GoDaddy Launches Get Found, Google Takes Hit on Motorola Sale

reading small business

There’s big news every week that can affect your business. The Small Business Trends editorial team makes sure you get it all. Here’s our weekly roundup:

New or Rebranded Services

GoDaddy launches Get Found. GoDaddy launches Get Found as a new feature. It’s actually an evolved version of a technology GoDaddy acquired last year. We now see it put to use so large and small business can get attention on the Web.

Microsoft renames SkyDrive. Microsoft’s cloud service will soon be called OneDrive. The change is the result of an infringement suit filed by UK broadcaster BSkyB.

Acquisitions

Google Takes $9.5 Billion Hit on Motorola. In case you haven’t heard yet, Google has announced intentions to sell Motorola to Lenovo. And the company took a big hit on the deal when you consider what the company paid for this business in the first place. But there’s another side to the story.

ThinkHR Acquires HR That Works. Actually the two companies claim it’s more of a merger. HR That Works Founder Steve Phin takes a position on the ThinkHR management team and a lot of the two companies’ resources are combined.

Social Media

Twitter is planning eCommerce move. The microblogging platform is apparently in talks with payment processing startup Stripe to handle the back end. But PayPal was also reportedly considered.

Is Tumblr traffic leveling out? Of course, we’re talking about active users here, not accounts, which sources say are still increasing. Still, Tumblr says reports trying to count their active users are missing the mark.

Now, animate your Pinterest with GIFs. They are popular files on many sites including social media these days. And now Pinterest has decided to support them too. So how will this change the site’s dynamic?

Grants

Get your Google grants. If you’re a non-profit, that is. Amanda DiSilvestro provides more information on the funding that’s available from the tech giant and how your non-profit can access it.

12 grant recipients celebrate. These businesses received $250,000 each, a combined $3 million in funding, from Chase’s Mission Main Street Grants. But they’ll also be traveling to Google headquarters in California for a course to help market their businesses better.

Security

There’s a new contender for worst password. In this  case, making the list is no honor. It indicates your password was weak enough to have already been guessed by hackers. Fortunately, there are some suggestions for making your pass code stronger.

Linksys offers cameras for your small business. If you’re responsible for security at your business, these cameras may interest you. Small Business Trends publisher Anita Campbell has more on the new Linksys products.

Finance

Dealing with Chinese currency fluctuation. If your small business deals with Chinese partners or vendors, be aware. Fluctuations in the exchange between the two currencies can add to the costs. Small Business Trends publisher Anita Campbell reports on some solutions.

Profiles

Speedzone Performance built from a passion for premium parts. We profiled this Florida business in our first Small Business Spotlight sponsored by iCIMS, provider of talent acquisition solutions for growing businesses.

Reading Photo via Shutterstock

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Because It’s Our Birthday: 30 Under 30 Becomes 35 Under 35

(from left) Gary Solomon Jr., Solomon Group; Ben Conniff and Luke Holden, Luke

To mark Inc. Magazine’s 35th anniversary, we’ve broadened our search for the coolest young founders to include those under age 35.

Inc. magazine is turning 35 years old this year! To commemorate the occasion–and to let down our ever-so-slightly graying hair–we’re revamping our annual 30 Under 30 Coolest Entrepreneurs list. For this year only, we’re welcoming applications from those under age 35.

While slightly older founders are now free invited to participate in the publication’s annual search for the next Mark Zuckerberg or Aaron Levie, the other criteria remain the same: We’re looking for young(ish), smart and disruptive entrepreneurs who can prove they’ve got a business with traction and verve.

In addition to bragging rights for life, winners may be featured in Inc. magazine or on the publication’s award-winning website.

But we’re not just handing out this honor out. Applicants (who must be 35 or younger at the time of application) will be reviewed by a panel of judges. The final list will be announced at the end of June. Think you have what it takes?

Check out previous winners and judges. For eligibility requirements and to apply, click here. But hurry, you only have until February 21st to enter.


    



Dot-Com Era Coupons.com Files for IPO. It’s About Time

Even without profits, the digital coupon provider hopes to raise $100 million on the public markets.

Dot-com era Coupons.com is hoping its days of clipping, well, coupons is over. The 16-year-old online coupon company today filed for its initial public offering to raise up to $100 million.

The site, founded in 1998, delivers digital coupons from 2,000 brands and more than 700 package-goods companies to consumers on the Web and via mobile phones and social media.

But like fellow newcomer to the public markets, Twitter, which filed for its public offering in November, Coupons.com is not profitable. The move could be a sign of investors’ increased willingness to take a chance on other companies that haven’t yet posted profits.

It’s also seen significant losses recently. On its S-1 form, it reported a net loss of $12 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2013, a decrease of nearly 75 percent for the same period in 2012. For the full year 2012, it reported a loss of $59 million, a 98 percent increase compared to the full year 2011.

