Tag: 2016

Buying an Internet Business – Why 2016 is the Year to Buy #local #business

#internet business


Buying an Internet Business Why 2016 is the Year to Buy

The start of a new year is always a natural time of year to make plans for the future. be it personally or professionally. It’s a good time to take stock of previous experience and think about what’s taking place in the world. Indeed, you don’t have to look too far for predictions posts at the moment, the internet is positively awash with musings about the year ahead with many exciting internet marketing trends predicted (mobile, the internet of things and as ever, more content marketing!)

Strangely though there is not much in the way of thoughts on business buying in 2016,particularly for buying an internet business. so I’ve put some thoughts together on why 2016 is potentially a very timely year to buy.

Buying an internet business – macro favors the opportunist

There’s so much uncertainty in both the US and global economy at the moment that you can carve a pretty convincing argument either way for economic collapse or prosperity in 2016 (presumably that’s how Wall Street analysts keep in business come high or low…)

I think though that when it comes to small business ownership there is strong cause for optimism this year. Consumer confidence has continued to climb through 2016 to the mid 90 s. Good news for consumer facing e-businesses.

Investment levels always tell you something about the market’s sentiment toward both the economy and small business growth. Whilst you shouldn’t always follow the herd it’s important to note we operate in an economy based largely on consent, so if everyone else is investing it’s a good sign for personal acquisitions. US venture capital investment continue to grow year over year, and 2015 saw the largest amount of investment dollars.

Lastly, borrowing is an essential component for acquisition and growth and it’s refreshing to see that whilst SBA lending softened a little in 2014 to $3.8bn (from $4.0bn in 2013), the lender is anticipating a huge boost in 2015 to $4.8bn. If you’re looking to debt finance an internet business acquisition, 2016 could well be the year to do it.

A word of warning though, it can still be quite difficult to secure debt financing for online business acquisitions. SaaS businesses and recurring revenue models that have at least three years of history tend to be the most successful candidates for funding, though cash buyers will continue to have pole position in 2016. If you want to learn about alternative finance options you can read How to Buy a Website with Finance .

Surging internet growth continues

The nice thing about most internet trends is that they almost always face upwards which makes the old Chinese proverb of “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now” true at the start of almost every year.

E-commerce continues to be one of the biggest areas of internet growth and eMarketer expects the global E-commerce industry to increase another $263bn in 2015 to $1.763trn (yes trillion), all boding very well for site owners and potential business acquirers.

Content sites will not miss out on a continued surge in internet usage as multi-device and particularly mobile usage make the web a major source of advertising dollars. Internet advertising revenues continue to rise with spending up across every single sector. from 5% YoY in entertainment to 20% YoY in retail. Digital advertising revenue is now worth more than $40bn in the US alone (as of 2014), second only to TV, and rising at 15% per annum (5x faster than any other medium).

It’s not just the growth opportunities that are appearing in the internet investment landscape, the risk factors are somewhat fading too. Many online business acquirers are cautious of pending Google algorithm updates particularly when looking at websites with high search traffic (and they are wise to be). With the last 18 months seeing an unprecedented amount of algorithm changes. things have now started to calm and the industry is expecting a smoother runway in 2016.

That’s not to say there won’t be movement but there is much less concern over 20% single-day traffic falls as we saw with the Penguin and Panda rollouts in 2013 and 2014. The good news for site buyers is that investors now have the pick of sites that are still standing after the updates and they also have some runway ahead before Google consider another major algorithm update.

Mobile is an explosive opportunity

A major part of the trends above is the continued penetration of smartphones across the US, Western Europe and Asia as well as the proliferation of multi-device. Multi-device ownership is increasingly commonplace in developed markets with 1 in 4 smartphone owners in the US and EU5 also owning a tablet.

Almost every internet marketing predictions post is citing mobile’s importance this year and its clear from listings at FEI that site owners who have mobile-optimised their sites (at the least) or built new service or content offerings around mobile, are very well positioned for selling. With Google putting greater emphasis on the mobile user experience, potentially even incorporating “mobile-friendliness” into its search ranking algorithm, mobile-friendly is now essential.

Digi-Capital predict 61.3% CAGR of revenue growth in mobile app revenue (ex-gaming) to 2017 which is a staggering growth rate and a huge growth opportunity for buyers of e-businesses and apps in 2016 and beyond. Advertisers worldwide are recognizing the increasing penetration of mobile and its impact on consumers, and in response, plan to spend more than $64bn on mobile ads in 2015. 60% higher than 2014.

