Reap the Benefits of 5G for Small Business Success

Sneha Hull | February 1, 2022 | 203 views

Benefits of 5G
5G is on its way to transforming the world of business, enabling technologies in the new internet era of data-driven business ecosystems. To be competitive, businesses of all sizes, including SMBs, must comprehend the opportunities and benefits that 5G will provide. 5G's power, capacity, real-time network and speed will fundamentally alter how small companies work and function.

5G technology can assist a variety of industries, including healthcare, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and supply chain management. 5G enables industries to better meet the demands of their customers and increase productivity. However, it is also a trending reason for the emergence of new industries as well. 5G has the ability to significantly boost the economy, directly increasing revenue for businesses. It is high time that you procure the benefits of 5G for small business success.

According to Statista, there will be 2.61 billion 5G subscriptions by 2025.

“5G is a technological leap that announces a significant transformation of business models for all companies and in all sectors of activity.”

– Stephane Richard, Chairman & CEO of the Orange Group
 
PWC estimates that 5G technology will contribute $1.3 trillion to global GDP by 2030. So, the common question arises: what is 5G? What does it have to offer small businesses?

What is 5G?

You cannot discuss 5G without addressing mobility. 5G is a technical leap forward from 4G. It is the fifth generation of mobile device wireless communication technology. Existing wireless networks will not be supplanted by 5G but will allow it to operate as an additional layer at far higher and faster frequencies. 5G seeks to bring together all of the advantages of previous technologies such as 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE into a single platform.

Mobile technology and 5G connection can assist you in remaining relevant to current consumers and attracting new ones.

5G will foster the growth of new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing.

What Is the Current Coverage Of 5G?

Significant 5G economics studies predict that the full economic effect of 5G will be achieved globally by 2035, enabling a varied range of enterprises and potentially providing up to $13.1 trillion in products and services. By 2025, 5G networks are expected to cover one-third of the world's population, amounting to 1.8 billion 5G connections.

According to Lifewire, there will be 3.6 billion 5G connections worldwide by 2025, increasing to 4.4 billion by 2027.

Key Features of 5G

With its plethora of perks and features, 5G will provide small businesses with a competitive edge. 5G is quickly establishing itself as the world's leading accelerator for business digital transformation. Additionally, the 5th Generation (5G) network will bring far more advancements in connectivity.  5G enables the slicing of a single physical network into several virtual networks. These are capable of supporting several radio access networks (RANs) or multiple service types inside a single RAN. This allows businesses to customize the network to meet their own needs.

By incorporating 5G into corporate operations, businesses may increase productivity and cut expenses in the long term, benefiting the bottom line. The biggest distinguishing attributes of this technology are ultra-high speed, higher reliability, flexibility and low latency. 5G offers increased load capacity by utilizing shorter, higher-frequency bands of the electromagnetic airwaves. Let us take a close look at some of its features and how they can significantly expand 5G business opportunities.

Lower Latency

Reduced latency is a critical component and benefit of 5G technology development. A signal's latency is the amount of time it takes to travel from the source to the receiver and back.

The normal latency on today's 4G networks is 40-50 milliseconds (ms). While on 5G, network latency has decreased to a single digit, which is somewhere between 5ms and 20ms. Furthermore, reduced latency is critical for a broad variety of applications. For example, smart factories benefit from minimal latency. Many other industries, including IoT, telemedicine, and healthcare, place a premium on low latency.

As the world is becoming more digitally connected, there is a dire need for quick response. Immediate response has become the new standard, which can be fulfilled with 5G technology.

Faster Speed

The most cited attribute of 5G in the business world is its speed. 5G technology is known to be substantially quicker than the previous generation of 4G networks. Under ideal circumstances, 5G speed should eventually reach up to 10 Gbit/s, a 20-fold improvement.

For instance, a 4.7GB DVD can take around 13 minutes to download. However, the same information can be transferred in less than 4 seconds when 5G technology is used.

Reliability

Nowadays, a mobile network's reliability is necessary. Thus, in today's commercial sector, the 5G network is regarded as exceptionally dependable, resulting in a large reduction in lost calls and connectivity. It is the network that will provide reliability.

Flexibility

5G is adaptable, efficient, and nimble when it comes to serving the unique demands of clients. By implementing network slicing, a single network may be assigned based on the application's or customer's individual requirements.

Benefits of 5G for Your Small Business


Increased Use of IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining traction, with the total number of connected devices estimated to reach 3.2 billion by 2023, up from 700 million now. Additionally, 5G will enable, enhance, and empower the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which is expected to encompass a broad range of applications. The 5G network provides up to 1,000x the capacity of 4G, laying the groundwork for the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT).

From industrial control to edge computing, the potential of 5G to minimize latency will accelerate IoT adoption across a broad range of applications. Small companies will get greater control over IoT devices such as printers, inventory management software, and shipment trackers. As a result, small firms can save money on large utility bills, build more efficient supply chains, and automate supply chain management processes. When combined with IoT, 5G will transform the world of wireless networks.

Opens Opportunities and Innovation

5G opens up a world of new possibilities for small enterprises by enabling them to innovate and market goods and services. 5G business opportunities are limitless for any size company.

Many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and China, are still developing 5G technology in order to provide consistent connections across the country.

As a result, more people may establish, operate, and expand enterprises in any section of the country, be it urban or rural. This expands the chances and benefits of 5G for small enterprises.

Enables AR and VR Capabilities

The increased capacity and quicker speeds of 5G, along with the benefits of decreased latency, present an enormous potential for enterprises to develop new ideas, products, and services, as well as new business models. Together with edge computing, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) will deliver great value to industry and organizations when 5G is deployed. Thus, it will help a large number of applications across a variety of industries, including manufacturing, gaming, entertainment, tourism, and retail.

Small companies in interior design, real estate, and fashion retail can use AR/VR technology to assist their clients in visualizing the finished product.

Productive Employees

5G has made it possible for remote workers to make high-quality video calls while at work. This is possible because parts like screens and batteries can obtain powerful, low-latency connections to the cloud. With increased bandwidth, workers can use the devices to access the cloud. Lower latency and higher speed will make conference connections more seamless than ever before. As a result, business owners and employees will be more productive.

The Future of 5G: Will Businesses Switch to 5G?

5G brings innovation opportunities that extend beyond today's workplace constraints, allowing novel ways to work, think, and solve classic business problems. Businesses that are driven by 5G technology benefit from increased security, a new business model, real-time control, predictive analytics, remote control, and optimal performance. However, developing the appropriate strategy – and, indeed, strategic relationships – will be critical. With everything in place, organizations will be well-positioned to establish their 5G vision and then speed up the process of bringing it to life.

According to Accenture's findings, 79 percent of organizations globally believe 5G will have a significant impact on their firm. And 57% say it will be groundbreaking.

Even in a more traditional business, like agriculture, 5G has enormous promise. Drones equipped with 5G technology are now assisting in the improvement of agricultural product output. Additionally, in Japan, 5G sensors are utilized to monitor the water temperature and salinity of oyster farms."

Virgin Trains is an excellent example of a company that has been testing 5G-powered Wi-Fi on its trains. It is the first railway firm to conduct a test of the new technology. The experiment took place on routes connecting London Euston with Birmingham New Street and London Euston with Manchester Piccadilly. The 5G service was provided by Vodafone's 5G network - the red network had implemented 5G in important transportation hubs, including Birmingham's New Street station.

Virgin claims that the speeds were up to 10 times quicker than the airline's standard on-board Wi-Fi.

FAQ


How will 5G help small businesses?

The 5G network will provide several benefits to small businesses. 5G has a theoretical maximum data rate of 1500 megabits per second. Additionally, 5G lowers latency, allowing you to download any type of software or information in the blink of an eye.

