In the News: Legal Heroes, Wix Make Big Announcements

There are plenty of online resources available for helping small businesses find legal resources. But obtaining actual legal counsel has still been a relatively involved process — until now. Legal Hero just introduced a new service that offers on-demand legal help for small businesses.

In addition, Web building software company Wix made headlines recently with an announcement of its own.

Read about these news items and more in this week’s Small Business Trends News and Information Roundup.

New Features

Looking for General Counsel? This Site May Do the Trick

Legal Hero, an online portal designed to connect small businesses and entrepreneurs with legal help, has introduced a new service that will provide “on-demand” legal counsel for these companies.

New Wix Web Editor Launched to Make Sites Easier to Build

Wix.com, the drag and drop Web design platform, has just announced a full redesign of its cloud based Web editing software. The redesign introduces a range of new features, including some to help businesses personalize and tailor their sites to be more effective. If you are a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to your small business and its website, you may already be familiar with Wix.com.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding Platform Kickstarter is Now a Public Benefit Corporation

It’s not unusual for businesses to proclaim their commitment to the greater good, although only a few actually live up to their promises. That’s why Kickstarter’s decision to reincorporate as a public benefit corporation has pleasantly surprised many. The crowdfunding company has joined the ranks of organizations like Patagonia and This American Life to take this big step.

Social Media

Is the Twitter 140 Character Limit About to Change?

One of Twitter’s trademark features is its 140 character limit. But is that about to change? A report from ReCode suggests the social media company is considering a product or feature allowing users to create longer-form content on the service.

Are YouTube Advertisers Paying for Bots?

A new study by European researchers questions the reliability of the method used by Google to charge advertisers for YouTube ads. In their study (PDF), the researchers claim that Google charges advertisers for YouTube views even when YouTube’s systems flag a view as coming from a robot rather than a human.

Facebook Notes Transforms into a Publishing Platform

The long-forgotten Facebook Notes feature is finally getting a much needed makeover. The refreshed feature now comes with exciting new tools to add images, format layout and resize photos — and is available to everyone. Facebook published a post to announce the official roll-out of the revamped feature currently available on its desktop version.

Technology

Dennis Mortensen of X.ai: Artificial Intelligence is Driving the Rise of Virtual Agents

I’ve been using the Amazon Echo device for almost a year. And most of what I do is ask Alexa — the virtual assistant in Echo — what the weather is, who won the Rams game, add batteries to my shopping list, or even to play the new song from Prince. I also use Siri to dial people on my iPhone when I’m in the car.

The First LG Laptops Are on Their Way to the U.S. Market

LG, the Korean electronics giant known for its smartphones, appliances and tablets is bringing its first laptops to the U.S. market. The company announced the release of the Gram series of laptops in a press release recently. The machines, named Gram to highlight their light weight, are available in 13-inch and 14-inch models.

9 Photo Apps for Windows 10 to Spruce Up Your Images

Nearly everything associated with your small business online presence — and some offline tasks — requires having top-notch images. These images have proven to be vital for social media updates and to make your website look a little better. Quality images can also spruce up presentations and more.

Loans

Biz2Credit Index Sees Institutional Lending Continue to Climb

While institutional lenders continued to gain ground on the small business lending front, Biz2Credit’s Small Business Lending Index for August saw a slight slump for big and small banks. Biz2Credit ascribed the 0.1 point drop to the issues related to the Small Business Administration reaching its $18.75 billion spending cap in late July.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: GreyCampus Offers a New Way to Train Your Team

Training employees in different areas of your business can be a time-consuming and expensive process. You want employees to learn from an actual instructor who knows what he or she is talking about. But the smallest of businesses don’t always have the personnel available to drop their own work and train new team members. That’s where GreyCampus comes in.

Mobile

Here Are 6 New Devices from Microsoft’s Mega Event

Microsoft just wrapped up a live event in New York. There, the company announced a fleet of new products it is calling the new era of Windows 10 devices. Two new Surface devices, several Lumia phone,s and a HoloLens — yeah, one you might actually be able to buy — top the list of the most interesting devices unveiled.

