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Best Carry On Luggage for Business Travel

If you travel for business, then a good carry on bag is a must. Currently, you’re allowed to carry bags measuring up to 9 inches deep, 14 inches wide and 22 inches high onto commercial flights with most U.S. airlines. Best Carry on Luggage for Business Travel There are plenty of different styles, brands and special features to choose from. So if you’re in the market for new carry on luggage for your business travels, here are some of the top options to choose from. AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage For a solid rolling carry on without a lot of flare, this suitcase from AmazonBasics includes a protective shell, lined dividers and double spinner wheels for easy transport. At $50, you can get a size that’s TSA-approved. Or you can purchase a matching set for those times when you need a bit more space. Travelpro Maxlite International Spinner Suitcase Another solid option, this rolling suitcase from Travelpro features spinning wheels and an expandable polyester exterior that’s also stain-resistant. You can also customize the height of the handle for comfortable transport. It normally retails for $260. TravelCross Boston Carry On Lightweight Hardshell Spinner Luggage For a lightweight options that still keeps your belongings protected, this TravelCross roller is just 19 inches tall and includes a separate compartment for you to keep your laptop or tablet. You can get it for just under $70. Bluboon Ladies Canvas Weekender Bag For a feminine option with some style, this shoulder bag from Blueboon is sized as a carry on and comes in a number of colors and patterns. For $35, it’s large enough to carry your laptop and a couple of clothing items and toiletries for a quick business trip. Kenneth Cole Fifth Avenue Metallic Carry-On For a stylish taken on carry on luggage, this option from Kenneth Cole has a unique look that is still sleek and professional. Made with a lightweight textured case, the suitcase is currently priced at $95. Travelers Club Polaris Collection Another hardshell suitcase, this option from Travelers Club features metallic silver, gold and copper exteriors with spinning wheels and…

Looking for Spanish Language Learning Software for Small Business? See These Options

Spanish is the most popular non-English language spoken in the U.S. So for small businesses, there’s a good chance that some of your customers, clients, partners, or investors might speak Spanish. And if you do any business internationally, those chances increase significantly. For that reason, it can be incredibly beneficial for small business owners to learn at least the basics of Spanish, if not become proficient or fluent. Luckily, there are plenty of software options available to help you learn. Best Spanish Language Learning Software Here are some of the top choices available. Rosetta Stone Spanish One of the biggest names in language learning software, Rosetta Stone offers a Spanish program that includes a fully immersive and sequenced curriculum. It also integrates speech recognition software to help you get the actual pronunciation and accent down. Prices range from $7 to $19 per month, depending on the length of your subscription. FluentU A video based software, FluentU lets you access everything from Spanish music videos and movie trailers to business videos. The content also features interactive captions so you can click to see the meaning of any words you don’t know. There’s a free trial available with base pricing starting at $10 per month after that. Rocket Spanish Rocket Languages offers a spanish software program that includes audio lessons, pronunciation practice, flash cards, and even culture lessons that could be helpful for business travelers. There’s also a mobile app so you can check in on your lessons while you’re traveling or on the go. Pricing starts at $100 with a promotion applied. Duolingo Duolingo is a free app that offers lessons and practices for those looking to learn a new language. Spanish is one of the languages that’s included. So if you’re looking to gain a basic understanding and not pay a ton for language lessons, this program can help. Instant Immersion Spanish Instant Immersion offers PC and Mac software for learning Spanish at any level. You can choose a specific dialect and even purchase supplementary audio content or workbooks to complement the main courses. Lessons are relatively affordable, starting at…