What benefits will 5G bring?

A few benefits that 5G will bring are:
  • Increased IoT
  • Encourages opportunities and innovation
  • Enables AR and VR capabilities
  • Productive employees
  • Higher capacity
  • Wider bandwidth

Why is 5G important?

5G is not only important for its potential to support millions of devices at ultra-speeds, but it has the potential to transform the lives of people around the world as well as business operations. 5G also contributes to improving accessibility, extending the reach of mobile broadband, improving safety, health, and security.

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Digital Transformation in SMBs: Overcoming E-commerce Challenges

Article | September 30, 2022

Identify key strategies for implementing digital transformation and stay competitive in the rapidly evolving e-commerce marketplace. Leverage technology to enhance customer experiences, and operational efficiency. Contents 1. Importance of Digital Transformation for SMBs 2. Why SMBs Need to Embrace Digital Transformation? 3. Key Technological Challenges in SMB E-commerce Landscape 3.1 Limited Technical Expertise and Knowledge 3.2 Cybersecurity and Data Privacy 3.3 Cloud Adoption and Infrastructure Modernization 4. Implementing Digital Transformation for SMB E-commerce Success 4.1 Creating a Digital Transformation Strategy 4.2 Investing in the Right Technology Infrastructure 4.3 Enhancing Cybersecurity Measures 4.4 Connecting SMBs with knowledge networks 4.5 Leveraging Data Analytics and Business Intelligence 4.6 Fostering a Culture of Innovation and Agility 5. Final Thoughts 1. Importance of Digital Transformation for SMBs In today's market, customers expect a seamless, personalized experience across all touchpoints, including B2B scenarios. As more businesses and customers adopt digital technologies, it makes sense for SMBs to do the same in order to improve operational efficiency, make better decisions based on real-time data, and provide customers with a convenient digital channel to search, explore, and make purchases. To remain competitive in the digital age, businesses must ensure that their online channels deliver a satisfactory customer experience. For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), digital technologies offer an opportunity to: • Compete with larger companies • Expand their customer base • Access valuable data • Improve decision-making • Optimize processes • Enhance customer experiences 2. Why SMBs Need to Embrace Digital Transformation? SMBs can reap significant benefits from digital transformation, which involves leveraging technology to improve business operations and enhance customer experiences. One major advantage is increased operational efficiency, as automation helps reduce costs and boost productivity. Digital tools also enable small businesses to offer a broader range of choices, competitive pricing, and faster delivery, thereby enhancing the customer experience. Moreover, SMBs can use data-driven insights to quickly change their products or services, allowing for shorter time-to-market. By embracing digital transformation, businesses can stay ahead of the competition and better serve their customers. 3. Key Technological Challenges in SMB E-commerce Landscape Digital transformation can offer numerous benefits to small businesses, however there are numerous challenges they must overcome in order to succeed in the e-commerce landscape. One such significant challenge is the implementation of digital adoption projects, which can be a time-consuming process, and organizations may not see immediate results. In addition, there are various roadblocks that can hinder growth such as securing funding and transitioning from outdated systems. While technological capabilities have advanced, the path ahead is not always clear, and small businesses often face significant technical challenges when it comes to e-commerce, which are as follows: 3.1 Limited Technical Expertise and Knowledge Small businesses often struggle with digital transformation due to a lack of technical expertise and knowledge. This results in missed opportunities and increased costs, making it difficult for them to leverage digital technologies to achieve their desired business outcomes. In the e-commerce space, SMBs are vulnerable to cyberthreats and data breaches, which also require specialized expertise to manage effectively. Moreover, implementing and managing complex e-commerce platforms prove to be challenging for SMBs, leading to poor performance and customer experiences. Without access to dedicated IT professionals, SMBs find it difficult to address these issues and compete effectively in the digital marketplace. 3.2 Cybersecurity and Data Privacy SMBs operating in the e-commerce space face significant challenges related to cybersecurity and data privacy. As businesses increasingly rely on digital technologies and cloud-based systems, they become more vulnerable to cyberattacks, data breaches, and other security threats that may compromise their e-commerce platforms, leading to a loss of customer trust, legal liability, and financial losses. 3.3 Cloud Adoption and Infrastructure Modernization Legacy systems and outdated infrastructure often hinder businesses in their digital transformation efforts. To fully leverage the benefits of digital transformation, SMBs need to upgrade to modern, cloud-based systems and infrastructure. However, limited resources and budget constraints pose obstacles to cloud adoption and infrastructure modernization. As a result, businesses must carefully balance the advantages of the cloud with the need for data security and compliance. In addition, migrating to the cloud can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires technical expertise, which SMBs may not have in-house. Nonetheless, cloud adoption and infrastructure modernization are crucial for SMBs to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. 4. Implementing Digital Transformation for SMB E-commerce Success Digital transformation can significantly enhance e-commerce, providing SMBs the opportunity to leverage technology to improve their market reach, customer experiences, and operational efficiency. Although e-commerce issues and challenges may appear daunting, SMBs can overcome them by implementing the right digital technologies and strategies. 4.1 Creating a Digital Transformation Strategy Developing a well-defined digital transformation strategy is crucial for SMBs to succeed in e-commerce. This involves setting clear objectives, identifying areas requiring transformation, and creating a roadmap to achieve those objectives. SMBs must utilize appropriate technology solutions to enhance operational efficiency, improve customer experience, and increase profitability. Therefore, conducting a thorough analysis of customer needs and technology trends, defining the problem statement, and breaking down the transformation process into phases with measurable targets and actionable steps are vital. Identifying the relevant stakeholders and necessary skills for leading and execution are also critical. While periodic reviews and adjustments to the digital transformation strategy can help achieve long-term goals. 4.2 Investing in the Right Technology Infrastructure Digital transformation is a crucial investment for SMBs in e-commerce, requiring a substantial amount of technology infrastructure. Upgrading legacy systems may pose difficulties, but implementing cloud-based technologies can bring significant advantages, including scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Small businesses can begin migrating to the cloud with a phased approach, moving one location or function at a time. This reduces on-premises costs and allows for the testing of new digital solutions. Pilot projects can be used to assess the success of new tools or workflow automation for one department before implementing a larger digital adoption plan. By embracing cloud-based technologies and investing in the right technology infrastructure, SMBs can improve their online presence, customer engagement and stay competitive in the rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape. 4.3 Enhancing Cybersecurity Measures With cyber threats on the rise, firms operating in the digital scenario are facing numerous challenges, especially in data security and privacy, resulting in massive financial losses. To mitigate these risks, e-commerce SMBs should focus on improving the following cybersecurity measures: • Implementing strong passwords • Two-factor authentication • Firewalls • Encryption They should also invest in regular employee training and awareness programs to protect their data and systems. Moreover, conducting periodic risk assessments, reviewing security incident response plans, and complying with security standards can help e-commerce small businesses safeguard themselves and their customers. Raising the digital security profile of small businesses can be achieved through awareness and receiving guidance on proper digital security measures, toolkits, auditing, assurance frameworks, protocols, certification schemes, and training opportunities. 4.4 Connecting SMBs with knowledge networks SMBs in the e-commerce industry can benefit greatly from connecting with knowledge networks. These networks offer access to expertise and resources that can help businesses better navigate the complex world of e-commerce. Companies can engage with industry associations, attend conferences and events, and participate in online communities to connect with these knowledge networks. This can help them stay current on the latest technology trends and best practices in the e-commerce industry. Moreover, e-commerce SMBs can benefit from partnering with larger firms, online platforms, and networking interfaces such as digital innovation hubs, centers of excellence, clusters, and co-working spaces. By doing so, they can leverage the resources and expertise of these organizations to grow their businesses and accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. Public procurement programs such as the Small Business Innovation Research program can also provide them with funding and opportunities to access knowledge networks and support their digital transformation efforts. 4.5 Leveraging Data Analytics and Business Intelligence E-commerce SMBs can benefit significantly from integrating data analytics and business intelligence tools. These tools help collect, analyze, and interpret data to gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and other factors that affect their business success. Small businesses can improve their decision-making and gain a better understanding of their customers' needs and preferences by analyzing customer data and identifying trends. Firms can leverage customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) solutions to achieve this. These tools enable organizations to crunch data in real time and personalize customer interactions. Additionally, integrating information across different departments provides a holistic view of their customers. Businesses must also take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to analyze data, forecast trends, and make predictions. Finally, hiring individuals with strong data analytics skills can help them make the most of their data and gain a competitive advantage. 4.6 Fostering a Culture of Innovation and Agility Encouraging a culture of innovation and agility is critical for SMBs to remain competitive and relevant. To achieve this, these business should promote experimentation, embrace new technologies, and provide opportunities for professional development to employees. They must be open to change and adapt to evolving market trends and customer needs. Fostering a work environment that encourages creativity and experimentation can help employees feel free to propose new ideas and solutions. This can include setting up cross-functional teams, providing regular training and development opportunities, and establishing open communication channels. Furthermore, policymakers must play a role in encouraging innovation and the development of new digital solutions by implementing research and innovation policies in areas such as digital security, blockchain, and AI. Via funding and supporting research and development in these areas, policymakers can help their businesses access the latest technologies and stay ahead of the competition. 5. Final Thoughts The advent of the digital revolution has transformed the business landscape, creating new opportunities for small businesses to expand their market size, streamline operations, and meet customers' ever-evolving needs. However, the evolving landscape also presents a host of e-commerce business challenges that SMBs must overcome to achieve success in the digital age. By implementing a comprehensive digital transformation strategy that leverages the right technology solutions, SMBs can overcome these challenges and succeed in the e-commerce arena. For SMBs, digital transformation is no longer optional but a necessity.

