Tag Archive | "Small"

PayPal Here Launches Two New Card Readers, Giving Small Businesses More Ways to Accept Payments

Every customer wants a swift and smooth payment transaction, with little fuss. This holds true regardless of whether they’re buying from a major enterprise or a small business. That goal is certainly possible with PayPal Here’s two new payment card readers.

PayPal recently launched a Chip and Swipe reader and a Chip and Tap reader, both of which will help users and small companies easily conduct credit card transactions anywhere.

The Chip and Swipe reader is an improved version of the company’s previous swipe-style reader. It now comes with support for debit and credit cards with EMV chip technology. Meanwhile, the Chip and Tap reader can process contactless payment options from NFC-supported devices and also accepts EMV-supported cards. The device also comes with a portable charging stand.

Image result for paypal chip and swipe card reader

Both payment readers can easily process transaction choices like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.

PayPal’s new readers have been designed with portability in mind. The two devices are about the size of a deck of cards, making it possible for small retailers and entrepreneurs to do business in any location—a country fair, the neighborhood cafe—without worrying about wires or having to carry bulky hardware. They can easily connect to any mobile device using Bluetooth technology. The readers also have a user-friendly interface and can now be used for extended periods, thanks to their rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

PayPal is offering the Chip and Swipe reader for $ 24.99 and the Chip and Tap reader for $ 59.99. Both devices will work seamlessly with the PayPal Here. The app is available via the Apple App Store and Google Play.

In a statement, PayPal In-Store’s Chief Chris Gardner stated that the company understands the “challenges small businesses face—including protection from fraudulent transactions and the costs of equipment to run their business—and constantly work to develop products and services that allow them to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.” Their new and affordable card payment readers are their newest endeavor to help small business.

Gardner also pointed out that small and medium businesses also look for a “one-stop shop” for all their commerce and payment services. After all, these companies don’t have the time to deal with various vendors to manage all these financial activities. PayPal is determined to be the company to handle these demands. Merchants can use PayPal for their online transactions, PayPal Here for their physical processes, and PayPal Working Capital to help finance their expansion.

[Featured image via PayPal]

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3 Small Steps that Led to Oversized Outcomes

Remember the movie Sliding Doors? It’s a story of two parallel lives — one in which the heroine catches a particular train home from work, and one in which she misses that train and catches the next one. That insignificant event goes on to change everything about her life — and even the time of
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Salesforce Offers New AI Features to Small Businesses

Most Corporations have the advantage of unlimited access to all the features a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform offers. Now small businesses can also enjoy this perk as well.

During Salesforce’s yearly Dreamforce conference, the company announced that one of their best performing CRM platforms – the Sales Cloud Lightning Essentials – will be available to all. With this, small businesses will enjoy the same access to features that large enterprises use to grow rapidly and work quicker and smarter. Small companies will also have access to Salesforce’s newest innovations, like Einstein AI, Lightning, and Trailhead.

Essentials Meet the Demands of Small Business

Salesforce knows that to be able to cope with the demands of today’s competitive marketplaces, businesses should be able to easily integrate new technology into their day-to-day operations. This need is underlined by the revelation that 66% of small company heads are handling two or more departments. Meanwhile, only 26% of small businesses have an in-house IT department while the rest either deal with contractors or try to work out IT problems on their own.

Salesforce Essentials can go a long way in easing this burden, as the platform was designed for simplicity and functionality. Small business analyst, Brent Leary, explained that small companies need guidance and a user-friendly platform, especially if they’re new to CRM. Essentials’ simple interface does meet that requirement, with the Trailhead feature providing the necessary assistance needed to develop leads faster and see results more quickly.

New AI Features Great for Small Business

The three key features added to the Sales Cloud Lightning Essentials will definitely make a difference to small businesses.

Trailhead is an interactive, online learning platform that assists users in its implementation. It also gives guidance on topics like how to implement innovation and raise business knowledge.

Meanwhile, Einstein is showing small businesses the practical aspects of artificial intelligence. In an interview, Salesforce’s Senior Product Director of Marketing, Eric Bernsley, explained that while most have a lot of questions about AI, they don’t want big, vague concepts. They want to see how AI can help businesses get more done.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners know that manually inputting data is time-consuming and leaves little time for a company to identify or pursue new opportunities. But with Einstein, basic sales activities can be automated or records kept up-to-date. It can also help with predictive lead scoring or look at areas connected to possible leads.

