New Microsoft, Skype Tools Make Small Business Headlines

skype-weekend-featured

Businesses looking to upgrade some of their communication tools got good news this week. Microsoft introduced a new CRM tool for small businesses. And Skype introduced new messaging features to its mobile app as well.

You can read about these updates and more in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Technology Trends

Microsoft Introduces CRM for Small Businesses with Outlook Customer Manager

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has just introduced a new Customer relationship management (CRM) tool for small businesses called Outlook Customer Manager. The release Follows the launch of the new customer scheduling tool Bookings earlier this year. In a post on its official Office Blogs, Microsoft’s outlook team describes the tool as, ‘”Relationships made easy for small businesses.

Skype Preview 11.9 Introduces New Messaging and Other Features

You can now enjoy more features on Skype following the release of Skype Preview 11.9. The new version includes with the SMS relay feature that allows you to send and receive text messages through Skype. To activate SMS relay, go into your Skype Preview on your Windows 10 smartphone and click on settings. Select “Make Skype your default messaging app.

Budget  Conscious Business Users, Apple Announces Price Cuts On Adapters, Accessories

The replacement of its I/O ports with USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3 support is not going well at all with new MacBook Pro owners. This has led Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to cut the price of the USB-C adapters that will be necessary to connect their peripherals to the new laptops.

Unique Product Cubetto Teaches Preschoolers Coding

As the line separating the digital and physical world continues to blur, learning the language that brings them together has become an important asset. Coding is now being taught to very young children, and Cubetto is a toy robot designed to teach the principles of coding while having fun.

Economy

Trump and Small Businesses: They Went for Him Bigly. Now What?

A majority of small business owners favored Donald Trump in the Presidential election. That’s according to data from pollster Richard Baris, senior editor and analyst at People’s Pundit Daily (PPD).  PPD is  a polling organization which claims to have been the most accurate 2016 election poll.

6 Things Your Small Business Must Do to Get Ready for New Overtime Rule

The Department of Labor’s new overtime rule, which raises the annual salary threshold for exempt employees from $23,660 to $47,476, goes into effect Thursday, December 1, 2016. Unprepared businesses are scrambling to make changes to avoid detrimental overtime and noncompliance expenses and fines.

Marketing Tips

Forget Cups or Pens, The Next Big Promotional Item? Smartphone Coasters!

Though not the very first smartphone stand in the market, the new smartphone coaster by NewPCGadgets is sure going to turn lots of heads. The new smartphone coaster, made off clear acrylic surface, allows you to engrave your company’s name or logo for visibility.

69  Percent of Small Businesses Use Online, Offline Marketing Mix, Vistaprint Digital Survey Finds

A new study released today suggests that more than half small businesses surveyed continue to mix it up when it comes to using both offline and online marketing in their campaigns. Small business owners and managers often wrestle with the question of which is the best marketing strategy when it comes to online vs. offline marketing.

Retail Trends

Denver Restaurants and Bars Get Unique Opportunity to Stand Out – Thanks to Marijuana (Watch)

If you’re headed to a bar or restaurant in Denver anytime soon, you might be able to consume more than just food and drink. After a ballot measure passed in the recent election, Denver became the first city to allow marijuana use at restaurants and bars.

Election, Ecommerce Impact Holiday Shopping Predictions for 2016

As Thanksgiving approaches, retailers across the country are gearing up for the busiest time of their year: the holiday shopping season. If you’re wondering where shoppers be spending their money, what they want to buy, and which promotions will work best to attract them, then check out the holiday shopping predictions for 2016 below.

Shopify Merchants Get New Fulfillment Service with Shyp in Four Major Cities

Shipping solution Shyp announced today that it will provide on-demand order fulfillment services to Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) merchants in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Services include order pickup scheduling, pick and pack parcels and fulfillment management, all managed from the Shyp mobile app.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: WorkshopBank Provides Team Building Resources

Team building is an important consideration for any business. But it can be difficult for some entrepreneurs, trainers and facilitators to even figure out where to start. That’s where WorkshopBank comes in. WorkshopBank is an online community that provides information, techniques and resources for trainers and businesses that need help with things like team building.

Small Business Operations

Bench Gives Your Business a Virtual Bookkeeping Team

Bench is an online bookkeeping service for small businesses. Its founder, Ian Crosby, started out keeping books for a technology company during college. It didn’t take long before his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, and he realized that much of what was involved in bookkeeping could be automated.

USPS Proposes Increases in Mailing and Shipping Rates for 2017

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has proposed to increase rates for it’s mailing and shipping services for 2017. This comes on the heels of FedEx and UPS also recently announcing shipping rate increases. USPS made its new price proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) late last month.

Startup

93 Percent of Veterans Claim Interest in Business Mentoring, Report Says

Veterans are interested in mentoring civilian employees, a new report has found. And this is just one  reason they make perfect employees for your small business. According to the America’s Heroes at Work: The Veteran Hiring Report, 93 percent of veterans are willing to serve as a mentor to a civilian employee.

UPS  President of Global Affairs Appointed to Business Advisory Council for Africa

UPS (NYSE:UPS), a major partner for small businesses including many ecommerce merchants, will soon have a major voice in developing business relationships between the U.S. and Africa.

Hey  Cannabis Entrepreneurs, Recreational Marijuana Use Approved in Four More States

Last Tuesday, voters in four more states elected to legalize recreational marijuana use: California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. Arizona had a similar legislation measure on the ballot, but voters rejected it by a margin of 52 to 48 percent. Medical marijuana use also increased, with Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota approving initiatives.

Image: Skype

[“source-smallbiztrends”]