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TECHNOLOGY, SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Sustainable E-commerce for SMBs: Events to Attend in 2023

Article | July 14, 2022

Discover the must-attend events for SMBs in 2023 and gain valuable insights, strategies, and networking opportunities to propel your business forward. Stay updated with the latest trends in the e-commerce industry. Contents 1. Introduction 2. Top events e-commerce SMBs must attend in 2023 2.1 Ecom Sweety 2.2 Retail Innovation Conference & Expo 2.3 Grow NYC Summer 2.4 Online Retailer Conference & Expo 2023 2.5 The eCommerce & Omnichannel Conference 2.6 White Label World Expo 2.7 Paris Retail Week 2.8 Ecommerce Expo 2.9 E-commerce Expo Asia 2.10 White Label World Expo Europe 3. Key Takeaways 1. Introduction In the ever-evolving realm of e-commerce, sustainability has emerged as an indispensable concern for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) spanning diverse industries. Moreover, SMBs increasingly recognize the importance of integrating contemporary practices into their online operations. Thus to stay informed and inspired, attending industry events is critical. This article will explore a meticulously curated list of top e-commerce conferences and events in 2023. These exceptional gatherings proffer invaluable insights, unparalleled networking prospects, and pragmatic strategies enabling SMBs to flourish while keeping them updated on the digital marketplace. 2. Top events e-commerce SMBs must attend in 2023 2.1 Ecom Sweety June 01-03, 2023 | Miami The Ecom Sweety event offers valuable growth strategies, networking opportunities, memorable experiences, inspiring stories, and impactful insights to fuel your success throughout the year. Attendees will learn to boost conversions for their Shopify stores, harness the potential of long-form video content to drive brand growth, leverage customer reviews for maximum impact, enhance customer retention, and build a strong social presence. This event brings together a community of accomplished women who have mastered the art of e-commerce, providing a unique opportunity to learn from their experiences and expertise. Join this powerful group and gain actionable strategies to propel your e-commerce journey to new heights. 2.2 Retail Innovation Conference & Expo June 13-15, 2023 | McCormick Place, Chicago The Retail Innovation Conference & Expo is a captivating event in the world of retail innovation to discover the brightest minds in the retail industry as they showcase their groundbreaking ideas in action. The event provides valuable insights from emerging brands that have successfully embraced new consumer behaviors and thrived amidst industry disruptions. Expert speakers will share their knowledge about traditional omnichannel brands, thriving marketplaces, trailblazing direct-to-consumer (DTC), and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands to navigate this new era of connected commerce. This event goes beyond simply hearing about the latest trends and innovations; attendees will have the opportunity to experience them firsthand. 2.3 Grow NYC Summer July 11, 2023 | Center415, NY The Grow NYC event brings together hundreds of direct-to-consumer (DTC) founders and growth marketers to share their experiences and insights. Attendees will have the valuable opportunity to learn from successful growth marketers who will discuss what has been effective in their campaigns, companies, and careers. In addition, the event will cover emerging trends and strategies in the e-commerce industry, providing attendees with valuable knowledge to stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape. In addition to learning from industry experts, Grow NYC offers ample networking opportunities, allowing participants to establish numerous new connections and generate potential business leads. 2.4 Online Retailer Conference & Expo 2023 July 19-20, 2023 | ICC Sydney The Online Retailer Conference & Expo is a premier event in the e-commerce industry, providing valuable strategic insights, solutions, technologies, and connections that drive positive outcomes for businesses at any stage of their online retail journey. With a diverse range of exhibitors, attendees, partners, and industry colleagues, the event offers a dynamic and enriching experience for all participants. Whether knowledge, networking opportunities, or industry expertise, the Online Retailer Conference & Expo is the perfect destination to explore the latest trends and establish meaningful connections in the ever-evolving world of online retail. 2.5 The eCommerce & Omnichannel Conference August 21-24, 2023 | The Sheraton, Boston This four-day event offers participants an opportunity to learn from some of the most successful retailers in America and gain insights into how they have achieved profitability through disruptive strategies and innovative ideas. Attendees can expect a wide range of topics to be covered, including finding the right balance between innovation and commercial success, implementing customer acquisition strategies in the new era of privacy and rising costs, embracing hybrid retail models, and aligning customer experience with the brand promise, among many others. By participating in this event, attendees can gather valuable knowledge, strategic takeaways and foster meaningful connections to fuel their growth and ensure success in their endeavors. 2.6 White Label World Expo August 29-30, 2023 | NY The White Label World is the ultimate gathering for leaders, entrepreneurs, online sellers, retailers, and distributors worldwide. This event brings together business owners, e-commerce professionals, and startup owners in a comprehensive expo. With thousands of online sellers, suppliers, and buyers in attendance, it provides a unique opportunity to connect, interact, and experience a wide range of products firsthand. Attendees can exchange ideas, seek business advice, explore sourcing opportunities, and stay updated on the latest product trends. In addition, the event features insightful discussions on industry trends, strategies for building your brand online, and practical advice for scaling your business. Expert speakers share their knowledge and expertise, providing attendees with valuable insights and resources to succeed in the competitive e-commerce and retail space. 2.7 Paris Retail Week September 19-21, 2023 | Paris, France Paris Retail Week is a leading event in the field of omnichannel commerce, bringing together renowned brands, retailers, and solution providers. It serves as a platform for attendees to discover industry trends, explore innovative practices, and address crucial questions. With insights from both French and international speakers, participants will gain inspiration and practical solutions to enhance their businesses. By understanding emerging trends and exploring sector innovations, companies can elevate their operations and stay ahead of the competition. The event also offers valuable networking opportunities, enabling professionals to connect with peers and engage with the wider retail ecosystem. 2.8 Ecommerce Expo September 27-28, 2023 | London, UK The E-commerce Expo is the largest event in the UK dedicated to retail, e-commerce, and marketing technology. With over 11,000 retailers & brands and 300 leading solution providers in attendance, it is a must-attend event for industry professionals. The expo offers a unique opportunity to hear from renowned retail and brand leaders who provide services and solutions crucial to business strategies and achieving 2023 goals. The event covers a wide range of emerging e-commerce themes and topics, bringing together retailers, brands, agencies, media owners, and technology providers. Over the course of two days, attendees can participate in one-to-one meetings, multi-track conferences, and networking sessions, enabling valuable connections and knowledge sharing. 2.9 E-commerce Expo Asia October 11-12, 2023 | Marina Bay Sands, Singapore The E-commerce Expo Asia is a premier event that brings together thousands of industry-leading providers, influential speakers, and senior decision-makers in a focused setting. It offers a unique platform for networking, attending informative e-commerce conferences, and accessing game-changing solutions to help businesses of all sizes achieve their goals. Attendees have the opportunity to connect with leading technology providers, innovative thinkers, and top marketing professionals to explore emerging trends and address critical issues in e-commerce, retail, and marketing technology. In addition, the expo showcases a wide range of innovative marketing technologies and solutions curated explicitly for marketing practitioners, specialists, and business decision-makers. 2.10 White Label World Expo Europe October 11-12, 2023 | Frankfurt, Germany The White Label World Expo presents an exceptional opportunity to become part of a thriving business community. This event provides networking opportunities with thousands of influential decision-makers and industry leaders. Attendees can gain valuable insights into the hottest products, the latest innovations, and the most effective online selling techniques to drive business growth. In addition, it offers a chance to listen to renowned international experts in e-commerce and retail as they share their secrets to success and fundamental knowledge. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends in the e-commerce world to ensure continuous business growth. This event is a must-attend for anyone looking to expand their network, gain valuable knowledge, and stay ahead in the competitive e-commerce landscape. 3. Key Takeaways The e-commerce industry is in a constant state of evolution, and SMBs that can adapt to the latest trends will be well-positioned for success. There are numerous e-commerce events that can help SMBs stay ahead of the curve. These events offer valuable information and resources that can contribute to the success of SMBs in the e-commerce industry. In 2023, there will be a variety of must-attend e-commerce events for SMBs, covering a wide range of topics such as digital marketing strategies, customer experience optimization, emerging technologies, and trends. Attending these events allows SMBs to learn about new marketing strategies, technological solutions, and ways to enhance their customer service. By staying informed about the latest trends and best practices, SMBs can remain competitive and adapt their business strategies accordingly. Networking with other businesses and seeking advice from industry experts can also immensely benefit businesses looking to grow and thrive in the e-commerce space.

