Tag : 2015

The Top 10 Best Small Business Blogs for Entrepreneurs in 2015 #business

#business blogs

#

The Top 10 Best Small Business Blogs for Entrepreneurs in 2015

As a small business owner myself, I know how important it is to stay up-to-date with the ever changing trends that the business world throws at us.

Because I watch very little TV, and rely heavily on the internet for keeping up-to-date with the news, it s somewhat obvious that I d also use the online medium to learn, consume and also produce and market my own content. Bloggers (and increasingly, podcasters, as well as video producers and many are wearing all three hats!) have the ability to express themselves in somewhat ‘real time’, and in an evergreen way, by keeping their content fresh, and sharing their opinions with the world.

However, in the world of business blogging there s a lot of noise. A lot of content marketers are gagging to get your attention, and with only so many minutes a day to devote to learning and consuming content (personally, I put aside around 30-45 minutes daily), you’ve got to be very strict with who’s content you make time for.

This is the reason why I’ve put this list together. This collection are the best small business blogs I know of right now. My personal favorite / go-to people in the world of small business blogging and online business building. Individually they strike a chord with me enough to keep me coming back for more, together they act as an ever-growing encyclopaedia of business brilliance.

Note: These blogs are listed in no particular order of preference, or influence.

Chris Brogan s Blog

Chris is the only repeat awardee on this list, from last year. I ve known this man for several years and he has continued to deliver quality, helpful, thoughtful and inspiring content to every business owner wise enough to tune into what he has to say. I m assuming (heavily!) that you re one of them!

Must Read: Dear Podcaster Chris lays it down in true Brogan fashion. Letting podcasters know exactly how to approach expert guests, record with them and the importance of respecting their time. This SO needed to be said!

Smart Passive Income

It s no secret that Pat and I are very close friends. Known for being the crash test dummy of online business he s launched and grown several business, meaning you can learn what works and what doesn t, directly from watching him. We recently started a new partnership together, 1-Day Business Breakthrough. too!

Must Read: And They Thought I was Stupid – In this post from early 2014 Pat reflects on his decision to starting podcasting and what it s done for his brand along with the 468 comments on the post itself!

Gary Vaynerchuk s Blog

In 2010 I picked up a copy of Crush It! by Gary and became an instant fan. Since then I ve had to chance to have him on the podcast twice, as well as hanging out in the US a little together. Ballsy, to the point and with a BS detector like I ve never seen before, he s an influencer in every imaginable way.

Must Read: Cloud Dirt: How I Do Business – This is a fantastic short film that Gary and his team produced to explain how he feels about business today and why he doesn t focus on anything that won t bring him closer to his goals.

Amy Porterfield s Blog

I often refer to Amy as the Queen of Social Media . But, she has become so much more than that in recent years. Now focusing on everything from list building to product marketing, Amy is paving the way for other entrepreneurs in a crowded space that needs to hear it like it is. She s simply awesome.

Must Read: 3 Strategies to Rapid List Building – I often say that the health and overall success of your online business is directly tied to your email list. This post (and podcast episode) is compulsory consumption for everyone!

Entrepreneur on Fire

Talk about taking the bull by the horns! John Lee Dumas hit the scene a couple years ago and hasn t looked back. In 2014, along with his partner in crime (and life!), Kate Erickson, he turned his podcasting empire into a thriving million dollar entity something rarely seen in the online infomarketing world.

Must Read: 2014: The Year in Review – John and Kate (some would say the real boss at EOFire!) had a remarkable year. In this post they show you exactly how they did it, along with warts and all! Great annual review write-up.

Copyblogger

Copyblogger have long been a guiding light in the very dark tunnel that is content marketing . Brian Clark and his team are still leading the way, with decisions such as cutting comments from their blog, deleting their Facebook page and reinventing content publishing by developing the New Rainmaker platform.

Must Read: Why Copyblogger is Killing its Facebook Page – With social media changing at a drastic pace, sometimes equally drastic decisions are required. Copyblogger shows you the facts behind this big decision.

Convince Convert

It s not one of the top ranked social media and content marketing websites on the internet for no reason! Jay Baer and his team consistently publish amazingly thought-provoking and inspiring entrepreneurial content. Whether it s a blog post, podcast, or an episode of JayToday TV subscribe now.

Must Read: Can You Build a Content Marketing Super Brand – I said thought-provoking for a reason. This ll get ya thinking! A deep dive into Jay s mind as he discusses the in s and out s of developing your own super brand.