The company’s losses come with revenue of $115 million for the first nine months of 2013, about double the revenue for the same period a year earlier. For the full year 2012, Coupons.com reported revenue of $112 million, an increase of 23 percent compared to same period a year earlier.

Coupons.com was founded by its current president and chief executive officer, Steven R. Boal. He owns about 11 percent of the company, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing, and collects a salary of about $450,000.

Coupons.com plans to sell 157 million shares, but by late afternoon Friday it had not listed an opening share price. An internal company valuation performed in November, 2013 determined that common stock at the time would be worth about $10 a share. Using that valuation, the company value would be about $1.5 billion currently.

Coupons.com will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol COUP. The lead underwriter is Goldman Sachs.


    



Carl Banks Talks Starter Jackets, Being in Business with The Breakfast Club

Starter is back, and with the Super Bowl festivities in full swing, former NFL star Carl Banks, the proprietor behind the resurgence of the Starter Brand, is getting some nice publicity leading up to the big game.

Our partners, The Shadow League, conducted an interview with Mr. Banks in October.

From the Shadow League:

If you’re between the ages of say, 30 and 42, you likely have fond memories of the Starter athletic company. Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Starter was a hot ticket. It dominated the fashion marketplace and became synonymous with edgy streetwear, dope sports teams and hip-hops rise into the mainstream understanding. For kids back then, a Starter jacket in 1990 is akin to rocking a Louis Vuitton joint nowadays. You wore it with confidence everywhere you went.

However, by the mid ‘90s the label had grown tired, unable to keep up with the burgeoning labels dominating the tastes of young folks. Starter essentially vanished into the ether, only worn by oldheads who never got rid of their original jackets.

For anyone with positive thoughts about Starter’s history, the last few months have been promising. Starter is back, with new styles and materials, and is poised to reclaim some of the market share lost nearly 20 years ago. Carl Banks, former Giants LB extraordinaire and president of sports apparel firm G-III, is the person in charge of marshaling Starter’s revival. We spoke to Banks recently about the future of the brand.

“Starter is more than just an athletic brand,” Mr. Banks told the Shadow League last fall. “It is a true lifestyle brand that resonates with our sports fan and style conscious consumer. Our re-launch centers on the iconic Starter satin jacket and pullover breakaway styles with updated and modernized silhouettes – allowing the jackets to fit true to size.”

Watch the video below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Chobani’s 1,400-Pound Super Bowl Bet

For Chobani’s first Super Bowl spot, the yogurt brand partnered with ad agency Droga5. Here’s an inside look at how the ad came together.

The Broncos and the Seahawks won’t be the only ones facing off during this weekend’s Super Bowl. On Sunday, Oikos and Chobani, two of the country’s top Greek yogurt brands, will also be going head to head in an advertising battle that some are calling the “yogurt wars.”

Of course, Dannon, the multibillion global conglomerate that owns Oikos, has done this all before. This year, it’s pulling out all the stops with an ad that features spokesman John Stamos, as well as his Full House castmates Bob Saget and Dave Coulier, which has already led to a slew of pre-Super Bowl enthusiasm about the spot.

For Chobani, on the other hand, this is a first. Not only has the company never produced a Super Bowl commercial, but it never even had a chief marketing officer before August. What’s more, the creative agency Chobani picked, Droga5, has never produced a Super Bowl commercial, either (though it did come up with this brilliant marketing campaign for Newcastle beer about not advertising at the Super Bowl. If you haven’t watched it yet, do it).

Needless to say, on the one day of the year when consumers actually want to watch commercials, competition for these two newcomers is bound to be stiff. I spoke with Pete McGuinness, Chobani’s new CMO, as well as Droga5 creative directors Rick Dodds and Steve Howell to find out how they brought the finished product–an ad about a discerning bear ransacking a rural grocery store in its quest for something natural to eat–to fruition.

How It Started

“I was hired August 1st, and on August 2nd, I knew we had to do the Super Bowl,” says McGuinness. Chobani, interestingly enough, is the country’s No. 1 yogurt brand in terms of market share, but it has only 37 percent brand awareness. “I knew we had to go for a big awareness push,” McGuinness says. “The Super Bowl’s a no-brainer in terms of driving awareness.”

So he launched a search for an advertising agency, a competitive bid that took until early September. Every pitch was better than the next, making McGuinness’s decision a tough one, but it was Droga5 that stole his heart with its proposal to base the ad, and Chobani’s other ads going forward, around the theme How Matters, to reflect the fact that Chobani is unique in its dedication to natural ingredients.

“We loved it from the moment we heard it,” McGuinness says. “There aren’t a lot of ‘how’ brands out there, because the ‘how’ could be pretty scary. You definitely don’t want to know how a hot dog’s made, but for us, we actually can go heavy on the ‘how.’”

