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  • Blog Post: 10 tips for turning First-time and Infrequent Customers into Repeat Ones

    Customer retention is critical for businesses of any size. According to statistics used in a Small Business Week webinar on growing customer loyalty (cosponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE, and Manta), retention can save money and potentially increase revenue by at least 25 percent...
  • Blog Post: Leveraging Apps to Increase Small Business Success: a SMB Week Panel Discussion

    Small business expert Melinda Emerson and five industry leaders converged in New York City on Wednesday, May 14, to participate in a Small Business Week panel discussion on success in the mobile world. Their conclusion: reaching the customer has changed, and small businesses need to use apps in their...
  • Blog Post: Benefits and your small business: keeping talent while staying competitive

    Benefits are a consistent challenge for small businesses: how do you juggle your employees’ needs with the realities of resources and finances? Which benefits are important, which are “nice to have,” and which can you skip? For small business owners, getting this mix right can mean...
  • Blog Post: Turning miles into sales: 3 key ways to increase your return on business travel

    In today’s world of virtual conferencing and dial-in meetings, what’s the true business value in face-to-face interactions? According to Rhonda Abrams, USA Today columnist and author of 10 books for entrepreneurs and small business owners, SMBs need to broaden the way they think of travel...
  • Blog Post: Get more out of Small Business Week with free workshops for your SMB

    While we think it's important to recognize the importance of SMBs every day, we're particularly excited to celebrate National Small Business Week (May 12–16) with the US Small Business Association (SBA). NSBW celebrates small businesses with events, workshops, and more that provide essential...
  • Blog Post: Making the Internet of YOUR Things a reality

    When you hear about the Internet of Things, you often hear about how trillions of things can be connected: people, processes, data, and devices. When all of these "things" are connected to the Internet, your business can turn the information generated into insights and action. According...
  • Blog Post: Small and Scrappy Wins the Race: Why Social Media is the Best Trick Up an SMBs Sleeve

    Advertising Age’s article How Startups Are Disrupting Packaged Good’s Kings of Scale highlights findings from IRI and Boston Consulting Group that show how SMBs have managed to snag almost $10 billion in sales between 2009 and 2012 from major packaged-goods companies. What’s the...
  • Blog Post: Small Business Expert Brian Moran: "Small business owners are not embracing all of the existing technology at their disposal."

    This week we had the awesome opportunity to speak with Brian Moran, founder and CEO of Brian Moran & Associates. With 20+ years of experience, Brian specializes in helping entrepreneurs and marketers grow their businesses and navigate the SMB space. Here’s some of the advice he had for small...
  • Blog Post: Nataly Kogan, Happier.com: Know the one single action you want your customers to take.

    Now for your daily dose of happy during October’s Women in Business Month: meet Nataly Kogan , Co-Founder and CEO of Happier , based in Boston. Inspired by research on happiness, Natalie founded Happier to inspire millions of people to do more of what makes them happier. Previously, Nataly has...
  • Blog Post: Running a Startup One Deal at a Time: Groupon

    Groupon turns five years old this week, and we thought we’d celebrate by highlighting some of our favorite things about the startup. Groupon exploded into success after launching in Chicago in 2008, and quickly expanded into the rest of the country and the world. The company was famously on...
  • Blog Post: An Interview with Rieva Lesonsky

    October was Women in Business Month and we had the amazing opportunity to speak with business leaders Vanessa Fox , Liz Pearce , and Nataly Kogan . Talking to Rieva Lesonsky , a small business expert and best-selling author on entrepreneurship, it is clear that the list of influential women in business...
  • Blog Post: Lively CEO Dean Graziano: “Culture isn’t the most important thing; it’s the only thing”

    At the end of October, we had the chance to sit in on a Q&A session with Dean Graziano, Founder and CEO of Lively (a mobile music app available on Windows 8, iOS, and Android), at the Seattle Interactive Conference. Intrigued by his advice for business owners, we reached out to Graziano for a follow...
  • Blog Post: Sell to the biggest spenders in the world