Favorable industry trends

Thomas and I wrote about industry trends at the end of 2015 and we think they are aligning positively for buyers. Whilst there’s undoubtedly more buyers in the industry than ever before, the market is formalizing and this can only be a good thing for raising industry standards amongst brokers, sellers and other industry participants alike.

An exciting new development has been the launch of Escrow’s new domain name holding service in 2014 which has dramatically increased the scope for creatively financed deals in 2016. With domain(s) held in Escrow during the deferred consideration period there is much less fear about payment default, which warms sellers to the idea of earn outs, holdbacks and other financing methods. All of this is great news for buyers looking to stretch out their funds or structures deals for lower risk.

Speaking of formalisation, the website buying industry definitely embraced content marketing in the past few years and we have seen a marked increase in content posting by brokers, marketplaces and industry commentators alike. Centurica now publish an annual website buying report and its co-founder Justin Gilchrist also published an in-depth primer on business buying.

FEI published a free Guide to Buying an Online Business to help educate buyers on how to run through the process successfully and to raise awareness about the asset class. In short, there’s never been more quality information available about internet business buying which is great news for new and seasoned buyers alike.

Buying an online business?

Download our free 83-page guide to buying and learn all you need to know

If not now, when?

So there are a lot of good reasons why 2016 presents a unique opportunity to buy an internet business. But the truth is, every year gives advantages over the previous year. So, if you’re waiting for the perfect time, then you’ve perhaps already waited too long. The right time to buy a business is now! Don’t wait for any arbitrary date like January 1st.

Instead, commit to your plan and get started right now. Yes, 2016 will be a great time for buying a business but so is today .

David Newell

David is the Brokerage Director at FE International. Starting out as an investment banker, he moved online to use his transaction experience for website brokerage. At FE International, he spends his time speaking with buyers, executing deals and working on raising industry standards to encourage more investments. In 2014 he closed more than $6m in sales and wrote a book on buying internet businesses for investors new to the space.

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Enloop Review 2016 #business #franchise

#business plan software


Enloop Review

PROS / Enloop is a cloud-based application that has a basic version that is free to use.

CONS / Business plans cannot be saved as Word documents.

VERDICT / Enloop allows you to import financial and current business analysis information to help you create an effective, professional business plan.

Enloop is an online business plan-writing program that has templates and support for multiple industries with the exception of nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits have special financial and budget needs that require specific tools that Enloop doesn’t have. Despite this oversight, Enloop is easy to use with step-by-step instructions and an intuitive design, making it one of the easiest business plan software applications to use of the programs we evaluated.

Your vision for your new company ultimately determines the business plan you need to write. If you are starting a small business, you need a specific startup plan. If you need funding to expand your established company, a funding or investment plan is ideal. All of these small business plans are available through Enloop. It also has plans for determining the feasibility of an entrepreneurial endeavor so you don’t have to waste valuable time investing in a project that may not work.

Business plan writing should be as stress-free as possible. Enloop includes some of the best document-creation tools to help make writing your small business plan easy. This includes spell check and the ability to import images, such as your company logo or product photos. Enloop gives you step-by-step guidance through each section of the writing process. You don’t need to worry about formatting because Enloop takes the text you enter and automatically formats it for you using its AutoWrite feature. You can turn this off, though, and enter and edit text on your own. The one feature that is missing is autosave. This means that if you are working on your business plan but forget to hit Save, none of your changes will be saved, and you will have to start over. This feature provides a lot of peace of mind and is found in our top-ranked business plan programs.

Enloop is cloud-based software, which means you can give multiple people access to the document. Everyone can see and contribute to it, allowing everyone on your team to contribute their personal strengths. This business plan software can track your writing progress and score your plan so you can see how effective it is. If anything in your plan is missing, Enloop has help tools to make your plan stronger.

Every business plan should include information on income projections, operating expenses and budgets. Enloop includes financial calculators, chart generators and budget tools to help you create financials quickly. Enloop also lets you import financial data from your accounting program and automatically formats it for you. When you are finished with your business plan, you can save it as a PDF before emailing or printing out a copy to give to investors. Unfortunately, you don’t have the option of saving it as a Word document.

Some important information you should include in your business plan are market projections and current industry stability. This information is found in databases such as the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). In order to access this information you need a subscription, but Enloop gives you access to these databases as part of its service. To incorporate this data in your plan, all you need to do is click the information from the database and Enloop automatically includes it in the proper place in your business plan.


