The 10 Best Accounting Software Solutions for Small Business

Best Accounting Software for Small Business

Small business owners are pressed for time. Finding the time to take care of the finances and accounting isn’t always easy. Fortunately, help is at hand with innovative accounting software designed to simplify monetary processes and requirements.

Best Accounting Software for Small Business

Take a look at the following 10 best accounting software programs for small businesses.

Sage 50c Accounting Software

Sage 50c Accounting Software is desktop software with built-in anytime, anywhere cloud access apps. Combining a desktop solution with online access, Sage 50c Accounting enables small businesses to run their financial tasks more efficiently.

The software manages invoicing, cash flow, inventory, taxes and more, freeing up you and your employees’ time so you can get on with running your business. Sage 50c Accounting software comes in three tiered packages, starting from $439.00 a year.

Xero

Xero is online accounting software enabling small businesses to manage invoicing, bank reconciliation, bookkeeping and more.

With the customizable Xero dashboard, businesses can see how cash is tracking at a quick glance. You can also reduce office administration time and improve cash flow by paying bills on time with Xero. The software comes in three tiered packages starting at $9 a month.

Wave

What’s great about Wave? It’s free! This financial software for small businesses allows you to track your expenses, send invoices, get paid and balance your books. Besides its ‘100 percent free software’, Wave offers an additional premium payment service, which enables small businesses to accept credit cards on invoices and offer automatic recurring billing for repeat customers.

FreshBooks

FreshBooks is an accounting software designed to make life easier for small businesses by allowing them to spend less time on accounting and more time on doing what they love doing. This simple and intuitive platform automates tasks such as organizing expenses, tracking time and following up with clients about invoices.

As FreshBooks lives in the cloud, you can securely access its accounting features from multiple devices. FreshBooks is available in three packages, the basic ‘Lite’ package starting from $15 a month for five clients.

Kashoo

Kashoo is accounting software that works for small business owners in any industry. With its intuitive dashboard, you can see where your business stands in terms of invoices, expenses, payments, reports, bank feeds and more.

What’s great about Kashoo is that it provides real human support if you require assistance with the software and its features. Kashoo costs $29.95 on its Monthly Plan and offers a cheaper Annual Plan.

Zoho Books

Zoho Books promotes itself as easy-to-use cloud accounting software for small businesses. With automated banking, Zoho Books connects to your bank account and gives you real-time updates on your cash flow. This powerful software monitors transactions and categorizes them in an instant.

You’ll also be able to know the ins and outs of your expenses with Zoho Books as the software tracks, categorizes and bills your clients from one convenient place. Zoho Books comes in three tiered levels, the Basic level starting at around $5 a month.

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is designed to help small businesses keep their finances organized in one convenient place. If you have an accountant, you can share your books for seamless collaboration.

Helping save you precious time, QuickBooks enables you to connect with your bank account to automatically import and categorize transactions. You can take photos of receipts and store them with QuickBooks Mobile. The software also creates dozens of reports, meaning you’ll always know where your business stands.

QuickBooks offers four tiers of pricing, starting with a package designed for the self-employed for $5 a month.

OneUp

OneUp is a fast accounting app, with an automation rate of 95 percent. OneUp takes care of all those essential accounting features for you, including invoicing, CRM, purchasing, inventory, logistics and more. OneUp is available in five different packages, starting with a ‘Self’ level, designed for independent contractors or sole proprietors for approximately $7 a month.

KashFlow

KashFlow is an all-in-one accounting software. Businesses are kept in the loop by having access to a full view of their finances. The platform provides intuitive invoicing, so you can get paid faster and provide reports that are easy to understand.

KashFlow also takes care of VAT returns and payroll. KashFlow is available in different packages that can be tailored to your needs. The ‘Starter’ package is an inexpensive option for sole traders and small businesses, priced at approximately $5 a month.

AccountEdge Pro Accounting Software

AccountEdge Pro is powerful small business accounting software for Windows and Mac desktop users. The software takes care of inventory, banking, payment processing, payroll, document management, and provides a wealth of reporting capabilities.

This comprehensive accounting system is available in three versions, starting with Mamut AccountEdge which costs around $110 a year.

Are there any major accounting software platforms missing from this list? If you use accounting software for your small business that you’re pleased with, please mention them in the comment section.

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This article, “The 10 Best Accounting Software Solutions for Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Dangers Businesses Face by Not Moving to the Cloud

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10 Dangers Businesses Face by Not Moving to the Cloud

It’s likely by now that you’ve read an article or two about the reasons your small business should move to the cloud. From cost savings to productivity, the benefits of cloud computing have long been lauded for their ability to help small businesses leverage technology to compete.