Marie Forleo s Blog

I do not know Marie. We ve not met, and other than a few brief social media exchanges, we ve never even spoken. But, boy, oh boy can this lady market the hell out of herself and everything she stands for. Want to build a personal brand? Watch what Marie does, rinse and repeat. She s simply awesome.

Must Read: Can t Turn Off Your Bizself? 2 Quick Steps to Flip the Switch! – In this video (she vlogs, instead of blogs) Marie discusses the importance of switching off as an entrepreneur, and gives us a couple of great tips to get started.

Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch is an all-star, old school marketing player that has continued to deliver the marketing and sales goods over and over again. His team produce a blog that s a mix of his experience, coupled together with the new in s and out s of online marketing all thrown into one.

Must Read: How to promote Every Piece of Content Your Create – I loved this birds-eye view of how John and his team cross promote their content archive. This shows you the power of on-going marketing for older content.

Michael Hyatt s Blog

When I think of Michael Hyatt, I think of a Leader s Leader . With over two decades of experience in the publishing world, he has since taken online entrepreneurship to a whole new level with his blog, podcast, products and membership communities. He s a one-man leadership, walking talking workshop!

Must Read: Advice to First Time Authors – This is about as real as advice gets. It s short, sharp, to the point and timeless. Michael s take on everything from finding an agent to considering self publishing is must-read material.

Don t Forget THIS Blog, Too!

Along with these awesome bloggers, podcasters, online video producers and all-round content marketing rock stars, please don t forget to continue to tune into this blog and my podcast on a regular basis. I promise you lots of content to help you become the most productive and profitable entrepreneur possible.



The 10 Best Small Business Opportunities of 2015 #small #business #association


#best small business to start

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The Best Business Opportunities 2015

The Best Business Opportunities for Starting a Small Business

One of the best businesses to start. Blend Images/Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

Welcome to my 2015 list of the best business opportunities.

These are the business ideas that I think will give budding entrepreneurs the best chance of making money in the coming year – and just as importantly, the opportunity to start a business that will last and make money for years to come.

Not all of them are ideas that I think will make you a fortune. Some have that potential. Others fall into the category of steady earners.

And some of the ideas on this list are, admittedly, more exciting than others. But if you know anything about business. you know that it’s often the simple, plain idea that yields the most as the most successful businesses meet people’s needs .

Remember; there are lots of business ideas that didn’t make this list that can be developed into successful small businesses. These are just ten that I think have great potential.

Image (c) Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/ Getty Images

Medtech, the business of creating and producing medical devices, has never been more accessible to just about anyone. The combination of inexpensive resources such as 3D printing and open-source software and hardware make producing prototypes much less costly.

And the medical technology market is booming; sales are expected to reach $228 billion by 2015 (Markets and Markets ). What could you create to make medical treatments easier and/or more effective?

Image (c) John Lamb / Getty Images

The last few years, social media management has been the hot IT-related business. But the big migration is on and 2015 is the year of the cloud. Many businesses are keen to get there but don’t really know that much about it. Others are hanging back because they don’t see the necessity and fear the disadvantages .

Knowledgeable IT types who can make the business case for moving various processes and apps to the cloud and do it for businesses have huge opportunities. The Advantages of Cloud Computing will help you make your case.

Image (c) Dave Mcleod / Susan Ward

Food safety is becoming more and more of an issue. It’s not just the burger meat or the undercooked chicken that’s threatening consumers now; even products such as organic lettuce have been subjected to food recalls. In self-defense, perhaps, consumers are paying more attention when they buy food and the local food movement is growing apace .

Combine the desire to eat-food-that-I-know with gluten free and peanut-free to create food products that people will find truly irresistible.

Image (c) Zero Creatives / Getty Images

The burgeoning numbers of senior baby boomers also provide burgeoning business opportunities for senior care. In-home care and senior residences are the obvious ones, but don t forget all the related opportunities such as driving, delivery, catering and cleaning services for seniors who want to stay in their homes. You can certainly develop your own business providing care for seniors, but there are also quite a few senior care franchise opportunities available.

Senior Moving Specialist

Image (c) Seth Joel / Getty Images

Aging sucks and one of the ugly aspects of aging that many people face is having to leave what’s been their home for many years and move into some place smaller. What makes it even worse is that many seniors in such circumstances have no one on the spot to help them. That’s why seniors real estate specialists are a growing niche market in Canada and the U.S.

And while to become a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) involves already being a realtor and taking a course designed by the National Association of Realtors, you don’t have to be a realtor to get into this niche market .

Patti Priestman’s Home Suite Home business takes a slightly different tack, focusing on assisting clients through every step of their move, from decluttering their current home through ensuring everything in is the right place in the new one.