10 Essential BlackBerry Apps for Small Business Users

BlackBerry (NYSE: BB) has long been considered a staple for small business users. Top BlackBerry Apps for Small Business Here’s a list of 10 of the essential apps for your BlackBerry device that can make your company run more smoothly. Evernote Whether you actually run an Internet based business or a brick-and-mortar with a web presence, you’ll need to take a good look at this online scheduling/ calendar app. This is a great tool for taking notes, sharing memos, making lists and doing all those other things that allow you to  move  forward in business. The latest feature called Spaces allows you to corral a team’s ideas to one area. Plans start with Evernote Basic that’s free. Skype If you’ve got a BlackBerry, this is a great way to keep in touch with suppliers, clients and members of your team. The Instant Messaging feature compliments the video but also works great as a way to stay on top of time sensitive projects. Skype-to-Skype calls are possible with the Blackberry version. Skype for Business is free and you can include up to 10 people in a meeting without a subscription. BlackBerry Messenger  This one provides chats and voice notes plus picture sharing a much more. Great if everyone on the team has a Blackberry since it rests on their famous security platform. Google Sync for BlackBerry   Lots of small business people love Google calendar and contacts. Being able to use the Google Sync BlackBerry app will let you sync up your smart phone and desktop so you’re always in the loop.  WordPress   It’s great when these BlackBerry apps mimic the web version closely. This one allows you to change your webpages and post comments. You can even manage comments when you’re on the road. It’s a great way to stay on top of your branding and it’s free. Print My Files One of the best reasons to have a Blackberry is they allow you to do everything you can at your desk when you’re away from it. You can use the Wi-Fi connection to print files from your smart phone…

7 Places to Incorporate Your Small Business Online

Incorporating a small business or forming an LLC comes with several advantages, including protecting the owners and stockholders against personal liability and helping prevent misunderstandings among equity splits. The process of incorporating your small business can be started by contacting the state office responsible for registering corporations in your state. Having an attorney incorporate your business for you can be one of the easiest ways to incorporate. However, you can file for incorporation yourself, and avoid the expense of using a lawyer. Where to Incorporate Online There is a number of places you can file to incorporate your small business online. Take a look at the following seven sites you can incorporate your business on the internet. Incorporate.com Incorporate.com offers an affordable way for small businesses to incorporate quickly and efficiently. On Incorporate.com you simply need to decide how you want to incorporate, whether it’s LLC, C Corporation, S Corporation or Nonprofit. You then need to select a state for your new business and choose the best Incorporation.com package for your business’s incorporation requirements. For example, if you are incorporating your small business to an LLC in the state of Alaska, packages start as low as $99, which includes limited liability for business debts and obligations, pass-through taxes and enhanced credibility and no residency requirement. Legal Zoom Legal Zoom is another place where you can incorporate your small business online. This simple to use online portal enables you to set up an LLC, an S Corp, C Corp or Nonprofit with ease. If you’re unsure which business structure is right for your business, you can use Legal Zoom’s comparison chart to compare business types. You can also check if your chosen business name is available on Legal Zoom. Packages on Legal Zoom start from $79 plus filing fees. My Corporation My Corporation’s professional document filing services helps small businesses save time, money and hassle in forming their corporation. The site’s three-step approach involves you answering a few basic questions about your business, My Corporation preparing the documents and you then receiving your completed filings. On My Corporation you can call…

OMG! The Best Content Management Tools for Your Business Website – Ever!

Content marketing helps small businesses establish and maintain a brand identity, build brand loyalty, reach new audiences and ultimately generate leads. Though for many time-strapped small businesses, devoting sufficient time into content marketing can be challenging. Fortunately, there is a host of tools to help small business manage content marketing more proficiently and successfully. Best Content Marketing Tools Take a look at the following eight best content marketing tools for your website. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator Thinking of relevant, unique and engaging topics for blogs can be difficult. Thanks to HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generators, small businesses don’t have to waste time coming up with interesting blog subjects designed to engage with their audience and grow their brand. Simply fill in the fields on HubSpot with relevant terms you’d like to write about, and the site will come up with a week’s worth of relevant blog post titles in seconds, for free! Google Drive Research Tool The Google Drive Research Tool is a great asset for those responsible for writing the content at your small business. When writing content in a Google Doc, rather than wasting time opening new tabs when carrying out the research for your article, simply select the icon on the Google Doc and you will access all the information from Google without having to leave your document and navigate away from your work. Again, the Google Drive Research Tool is completely free to use. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer Headlines are an imperative part of driving traffic to the content on your website and nurturing successful content marketing campaigns. If you’re getting stuck with creating eye-catching and engaging headlines, the CoScheduler Headline Analyzer could prove to be a godsend. Simply enter your proposed headline into the Headline Analysis tool and CoSchedule will analyse its effectiveness within seconds, costing you nothing in the process. Webtrends Of course, it’s all very well having fabulous, engaging content on your site, but you really need to know how your content is performing to be able to make the necessary changes and tweaks. Webtrends’ tools include analytic scoring, to enable businesses to see the…