But did you know there’s a darker side to the story? If you don’t move your small business to the cloud, you’re exposing it to significant operational and financial risk. Before you make a decision whether to move to the cloud or not, you need to understand and consider the 10 risks below.

Dangers Businesses Face by Not Moving to the Cloud

Reduced Agility

To compete in today’s market, your business needs to be agile. You need to be able to take advantage of opportunities and recover from losses more quickly than ever. That means scaling up and scaling down as needed. Operating outside of the cloud makes this a much more difficult proposition.

However, when you move to the cloud, you can quickly add resources without interrupting current business users. Need to spin up a new server? Done. Need to add more people to your user list? Taken care of. And, when you no longer need those resources, you can release them back to the vendor.

Less Flexibility

Since the advent of computing, businesses have been tied to the locations, and the equipment, that enable them to access their systems and data. This greatly limited their ability to be out in the field visiting customers and networking for opportunities.

That all changed when the cloud enabled small businesses to work from anywhere and at anytime. Employees can now have 24/7 access to anything they need and, they can even use their own devices and computers when they do so.

Reduced Business Intelligence

These days, a small business needs to be smart and that means digging into its data. Both business intelligence and data analytics require data collection and storing all the data outside of the cloud can become unwieldy and expensive.

Moving to the cloud enables a small business to get all the storage it needs, when it needs it. And, using online analytics solutions provides the tools needed to discover actionable insights.

Inexperienced Security

One of the most common reason small businesses hesitate to move to the cloud is security. Many are concerned that having their data “out there” somewhere makes it more vulnerable to hackers.

The truth however, is that your data is likely much more secure in the cloud than out of it. In the cloud, you work with vendors and partners who have skilled and experienced security professionals on their staffs. That’s an advantage most small businesses cannot afford on their own and can make all the difference when hackers come for your data.

More Interruptions

When your IT systems are in one place, they’re vulnerable to interruption of service due to a power outage or a problem with the hardware, software, or the network. In addition, installing upgrades to the system can cause downtime that costs your small business money.

Working in the cloud relieves much of this risk. If there’s a power outage, you can still drive somewhere to get power and then access everything online. Your vendors and service partners likely have hefty and expensive power backups in place so they’re much less vulnerable to that situation.

When it comes to system issues, vendors are more likely to have expensive and effective fail safes in place.The same goes for upgrades. They will minimize any downtime. A vendor with too much downtime loses business so cloud vendors focus a lot of their efforts to avoid that issue.

More Disaster Prone

40 percent of small businesses do not survive a natural disaster however, having your systems in the cloud is one of the best ways to protect yourself. If a disaster wipes out your office, everything is still accessible in the cloud. If a disaster wipes out your vendor or service partner, their systems are likely backed up and ready to go in a different data center far from the damage.

Either way, the risk of losing everything is much lower if you’ve moved to the cloud.

Harder Collaboration

There are many benefits to collaboration, both inside and outside your small business. If all your systems are in-house however, it becomes much harder to collaborate, both with employees who are outside the office and with clients and vendors. Working in the cloud makes collaboration easier to set up and maintain, enabling small businesses to reap the benefits.

Less Support

When all your systems are inside your office, you’re dependent on a small group of employees who may not be available when disaster strikes. Or, you can pay an outside company to support you and eat the expense.

In the cloud however, either your vendors or service partners come with built-in support. If something goes wrong, experienced professionals are there to help.

Greater Administrative Burden

Small businesses spend up to 240 days working on administrative tasks or, things they don’t get paid for doing. Part of this administrative burden includes hardware and software maintenance and upgrades as well as license management for both.

These tasks go away when you move your small business into the cloud. Both hardware and software maintenance and upgrades are taken care of by your vendor or service partner and licensing is less complex and more flexible than pre-cloud.

Lower Cash Flow

Finally, working outside the cloud will eat into your profit by increasing your expenses. Not only will you need to pay for equipment and software upgrades. You’ll also have to pay for staff to manage both as well as electricity to keep it all running. Both of these expenses are reduced when you move to the cloud, leaving more for your bottom line.

For more on moving your business to the cloud, visit global cloud services provider Meylah for details. You can checkout special offers that are available to help your company to embark on a journey with Microsoft.

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This article, “10 Dangers Businesses Face by Not Moving to the Cloud” was first published on Small Business Trends

The Secret Behind Great Customer Service: One Thing You Must Do

The Importance of Customer Response Time for Retailers

Independent retailers who read the news on a regular basis can’t be faulted for feeling a bit frightened about the future. A quick glance at any retail industry website or newsletter full of headlines about “omnichannel” experiences, virtual reality, mobile apps and other technological advancements changing the face of retail, is enough to keep any retailer up at night. How can an independent retailer hope to compete against national or global chains?