Image (c) Ascent Xmedia / Getty Images

Forget spin cycling and Pilates – yoga is the fitness business to be in. The number of practitioners continues to grow each year, perhaps because yoga itself is so adaptable and accessible. Karaoke yoga. “Grey” yoga, hot yoga; there’s truly a yoga for everyone. Note that American spending on yoga products, from trendy attire and mats to studio classes, rose from $4.7 billion in 2007 to $7 billion in 2012 and is predicted to exceed $8 billion by 2017 (The Economist ) – so why not direct some of that your way?

Drones for Business

Image (c) Richard Newstead / Getty Images

Using drones for business purposes is an industry in its infancy but I think it’s going to grow up fast as more ways to profitably use drones are discovered. Using drones for surveying, crop dusting, search and rescue and checking out fires to see if it’s safe for firemen to enter are just a few.

As of writing, Transport Canada s rules for flying drones (a.k.a. unmanned aircraft systems) are much more favorable than those in the United States. where the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has until September 30 th to produce rules for the safe integration of drones into airspace. (Currently only recreational use is allowed.) The fear is that “potential benefits will be dampened by over-stringent rules ” (The Economist ).

Baby Products Online

Image (c) Glow Decor/ Getty Images

Inc. choose baby products as one of the best businesses of 2014, saying that “products from diapers, clothing, and shoes to feeding aids, strollers, and furniture defied the recession and remained in high demand” and predicting that baby apparel alone would bring in $6 billion in e-tail sales in that year.

Now consider that ecommerce is in its infancy in Canada (sorry; I couldn’t resist) and how easy it is now to get into ecommerce. Baby gear could be your ticket to big bucks.

Scooter Sales Service

Image (c) kali9 / Getty Images

We’ve all seen the ads with the fifty-somethings riding their motorcycles. But the truth is that the fifty-somethings are much more likely to be riding scooters – either because of mobility issues or because they want the convenience and small environmental footprint of a bike with the stability that scooters provide. If you choose this business opportunity, don’t forget to provide gear like helmets and riding gloves too.

Translation Services for Business

Image (c) 4X-image / Getty Images

Did you know that there are over 200 languages spoken in Canada and 381 spoken in the United States. Or that there are more than 6,700 spoken throughout the world?

Maybe not, but I bet you can see where I’m going with this. With ecommerce ever growing and increasing numbers of companies striving to sell to more than just the home town crowd, the need for websites. documents and videos to be translated into other languages is exploding.

Why Are These the Best Business Opportunities?

There’s never any guarantee when you re starting a business. Any business opportunity you re considering requires due diligence .

Once you’ve chosen an idea, the best thing to do is write a business plan ; it will help you determine if a particular opportunity is right for you.

None of these are get rich quick ideas or even the business ideas that I think will make the most money. But in my opinion, these are business opportunities that are going to provide real chances to make money in 2015 and beyond – businesses that, done right, in the right place and for the right people may be profitable enterprises for years to come.

Browse More Business Ideas



The Top 10 Best Small Business Blogs for Entrepreneurs in 2015 #government

#business blogs

#

The Top 10 Best Small Business Blogs for Entrepreneurs in 2015

As a small business owner myself, I know how important it is to stay up-to-date with the ever changing trends that the business world throws at us.

Because I watch very little TV, and rely heavily on the internet for keeping up-to-date with the news, it s somewhat obvious that I d also use the online medium to learn, consume and also produce and market my own content. Bloggers (and increasingly, podcasters, as well as video producers and many are wearing all three hats!) have the ability to express themselves in somewhat ‘real time’, and in an evergreen way, by keeping their content fresh, and sharing their opinions with the world.

However, in the world of business blogging there s a lot of noise. A lot of content marketers are gagging to get your attention, and with only so many minutes a day to devote to learning and consuming content (personally, I put aside around 30-45 minutes daily), you’ve got to be very strict with who’s content you make time for.

This is the reason why I’ve put this list together. This collection are the best small business blogs I know of right now. My personal favorite / go-to people in the world of small business blogging and online business building. Individually they strike a chord with me enough to keep me coming back for more, together they act as an ever-growing encyclopaedia of business brilliance.

Note: These blogs are listed in no particular order of preference, or influence.

Chris Brogan s Blog

Chris is the only repeat awardee on this list, from last year. I ve known this man for several years and he has continued to deliver quality, helpful, thoughtful and inspiring content to every business owner wise enough to tune into what he has to say. I m assuming (heavily!) that you re one of them!