Enloop is a cloud-based business plan software program. While Enloop doesn’t offer the specialty financial tools needed to create a nonprofit plan, it has everything you need for a start-up business plan. It is easy to use with step-by-step instructions and the most important document-creation tools, such as financial calculators and feasibility tools. You can only save your finished document as a PDF though.

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Top 10 Business Card Printing Services of 2016 #premium #business #cards

#business card printing


Business Card Printing Reviews

Why Use Online Business Card Printing?

The top performers in our review are Elite Flyers. the Gold Award winner; Jukebox Print. the Silver Award winner; and 4Over4. the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a service to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 services.

While everything is going digital these days, a good business card is still a viable way to get your business noticed. The more flashy, innovative and creative your card, the less likely it is to be tossed into the proverbial pile of business cards and forgotten. While there are many business card printing services to choose from, the companies we reviewed stand out with their large selection of design tools, superior quality, and various printing and finishing options that help you create a custom business card that stands out from the rest.

In addition to business card printing services, be sure to check out our reviews on business card scanners that you can use to scan cards to a desktop program for easy access later on. While all of the business card printing services on our lineup offer other promotional business items and office supplies, our review of online printing services delves into more detail about the quality and vast selection of promotional items you can purchase from these companies. For more information about these companies, read our articles on business card printing services and other business-oriented services.

While both offset printing and digital printing create quality products, a good rule of thumb to remember is that offset printing is preferable for specialty colors and for applying certain finishes, such as gloss and ultraviolet (UV) varnishes. Digital printing is a good option for small projects.

Using an online design tool, you can either create your own business card designs, use a pre-designed business card template or choose from a variety of themed business cards to use as your own. After you have created a card that represents your business, you can view a proof of what the finalized cards will look like and then order them from the printer. Each service offers a variety of paper types, finishes and printing options.

Business Card Printing: What We Evaluated, What We Found

When choosing an online business card printing service, consider the service’s printing process, design tools and selection. These features greatly influence the quality of both the service and the product you will receive.

Print Quality
For our evaluation, we compared sample business cards from each of the services on our lineup, noting the quality of the ink, paper strength, finish and selection available from each company.

All of the companies sent a variety of business cards, ranging in paper type, weight and finish. Some even sent samples of other print materials. We evaluated a standard cardstock business card with a high-gloss finish. We assessed the ink quality of those cards, awarding business cards with deep and vivid colors a higher score.

The best business cards have finishes that make them stand out, such as gloss, UV spot finishing and foil stamping. We looked at a standard business card printed on 14-point cardstock with gloss coating and awarded the services that offered the most durable, shiny and high-quality images a higher print-quality score.

While our top-rated business card services offered the best quality, the difference in the quality of the ink, paper or finish from one company to the next was minimal.

Quality of Service
To determine our overall quality of service score, we evaluated how easy it was to navigate the company’s website, the online design tools it offers as well as customer service before, during and after our cards were shipped.

Most of the websites are easy to navigate and offer several business card designs you can browse through. However, we found that some services do not display any designs on their website. Instead, you have to open the design tool and browse through stock images or designs to see what types of business cards you can create. These services also typically charge an additional fee to use those designs and stock images.

Each service has an online design tool you can use to either design your own business card or personalize a pre-existing one. However, our top-rated business card services, such as GotPrint. offer superior design tools with advanced features that help you make high-quality business cards.

If you prefer using your own design program, each of the business card services on our lineup give you the option of uploading your finished project for printing. Each service has its own file formats it accepts. These requirements can be found on our matrix, on the service’s website or by contacting its support personnel.

When reviewing online business card companies, we considered the turnaround time, or how long it takes for your cards to arrive after you place your order. Most companies offer a 24-hour turnaround time for rush orders. However, orders generally take a few days to ensure every detail of your card is perfect before it goes to press.

We awarded companies that sent confirmation emails about our order and shipping details a higher score, since this was not standard. There were several companies we had to contact for updates about our order since they did not send out confirmation or shipping emails. Some orders took several weeks to arrive.

Our hands-on testing is designed to simulate typical, real-world experiences with business card printing services. For our tests, we evaluated the sample business cards each company offers and used the design tool to customize others. The companies had no input on our testing methodology, and our rankings are not shared with them prior to publication.

What Else Is Important in Selecting a Business Card Printing Service?

In addition to the quality of the service, the final product and the turnaround time, you should consider the selection of cards each service offers. While some companies offer cards with vivid colors, it’s not enough to compensate if they do not offer a variety of paper types, shapes, finishes or card features.