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TECHNOLOGY

The Future of E-commerce: Trends and Innovations for SMBs

Article | May 6, 2022

Discover how emerging technologies and changing consumer behavior are shaping the e-commerce landscape, and delve into the latest trends to help your SMB thrive in the competitive online marketplace. Contents 1. Examining Current E-commerce Landscape 2. The Future of E-commerce: Opportunities and Challenges for SMBs 3. SMB E-commerce in 2023 and Beyond: Trends and Innovations to Embrace 3.1 Mobile Commerce and Optimization 3.2 Social Commerce and Influencer Marketing 3.3 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning 3.4 Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality 3.5 Voice Commerce 4. Final Thoughts 1. Examining Current E-commerce Landscape The e-commerce industry has undergone substantial growth and transformation in recent years, and as a small business owner, it is crucial to acknowledge the rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape. Despite recent economic challenges, global e-commerce trends persist and have the potential to shape the future. Therefore adapting to these changes has become more critical than ever, necessitating proper preparation to tackle challenges and implement suitable strategies to accommodate emerging trends and shifts. As small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) seek avenues for future growth, it becomes evident that staying ahead in digital innovation and emerging trends allows e-commerce businesses to maintain agility and resilience. 2. The Future of E-commerce: Opportunities and Challenges for SMBs E-commerce is widely recognized as the future, a viewpoint shared by industry experts and analysts. The rise of technology and the growing popularity of online shopping have created a multitude of opportunities and challenges for SMBs. However, they also face obstacles, including fierce competition from large corporations and the need to adapt to changing consumer preferences. For instance, e-commerce giants and SMBs will increasingly compete for consumer attention, resulting in higher advertising costs and potentially lower returns on ad spend. To navigate the future of e-commerce successfully, SMBs must understand the current landscape and identify emerging trends. This involves prioritizing convenience for both merchants and shoppers, delivering immersive and engaging shopping experiences, and facilitating seamless interactions across multiple channels in a consistent and user-friendly manner. Despite these challenges, SMBs have numerous opportunities to thrive in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape. 3. SMB E-commerce in 2023 and Beyond: Trends and Innovations to Embrace Small business owners must prioritize creating engaging and efficient online shopping experiences as consumers increasingly use e-commerce platforms for their shopping needs. To maintain a competitive edge, businesses must be well-prepared and implement strategies that align with emerging trends and changes. Therefore, it is critical to identify which e-commerce advancements will persist and comprehend how digital technology innovations will shape the future of small businesses. By staying informed and adapting accordingly, businesses can flourish in the evolving e-commerce landscape. 3.1 Mobile Commerce and Optimization Given the increasing use of smartphones for online activities, small e-commerce businesses must prioritize mobile-first strategies to cater to the growing mobile traffic. Recent figures revealed by eMarketer Insider Intelligence estimated that mobile commerce sales are projected to exceed $510 billion in 2023 and $710 billion in 2025. Mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems have enhanced the convenience of conducting business transactions through smartphones, while SMS marketing has simplified customer engagement to drive repeat business. However, mobile users highly value convenience, digital payment capabilities and expect a seamless experience. Therefore, SMBs must optimize their websites and platforms to deliver smooth mobile experiences, which entails implementing responsive web design and incorporating mobile payment options. 3.2 Social Commerce and Influencer Marketing Social media platforms have emerged as influential tools for e-commerce, ranking as the second most popular method for global consumers to search for products to purchase. Establishing a presence on social media has become essential for any business's marketing strategy. Advertising capabilities on major social platforms continue to expand, allowing brands to connect effectively with new customers. SMBs must leverage social commerce by creating compelling content, collaborating with influencers, and utilizing social media platforms to showcase their products and engage with customers. Partnering with influencers boosts sales, while brands can gain followers and expand their reach. Social commerce also enables improved brand-to-consumer communication and enhances customer engagement. 3.3 Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are revolutionizing e-commerce operations. The combination of ML, AI, and big data goes beyond automation, enabling the automatic optimization of processes that require significant time and effort or are otherwise not feasible. One significant area where AI and ML are expected to impact is enhancing e-commerce personalization, delivering customers a superior shopping experience. SMBs can leverage AI-powered chatbots to improve customer support and offer personalized recommendations based on customer behavior. By employing machine learning, SMBs can gather and analyze data to personalize the shopping experience, carry out targeted marketing campaigns, optimize pricing, plan merchandise supply, and gain valuable customer insights. The implementation of AI and ML solutions has the potential to streamline processes and enhance the overall customer experience. 3.4 Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are revolutionizing the future of e-commerce by offering immersive experiences to customers. SMBs must leverage AR and VR to enable customers to visualize products in real-world settings, engage in virtual try-on experiences for fashion items, or explore physical spaces virtually. These technologies allow customers to interact with products and environments digitally, providing a better understanding and feel for the items without physical interaction. For example, customers can see how a T-shirt would look on them or visualize how a piece of furniture fits in their room before making a purchase. This empowers consumers to make more informed decisions, leading to reduced product returns. By integrating AR and VR into their e-commerce platforms, SMBs can enhance customer engagement, deliver a unique shopping experience, and ultimately drive sales growth. 3.5 Voice Commerce In 2023, a growing number of consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable using voice-assisted technologies for their daily tasks. It is no longer inconceivable to envision customers ordering products and making purchases by simply using their voice and asking for product recommendations instead of manually browsing various product collections and sizes. This trend not only saves time but also enhances the immersive shopping experience. As a result, voice commerce is gaining significant momentum, so small e-commerce businesses must embrace voice search as part of their strategy to enhance the customer experience, boost sales, and gain a competitive edge. In addition, SMBs must optimize their e-commerce platforms for voice search, allowing customers to make purchases effortlessly through voice commands. By incorporating voice technology, businesses can provide a seamless and convenient shopping experience that aligns with evolving consumer preferences. 4. Final Thoughts The future of e-commerce presents numerous opportunities for SMBs. As technology continues to advance and consumer behavior evolves, it is essential for small businesses to adapt and embrace emerging trends and innovations that shape the e-commerce landscape. By staying informed and proactive, SMBs can position themselves for success in the ever-changing digital world. Looking towards 2023 and beyond, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the e-commerce industry must adopt a flexible and innovative mindset to stay ahead of the competition and seize new opportunities. Therefore, it is critical to keep up with the latest industry developments, invest in appropriate technologies, and prioritize customer satisfaction for success in this rapidly-changing environment. By taking these steps, SMBs can establish their foothold in the highly-competitive e-commerce industry and thrive in the digital age.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