Must Read: Dear Podcaster Chris lays it down in true Brogan fashion. Letting podcasters know exactly how to approach expert guests, record with them and the importance of respecting their time. This SO needed to be said!

Smart Passive Income

It s no secret that Pat and I are very close friends. Known for being the crash test dummy of online business he s launched and grown several business, meaning you can learn what works and what doesn t, directly from watching him. We recently started a new partnership together, 1-Day Business Breakthrough. too!

Must Read: And They Thought I was Stupid – In this post from early 2014 Pat reflects on his decision to starting podcasting and what it s done for his brand along with the 468 comments on the post itself!

Gary Vaynerchuk s Blog

In 2010 I picked up a copy of Crush It! by Gary and became an instant fan. Since then I ve had to chance to have him on the podcast twice, as well as hanging out in the US a little together. Ballsy, to the point and with a BS detector like I ve never seen before, he s an influencer in every imaginable way.

Must Read: Cloud Dirt: How I Do Business – This is a fantastic short film that Gary and his team produced to explain how he feels about business today and why he doesn t focus on anything that won t bring him closer to his goals.

Amy Porterfield s Blog

I often refer to Amy as the Queen of Social Media . But, she has become so much more than that in recent years. Now focusing on everything from list building to product marketing, Amy is paving the way for other entrepreneurs in a crowded space that needs to hear it like it is. She s simply awesome.

Must Read: 3 Strategies to Rapid List Building – I often say that the health and overall success of your online business is directly tied to your email list. This post (and podcast episode) is compulsory consumption for everyone!

Entrepreneur on Fire

Talk about taking the bull by the horns! John Lee Dumas hit the scene a couple years ago and hasn t looked back. In 2014, along with his partner in crime (and life!), Kate Erickson, he turned his podcasting empire into a thriving million dollar entity something rarely seen in the online infomarketing world.

Must Read: 2014: The Year in Review – John and Kate (some would say the real boss at EOFire!) had a remarkable year. In this post they show you exactly how they did it, along with warts and all! Great annual review write-up.

Copyblogger

Copyblogger have long been a guiding light in the very dark tunnel that is content marketing . Brian Clark and his team are still leading the way, with decisions such as cutting comments from their blog, deleting their Facebook page and reinventing content publishing by developing the New Rainmaker platform.

Must Read: Why Copyblogger is Killing its Facebook Page – With social media changing at a drastic pace, sometimes equally drastic decisions are required. Copyblogger shows you the facts behind this big decision.

Convince Convert

It s not one of the top ranked social media and content marketing websites on the internet for no reason! Jay Baer and his team consistently publish amazingly thought-provoking and inspiring entrepreneurial content. Whether it s a blog post, podcast, or an episode of JayToday TV subscribe now.

Must Read: Can You Build a Content Marketing Super Brand – I said thought-provoking for a reason. This ll get ya thinking! A deep dive into Jay s mind as he discusses the in s and out s of developing your own super brand.

Marie Forleo s Blog

I do not know Marie. We ve not met, and other than a few brief social media exchanges, we ve never even spoken. But, boy, oh boy can this lady market the hell out of herself and everything she stands for. Want to build a personal brand? Watch what Marie does, rinse and repeat. She s simply awesome.

Must Read: Can t Turn Off Your Bizself? 2 Quick Steps to Flip the Switch! – In this video (she vlogs, instead of blogs) Marie discusses the importance of switching off as an entrepreneur, and gives us a couple of great tips to get started.

Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch is an all-star, old school marketing player that has continued to deliver the marketing and sales goods over and over again. His team produce a blog that s a mix of his experience, coupled together with the new in s and out s of online marketing all thrown into one.

Must Read: How to promote Every Piece of Content Your Create – I loved this birds-eye view of how John and his team cross promote their content archive. This shows you the power of on-going marketing for older content.

Michael Hyatt s Blog

When I think of Michael Hyatt, I think of a Leader s Leader . With over two decades of experience in the publishing world, he has since taken online entrepreneurship to a whole new level with his blog, podcast, products and membership communities. He s a one-man leadership, walking talking workshop!

Must Read: Advice to First Time Authors – This is about as real as advice gets. It s short, sharp, to the point and timeless. Michael s take on everything from finding an agent to considering self publishing is must-read material.

Don t Forget THIS Blog, Too!

Along with these awesome bloggers, podcasters, online video producers and all-round content marketing rock stars, please don t forget to continue to tune into this blog and my podcast on a regular basis. I promise you lots of content to help you become the most productive and profitable entrepreneur possible.



Skype for Business Server 2015: Documentation for IT Pros #canadian #business


#business articles 2010

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Skype for Business Server 2015

Summary: Explore these links to learn how to implement Skype for Business Server 2015.

