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Heads Up QVC! Amazon Launches A Home Shopping Channel…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 — Amazon launches a home shopping channel with Amazon Live.

Amazon has announced the launch of its own home shopping channel with live streams called Amazon Live—currently only available on its website. It’s not limited to one product at a time and doesn’t feature count-down timers to pressure sales like its cable competitors do. (Source: eSeller Café)

Why this is important for your business:

In addition to the potential opportunities that Amazon resellers now have with this new online channel, the company also introduced a new app for U.S. sellers who use IOS devices. Called Amazon Live Creator, it enables smaller brands to produce live programming from a mobile device to showcase their products and answer viewers’ questions. These new technologies should definitely help Amazon’s smaller merchants increase awareness and hopefully sell more products.

2 — LinkedIn debuts LinkedIn Live, a new live video broadcast service.

What, another one? In addition to Amazon’s new “live” service, LinkedIn launched a beta version of live video in the U.S. so individuals and organizations can broadcast real-time video to select groups or to the larger LinkedIn world. Called LinkedIn Live, the service will be by invitation only now and then later opened up to others. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s obviously a rival to Facebook Live and geared towards businesses that want to either produce or sponsor video content to this community of other businesses. Initial live content that LinkedIn hopes to broadcast aligns with the kind of subject matter already seen in LinkedIn’s news feed, such as conferences, product announcements, Q&As and other events led by influencers and mentors, office hours from large tech companies, earnings calls, graduation and awards ceremonies, etc. (LinkedIn is owned Microsoft. My company is a Microsoft Partner).

3 — Trend Micro survey finds 80 percent of U.S. businesses expect a critical breach in 2019.

Cybersecurity solutions company Trend Micro Incorporated released the results of its Cyber Risk Index (CRI)—a survey of more than 1,000 American IT security professionals. The survey found 80 percent of IT business leaders anticipate a critical breach or successful cyberattack over the coming year. (Source: Business Insider)

Why this is important for your business:

How comforting! Eight out of ten IT experts expect to be the victims of a “critical breach” this year.  So how vulnerable is your network? There’s no way to fully protect yourself from this, only to minimize the risks of serious business interruption. Budget for an IT security firm to upgrade your software, provide training and backup your data frequently. Have a disaster recovery plan. Update your cyber insurance. For, that’s the best you can be doing.

4 — Alexa can now read your WordPress blogs out loud.

In 2018, Amazon released a tool called Alexa Skill Blueprints that lets users build a voice skill from a set of templates so they can create their own quizzes, chore charts, and custom greetings without knowing code. Now Amazon has announced it will let users share those Blueprints with other Echo users or publish them to the Alexa Skills Store, which houses Alexa’s 80,000 existing voice skills. In addition, the company is adding some new types of Blueprints, including one that enables WordPress users to have Alexa read blog posts from an RSS feed. (Source: Fast Company)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re a blogger, Alexa’s new capabilities will make it more convenient for your audience to get the information you’re providing. That could open up a whole new set of customers for your business.  If you’re not in the business of blogging, this is yet another convenient way for you to get information that will help you run your company without sitting still to read. Because who has the time to sit still, right?

5 — Goldman Sachs leads $45m funding round for business credit startup Nav.

Goldman Sachs just announced it is leading a $44.8 million Series C funding round for Nav—a business financial management app that helps small companies get better financing by giving them free access to credit reports. (Source: Finextra)

Why this is important for your business:

Nav plans to use the money to develop its technology platform, expand enterprise partnerships, and sign up additional small business owners – perhaps you?  There are already more than a million them who have access to their credit data and insights through the startup’s app, which simplifies their getting financing.

Heads Up QVC! Amazon Launches A Home Shopping Channel…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(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 — Amazon launches a home shopping channel with Amazon Live.

Amazon has announced the launch of its own home shopping channel with live streams called Amazon Live—currently only available on its website. It’s not limited to one product at a time and doesn’t feature count-down timers to pressure sales like its cable competitors do. (Source: eSeller Café)

Why this is important for your business: Read More…

Slack Goes Public, FreshBooks Expands…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(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— Workplace messaging app Slack to go public.

Early this week, California-based workplace messaging startup Slack said it had filed a confidential registration for an IPO. The company claims to have 10 million users in 150 countries and has raised more than $1 billion from investors, meaning it is now valued at $7.1 billion and is one of the most richly valued ‘unicorns’ in the country. (Source: France 24)

Why this is important for your business: Read More…

On CRM: Infusionsoft Rebrands As Keap Because That’s What Small Businesses Want

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Infusionsoft is now called Keap. But the re-branding is not the only big change that happened.

The Arizona-based company, known for its powerful CRM and marketing automation applications, is also changing its focus. Sure, its core products will continue to be developed and sold as Infusionsoft. But the company’s leaders have decided to pivot from just offering a CRM application to offering a more comprehensive set of business tools specifically for small businesses that work in and around the CRM model.

“We’ll continue to lead the CRM and marketing automation industry with exciting updates coming this year with what we are now calling Infusionsoft by Keap,” the company’s COO Keith Reed said in a press release. “With the introduction of our new Keap product, we are able to serve an even larger market of small service providers who have been shut out of the benefits of automation because software providers have made it too hard and expensive.” Read More…

There’s A Gigantic Shortage Of Security Professionals…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(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 — Too few cybersecurity professionals is a gigantic problem for 2019.

There is an unprecedented and desperate need for more cybersecurity pros in the tech industry to properly respond to the uptick in threats. Though seasoned cyber pros typically earn $95,000 annually, many job openings for them are unfilled. Between September 2017 and August 2018, U.S. employers posted nearly 314,000 jobs for cybersecurity pros, and there is now a gap of almost 3 million such jobs globally. Companies are trying to cope by relying more aggressively on AI and machine learning, but this is still at a relatively new stage and will only mitigate, not solve, the problem. (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business: Read More…

Google Raises G Suite Prices By 20 Percent…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(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 — Google raises G Suite prices: basic to $6 a month per user, business to $12 a month.

G Suite, Google’s competition for Microsoft Office 365, will soon cost more.  Google announced that it will raise the price of both the G Suite Basic and G Suite Business productivity suites for the first time ever. G Suite Basic will go up from $5 per user per month to $6, and G Suite Business will go from $10 to $12. Microsoft’s small business–oriented product Office 365 Business Essentials is still $5 per user a month with an annual commitment, and Office 365 Business Premium is $12.50 a month with the same terms. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business: Read More…

On CRM: Will Nimble Solve Microsoft’s Small Business CRM Problem?

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

As a Microsoft partner that focuses on small and medium sized companies my firm has had little to offer our clients when they ask about CRM options other than to direct them elsewhere. Their flagship Dynamics products are excellent, but they’re pricey for a small company and clearly built to compete against the likes of Salesforce and Oracle.

There used to be (shudder) the Outlook Business Contact Manager but that application was thankfully discontinued after a few years of hair-pulling performance and other issues. Office 365 comes with something called the Outlook Customer Manager which is a shadow of what a good CRM system should provide and frankly has not received much attention from Redmond.

So when Microsoft announced last year that it was partnering with Nimble– a powerful CRM application that’s targeted (and priced) more for SMBs – my antenna went up.  Why is Microsoft doing this? Could this be a CRM answer for small businesses in Microsoft world?

I think it is. Read More…