Smartphone makers have mostly worried about creating great phones with increasingly better cameras. Panasonic has flipped that concept. Instead, the company has introduced a new product that’s essentially a camera first, smartphone second – the Panasonic Lumix CM1. In a release on the device from the company’s official website, Panasonic says the Lumix CM1 has a Leica DC Elmarit Lens, with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel MOS sensor and other features you’d expect from a DSLR or high-end point-and-shoot camera. That includes things like full manual control over the lens focus, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. The lens on the Lumix CM1 actually extends from the device. However, that’s not for zooming purposes, only to allow more focus control. Here’s a glimpse of the new device focusing on its camera features: This new device is also capable of shooting 4K video and 4K-quality photo captures from that video. And because the Lumix CM1 doubles as a smartphone, the images you capture with it can easily be shared to social media streams, emailed, and uploaded to sites like YouTube right from the device. As a smartphone, the Lumix CM1 will run on the latest Android operating system. A Google Drive app is pre-installed on the device, giving you a place to store the videos and photos you create. Inside the new Panasonic device is a Qualcomm 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. There is a microSD expansion slot to increase the storage space with 128GB more. There’s a high-quality camera lens on the rear of the smartphone portion of the Lumix CM1. Meanwhile, the face of the smartphone (the view screen of the camera) is a 4.7-inch full HD display. The device also has NFC technology and is capable of receiving LTE and WiFi connections. The Verge notes that this is the first Panasonic entry in the smartphone arena in the last two years. Shortcomings in previous devices kept the company away from that competitive market. An initial planned release in Europe suggests a cost of 900 Euros, translating to more than $1,100 if it was for sale at a comparable price in the U.S. today. But not specific price tag or date for release in the U.S. market has yet been set, so time will tell. Expect to see more ‘photo and video first’ smart devices in the near future, however. This Panasonic entry was debuted at Photokina, a photography technology convention held in Germany. The ability to share high-quality images on the go is one of the emerging trends from that show. From a Photokina release : “Image capture devices are used to document one’s every step as robust miniaturized action cams or as so-called wearables or photo and video glasses. At the same time the recordings can be shared with any desired individuals, groups or with everyone via WiFi, NFC, smartphone and WLAN connections. The new WiFi-enabled image capture devices enable everyone to participate in their own personal experiences and those of others.” Image: Panasonic The post Panasonic Lumix CM1 – A Camera with a Smartphone appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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While the number of sole proprietorships has exploded over the past three decades, their revenues and income have remained largely constant in inflation-adjusted terms. The end result has been a decline in real sales and income at the average sole proprietorship, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) statistics reveal. Between 1980 and 2007, Americans dramatically increased the rate at which they run sole proprietorships, moving from 39.2 for every thousand people in 1980 to 76.7 in 2007. While the per capita number of Schedule C filers declined slightly during the Great Recession and then increased slightly during the recovery that followed, the overall pattern remains one of an upward trend in the per capita number of sole proprietorships over the past 31 years. The large increase in number of proprietorships was not met with a comparable rise in their revenues, which increased only 12.7 percent in inflation-adjusted terms over the three-plus decade period. The inevitable result was a dramatic decline in sales at the average proprietorship, which dropped from $122,000 to $52,400 when measured in inflation-adjusted terms, as the figure below shows. Real income at the average sole proprietorship follows a similar long-term downward trend. After rising from 1982 to 1988, it declined from $16,990 per year in 1988 to a low of $11,020 in 2009 and then subsequently recovered to $11,700 in 2011. (All income figures are measured in 2010 dollars.) The rise in sole proprietorships resulted primarily from an increase in the number of businesses in the economy, rather than a shift by owners towards the proprietorship legal form. Between 1980 and 2011, the per capita number of American businesses increased from 57.1 businesses per thousand people to 104.5 businesses per thousand, a rise of 82.7 percent. IRS statistics show that sole proprietorships have maintained a roughly constant share of American businesses for the past decade. They did increase from 68.6 percent of U.S. businesses in 1980 to 74.5 percent in 1993, but then declined to 71.6 percent by 2000. (Sole proprietorships comprised 72.0 percent of American