Lync is now Skype for Business, a communications and collaboration platform that brings together a client experience inspired by Skype with the enterprise-grade security, compliance, and control of Lync. Skype for Business offers features including presence, IM, voice and video calls, and online meetings. Skype for Business provides a new client experience, a new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365. If users in your organization are already familiar with Skype, they’ll appreciate the power and simplicity of Skype for Business where it’s easy to find and connect with co-workers. If users in your organization are coming to Skype for Business from Lync, they’ll recognize all of the features they already use but in a fresh new interface with simplified controls and new additions. In addition to the new client experience, Skype for Business Server provides several new features to improve manageability of on-premises servers and hybrid solutions.

Skype for Business also supports the Lync client experience so that you can choose a phased upgrade approach to the new client experience for your users. For example, you might want to deploy the Lync client experience until users in your organization are fully trained in the new Skype for Business experience, or until all users are upgraded to the new server.

The following table lists the topics in the Skype for Business Server documentation library, and provides links to other information resources, including downloadable content, blogs, videos, and a contact link that you can use to ask questions and provide feedback.

Writers update articles on a continuing basis as new information becomes available and as users provide feedback. This page will be updated frequently, so check back often.

To get started learning about Skype for Business, you’ll want to read the following articles about new features and functionality:

Before beginning your deployment, be sure to read the planning content: Plan for your Skype for Business Server 2015 deployment .

If you are upgrading from a previous release of Lync Server, be sure to read Plan to upgrade to Skype for Business Server 2015.

Prepare for the dual client experience

If you want to compare the features and capabilities of Skype for Business clients, and then learn more about the dual client experience, be sure to read the following:

Learn about Skype Meeting Broadcast

If you want to know more about Skype Meeting Broadcast, a new Office 365 online service for managing large meetings, see the following topics:

Readiness sessions on Infopedia

The following readiness sessions are available on Infopedia. Registration is required:

You can find training materials, including articles and Quick Start Guides, on the Learning Center .

The following articles describe how to plan for, deploy, and use all the features of Skype for Business Server.

Skype for Business Server 2015 content for IT Pros

You’ll find content for IT Pros on TechNet. The following articles are good places to start:

Skype for Business Online content for Office 365 admins

Information about Skype for Business Online is available at http://support.office.com. If you want to know more about the Office 365 service, and whether a hybrid solution is right for your organization, read the following:

Skype for Business clients

Information about the Skype for Business desktop clients is available at http://support.office.com. Here are some resources that can help you get your end users ready for Skype for Business:

Information for developers

Information for developers can be found on the

Skype Developer Platform includes links to Unified Communications Managed API (UCMA 5.0), Unified Communications Web API (UCWA 2.0), and Skype Web SDK.



2015 Top Franchises from Entrepreneur s Franchise 500 List #local #business #listing


#franchise opportunities

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2015 Top Franchises from Entrepreneur s Franchise 500 List

Understanding the Ranking

There’s a lot that goes into putting together the first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking in the world. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Entrepreneur’s 37th annual Franchise 500 .

The process began in July 2015, when we asked franchisors to participate in our survey. Each submission was vetted before being entered for data analysis; 951 companies made the first cut. Of those, the top 500 became the Franchise 500 ranking, based on financial and statistical data from July 2013 through July 2015.

Only franchise companies that supply a full Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) or Canadian Disclosure Document and whose information is verified by Entrepreneur can receive a listing. To be eligible for the Franchise 500 , a franchisor must have a minimum of 10 units, with at least one franchise located in the U.S. The company must be seeking new franchisees in the U.S. and it cannot be in Chapter 11 at the time the ranking is compiled. (The exception to these rules is Canada-based companies that are expanding only in Canada.)

All companies are judged by the same criteria: objective, quantifiable measures of a franchise operation. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. We also consider the number of years a company has been in business and the length of time it’s been franchising, startup costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing. Financial data is analyzed by an independent CPA.

We do not measure subjective elements such as franchisee satisfaction or management style. The objective factors are plugged into our exclusive Franchise 500 formula, with each eligible company receiving a cumulative score.

Remember that the Franchise 500 is not intended to endorse, advertise or recommend any particular franchise. It is solely a research tool you can use to compare franchise operations. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing money in a franchise. Read the FDD and related materials carefully, get help from a franchise attorney and a CPA in reviewing any legal or financial documents, and talk to as many existing and former franchisees as possible and visit their outlets. The best way to protect yourself is to do your homework.

