Modern-day interfaces need to be fully optimized with consumers in mind, and understanding industry trends can help you figure out how to improve your business.
About Julija A.
Julia A. is a writer at SmallBizGenius.net. With experience in both finance and marketing industries, she enjoys staying up to date with the current economic affairs and writing opinion pieces on the state of small businesses in America. As an avid reader, she spends most of her time poring over history books, fantasy novels, and old classics. Tech, finance, and marketing are her passions, and she’s a frequent contributor at various small business blogs.
We prefer it when information is presented to us through images and videos. High-speed internet connections have enabled us to do this better than ever before.
There are new ways to market goods and services to customers, and any business that wants to take advantage of this shift needs to have a good advertising strategy.
From eCommerce stores and brick-and-mortar boutiques to finance consulting, art galleries, and craft breweries, small businesses are as varied as they are numerous.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) scam tracker is currently reporting 200 phishing scams all across Texas, with financial losses ranging from $35 to $3,000. This is a standard phishing scam that is targeting small businesses and appears in the form of links or attachments in an email. Once you click on them, malware is automatically downloaded to your computer, and scammers can access your personal data and steal your credit card information. The scam is disguised as a request for proposal (RFP) attachment to attract the attention of local entrepreneurs, who know RFPs are a good way to win new contracts and establish connections with clients. There seem to be two versions of this scam. In one, an email with an official-looking PDF file is sent, and when a person clicks on the PDF, malware is downloaded to their computer. In another version, a link in the email takes you to a form that asks you to fill in your personal banking information, claiming that you need to provide payment details. More than 98% of businesses across the state are small businesses, and BBB is issuing a state-wide warning to owners not to open any emails from sources they don’t trust. The BBB office in Texas has also provided a list of tips that companies can use to protect themselves from phishing scams: Visit the company’s website. Most scammers claim they belong to a government agency to invoke a sense of trust. This can easily be checked by visiting the agency’s website and seeing whether they posted any RFPs online. You should also call them to check whether they sent emails to small business owners. Call the contact provided in the email. If no one answers the phone or people refuse to speak to you, then you can be certain that they’re trying to scam you. Be wary of generic emails. Since scammers usually try to cast a wide net, any lack of personal details and generic-looking RFP forms could potentially indicate shady dealings. Never open attachments. If you have any doubts, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Unless you’re receiving an email from a completely trusted source, don’t click on any attachments. Another good idea is to check whether the files have a .exe extension. These types of files are often disguised as PDFs. Don’t trust logos. Even official-looking logos can potentially be fake. The same goes for email addresses and other contact information. If you have taken the necessary precautions and noticed a scam, report it. This way, you’ll help the authorities fight fraud and potentially help save small businesses such as yours from getting swindled.
After unveiling their new cryptocurrency project on Tuesday, Facebook is experiencing pushback from both U.S. and European lawmakers. The launch is facing heavy scrutiny and some of the officials calling for it to be put on indefinite hold. Facebook has recently announced the release of Libra, a blockchain project that will involve a consortium of big companies such as Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Uber, and Spotify. The currency is meant to enable cheap and easy payments all around the world, and it will be marketed primarily to developing countries. As soon as the tech giant published its white paper on Libra, politicians were quick to voice their concerns. Maxine Waters, the Democratic congresswoman and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman gave a press statement that was picked up by multiple news outlets: “With the announcement that it plans to create a cryptocurrency, Facebook is continuing its unchecked expansion and extending its reach into the lives of its users."She continued with a demand for Facebook to put project Libra on hold: "Given the company's troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues and take action.”After the statement, a Facebook spokesperson was asked for comment. "We look forward to responding to lawmakers' questions as this process moves forward," they stated, implying that the company doesn’t plan to cease the development. Given Facebook’s history of scandal and the antitrust investigation they are currently being subjected to, both Republican and Democratic officials are reluctant to give the company free reign and allow them even more power to control the market. In Europe, government representatives are similarly opposed to the idea. “It can’t and it must not happen,” the French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, claimed in an interview for Bloomberg. A German member of the European Parliament also stated that Facebook is at risk of becoming a “shadow bank” and that they “must not be allowed to operate in a regulatory nirvana when introducing virtual currencies.”U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is also concerned about Facebook becoming too big and too powerful to control. He stated: “We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight. I'm calling on our financial watchdogs to scrutinize this closely to ensure users are protected." The social media company has had numerous issues in the past. Several privacy concerns were raised, the latest one related to a huge data leak that leaked millions of user records on cloud servers. With this new cryptocurrency, there are many concerns that Facebook will exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy.