Scaling SMBs: Best E-commerce Strategies to Grow Your Online Business

Article | May 4, 2023

Learn how SMB e-commerce can overcome unique challenges when scaling operations effectively. Explore a strategic approach towards sustained growth, profitability, and competitiveness in the long run. Contents 1. Scaling E-Commerce Operations for SMBs: Challenges 2. A Strategic Approach towards E-Commerce Growth Strategies 2.1 Assess Current E-Commerce Strategy 2.2 Expand Product Line 2.3 Optimize Customer Experience 2.4 Leverage Data and Analytics 2.5 Implement Tracking and Automation 2.6 Outsourcing: Delegate to Focus 2.7 Building Trust and Credibility 2.8 Implement Effective E-commerce Marketing Strategies 2.9 Attend Trade Shows and Industry Conferences 3. Takeaway: Strategies for Ecommerce Success 1. Scaling E-Commerce Operations for SMBs: Challenges E-commerce has been growing at an unprecedented rate in recent years, driven by the increasing adoption of online shopping and technological advancements. However, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face unique challenges when it comes to scaling their e-commerce operations. • Firstly, they often lack the resources of larger businesses, including the capital, technology, and human resources necessary to drive growth. • Secondly, SMBs must compete with larger, more established e-commerce players who have already established a robust online presence and brand reputation. • Finally, they must navigate an increasingly complex e-commerce landscape, with constantly evolving customer expectations, market trends, and technological advancements. Despite these challenges, SMBs have several advantages in the e-commerce space. They are often more nimble and can quickly adapt to changing market conditions than larger businesses. They also have the benefit of providing a more personalized and customized customer experience. However, SMBs must adopt a strategic approach to scaling their e-commerce operations to leverage these advantages fully. 2. A Strategic Approach Towards E-Commerce Growth Strategies To remain competitive in the current landscape, businesses must embrace the dominance of e-commerce and prioritize online sales. In addition, small business owners must understand that scaling their business is a significant undertaking and ask themselves critical questions about their readiness and the best approach. To excel in the world of e-commerce, businesses must take a comprehensive approach that encompasses various critical areas. This approach requires a thorough understanding of e-commerce strategies for growth, allowing enterprises to scale their e-commerce operations efficiently and attain sustainable profitability and long-term success. 2.1 Assess Current E-Commerce Strategy The first step in scaling e-commerce operations is to assess the current e-commerce strategies and set specific scaling goals. Next, SMBs must evaluate their online presence, including their website, social media accounts, and online marketplaces, to identify areas for improvement. This assessment should include evaluating the website's design and functionality, the ease of use for customers, and the checkout process. SMBs should also evaluate their current product offerings, pricing strategy, and target market. This will help them identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth and determine where to focus their investments to achieve their scaling goals. 2.2 Expand Product Line To achieve scalability, businesses must expand their product offerings by adding new products. This can significantly enhance visibility, attract more customers, and ultimately lead to an increase in sales. First, however, it's crucial to identify which products generate the most profit. Then, businesses can effectively allocate resources and optimize their offerings by thoroughly analyzing each product in the catalog to determine top sellers. Adding complementary products and services to existing offerings is also a good strategy for SMBs. This can attract new customers and increase revenue from existing ones. Moreover, diversifying the product offerings can reduce dependence on a single product or category and mitigate risks associated with fluctuations in demand or supply chain disruptions. 2.3 Optimize Customer Experience SMBs must devote their attention to furnishinga personalized and seamless customer experience. Accomplishing this objective necessitates the provision of intricate product descriptions, high-resolution imagery, and straightforward navigation. In addition, to establish customer loyalty, exceptional customer service must be rendered, such as quick responses and effortless returns. Consumers have many options, so they choose brands that provide exceptional customer experiences. Therefore, SMBs need to prioritize customer satisfaction and make necessary changes to their business model and policies, even with limited resources. Investing in technologies like AI, blockchain, ML, and data analytics can also help enhance the customer experience and drive loyalty, satisfaction, acquisition, and retention. By improving customer service, SMBs can differentiate themselves from competitors and take their business to the next level. 2.4 Leverage Data and Analytics The strategic utilization of data and analytics represents a fundamental component of e-commerce enterprises' expansion plans. SMBs must methodically scrutinize website, sales and customer data to ascertain areas that require enhancement and growth opportunities. Furthermore, the proficient employment of data and analytics facilitates the optimization of pricing, marketing, and product offerings, culminating in augmented revenue, profitability, and decreased risks and expenses. • Use predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs and proactively offer relevant products and services. • Use data to identify high-value customers and target them with personalized offers. • Invest in advanced analytics to gain deeper insights into customer behavior. • Utilize machine learning to personalize customer experiences and increase engagement. 2.5 Implement Tracking and Automation To enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs in e-commerce, SMBs can implement robust tracking and automation mechanisms. These may include automated inventory management to mitigate stockouts and backorders, as well as automated shipping and fulfillment processes to achieve faster delivery times and lower expenses. • Automated services, such as abandoned cart retargeting, drip campaigns, and targeted content promotions based on user interests, can significantly streamline operations. • Chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service support, ensuring uninterrupted customer engagement. Incorporating data tracking is a crucial element in improving online stores and anticipating changes required to support business growth. By leveraging automation to handle repetitive tasks and employing data tracking to derive valuable insights, SMBs can prioritize critical tasks and optimize their e-commerce operations for sustained success. 2.6 Outsourcing: Delegate to Focus SMBs can significantly benefit from outsourcing specific e-commerce functions such as web design and development, marketing, customer service, and fulfillment. This strategy reduces costs, increases efficiency, and enables businesses to concentrate on their core competencies. However, choosing reliable outsourcing providers and maintaining clear communication are essential for effective collaboration. Third-party logistics and fulfillment platforms represent efficient and cost-optimized last-mile delivery and order fulfillment solutions that employ state-of-the-art technology and experienced delivery partners. Outsourcing order fulfillment to these platforms enables SMBs to concentrate on other critical aspects of their business and expand rapidly. Furthermore, leveraging fulfillment centers can lead to several advantages, such as time savings and increased focus on core areas of the business. Picking, packing, and shipping can prove challenging in e-commerce, but outsourcing to a fulfillment center can assist SMBs in scaling up their operations effectively. 2.7 Building Trust and Credibility Establishing trust and credibility is paramount for e-commerce businesses that aim to grow and expand. To achieve this, SMBs should develop a professional, user-friendly website, maintain active social media accounts, and participate in online communities and forums. Providing high-quality products and services and exceptional customer service is also essential. Soliciting and responding to customer feedback and reviews can foster trust and credibility with potential customers. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews can neutralize negative feedback and attract new customers. • Having a presence on multiple platforms and upgrading the website can further enhance credibility. • Including a secure payment system, clear product descriptions, and detailed customer service information in the website design can also help to establish trust and credibility. • Moreover, utilizing customer reviews and ratings to showcase products is a powerful tool for building trust and credibility with potential customers. 2.8 Implement Effective E-commerce Marketing Strategies SMBs need to develop effective e-commerce marketing strategies that target their desired audience. This requires identifying the specific market segment they wish to reach and creating targeted campaigns that resonate with that audience. Inbound marketing is an effective marketing strategy for e-commerce businesses to attract customers to their online stores. By creating and distributing content relevant to their target audience, such as social posts, blog posts, videos, infographics, and influencer campaigns, SMBs can attract potential customers to their website and generate interest in their products. E-commerce SMBs must be aware of the importance of social media in their marketing efforts as they scale their online store. Maintaining and growing their presence on social media platforms is a valuable tool for reaching and engaging with potential customers. SMBs can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their online store by actively increasing their social media marketing efforts 2.9 Attend Trade Shows and Industry Conferences Participating in trade shows and conferences is an effective way for SMBs to expand their network, keep abreast of the latest e-commerce trends, and explore new technologies. These events provide an ideal platform for networking, education, and business development. To leverage the benefits of these events, SMBs must conduct research to identify relevant trade shows and conferences in their industry and attend them regularly. By doing so, they can establish connections with potential customers, partners, and vendors and gain valuable insights into their competitors and the industry as a whole. This approach will enable them to optimize their time and resources and achieve a favorable return on investment. 3. Takeaway: Strategies for E-commerce Success In order to expand their e-commerce business, SMBs must take a strategic and deliberate approach encompassing various aspects of the business. This includes expanding their product lines, enhancing the customer experience, utilizing data and analytics, implementing effective marketing strategies, and streamlining operations such as picking, packing, and shipping. It is also crucial for SMBs to select an e-commerce platform that is flexible and adaptable to their evolving business needs. However, it is important to note that scaling a business has inherent risks and challenges. Therefore, SMBs must be well-prepared and have a plan to mitigate these challenges. By adopting the right tools and techniques, SMBs can overcome these obstacles and succeed in the highly competitive e-commerce market. To achieve sustainable growth, SMBs must take a thoughtful approach to planning and execution. This involves identifying growth opportunities, setting realistic goals, allocating resources effectively, and continually evaluating and adjusting their strategies to remain competitive. By doing so, SMBs can thrive in the e-commerce landscape and unlock their full potential.

