This Company Wants to Sell You ‘Raw’ Water

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Mmmm…yummy. A big glass of unpurified, unsterilized water from a stream or other water source that may contain harmful microbes and bacteria. Does that sound like a good idea to you? For some start-ups, it sounds like a great one!

These companies actually believe that “raw water” is even better than that horrible, filtered, disinfected stuff that comes out of our taps. And they’re out to create a new hot industry based on these ideas.

One company doing this is Live Water, which sources its products – delivered of course in a reusable glass – directly from a spring in Oregon. They also sell tools to help customers do their own raw water sourcing. According to their website, raw water is a “new, yet ancient idea,” that, unlike filtered or bottled spring waters, is not subjected to UV light, ozone gas and other sterilization techniques that “destroys beneficial sources of minerals and probiotics” that helps prevent “anxiety, weight gain, fatigue, and countless other ailments (that) are linked to an imbalance of proper gut bacteria.” Read More…

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Do Millennials Really Have It “Harder” Than Previous Generations?

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

An easy thing to do is to make fun of millennials, right? Oh they’re so lazy! They’re spoiled! They don’t know the meaning of a hard day’s work! They have it so much easier than we did when we were their age!

So is this true? Do millennials actually have it harder than previous generations? One millennial thinks so. In a recent interview on NPR, Michael Hobbes – a writer, editor and producer – makes a very reasonable case why.

Hobbes cites the spiraling costs of healthcare, housing and education that impacts his generation. He draws attention to stagnating wages, the rise of lower-quality contracting work that has replaced jobs with more benefits, the expensive real estate and cost of living required to live in the highest growth cities like San Francisco, Seattle and New York and the right-leaning attitude towards more personal responsibility that has shifted so significantly over the past two decades. Read More…

British businesses are bullish for 2018

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

The United Kingdom is among the top 10 largest trading partners of the United States, accounting for about $100 billion in exports and imports so far in 2017. So the health of the British economy can have a significant impact for many U.S. businesses, both big and small. Good news: in 2018, things look like they’re going to be healthy for the British.

That’s the conclusion from a year-end survey conducted by a British manufacturer’s organization and the insurance firm AIG. The study found that 40 percent of those questioned were planning for growth this coming year while only 19 percent were expecting a downturn. The executives’ sentiments were buoyed by increased sales, job and profit numbers that were reported this past year. The weaker pound certainly didn’t hurt either. Many firms said they plan to spend invest in research and technologies to increase employee productivity in the near future. Read More…

More firms are now offering ‘pawternity’ benefits

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Think having a baby is rough? Just try bringing home a new puppy. All babies need is a couple of diaper changes, a few feedings and a burping session once in a while. But puppies? They need way more attention, particularly if you consider all the playing, the outdoor walks in the rain, the house training, the gnawing on furniture, the chewing of shoes, the non-stop barking and…did I mention the house training?

You know what I’m talking about, puppy-owners. It’s exhausting.

But don’t worry. It’s 2018. The labor market is tight, good employees are in high demand and paid time off, particularly for new parents, is a hot benefit many firms are offering. Now some of these firms are taking this concept one step further and offering the ultimate solution to the ultimate first-world problem: paid time off specifically for new pet owners. It’s called “pawternity” and no, I am not joking. Read More…

Criminals Are Saying Bye-Bye to Bitcoin …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 — The criminal underworld is dropping bitcoin for another currency.

Bitcoin’s earliest and most avid fans—criminals—are now opting for a different virtual currency. Privacy coins such as monero, designed to avoid tracking, are being used more in recent months because law enforcers have adopted software tools to monitor people using bitcoin. (Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Why this is important for your business: Read More…

The Mississippi flag has become an big issue for this small business

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

The Mississippi state flag incorporates a confederate flag. Is this good for business?

Not according to some. One merchant who is outspoken about the flag is Jan Rideout. Rideout owns a boutique shop in Ocean Springs, Miss., a small city of about 17,500 residents that also supports more than 150 independent shops like hers. Ocean Springs is known for its beautiful waterfront, beaches and picturesque setting and draws tens of thousands of visitors all year round to its art, music and food festivals. The town’s merchants, however, are concerned that the state’s flag may be hurting business.

Last November — and despite protests — the town’s leaders voted to make it a requirement to fly the flag at its City Hall and other city office buildings. Read More…

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Advertising on Facebook in 2018

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

When people ask me where to spend their advertising dollars this year I’m usually telling them Facebook.

Sure, there are plenty of other marketing platforms to choose from and lots of other ways to generate sales for your products or services.  Of course, Facebook isn’t for everyone.  But c’mon – the social media giant has billions of users from around the world playing on it every day and more than 70 million small businesses owners like me have our own pages. Even if you sell just to other businesses and you don’t think those businesses are active on Facebook, I can still guarantee that many of the employees at that business – people who make buying decisions – are.

This is why 2018 will be a big year for businesses advertising on Facebook. The company is making a tremendous push to attract more advertising dollars – particularly from small and medium companies. Advertising on Facebook is relatively inexpensive compared to other platforms and more tools are planned this year to make the process easier and more targeted.  So if you’re thinking of giving it a shot, then here are five mistakes to avoid. Read More…