The Moto X Pure Edition is an Anti-Bloatware Smartphone

The Moto X Pure Edition is the third and latest iteration of the Moto X, and surprisingly priced lower than 2014’s Moto X. It’s the first Motorola phone with which Lenovo has been involved. And the device may become best known for what it doesn’t have rather than for what it does.

Stagefright Update: Your Android Phone May Still be Vulnerable

It looks like Stagefright strikes again. The security bug that preyed upon phones running versions of Android OS between 2.2 and 4, has now reared its head to attack devices running Android 5.0 and above. Joshua J. Drake, Zimperium zLabs vice president of research, has found another security issue in Android called Stagefright 2.0.

LG Launches Smartphone with Multimedia Capabilities

LG has introduced a new smartphone series. Dubbed the V series, this fleet of new mobile devices was launched recently with the unveiling of the LG V10. And the company boasts there are many more “firsts” coming with this newest phone. Perhaps most noteworthy is LG’s claim that the V10 represents the “first” smartphone with “multimedia capabilities never seen in a mobile device.

More 4G for India and Africa? Here’s How Your Business Benefits

Emerging markets such as India and Africa are focused on the potential of high-speed mobile connectivity to boost their economies like never before. As a result, faster 4G connections are rapidly gaining momentum in these markets. For small businesses — including those in the U.S. — this could open a window of exciting opportunities too.

Samsung Will Actually Pay You to Buy This Device

Samsung is literally paying for customers to buy its smartphones. The company is lagging behind Apple in smartphone sales lately and hopes paying the first three months of a new customer’s phone installment payment will sway some people to try one of its devices. The company’s offer lasts until Oct. 16.

Toshiba Upgrades Chromebook 2 With Better Processors

Chromebooks are designed to work out of the box without adding anything else. This has proven to be a very successful delivery model in different segments, but especially in education, where it has seen the highest adoption rates. As a company that makes one of the better Chromebooks, Toshiba has launched the second iteration of its Chromebook 2.

10.2 Inch Tablet Coming From Google: Meet Pixel C

Among the many announcements made at Google’s Nexus event on Tuesday, including two new Nexus phones, the company revealed their all in-house 10.2 inch tablet, the Pixel C. You may recognize the Pixel name. Google released the original Chromebook Pixel several years ago, the newest version having come out earlier this year.

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Amazon Announces WorkMail, Wix Offers Web Design Tools

020915 amazon roundup

Communication is an integral part of running a business. So the tools you choose to handle your business email and other communication methods can make a big difference. New tools from Amazon aimed to fill this need topped the news this week, as did new integration letting Microsoft Office 365 subscribers design better websites. For more headlines from the Small Business Trends news roundup, read on.

Business Tools

Amazon Takes on Google and Microsoft with Amazon WorkMail

Amazon Web Services is hoping to have more of a presence around your office in the near future. In fact, the latest business-aimed product from Amazon could help run most of your office and keep your communications and data encrypted and secure. The company just introduced Amazon WorkMail.

Wix Announces Web Design Tools for Microsoft Office 365

Subscribers to Microsoft’s premium Office 365 business package will now also have access to another service. Wix.com announced Feb. 4, 2015 that its drag and drop Web design tools have been integrated into the Office 365 package. Office 365 offers a full suite of Microsoft tools, including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for multiple users on multiple devices.

Amazon Launches PPC Ads for Authors: First Look

Amazon is offering a new PPC (price per click) program for authors whose books are in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. KDP Select is a program offering perks to authors in exchange for them publishing their digital books exclusively through Kindle. It seems this new advertising program is currently being split tested and the reception has been split as well.

Social Media

Tweets Will Soon Appear Almost Real Time in Google Results

Twitter has struck a deal with Google for tweets to start appearing in Google search results almost real time, according to sources. Bloomberg reports that engineers for both companies are working out the details.

