a service business, like consulting or a medical practice, there are limitations. If your taxable income exceeds a threshold of $157,500 for single filers and $315,000 for joint filers, the deduction is reduced; if income exceeds $207,500 for single files and $415,000 for joint filers, there’s no deduction. So, if your income level is below these thresholds, there are no worries. But if you’re in a highly-paid field, you may not qualify for the deduction. The details and applications are still murky, so keep an eye out for further guidance from the IRS (and talk to your tax advisor!).
  • W2 wage limitation: When your taxable income is greater than the thresholds above, your 20 percent deduction is limited to the W-2 limitation. This is the greater of 50 percent of your allocable share of the company’s W-2 wages, or 25 percent of your share of the firms W-2 wages, plus 2.5 percent of your share of the company’s unadjusted basis of all qualified property.

In short, this new pass-through deduction can be a really nice tax break for those individuals who qualify. If you are not sure how it applies to your business, don’t worry — you’re probably not alone. But, it’s a good time to talk to a tax law professional or tax advisor. And lastly, unlike the corporate tax cut (which is permanent), the pass-through deduction is set to phase out in 2025 (unless Congress extends it).

Corporation Tax Rate Cuts

One of the other big tenets of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the major reduction in the C Corporation tax rate… it was slashed from 35 percent to 21 percent. If you’re structured as a pass-through entity right now, you might be wondering if you’d be better off structured as a C Corp to take advantage of that 21% rate.

But keep in mind that double taxation is still a factor. Simply put, double taxation occurs when income earned by the corporation is taxed at the business level; then, when the corporation distributes income to shareholders, the shareholders are taxed on that dividend. For owners who also expect to take some profit out as distributions, this can mean you’re essentially being taxed twice (first at the corporate level, then at the individual level).

If you are looking to re-invest profits back into the business, then a C Corporation might be the optimal business structure – this has always been the conventional guidance but it’s even more true now with the tax rate at 21 percent. If you are looking to take a bulk of the profits out of the business and put them in your own pocket, a pass-through entity is still most likely better (but you may want to speak with a tax advisor).

The bottom line is this is a good time to think about the tax changes and your business structure. Keep an eye out for when the IRS releases additional guidance. If needed, speak with a tax advisor about your specific situation. And lastly, one of the key reasons to form an LLC or Corporation has always been the ability to minimize the personal liability of business owners from things that happen in the business. This still holds true. The most important reason to form a business entity isn’t necessarily to save a bit on taxes; instead it’s to protect your personal assets for years to come.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Cracking the Code on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: How It Will Impact Your Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

Kradle Launches Small Business Management Software

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2018-03-14 13:30

Kradle announces a new software package designed to help small and medium-sized businesses in any industry manage their operations.

The company touts its product as a self-managed software allowing businesses to achieve their competitive potential. Kradle gives small businesses resource planning software capabilities at an inexpensive price, at a low learning curve and with fast implementation.

As small businesses increase their digital presence with eCommerce, social media and 24/7 global availability, effectively managing their operations is getting more complicated. What Kradle aims to do is provide enterprise resource planning tool sets so small companies can obtain the same insights as large enterprises to compete and succeed.

The CEO of Kradle, Michael Haddon, said the software levels the playing field for small to medium-sized businesses. In a press release, he adds, “They now have access to tools which allow them to become more efficient, productive, and profitable.” This includes eliminating repetitive, manual tasks to focus on added value activities for the business.

The Kradle Software Platform

Kradle has been designed so users can build and manage data models unique to their specific needs and industry with tailored workflows. Once they have a system in place, they can analyze operational performance to gain the business insight needed to be more productive and grow.

With Kradle, you are not restricted to the number of workflow templates and pre-configured layouts which limit your flexibility and growth potential. You are in charge of the configurations you put in place with unlimited variations.  And all of the data you generate is stored and maintained in the company’s secure database hosted within Microsoft Azure cloud.

The Kradle modules include a database builder and manager, a business process manager, and business analytics. With these modules, you can build your own model, expose weaknesses and exploit strengths, as well as building, allocating, and managing custom tasks.