    The federal government is the biggest spender in the country, and maybe even in the world. Every year they spend hundreds of billions of dollars on products and services. Large corporations also allocate part of their yearly budget to small businesses and diverse suppliers. Microsoft, which is just...
  • Blog Post: 4 Major Reasons to Connect to the Cloud Now

    If you haven't started exploring cloud solutions for your business, consider this: As much as 40% of all IT spend by 2016 will be for cloud-related platforms and applications. That's because the cloud can help your business reduce costs, engage employees in new ways, and increase agility, efficiency...
  • Blog Post: 2014 Predictions and Resolutions

    Big things happened in tech in 2013, and we can only expect more to come in 2014. We’ve assembled some of the most important areas businesses will want to consider and some easy resolutions you can make for your business to prepare for what’s coming. Strap in and hang on. The future is...
  • Blog Post: Big Data, Simple Guidance

    Big data is very simple—it’s an extremely large set of data—but the confusing part is knowing what to do with all of that information. Big data can either be a tremendous asset to your business or a time-sapping mire. David McJannet , VP of marketing for Microsoft partner Hortonworks...
  • Blog Post: Big Data Solutions Powering the Music Industry

    Big data, well-assembled, can provide a comprehensive picture of a business’ current landscape. It’s the smart business, however, that can manipulate that data and put it to work for them in the future. The music industry had to smarten up before many other industries. They learned to...
  • Blog Post: CES 2014: Three Big Things

    CES is one of those rare times when we get to glimpse into the crystal ball of future technology and start dreaming about all the cool things we’ll be able to do in the office of the future. From tablets that can withstand a fall from a great height to the future of virtual reality and technology...
  • Blog Post: Making Sense of Consumer Data in the World of Retail

    Last week we looked at an example of the consumerization of big data from the publishing world , examining the relationship between brands, consumers, and their data. Today we take a look at the retail industry and the ways retailers can use data sets to anticipate customer behavior. Shish Shridhar...
  • Blog Post: Kinect for Windows: Revolutionizing Retail Experiences

    Kinect may have started as a revolutionary gaming device, but its effects are being felt in industries from space exploration to health care. Kinect can render a room, a person, and the movement of objects in 3D, allowing people to interact naturally with a system. It’s also starting to have a...
  • Blog Post: Autonomous Marketing: Using data to perfectly personalize marketing efforts

    Personalization is the gold standard for marketing efforts. If you can connect with a customer on a personal level and demonstrate that you understand your audience, the customer is far more likely to respond to your marketing campaigns. It may seem like a daunting task to crunch that much customer information...
  • Blog Post: Theresa Mintle: Teaching Tech to Grow Jobs

    We had the opportunity to sit down with Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce CEO Theresa Mintle to talk about a top priority on her policy agenda—creating more jobs in the Chicago area. According to Mintle, technology is the key to small business growth, and leveraging local education institutions is...
  • Blog Post: New Domain Names: A Good Choice for Your Business?

    If your city suddenly decided to double the amount of waterfront property available for development, would you buy or would you be skeptical? That’s what’s happening on the Internet. More top-level domain names are being created so businesses can finally get those prize web addresses they’ve...
  • Blog Post: Location Intelligence: Understanding Your Customers Requires Knowing Where They Are

    Does your maps app have “access to your current location”? Are your Instagram photos forming a Photo Map? Even social networks like Facebook and Twitter serve as platforms to broadcast where you are and what you’re doing. Millions of Americans leave similar digital trails every second...
  • Blog Post: Enterprise Social Media: The 4 Ways It Drives Person-to-Person Interaction

    You’re not a robot. You’re not software, you’re not a cog in a machine, and you’re not a soulless organization. Neither is your business. It’s composed of people, and what people want to do is interact with each other. Enterprise social networks enable person-to-person communication...