Since Essentials is built on Salesforce’s Lightning framework, small businesses will be able to enjoy a smooth transition of their workflow on any device due to the system’s intuitive design. And when Essentials is combined with other Salesforce Apps, small businesses can eventually manage their whole sales conversation – accounts, leads to contacts – on any device, whether from the office or out in the field.

More importantly, all of Essentials’ features are scalable, meaning they’re flexible and can meet the CRM needs of any company, regardless of the size. And since Essentials is also built on a global platform, upgrading can be done anytime, something that will be beneficial to small companies.

[Featured Image via Salesforce]

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How Cloud-Based ERP Can Benefit Small Businesses

There’s no question that small businesses have greatly benefited from today’s technology. Ten years ago, many companies would not have considered placing their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems on a public cloud platform. But now it’s a route that more businesses are taking.

Understanding Cloud ERP

Cloud-based computing utilizes the Internet to administer shared computing resources, like disk storage, memory, and processing power to run numerous software applications. Meanwhile, cloud ERP is software that is accessed via the cloud. It uses the Internet to connect to servers that are hosted away from a company’s premises. This is in direct contrast to traditional ERP and business productivity software that is generally housed in the company’s headquarters.

Benefits of Using Cloud ERP for Small Businesses

Image via AgileTech

Numerous businesses have turned to ERP solutions to automate their businesses, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular have discovered that cloud-based ERP provides multiple benefits.

  • It’s more secure: While some companies are admittedly still worried that cloud ERP can render their data vulnerable, more and more companies are placing their trust in cloud security. This is because companies have strict security requirements, which puts cloud ERP providers under pressure to ensure that their technology is always secure.
  • It boosts productivity: Small businesses are often concerned that moving to a new technology will disrupt their work. But moving to a cloud-based platform is just a temporary inconvenience and will actually boost productivity in the long run. Cloud ERP is user-friendly and makes it easier for employees to collaborate in real-time. It also eliminates the need to get in touch with other employees just to ask for a single file since everything is accessible. And the less time is wasted on simple processes, the more time is afforded for innovation and improvement.
  • Data flow is centralized: Small businesses often develop problems once they start growing and find that the various departments and their data are housed in different areas. For instance, inventory data is kept in one software program while financial information is saved in another. Cloud ERP ensures that every relevant data is in one area, giving all authorized users access to important files and data easily and quickly.
  • It’s affordable: When it comes to capital outlay, cloud-based programs and data storage cost less compared to implementation and maintenance of an IT system housed on company premises. This holds true even when taking into account the monthly service fee that a company would pay a cloud provider. By doing away with the yearly maintenance fees and just charging per month or per user, cloud ERP becomes more affordable than systems that demand expensive licenses and need constant software and hardware upgrades.
  • Businesses become more flexible: Cloud ERP provides the accessibility, mobility, and flexibility that conventional ERPs lack. Since cloud-based ERP is managed offsite and on a system that’s always available, management will find that ordering and delegating tasks become simpler and easier.

How to Ensure Cloud ERP Works

Using a new system in your business is admittedly tricky. To ensure that integrating a cloud-based solution will have a positive outcome, companies should start with a dry run before going live. This process includes testing the new cloud ERP system with select employees first and ensuring that they are well trained in using the new system. This will lessen any problems that might appear once there’s a change in the infrastructure of the IT system. It also has the dual purpose of revealing which staff members will be free to manage other tasks. Company resources can then be reassigned or internal teams moved to maximize their potential.

Small businesses that are considering using cloud ERP will need a reliable cloud provider and the know-how to optimize the technology’s best features. Once the transition to the cloud is successful, a company can enjoy higher productivity, enhanced business processes, and more success.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Google Posts for small businesses moves to Google My Business

Google has moved the management location of Google Posts and the company hopes to expand Posts to more businesses and organizations.

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One Small Typo Lead To Amazon’s Big Mishap

In a follow up to Tuesday’s significant disruption of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company announced yesterday that the reason for the mishap was due to human-error…a typo to be exact.

“The Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) team was debugging an issue causing the S3 billing system to progress more slowly than expected. At 9:37AM PST, an authorized S3 team member using an established playbook executed a command which was intended to remove a small number of servers for one of the S3 subsystems that is used by the S3 billing process. Unfortunately, one of the inputs to the command was entered incorrectly and a larger set of servers was removed than intended. The servers that were inadvertently removed supported two other S3 subsystems.”