Dodds and Howell say the concept came easily to Droga5′s creative team, which, in their line of business, is refreshing. “We spend most of our careers looking at products and trying to figure out what to say about them,” says Dodds. “With Chobani, they already have a great thing to say.”

Celebrity or Bear Cameo?

Once Droga5 landed the contract, it had about a month to pull a storyboard together for the advertsement itself. The biggest challenge, Dodds says, was trying to deliver a serious message about the way food is made on one of the most gluttonous days of the year. “Let’s face it, more chicken wings are probably consumed during the Super Bowl than any other day,” he says. “Trying to talk about why health matters, you risk being a party pooper. We had to do it in a way that would still be entertaining.”

The team began researching the grocery market and found startling statistics about the amount of processed food in the average grocery-store aisle. “There’s very little that’s actually natural,” says Dodds, adding that Chobani is, in most places, one of a handful of options.

Unlike Chobani’s competitors, McGuinness says he wasn’t interested in a celebrity endorsement. “Celebrities feel like borrowed equity,” he says. “We’re not opposed to it down the line, but we wouldn’t start there. This is the first expression of who we are and why ‘how’ matters.”

It wasn’t long after that that Dodds and Howell began tossing around the idea of featuring a bear in the spot. “Bears are famed for eating everything and anything,” Dodds says. “So a great device for us to use would be to show a bear doing the opposite, because it’s not actually natural food a bear would eat.”

The final storyline shows a bear tearing a grocery store to pieces, only to walk away with a Chobani honey yogurt, plucked from a shelf full of Chobani yogurt, the only items in the store the bear doesn’t destroy. Chobani bought the idea on the spot. Better yet, it bought the second option, a more sophisticated (and not yet released) concept, for the Oscars.

The 1,400-Pound Question

With the storyboard approved, all that was left was to make the thing. Neither McGuinness nor Droga5 is willing to share the budget they were working with, but they did hire Homeland star Mandy Patinkin to do the voice-over. Droga5 also found a real 1,400-pound bear to feature in the spot. “We wanted to make sure the authentic qualities we’re associating with Chobani came through in our work,” says Dodds. “We wanted the bear to be real and for it to feel cinematic, not slapstick or cheap.”

In the end, though, Dodds says, the most important thing to accomplish with a Super Bowl ad is not to inform or even impress, but to entertain. “You can’t take an audience like that and bore them,” he says. “There’s so much great advertising out there; you have to be memorable.”

So, did Chobani score a touchdown with its first foray into game day? See for yourself:


    



Personal Finance Word of the Day: Data Breach

Shred, don’t toss, important papers. Any sensitive documents that won’t be going with you should be shred, not just thrown into a trash can. Identity thieves often go “dumpster diving” to find information or get paperwork they can use to illegally open accounts in your name.

You’ve likely heard this term more often since the media attention swirling around the data breach at Target. But what exactly is a data breach?

According to technology site Techopedia, a data breach involves “the unauthorized or illegal viewing, access or retrieval of data by an individual, application or service. It is a type of security breach specifically designed to steal and/or publish data to an unsecured or illegal location.”

So, in a nutshell, the goal of the thief is to steal your data and then move it to another location so that they can carry on illegal activity for their benefit. Two other common names for a data breach are “data leak” or “data spill.”

A data breach does not have to be digital. A scammer can also obtain data through stealing paper documents. This is why it is very important not to leave sensitive information in your trash can. Your shredder is your friend.

How To Deal With The Extra Cost of Chinese Currency Fluctuations

Chinese-Currency

It’s the Chinese New Year, and 2014 is the year of the Horse.

If your small business works with Chinese companies, there are some things to know.

Although we often think of Chinese currency as the Yuan, the official name is the Renminbi (RMB).  Use of RMB currency is growing.

According to November and December SWIFT data, the RMB has broken into the top ten most-used currencies for payments.

But if you do business with China, exchanges between the dollar and this Chinese currency may bring risks.

According to Alfred Nader, vice president of corporate strategy and development at Western Union Business Solutions, there are some things you can do to decrease the financial risk of currency fluctuations. Here are three strategies:

Pay Chinese vendors and partners in RMB instead of U.S. dollars.

“Our research shows that one in five Chinese suppliers add roughly 3-4% to invoices to cover FX risk, which is eliminated with RMB payments,” says Nader. Knowing this, U.S. businesses can look to negotiate a discount with their Chinese suppliers by asking if they want to be paid in RMB, he adds.

Lock in exchange rates for as long as 9 months.

This creates stability on small business’ balance sheets.  When you know your expense levels, you can more accurately forecast.

Use the offer to pay in RMB to open a dialogue.

You can initiate a conversation to change terms and improve business relationships, when you raise the currency issue.  By meeting the other side partway, you begin an important and potentially profitable dialogue.