Kradle starts its free 30-day trial without hidden fees or credit card numbers. If you want to move to the pay services, there are three tiers which are priced based on annual billing. Silver is for small businesses and it will run you $49 per month per user. Gold is for medium or growing businesses at $79 per month per user, and Platinum will address large and complex businesses for $119 per month per user.

Image: Kradle

This article, "Kradle Launches Small Business Management Software" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Ways to Grow Your Small Business on Etsy

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2018-03-14 12:00

Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY) has been one of the most popular online platforms for handmade and vintage sellers for more than a decade. With nearly 2 million business owners and hobbyists selling their wares, the company is constantly evolving and releasing new tools to support the ecommerce community.

How to Be Successful on Etsy

Small Business Trends recently spoke with Kruti Patel Goyal, who is the General Manager of Seller Services for Etsy about what sellers can do to grow their businesses on the platform and some of the new features that can help them do just that.

Read the Seller Guidelines Carefully

If you’re just getting started on Etsy, the first step that Patel Goyal recommends is doing some reading. Etsy has always offered guides like its Seller Handbook to help business owners make the most of the platform. And those materials are updated constantly so you’ll always have the most recent information.

Patel Goyal said in an email to Small Business Trends, “Etsy’s Seller Handbook is also an essential resource for sellers just getting started. For instance, our Ultimate Guides to product photography and marketing cover everything you need to know to present your products professionally and get the word out about your new business.”

Schedule Special Promotions

As with any type of ecommerce business, a special sale or discount code can help you incentivize new purchases. And Etsy offers a feature that lets you choose which type of promotion to offer so you can schedule it for your shop.

Patel Goyal explains, “Special offers can help sellers capture the attention of shoppers and create a loyal following. With Etsy’s tools, sellers can schedule and run “percentage off” or “free shipping” sales that encourage shoppers to add more to their carts.”

Automatically Share Updates on Social Media

From there, you can set your shop to automatically send out updates about promotions to your social media channels. This lets you save time while still getting the word out about your special offers.

Patel Goyal says, “Sellers can also share these offers across their social networks through our tools. Last year, we launched a new social media tool that makes it easy for sellers to share their listings, sales and promotions, and celebrate shop milestones across social media directly from within their Etsy Shop Manager and the Sell on Etsy app. We know Etsy sellers are busy and the Sell on Etsy app can help them stay on top of their businesses, from answering questions from buyers to paying bills on the go.”

Come Up with a Unique Photo Style

Photography is an essential part of any successful Etsy shop. The site’s seller guides and handbook offer some basic tips for brushing up on your photography skills. But you also have to come up with a specific and recognizable style that works for your specific product line. You might consider adding some props that show scale and fit with your branding. Or you could come up with a unique background that makes your images stand out without distracting from the actual product.

Optimize Your Shop for SEO

SEO is also a big part of growing an Etsy shop, since most shoppers use the search or browse functions on the site to find product options. The exact SEO guidelines might change periodically. But you can’t go wrong by sticking to the basic concepts of mentioning the most relevant keywords as early and as often as possible within your titles, description, tags, and images.

Join an Etsy Team

To continue learning and growing along with the Etsy community, Patel Goyal also recommends connecting with other sellers. The platform’s Teams feature gives you an easy and fun way to do just that.

Patel Goyal says, “There are so many ways to find support on Etsy, particularly for sellers who are just getting started. For example, Etsy Teams are self-organized groups of sellers who share tips, run local events, and organize grassroots campaigns. Joining an Etsy Team gives sellers instant access to a community of other entrepreneurs who’ve been in their shoes.”

Try Promoted Listings

For a quick sales boost, Etsy also offers paid advertising options where you can boost the visibility of a particular product or products. This can be a worthwhile exercise at least to see what type of sales increase it leads to and use it to supplement your other marketing efforts as you grow your shop.

Get into Google Shopping

Outside of Etsy, there are also some worthwhile marketing and advertising tools you can make use of. For instance, you can set your products to show up in Google Shopping searches. Then you can pay for Google ads to boost the visibility of those products when people enter relevant search terms into Google.

