Helpful Tools for Small Businesses – Apps & Websites

I have been collecting information about a wealth of helpful tools for small businesses – some of which are apps, and some of which are websites. Because small businesses are always concerned about cost, my reviews will focus on the helpful tools that have a free basic version, but that can be upgraded as your business expands.

Here’s a look at three of the tools I’ve been looking at (and using) over the past few months.

Ripl

Ripl is an app that helps you create animated images to promote your business. There is a free basic service, which includes a limited number of templates and font/color options. The animated images are created as short MOV files, which can then be uploaded to your social media profiles, or put on a website. Continue reading

“Do the Essential” – and other advice from Valley in Berlin 2017

Valley in Berlin 2017, hosted by Scout24, brought together close to 400 professionals in Berlin’s startup industry for a day of talks, pitches, and networking. There were many speakers whose words I found valuable and inspiring. One thread that connected several of the presentations was the importance of “fluid intelligence” in the new economy – the ability to use past experience to apply to new problems.

It’s not just a matter of individuals needing fluid intel to bring all of their experience and knowledge into the new economy. It’s a matter of vital importance to corporations that have been around for decades, and who must adapt to the new marketplace with either new products or new uses for the products they know how to make. Scout24 is an example of this, itself: it began as an online classified marketplace but has moved into creating a networked marketplace – “to inspire people’s best decisions.” Christian Bubenheim, Senior Vice President of AutoScout24, said in his remarks that this has come to include inspiring innovation not only within larger companies, but also from outside the companies, arising from the needs of the marketplace. Continue reading

How I Get to Know My Client’s Unique Voice

Do you remember when the theatrical show STOMP hit the scene in the early ‘90s and – suddenly – every advertisement had the same percussive stomping audio track? No matter whether it was cars or sports shoes (maybe even bathroom cleaner?), for a while there, it seemed like one advertising agency was using the same ad format and sound for all of its clients.

For businesses that create content for other businesses, how do you avoid having all of your clients’ materials sound exactly the same? Continue reading

Viva Tech in Berlin Panelists Talk European Startup Growth

From time to time, I report on business events I attend in Berlin, most of which focus on the startup community.

On 9 March 2017, Viva Technology hosted a panel at Factory Berlin to discuss Growth for European Startups. The panel was moderated by Tolgay Azman, editor-in-chief of Business Punk, and the panelists were

  • KATHARINA LÜTH (Weltsparen/Raisin)
  • JOHN FRIJTERS (ReWalk Robotics)
  • ANTON WAITZ (Project A)
  • JULIE RANTY (Viva Technology)
  • MAXIME BAFFERT (Viva Technology)

Much of the discussion revolved around differences between the major European cities with respect to startup culture, activities, and investment. According to Ranty, France expects 3 more unicorns to emerge from its ecosystem, which they anticipate will grow following the Brexit. However, Lüth concedes that London will need to lose a lot of startups to become weaker than Berlin or Paris. Continue reading

Stand out from Competitors by Taking Your Own Stock Photos

Nowadays, instead of pictures being worth 1000 words, social media has come to rely on pictures having space for at least a handful of words.

I’ve seen a lot of discussions lately on use of images to catch the eyes of people scrolling by on Facebook or Twitter. Many of those discussions also warn about the danger of scooping images off the internet and using them in your own posts. Ask my friend about that danger. He had to pay a sizable sum to Getty Images because he made that blunder last year. Now, he himself takes many of the photos he uses for his business.

There are many sites where you can access free images, but I’m not here to talk about those. One of the problems I’ve noticed with those sites is that you start to see the same image in posts by dozens of other people. Continue reading

What’s the difference between a home page and a landing page?

The term “landing page” appears frequently when folks talk about online advertising and sales. But how does it differ from your website’s home page?

Home Page

A home page is the front page of your website. It’s what visitors see when they type in your URL. It introduces visitors to your business, and provides a clear selection of navigation tools – such as the tab bar across the top – so that a visitor can find specific information they want about your products or services. Continue reading

Alternatives to Translating Your Entire Website

I’m going to let you in on a big secret: Not every business needs to translate its entire website in order to reach customers that don’t speak their native language.

It’s true.

On a sheet of paper, make a list in one column for all of the pages on your website. Each of these pages is a way to reach out to customers, right? Do you have some landing pages online? Include those, too. Continue reading