We looked at the selection each service offers, including paper type, finishes, shapes, paper weight and whether the service offers specialty cards. With most services, you can choose from a variety of materials linen, cardstock, magnet and plastic. Some online business card companies, specifically MOO. have custom services to print on specialty materials, such as metal and even food items.

Finishing Options
While the type of material you print your business card onto makes a big difference in distinguishing your card from the mundane, each service also offers finishes you can apply to your card to help it stand out. We found that spot UV coating helped emphasize logos and made the business cards pop. Our award-winning services, as well as MOO and Vistaprint. offer several finishing options to bring your designs to life.

Paper Weight
Business cards need to hold up to everyday wear and tear. Lighter-weight cardstocks can be flimsy and fall apart easily. Using a heavier cardstock not only makes your business cards more durable, it sets them apart from the standard card. The best business card services give you several weights you can choose from. In addition, they offer specialty shapes so you can create round, square and oval business cards.

Our Verdict Recommendations

We found minimal differences between the quality of the business cards we reviewed. However, there was a significant disparity in the usability of the design tools, card selection and customer service between the best business card printing services and average services.

Elite Flyers exceeds other printing services both in the quality of business cards it offers and its customer service. It offers a wide selection of paper types and finishes to make your business card stand out. It has an easy-to-use design tool so you can either create your own design or customize a pre-designed template. We found the service not only processed and shipped our order quickly, but they were helpful with any questions we had.

Jukebox Print and 4Over4 offer a large selection of high-quality business cards. You can select from a variety of paper types, finishes and even specialty shapes to help you create a unique business card. Both services’ design tools are easy to use and allow for advanced customization.

GotPrint serves as an affordable option. Not only is this service more affordable than all of the other printing services, it offers a good selection of paper types, finishes and shapes. We found the service offers high-quality prints and helpful customer service.

Contributing Reviewer: Jessica Stone

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Jennifer Biry Receives Dallas Business Journal 2016 Women in Business Award #business #plan #model

#dallas business journal


Jennifer Biry Receives Dallas Business Journal 2016 Women in Business Award

AT T * Services, Inc. has been recognized as one of the most influential women in business in North Texas by the Dallas Business Journal .

The Women in Business Awards program honors established business leaders with a strong record of innovation in their fields, outstanding performance in their respective businesses and a clear track record of meaningful community involvement.

Since beginning her career with the AT T family of companies in 1999 as an accounting manager, Biry has held a wide variety of leadership roles. She currently serves as the chief financial officer for AT T Technology and Operations. In this position, she is responsible for all the financial operations of AT T’s corporate strategy function, technology development, network deployment and operations.

“Jennifer is a role model for all executives in business,” said John Stephens. senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, AT T. “She’s an incredible leader, a supporter of the North Texas community and a mentor for women building their careers at AT T. Jennifer has also been a leader for AT T Women of Finance which represents 3,000 of our employees worldwide since its inception. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her for more than 15 years and look forward to working with her for years to come.”

Biry earned a degree in business administration from Texas Lutheran University. where she serves on the Executive Advisory Council and was the recipient of the 2016 TLU Distinguished Alumni Award. She is on the board of the Dallas Women’s Foundation and a member of the AT T University Advisory Board. She also mentors high school students through AT T’s Aspire initiative and was recently named as a winner of Profiles in Diversity Journal ‘s 15th Annual Women Worth Watching Awards .

*AT T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT T Inc. under the AT T brand and not by AT T Inc.

AT T Inc. (NYSE: T ) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high-speed Internet and voice services. We’re the world’s largest provider of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. We offer the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider*. And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

2016 AT T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT T Intellectual Property and/or AT T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

*Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; voice roaming; and world-capable smartphone and tablets in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.


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Jennifer Biry Receives Dallas Business Journal 2016 Women in Business Award

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2016 Top Franchises from Entrepreneur s Franchise 500 List #online #business #ideas

#franchise opportunities


2016 Top Franchises from Entrepreneur s Franchise 500 List

Understanding the Ranking

There’s a lot that goes into putting together the first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking in the world. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Entrepreneur’s 37th annual Franchise 500 .

The process began in July 2015, when we asked franchisors to participate in our survey. Each submission was vetted before being entered for data analysis; 951 companies made the first cut. Of those, the top 500 became the Franchise 500 ranking, based on financial and statistical data from July 2013 through July 2015.