Sell Your Products at Local Craft Fairs and Events

Etsy sellers can also boost sales by expanding where they sell products. If you sell items at craft fairs or retail shops, you can even use a Square card reader to easily connect those in-person purchases to your shop.

Patel Goyal says, “We also know that many Etsy sellers want to connect with buyers in person, and build their brands on their own websites as they grow. We recently launched a partnership with Square so that Etsy shop owners have a solution for accepting payments wherever they’re selling.”

Launch Your Own Dedicated Website

Once you’ve grown your shop on Etsy, you might also consider adding your own website so you can personalize and control more of the shopping experience. In fact, Etsy also offers a tool for helping shop owners in this area.

Patel Goyal adds, “For sellers ready to launch their own website, we offer Pattern, our suite of website building tools. Sellers can choose from beautiful, customizable templates and sync their Etsy inventory so they can grow their brand while managing all their orders in the same place.”

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Ways to Grow Your Small Business on Etsy" was first published on Small Business Trends

5 Features High-Growth SMBs Have in Common

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2018-03-14 10:30
Sponsored Post

Ever wonder what strategies set fast-growing companies apart? Or how they fuel continued revenue growth? In partnership with Vistage Research, a division of Vistage Worldwide, we recently surveyed 1,350 SMB CEOs, all Vistage members; to understand what high-growth companies* are doing differently than their slower-growing, stagnant, and declining counterparts. In a sneak preview, we revealed some of the strategies high-growth SMB CEOs have to grow their business.

The full research report, Customer Growth: Decisions for the SMB CEO, takes a look at the strategies and investments that high-growth small businesses are implementing across the marketing, sales and service to grow their customers. Here are some of the findings:

1. High-growth SMBs are 30% more likely to engage in more strategies that drive customer growth

We took a look at the top customer growth strategies of small and midsize businesses and found that high-growth companies do more of them, and they do it better. How are they doing it better? Well that leads us to our next finding…

2. They’re 2x more likely to have leaders in marketing, sales and service in place

Investments in such diversified growth strategies often times require specialized leadership. We found that high-growth companies are more likely to have dedicated leadership in marketing, sales and service. As an added benefit of the leadership and expertise in those lines of business, high growth companies are 20% more likely to report their use of technology as extremely effective.

3. They’re more likely to rely on new customers to fuel revenue growth

As they’re more likely to engage in more customer growth strategies, it’s not all too surprising that high-growth businesses rely more on new customers to fuel revenue growth. This is no easy feat, and again, leadership and technology play an important role in how effective growth strategies are carried out.

4. They’re more likely to invest in talent, technology and training

To support their customer growth plan, high-growth companies are 28 and 29% more likely to invest in talent and training respectively, and 31% more likely to invest in technology. This makes sense because if you’re growing the business, you’re growing the talent and processes that come with supporting those new customers.

5. They’re more likely to chose a packaged application rather than a homegrown solution

High-growth companies are ditching the spreadsheets and using specialized applications to growth their business. As small businesses begin to grow, purpose-built applications make it easier and more effective to manage customer engagement. Rather than dedicate the time and expense to building a solution, they purchase packaged applications with proven, best practice business processes.

To learn more about the winning strategies, initiatives and investments high-growth SMBs are leveraging to find, win, and keep more customers, download the full research here.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "5 Features High-Growth SMBs Have in Common" was first published on Small Business Trends

Best 8 Airlines for Business Class, Your Must-See Guide

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2018-03-14 09:30

If you are looking for a relaxing flight offering good amenities and a comfortable experience without the exorbitant expense of a first class ticket, it makes sense to travel in business class.

With pre-flight drinks, meals served with knives and forks and fully flat-bed seats, traveling business class means you can enjoy a comfortable flight and arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to go.

Best Business Class Airlines

If you’re deliberating about which airline offers the best value to business class travelers, take a look at the following best business class airlines flying today.

