Skype and Slack are two of the most popular tools with business teams seeking to communicate. And, of course, Skype is also helpful for communicating with clients and partners online. So the changes both platforms announced this week are very big news for the whole small business community.
Skype announced a new pricing model for businesses. And Slack introduced the ability for businesses to set up shared channels to communicate with outside clients. Read about these updates and more in the weekly Small Business Trends news and information roundup.
Small Business Operations
Microsoft Announces New Skype for Business Pricing Models
The 2017 pricing for Skype for Business was just updated, and if you are a small businesses you will have more options. Two years have passed since the last update, and in that time Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has introduced new services. These include Teams, Skype for Business Online and the transition to Office 365 as Microsoft moves to the cloud.
Slack Introduces Shared Channels to Let Outside Clients Work With Your Team
Is the act of collaborating with someone outside of your small business unnecessarily complicated? After conquering teamwork within an organization, Slack just introduced Shared Channels so you can seamlessly do the same with people and organizations outside of your company.
Accelo Raises $9 Million to Build Tools for Project Driven Businesses
Operations automation system Accelo just raised $9 million to improve and build on its suite of tools for project driven small businesses. Level Equity led the Series A round of funding, with contributions from Fathom Capital and existing investor Blackbird Ventures.
Hurricane Irma: My Experience in the Eye of a Hurricane [Watch]
Up until a few days before Hurricane Irma made landfall in the U.S., we thought it would miss us in Naples, Florida. The forecasting models had Irma tracking out in the Atlantic ocean to the east of Florida.
Hurricane Irma: First Hand Account from a Small Business Owner Hunkering Down
Small Business Trends founder and publisher Anita Campbell was on the ground and saw first hand the devastation as Irma headed through Naples, Florida. Here is the first in a series of articles describing her experience.
10 Tips for Helping Your Small Business Survive a Disaster
All of the damage and chaos created by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in recent weeks have highlighted the need for small businesses to be prepared in the case of a natural disaster. Up to 40 percent of small businesses never recover after a natural disaster.
SBA Gives Maine Small Businesses $200,000 to Help Improve Exports
The Maine International Trade Center just received a grant for almost $200,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help small businesses in the state grow their exporting operations. The Main International Trade Center, which is located in Portland, helps small businesses in the area market their products around the world.
Senate Small Business Committee Presses Wells Fargo CEO on Account Fraud Scandal
Senators are now wondering if small businesses were impacted by the fake account scandal that continues to plague Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). Late last week, Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire, wrote a letter (PDF) on behalf of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship addressing its concerns with the scandal.
5 Best Ways to Winterize Your Business (Video)
While it may seem too early to think about winter, the season of cold and ice will be here in only three months. And, like your employees, your office needs to prepare its own coat, gloves, and boots to stay warm. While the image of your office bundling up may bring a smile to your face, when you winterize your business, you’ll also bring a smile to your accountant’s face.
Google AdSense Now Has Responsive Ads That Morph to Screen Sizes
You probably already have a mobile presence for your small business, or are seriously considering it. No matter where you stand, Google AdSense now has responsive ads that adapt to the screen sizes of mobile devices automatically.
Influencer Marketing is Broken – Think Expert Marketing Instead
According to Kevin Knight of Experticity, influencer marketing is broken. Instead, brands should think about expert marketing. “Influencer marketing today is about reach. Expert marketing is about trust,” Knight says. Focusing mostly on reach, i.e., through celebrities and those with huge followings, is where influencer marketing goes wrong.
Flashstock Becomes Shutterstock Custom, Helps Small Businesses Create Branded Visual Content
Flashstock has been re-branded to Shutterstock Custom, which is fitting, because the new platform was designed to empower businesses to scale high-quality branded content. Using Flashstock’s propriety technology, it transforms the visual identity of a company into a creative brief for new campaigns. Shutterstock (NYSE:SSTK) acquired Flashstock in July of this year for $50 million.
Animoto and HubSpot Partnering to Bolster Small Business Marketing
Small businesses using the online marketing and sales platform HubSpot (NYSE:HUBS) now can use Animoto’s new Marketing Video Builder to create simple videos for internal and external purposes. It’s a move designed to satisfy the ever increasing demand small business has for professional videos that are high quality and easy to build.
Americans Will Spend $9.1 Billion on Halloween This Year, Is Your Small Business Ready?
Americans are expected to spend about $9.1 billion on Halloween related purchases this year, according to recent research from the National Research Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics. That means the holiday could offer a major opportunity for your small business to increase sales — if you’re prepared for it.
Airbnb and Resy Team Up So Small Restaurants can Get More Reservations
Airbnb guests can now book tables in 650 curated restaurants across the US in collaboration with Resy, a mobile app for restaurant reservations. For the 650 restaurants, many of which are small businesses, it will mean access to new customers and fewer empty tables.
Nimble Prospector Helps Sales Teams Build Prospect Relationship Record
Small businesses sales teams can build personal client relationships on an ongoing basis with a new AI based tool from Nimble. Introducing Nimble Prospector Nimble, the social sales and marketing customer relationship management company, has just introduced Nimble Prospector.
Outside Sales Reps Now Spend 89 Percent More Time Selling Remotely Than in 2013
The gap is closing between outside sales reps who once sold in the field by traveling to a customer’s location and those who sit back at the office and contact a client remotely. Outside sales reps who once took those trips now seem to work remotely 89 percent more than they did in 2013.
Small Biz Spotlight
Spotlight: Bavarian Clockworks Markets Cuckoo Clocks with a Personal Touch
Robert Ellis considered a long list of business ideas before starting Bavarian Clockworks, a business that makes cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest region of Germany. Learn more about the business and how it operates in this very specific niche in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Sells authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks.
Businesses May Soon Get to Tweet Longer Messages — with Testing of #280characters
Just as you’re finally mastering the art of squeezing your business’s message into a 140-character tweet, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) goes ahead and changes it, sending the Twittersphere into disarray! After much speculation and hesitation, Twitter is currently testing an increase to its renowned 140-character limit.
80 Percent of Small Businesses Use Facebook for Marketing, New Survey Says
About 80 percent of small business owners use Facebook for marketing, according to a recent study. That makes the iconic social media platform the most popular tool for small business marketers in the digital world and beyond.
Organize and Sign Legally Binding Documents with New PandaDoc App
Full access to the PandaDoc dashboard is now available on your mobile device, whether you use Android or iOS. As a small business owner, this means you can sign legally binding documents securely no matter where you are with the new enhanced mobile app.
Will Your Small Business Go Back to the Future with the Lenovo ThinkPad 25 Laptop?
Are you ready to take your small business back to the future? Lenovo (HKG:0992) is betting a least some customers will with releases of the ThinkPad 25 laptop. Several sources who have published leaked images of the new version of the retro laptop suggest Lenovo will unveil it in October. That will be 25 years since IBM first introduced the ThinkPad in 1992.
Small Businesses Can Now Schedule Videos from a Smartphone with the YouTube Studio App
The YouTube Creator Studio for mobile is getting an upgrade … and a new name. The mobile app is now called YouTube Studio. The video-sharing company cut part of the name and added some new features creators have been asking for. Small businesses and entrepreneurs that make (or plan to make) YouTube videos will love that you can now schedule posts right from your smartphone.