Multiple flags

As a small business owner, you’ve worked hard on your web presence: You’ve invested time in testing different site variations, engaging your key influencers, and branding yourself along the way.

But, guess what?  If you stopped there, you might be missing out on up to 50% of potential customers for your online business.

It’s no secret: the world is getting smaller and even small online businesses have to expand internationally to continue to grow and remain competitive.

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When you first decide to strike out on your own and start a small business, one of the biggest initial challenges you will face is funding your new venture. There are lots of ways to finance a small business – including venture capital, angel investors, and business loans. Each of these come with their own pros and cons, of course, and you have to decide which one best aligns with your business goals.

If you decide that it’s important to your vision of your own business to maintain full creative control and not feel beholden to a few majority investors, it might be time to get creative. Your options will be different depending on the type of business you plan to start, but today we’ll look at a how a Minneapolis brewpub solved the funding riddle.

New LinkedIn profile example

Have you ever taken a moment to think about how similar social media is to high school movie? No really, stay with me here. There is a central cast of five or six archetypal characters, and then all the satellite people whose names you know but you really don’t spend much time thinking about.

If Facebook is the popular quarterback, and Twitter is the super cool geek, and Pinterest is the artsy girl with paint on her overalls, then LinkedIn has always kind of seemed like the editor of the newspaper. Someone who is well-liked and respected, but lacks the style and star-power of the rest of the crew. Well, like any good high school movie, this social media story contains an exciting makeover that will (hopefully) result in a dramatic turn in LinkedIn’s popularity.


The Inbox Diaries is a series designed to help busy entrepreneurs keep up with all the latest news in small business, marketing, and social media. I’m scouring my inbox every day for interesting tidbits – so you don’t have to.

This Week’s Stories:

Editing Google: Exercising Your Right To Be Forgotten
If you happen to live in the European Union and have some questionable content out there on the internet, you can now officially apply to have it removed from Google’s search results. Just fill out this handy webform from Google. According to Mashable, Google received 12,000 request submissions in the first 24 hours since launch.

HelloWallet Logo

As a business in the Washington D.C. area that began as a startup, we are always happy here at Webs to hear about the growth and success of startups in our neck of the woods. It’s always an exciting time when a large, successful company recognizes the potential of a startup to have a great impact within their own business. Such is the case with yesterday’s announced acquisition of HelloWallet by on of its investors, Morningstar Inc.

In case you aren’t familiar, HelloWallet offers software that enables companies to provide their employees with advice for making better financial decisions. Bill Flook of the Washington Business Journal called HelloWallet “a sort of for the enterprise.” The company was founded in 2009 by Dr. Matt Fellowes, with the mission of democratizing access to independent financial guidance.

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Email marketing represents the chance for small businesses of all types to accomplish many goals, from a boost in conversion percentages and repeat customers, to the ability to generate qualified referrals and maximize sales opportunities. Email is a cost-effective, time-efficient way to expand your reach and grow your business – but without a thriving communications list to market to, you’ll likely be left whistling in the wind.

If your business is eager to start capitalizing on the many benefits of email marketing, or if you are searching for ways to gain traction with your current campaign, consider these five fundamental strategies to fill your list with quality leads.

Price increase icon

Over the past 15 years, Netflix has built what is likely the most successful subscription service of all time.  Their users are incredibly engaged, fiercely loyal, and absolutely love the service.

However, despite this incredibly deep connection with their subscribers, users revolted when Netflix tried to dramatically increase their prices and fundamentally alter their suite of products.  Over the next 4 months, the company lost 800,000 subscribers and its stock price fell 77%.

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The small business landscape is one that is always changing. What’s true of this intrepid group one year may take an unexpected turn the next. So it’s always fascinating to touch base with business owners and learn about their needs, challenges, and aspirations for their businesses.

The infographic below summarizes the Webs Small Business Digital Trends Survey – the latest findings based on the responses of over 2,200 small business owners in the United States. Much of what you find below will probably confirm what you have experienced, and some of it might really surprise you. Here are a few of the stats that really stood out to us:

tigeRoy website header

Being a bit of a nerd for great branding, I am just thrilled when I run across a Webs user who has an especially well-branded website. One such example comes from tigeRoy, a children’s gift company in Australia whose website exudes a strong brand.

A colleague reminded me yesterday of a quote that I think really embodies the difference between a product and a brand:

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Pocari Sweat Lunar Website

The Inbox Diaries is a series designed to help busy entrepreneurs keep up with all the latest news in small business, marketing, and social media. I’m scouring my inbox every day for interesting tidbits – so you don’t have to.

This Week’s Stories:

Will Facebook’s Slingshot App Challenge Snapchat?
In a story published yesterday, Financial Times reported that Facebook might be having another go at the Snapchat crowd. Despite their rebuffed attempts at a Snapchat takeover, Facebook apparently remains interested in the market. According to the article, Facebook is working on a short video messaging app called Slingshot, which could released as early as this month.



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