American Airlines

American Airlines offers business class customers what the company hails as the largest business class seats on a U.S. airline. Seats are a whopping 27.7 inches wide and 79 inches long when reclined to a flat position.

The airline also provides its business class customers with 18-inch entertainment screens. These screens are loaded with AC and USB plugs, as well as around 300 movies, meaning whether you’re want to spend the flight productively working on your laptop or kick back and watch the latest blockbuster, you can do either comfortably on a business class flight with American Airlines.

Business class tickets with their five-star service are available on American Airlines’ shorter international flights under 3,000 miles.


In 2016, Delta announced it was creating the first ‘all-suite business class’ in the industry. This means if you yearn for privacy and seclusion during a business class flight, you can enjoy a seat that is fully enclosed — with its own door!

You can also enjoy a high-res 18-inch screen on a Delta flight, with a USB port and universal power outlet for each seat. With luxury bedding and sleep suites on some transpacific flights, you can enjoy some valuable shut-eye in a Delta business class cabin.

Delta business class flights — a.k.a. Delta One — are available on long-haul international flights and on select long-haul domestic flights too.

Qatar Airlines

Qatar Airlines business class customers can enjoy lying back on fully flat beds. The airline’s signature feature is its 180-degree flatbed seats with foot rests, 8 in-seat massage settings and in-seat power supply, meaning you will arrive at your destination fully revitalized and relaxed.

Qatar also provides touch-screen in-flight entertainment on 15.4-inch monitors. Business class travelers can also enjoy the airline’s free dine-on-demand or a la carte menu. Qatar’s business class flights are competitively priced.


You can stretch out and relax during business class flights with United, which are available between the U.S. and Latin America or the Caribbean. Wave goodbye to standing in line at the airport. With United you can cruise through airports with Premier Access benefits.

On board, you can relax as you fly to your business destination in a comfortable leather chair with a six-way adjustable headrest and padded articulating seat cushion. United business class flights also feature an in-arm tablet or laptop slot and a flip-up mobile device holder. A universal AC power plug is also available to charge your devices throughout the flight.

You can also stay connected while traveling on United with WiFi available for purchase on most flights.

British Airways

British Airways business class flights, known as Club World, allow business class travelers to fly as if you are taking — in the airline’s own words — “your own private jet.” The direct flights between New York’s JFK and London City airport feature 32 spacious seats with fully flat beds.

These long-haul flights offer on-board mobile data connectivity and pre-clearance of US immigration on flights to New York — meaning you don’t have to waste valuable time getting through immigration control at the airport.

On British Airways Club World flights, you can also benefit from getting your own personal iPad, featuring the latest movies and television programs. UK, EU and US power sockets for laptops and other devices are also provided on British Airways business class flights.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines provide comfortable business class options on a number of international long-haul flights. The airline’s new business class seats offer two seating positions designed for optimum comfort. The Lazy Z position ensures you are sitting centered and balanced, while the Sundeck position is perfect for lounging and stretching out.

You can also change the seat into a fully-flat bed with a cushioned headboard for some well-needed sleep on your business flight. Devices can be used and charged on Singapore Airlines business flights with eXport, HDMI and USB ports. You can reserve your meal up to 24-hours before your flight to ensure you’re well fed when you arrive at that important business meeting.


With lounge access, priority boarding at the airport, increased free baggage allowances and exclusive in-flight meals, choosing a Lufthansa business class flight will ensure you’re well rested and relaxed when you reach your destination.

Business class passengers can enjoy high-quality cuisine recommended by top chefs on board a Lufthansa business class flight. A large selection of entertainment is also available during the flight to help you relax and reach your destination refreshed.

Business class flights are available on short overnight, short and medium-haul routes and long-haul routes on Lufthansa.


With a modern A380 Onboard Lounge, you can even network and do business on an Emirates business class flight. Alternatively, if you want to relax or spend the flight productively on work, you can sit back in a relaxing seat with LED mood lighting.