Twitter Mobile Video Upload and Group Messaging Introduced

Twitter has added a pair of new features: direct mobile video uploads and group private messaging. On the surface, they’re worlds apart. But small businesses may be able to make creative use of each of them in upcoming promotions or for staying in contact with customers or co-workers.

Purchase by Commenting on Instagram with Spreesy

Lots of businesses use Instagram as part of their social media promotions. But now you can actually use Instagram as an e-commerce platform. Spreesy is a social commerce solution that allows people to buy and sell items directly on Instagram. Co-founders Spencer Costanzo and Braydon Batungbacal developed the service while working on another project.

Economy

Small Business Job Growth Dips in January

Small businesses added 78,000 jobs from December to January, at a rate faster than the country’s largest companies. That figure comes from the monthly ADP National Employment Report issued Feb. 4, 2015. But it marks a slowdown in growth for small businesses, as it pertains to employment totals.

Small Businesses: Bullish on the Economy

With the current state of the economy, small businesses everywhere are having much more confidence then they have in recent years. The team at Wasp Barcode Technologies was curious as to how SMB leaders plan to grow their business in 2015 and where they are planning to spend their earnings.

Management

Cyber Liability Insurance 101: Make Sure Your Business Is Protected

In recent weeks, we have learned that the electronics and entertainment giant, Sony, is not impervious to e-mail hacks. Just this week, the Twitter and YouTube accounts for the U.S. Central Command were hacked, with many wondering whether ISIS supporters or ISIS sympathizers were to blame.

Protecting Small Business Intellectual Property

Despite the argument made (PDF) by some small business advocates that intellectual property (IP) “is the backbone of America’s innovative small businesses,” small companies are less likely than large ones to believe that legal forms of intellectual property (IP) protection are important to their operations, a National Science Foundation (NSF) survey of U.S. companies reveals.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Margaritas Restaurant Brings Mexican Culture to New England

The food industry has no shortage of Mexican restaurants. But in that saturated market, Margaritas Mexican Restaurant has been able to stand out. The restaurant chain prides itself on using quality ingredients and providing a unique experience to ever diner who visits. Read more about this restaurant and how it’s been able to thrive in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

Startup

A Beer Keurig Machine? SYNEK Draft System is on its Way

The popularity of craft beer continues to be a trend. And the growth of the craft beer industry presents another opportunity for small businesses. The goal is to deliver a high quality, fresh product that customers will love. However getting that high quality beer to the customer’s home can be a challenge for a small brewer.

Exceed Your Indiegogo Goals by 1,000 Percent with These Lessons

Bill Jelen didn’t exactly need to crowdfund his latest book, “MrExcel XL Book – The 40 Greatest Excel Tips of All Time.” But he did see it as a great opportunity to reconnect with his online network.

Entrepreneur’s Evil Glitter Plan Backfires

If you’ve ever used glitter or owned anything glittery, you know how messy it can be. Even months later, you can find little flecks hidden in every corner of your home. So just imagine how much of a mess you’d have on your hands if someone just sent you an envelope full of the sparkly substance. That was the idea behind Mathew Carpenter’s evil plan.

Vintage Toy Collector Turned Passion into “The Underground Lair”

The Underground Lair in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is proving that you can turn just about any passion into a successful business with enough planning and hard work. Collector and business owner Dan Wirth has spent more than forty years gathering and trading memorabilia in everything from Star Wars to Care Bears.

Taxes

Ohio Weighing Major Tax Break For Small Businesses

As a lot of small business owners prepare their 2015 tax returns, it’s always good to hear some positive tax news. This week, Ohio Gov. John Kasich introduced his budget plan for the state for the next two years. In that budget was a call to eliminate income taxes for nearly all small businesses in the state. According to a report from Cleveland.

Technology Trends

Print Photos From Your Phone with the Prynt Smartphone Case

You might take hundreds of photos with your smartphone but do you ever print them? In truth many of the photos taken with a smartphone are never looked at again. The team behind Prynt wanted to make a phone case that could instantly print photos from your phone, anywhere. They are calling it memories you can hold in your hand and give away.