In reality, it may be easier than you think to win over shoppers as long as you can deliver on the key factor that creates an exceptional customer experience: quickly responding to customer problems with knowledgeable assistance.

The Importance of Customer Response Time

The vast majority of customers in a CMO Council study conducted earlier this year cited rapid response times (52 percent) and helpful assistance (47 percent) as the most critical aspects of a positive customer experience. By comparison, fewer than 10 percent of the consumers who responded to the survey cared about elements such as “always-on assisted service,” branded social media communities to connect with other customers, or access to multiple touch points along the path to purchasing.

In other words, you don’t have to be a social media star or spend a ton on cutting-edge VR technology to keep retail customers happy. All you have to do is be there to help when the customer needs you — a principle that’s kept retailers in business since the days of the good old “general store.”

While delivering on customers’ basic service expectations sounds pretty simple, the cost of failing to do so can be devastating for a small retailer. Almost half of consumers will stop doing business with a company if they’re frustrated with the service. (They may not tell you why, either.) Given these risks, what can you do to ensure you’re providing timely, expert service?

There’s one simple secret: Devote time and effort to keeping your employees happy.

I regularly return to one independent clothing store near my home because of the amazing employees. (In fact, I go there so often it’s a little embarrassing.) Even if no one is around when I enter the store, employees materialize out of nowhere within seconds to greet me with genuine friendliness. The employees always know the current promotions and happily check in the back for different sizes or colors. They also display genuine enthusiasm for and knowledge of the apparel they sell — probably because they all wear it!

What’s the secret behind this store’s great service? The employees clearly enjoy what they’re doing. If your retail employees are less enthusiastic, how can you get them to that “happy place”? Try these moves:

  • Hire people who are passionate about what you sell. There’s a reason the best electronics stores hire gear-heads, music equipment retailers hire musicians, and pet stores hire animal lovers. When your salespeople are also your target market, they’ll naturally connect with your customers. (Next time you’re looking to hire, why not reach out to some of your best customers?)
  • Give employees a significant discount on your merchandise. At the store I mentioned, workers get a 40 percent discount, which makes the clothing affordable for them. When your salespeople actually own the products you carry, they’ll be familiar with them and better able to answer customer questions.
  • Treat your employees well. Good pay, flexible scheduling and employee benefits aren’t a given at retail jobs, so if you offer these advantages, you’ll have an edge on the competition.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Secret Behind Great Customer Service: One Thing You Must Do” was first published on Small Business Trends

9 Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business

Social media, with its global reach and exposure, is something businesses can’t ignore. However, for some business owners, social media involves the 3 C’s: complication, complexity and confusing. Dealing with these 3 C’s should not be a reason business owners stay away from social media though. And for one good reason: Your customers are there. They aren’t there just sharing what they eat and drink. They are discussing your business. They are expressing needs and opportunities your business can fulfill. Social media isn’t a fad or a trend. It’s a business reality.

That’s why this list of nine social media marketing books was created. It is designed to give you a peek into the basic social media marketing strategies of the pros. Using these strategies, you can learn how to spread your messages to your customers in the most productive way possible.

Social Media Marketing Books

If you’re ready to jump in, here goes.

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses: A Simple Guide To Getting More Out Of Your Online Marketing StrategySocial Media Marketing For Small Businesses: A Simple Guide To Getting More Out Of Your Online Marketing Strategy

by Michael Goggs

Social media marketing is difficult for large businesses, so what can a small business hope to accomplish? It turns out quite a bit. Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses is a simplified guide for small business owners who feel overwhelmed in social media marketing. As many business owners can attest, the problem isn’t using social media.

It’s using social media to achieve a profitable result at the end.

Michael Goggs wrote a book about his marketing experiences while pursuing that goal. He wasn’t a social media expert when he dived into social media marketing. He was just a guy who had to figure it all out.

His book shares the lessons he learned and fundamentals he relied on to launch and grow his business from his first Tweet onward.

If you’re looking for a social media guide written from the perspective of a small business owner instead of another “expert”, this book might be the guide you’re looking for.

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - Text Me! Snap Me! Ask Me Anything!: How Entrepreneurs, Consultants, And Artists Can Use The Power Of Intimate Attention To Build Their Brand, Grow Their Business And Change The WorldText Me! Snap Me! Ask Me Anything!: How Entrepreneurs, Consultants And Artists Can Use The Power Of Intimate Attention To Build Their Brand, Grow Their Business And Change The World

by Kevin Kruse

How do you get attention for your business in a crowded marketplace? Don’t use the same strategies everyone else does. As author Kevin Kuse points out in his book Text Me! Snap Me! Ask Me Anything! the world of social media marketing is getting more and more crowded every day.

Text Me! Snap me! is a guide to breaking through that noise using specific strategies designed to grow your social media presence quickly without spending hours a day to do it.