Emirates 78-inch long business seats are patterned after the seating of modern sports cars, creating what the airline says is an inspiring environment to relax, work or play during an Emirates business class flight. With in-seat power for your laptop or other devices, you can send emails, update spreadsheets or write your presentation during an ultra-comfortable business class flight with Emirates.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Best 8 Airlines for Business Class, Your Must-See Guide" was first published on Small Business Trends

Spotlight: How One Company Aims to Go from Selling Socks to Changing the World

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2018-03-14 08:30

Some businesses start with a major change or innovation. Others start with something small — like a sock. The Cause International is an example of the latter. But though the idea started small, the team still hopes it can make a big impact.

The clothing company puts a major focus on giving back to communities around the world, from Chicago to Guatemala. Read more about the business and its goals in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Sells apparel and provides custom options for schools and organizations.

Founder Antoine Taylor told Small Business Trends, “[We’re] an apparel company that sells to everyday people but also provides clothing for high school and colleges. For example, we have made sweatshirts and pants for a university softball team with their school logo and our help designing. We have done this for many schools around the U.S.”

Business Niche

Giving back.

Taylor says, “We give back a percentage of our profits to the communities in need all around the world and we have set up mentorship programs within the high schools we sells to that help those kids get to college. We are very big on working closely with the younger generation and teaching them about their future along with giving back to those in need. We also offer a lower cost for sports wear compared to other clothing brands like Nike or Adidas that schools might partner with.”

How the Business Got Started

Due to financial struggles in college.

Taylor explains, “Like many college students, I was thinking of ways to make quick money because I was watching my mother struggle to put me through school. The best idea I could come up with at the time was to sell socks. It was a generic idea and I doubted a positive outcome. I was wrong. I sold 512 socks around my campus within a week and that’s when my vision for an apparel company became real.”

Biggest Win

Starting its give back program.

Taylor says, “We traveled to south side Chicago all the way from California to give presents to the kids there, and also retrofitted a Boys and Girl Club. While I was there, a little girl walked up to me and said to me “Thank you for giving me my first Christmas” I didn’t need anymore convincing I knew this is what we should be doing. Just something as small as giving a child a Christmas is an amazing win. Because even though it was nothing to us, it was everything to her and that’s a huge win.”

Biggest Risk

Making a major charitable commitment.

Taylor says, “The biggest risk we ever took was when we planned on going to Guatemala to install water filters in villages and schools, the week before we were suppose to leave we were $4,000 short. If we couldn’t raise the money in time, we weren’t going to be able to go. Our backs were against the wall to come up with money. But in that short time we managed to sell socks, we even asked our university to help with the funding. It was probably one of the scariest times of our lives. We had a short time to come up with this money and we promised something to those people in Guatemala. So we had to make it.”

Lesson Learned

Emphasize the importance of planning.

Taylor explains, “If I could do anything differently I would definitely plan better. Guatemala was an amazing opportunity but it would have gone more smoothly if our team had planned better. I think that was probably one of the biggest things for us, planning was not our strong suit and we are working on that. We always get the job done, but with such a small team planning was a hassle and stressful. We could relieve all that just by planning and expanding our team.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Spreading the word and giving back.

Taylor says, “If I had an extra $100,000 for my business I would keep $50,000 to use for improvements within our company and to expand so that more people can understand who The Cause is. I feel if more people knew what we do then more would come to us wanting to help young individuals help make a change in society. Plus you get creative clothing for yourself so it’s a win win for both parties! And take the other half and give back to Somalia in Africa. We want that to be our next giveback trip after our trip to Greece later on this year. Because one of our co-founders is actually from Somalia so this topic is close to us. Somalia is going through extremely rough times especially the refugees. We want to partner with different companies to try to fix/improve different problems such as individuals dying from Malaria, and the education system.”

Communication Strategy

Getting issues out in the open.