Research compiled by Tracy Stapp Herold and J.R. Jimenez with assistance from Hava Arieh, Rick Ignarra, Nicole Jurinek, Yvette Madrid, Jessica Nguyen and Giuseppe Ricapito; technical assistance from Angel Cool and Daniel Sibitzky; financial analysis by David R. Juedes, CPA; graphic design by Karen Meneghin.

More Franchise Rankings

100 franchises for under $60,000



Small Business Finance Markets Report 2015 #business #news #today


#small business finance

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Small Business Finance Markets Report 2015/16

The Small Business Finance Markets Report 2015/16 shows that the market for small business finance is improving, however a number of challenges remain:

  • A lack of businesses scaling-up is hampering UK productivity – there remains a need to stimulate a greater volume of scale-up businesses and SME exporters to counteract the UK’s lagging productivity. OECD data shows that Britain is near the bottom of the table for the percentage of businesses that grow to more than 10 employees after three years.
  • A need to delivery further diversity in the small business finance market – there is an ongoing need to accelerate the evolution of a diverse and accessible range of finance options to drive competition and choice for smaller businesses. The four largest banks still account for 80% of the small business loan market in 2014, with many small businesses not looking at alternative finance options beyond their main bank.
  • Supporting growing SMEs across all UK regions – the finance landscape remains uneven across the UK. To help rebalance growth, an increased availability of finance for smaller businesses across the UK is required. 71% of total SME equity investment is accounted for by London and South East based companies.

DOWNLOADS

2015 Business Finance Survey: SMEs

This survey, undertaken by BMG Research for the British Business Bank, follows on from the previous 2012 and 2014 “SME Journey” surveys to explore SME awareness of different types of external finance and their experience of raising finance. We have extensively used the findings from this survey within our new Small Business Finance Markets 2015/16 report to assess how finance markets have changed.

Amongst the findings, this survey shows a continued increase in business awareness of alternative finance types, including peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding. The research also shows that a higher proportion of SMEs are aiming to grow in the next 12 months (56%), compared to 46% in the previous 2014 survey.

2015 Business Finance Survey: Mid-caps

This survey, undertaken by BMG Research for the British Business Bank, assesses the characteristics of mid-caps (businesses with £25m-£500m annual turnover) and their experience of raising external finance. The survey finds that mid-cap businesses are more likely to use and seek external finance compared to SMEs, and are also more likely to obtain finance. In addition, a high proportion of mid-cap businesses (79%) are aiming to grow in the next 12 months.

Methodology Consultation: Assessing the Unmet Demand for SME debt finance

The British Business Bank would like to consult with interested stakeholders on appropriate methodologies for assessing the unmet demand for SME debt finance. The consultation seeks views on our proposed methodology and suggestions for alternative methodologies or additional data sources.



The Top Small Business Software for 2015 #business #website #templates


#business software

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Having the right software for your business needs can mean the difference between getting things done or. having tasks linger, unaddressed, on your to-do list.

Unfortunately, most top software companies often focus on larger businesses. rather than small enterprises. As a result, many of their solutions are either unaffordable or loaded with features smaller companies don’t need.

Not all software is this way. More and more, software providers are offering small business versions of their enterprise solutions or are targeting the small business market with programs uniquely designed to meet its needs. If you’re in the market for a new tool, here are a few of the top small business software solutions to consider in 2015.

Accounting

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, chances are you’re good at what you do–but significantly less practiced at the administrative side of running a business. But whether you’re knowledgeable or not, needs like accounting must be taken care of. Any of the following tools will help get your books in order, whether you do so in order to manage your own finances or to pass your information on to your CPA.

QuickBooks

One of the most recognized names in small business accounting, QuickBooks offers both desktop and online versions (depending on the needs of your company and the experience of your team members), you may prefer one over the other. Regardless of the option you choose, Quickbooks is reasonably affordable, though taking full advantage of the program does require a bit of training.

As an added bonus, most accounting firms are experienced with QuickBooks. If you plan to seek outside support for your business’s finances, give this program a shot, as its widespread familiarity will make transmitting your data to your accountant a snap.

FreshBooks

If QuickBooks proves to be a bit of an overkill for your startup’s needs, check out FreshBooks. This cloud-based accounting software program is easier to use than QuickBooks and supports over 50 integrations–including payroll and email programs. FreshBooks features a 30 days free trial and subscription-based pricing from $19.95 per month up to $39.95 per month after this period.