The book focuses on specific strategies for social media channels designed to help small business owners stay relevant with their particular audience instead of praying for help from the masses.

Kevin Kruse argues the key to becoming relevant to your intended audience is to pay attention to your audience.

His book shows business owners (and anyone needing to make an impact) what things to pay attention to so they can stay relevant with the people that matter the most.

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - Social Media Marketing All-in-One For DummiesSocial Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies

by Jan Zimmerman and Deborah Ng

Sometimes you need a book to give abroad overview of social media marketing. Social Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies, published earlier this year, is just such a book.

Social Media Marketing All-in-One for Dummies, which is a condensed collection of 9 other social media marketing books, helps business owners make sense of the growing social media world.

This social media world is already a daily reality for over 2 billion people and is projected to grow at any increasing rate each year.

Social media, in other words, is a big deal for businesses.

The book introduces readers to the major social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Unlike other “social media for beginners” books, this title focuses on the business application of using social media.

Readers aren’t just reading about how to make a cute post on Instagram. They are are learning how to turn that post into a profitable asset for their businesses.

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - Free Range BrandsFree Range Brands

by Nicole Ertas

Branding isn’t what it used to be.

A couple decades ago, branding was also about size and scale.

The business that could open up the most stores or create the most products with its brand usually won. Advertising was a one-sided communication where a business told the masses what they needed to know.

That world is fading.

Social media and everything internet-related has dramatically changed the world of branding. It’s much more nuanced, more complicated, but also more engaging for both businesses and consumers.

This new world can be interesting and confusing, which is where Free Range Brands comes to help.

This book, written by a branding guru, helps business owners understand the fundamentals of branding in the new age, a period author Nicole Ertas calls the age of the “free range brands.”

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - Employer Branding for DummiesEmployer Branding for Dummies

by Richard Mosley and Lars Schmidt

The majority of branding advice you will find as a business owner will focus on external customers, either those from another business (B2B) or consumers (B2C).

One group of customers that many businesses tend to forget about are the internal customers, current and prospective employees. Employer branding directly affects your business’s ability to attract and retain talent. It also affects the morale of those currently working for you.

Employer Branding for Dummies was written to help fix that oversight.

The book helps business owners understand why they need to maintain and protect their branding as an employer. It also helps businesses integrate employer branding into their overall marketing strategy.

Businesses need to learn to market to all of their customers, not just the external customers who click on a Tweet or Like a Facebook post. Employer Branding for Dummies covers almost everything you need to watch out for while optimizing your employer brands from the “careers” side of your website to the engagement efforts you use in the workplace to energize your workers.

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - KNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital AgeKNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age

by Mark Schaefer

As everyone knows, attention is now the new currency for marketers.

Marketers need to their audience’s attention and make an impact in order to reach your potential customers.

There are a lot of books on how to attract you potential audience’s attention, but what are you supposed to do next? Known by social media guru Mark Schaefer addresses the answer.

Whatever personal or professional goal you have, it will require attention and influence. Schaefer offers his advice for achieving both of these objectives in a world with a short attention span and a lot of options to choose from.

His book provides specific strategies and recommendations for making a strong and lasting impact in order to thrive in today’s world.

Known helps readers craft an online presence that optimize your value proposition so that you can put your best foot forward and get the right kind of attention in this world crowded with an ever-increasing number of ways to communicate.

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social MediaWinning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media

by Dan Gingiss

Advice on social media marketing tends to focus on how businesses get their message out to customers.

It doesn’t address with the information coming back in. We’re talking about customer service. Like almost every industry, customer service has been turned on its head.

Customers can now talk directly to your business and indirectly about your business with other customers, your competitors, and the world. This places businesses in a unique situation.

To help your business figure out how to address this changing world of customer service author Dan Gingiss, social customer service guru, helps business owners upgrade their philosophy, train customer service agents, and scale the process to take the lead in customer service.

His book helps readers cover every step of the customer service journey from the quick Tweet of an angry customer to the powerful stories of customer service professionals who used social media to go above and beyond the call of duty.

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of DistractionHit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

by Derek Thompson

If you heard anything about social media, you’ve undoubtedly heard of “going viral”. While most of us still don’t understand what it means, we still feel the temptation to go after that goal.

Hit Makers challenges this view. This book points to something more complex and long-lasting than “going viral”. Popularity is the ultimate intent of “viral” that marketers and business owners often miss. In the chase for something viral, what they really want is something popular.

Popularity isn’t something that a person can just engineer. There are plenty of connections that have to be made before something is considered “popular” in a society.

Hit Makers explores these links and why those links led to the rise of cultural icons like Taylor Swift and Donald Trump.

If you’ve ever wanted to dig deeper into the cultural influences that turn a seemingly simple idea into something that transforms a society, this book will lead you down the “rabbit hole” to find the answer.