Taylor explains, “So something unusual we do is, our team has a group chat with everyone that makes executive decisions. We use to meet every Sunday and look each other in the eye and say one thing we did not like about what one another did this week on our business. We would count out loud to each other and on 3 we would say what we did not like. For example we would say, “1..2.. dude I did not like your Instagram post!” We would laugh and then talk about it. When we talk about it we would be brutally honest with each other. Having that open communication with your team is very important. It helps you grow but also if someone is unhappy or someone is uncomfortable with a situation your business will not perform well. At the end of the day, we are all here to see The Cause International grow so we have to make sure we are on the same level and honest with each other 24/7.”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: The Cause International, Facebook; Top Image: Antoine Taylor and volunteers with families in Guatemala, Second Image: Antoine Taylor

This article, "Spotlight: How One Company Aims to Go from Selling Socks to Changing the World" was first published on Small Business Trends

Microsoft iOS Camera App Turns Business Cards into Contacts

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2018-03-14 07:30

The Microsoft Pix camera app for your iPhone now has a business-friendly feature.

The app lets you scan the business card of a contact you’ve just met. It takes the information on that business card and then updates your Contact data for that person. The app also scours LinkedIn to find the new business contact’s profile so the two of you can connect.

The Microsoft Pix app is billed as an intelligent phone app for iPhones. Currently, the app is only available on the Apple App Store and can only be run on iOS devices.

A Look at the Microsoft Pix App

Here’s how it works:

You receive a new business card from one of your contacts. Rather than just filing it away in your back pocket or wallet, take out your iPhone and snap a photo of it.

The Pix app will recognize you’re shooting a business card and this is where some of the new business friendly functionalities begin to kick in. Just tap the button appearing when you point Pix at the card. The app will begin to build a contact profile for you using the name, address, phone numbers and URLs it sees printed there.  Or the Pix app will allow you to update one of your existing contact profiles using the new information.

The smart features built into Pix will even allow you to send an email, place a call or visit the website of the contact you’ve just met — right from within the app. You can also visit the contact’s LinkedIn profile, which Pix finds when you first scan the business card.

If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to work on the contact profile right away, Pix will save a photo of the card or cards you’ve shot and you can do all of this updating at a later time.

Image: Microsoft

This article, "Microsoft iOS Camera App Turns Business Cards into Contacts" was first published on Small Business Trends

Don’t Waste Time! 5 Facts about Small Business Taxes You Need to Know Now

Small Business Trends - Wed, 2018-03-14 06:30

While most companies are preparing their taxes for 2017, owners need to also now understand how small business taxes are changing in 2018. While many of the details of the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017” still need to be interpreted, here is where to start:

Changes in Small Business Taxes In 2018 1. Owners May Get Lower Taxes

Most small businesses are structured as a “pass-through” entities like “S” and “LLC” corporations. That means, like in the past, any income generated from these companies will be taxed at the owner’s individual tax rates. The new small business tax law promotes pass-through corporations since these rates will be lower than ones for individual income tax payers. Owners of these types of companies will now be able to deduct 20 percent off their earnings before paying taxes on it. Please note that under the new tax law, companies that provide “professional services” may not qualify for the entire pass-through deduction.

2. Beware of the Limits

The law includes limits on who can take the deduction, but they may not begin until $157,500 in taxable income for singles and $315,000 for couples. Most “non-business” pass-through owners in the U.S. make less than that and would qualify for the full 20 percent deduction.

3. Check Restructuring to a “C” Corporation

Under the new tax law, these types of corporations now will have the lowest tax rate at 21 percent.  Many small business owners are now considering converting to a “C” legal structure to take advantage of the lower rate. This is an easy process in most states and can be done in less than a week. But, depending on the company’s profit, there may be a double taxation element at the corporate and personal level, so consult with an accountant before doing anything.

4. The Individual Tax Rate

For those making between $200,000 and about $425,000, taxes may actually go up from 35 percent to 37 percent, so some small business owners could face an increase. As Forbes states, the math is very complicated and now includes a calculation called “qualified business income (QBI)”.

5. Personal Assets

The value of an owner’s home may go down especially in states with higher state income and property taxes as a result of the new limit to tax deductibility on these fees. Moody projects real estate prices to fall 5 percent to 10 percent especially in the geographies where the new tax law makes it less advantageous to own a home. This is important since a home is typically the small business owner’s largest asset and may hurt their ability to borrow capital for their company. While mass migrations of customers to lower taxed states is not expected, this may be another way local retail businesses may be hurt yet again in 2018.