Wave Accounting

Another cloud-based accounting tool, Wave Accounting has been named the best free accounting software for small businesses by Business News Daily. It’s important to note that Wave is for very small businesses–in particular, companies with fewer than 10 staff members will get the most out of this QuickBooks alternative. That said, it provides excellent functionality for free, with free user forums for support or live support packages starting at $9 per month if your needs are more complex.

Human Resources

Scaling your startup by bringing on employees is a major milestone for small businesses. But despite the game-changing nature of this step forward, few entrepreneurs take the time to fully address their human resources needs or to implement the HR technologies that can streamline these systems.

Instead of letting your human resources needs get out of control as you expand, put one of the following tools into place as soon as possible:

Zenefits

This all-in one human resource software program gives you access to benefits management, payroll processing, onboarding tools and more. Even better, many Zenefits features can be set to run automatically after your initial configuration, significantly reducing the amount of time you need to spend on these tasks on an ongoing basis.

As an added bonus, if your small business uses contractors rather than–or in addition to–regular employees, Zenefits makes it easy to manage their details as well, allowing you to track their compensation and handle their tax needs from within a single program.

BambooHR

Like Zenifits, BambooHR is a cloud-based HR system that’s simple interface and intuitive design make it a great fit for small and medium sized businesses. Although the program is exclusively an online human resource information system, it does integrate with other payroll solutions or applicant tracking software, giving you easy access from one central dashboard.

sumHR

Finally, sumHR is a great small business HR software program that focuses on attendance, leave, and payroll functions. If you’re looking to take your employee directory out of the spreadsheets and into a professional program, sumHR may be the solution for you. The company is also planning on adding new features soon, including reporting and performance reviews, making it one to watch into the future.

Scheduling

Plenty of small businesses have scheduling concerns to deal with, whether yours come in the form of hourly workers or customer appointments to be booked. But despite the widespread nature of this problem, many of these companies still rely on outdated pen and paper scheduling books which are both time-consuming to manage and vulnerable to human error.

There’s got to be a better way–and there is! Check out any of the following programs for your scheduling needs:

When I Work

Scheduling staff hours doesn’t have to be difficult–When I Work makes the process intuitive and simple, helping to reduce absences and avoid employee miscommunications. When I Work offers mobile accessibility so that staff can see their schedules, trade shifts among themselves and request time off while on-the-go. The program’s pricing comes as a monthly subscription fee that’s based on the number of staff you manage–up to 20 staff can be scheduled for $29 per month.

Booker

If you have clients that need to make appointments or you offer classes that your customers need to sign up for, Booker makes it easy. Once installed, you can attract customers from your website or social media profile and bring them to a central site where they can then book appointments. The site is optimized for mobile users, making it easy to build relationships with clients through the program’s provided messaging and retention tools.

Genbook

Another solution for online booking, Genbook allows your customers to book appointments while also giving you the tools needed to manage your business, staff, and reputation. Genbook allows your former customers to post reviews of your company, giving you immediate credibility with new clients. Your staff can access the schedule and receive reminders, and you can publish promotions and share them on social media. To give this innovative program a try, take advantage of Genbook’s 30-day free trial (post-trial prices range from $20-$70 per month).

Small business software can be a difficult world to navigate, but the good news is that there are plenty of companies out there doing it right. Whether you need help with your accounting, human resources or scheduling needs, the software listed above will help launch your company successfully into 2015.

What’s your favorite small business software program? Why? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment below!

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



Skype for Business Server 2015: Documentation for IT Pros #business #website #design


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Skype for Business Server 2015

Summary: Explore these links to learn how to implement Skype for Business Server 2015.

Lync is now Skype for Business, a communications and collaboration platform that brings together a client experience inspired by Skype with the enterprise-grade security, compliance, and control of Lync. Skype for Business offers features including presence, IM, voice and video calls, and online meetings. Skype for Business provides a new client experience, a new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365. If users in your organization are already familiar with Skype, they’ll appreciate the power and simplicity of Skype for Business where it’s easy to find and connect with co-workers. If users in your organization are coming to Skype for Business from Lync, they’ll recognize all of the features they already use but in a fresh new interface with simplified controls and new additions. In addition to the new client experience, Skype for Business Server provides several new features to improve manageability of on-premises servers and hybrid solutions.

Skype for Business also supports the Lync client experience so that you can choose a phased upgrade approach to the new client experience for your users. For example, you might want to deploy the Lync client experience until users in your organization are fully trained in the new Skype for Business experience, or until all users are upgraded to the new server.

The following table lists the topics in the Skype for Business Server documentation library, and provides links to other information resources, including downloadable content, blogs, videos, and a contact link that you can use to ask questions and provide feedback.