9 Social Media Marketing Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business - The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers DirectlyThe New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

by David Meerman Scott

Sometimes you need a  book that covers almost everything you can do online to gain exposure for your book. The New Rules of Marketing and PR comes pretty close to fulfilling that need. This international best-seller featuring marketing and PR strategies is back in a fourth edition.

In this new version of the book, Scott explores how to integrate social media into an integrated marketing and public relations campaign.

To do this right, businesses have to learn the new rules of marketing and PR that focus on reaching select audiences with a specific message. Businesses also have to learn which tools they need to achieve their objective.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR is a guide to the variety of strategies and options that business owners have to reach their audiences whether they are on social media, watching the news, reading a blog, or using an app.

Social Media & PR Complex, But Basic Principles Will Never Change

Looking over this list and all of the different types of social media channels and tools out there (including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope and so much more), you might get overwhelmed by all that you have to figure out just to tell people about your business. Try not to focus on that! You can’t control social media. It will continue to evolve with or without you.

To make sure that you move with social media and not against it (which definitely is not good for your business!), take a moment to peruse through some of the social media marketing books on the list above. You will find a multitude of strategies for almost every social network there is. You will also find something else, the common theme that runs through everything tool is people. No matter what marketing channel we use, we’re still doing the same thing. We tell people about our awesome business. Focus on the foundation and you may not be as lost on social media as you might expect.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “9 Books to Help Unlock Awesome Social Media and PR Powers for Your Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, Are You Addicted to Your Smartphones? (INFOGRAPHIC)

Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone? (INFOGRAPHIC)

A recent infographic shared by SavingSpot shows we might be addicted to our smartphones more than we think. Did you know that an average person taps, swipes and clicks their smartphone about 2,617 times — a day?

Most freelancers, business owners and entrepreneurs appreciate the fact that smartphones offer them the opportunity to quickly check their emails, upload new products to their websites and even interact with their customers, all on the go. And while this is great, it is the addiction and the urge to always check your smartphone every other second that is worrying.

A 2016 Microsoft consumer study claimed the attention span for human beings had dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds (lower than the notoriously ill-focused goldfish) mainly because of the effects of the increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.

There are various ways that you can break the smartphone addiction. One way to do it is to disable push notifications that constantly lure you to check your phone. You could start by just disabling a few notifications and work your way up. A good number of entrepreneurs have become so fixated on the next alert, they are having trouble focusing on other tasks affecting their businesses.

It is also advisable to create a physical distance between you and your smartphone. Stop using your phone as an alarm clock. Get a clock for that. A good number of people keep checking their smartphones at night. Such behavior distracts your quality of sleep and focus the following day.

And while ditching your smartphone completely might be impossible, a little concentrated effort to reduce your phone use will help you improve your attention span, focus and ultimately improve your work flow.

And finally, the road to recovery starts with being aware of the problem. You must also be conscious of the time you spend on your smartphone and the infographic below should help you determine that.

So, Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone?

Use the infographic below to find out.

Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone? (INFOGRAPHIC)Images: SavingSpot

This article, “Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, Are You Addicted to Your Smartphones? (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends

98% of All Companies Plan to Use E-Learning by 2020 with Opportunities for Small Biz

2018 E-Learning Trends

Just a few years ago, e-Learning was a niche market not understood by a vast majority of businesses. Today, it’s a booming industry with immense potential.

2018 E-Learning Trends

According to data compiled by e-Learning platform Zeqr, by 2022 the global learning management system market will be valued at 19.05 billion. What’s more, 98 percent of organizations said they would implement video as part of their digital learning strategy.

For small businesses, this represents a huge opportunity, both for those interested in using e-learning to teach their teams or employees new things and for those interested in creating e-Learning content for other clients.

Rise of Digital Media Fuels e-Learning Growth

It’s not difficult to see why e-Learning has gained wide acceptance and popularity in a rather short span of time. By making learning and tutoring available 24/7 and at a pace suitable to different learners, it has made learning easy. It’s therefore not a surprise that 90 percent of students think online learning is the same or better than traditional classroom experience.

Today, online learning is the new normal and corporations have increased their use of e-learning a whopping 900 percent in the last 16 years.

The Future Belongs to Mobile and Video Learning

Online learning owes much of its success to the popularity of mobile and video. Take mobile for instance. Sixty-seven percent of people now use mobile devices to access learning.

Video, too, is a popular tool for learners. It is expected to be responsible for 80 percent of the internet traffic in the world by 2019.

Numerous E-Learning Platforms Are Now Available

Various platforms specializing in different types of learnings are available today to those interested. Udemy has the largest catalog of pre-recorded online courses whereas Zeqr provides live 1 on 1 classes.