Only franchise companies that supply a full Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) or Canadian Disclosure Document and whose information is verified by Entrepreneur can receive a listing. To be eligible for the Franchise 500 , a franchisor must have a minimum of 10 units, with at least one franchise located in the U.S. The company must be seeking new franchisees in the U.S. and it cannot be in Chapter 11 at the time the ranking is compiled. (The exception to these rules is Canada-based companies that are expanding only in Canada.)

All companies are judged by the same criteria: objective, quantifiable measures of a franchise operation. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. We also consider the number of years a company has been in business and the length of time it’s been franchising, startup costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing. Financial data is analyzed by an independent CPA.

We do not measure subjective elements such as franchisee satisfaction or management style. The objective factors are plugged into our exclusive Franchise 500 formula, with each eligible company receiving a cumulative score.

Remember that the Franchise 500 is not intended to endorse, advertise or recommend any particular franchise. It is solely a research tool you can use to compare franchise operations. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing money in a franchise. Read the FDD and related materials carefully, get help from a franchise attorney and a CPA in reviewing any legal or financial documents, and talk to as many existing and former franchisees as possible and visit their outlets. The best way to protect yourself is to do your homework.

Research compiled by Tracy Stapp Herold and J.R. Jimenez with assistance from Hava Arieh, Rick Ignarra, Nicole Jurinek, Yvette Madrid, Jessica Nguyen and Giuseppe Ricapito; technical assistance from Angel Cool and Daniel Sibitzky; financial analysis by David R. Juedes, CPA; graphic design by Karen Meneghin.

More Franchise Rankings

100 franchises for under $60,000

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23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016 – Salesforce Blog #atm #business

#business quotes


23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016

If there’s one thing we know about small businesses, it’s that they’re focused on growth. When we surveyed entrepreneurs and small-business leaders earlier this year, the majority told us they expected to grow significantly in the coming year. (Click here to see the full results of our research .)

So, as 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to give small businesses a little inspiration. Here are 23 of our favorite quotes to help you jumpstart business growth in 2016.

Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Play by the rules, but be ferocious.

— Phil Knight, founder, Nike

“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

— Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”

― Sigmund Freud, neurologist

“Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation.”

— Clayton Christensen, economist and Harvard professor

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.”

― Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and writer

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

— John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States of America

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.

— Napoleon Hill, author

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

― Andy Rooney, journalist

“Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.”

― William George Jordan, writer/editor

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer/statesman

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anaïs Nin, writer

No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow, if it doesn’t.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

— T.S. Eliot, author

“The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first.

— Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google

If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.

— Dhirubhai Ambani, founder, Reliance Industries

I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.

— Susan Butcher, sled dog racer

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.

— Thomas Watson, Sr. former CEO, IBM

“It’s very easy to be different but very difficult to be better.”

— Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple

“Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying in space.”

— Chris Hadfield, astronaut

“Happy employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profits.”

— Vaughn Aust. EVP of Integrated Solutions, MarketStar

Employees want to feel inspired by their leaders. hire individuals who will lead by example.

— Jody Kohner. VP of Employee Marketing Engagement, Salesforce

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.”

— William Durant, co-founder, General Motors

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Social Media for Business: 2016 Marketer’s Guide #today #stock #market

#business networking sites


Social Media for Business: 2016 Marketer’s Guide

Credit: Gonzalo Aragon/Shutterstock

Social media networks are fantastic resources for businesses of all sizes looking to promote their brands online. The platforms themselves are free to use, and they also have paid advertising options specifically for brands that want to reach even more new audiences. But just because your business should be on social media, that doesn t mean your business should be on every network. It s important that you choose and nurture the social platforms that work best for your business so that you don t spread yourself too thin.

If you want to create a successful social strategy, you need to familiarize yourself with how each network runs, the kinds of audiences you can reach and how your business can best use each platform. We profiled the top social media platforms so you can learn more about them and market your business better.


Facebook is the biggest social network on the Web, both in terms of name recognition and the total number of users. With more than 1.55 billion active users, Facebook is a great medium for connecting people from all over the world with your business. And Facebook is not only the biggest network, but it s arguably the most versatile one. In the 12 years since it launched, Facebook grew from a simple website where college students could keep in touch into a multifaceted Web and mobile social platform where anyone can connect with not just their friends and family, but also with celebrities, organizations, businesses and more, thanks to the Pages feature.

Considering that Facebook has a wealth of options for any type of organization, it s a great starting point for your business, regardless of your industry. You can use it to share photos, videos, important company updates and more. Additionally, Facebook can be more low-maintenance than other social networks whether you post several updates a day or only a few a week won t make much of a difference in terms of what your fans will think of you. To find out more about Facebook for business, check out our guide .