Writers update articles on a continuing basis as new information becomes available and as users provide feedback. This page will be updated frequently, so check back often.

To get started learning about Skype for Business, you’ll want to read the following articles about new features and functionality:

Before beginning your deployment, be sure to read the planning content: Plan for your Skype for Business Server 2015 deployment .

If you are upgrading from a previous release of Lync Server, be sure to read Plan to upgrade to Skype for Business Server 2015.

Prepare for the dual client experience

If you want to compare the features and capabilities of Skype for Business clients, and then learn more about the dual client experience, be sure to read the following:

Learn about Skype Meeting Broadcast

If you want to know more about Skype Meeting Broadcast, a new Office 365 online service for managing large meetings, see the following topics:

Readiness sessions on Infopedia

The following readiness sessions are available on Infopedia. Registration is required:

You can find training materials, including articles and Quick Start Guides, on the Learning Center .

The following articles describe how to plan for, deploy, and use all the features of Skype for Business Server.

Skype for Business Server 2015 content for IT Pros

You’ll find content for IT Pros on TechNet. The following articles are good places to start:

Skype for Business Online content for Office 365 admins

Information about Skype for Business Online is available at http://support.office.com. If you want to know more about the Office 365 service, and whether a hybrid solution is right for your organization, read the following:

Skype for Business clients

Information about the Skype for Business desktop clients is available at http://support.office.com. Here are some resources that can help you get your end users ready for Skype for Business:

Information for developers

Information for developers can be found on the

Skype Developer Platform includes links to Unified Communications Managed API (UCMA 5.0), Unified Communications Web API (UCWA 2.0), and Skype Web SDK.



10 Most Profitable Small Businesses To Start in 2015 – Insider Monkey

#most successful small businesses

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Published on August 20, 2015 at 11:09 am by Atif Munawar in Lists

If you are a fresh business entrepreneur, here is a compilation of 10 most profitable small businesses to start in 2015. Not only will it give you a chance to establish yourself in the market but it will also help you make handsome money this year. These ideas for small business are not just money-making but also captivating at the same time. Through this article business amateurs will relish their work while enjoying their targeted economic benefits. Entrepreneurs must realize that even the most profitable business require dedication and hard work.

It is important for a businessman to realize that a successful business is the one that answers to most people s demands. It is instrumental to comprehend that not every business idea has to be complex. Sometimes it is the simplest concepts that intrigue a common man. This article will also help you mark the most common public requirements which can help you mold your business accordingly so that you can extract the most out of your small business setup.

Some of these ideas may be more profitable while others may give you a stable earning. There are business ideas that are potentially much more profitable than they seem to be. The following list of small business ideas will definitely help you to start a business that suits your style and earns you well.



What business to start in 2015: Starting a business advice and business

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What business to start in 2015

The desire to become your own boss and work for yourself is growing and in election year the economy will inevitably be a key policy battleground, meaning small business-friendly pledges will be made.

With signs of revival and chancellor George Osborne’s recent promises of renewed business support and an extra £1bn funding for regional growth some might argue the climate for starting a business has never been better, making 2015 a great time to take the plunge.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

This appetite for starting a business isn’t just hype; StartUp Britain reported a record 581,173 new businesses for 2014. markedly higher than 2013 and 2012, and the UK’s eco-system appears to be in good health with ONS figures showing a 6% drop in the number of British firms leaving the Companies House register.

Britain is expected to be the fastest growing G7 economy in 2015 – the IMF has predicted a 3.2% overall rise – and while London remains the start-up capital. regional start-up hubs are beginning to flourish with Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow fast gaining reputations as top cities to start a business in .

It’s on the back of these positive indicators that we look to the coming months and the hot sectors and businesses opportunities that could prove fruitful for those looking to start a new venture. We’ve studied and assessed businesses which are gaining market traction, sought insight from leading research bodies such as Mintel, and analysed consumer trends to bring you our predictions of 14 top businesses to start in 2015.

From foods and fitness to technology, cycling, and even cafes with a twist, there’s a host of start-up prospects to suit a range of skills and backgrounds and this extends to part-time businesses that can offer supplementary income such as starting a niche social network .

With the freelance workforce now over four million strong and more firms than ever before looking to hire freelance talent, we’ve also identified opportunities for freelancers and “solopreneurs”. This includes starting up as a growth hacker ; a combination of smart marketing and tech development which is becoming increasingly sought after in the start-up world.

While several of the business opportunities listed aren’t new, the potential to innovate and target an established market with a disruptive new solution – take protein products for instance – are plentiful.

Follow the buttons above and below to find out what business you should start in 2015…

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