businesses in 2011.) Sole proprietorships’ share of business revenues and income follow different patterns. Sole proprietors’ share of business receipts were largely constant between 1980 and 1992. But from 1992 to 2011, they declined from 5.7 percent to 3.6 percent of total business revenues. Sole proprietorships’ share of business income rose in the early 1980s and then was (noisily) constant until 1991. Since then it has fluctuated, but trended downward, from 27.0 percent in 1991 to 12.9 percent in 2011. Source: Created from data from the IRS Statistics of Income Entrepreneur Photo via Shutterstock The post Key Trends at Sole Proprietorships Over the Past 30 Years appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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Lean Innovation at Amazon

by Paul Joseph on September 22, 2014 · 0 comments

Jeff Bezos, always had the spirit of lean management, since the day that he created Amazon. Amazon is a natural place to see lean principles at work. Continue reading →

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Good news for advertisers using Shopping Campaigns: Google is now allowing you to opt into displaying your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on retail and e-commerce search partner sites. Displaying your shopping campaign ads across Google’s search partners network helps you reach motivated consumers outside of the google.com and Google Shopping environments. Where Will Your PLAs Appear? Google said the network includes “a small set of retail and commerce publishers.” The example they used in their announcement was Walmart; in this case, an advertiser selling tailgate grills could have their ads trigger on the Walmart site when someone searches for a tailgating grill. It begs the obvious question: doesn’t this potentially take sales away from the partner sites? Like any and everything Google does, this functionality has probably been tested extensively and will be monitored and evaluated as it rolls out across more partner sites. However, the participating partner sites are part of the AdSense for Shopping program, whereby publishers earn revenue for hosting AdSense Shopping ads. They’ll have some analysis to do of their own, to determine whether the additional revenue stream is more lucrative than any potentially lost sales. What Do Google PLAs Look Like on Partner Sites? They appear much the same as on Google Search, but publishing sites will have some degree of control over where the ads are placed on the page. In this example from Google, the ads appear in a left-hand sidebar and are labeled “Sponsored Products.” The obvious drawback for advertisers is that the ads are appearing on sites likely to sell similar products – this is how they’re triggered. So while consumers are more likely in a frame of mind to make a purchase, the competition is right there on the page, as well. There may also be some confusion if consumers don’t understand that clicking an ad actually takes them off the site and to a new retailer. A person looking to save money on shipping, or order a number of items from one retailer, might find this a bit annoying. How Do You Opt In to Show Your PLAs on Partner Sites? Those creating new Shopping campaigns will find that the default “campaign type” setting already includes the Google Search Network consisting of Google Search, Google search partner websites, and Google Shopping. If you’re creating a new Shopping campaign, you actually need to opt out if you don’t want your ads to trigger across partner e-commerce and retail sites. You can deselect the “Include search partners” checkbox if you want out. It’s worth noting that right now, Google is auto-upgrading all Product Listing Ads campaigns to Shopping campaigns. If you’ve been using PLAs and haven’t upgraded yet, as of September 2 they will have some limitations: You can no longer create new targets. You cannot change bids and destination URLs on existing product targets. You cannot create or edit text for PLAs. During the auto-upgrade process, Google warns, “Though we’ll attempt to replicate your regular Product Listing Ads campaigns’ settings, bids, and budget, the setup for these new Shopping campaigns might differ.” If you haven’t done so yet, go check on your PLA campaigns. Complete the upgrade to Shopping campaigns so you can review your ads and make sure they’re appearing the way you expect. Then decide whether you want your ads to appear across Google’s partner sites network and make sure the “Include search partners” option is set to your liking. Republished by permission. Original here . Google Search image via Shutterastock The post Google Product Listing Ads Will Now Appear in Search appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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Viber, the VOIP service purchased earlier this year by the Japanese eCommerce company Rakuten , now has the ability to make Viber video calls on mobile. Previously, Viber users could only make video calls using the app’s desktop platform. Mobile Viber users – both iOS and Android – were limited to making voice calls and sending text messages. Now, Viber users on Android or iPhone devices will be able to make free video calls to any other Viber users who have the app installed on their device, reports