FCC Decision on Net Neutrality Coming Soon

A vote on the way Americans use the Internet — and how much they’ll pay in the future — is less than a month away. The issue is known as net neutrality. And late last year, President Barack Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to draft rules that would regulate broadband Internet access.

Leaked Images/Specs Suggest New HTC M9 Phone Coming in Two Sizes

HTC’s newest flagship smartphone will be coming soon — and it may be coming in two distinctive sizes. The company is reportedly close to introducing the new devices and some information about them seems to have already been leaked. The company has scheduled an event for March 1 in Barcelona, Spain. And it’s believed the event will be used to introduce the new HTC One (M9).

HP in Business Mode With Industry-Specific Tablets, New Convertible

HP was all business when it introduced a truckload of new devices recently. The company added new tablets and 2-in-1s to its line that it says are focused on making businesses more mobile. Some of the devices are running Windows and others are using Android’s operating system. And nearly a handful of them are industry-specific tablets.

VC & Angel Capital

Ringly Raises $5.1 Million to Create More Gadget Jewelry

With ideas like the Smarty Ring winning support in crowdfunding campaigns, the market for smart jewelryhas already been established. But a company called Ringly, also known for a ring that lights up to signal incoming notifications, plans to push that market to the next level.


Amazon App Button Photo via Shutterstock

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New Drone Rules Take Effect, Wix Uses AI to Design Websites, More

shutterstock_327913913

Drones and artificial intelligence are among a handful of exciting tech trends that have consumers excited. But they can also have a big impact on small businesses, as evidenced by some of the top business headlines this week. Read on for those headlines and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Technology Trends

New  FAA Rules for Commercial Drone Use Now In Effect: Here’s What You Need to Know

Heads up: if you are looking to fly a drone for business purposes, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has put into effect new rules for commercial drone use. The announcement came Monday, Aug. 29 at a press conference held by FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx.

7 New Wix Business Sites Designed With Artificial Intelligence

Wix, the popular drag-and-drop website builder, recently unveiled a new tool to make designing websiteseven easier. In fact, with Wix ADI, you don’t even have to do the work yourself. ADI stands for Artificial Design Intelligence.

Stop Looking at My Screen, Bro! HP Sure View Addresses PC Peeping

You go out to Starbucks or another spot to drink your latte and enjoy free WiFi on your laptop, when you notice someone looking at your monitor. At this point you don’t know if it is an innocent glance, or someone that is “shoulder” or “visually hacking” the content that is displayed on your computer. The threat of this type of hacking is very real.

Economy

Survey Says 64 Percent of Small Businesses Expect Growth But Challenges Remain

Regardless of the challenges they face, small businesses are optimistic about their growth, a new study has found. CAN Capital’s 2016 Small Business Health Index (SBHI) reveals 64 percent of small business owners are expecting growth in the next 12 months.

Small  Business Loan Approval Rates at Big Banks Decline, Biz2Credit Index Finds

Turbulence in global markets has made big banks wary of approving small business loans. That’s what the latest Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index (PDF), the monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com has revealed.

Employment

Keep on Truckin’: Transportation and Material Moving Jobs Grow by 190 Percent, Indeed Says

Every day, products, packages and people are criss-crossing the nation on a vast network of highways. And, largely, it’s small businesses getting them here, there and everywhere. According to Indeed, transportation and material moving jobs among small businesses have exploded over the last couple of years.

Capital  One Announces Spark 401k, a Low-Cost, Digitally-Managed Option for Small Businesses

Capital One recently announced the launch of a new retirement savings product designed expressly for small business. The product, Spark 401k, provides low-cost, digitally-managed 401(k)s targeted specifically to companies with one to 100 employees, the company says. It utilizes exchange-traded funds (ETFs), a type of index fund, as the investment instrument.