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The most innovative Cloud based property management solution for Hostels, Budget- and Family Hotels. Bring automation to manual tasks, payments and booking management, allowing you to focus on creating great guest experiences.

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TECHNOLOGY

Pipedrive Launches Developer Hub to Further Boost the Growth of its Integrations’ Ecosystem

Businesswire | May 30, 2023

Pipedrive, the easy and effective sales CRM for small businesses, today announced the launch of Developer Hub, a centralized and robust online app development platform for technology partners and developers. The dedicated environment enables developers to access all the tools they need to build and manage scalable and secure app integrations for Pipedrive’s Marketplace. Additionally, any app developed will have the opportunity to improve the sales processes of over 100,000 companies. The centralized Developer Hub unites cross-functional developer teams, optimizes and improves engineering experiences. The easy-to-navigate environment supports a fast, efficient and timesaving development process, driving user experience quality in integrations built for Pipedrive customers. “A great sales CRM enables companies to streamline all aspects of their business and take advantage of innovative technology. Our ecosystem enhances the value of Pipedrive, offering small businesses a complete, agile and customizable tech stack at hand to find new growth opportunities. The launch of Pipedrive Developer Hub reflects our commitment to deliver reliable, stable and scalable technology to cover the needs of small companies and help them convert business challenges into opportunities,” said Shaun Shirazian, CPO at Pipedrive. Key benefits of Pipedrive Developer Hub include: • Developer Hub is the central place for managing, developing and improving app/ integration solutions. • Improved developer experience and easier navigation. The centralized and easily accessible hub aligns all the tooling, tutorials and documentation developers need to build and manage web-based solutions compatible with Pipedrive. • Easier-to-use app extensions. Pipedrive offers a wide range of extendability points that allow customers to interact with and see the data from custom solutions right inside the platform. With the new hub, adding and integrating with the extensions is even easier and more intuitive. • One-click preview for the Marketplace app listing to see through the customer’s eyes how the app page will look in Pipedrive’s Marketplace. • The functionality of installing and testing integrations right away, ensuring that the app works as intended. Additionally, the hub allows building private apps available only to selected customers. With more than 400 app integrations and connectors, the ecosystem amplifies the value of Pipedrive and enables customers to sync their data across systems all in one place and provides a way for technology partners to provide their solutions on top of Pipedrive. Last year, nearly 60% of Pipedrive’s total user base integrated their CRM with at least one app from the Marketplace. The most popular app categories were bots and messaging, phone and video calls, marketing automation and lead generation. The new Pipedrive Developer Hub aims to enhance developer experience and expand Pipedrive’s ecosystem to help small businesses grow. Pipedrive’s Developer Hub is available in all developer sandbox accounts as well as in accounts that previously had access to Marketplace Manager. About Pipedrive Founded in 2010, Pipedrive is the easy and effective sales CRM that drives small business growth. Today, Pipedrive is used by revenue teams at more than 100,000 companies worldwide. Pipedrive is headquartered in New York and has offices across Europe and the US. The company is backed by majority holder Vista Equity Partners, and Bessemer Venture Partners, Insight Partners, Atomico, DTCP, and Rembrandt Venture Partners.

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

U.S. Small Business Administration Recognizes Awardees for Achievements in Facilitating Surety Bonds for Small Business Contracting