For software, creative and business pre-recorded classes, Lynda.com is a popular platform.

To know more about the prospects of the e-Learning market, check out the infographic below:

2018 E-Learning TrendsImages: ZEQR

This article, “98% of All Companies Plan to Use E-Learning by 2020 with Opportunities for Small Biz” was first published on Small Business Trends

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling Help Differentiate Your Offerings

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling Help Differentiate Your OfferingsThe 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling: How to Communicate Customer Value and Differentiate From Competitors was written for the modern sales professional who can’t rely on slick sales presentations or pricing discounts to get the sale. In a world where customers (and competitors) have access to more options than ever, these old-school tactics won’t work. There is always a competitor that will beat you on price or features. The one thing that will distinguish your business is value. The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling shows readers how they can maximize their value so they can get the sale.

What is The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling About?

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling was written to help sales professionals shift their orientation from features to client value.

Sales professionals have been taught that clients focus on features. As a result, businesses have focused on elaborate sales presentations and slick advertisements that detail how their products’ features are better, faster or cheaper. While this tactic can still work, it’s working less and less. Why? The marketplace is getting more crowded. There are more competitors than ever. These competitors are able to duplicate your services and products at an incredible rate.

The customer has changed too. Customers take a more proactive role in the selling process. They can research your business and competitors within seconds. This gives customers a lot of leverage.

This leaves businesses only one key asset to win their customer’s money, value.

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling helps readers understand how they can maximize that value through five simple principles. These principles are shared through the fictional story of Mary Minor, a sales professional who is facing a crisis. Mary was a sales superstar until she transitioned into a new industry. Because of her declining performance, Mary was given an ultimatum: Do better or lose your job in 60 days. Mary Minor turns to her father, a veteran sales professional, for help. Mary’s father responds with a book (“The Book of Reminders”) containing his collected wisdom. Mary uses the book and her father’s instructions to turn her career around. From that point, she becomes unstoppable, ending up in a role better than she could have imagined.

Author Mark Holmes is a sales trainer, sales coach and President of Consultant Board, Inc. with expertise in B2B sales. Holmes has worked in several positions at the executive level in several roles but ultimately decided to start his own sales consulting and training company. From that point, he has never looked back.

What Was Best About The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling?

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling revolves around a central concept to which sales professionals pay lip service but fail to follow through on. That concept is “value”. Sales professionals assume that customers will see the value of their products or services if they simply demonstrate it. Try again! The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling uses a simple story to dismantle these assumptions. In its place, the book offers a simple, but powerful, set of core principles to help sales professionals.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling is great at outlining the principles behind a values-focused sales approach. It presents a relatable and engaging story. The story, however, only focuses on one of Mary Minor’s sales victories. Mary Minor was required to get sales from three companies. The book only talks about the first company. Did she encounter any new problems in her career? The book ends on a “happily ever after” note, but it also leaves out some details about the struggles Mary faced on the road to final success.

Why Read The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling?

The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling is especially recommended for B2B sales professionals but the overall principles apply to any person or business needing to sell a product, idea or anything else. The book features a story of a B2B salesperson but the principles are broad enough to cover every sales situation.

Even though readers might suspect how the fictional story of Mary Minor will end, the book is still an engaging read because of the lessons. Mary Minor becomes a different salesperson because of the lessons she learns. And readers in turn learn from her experience. These lessons are very simple (i.e. “Ask your customers questions”) but feature a slight nuance based on the author’s expertise. Holmes shares the kinds of questions a sales professional should ask and then demonstrates how the process would look through the fictional story of Mary Minor.

This article, “The 5 Rules of Megavalue Selling Help Differentiate Your Offerings” was first published on Small Business Trends

Learn How to Close Deals Faster at This Upcoming Webinar

Actionable Tips for Marketing Webinars

So you’ve arranged a deal with a new client. Now what?

Closing big deals is an important part of running a business. But it’s easier said than done. There are a lot of potential roadblocks that can get in the way. So you need to find ways to speed up the process wherever possible.

An upcoming webinar, sponsored by DocuSign, aims to help you do just that. Make it Rain Money: How to Close Deals Faster and Speed Up Collections is scheduled for January 17. You can learn more about the event and how to sign up in the Featured Events Section.

And that’s just one of the upcoming webinars and events that could help your small business grow in 2018. Check out even more opportunities in the list below.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Make it Rain Money: How to Close Deals Faster and Speed Up CollectionsMake it Rain Money: How to Close Deals Faster and Speed Up Collections
January 17, 2018, Online

Would you like to bring revenue in the door faster? Do you want every edge possible to get paid fast? In this webinar, learn how other small businesses are eliminating their pain points in the contract and invoicing process, through use of electronic signature and invoicing apps. You’ll hear the results of exclusive DocuSign research about where other small businesses encounter the biggest challenges, and how to solve them. Today’s tools minimize manual steps and mistakes. Digital automation streamlines activities, tracks status and follows up for you — freeing up staff for other activities. Register today!