Chinese currency photo via Shutterstock

The post How To Deal With The Extra Cost of Chinese Currency Fluctuations appeared first on Small Business Trends.

5 Good Reasons You’re a Prime Job Candidate … And Don’t Even Know It

(Image: Thinkstock)

It can be easy to look at the negative aspects of job-seeking, from the stress to the high unemployment rate to the seemingly ridiculous expectations of prospective employers. But there is a silver lining in it all. As a matter of fact, there are several.

Many job seekers have awesome qualities that are great to leverage during a job interview, and it’s vital to know what those qualities are. It’s best to know yourself and your strengths so that you can market your skills accordingly.

Take a look at five marketable aspects of your awesomeness that could led to job leads and employment gains, via Brazen Careerist:

1. You have multipotentiality: Basically, you possess an skill set that is above average, even exceptional.

2. You possess high sensitivity and perceptivity: The way you process sensory data is incredible.

3. You have an nsatiable appetite for knowledge: You are inquisitive, thoughtful and like to know the answers to questions or problems.

4. You’re a perfectionist: Your standards are high and when you care about something, you give it more than 100% effort.

5. You embrace entelechy: You have a need “to evolve and focus on your highest goals.”

Pre-Grad is the New Post-Grad: 5 Benefits to Building Your Brand While Still In College

(Image: Thinkstock)

College students are no longer waiting until after they walk across the stage to venture out into the professional world. They are building brands, starting businesses, and cultivating their careers in-between classes. Giving a whole new meaning to the phrase young professional!

Two-thirds, more than 2,000, of U.S. colleges and universities currently offer a course in entrepreneurship; it’s no wonder students are ditching the tradition, internship, route and going into business for themselves. Companies like Facebook and FedEx we restarted while their founders were still in college and have grown to become household names.This proves there is great growth potential in college start ups. Whether your kick-starting your brand with a blog or developing a new app, here’s why getting your ducks in a row pre-degree works:

1. Resources: You have access to vast research databases, high-tech equipment and professional software that could aid in developing and growing your brand. College campuses are full of resources that are hard to find elsewhere. Starting a blog or YouTube series? Think unlimited access to Photoshop and iMovie. Not only is software and technology at your fingertips but the staff are on campuses are there to educate you on how to get the best use out of them. Sweet deal!

2. Built-in brain trust: So you’re starting up a business or building your professional brand, and you have no clue how to tackle your plan? That required ECON 201 class didn’t exactly touch on market research, and you need some help piecing your ideas together? You’re in luck! College campuses have a built-in brain trust called faculty and staff. Professors,administrators and researchers who work at colleges and universities are usually well-versed in their professions and have many years of experience. They’re there to help you, so pick their brains. Being in college affords you the convenience of being able to walk right into that Business & Economics building to get your questions answered by a professor of entrepreneurship. That definitely beats hours of searching the Web for a business plan template!

3. Direct access to the consumer: If your brand or business is geared toward a demographic that includes college aged individuals, then a college campus is a goldmine of opportunity for you. You are literally surrounded by thousands of potential investors, consumers and clients! Being on campus with so many potential consumers is a great opportunity to introduce a large group of people to your productor business. Like any college campus, word travels fast and before you know it you have a bunch of inquiries. A Campus is a great place to get feedback as well. Large companies pay big bucks for consumer feedback. All you’ve got to do is recruit a diverse group of your peers and maybe offer them pizza for their participation.

4. Discounted promotion: Marketing and promotion is vital to growing any business.However, major television, radio and magazine ads can be a very costly expense for a budding brand or business. However, most college campuses have their own radiostations, newspapers and television stations that students can promote through for littleto no cost. Picture a feature on your business plastered across the front page of yourschools paper. Imagine your schools radio station inviting students and locals to attendyour business’ launch event? Awesome, right? Not to mention, academic departmentsand schools also enjoy boasting about their stellar students. Getting your business ashout out on your department’s homepage will only take place in college. Did I mentionall this promotion is virtually FREE?

5. Office and event space: Looking for an office that’s sans-roommate or a space to host your website launch? Look no further than campus! Universities and Colleges offer their students free or discounted event and office spaces. That’s virtually nonexistent outside of a college campus, there would be rent, property taxes and decorating budgets galore. There’s absolutely no downside to a free space to host mixers, meetings, events and promo. The money saved by not having to reserve an event space could be put back into the business.

Shelby Ivey Christie is a lifestyle and entertainment journalist and founder of Bombshells in Business, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower undergraduate students in entrepreneurship via events, Web resources and networking.  It also hosts internship and career prep workshops and fairs. A fab fashionista with a passion for style trends and shopping, her insights and works have been seen in W Magazine, Charlotte Style Magazine, QCityMetro, and Charlotte Business Journal.