Editor s Note: Looking for information on social media marketing for your business? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partner will contact you to provide you with the information you need:


Twitter is another social network where you can post mostly anything. With Twitter, you can share short (140 or fewer characters) text updates, along with videos, images, links, polls and more. You can also easily interact with other users by mentioning their usernames in your posts, so Twitter is a great way to quickly connect with people all around the world. (The platform has more than 320 million active users worldwide and is one of the top 10 websites in the United States.) Because of its wide reach, Twitter is not only a great way to market your business but also an effective channel for handling customer service. For example, if you maintain an active Twitter presence, customers who are also active on the platform will seek you out to express concerns or share their praise.

If you have interesting content, Twitter is also a great tool for quickly spreading the word. Retweeting and sharing other users content is incredibly simple, hashtags help boost posts, and if a user with a lot of followers retweets you, your content has the potential to go viral. But with Twitter, it s important to remember to find balance don t simply share your own links or media; make sure you are also sharing a lot of interesting, relevant content from other Twitter users and from around the Web so your audience doesn t think you only care about what your business is doing. Check out our guide to learn more about using Twitter for business .


This platform consists of digital bulletin boards where users can save and display content they like in the form of pins. Users create and organize their boards by category. So, for example, as a personal user, one might have a board dedicated to food, where they pin recipes; another board dedicated to photography they find interesting; and so on. Pinterest is very visually oriented (every post has to be an image or video), and like Facebook, it is also fairly low-maintenance in terms of post frequency. However, keeping your boards organized and search-friendly can be time-consuming.

Pinterest is also more of a niche network than Facebook or Twitter, so it may not work for everyone. Pinterest s users are primarily women, and popular categories on the site are DIY projects, fashion, exercise, beauty, photography and food. That s not to say that businesses outside of these categories can t succeed on the platform, but it does make it a great marketing tool for businesses that do work in those areas. If you can find ways to connect your content to Pinterest s audience, then go for it. The platform also has a series of special types of pins called Rich Pins, which brands can use to add special information to their pins, like product details and even location maps. There are plenty of cool ways to use this platform to your advantage, and you can read more about them in our Pinterest for Business Guide .


Instagram, like Pinterest, is a visual social media platform based entirely on photo and video posts. The network, which Facebook owns, has more than 400 million active users, many of whom post about food, art, travel, fashion and similar subjects. Instagram is distinguished by its unique filters and photo and video editing options. This platform, unlike the others, is almost entirely mobile (there is a Web version, but you can t take photos or create new posts on it, and other functions are limited as well).

Instagram is another platform where more artistic niches excel, so again, it may not be the best fit for your business, depending on your industry. If you want to succeed with Instagram, it s important that the person running your account has a good eye for detail and has at least basic photography skills, so that the photos and videos posted to your account are high-quality. And don t be discouraged if your industry is underrepresented on Instagram; if you can find the right hashtags to latch onto and can post intriguing photos, you will most likely make it work. To find out more about using Instagram for business, read our guide.


Tumblr is arguably the most difficult social media platform to use as a business, but it s also one of the most interesting networks. Tumblr allows several different post formats including text posts, chat posts, quote posts, audio posts, photo posts and video posts so you re not limited as to what kind of content you can share. As with Twitter, reblogging (reposting other users content) is very quick and easy, so if a user with a lot of followers shares your content, it s possible to go viral fairly quickly. However, what sets Tumblr apart more than anything is its audience, which is less like a pool of users and more like one big tight-knit community full of smaller subcommunities.

Tumblr currently hosts more than 200 million blogs, and the majority of these blogs are run by young people (half of Tumblr s visitor base is under age 25). But this means that businesses that don t cater to young people s interests or aren t relatable to young people in some way are not poised for success on the network. The good news is, there s a subcommunity or fandom for almost every niche and interest you can think of, so a successful marketing campaign is possible if you use Tumblr correctly. You can learn more about the Tumblr community and how to use Tumblr for business in our guide.

Editor s Note: Looking for information on social media marketing for your business? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partner will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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Best smartphone for business 2016 #business #news #today

#best business phone


Best smartphone for business 2016: Android vs iPhone vs Windows Phone vs BlackBerry – what phones should I buy for my business?