the support section of the Viber website. According to a report from The Next Web , the addition of Viber video calls on mobile devices was two years in the making. Video calls will be possible on mobile devices even if connection strength isn’t the best. Viber says to make a video call to a contact, it must first start as an audio call and users can pick a video option once the call is connected. Inside a video call, users can send text messages or even transfer the call to a desktop device from their mobile phone. For iOS users: You must have an iPhone 4S or later. iOS 7 or later. Viber 5.0 or later. For Android users, the minimum requirements for Viber video calls on mobile are: Viber 5.0. Android 4.0. A front-facing camera with at least 1.3 megapixels and internal memory of 1.5GB of RAM or more. The addition of Viber video calls on mobile could make it an even more viable alternative to Skype (owned by Microsoft), Google Hangouts, and Apple’s FaceTime. This is especially true for small businesses that need to utilize video conferencing and make a lot of international calls. Currently, Viber touts that it has 400 million users worldwide, so there are plenty of other people to talk to including potentially some business contacts. Viber users don’t need a separate account login name. The app uses your mobile phone number as a login. After the app is downloaded to your device, it scans your contacts to find other Viber users. Viber also allows group calls with up to 100 users on board, according to the company’s site. If a Viber user must call someone who doesn’t use the app — for instance on a landline phone — the built-in ViberOut feature offers call rates as low as 1.3 cents-per-minute, including for international calls. Rakuten’s long-term stated goal for Viber when acquiring the platform back in April, was to turn it into part of an eCommerce platform. So further business applications may certainly still be ahead. Image: Viber The post Viber Adds Video Calling for Android and Apple Devices appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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Separating work from pleasure is difficult enough, but when it comes to your employees using company smartphones for personal use, it can be costly. Nowadays, this concern goes beyond using the phone for personal calls, of course. It goes beyond using a smartphone, too. An employee could be using any smart device, like a tablet, and consuming most of your monthly data allowances for personal use. Soon however, it may be easier to separate personal voice, data and messaging charges on personal devices from business ones. BlackBerry recently acquired SIM developer Movirtu. The company provides technology that lets users have multiple numbers active on a single device. This means the possibility of separate BlackBerry accounts for business and personal. For small businesses, this could help conserve valuable data allocations and also save on the time that comes with trying to monitor employees’ personal use of company-owned devices. Conversely, with the rise of the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) movement in which many employees would rather use their own technology, this makes it much easier to separate personal from company use. Movirtu CEO Carsten Brinkschulte says that his company’s goal is to create virtual identities on smart devices. This allows the same device to operate under two different accounts. In a post on the Inside BlackBerry Business Blog, Brinkschulte explains : “Enterprise customers will now be able to provision a single device for corporate and personal use; allow discrete enterprise policies to be applied to only the work side of the device, while allowing full usability of the personal portion of the device; split bills for voice, data and messaging; and provide the ability to switch between profiles easily.” BlackBerry notes that a recent ruling in California requires companies to reimburse employees for data and call charges that an employee incurs while using their own smart devices for work use. The solution being considered by BlackBerry and Movirtu would make this much easier on a practical level. Brinkschulte says his company already has worked with all the major mobile carriers in the past and those industry connections could result in a rather rapid integration of Movirtu’s technology into BlackBerry devices in the future. BlackBerry says it plans to introduce Virtual SIM identification technology into devices soon. These devices will be supported by all major mobile carriers, too. Computer Photo via Shutterstock The post BlackBerry Plans Personal, Business Accounts On One Device appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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Environmentally conscious consumers have plenty of options when it comes to things like food and household products. But what about clothing? There are options out there for sustainable, well-made garments. But you can’t usually find them at the mall or major retail locations. So such brands haven’t always been easy for consumers to buy. Enter Zady , a company that aims to connect consumers with sustainable, high quality fashion. Zady works with fashion and décor brands around the world to showcase products that