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Business and marketing trends to look out for in 2015
Forbes
Software and tech predictions have been the talk of IT town for a good bit of time, particularly when 2014 came to a close. Despite the fact that predictions are just that — predictions — and may either come to fruition or not, they point businesses in the right direction in terms of the trends to watch out for in their respective fields. The folks over at Cloudswave, a ranking site for cloud based business software solutions helped me put some of these predictions together and provided some of the research for this article.
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For more information on these SPPA events, go to www.sunbeltppa.org.


INDUSTRY NEWS


Should your business be on Snapchat?
By Emma Fitzpatrick
Since Snapchat announced their new Discover feature that highlights brands, the number of businesses and media moguls joining the app seems to have skyrocketed. And it makes sense. If your brand is thinking about using Snapchat, you need to create an account right now to be seen a thought leader. Wait any longer, and you'll be just another follower joining the game too late. But before you add another social media platform to your marketing arsenal, make sure it's worth your time. Take this short quiz to find out.
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Google launches small-business initiative
USA TODAY
In 1995, when volunteers came together in Missoula, Montana, to build a carousel to give the community a place for "good, old-fashioned fun," customers had to use old-fashioned methods, like telephone books, to find it. The Internet was in its infancy, and a small business like A Carousel for Missoula didn't have to worry about how it showed up in search engines and social media. Now, if a small business isn't found when a customer searches on the map of their mobile phone or through the Web, they may never be discovered at all.
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Bizness Apps is another way to manage your business from your phone
VentureBeat
Many small businesses may wonder why they need a computer. Today, Bizness Apps is giving them another reason to wonder, with the launch of its first mobile app product, Skipper. The San Francisco-based company offers a Web-based dashboard that allows a small business to readily create an app for its customers, like a restaurant offering a reservation-making app to its regulars.
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How to up your small business' cash flow — fast
Entrepreneur
Of the many challenges that small businesses face, the vast majority cite cash flow as one of the biggest roadblocks to running a successful and growing enterprise. About 60 percent of them fail for this reason alone. The flow of capital in and out of a business is an inevitable part of operating, but there are ways to prepare for working capital gaps. Here, the most common root causes of such cash-flow gaps and tips to remedy the situations.
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How a small business can automate social media and PR
Forbes
Small businesses feel at a disadvantage when it comes to creating an effortless social media and PR plan that engages with a target audience and has an actual ROI. It's a daunting task, and most small businesses end up throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. Trust me, it ain’t pretty. However, it can be done with some simple best practices and some strategic planning.
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The giant marketing opportunity you're missing
Entrepreneur
As the attention span of your target customer shrinks, it becomes increasingly difficult to get your message to them. Even if they happen to visit your site, they may not stay for long. A poorly designed homepage could end your relationship on the spot — which is why this one marketing trick can make all the difference. You can quickly create a behavior flow on your site that leads viewers right to your brand story, just by adding a prominent link to your "Frequently Asked Questions" page.
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New Facebook marketer tools: 'Blueprint,' 'Learn How,' ad copy cheat sheet
SocialTimes
Facebook announced three new tools for marketers: Blueprint, for agencies and larger brands; Learn How, geared toward smaller businesses; and an ad copy cheat sheet. Blueprint is available to all Facebook users in English via desktop and mobile, and it is aimed at helping agencies, partners and marketers craft ad campaigns on the social network that drive business results. Online courses, in-person training and certification are part of Blueprint, which covers topics including campaign optimization, video on Facebook and measurement.
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Small businesses struggle with health care law
USA TODAY
Complying with the health care law is costing small businesses thousands of dollars that they didn't have to spend before the new regulations went into effect. Brad Mete estimates his staffing company, Affinity Resources, will spend $100,000 this year on record-keeping and filing documents with the government. Mete has hired two extra staffers and is spending more on services from its human resources provider.
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