Globenewswire | June 05, 2023

Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s 33.2 million small businesses, recognizes four award winners for their exceptional work helping small businesses acquire surety bonds, which allow them to obtain federal, state, and private contracts. These awards recognize surety bond guarantee companies for their commitment and significant contributions to fostering business growth and success. The total awarded contract value to small businesses in fiscal year 2022 was over $2 billion. “Congratulations to this year’s Surety Guarantee award winners and to all the surety companies who helped us facilitate over $2 billion in contracting awards to American small businesses. SBA’s exceptional Surety Bond Program partners are instrumental in helping firms that have struggled to get bonded in the commercial marketplace,” said Isabella Casillas Guzman, SBA Administrator. “And our awardees’ commitment to leveling the playing field for small businesses trying to grow through federal, state, local, and private contracts is what fuels our economic growth and creates jobs in communities across the nation.” This year’s winners are as follows: • Surety of the Year: Merchants National Bonding, Inc. • Surety Agency of the Year: Allstar Surety Company, Inc. • Surety Agent of the Year: Amanda Quigley of CCI Surety, Inc. • Small Business of the Year: Jones Masonry Restoration Corporation “The Surety Bond Guarantee Program is a unique public-private partnership that helps small businesses secure federal, state, private, and local contracts,” said Jermaine B. Perry, Director of SBA’s Office of Surety Guarantees. “For over 50 years, the program has relied on the strong support of the surety companies and agencies. I would like to commend Merchants Bonding Company, Allstar Surety Company, Inc., and Amanda Quigley for their excellent performance and assistance to our small business contractors. I also want to congratulate Jones Masonry Restoration Corporation, a successful participant of the program, for their impressive growth and resilience.” Surety of the Year award recipient, Merchants Bonding Company, joined the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) Preferred Surety Bond program in 2022. Merchants Bonding Company’s activity exceeded 500 bond guarantees in its first year of partnership with SBA, assisting more than 125 small and emerging businesses in partnership with SBA. “We are honored to have Merchants Bonding Company recognized for supporting the SBA and creating bonding opportunities for traditionally underserved, often disadvantaged businesses,” said Larry Taylor, Chairman of the Board and President. “We are grateful for all our agent partners who have taken advantage of Merchants and our partnership with Peter Gibbs to pursue SBA surety business. It gives Merchants Bonding a unique opportunity to provide diversity and inclusion in ways with real impact, and we are proud of our growing leadership in this effort.” Jeff Booth, Chief Underwriting Officer for Allstar Surety Company, Inc., winner of the Surety Agency of the Year, said, “Allstar Surety would like to thank the SBG Program and staff for their support and outstanding service through the years. Allstar values this relationship as it has allowed our team to provide surety bond programs to various smaller contractors, helping them grow and become successful. Allstar is also very thankful to our surety partners for their support in providing surety solutions to small and emerging contractors through the SBG Program. The entire Allstar Surety team is honored to receive this award, and we look forward to many more years of success with the SBG Program.” Surety Agent of the Year, Amanda Quigley, joined CCI Surety, Inc. in 2016 and has worked with the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program since day one. The SBG Program has helped Amanda provide bonding for small and emerging contractors while grooming them for a standard bonding program in the future. The SBG Program’s advancements and efforts to streamline the bond guarantee application process through acceptance of electronic signatures and paperwork reduction have made it less cumbersome and thus more attractive to both agents and contractors. The SBG Program has been a staple at CCI Surety, Inc. for decades and has helped to provide bonding solutions for innumerable contractors over the years. Small Business of the Year, Jones Masonry Restoration Corporation, grew their bonding capacity from $595,000 to $4.3 million over 10 years in the Surety Bond Guarantee Program, supported six jobs in the Harrisburg, PA local economy in fiscal year 2022, and actively works with the City of Philadelphia rehabilitating City buildings and public schools. Jones Masonry Corporation graduated from the Surety Bond Guarantee Program in June 2022 and is now able to obtain bonding without SBA support. The SBA Surety Bond Guarantee program has 40 surety partners, 150 authorized agents nationwide, and guaranteed more than 8,000 bonds with a contract value of over $6 billion in fiscal year 2022. More information about the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program is available at www.sba.gov. Questions from surety companies may be directed to Jermaine B. Perry, Director of the Office of Surety Guarantees, at jermaine.perry@sba.gov. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

U.S. Small Business Administration Now Accepting Applications for Small Business Lending Company License

Globenewswire | June 02, 2023

Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 33 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, opened a window for new applications for Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) licenses for the first time in over 40 years. New applicants may apply between June 1, 2023, and July 31, 2023. SBA approves Small Business Lending Company Licenses for selected non-depository lenders to increase responsible small business lending. An SBLC license allows the lending organization to utilize government guarantees when underwriting small business loans to reduce the level of risk to the lender and cost to the borrower. As a result, SBLCs are positioned to write higher volumes of loans to small businesses than possible without a government guarantee. There are currently 14 SBLC licenses in the marketplace today. An SBA rule finalized last month lifted the moratorium on additional licenses. SBA will issue up to three new licenses to qualified lenders based on a review of applications received during this application window. “The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that small businesses are the drivers of our economy and that to participate in the opportunities created by the President’s Investing in America agenda, they need capital,” said Administrator Guzman. “The expansion of SBA’s loan programs will help ensure more borrowers can get funded through a broader network of lenders so they can help build a strengthened American economy that innovates, manufactures, and provides the products and services that make our lives better.” New Application Criteria and Considerations for Applicants SBA will evaluate new SBLC applicants on a range of criteria, which include: • The lending policies of the proposed SBLC and their alignment with SBA’s mission; • Historical performance measures, such as default, purchase, and loss rate; • Whether the applicant is subject to any legal proceedings, enforcement action, order or agreement with a regulator or the presence of other related concerns; • Additional performance data associated with the applicant or its senior managers, along with other relevant information (such as SBA-observed gaps in small business lending not served by the existing 7(a) Lender population, including small-dollar lending and loans to underserved populations); • Affiliation with lenders or lender service providers previously sanctioned by SBA; • Adequate capital, fidelity insurance, and other regulatory requirements. This announcement builds on SBA’s modernization of its loan programs, to streamline credit criteria and cut red tape for all lenders, including the over 1,700 depository banks and credit unions that made SBA loans the last fiscal year. The expansion of SBLC also complements SBA’s May 1 informational notice outlining steps for Community Advantage Pilot Program lenders to transition to a new, Community Advantage SBLC license. Currently, over 100 non-depository lenders participate in SBA’s flagship 7(a) Loan Program under the Community Advantage Pilot Program but only have temporary status. These lenders have shown higher rates of lending to small, minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses. Providing permanent status to these lenders, which include many Certified Development Companies and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), promises to expand their impact in underserved markets. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

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TECHNOLOGY

Pipedrive Launches Developer Hub to Further Boost the Growth of its Integrations’ Ecosystem

Businesswire | May 30, 2023

Pipedrive, the easy and effective sales CRM for small businesses, today announced the launch of Developer Hub, a centralized and robust online app development platform for technology partners and developers. The dedicated environment enables developers to access all the tools they need to build and manage scalable and secure app integrations for Pipedrive’s Marketplace. Additionally, any app developed will have the opportunity to improve the sales processes of over 100,000 companies. The centralized Developer Hub unites cross-functional developer teams, optimizes and improves engineering experiences. The easy-to-navigate environment supports a fast, efficient and timesaving development process, driving user experience quality in integrations built for Pipedrive customers. “A great sales CRM enables companies to streamline all aspects of their business and take advantage of innovative technology. Our ecosystem enhances the value of Pipedrive, offering small businesses a complete, agile and customizable tech stack at hand to find new growth opportunities. The launch of Pipedrive Developer Hub reflects our commitment to deliver reliable, stable and scalable technology to cover the needs of small companies and help them convert business challenges into opportunities,” said Shaun Shirazian, CPO at Pipedrive. Key benefits of Pipedrive Developer Hub include: • Developer Hub is the central place for managing, developing and improving app/ integration solutions. • Improved developer experience and easier navigation. The centralized and easily accessible hub aligns all the tooling, tutorials and documentation developers need to build and manage web-based solutions compatible with Pipedrive. • Easier-to-use app extensions. Pipedrive offers a wide range of extendability points that allow customers to interact with and see the data from custom solutions right inside the platform. With the new hub, adding and integrating with the extensions is even easier and more intuitive. • One-click preview for the Marketplace app listing to see through the customer’s eyes how the app page will look in Pipedrive’s Marketplace. • The functionality of installing and testing integrations right away, ensuring that the app works as intended. Additionally, the hub allows building private apps available only to selected customers. With more than 400 app integrations and connectors, the ecosystem amplifies the value of Pipedrive and enables customers to sync their data across systems all in one place and provides a way for technology partners to provide their solutions on top of Pipedrive. Last year, nearly 60% of Pipedrive’s total user base integrated their CRM with at least one app from the Marketplace. The most popular app categories were bots and messaging, phone and video calls, marketing automation and lead generation. The new Pipedrive Developer Hub aims to enhance developer experience and expand Pipedrive’s ecosystem to help small businesses grow. Pipedrive’s Developer Hub is available in all developer sandbox accounts as well as in accounts that previously had access to Marketplace Manager. About Pipedrive Founded in 2010, Pipedrive is the easy and effective sales CRM that drives small business growth. Today, Pipedrive is used by revenue teams at more than 100,000 companies worldwide. Pipedrive is headquartered in New York and has offices across Europe and the US. The company is backed by majority holder Vista Equity Partners, and Bessemer Venture Partners, Insight Partners, Atomico, DTCP, and Rembrandt Venture Partners.