are both ethically made and constructed with quality materials. The company launched just over a year ago. Friends Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi started the platform as an alternative to today’s “fast fashion,” where consumers tend to buy a lot of cheap clothes instead of a few timeless pieces. To accomplish its mission, the company vets designers to identify those who fit with the company’s environmental ideals. Zady currently has about 60 such designers on its site. On each product page, potential customers find details about where the product is made and what raw materials are used. There are even bios of the designers and profiles of the businesses that create each product. In addition, Zady partners with nonprofit The Bootstrap Project to promote artisan entrepreneurs in the developing world. A portion of each purchase made on the platform goes to fund these micro-businesses. But the next step for Zady is its own line. The company plans to start this holiday season and will be involved with every stage of the sourcing for its products. Since Zady cares so much about quality materials and construction, it makes sense that its team would want to be involved in the whole process. Bédat told CNN: “The natural step is to get our hands dirty and figure out, ‘What does it mean to make the most sustainable brand?’” The fashion industry today focuses so much on cheap, trendy items. Because of that, there are methods of garment making and construction that are being lost and forgotten. Zady offers the opposite — a way to easily find the brands that use high quality materials, solid construction and sustainable methods. For consumers that care about those aspects of fashion, this platform could make shopping infinitely easier. Tablet Photo via Shutterstock The post Fashion Startup Provides eCommerce Platform for Sustainable Designers appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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I’ve seen a ton of books on how to work on teams, but let’s face it. Not every group is perfect, and interpersonal dynamics will lead to conflict at some point. The rise of entrepreneurial activity online also means conflict can occur. I know I’ve seen my fair share over the past 5 years, and I know many of you have seen even more. To set better expectations from your groups, read the tips from the new book Blamestorming: Why Conversations Go Wrong and How To Fix Them by Rob Kendall, ( @robkendall ) I learned about it while browsing NetGalley and picked up a copy. The perspective offered by Kendall outlines a solid framework to make working together work well. Scale Projects, Not Arguments Blamestorming is a type of discussion in which a group assigns responsibility for a failure or mistake. It can creep up as a project is struggling to complete milestones or is approaching a point of failure. Kendall brings a wealth of experience. Based in the United Kingdom, Kendall has been a highly respected management consultant and authority in the field of communication over the past 20 years. He has coached teams at many international companies including American Express and Zurich Banking. Kendall’s background makes me appreciate the book’s tone even more. While having worked with larger firms, Kendall has tailored his suggestions for smaller firms as well. The book centers on warning signs when a blamestorm is coming, and how to best avoid needless conflict. There are 20 self-contained chapters, 19 of which get into one of four aspects that can occur, according to Kendall: The Tangle — misunderstood intentions, which lead to uncertainty and poor expectations. The Big Arguments – when conversation spiral out of control. The Bad Place – where you are in the middle of a horrible conversation. The Lock Down – when feelings are withheld, limiting progress towards meaningful solutions. Much of the book does emphasize the causes for “The Big Arguments” but also helps to reveal how and why these aspects happen. Putting Prevention Into Action I liked how the chapters are laid out. There are actionable “What To Do“ suggestions at the end of each chapter, with a summary lesson statement that is perfect for busy minds to remember. This statement from chapter one rung true for me: “Don’t just be in conversations; observe them.” I’ve observed conversations when possible, but some times one needs a means to know how to handle what they have observed. That’s where the “What To Do” comes in. You need a few straightforward words that elaborate to stir deeper thoughts or appreciation. The What To Do chapter certainly contains straightforward stirring commentary. Here’s an example: “Becoming an expert starts with being curious about the dynamics of conversation. Take time to consciously step back from the content of conversations you’re having and observe what moves them forward or brings them to a grinding halt.” A few of the chapters have ideas that you may have heard before. But despite the standalone design of each chapter’s topics, all the chapters combine to paint an effective and actionable picture of how to consider what you observe. Check out this passage from chapter 13 about language and what it can reveal: “Our language provides an insight into our past. For example, the average work meeting contains terminology that reflects our bloody heritage. We talk about being held to ransom or going in for the kill when closing a deal…Such expressions are like a plane’s vapor trails, leaving evidence of what’s gone before….Language also provides intelligence about the way someone processes information. If a person says I need to think about this, it probably indicates that they’re quite reflective in nature.” Who Would Benefit Most From This Book Business owners who are expanding their operations from being a solopreneur to a small team will definitely want to give this book a read. Those who have development teams, particularly software and web development, will consider this a useful change up from books that focus on project management techniques. And to be fair, this book can extend into personal conflicts – after all, arguments are not just within a manager’s office. Chapter eight examines the addicted advice giver, admonishing those who think they can fix every problem. A parent learning to let children solve their own problems could appreciate Kendall’s view. Chapter 7 examines fears, featuring an interesting juxtaposition: A professional’s realization against an interview comment Judy Dench made about her success – the idea of living with a fear, but working to accomplish a task. These type of comparisons reminded me of the book Clutch , and how its author Paul Sullivan examined one aspect of life, sports, against professional performance. Expecting perfect relationships in every business relationship is to also expect unicorns to bring cash infusions to every small business. Reading Blamestorming will not create an environment for perfect relationships – and cash-laden unicorns, for that matter. But it will usher an environment where everyone can communicate effectively and respectfully. The post Blamestorming: How to Prevent Arguments, Create Team Harmony appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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There are always advances being made in the world of sports manufacturing, from creating better and safer sporting gear to marketing fun and funky items for athletes and sports fans alike. Continue reading →

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Welcome to our latest curated list of events, contests and awards for small businesses, solo entrepreneurs and growing companies outlined below. Remember, to see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar . Featured Events, Contests and Awards Small Business Summit 2014 October 22, 2014, New York, NY The 9th Annual Small Business Summit Takes place in New York City at the CUNY Graduate Center. The Summit is an oasis where small business owners and entrepreneurs have a unique experience where they can learn and network. The Small Business Summit is the only Summit of its kind – BY small businesses and FOR small businesses.  Learn more and register. Featured Events, Contests and Awards COSE Small Business Convention 2014 October 22, 2014, Sandusky, OH The 9th annual Small Business Convention is the premier event for small businesses in the Mid-West. Networking, education and continuing education credits. Produced by Council of Smaller Enterprises. Hashtag: #smallbizcon More Events LEADING IN LOCAL: SMB Digital Marketing September 22, 2014, New Orleans, LA/USA Human Resources Compliance & Best Practices September 23, 2014, Murrieta, California OSHA Injury and Illness Record Keeping September 23, 2014, Online Excel: How Can PowerPivot Take Your Existing Pivot Tables And Charts To The Next Level? September 23, 2014, Online Taking Control of Your Marketing & Sales Efforts with SLAP September 24, 2014, Online Empowering Emerging Entrepreneurs: New Business Boot Camp September 26, 2014, Chicago, IL, United States SM2 Mobile Innovation Summit September 30, 2014, Online Reinventing the Career Conversation in a Time Starved World September 30, 2014, Online IRS Voluntary Disclosure – A Safe Haven? September 30, 2014, Online Leader’s Voice Open Programme October 01, 2014, London, United Kingdom Business Gets Personal in NYC: Spend A Day With Seth, Gary And Dave October 02, 2014, New York City, United States Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk & Dave Ramsey for 1 Day Only in NYC. Business Gets Personal October 02, 2014, New York, NY Business Gets Personal in NYC: Spend 1 Day With Seth Godin, Gary Veynerchuk & Dave Ramsey October 02, 2014, New York City, NY How to Decide which HIPAA Policies You Need to Adopt October 02, 2014, Online Russian Affiliate Congress & Expo October 03, 2014, Moscow, Russia 3 Psychological Principles behind Human Experience: Create Sustainable Mental-Emotional Wellness and Performance Improvement October 07, 2014, Online The International Conference on Information Security and Cyber Forensics (InfoSec 2014) October 08, 2014, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia OSHA Inspections: Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes October 08, 2014, Online More Contests SAP Conference for Enterprise Performance Management October 14, 2014, Chicago, United States This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology . The post Latest Small Biz Events List For You to Check Out appeared first on Small Business Trends .

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