With Google changing the game in April 2015 by giving better search results page ranking to mobile-friendly websites, many small businesses have cause for concern.
According to an infographic by Greater Rochester SCORE, 93.3 percent of small/medium business websites were not yet mobile friendly at the end of 2014.
That’s a big deal considering that in May 2015, Google announced more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in the United States and nine other countries.
Trying to navigate through and view a website that doesn’t present well on a mobile device frustrates users and can create miss opportunities for your business.
If you’re unsure if your website is mobile friendly or not, you can run this quick test to determine that. If your website is not yet mobile friendly, you’re probably wondering about your options for making it so.
Here are three ways you can turn your website into one that will play well with mobile devices:
Develop a mobile version of your desktop website.
By using a conversion platform, your website developer can create a separate version of your website that will appear when someone views your site on a mobile device. This is a relatively quick way to make your website mobile friendly, but it has some drawbacks; you’ll need to maintain and update content on two separate websites and visitors on mobile devices may get frustrated because your website’s mobile version will likely not have the breadth of information that your desktop site has.
Use a mobile plugin for your site.
Popular website content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla) have plugins you can install to make your website mobile friendly without creating a version separate from your desktop website. For more information about how you might make your existing site mobile friendly using plugins, visit Google’s Mobile Guide, which provides links to software available for various website platforms.
Recreate your website using a responsive web design.
Responsive design takes a mobile-first approach and provides a solution that gives you one website with design and features that adapt to screens of various sizes (smartphones, tablets, etc.). From the start, it takes into account how design, content, features, and functionality must be incorporated to ensure a positive user experience regardless of whether your website is accessed from a mobile device or desktop computer.
Typically, the separate mobile version of a desktop site and the plugin options are viewed as temporary fixes while responsive design is considered a more permanent solution. Each solution has some pros and cons, so consider talking with a website design professional to determine what makes sense for you in the short- and long-term. Not sure where to turn? Contact your local SCORE chapter for guidance and resources to help you with all aspects of starting and growing your small business.
Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 10 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 11,000 volunteer business mentors in over 320 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE at www.score.org.
Opportunities for disabled workers at small businesses
Two tax credits make it more affordable to accommodate disabled workers in small business.
According to Small Business Trends, The Disabled Access Credit guarantees a credit of up to $5,000 on expenditures of up to $10,250 for modifying equipment, hiring sign language interpreters, providing Braille documents and more.
The Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction allows for a tax deduction of up to $15,000 for building new ramps, curb cuts, parking spaces, and other accessibility options at their place of business to accommodate those with special needs.
Generally, the disabled population has a harder time securing full-time employment and statistics show that the unemployment rate among this group was around 8 percent in 2017 compared to 4.1 percent of the non-disabled population. Employers may avoid hiring disabled workers because they feel as though it would be difficult to fire them for poor performance or they don’t understand or don’t want to deal with accommodating someone with special needs.
What are small business accelerators and incubators?
Small business accelerators and incubators can provide crucial help to new and growing small businesses in the form of support, direction, and funding, according to Inc. Magazine.
According to the National Business Incubation Association, survival rates for participants in new business incubation programs is 87 percent after five years compared to 44 percent of groups that don’t use the services.
Incubator programs come in at the beginning stages of a startup, and their focus is on providing office space, skills training, networking opportunities, mentorship, and some access to financing. Accelerator programs are aimed at new, but more mature, businesses that need to step up growth.
According to Small Business Trends, incubator programs took off during the 1980s when universities began providing these services to their entrepreneurial students to help get them off the ground. Even today, many startup incubators are educational or government nonprofits that aren’t able to provide much capital investment themselves but instead focus on slow growth and ongoing support. For-profit incubators can, however, offer more early-stage funding in exchange for equity and partial control of the company.
As their name implies, accelerators are meant to take a young company and help it rapidly expand. During the course of months-long, boot camp-style programs, incubators focus on specific development projects and tight deadlines meant to scale a business to profitability while sorting out any issues with strategy, operations, and organization.
According to Harvard Business Review, there were almost 200 accelerators in the U.S. between 2005-2015 that collectively invested in more than 5,000 new businesses with a total of $19.5 billion in capital. While joining such programs will by no means ensure success, many successful names such as AirBnB, Dropbox, and Stripe were able to leverage the access to high-profile investors and mentors to grow their valuations over the $1 billion mark.