Marketing Tips

Coca-Cola’s Water Replenishment Effort Succeeds – and Fails (Watch)

Coca-Cola is giving back — water, that is. Ten years ago, the company pledged to replenish all of the water it used in its finished beverages. And it has now completed that goal about five years early. But not everyone is impressed.

What Is Influencer Marketing and How Can It Help My Business?

Influencer marketing is a growing trend and a tactic that you should consider adding to your marketing mix. While it’s unlikely you’ll be hiring Kim Kardashian to represent your brand anytime soon, everyone has some degree of influence, and many will talk about your company, products and services, provided you offer the right incentive.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight:  Bar-B-Clean Franchise Focuses on Cleaning and Maintenance of Barbecue Grills

Barbecue grills can be great for summer gatherings and everyday meals. But they can also get quite dirty and aren’t exactly easy to clean. A few years back, one enterprising entrepreneur decided that this somewhat messy niche could make for a great business opportunity. And Bar-B-Clean was born. Read more about the business below in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Operations

For  Disasters, Cyber Security and More, Millennial Entrepreneurs Seem Best Prepared, Poll Finds

Whether its for disaster recovery, retirement or other business eventualities, Millennial entrepreneurs seem better prepared then their older counterparts, a recent poll finds. Look at Nationwide’s Small Business Indicator survey conducted by Harris Poll of 502 U.S.  small business owners.

DoL Implements Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, But Could It Hurt Small Businesses?

The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council recently issued (PDF) their respective final guidance and regulations to ensure federal contractors better comply with laws that protect their workers’ safety, wages and civil rights.

Social Media

How New Social Network Plum Can Help with Your Business Networking

Plum, short for People Like You and Me, is a community platform that connects individuals with others who share the same interests, passions and concerns. Similar to Facebook or LinkedIn, Plum allows users to discuss ideas and topics openly, join groups and chat with other users privately.

Twitter Will Pay You to Post Video, Up to 70 Percent of Ad Revenue Going to Creators (Watch)

Twitter is going to start splitting ad revenue with content creators who post videos on its platform. The company hopes that this move will make it more competitive with other social platforms like Facebook and YouTube. And actually, Twitter is giving about 70 percent of ad revenue to content creators, making it an even better deal than YouTube.

Facebook Introduces Text, Music Other Features to Slideshow Ads

In a bid to improve its ad features, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has announced a number of improvement to the platform’s Slideshow ads tool. Facebook first announced Slideshow ads last October, launching the program on both Facebook and Instagram.

Startup

Uber Faces Competition From Google’s Waze, But Could There Be Room for Both Services? (Watch)

Google is trying to cut into Uber’s Bay Area business. But its offering is just a bit different. First of all, Google is offering the service through Waze, a popular traffic app among commuters and a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Mobile Technology

Acer Swift 7 and Spin 7 Seem Useful for Mobile Business — If You Don’t Mind the Price

When Apple launched the MacBook Air, it introduced a new level of portability in computing with a very slim form factor and functionality that got everyone’s attention. Although it has taken a while, Acer (TPE:2353) has one upped Apple with the announcement of its new laptop and a two-in-one, called the Swift 7 and Spin 7 respectively, at the IFA 2016 in Berlin.

8 Things Business Users Should Know About the New iPhone 7

It is that time of year again, when the Internet is abuzz with speculations about what Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will add to its latest iPhone. As Sept. 7 fast approaches, everyone seems to have an opinion on the matter regarding what new features should be in the iPhone 7 (assuming that’s what the new device will be called).

Will New Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch Be Business Friendly?

The smartwatch market is picking up traction as manufacturers reassess the design and functionality of their first generation watches with much better versions. Samsung (KRX:005930) is one of the companies that has dramatically improved from the first Gear S to the Gear S2, which has placed some great expectation for the upcoming Gear s3 to be unveiled this week.

Xiaomi Introduces Latest Example of Cheap Smartphone Trend with Redmi Note 4

The continuing trend of full-featured and cheap Chinese smartphones is disrupting the segment, as the sales of premium flagship brands keeps declining. While the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 is not as cheap as the ZTE Zmax, which came in at $99, its $239.99 and $179.99 price tags are still considerably lower than the high-end versions.