A company called Maven is now to run Sports Illustrated for Authentic Brands Group (ABG). Last month, ABG bought Sports Illustrated Magazine from Meredith Corporation for $110 million, and they announced that Meredith Corp. will continue to run the magazine for at least two more years, with the old editor and publisher still onboard. Chris Stone, the Editor-in-Chief, stated that the deal would allow them to keep producing quality, award-winning content and give Sports Illustrated a chance to grow in areas such as e-sports. However, this Monday during an SEC filing, Maven claimed that it has a licensing deal to run the physical copy of the magazine and the website. Ross Levinsohn, the former publisher of the Los Angeles Times, is meant to be the CEO and manage day-to-day operations. Sports Illustrated will soon be changing its name to Sports Illustrated Media. While the terms of the contract were not disclosed, it is known that Maven paid $45 million up front and that it will get publishing rights until 2029. After that, there’s a possibility that they might be renewed. Authentic Brands Group claims that they’re still negotiating the involvement of the new publisher, but Meredith Corporation might still work for the magazine. It would appear that Meredith has long been planning to sell titles that didn’t fit its image, which is how Time magazine ended up in the hands of Marc Benioff. ABG specializes in managing entertainment, fashion, and sports, so acquiring Sports Illustrated is a perfect fit. It will provide the opportunity for brand growth and an expanded reach in social media and the digital domain, which includes sports gambling and e-sports. ABG will be responsible for the marketing and business planning portion, while Maven will manage the creative side. These two companies will split the revenue for the parts of the business that Maven isn’t licensing.Maven is a relatively unknown startup, but last week they acquired TheStreet financial site for $16.5 million. ABG plans to invest in this small company and help it rise to success. It’s also important to note that Ross Levinsohn was recently accused of sexual misconduct and put on paid leave while he was still managing Los Angeles Time magazine. He was consequently cleared of all charges by Tronc company and put in charge of all future Tribune Interactive divisions.
Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, NC, is starting a small business loan program to help struggling minorities. Its primary aim is to reduce racial inequality and aid small business owners and people who want to start a new venture. The budget for reducing racial disparity has been quadrupled, and the county commissioners increased the budget from $2 million to $8 million on June 4 and allocated a portion of this sum to the new loan program. Peter Zeiler, the county’s director of economic development, said in an interview: “There’s a lot of families out there and individuals that have great ideas and simply need access to a little bit of capital to change their lives, and we’re hoping this can help them do that.”This fund will count $2.75 million and provide loans up to $75,000. Mecklenburg County Commission Chair George Dunlap claims he has been trying to make a loan program for a decade now and it has finally been approved. There are many people with good business ideas who simply don’t have the capital to make it come to fruition, and this kind of shortage of resources is a common problem for would-be business owners. This sort of incentive by the governing council is much-needed in small counties such as Mecklenburg, where business incubation could be the key to stabilizing the economy and increasing tax revenue. This loan program will be self-funding, which means that the interest paid from the loans will go directly into funding other loans. This lack of investors limits the program’s capacity, but it is a step in the right direction. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce board chair, Shante Williams, claims to be “cautiously optimistic” and that, while she’s glad that the county is taking steps towards equality, she fears it might not be enough. Dunlap claims that the funds should be sufficient in the long run. Not every business will get funded in the first cycle, but as time goes by and more small enterprises become successful and repay their interest rates, more companies will receive funding. Each new cycle could potentially increase funding. It will also help people who are unable to get bank loans. Banks generally only approve loans to firms that are already established, which means only those who no longer need a loan can get one. This way, small enterprises will have access to government funding. While this fund aims to decrease racial disparity, it will be available to everyone, regardless of race. The fund will be managed by an independent lending agency, and the program is set to go into effect by the end of the summer.