10 Best Salesforce Apps for Small Businesses

Salesforce is a CRM platform that allows small businesses to manage all of their sales, marketing and customer service communications in one place. Launched back in 1999, it has become one of the most popular platforms of its kind. Part of the reason that Salesforce has become so widely used is the ability to completely customize the experience through the use of third party apps. The marketplace features apps for managing marketing processes, accessing analytical data, scheduling and more. To access these apps, you can browse or search within the AppExchange marketplace and then purchase or download the ones you want to use right from the site. If you’re looking to add some new apps to your Salesforce experience, here are some top choices to consider. Best Salesforce Apps Campaign Monitor for Salesforce The top email marketing and mass emails tool in Salesforce, Campaign Monitor lets you quickly add your customer records and keep an eye on subscriber activity, from opens and clicks to opt-outs. The free tool is fully integrate with Salesforce and gives you one of the easiest ways to manage mass communication with customers via email. 10 Simple & Useful Reports to Know Your Customers Better From Salesforce Labs, this free tool gives you the answers to 10 of the most common and helpful questions you might have about your customers, including where they’re located and which customers have been updated within the past week. Essentially, it gives you a free and easy way to access insights that could help you shape your sales and marketing tactics. Formstack Formstack is an app that allows you to build forms without coding. It’s a Salesforce-native program that lets you collect data online or on mobile with just a few clicks, so you can easily find out more about your customers and then use that data to better serve them or shape your new products, services or marketing initiatives. It costs $79 per user per month. Eventable Calendar Marketing A free app, Eventable offers a simple interface for custom calendar notifications. You can send events to contacts, manage events in…

Essential Office Supplies You May Need to Start Your Business

No matter what type of business you plan on starting, you’ll need some basic office supplies to support your operations. The exact items you invest in will depend on your own needs and processes. However, there are some items that can be helpful for businesses in a huge array of industries. Here are some of the office supplies that you might consider purchasing to get your own venture off the ground. List of Basic Office Supplies Printer Paper This is necessary for any important documents that you want to print out or copy. Notebooks These can be used for handwritten notes or personal reminders. Graph Paper If your business does any design work or even certain types of math, graph paper is a must. Planner Separate from a regular notebook, a paper planner can help you keep all of your appointments and to-dos organized. Sticky Notes These are perfect for all of those quick thoughts or reminders you want to keep near your workspace. Sticky Tabs If you’re making notes on a document or in a notebook, these can help you keep track of the important spots of note. Scissors From opening boxes to cutting sheets of paper, scissors have a seemingly endless amount of uses. Tape Again, tape is one of those supplies that can come in handy in a number of different situations. Pens An absolute must, you’ll need pens to make any handwritten notes. Pencils For the times when you want to make less permanent notations, pencils are a must. Erasers Then you’ll also need erasers to be able to get rid of those mistakes. Markers For the times when you want to make bigger notes or write on rough surfaces, invest in some markers. Staplers Anytime you need to group a set of documents or papers together, a stapler can really come in handy. Staples Of course, the actual staples themselves are also essential. Staple Remover And if you ever find yourself wanting to separate those pages again, you’ll need a staple remover. Paper Clips For the times when you want to group some documents together…

Best Mobile Point of Sale Systems for Small Businesses

Choosing the right point of sale (POS) system is an important part of streamlining your processes and increasing sales. The right mobile POS system also makes paying easier for clients. Here’s some of the best mobile point of sale systems for small business owners. Best Mobile Point of Sale Systems Lightspeed Flexibility is one of the options you want to find in one of these POS systems. Lightspeed offers just that with variations for e-commerce, restaurant and retail stores. One of the interesting things here is the ability to write product descriptions for e-commerce that can double as meta descriptions for SEO. An excellent time saving feature when you’re running an e-commerce store with tons of product. The annual on-site plan for small shops starts at $99 a month. Vend This POS software works with PC, Mac and iPad like a lot of the others. Vend is America’s leading retail software. One of the things that makes it an industry leader is it works off-line. It holds sales until you’re back up online and then re-syncs them so you never leave any money on the table. A starter package starts at $69 monthly. Bindo Bindo has a reputation for being the best choice for iPads. It’s great for both retail and restaurants and boasts 300 features to choose from. The PIN-based staff management system allows you to track employees time on the job to improve efficiency. They offer a free 14-day trial to get you started. Revel Making sales and payments easier and more convenient is just one thing Revel does. This software actually helps to simplify the accounting process with QuickBooks integration, a secure cash drawer and even a POS printer. PCI-compliant cloud technology is another bonus in these times of constant cybersecurity worries. ShopKeep ShopKeep offers a variety of interesting features including sales by the hour, analytics and real-time inventory reports so you can cull the products that don’t sell. They also offer a mobile option you can keep an eye on your business no matter where you are. The mobile app is great for shop owners who…