Garmin Changes Smartwatch from Geek Gadget to Status Symbol

Smartwatches are still somewhat of a niche product, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from creating premium versions with some hefty price tags. The Fenix Chronos by Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) takes the proven and highly acclaimed functionality of the  company’s Fenix 3 line of smartwatches and adds some luxury for high-end customers. The adoption rate of smartwatches is growing.

Samsung  Notebook 7 Spin Seems Pricey for Business But May Be Good for Road Warriors

Samsung’s new laptop/tablet hybrid may be the best option for full time digital nomads and entrepreneurs living out of their suitcase. Or you may just be a techie that wants the option of a standard laptop combined with the convenience of a tablet.

This Device Claims to Turn Your iPhone into a 360 Degree VR Camera

Expectations for virtual reality are obviously quite high. And those expectations among content creators have led companies to introduce products aimed at helping to create content in the new format. Creators of the Insta360 ha done this in a unique way.

Drone Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Professional Photographers: Wix Pro Gallery is Designed for Your Business

Wix Pro Gallery gives Professional Photographers Their Own Photography Website Builder

Wix.com Ltd. (Nasdaq:WIX) — a cloud-based web development platform with over 88 million users around the world — has announced the global release of Wix Pro Gallery, a tool that will provide advanced functionality for photographers to create professional photographer portfolio websites.

With the new Wix Pro Gallery, professional photographers can now access useful image rendering solutions and controls for uploading and managing image quality online, while creating their gallery exactly the way they want and making their portfolio business sites look stunning, the company says.

Pro Gallery Turns Wix into a Photography Website Builder

According to the web development company that enables users to create HTML5 websites and mobile sites using easy drag and drop tools, the aim of developing Wix Pro Gallery is to provide millions of photographers and designers with “unequaled creative control and flexibility for their photographs.”

“Wix Pro Gallery is the latest development in our mission to deliver a visionary platform to our more than 88 million users around the world. With this latest development we further emphasize that Wix is quite simply the best place for creative people to showcase their work,” said Omer Shai, CMO of Wix.

“Photographers require specific display functionality to present their professional images and we are thrilled to have delivered the solution,” added Shai in the release announcing the new feature. “Understanding the design needs of our customers drives our technology to provide unparalleled solutions.”

Solutions to Exhibit Images in the Highest Quality Online

Professional photographers can not only use Wix Pro Gallery to showcase their images, videos and text all in one beautiful gallery on their photography website, but also use the tool’s advanced image settings to protect their online images from being copied without permission, says the company. The galleries themselves are easily customized with colorful text boxes and auto-play videos, and they are sharable.

Check out the video below for more information on how Wix Pro Gallery could help you improve the product and presentation side of your photography business.

“Professional photographers and designers create amazing art and spend time perfecting it with professional tools on their desktop. When these images are placed on the web quality can be compromised,” noted Ronny Elkayam, head of Wix Photography. “The Wix Pro Gallery addresses this by providing the most professional gallery tools available on the web. With advanced image settings, photographers control the quality and sharpness of each photo. Images are secured with built-in protections and are reproduced perfectly on any device, including mobile.”

Key features of Wix Pro Gallery to look out for if you run a photography business include:

  • Advanced Image Settings. Users can present their images in the highest quality online, with full control over image quality and image sharpness at site, gallery and image level.
  • High Performance. Users are able to display thousands of high-quality images and videos without compromising website performance.
  • Mobile Optimization. User photos are optimized to the highest quality per mobile device and operating system, so images look amazing on any mobile device, the company says.
  • Right-Click Protection. Users are assured that images are safe from right-click downloads.
  • Easy Share and Engage. Users can choose to let their site visitors pick their favorite photos, and share them in a click.
  • Video and Text. Users can customize their gallery with auto-play videos and colorful text boxes.

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