Amazon’s announcement continues with more details on the chain reaction that ensued from the simple input error. But what most assumed was a software bug as the reason for the chaos, instead learned that during the well intended debugging process, a “human bug” lay waiting. All of us are understandably familar (sp.) with that one.

And as ZDNet points out: History is littered with typo miscues that led to major tech outages, mix ups and lots of losses. This includes a missing hyphen in speed and trajectory coding that lead to the 1962 explosion of NASA’s Venus Rocket which was estimated to be an $ 80 million loss (over half a billion in today’s dollars) and a lots of unfortunate poor PR for NASA. On that particular mistake, 2001: A Space Odyssey writer Arthur C. Clarke called it “The most expensive hyphen in history”.

The true dollar loss to AWS and its affected customers, including major publisher and government sites, is unknown. But Amazon will undoubtedly make important changes to their S3 Services, including recovery times of the S3 subsystems, and likely not see a significant drop in their customer base. They are far too much of a major player in the global cloud infrastructure to let a typo be an actual industry changer.

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What is CRM? Salesforce Provides Small Businesses with a Simple Explanation

Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, often gets small business owners eyes rolling. Saleforce recently created a simple, yet effective, video answer to that question targeted toward small businesses.

What is CRM?

Salesforce explains to small business why CRM is important to them. The video is a little cheesy but helpful as a CRM intro to small business owners who find the concept daunting:

“You are in a business that some call small business, wearer of many hats, blazer of new business trails, it’s anything but small. It’s everything, not the least of which is finding, winning and keeping customers in a world where you’re expected to keep up like a bigger business.”

“But how do you do all that? Welcome to Customer Relationship Management, CRM for short. It does all the things you already do to keep track of customers, only easier. It starts when you take what you know about your customers, name, phone, job title, company and put it in a place that makes it easy for everyone in your company to use, share and take action from.”

“It’s so everyone understands every interaction from calls, emails and meeting notes to quotes and closing deals. You can even see what your amazing sales revenue look like at a glance. It’s the kind of info that lets service be quicker, more informed and more personal with customers and lets marketing capture leads and follow up with smarter and better email campaigns to bring customers in.”

“It’s one place that allows everyone to work together seamlessly from anywhere, right in the palm of your hand. There is no need for sticky notes or staring at spreadsheets so no one is ever in the dark about what’s going on, especially you.”

“CRM… in a nutshell, it’s the everything helper, from people who need to do everything to make business grow bigger.”

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SearchCap: Google offensive, local SEO & small business

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Meet a Landy Award winner: Noble Studios drives traffic to Tahoe South to win Best SEO Initiative for Small Business

Noble Studios introduced a new approach to blogging and content creation for Tahoe South that resulted in a 134% increase in mobile site traffic.

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How Can Small Businesses/Websites Compete with Big Players in SEO? – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

It may seem like an impossible uphill battle to compete with big sites in the SERPs, but there are benefits to running a smaller site that can make a tremendous difference to your SEO. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains how small businesses and websites can target opportunities the big sites can’t, in spite of their natural advantages.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about how you, as a small site, could compete against big sites.

Big site advantages

Now look, big sites in SEO have some big advantages. Those include things like:

  • Domain authority
  • Quantity and diversity of the links that are coming to them, which bias engines to generally rank their content higher than they ordinarily might if it were on a brand-new site or a smaller site that they didn’t recognize.
  • Trustworthiness. They’ve built brand associations in the space through advertising and through their size and scale and their reputation over time and over years that means that people have these biases towards trusting that brand, liking that brand, buying from that brand.
  • Financial resources that likely you are not going to have as a small website. If we’re talking about Expedia here versus randstravels.com, they have tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars that they can put towards their web marketing efforts and their SEO efforts, and I have, well, my bad self.
  • Ability to invest if and usually not just if, but if and when, if and when something is a major priority. If it’s not the case that something is a major priority, then Expedia is probably not going to invest in that, and this is where a lot of your advantages come from.