Android vs iPhone vs Windows Phone vs BlackBerry: Why IT pros should use Windows phones for business

Matt Egan is Editorial Director of IDG UK, publisher of Computerworld UK, having worked for the UK’s leading technology media company since 2003. A passionate technology fan who writes on subjects as diverse as smartphones, internet security, social media and Windows, in his spare time Matt enjoys playing football (badly) and singing in a band (also badly).



What is the best smartphone for business? We examine cost, value, security and more, to uncover the best phone for business users – from the perspective of the IT pro. It’s Android vs iPhone vs Windows Phone vs BlackBerry to uncover the best business phone for 2016. Here is how to choose a phone for your business. (See also: Best tablet for business 2016 .)

1. Best smartphone for business: Android – what’s good

On the face of it Android is the best choice. In terms of value and choice Android always wins – the OEM / platform model means that prices drop faster on Androids, and you could fit out your entire office with 90 Androids, or offer each staff member their choice of Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei and more. Plus, if like Computerworld UK you are a Google Docs office, Android will play perfectly with your cloud provider. (See also: Best smartphone for startups entrepreneurs .)

2. Best smartphone for business: Android – what’s bad

In a word ‘security’. Not the fear of drive-by infection so beloved of security vendors. No – data security. Privacy. The challenge for Android is its very openness. With an office full of Google phones it is all-but impossible to control what information is accessible outside the building. And with a plethora of Android OSes in the wild, you have no way of making sure the entire fleet is on the same platform, never mind up to date. In this BYOD world it is almost impossible to keep Android out of your office, and probably counter productive to try. But if you are equipping your office with smartphones, unless you use Google Docs, there may be better options.

3. Best smartphone for business: iPhone – what’s good

Almost certainly the choice of your CEO, still holding firm in the mistaken belief that Apple is cool and everything else inferior. This isn’t true, but iPhone remains the benchmark in terms of high-quality hardware, and app- and media store support. iPhones do what iPhones do – they offer a quality smartphone experience, and no-one is likely to complain if you hand them a work Apple phone.

4. Best smartphone for business: iPhone – what’s bad

Where to begin? Price, for one. Generally Apple is expensive, but you get what you pay for. With the iPhone that simply isn’t true. Myriad rival products offer better or similar hardware for much less. And iPhone is closed-loop computing. Use an iPhone and it is Apple’s way or no way, which means that you have to bend your other products to the iPhone, no the other way around (not for nothing is the iPhone know as Apple’s access drug). Most importantly, and IBM relationship notwithstanding – you can’t manage a fleet of iPhones. If that phone is lost, so is the data on it.

5. Best smartphone for business: Windows Phone – what’s good

A surprisingly large amount is good about Windows Phones. At its best Windows Phone combines some of the strengths of iPhone, Android and – yes – BlackBerry. Value is an Android-like high point. And because only Microsoft and HTC make Windows Phones, they are all guaranteed high quality. Most importantly, like BlackBerry, Windows Phone is designed to be used in a business context. You can centrally manage a fleet of Windows Phones, so you can ensure updates happen and lost devices don’t lead to lost data.

6. Best smartphone for business: Windows Phone – what’s bad

You don’t get much choice in the Windows world. Until (or unless) third-party OEMs back Windows Phone, there will be only a few handsets from which to choose. And it is unlikely your colleagues will love you for handing them a Windows device. Plus, from a BYOD perspective it is unlikely you need to worry about Windows Phone unless you purchase them yourself, so you may be creating work for yourself. But from a business perspective, that really is it.

7. Best smartphone for business: BlackBerry – what’s good

It’s BlackBerry. This company invented secure, mobile communication. You can install BesX for free and run a fleet of BlackBerries from the safety of your server room. Lose a handset and you can brick it immediately. And who is gonna nick a BlackBerry anyway? And if you shell out for the all-new BlackBerry Priv, you could have the best of all worlds – BlackBerry security and privacy with Android fun. (See also: iPad Pro vs Surface Pro for business .)

8. Best smartphone for business: BlackBerry – what’s bad

It’s BlackBerry. No-one wants one, for a start. You will have to deal with your colleagues using Androids and iPhones, but it is unlikely a normal human will walk through the door with a BYOD BlackBerry. And although they offer good value, BlackBerries aren’t cheap. The Priv, for instance, can cost more than the equivalent iPhone – and that is expensive. App support isn’t great, either, so your BlackBerry is unlikely to seamlessly integrate with your choice of cloud provider. Finally, BlackBerry is unlikely to have a long future as a standalone company. Do you really want to commit to a platform that could be subsumed into Windows or even a proprietary vendor?