And most importantly, these tools get you paid faster, improving your cash flow.

At the end of this webinar, you’ll walk away with concrete tips for how to get contracts signed and invoices paid — much faster. Plus, you get access to DocuSign research and two concise whitepapers with insights and actionable ideas for how to improve YOUR company’s systems. So you get paid faster.

Sponsored by DocuSign.


WEBINAR: 5 Trends that Will Drive Your Profitability and Growth in 2018WEBINAR: 5 Trends that Will Drive Your Profitability and Growth in 2018
January 24, 2018, Online

Customer habits and perceptions are rapidly evolving as new technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things go mainstream. New opportunities are opening up – but at the same time businesses of all sizes are under intense pressure to meet changing customer expectations. In this webinar on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 2:00 pm ET, you will learn five key trends that will drive profitability and growth in 2018, if businesses quickly leverage them and adapt to them, including: The Automation Revolution, Rise of Amazon, Expectations, The Instant Customer Service Trend, The DIY Dichotomy, Always-On Operations. Get ahead of the curve and lead in your marketplace, by understanding how to use these trends for growth and profit. Register today!


LEAP HR: Retail Conference, Nashville 2018LEAP HR: Retail Conference, Nashville 2018
February 27, 2018, Nashville, Tenn.

LEAP HR: Retail 2018 will once again dig deeper into the innovative people leaps helping digital-native and established retailers succeed in a rapidly transforming industry. With new speakers, fresh case studies, and a pre-conference ‘Boot Camp’ day dedicated to what the next-generation retail workforce really looks like, LEAP HR Retail 2018 remains the unique opportunity for senior people leaders in this industry to really challenge and get creative around how we do HR in retail.


More Events

  • Search Engine Optimization SEO Seminar | Dec. 19
    December 19, 2017, Doral, Fla.
  • Smarter Productivity Matters
    January 10, 2018, Online
  • Indie Cruise Retreat for Makers (Ixtapa, Mexico)
    January 13, 2018, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Thriving in a World of Rapid Change
    January 16, 2018, Online
  • Self-Audit for Business Process Improvement
    January 17, 2018, Online
  • Cannabis Collaborative Conference 4.0
    January 24, 2018, Portland, Ore.
  • Employee Onboarding in a Digital World
    January 24, 2018, Online
  • Small Business Expo 2018 – DALLAS
    January 24, 2018, Dallas, Texas
  • Writing Effective Email
    January 26, 2018, Online
  • Advancing Prefabrication Conference Dallas 2018
    January 29, 2018, Lewisville, Texas
  • Pakistan Business, Investment & Franchise Forum 2018 – The Investment RoadShow
    January 30, 2018, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Data Privacy and Security Summit, Washington DC, 2018
    January 30, 2018, Washington, D.C.
  • Chief Customer Officer USA 2018
    January 30, 2018, Miami, Fla.
  • LEAP HR: Life Sciences – West Coast Edition
    January 30, 2018, San Francisco, Calif.
  • The Return of The Real Wolf of Wall Street in New York – February 2018
    February 02, 2018, New York City, N.Y.
  • Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Winter, Miami 2018
    February 06, 2018, Miami, Fla.
  • Immuno-Oncology 360° 2018, NYC
    February 07, 2018, New York, N.Y.
  • Legal & Effective Behavioral Interviewing: Find Better Employees with the Right Questions
    February 08, 2018, Online
  • Small Business Expo 2018 – MIAMI
    February 14, 2018, Miami, Fla.
  • Technical Writing Essentials
    February 16, 2018, Online

More Contests

  • Public Vote to Crown America’s Most Unique Small Business Underway
    November 08, 2018, Online

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Photo Via Shutterstock

This article, “Learn How to Close Deals Faster at This Upcoming Webinar” was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Lessons to Learn So You Make Fewer Business Mistakes

5 Big Small Business Mistakes -- And How to Correct Them

Making mistakes is part of running a business. But some mistakes can be avoided if you’re willing to learn from others who have been there before, like members of the online small business community. Here are some lessons you can learn based on mistakes other entrepreneurs have made through the years.

Improve Your Data Quality Metrics

Whether you use data for recruiting or any other aspect of running your business, the quality of those metrics can be just as important as the quantity. In this Jobscience post, Joel Dipietro offers three ways you can improve your own data quality.

Avoid These Email and Social Media Marketing Pitfalls

Email and social media have been popular marketing techniques for years, meaning businesses have had plenty of time to make mistakes with these methods. If you want to avoid some of the most common pitfalls, check out this Basic Blog Tips post by Kevin Ocasio.