10 Gelato and Shaved Ice Franchises to Compete with Rita’s

In 2016, gelato accounted for approximately 5% of the $14.3 billion U.S. ice cream market. So, opening a gelato and shaved ice business can prove lucrative for entrepreneurs. Still, like any business, starting from scratch can be challenging, particularly when it comes to competing with large gelato chains. One option is to become a gelato and shaved ice franchisee and open a store with an established brand. Gelato and ice cream franchises have experienced massive growth over past five years leading up to 2017, according to one published report. Starting from a humble porch in Philly Rita’s Italian Ice went on to become an international phenomenon with more than 600 locations across the U.S. and around the world. The brand remains a testament to the huge demand for gelato and shaved ice and the potential success of franchising within this industry. Gelato Franchises to Consider Of course you could always choose from a number of other franchises besides Rita’s when seeking a successful gelato or shaved ice opportunity with an established brand. Gelato Go An established gelateria brand throughout America, Gelato Go, offers franchising opportunities for proactive and determined entrepreneurs looking for a share of the profitable gelato market. A total investment of $183,500 to $400,100 is required to open a Gelato Go store. And franchisees will receive comprehensive training. Papalani Gelato Papalani Gelato serves gelato, frozen yoghurt, sorbetto and many more iced goodies across the U.S. The company offers franchise opportunities in the U.S., encouraging people to start their own fun and rewarding business. Depending on where you open a Papalani Gelato business, the costs can range from $152,475 to $478,550. Amorino Amorino provides Italian gelato available in a whole host of flavors, with customers being able to create their own Amorino rose gelato. Amorino gelaterias are available to franchise across America. The company looks for impassioned self-starters who are keen to contribute to the success of Amorino. Details about franchise costs are available upon application. Shaved Ice Franchises to Consider Mustache Mike’s Italian Ice Mustache Mike’s Italian Ice manufactures Italian ice in California and then distributes it throughout the U.S.…

Best 10 Online Tools to Create GIFS for your Small Business

GIFs, short bite-sized animated image files, are everywhere these days, dominating social media and the internet, in general. These fun, short files are animated by combining a series of images into an encoded graphics interchange format (GIF). GIFs are used widely online as a means of conveying a reaction, illustrating a point or explaining a concept. Reaction GIFs on social chats are one area where these files are proving to be particularly popular. GIFs are being used by businesses to help them stay up-to-date, fun and relevant online. These entertaining animated pictures can be an effective way of getting attention on social media, engaging with followers and increasing brand appeal. They are also used by many businesses to create eye-catching and memorable how-tos. Animated GIF Maker List If you’re determined to get creative with GIFs  for your small business, here are 10 online tools not requiring too much of your time or technical know-how. BlogGIF With a suite of effects and editing tools, BlogGIF is a great tool for producing stand-out GIFs with ease. You can add animated effects, text, glitter, splash color and much more with the BlogGIF creator. It is also possible to add music to a GIF, decompose an animated GIF and create a GIF slideshow with this free GIF creating tool. Giphy If you want to create basic GIFs for your business, simply and quickly, Giphy might be the right GIF creating tool for you.  You can add multiple images to create a GIF slideshow or trim your video into a GIF and then add captions or stickers to create a fun animated GIF for your business. Giphy also supports YouTube, Vimeo and Giphy links. GIMP GIMP is a free to use, open-source image editor that allows you to make GIFs. On GIMP you can extract video clips and when the images are imported, you can have fun using the tools available on the GIMP editing suite. To make animated GIFs, you will need the GIMP Animation Package. Imgflip With the Imgflip GIF maker you can make high-quality animated GIFs for your business from video files, YouTube,…

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