Your Guide to Small Business News the Week Ending August 17

Online news and discussion

Here is news important to your business from the recent week. The Small Business Trends editorial team has you covered, always looking for the stories that will give you a competitive edge and better business insight. Check them out below.


Phone with Firefox operating system coming to the U.S. Firefox is best known for its Web browser. But did you know the Mozilla Foundation has released a mobile operating system?  It’s new, it’s open source, and it’s coming to the United States. If your business could use a phone that works with the new Firefox operating system, is inexpensive and doesn’t lock you into a contract with a mobile carrier, here’s one to consider.

ZTE, a Chinese phone manufacturer, is planning to make the phone available online soon in a snazzy orange color. Goodbye locked-in contracts with your cell phone carrier.  Hello choice and flexibility.  But not so fast!  There are some downsides to consider — including an operating system that has not yet withstood the test of time, and a very small number of apps.

Meanwhile, Apple protects you from phones that could kill. Well, the faulty adapters could anyway. A new program from Apple lets you drop off suspicious adapters and replace them inexpensively.

And HTC unveils the HTC One in the economy size. It’s called the HTC One Mini. It’s got many of the features of HTC’s flagship phone, only smaller. And it’s cheaper.  We give you some of the basics to help you decide whether this could be the device for your business needs.

Put mobile in your marketing mix. Needless to say, small business owners aren’t the only ones with mobile technology out there. Your customers have it, too. Megan Totka explains how to make the best of that.

How mobile is changing e-commerce. The rise of mobile technology means appealing to only PC users is no longer sufficient. It’s time for a multi-screen ecommerce strategy, says William Johnson, an editor at Big Eye Deer. He shows you how to develop one.

Portable LED screens are another kind of mobile. TJ McCue, the Small Business Trends Products Editor, gives us an overview of this new portable monitor for your laptop, from AOC. Why settle for one screen while traveling with your laptop, when you could just as easily have two?  It’s a valuable device for holding in-person meetings when you’re on the road.  And affordable – we like to hear that, right?

Social Media

Twitter combats online abuse. The microblogging platform has had its ups and downs. But recent threats against members brought an outcry especially in the UK. Here’s what Twitter is doing in response.

Study says people like “likes.” It’s not quite that simple, of course. But the basic idea that came out of the study is that your social media content will fare better if you add a positive vote or “like” immediately after publishing.

LinkedIn adds Sponsored Updates. These are similar to sponsored content on both Facebook and Twitter. You can now target any segment of the site’s 225 million premium users. The service will be available to any LinkedIn user by the end of the month — as of the moment it is limited to large corporations (of course!).

Analytics are also new on LinkedIn. These are meant to be used with the new Sponsored Updates. The two together create a new marketing opportunity for small businesses to get your brand name out before LinkedIn’s unique professional community.

An explanation of the hashtag. Hashtags seem to be everywhere these days – even at the bottom of the screen on your favorite TV shows.  This is what a hashtag looks like: #SMBinfluencer.  Hashtags have become an important feature on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. If you don’t use hashtags in your marketing, you may be missing out.

Hashtags are pretty easy to understand, once someone explains them. Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell does just that.  She also gives free or low cost ideas for using hashtags in your marketing.

Social media expands local business reach.  Meet Calvin Virgilio, whose parents Robert and Suzanne opened a bed and breakfast and specialty granola company in a small town in Pennsylvania. This spotlight profile shows how a local small business is growing through social media.


PayPal introduces bundled services. The online payment company has combined services from, Constant Contact, Outright and Cloud Conversion. Does this look like a good deal for your business?  Or would PayPal provide more value by offering a broader marketplace, rather than bundling a few specific services?

Swiftly offers $15 design service. From the team that brought you 99Designs, this service offers something different. Logo alterations, business card changes, photo resizing and cropping completed same day.

Patch closings could hurt local business marketing. It’s true small businesses have many choices when it comes to promoting the business online. But few have the narrow local focus of the hyperlocal news sites called Patch. AOL, owner of Patch, is retrenching.  See what’s in store for hyperlocal publications, as roughly 500 out of 1000 will be shuttered.

Stay on top of business expenses. It’s not anyone’s favorite thing to do. But prepaid debit cards can make it easier to keep track of costs while you are traveling and while your employees are traveling too. Rieva Lesonsky has more.


Small business no longer as nimble. It seems in recent years small businesses no longer lay off at higher rates during recession or hire more quickly during recovery than big businesses. Scott Shane, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University has more.

Wellness programs can save money. Here’s a post that looks at wellness programs and the benefits they can bring to your organization. Michael W. Zuna, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Aflac U.S. shares suggestions for getting started.

Book Reviews

Write more seductively. Your Web copy serves a simple purpose. It brings you more online customers. Pierre DeBois reviews How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide To Pick Up Customers by Henneke Duistermaat.

Acquire new businesses. You don’t need to start a business from scratch. Here’s a look at a different approach. Another review from Pierre DeBois looks at Successful Acquisitions: A Proven Plan for Strategic Growth by David Braun.

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