Learn the New Rules of Writing for the Web

Lots of entrepreneurs who have strong writing skills still don’t understand how to put together content for the web. There’s a new set of rules you need to abide by, as Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media explains. BizSugar members also shared commentary on the post.

Use These Local Search Tactics Your Competitors Aren’t Using

Lots of local businesses tend to use the same marketing methods as their competitors. But it’s hard to stand out that way. Instead, take a look at the local search tactics listed in a recent Search Engine Land post by Sherry Bonelli for some more original ideas.

Don’t Forget the Little Things When Testing

Running tests can help you gain valuable insights about your target customers. And you don’t have to get very complicated with your testing in order to benefit your business. In this Target Marketing post, Chuck McLeester discusses the importance of details when it comes to testing.

Keep an Eye on These Social Media Trends for 2018

It’s easy to fall into a rut when it comes to social media marketing. You might have found some tactics have worked for your business in the past. But that doesn’t mean they’ll continue to be effective as trends change. To keep up, see some of the upcoming social media trends in this Prepare 1 post by Blair Evan Ball.

Monitor These Web Design Trends

By that same token, it’s also important to keep an eye on trends in web design so you can update your own site accordingly. Learn some of the biggest trends for 2018 in a decent Crowdspring post by Amanda Bowman.

Help Your SEO Strategy by Avoiding These Website Mistakes

SEO is constantly changing. So it can be easy for entrepreneurs to make missteps in their own websites that can negatively impact search engine rankings. To avoid some of the biggest pitfalls, check out the advice from Neil Patel here.

Don’t Hire SEO Experts Who Tell You These Five Things

In order to help your SEO strategy, you might even consider hiring an SEO expert. But beware! Some SEO strategists are better than others. There are five claims in particular you should treat with extreme skepticism, according to Hilary Young in a recent Digital Success Post. You can also see what members of the BizSugar community had to say about the post.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Lots of businesses use social media. But it can be easy to just go through the motions rather than having a plan that’s actually effective. Instead, learn how to use social media in a way that actually benefits your business in this Noobpreneur post by Ivan Widjaya.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Lessons to Learn So You Make Fewer Business Mistakes” was first published on Small Business Trends

Are You Using the Most Popular Workplace Apps of 2017 in Your Business?

These Were the Most Popular Business Apps in 2017Zapier just released its annual report identifying the most popular and fastest growing apps in the workplace. The Best of 2017: 30 Web Apps and Software Trends That Ruled the Workplace includes a few new apps, but you will easily recognize many of them.

List of Most Popular Business Apps in 2017

Zapier listed the most popular business apps in 2017 using three categories: fastest-growing, new apps and all-stars. This includes tried and true apps such as spreadsheet, email and communications, as well as collaboration, social media and web creation tools for today’s digital workforce.

If you have a small business, keeping track of what technologies are available in the market place allows you to future proof your company. By identifying applications relevant to your industry and making them part of your operations, your business can be more efficient and keep competition at bay.

Zapier analyzed more than 900 apps in over 50 categories and the companies that use them to come up with the 30 apps for 2017. The list is also an indicator as to what will be trending in 2018, just as the 2016 report predicted top apps for 2017.

This year, the increased number of apps moving to the web have taken up more space on the list. It is being driven by remote work, collaboration and better access. According to Matthew Guay, senior editor and writer at Zapier, who authored the report, “Every business today relies on software to operate smoothly. Increasingly, these tools have moved to the web, allowing everyone to work from anywhere.”

Leading Trends with The Most Popular Business Apps in 2017

According to the report, the inclusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI), new designs and automation have been responsible for creating easier and better user experience in apps. This has resulted in apps that are improving functions to convert leads into sales, send email and nurture customer relationships.

When it comes to data, the apps are also better at gathering, streamlining and making sense of the information. The fastest growing social media apps were the ones designed to gather data directly from ads and convert it to leads.

Collaborative and email apps were also in the list as both tools have become invaluable to meet the needs of today’s workforce and the way they communicate and work.

Here are the top apps in their respective categories.

Fastest Growing Apps

These Were the Most Popular Business Apps in 2017 - Fastest Growing Apps in 2017

Top New Apps

These Were the Most Popular Business Apps in 2017 - Top New Apps in 2017

All-Star Apps

These Were the Most Popular Business Apps in 2017 - Top Apps in 2017

Zapier has an automation tool integrated with more than 900 apps. The solution the company provides allows more than two million registered users across many industries to automate their workflow. Some of the apps include Facebook Lead Ads, Slack, Quickbooks, Google Sheets, Google Docs and many others.

Images: Zapier

This article, “Are You Using the Most Popular Workplace Apps of 2017 in Your Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends