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The Grist Fellowship will award one or more writers with a $2,250 monthly salary and a six-month mentorship with experienced staff members at the organization's headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
Subscribers to Bublish’s Authorpreneur Dashboard can engage readers in social conversations about the creation process by sending out rough cut book bubbles. A vibrant blue fox, whimsical friends, exhilarating adventures and discovery await all those who explore the stop-motion world of Tumble Leaf. Starting today, Prime members have unlimited streaming access to the first six episodes of Tumble Leaf, at no additional cost to their membership.
Last year Amazon Studios launched its first two prime time series Alpha House and Betas, and will debut its first three children’s shows this summer.
Whichever camp you fall into, if you happen to be a handmade business of one, there are some specific things you’ll need to do on a regular basis to build a profitable and sustainable venture.
Automate emails requesting that ordering customers share a review of a product they recently purchased from you.
Use email auto-responders to let people know when you are away from your business so they know when you will be getting back to them. Even solopreneurs need to regularly add new content to their websites to feed the search engines and attract organic traffic.
A bi-monthly blog post will keep you in the online game and provide great content for your website visitors, but it alone will not crack the SEO nut for you.
No matter the size of your business or your staff, you’ll need to be consistently engaged in list building activities.
Send out an update to everyone twice a month so you can remain top of mind for the people who have opted in to hear from you.
Whether you use Google Calendar, a paper planner, a smart phone app, or an open email edited to update your schedule daily, a calendaring tool specifying exactly what you will do every day will be indispensable to your success. The best thing to do is to have a minimally maintained presence on all of the major outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Instgram, and Pinterest), but make it your business to become a master at just one of them. I’m sure there are more things you can think of that a handmade business of one needs to do on a regular basis to keep the orders flowing in and the quality product flowing out.
The brainchild of Napster co-founder Sean Parker, Airtime was launched in 2011 as a live video chat site. But now, Parker and his team have totally revived Airtime as a dynamic group video chat room.
A far more social beast than its predecessor, this latest version of Airtime group video chat also works harmoniously with other mainstream social media networks. With numerous brands already having harnessed formidable levels of recognition and lead generationA from engaging with would-be consumers on Airtime’s more established competitors, industry analysts have already pointed out that small businesses could ultimately stand to make huge gains from getting involved with the new platform.
In the long-term, Parker has also said hea€™s keen to further integrate Airtime for TV streaming so that friends can watch their favorite shows with one another and chat about them in real time from opposite ends of the planet. Earlier this year, developers announced Meerkat would be ditching live-streaming in favor of a more social video sharing experience.
A sole proprietorship an extremely basic business structureA in which you’reA fully responsible for a companya€™s assets and liabilities. The single greatest advantage of forming a sole proprietorship is that it is not a terribly costly endeavor.
As a sole proprietor, all of your business income will be treated exactly like personal income — which makes filing taxes for business purposes extremely simple. General partnershipsA ensure that profits, liability and management duties are equally divided among business partners.
Key partnership advantages include the protection of shared financial commitments, a quick and inexpensive incorporation process and a built-in incentive for ambitious employees. Partnerships must register with the IRS, and will be expected to file an annual information return each year. A limited liability company (LLC) is a popular business structure designed to provide the legal flexibility and tax efficiencies of a partnership with the limited liability of a large corporation.
The key advantage of forming an LLC is that it protects company owners from personal liability for the business activities or debts of that company.
How your LLC must ultimately file will depend largely upon how many members your company has. A corporation is an independent legal entity owned by shareholders, and is typically recommended only for larger businesses with multiple employees.
Setting up a corporation is a bit more difficult than an LLC, as corporations are subject to more complex tax requirements and legal responsibilities. Corporations must register with the IRS — and unlike partnerships or sole proprietorships, are responsible for paying federal, state and local taxes. That will typically include a salary, bonuses and any dividends that may have been received. An S corporation is different from a normal corporationA in thatA its owners are only taxed on a personal level. S corporations also enjoy a substantial amount of tax savings because only the wages of employee shareholders are subject to employment tax.
To be considered an S corporation in the eyes of the law, you must register your business as a corporation in the state where it’s headquartered.
At the end of the day, the type of business structure you choose for your new company will depend entirely on what it is you’re after. Empowering the team to make better sales should be the number one issue on the mind’s of all company leaders.
If you are into international business, it is essential to optimize your team routine to match different time zones. Ringostat is a call-tracking and lead optimization software that allows you to easily analyze which time of the day and days of the week need more sales managers (depending on how many calls your company receives and misses). Another useful tool, especially if you’re planning an international meeting, is Every Time Zone which lets you easily and visually convert time zones.
I am a big believer in having a strong collaboration tool to make communication and keeping track of things easier.
Give them a thorough understanding of how your company works, and what each individual sale and customer interaction does.
Chances are your employees have a good idea of what is needed to make their job better, easier or more productive. Example: Grocery store chain Kroger allows employees to submit suggestions to improve the store, customer relations, or employee satisfaction. Have a set of guidelines that don’t change, and make sure that everyone is following it. A good team leader is someone whose employees can turn to them, and who can get the best out of them. In a time when search engine ranking factors have been analyzed to death, one of the final mysteries in ecommerce marketing is how to rank on Amazon. You see, at their core, search engines focus on boiling down all types of content (text, images, videos, and audio) so they can be ranked equally. Ripen’s study focused on identifying the correlations between specific product listing details and search rank on Amazon. Use both Amazon and outside advertising and promotion to drive targeted traffic to your products. For example, this crib mattress from American Baby is ranked #52 in the baby category — but ita€™s #1 in the mattress pads subcategory. While not directly correlating to search rank, knowing how to work with top-level categories on Amazon can make the difference between visibility and invisibility in search results. As you can see, the search results are returned for all departments (listed on the left) in which refrigerators are listed. To retain visibility in Amazon search, make sure to do your research and list your products in the top-category in whichA the best selling competitive products are listed.
If you want your products to rank higher in Amazon search, investigate the opportunities to have your products sold by Amazon and be Prime eligible as the alternative fulfillment methods seem to negatively impact Amazon search ranking.
While a keyword-stuffed title may gain a product visibility for more keywords, the numbers show that it can backfire instead.
Given this bias towards exact product titles leading to more sales, Rekuc hypothesizes that, “uploading different images for product variations will also lead to better click-throughs.
While the correlation between pricing discounts and Amazon search rank were low, Rekuc offered another hypothesis here.
Consider pricing discounts up front to increase sales rank, which will positively affect Amazon search rank.


If you want to know how to rank on Amazon, review the guide above for 5 steps you can take to increase the search rank ofA your Amazon products. Earlier this year, Bank of America jumped onto the cardless ATM technology bandwagon announcing the introduction of the state-of-the-art ATMs that would allow customers to withdraw or complete other tasks using their smartphones instead of their bank cards.
Android Pay first debuted in the country inA September 2015, allowing shoppers to pay for goods or services at the checkout counters by simply waving their Android smartphones over a wireless reader. According to the press release, Android Paya€™s technology will be integrated at thousands of Bank of America cardless ATMs, starting in San Francisco and the Bay Area. The way we pay for things is changing fast and to ensure your business stays current and secure, you need to shift to mobile payment technologies.
The demise of the QR (Quick Response) code has been predicted for some time, but this technology is thriving, especially outside of the U.S. This odd looking image has now evolved to provide a wide range of services, and many countries in Asia it is the go to technology for quickly connecting users to information and services. One of the greatest selling points of QR codes is the ease in which it quickly engages users. This QR code was generated in less than a minute, which when scanned takes you to the Like Facebook page of Small Business Trends. You can get really creative when you create a QR code and add color, your company logo and even animation.
The not so creative ways marketers and developers have used the technology here might be one of the biggest reason, which hopefully will change as word gets around of how everyone else is using it. The ubiquity of mobile devices has made product information one of the most important factors for consumers looking to purchase an item. With QR codes, you can offer information on any product or service you provide and make it accessible right away. Innovative business owners are constantly finding new ways to use eco-friendly materials in various products. Ricky Zurvas, owner of Bamboo Watches Australia told Small Business Trends, a€?I discovered a small Aussie brand through Kickstarter that was launching a range of Bamboo Watches and Sunglasses.
Zurvas explains, a€?One of the biggest mistakes I made was not building a email list as soon as possible. Zurvas explains, a€?Ia€™m constantly in contact with my supplier and our most effective communication is a mobile instant messenger whatsapp. 1999), an online news site covering key environmental issues, is offering a fellowship to a budding journalist who is eager to sharpen his or her writing and reporting skills and experience a richer knowledge of ecological concerns. The writers will contribute to Grist's daily editorial functions consisting of fact-finding, reporting, content writing, and collaborating on multimedia stories. Never before have authors had the ability to actively promote their books, gather fans and generate pre-sales right from the pages of their manuscript.
This builds an emotional connection between reader and writer right from the start of the book project.
Amazon’s first original kids series is available today, exclusively on Amazon Prime Instant Video at no additional cost for Prime members. To ensure series are created to engage children while supporting educational goals, Tumble Leaf and all other Amazon kids preschool programs are developed with the support of an expert board of advisors led by Dr. Anyone can upload a script and Amazon Studios will read and review all submissions and those who choose to make their projects public will also receive feedback from the Amazon Studios community. The company is guided by three principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, and long-term thinking.
The ranking was determined by compiling sales data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle format from April 2013 to April 2014, on a per capita basis in cities with more than 100,000 residents. Become uber selective about who you sell to, and do not complicate your life by selling internationally. Use a shipping service that will pick up orders at your door and deliver them safely to your customers. Automation is the tool that frees you up to truly enjoy your business, and you can implement it and still maintain the personal touch.
Set up a system where the review automatically goes into a cue for your review, and where you can push it to your website with a click of a button. To do that, you’ll need to hire a good SEO specialist or take some classes and learn how to manage SEO for yourself. Make sure it’s easy for people to sign up for your newsletter by clearly displaying a newsletter sign up option. Offer information that will help them live a better life and remind them of how easy and fun it is to purchase and experience the products you have to offer. One or two of your vacations may last a week or more, but if you cannot get away for that large a chunk of time, try taking several mini-vacations throughout the year.
This will save you the time consuming task of checking your stock to order what you are nearly out of. The difference between you and others who use social media is that if you are doing everything yourself, you are better off using a single outlet than to try to manage half a dozen of them.
In this way, you can maintain a stellar brand presence at one social media platform, rather than a sub-par presence on all of them. It generated a huge level of buzz, stringing up endorsements from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Olivia Munn and Martha Stewart. Thanks to Airtimea€™s heavily-integrated interface, that media can be pulled directly from mainstream sites like YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud and Spotify — placing the app within striking distance of major competitors like Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. Yet each message can be monitored by as many as 250 group members — and users are able to receive doorbell notifications of thumbnail reactions to their posts. Video posts on the app can be instantly re-posted onto sites like Instagram — with Airtime overlaying a readable URL that followers can type in to join your group chat room. The incorporation process is riddled with cumbersome legal jargon, and ita€™s enough to confuse even the sharpest of entrepreneurs. Although some business structures do share similarities, each one comes hand-in-hand with its own unique set of advantages — and the company type you choose will inevitably pose major legal implications for your business and the way in which ita€™s taxed. You dona€™t need to take any action or sign any paperwork in order to form a sole proprietorship — so long as youa€™re the companya€™s sole owner, all of your business activities will automatically come under this status. You wona€™t have a whole lot of legal costs, and you enjoy full control over your business and all of the decisions that it must make.
In the Unites States, there are three main types of partnership arrangements that new business can choose from: general partnerships, limited partnerships and joint ventures.
Limited partnerships are a bit more complex, and allow partners to have both limited liability and limited input on management decisions. On the other hand, the primary disadvantage of forming a partnership is that they do not come with limited financial liability. LLC owners also enjoy minimal record-keeping responsibilities, and this particular business structure makes it relatively simple to share and distribute business profits. For more information on how your LLC is taxed and which forms you will need to file, ita€™s worth taking a look at the IRS guide to Limited Liability Companies.
As a separate legal entity, the shareholders and members of a corporation enjoy limited liability for company debts.
That said, corporations do hold a key advantage over other business types because they are able to generate crucial business capital through the sale of company stock.
As a separate, tax-paying entity, corporation owners are only required to pay taxes on corporate profits that have been paid to them. Shareholders who are also employees will be expected to pay income tax on their wages; however, some employee benefits are considered deductible or partially-deductible businesses expenses. The owners of S corporations also enjoy limited personal financial liability, and the profits and losses of that corporation can pass through their personal tax returns. Sit down, and have a long, hard think about how you want your business to operate and where you see that business headed in the long-term. Not only does it generate better profits and promote growth, but it builds morale and dedication among employees who see themselves succeeding. But there is no shortage of collaboration tools out there that can give you what you need to drive your team.
It can be easy to get bogged down in company policy and forget the human element that makes everything run smoothly.
Whether that is in incentives, commissions or rules, it is a quick way to lose their loyalty. This drive toward homogenous ranking makes it easier to conform to identified standards that yield better search results.


In order to do so, you need to isolate one ranking methodology from the others so you can observe its effects. As the chart below illustrates, there’s no question that products with higher sales rank numbers appear more often in Amazon search results.
A higher sales rank will lead to more visibility in search results which will lead to more sales and so on. After all, how can you raise sales rank when your product is less visible in search results? This will increase the likelihood of sales that in turn will increase your product’s sales rank, leadingA to greater visibility in Amazon search.
While Amazon provides 500 characters for a product’s title, the average cutoff (where the title doesna€™t fit and is truncated) on mobile devices occurs at 74 characters and on desktop devices at 110 characters. While your products may show up in less searches, this approach is shown to correlate with higher sales. This week, they took thatA ambition a step further announcing that they would now allow customers to perform those tasks though Android Pay. Using near-field communications (or NFC) technology, the reader is able to read the Shoppers credit or debit card information. Android Pay users will be able to access their Bank of America cards within their cardless wallet.
A Unlike a traditional barcode which stores limited data, a QR code has a lot more information. In China QR codes are used to make payments offline, sharing a password protected Wi-Fi network, transferring money, sharing contact information, logging in to a website and much more. This is a simple example how it can be used to interact with your audience with a proven, cost effective and efficient technology. After you create your first code, you will be looking for new and innovative ways to deploy the QR codes so you can connect with your customers in the physical and digital world. It can be linked to any URL, including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media outlets for immediate access to the content you want your customers to see. You can now analyze the performance of the codes you create by monitoring how much traffic is coming from them, as well as what actions users are taking once they arrive at your website or other destination. If you require a special scanner or app, you will greatly limit the number of people that will follow through. However, companies such as American Airlines, BestBuy, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated and many others are using it as part of their overall marketing strategies to engage with their customers in several ways, including for the Online-To-Offline (O2O) commerce that is gaining traction.
A South Korean grocery store placed a stand in a subway station with QR codes of the items it sells. I had never seen a unique product made out of bamboo and knew the product was validated because how successful the campaign ended. If I could start over, one of the first tasks on my to-do list would have been to create a email campaign. Each writer will also establish and work on a significant writing project under the guidance of experienced editorial members. Readers can even provide feedback on character development, plot direction, cover design and so much more. Created for preschool-aged children, each episode of Tumble Leaf follows Fig, a delightfully curious blue fox, and his best friend Stick, a quirky caterpillar, as they embark on a fun and nature-filled adventure, learning science through their natural play. Each episode consists of two 11-minute stories and the remaining seven episodes will become available later this summer.
Alice Wilder, one of the world’s foremost experts in educational and child psychology.
Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire, and Fire TV are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.
Rather than spending time making new lines of products to sell, spend time making your small line of products as unique as you possibly can — with price points to match. Getting away to a favorite spot for one or two nights can mean the difference between burning out and thriving. It also virtually ensures that you never run out of anything you need to make your products. Refer your customers, the media and other stakeholders to your main social media outlet and perform minimal monthly maintenance on the rest of them. That said, as a sole proprietor you will maintain unlimited personal liability for your business. Finally, joint ventures are effectively treated as general partnerships that come with an expiry date.
Similar to sole proprietorships, partners retain full liability for a companya€™s finances and debts. Meanwhile, partners will be responsible for paying income tax, self-employment tax and estimated tax.
That means company members are technically considered self-employed, and will be expected to pay their own self-employment taxes in order to cover things like Social Security and Medicare. As a result, an S corporation isna€™t technically taxed — only the corporationa€™s shareholders are paying taxes. For more information on S corporations and how they’re taxed, you should visit the IRS website. You want to tell them exactly how they are contributing to the company culture, how they are helping the brand succeed, and how important their place is in the grand scheme of things. If you say that they should act a certain way with customers, and then another manager says not on his watch because he doesn’t operate that way, you are going to have a problem. For each of the search indexes, Amazon maintains a sales rank value; we call this a top-level category sales rank. You sell the product to Amazon at wholesale prices, and Amazon sells it for whatever retail price they deem appropriate. The product is still entirely owned by a third party seller, but it resides in an Amazon warehouse ready to be picked and shipped when ordered. Shoppers ideally have to feed this information to the mobile app and this does away with the need to carry a couple of cards with you.
You can use the traditional links, as well as the QR codes, which were put on here to highlight how easy it was to create them. All customers had to do is scan the code and purchase their groceries, which according to the company makes the deliveries the same day.
I could see this was a great product to sell as it was eco-friendly and made out of bamboo. The series will also be available in Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, a service built just for kids that gives them the freedom to explore all their favorite books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows, while providing parents with the tools they need to manage their kids’ screen time.
Spend most of your time treating your repeat customers like gold, and less time working to attract new customers. It will also save you money since buying in bulk lowers the per unit cost of everything you use to make your products. Because there is no legal distinction between you and your business, you could end up losing personal assets if the business runs into trouble. Partners involved in a joint venture can continue working together after the conclusion of a joint venture, but theya€™ve got to subsequently file as such.
It also means that LLCs must file taxes using either a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship tax return. Learn their individual strengths and weaknesses, and work with them to improve where needed. They pay for local businesses to come in and teach them random things, such as how to properly roll sushi. After all access is the ultimate goal, and you don’t want to drive people away by making it unnecessarily complicated.
Amazon Original Series are available exclusively to Prime members through Prime Instant Video. They sponsor get-togethers for workers and their families to get to know each other better.
In most cases, this is the best route for a merchant to sell Prime-eligible products directly to the consumer.



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