Small site advantages

So as a small website:

  • Nimbleness. You can choose to say, “Here are all the things we could be investing in right now, and you know what, this is the highest priority right now,” and a week later decide this is no longer the highest priority. We’re going to change direction and go pursue this instead. You don’t have to check with a manager or a team or a boss. You don’t have three layers of management that you have to run that approval process through. You can be extremely nimble. Small teams can get remarkable amounts done in small amounts of time compared to much larger teams.
  • Creativity. You are allowed to go outside the boundaries of what’s been set. If you have an idea, you can execute on it. If you have an idea at Expedia, you need to get a lot of approval before you can go after it, and you better make sure that all of the rest of your work is done, too.
  • Focus. As a small business, you can choose to focus your web marketing efforts on one specific thing. So if you know that SEO is where all of your opportunity lies, you can ignore your other web marketing channels, you can ignore retargeting for a few weeks, you can ignore your PPC accounts for a few weeks and simply focus on SEO. At Expedia, a marketing manager is going to have a long list of things that they need to do that they are responsible for, and they can’t simply ignore all their duties to focus on something new.
  • Niche appeal. So yes, Expedia built up their brand around travel, and they have associations around hotels and flights and bookings and all this kind of stuff. But you can choose to take a small slice of those for your particular business and say, “We’re going to focus exclusively on this, and we’re going to become the authority in this particular niche,” which gives you a bunch of advantages that we’ll talk about.
  • Authenticity on your side. So a big brand will often have big brand associations. A smaller brand can build very strong positive associations with, granted, a smaller audience, but you don’t need to monetize as many or as fast or as directly as a big brand needs to. You can concentrate on building your brand’s appeal to your very specific niche. If you monetize them well enough over time, you can build a great business, a small business but a great small business.

5 ways to compete

So, five ways to compete.

1. Target keywords the big sites are unwilling, unable, or so far aren’t trying to compete on.

First off let’s talk about keywords. So in the SEO keyword universe, there are going to be keywords that a big brand, like in this example Expedia, is unwilling, unable, or has chosen not to target yet because they have an indirect path to ROI or legal issues or PR issues. Those can be things like:

  • Long-tail keywords. So maybe Expedia is definitely targeting something like “Istanbul city guide,” but they are definitely not targeting something like “best shops to visit in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.” By the way, I looked that up, and I could not find a great list. So if someone wants to make a list of those, that would be real handy because the Grand Bazaar, very hard to find things.
  • Comparison keywords. So Expedia can’t go after their competitors’ brand names, and they certainly wouldn’t choose generally to compare themselves to another brand. So Venere flights versus Expedia flights, they’re just not going to have a page on that. But you can have a page on that, and you can compare those things to each other. That’s an advantage that a small website is going to have over a larger one.
  • Editorial keywords. So Expedia has business relationships with a lot of different hotels. Therefore, it is not in their interest to rank hotels in a particular locale from 1 to 10 or from 1 to 100. As a small website, you don’t have that constraint, and you can go after those types of keywords that your bigger competitors bias against doing, and that can be very powerful as well.

2. Aim for authority and brand association in a very specific niche

So like we talked about, Expedia is focused on travel. But Rand’s Travels can focus on city-specific itineraries or ranking travel destinations or some other thin slice of a niche that Expedia can’t build that same brand equity in.

3. Pursue indirect/harder-to-monetize content

So Expedia knows that they’re generally pursuing not just keywords, but content that helps people buy directly from Expedia, and they’re going to be looking at that path to conversion. But you might say, “I don’t care if it takes three visits or four visits or five visits for someone to convert. I want to build trust. I want to build authority in my niche. Therefore, I can go after content that Expedia would not go after.” They might be hotels, flights, cars, and cities. You might be recommended websites and travel education and news and tactics and tips and neighborhoods.

4. Go deeper and provide more value with content than what your big competition can afford to scale

You can invest more in a single piece of content than Expedia or a big brand ever could. So when you take your small niche and you say this keyword or this set of keywords is extremely important to me. This search intent is extremely important. I’m going to create 10x content. I’m going to put 10 times more effort and energy and resources into building that than what my big brand competitor can do. If they are a two-star resource, I’m going to be a five-star resource.

5. Build relationships 1-on-1 that big competition will never invest in

In addition to that element of building better content, you can also build better, more direct relationships with the people you need those relationships with. So Expedia goes through their PR team, and they have their teams of folks that do their relationships. But you can go direct. You can say, “I’m Rand’s Travels. I’m going to go meet with people in Istanbul while I’m there and forge those relationships personally and build those relationships up on social media and have conversations and leave blog comments, and that will reinforce my authenticity and my niche appeal.”

That’s a huge advantage as well, and that can help to amplify the reach of your content and to get you visibility on these keywords and this content that your competitors simply can’t touch because they’re too big. They need to do this stuff at scale. When you need to do things at scale, you simply can’t focus in the same way, and that’s where your big advantages come from as a small website.

Now, looking forward to our comments and hearing more from you about how you’ve been able to compete against the big guys, and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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