Bad Yelp Review? It Could Be the Weather.

(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Online review sites, like Yelp and Google, are an important part of many businesses’ success. A few great reviews can create a buzz.  A few bad ones? Well…

As a business owner you can’t ignore bad reviews or blame them on people being jerks (although I admit that will happen occasionally). But three new studies collectively show that you may be able to blame someone else: Mother Nature.

Researchers at Ohio State University collected customer reviews from 32 Florida restaurants and found something interesting: more negative reviews were left on comment cards by customers on rainy days versus dry days. And not by a little, either. The odds of getting a bad review when the weather was lousy increased almost three-fold. Higher temperatures and barometric pressure were also linked to the Florida respondents. Whether or not these were just a bunch of cranky old people was not taken into consideration. Read More…

What’s the dynamic demographic running America’s small businesses? Older people

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

The hot fintech startup genius. That amazing e-commerce savant who created a billion-dollar company selling shoes from her apartment. The cool owner of a cosmetics line. The game-changing inventor of an eco-friendly toothpaste. These are tomorrow’s business owners, right? No, not even close.

Although the media loves to write and feature all of these sexy, young, exciting millennial entrepreneurs, they are far from representative of the people who are actually running small businesses in America in 2019. The majority of small business entrepreneurs are baby boomers.

That’s according to an email survey of more than 2,700 male and female small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs from across the US that was conducted by the small business financing company Guidant Financial and the online credit marketplace LendingClub Corporation. Read More…

Work from home: What you need to know before letting employees do that

(This post originally appeared on

Is letting your employees work from home a good idea? That depends. Some companies – and people – are more suited to the arrangement than others.

Research has shown that remote working could make employees feel less engaged, isolated and disconnected from their coworkers, and that could lead to more mistakes, miscommunication, and a lack of productivity. Other studies, such as one recently conducted at the Wharton School, have found that for some employees, the loneliness of working from home could have a significantly negative impact on their performance.

Researcher Dan Schawbel, an employment expert and consultant, even found that work-from-home arrangements could decrease the long-term likelihood that an employee will stay with a company. Read More…

On CRM: Mailchimp Is Introducing A CRM. So Who’s Next?

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Mailchimp, the popular email marketing software that’s enjoyed by millions of users around the world, is announcing a new Marketing CRM module.


I say duh because, well, isn’t it obvious? I can’t count the number of times that, when asked what CRM application they use, a small business owner replies to me with “Mailchimp” or “Constant Contact” or “Emma” or any number of a group of email marketing platforms.

But the thing is, these applications are not CRM applications.  They are, as just mentioned, email marketing platforms.  They allow their users to create campaigns, design templates, send out professional looking emails and then track the results. They also give these users the ability to store multiple lists of contacts targeted for their campaigns. Read More…

3 Ways Facebook Just Made It Harder For People To See Your Videos

(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

Last week, Facebook announced three changes to its an algorithm that, in the end, will make it more difficult for your company and mine to get our videos viewed.

The company is tweaking the underlying code that determines where and how often information – particularly videos – come up on a user’s News Feed. If a video is determined to have less watch times, less repeat views or is deemed unoriginal or re-purposed then it will be pushed down on a user’s feed. That means less access, less views, less visibility and – if this is part of your advertising revenue stream – less money.

“We want to help talented video creators find their audience and build profitable video businesses on Facebook,” David Miller, a product management director at the company wrote in a blog post. “We want to help media companies — whether large, small, global, or local — continue their invaluable work. And above all, we want to help people on Facebook discover great videos and build relationships with the creators and publishers that matter to them.”

Read More…

Microsoft and Facebook Have New Tools…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Microsoft introduces a few cool small business tools at its Build conference.

Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build 2019, attracted 15,000 programmers, developers, partners and coders to hear about all the new tools that the company is introducing to help them build better solutions for their clients. Although most of the stuff the company announced are technical tools, there were some announcements that will impact small businesses very soon.  They are improved Power BI and Power Apps, Microsoft Search and Ideas in Word. (My company is a Microsoft partner but I’ve received no compensation to write this). (Source:  Venturebeat) Read More…

Tax season was good news for small businesses – and bad for job seekers

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

A new survey revealed some interesting things about small businesses and this past year’s tax season. Plus some bad news for job seekers and some good news for Donald Trump.

For starters – and despite all the news about smaller refunds and the complexities of the 2017 tax reform legislation – small businesses were actually happy with the way this past year’s tax season turned out. About 51% of the more than 300 small business owners asked in a recent study conducted by the cloud hosting firm Right Networks said their tax season was either “streamlined” or “satisfying” with only 8% saying it was “disappointing”.

The – ahem – accountants (you’re welcome) got much of the credit. Overwhelmingly, in fact. Read More…