Of course, talk to your tax advisor before following any of this advice since I am a business owner, not an accountant! They are quickly becoming the most popular people at any gathering!

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Don’t Waste Time! 5 Facts about Small Business Taxes You Need to Know Now" was first published on Small Business Trends

QuickBooks Accountant Apps Provision Small Businesses and their Financial Advisors

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-03-13 15:30

The new release of QuickBooks Accountant Apps Program from Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) gives accountants a platform for making top-rated apps available for their customers.

QuickBooks Accountant Apps Program

Accountants can now provision, purchase and manage apps recommended by accounting professionals and fully compatible with the QuickBooks suite of products. According to Intuit, the goal of this program is to make accountants more effective by allowing them to recommend curated solutions for their clients.

In many instances, these clients are small businesses doing their own accounting using applications such as QuickBooks. But these clients also need other apps and finding the right ones can be an exhaustive process.

In a press release, Rich Preece, leader of Intuit’s Accountant Segment, Small Business and Self Employed Group,  explained how the program simplifies app selection, connection and management directly within QuickBooks Online Accountant.

“But more importantly, this new program helps accounting professionals be more of a trusted advisor to their small business clients because they are able to recommend and easily implement apps that help their clients be more successful,” Preece added.

The Program

The apps in the program are selected to meet the needs of accounting professionals around the world, so they will vary by region and country. The first apps available in the program are Circulus, Expensify, Float, Method: CRM, Excel Transaction Importer, ServiceM8, SOS Inventory and Tsheets by QuickBooks.  These apps will all be accessible in QuickBooks Online Accountant from the Apps Tab.

When accountants are ready to make a purchase on behalf of their clients, they will get preferred pricing. Intuit says accountants will receive one bill for all the apps they provided throughout the month with an itemized report.

Benefit to Accountants

Many CPA firms are small operations working with minimum staff or none at all. And for these firms, managing clients and figuring out which app they are using or make recommendations takes a lot of time and effort. The QuickBooks Accountant Apps Program makes these two data sets available quickly and easily all within a Quickbooks.

Quickbooks users in the US, UK, Canada and Australia can expect the program to roll out sometime in March.

Image: Intuit

This article, "QuickBooks Accountant Apps Provision Small Businesses and their Financial Advisors" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Reasons to Use Instagram to Promote Your Small Business (INFOGRAPHIC)

Small Business Trends - Tue, 2018-03-13 13:30

With more than 800 million users worldwide, Instagram is one of the most popular social networking sites. It is also a leading platform for small business promotion.

But what makes Instagram popular among small business owners?

Reasons to Use Instagram for Business

Digital company NoHatDigital has compiled a list of the top 10 reasons small businesses should adopt Instagram. Here are some of them.

Put a Face to Your Brand

Instagram is a visual platform to help you form a more personal connection with customers. You can share pictures and videos of your team and happy customers to engage your audience.

A visual feed can reflect your brand’s uniqueness and differentiate your business.

Boost Your Sales

You can use Instagram to update your followers about sales and special promotions. For example, you may run a promotional ad campaign to create awareness and drive more traffic to your website.

If you are launching a new product or service, use Instagram to provide a sneak peek into your latest offerings.

Tell Interesting Stories

Instagram is the perfect place to be creative when marketing your brand. Instagram Stories, in particular, is designed to boost audience engagement.

You can use Instagram Stories to offer discounts and run flash sale. You can also run contests to keep your customers interested.

Build Connections with Like-Minded People

Social media is all about networking. And Instagram is a great place to find like-minded people who share similar interests. You can expand your social network and collaborate with a brand or influencer to reach more people.

Stay Up to Date with Consumer Trends

Another reason why you should be on Instagram is because it can help you make the most of new trends. You can use it to promote causes or simply generate interest by posting holiday-specific content.

Check out the infographic below for more reasons to join Instagram.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Reasons to Use Instagram to Promote Your Small Business (INFOGRAPHIC)" was first published on Small Business Trends