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

U.S. Small Business Administration Recognizes Awardees for Achievements in Facilitating Surety Bonds for Small Business Contracting

Globenewswire | June 05, 2023

Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s 33.2 million small businesses, recognizes four award winners for their exceptional work helping small businesses acquire surety bonds, which allow them to obtain federal, state, and private contracts. These awards recognize surety bond guarantee companies for their commitment and significant contributions to fostering business growth and success. The total awarded contract value to small businesses in fiscal year 2022 was over $2 billion. “Congratulations to this year’s Surety Guarantee award winners and to all the surety companies who helped us facilitate over $2 billion in contracting awards to American small businesses. SBA’s exceptional Surety Bond Program partners are instrumental in helping firms that have struggled to get bonded in the commercial marketplace,” said Isabella Casillas Guzman, SBA Administrator. “And our awardees’ commitment to leveling the playing field for small businesses trying to grow through federal, state, local, and private contracts is what fuels our economic growth and creates jobs in communities across the nation.” This year’s winners are as follows: • Surety of the Year: Merchants National Bonding, Inc. • Surety Agency of the Year: Allstar Surety Company, Inc. • Surety Agent of the Year: Amanda Quigley of CCI Surety, Inc. • Small Business of the Year: Jones Masonry Restoration Corporation “The Surety Bond Guarantee Program is a unique public-private partnership that helps small businesses secure federal, state, private, and local contracts,” said Jermaine B. Perry, Director of SBA’s Office of Surety Guarantees. “For over 50 years, the program has relied on the strong support of the surety companies and agencies. I would like to commend Merchants Bonding Company, Allstar Surety Company, Inc., and Amanda Quigley for their excellent performance and assistance to our small business contractors. I also want to congratulate Jones Masonry Restoration Corporation, a successful participant of the program, for their impressive growth and resilience.” Surety of the Year award recipient, Merchants Bonding Company, joined the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) Preferred Surety Bond program in 2022. Merchants Bonding Company’s activity exceeded 500 bond guarantees in its first year of partnership with SBA, assisting more than 125 small and emerging businesses in partnership with SBA. “We are honored to have Merchants Bonding Company recognized for supporting the SBA and creating bonding opportunities for traditionally underserved, often disadvantaged businesses,” said Larry Taylor, Chairman of the Board and President. “We are grateful for all our agent partners who have taken advantage of Merchants and our partnership with Peter Gibbs to pursue SBA surety business. It gives Merchants Bonding a unique opportunity to provide diversity and inclusion in ways with real impact, and we are proud of our growing leadership in this effort.” Jeff Booth, Chief Underwriting Officer for Allstar Surety Company, Inc., winner of the Surety Agency of the Year, said, “Allstar Surety would like to thank the SBG Program and staff for their support and outstanding service through the years. Allstar values this relationship as it has allowed our team to provide surety bond programs to various smaller contractors, helping them grow and become successful. Allstar is also very thankful to our surety partners for their support in providing surety solutions to small and emerging contractors through the SBG Program. The entire Allstar Surety team is honored to receive this award, and we look forward to many more years of success with the SBG Program.” Surety Agent of the Year, Amanda Quigley, joined CCI Surety, Inc. in 2016 and has worked with the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program since day one. The SBG Program has helped Amanda provide bonding for small and emerging contractors while grooming them for a standard bonding program in the future. The SBG Program’s advancements and efforts to streamline the bond guarantee application process through acceptance of electronic signatures and paperwork reduction have made it less cumbersome and thus more attractive to both agents and contractors. The SBG Program has been a staple at CCI Surety, Inc. for decades and has helped to provide bonding solutions for innumerable contractors over the years. Small Business of the Year, Jones Masonry Restoration Corporation, grew their bonding capacity from $595,000 to $4.3 million over 10 years in the Surety Bond Guarantee Program, supported six jobs in the Harrisburg, PA local economy in fiscal year 2022, and actively works with the City of Philadelphia rehabilitating City buildings and public schools. Jones Masonry Corporation graduated from the Surety Bond Guarantee Program in June 2022 and is now able to obtain bonding without SBA support. The SBA Surety Bond Guarantee program has 40 surety partners, 150 authorized agents nationwide, and guaranteed more than 8,000 bonds with a contract value of over $6 billion in fiscal year 2022. More information about the SBA’s Surety Bond Guarantee Program is available at www.sba.gov. Questions from surety companies may be directed to Jermaine B. Perry, Director of the Office of Surety Guarantees, at jermaine.perry@sba.gov. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

Read More

SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

U.S. Small Business Administration Now Accepting Applications for Small Business Lending Company License

Globenewswire | June 02, 2023

Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 33 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, opened a window for new applications for Small Business Lending Company (SBLC) licenses for the first time in over 40 years. New applicants may apply between June 1, 2023, and July 31, 2023. SBA approves Small Business Lending Company Licenses for selected non-depository lenders to increase responsible small business lending. An SBLC license allows the lending organization to utilize government guarantees when underwriting small business loans to reduce the level of risk to the lender and cost to the borrower. As a result, SBLCs are positioned to write higher volumes of loans to small businesses than possible without a government guarantee. There are currently 14 SBLC licenses in the marketplace today. An SBA rule finalized last month lifted the moratorium on additional licenses. SBA will issue up to three new licenses to qualified lenders based on a review of applications received during this application window. “The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that small businesses are the drivers of our economy and that to participate in the opportunities created by the President’s Investing in America agenda, they need capital,” said Administrator Guzman. “The expansion of SBA’s loan programs will help ensure more borrowers can get funded through a broader network of lenders so they can help build a strengthened American economy that innovates, manufactures, and provides the products and services that make our lives better.” New Application Criteria and Considerations for Applicants SBA will evaluate new SBLC applicants on a range of criteria, which include: • The lending policies of the proposed SBLC and their alignment with SBA’s mission; • Historical performance measures, such as default, purchase, and loss rate; • Whether the applicant is subject to any legal proceedings, enforcement action, order or agreement with a regulator or the presence of other related concerns; • Additional performance data associated with the applicant or its senior managers, along with other relevant information (such as SBA-observed gaps in small business lending not served by the existing 7(a) Lender population, including small-dollar lending and loans to underserved populations); • Affiliation with lenders or lender service providers previously sanctioned by SBA; • Adequate capital, fidelity insurance, and other regulatory requirements. This announcement builds on SBA’s modernization of its loan programs, to streamline credit criteria and cut red tape for all lenders, including the over 1,700 depository banks and credit unions that made SBA loans the last fiscal year. The expansion of SBLC also complements SBA’s May 1 informational notice outlining steps for Community Advantage Pilot Program lenders to transition to a new, Community Advantage SBLC license. Currently, over 100 non-depository lenders participate in SBA’s flagship 7(a) Loan Program under the Community Advantage Pilot Program but only have temporary status. These lenders have shown higher rates of lending to small, minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses. Providing permanent status to these lenders, which include many Certified Development Companies and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), promises to expand their impact in underserved markets. About the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.

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