9. Best smartphone for business UK 2016: the verdict

If it is my company and you are spending my money I want you to buy Windows Phones. Your colleagues will likely not thank you, but Windows is a fine phone platform, the price is right and it works from a security point of view for businesses of every size. From an IT perspective Windows and BlackBerry are the best. But your colleagues will want Android, or most likely iPhone. There is an argument for Android in terms of price, variety and ability to play nicely with Google. With Apple let’s see what happens with its stated aims of working with IBM to be more enterprise friendly. But for now if it was my business I would avoid. (See also: Best tablet for business 2016 .)

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Top 5 Health Insurance Options for Small Groups in 2016 #small #business #lending

#business health insurance


For many employers and brokers, the Affordable Care Act can feel like a moving target. However, for small groups with fewer than 50 employees who are not mandated to provide health insurance, the options for small group health insurance are clearer.

In 2016, small groups have five main options for health insurance:

Individual Health Insurance (with or without a defined contribution allowance)

Private Small Group Plan

1) Individual Health Insurance (with or without a defined contribution allowance)

The first option is a relatively simple approach, yet it achieves results: allow employees to purchase individual health insurance coverage, either through the public Marketplace or through a broker. Employees may select from any carrier and plan available, and eligible employees may access discounts on their premiums via the individual health insurance tax credits.

If the small group would like to contribute to employee’s premium expenses, they can use defined contribution allowances to reimburse employees for the non-subsidized portion of their premium. (This is still allowed as long as the employer goes about it the right way .)

Additionally, defined contribution allowances can be allocated by job criteria (e.g. $300/month to managers and $200/month to entry-level). For many small groups, this is the most cost-effective solution because the small group can contribute any amount and, on average, individual policies cost less than small group plans.

Brokers are generally involved to facilitate the setup of the defined contribution allowances (usually, via an online software provider), sell the individual policies to employees, and be a consultant for the small group. The ideal business for this solution is a small group who is priced out of group health insurance, not eligible for group health insurance, wants to start offering health benefits for the first time, or who doesn’t have the administrative capacity to administer a group health insurance plan.

2) SHOP Marketplace

The SHOP Marketplaces are public state- or federally-run exchanges which sell small group health insurance policies. The SHOP Marketplace could be a good coverage option for employers with 50 or fewer employees if they can meet certain requirements. For example, in Massachusetts employers participating in the SHOP must contribute at least 50 percent of the premium amount, employers with 1-5 employees must have 100 percent of the employees enrolled, and employers with 6-50 employees must have at least 75 percent enrolled.

For eligible small groups, the SHOP Marketplace gives access to the small business tax credits which are generally only available through the SHOP. Brokers registered with the Marketplace can help small groups select and purchase the plan, just as brokers would with private small group plans.

3) Private Health Exchange

Like defined contribution, the term “private exchange” is one of the biggest buzzwords of the past few years. With a private exchange the small group gives employees a set contribution to use towards a menu of plan options. The plan options can be individual- or group-based. Private exchanges are a type of a defined contribution strategy.

Brokers can offer a private exchange option to small groups by working with a defined contribution or private exchange provider. Numerous entities ranging from startups to new divisions of leading insurance companies have been created to offer new private health exchanges and companies like Walgreens are adopting this approach. If you’re a broker, see: How to Offer a Private Health Exchange in 3 Steps .

4) Co-Op

Joining a co-op for health insurance is a more traditional approach for small groups. The idea is the co-op increases buying power and spreads the risk to a larger group. Each co-op is structured differently, and whether the co-op offers better insurance rates than the small group could get on the open market or SHOP depends on regional insurance underwriting laws and the co-op itself.

5) Private Small Group Plan

Purchasing a private small group plan is also still an option for small groups. Small groups may find more options and carriers to choose from on the private market as compared to the SHOP, where some states only have one or two plans to choose from. Read more small business health insurance trends here.

The Future of Small Group Health Insurance?

Every day I hear from small business owners and their brokers about the challenges of a traditional small group health insurance plan – with the primary challenge being cost. As such, it is not surprising to hear that only half (54 percent ) of small and medium sized businesses do not offer traditional insurance today.

Which is why I’d argue that #1 (individual health insurance with defined contribution allowances) and #2 (private exchanges paired with individual health insurance) are the best health insurance options for small groups in 2016.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 under the title, “Top 5 Health Insurance Options for Small Groups in 2014.”

Do you agree or disagree? What questions do you have? Leave a comment below.

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