Five qualities of a successful entrepreneur
Dreaming of starting a business? Wondering what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur? While there’s no one tried-and-true recipe, here are five qualities that successful entrepreneurs tend to have.
Good entrepreneurs are go-getters who forge out a path through thick and thin. They are effective communicators who know how to rally, influence, motivate and inspire others.
They’re forward-thinking individuals who are able to create a concept, an approach or a product that has long-term viability.
They’re possessed of a good deal of farsightedness, which is needed to look ahead and plan out the strategies needed to take their enterprise in the right direction.
Entrepreneurs never give up: they persevere despite obstacles. They work relentlessly, consistently managing to find ways to overcome the problems at hand.
They’re risk-takers who rise to the challenge of finding success where others have failed. It’s not a question of recklessness, but rather of being able to weigh and tolerate the risks.
These are the secret ingredients shared by most successful entrepreneurs. If this sounds like you, chances are you too may be able to launch and run a successful business of your own.
Christmas gift giving etiquette in the workplace
For a festive and confident holiday, follow the etiquette of gift-giving in the office, according to U.S. News.
Traditionally, employees don’t buy a gift for their boss or manager as it is considered poor form. Some companies ignore this rule and may choose to take donations for a group gift. Nobody should feel pressured into putting in money for these gifts or any other group-based event.
Still, gift swaps are common and can be a lot of fun. Two games are Yankee Swap and Secret Santa.
In the Yankee Swap, everyone buys and wraps an unmarked present and names are drawn to see who chooses and unwraps a present first. The next person up can either take a new gift or steal the one just opened. With Secret Santa, everyone gets the name of another person, and he or she is tasked with buying an anonymous gift just for them.
Pay attention to the spending limit, usually around $20, as well as what message a gift could be sending. Gag gifts can be dangerous if the recipient doesn’t enjoy the joke. Never assume your good intentions will be seen as good. Don’t go political, even if you know the recipient will like it. If you share political humor with someone, give them that gift as a joke outside the office.
Candy and baked goods are usually a safe bet, but mind the recipient’s religious or dietary restrictions.
Obviously, don’t buy a religious gift for a non-religious person or a Christmas-themed gift for a non-Christian.
Stay honest, positive in job interviews
A previous employer can and will discuss your performance on the job, so be honest in interviews and stay positive when you are applying for a new job.
No one wants to hire someone who trashes their former employer or gossips about the employer to the hiring manager. The first thing the hiring manager thinks is that their company will get the same treatment when you leave them, according to The Balance Careers.
On the other hand, it is important to be honest, both about your own performance in a previous job and why you left the company. Potential employees should stick to the facts, admit their part in a bad situation, and attempt to be positive.
A hiring manager will probably contact a previous employer. Previous employers can generally share information about documented conduct, job responsibilities and performance, and sometimes salary information.
Just because a company is allowed to share details about previous employees doesn’t mean they will. Most larger companies might share documented negative performance information, but will not share gossip. Most large firms with dedicated human resources and legal departments will stick to basic facts only. Smaller operations might have fewer internal restrictions.
Regardless of what a former supervisor might say, job seekers should be frank when discussing previous jobs. A sudden red flag from a reference can make it appear as if an applicant is hiding information.
Owning up to termination, for example, doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker if the incident makes sense within context. Avoid bad-mouthing a former boss or becoming defensive about the issue. Even with jobs that ended badly, be sure to add positive references whenever possible, as well as some from earlier positions, to make sure the problem isn’t the only thing recruiters see.
A week to celebrate entrepreneurship
Held the third week in November every year since 2008, Global Entrepreneurship Week is touted as “a celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups.” This year, an estimated 10 million innovators and job creators are expected to take part in 35,000 activities and contests in 170 countries.
Global Entrepreneurship Week provides the ideal networking opportunity for new and young entrepreneurs to explore their potential, gain knowledge and connect with peers and mentors. Given that a large number of millennials have shown an unmistakable proclivity for entrepreneurship, the event is of huge benefit to them.
Undeniably, it’s business-savvy youngsters that we must thank for today’s most innovative products and services. This includes globally significant green technologies as well as non-conventional methods of working like co-working, co-creation and telecommuting.
The events around Global Entrepreneurship Week give entrepreneurs—and would-be entrepreneurs—the opportunity to engage in local, national and international activities such as conferences, workshops and round tables.
Most significantly, Global Entrepreneurship Week encourages the creation and development of the next wave of innovative small businesses, spearheading us all into an exciting and sustainable future.