Work Burnout Poses Problem for Small Business Owners, Per Xero Survey

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Work Burnout Poses Problem for Small Business Owners, Per Xero Survey

As a small business owner, you may have suffered work burnout. At the very least, you’ve seen the effects of burnout on your team or others in the workplace.

According to a new Xero survey released today, you’re not alone. The majority of small businesses (77 percent) feel the effects of burnout at work — at least some of the time.

Exhaustion, lack of energy, not enough time with friends and family, disillusionment and lower motivation are just some of the effects of work burnout.

Vacations are one way to cope with burnout; 98 percent of owners say they help. Yet taking vacation is a mixed bag because of not having anyone to take the owner’s place. But many owners cope by using technology to stay in touch.

If you persist in your business, it seems to get better. Age and time correlate to burnout levels, according to the survey.

The older the business owner, the less likely the owner reported work burnout.  Baby boomers (over age 50) reported burnout at a rate of 59 percent. Gen Xers (age 35 – 50) said 84 percent of them suffered burnout at some point in the last year. And an overwhelming 94 percent of millennials (age 18 – 34) felt burned out at least some of the time.

The survey does not indicate why older business owners report less work burnout. One possibility might be due to having greater experience in business and in life. Older entrepreneurs may have developed the ability to put problems into perspective and find solutions.  In other words, they may better manage the stresses that lead to burnout.

Yet conversely, as the small business itself ages, owner burnout seems to increase for a while, at least until the business gets very mature. The effect is like a bell curve. Seventy-eight percent of owners of startups (businesses less than two years old) report burnout. That percentage increases as the business ages. Businesses around from years 2 to 10 experience the highest burnout, at 86 percent.  But once the business passes the 10-year mark, it gets better. Owner burnout drops significantly after 10 years, to 65 percent.

That’s not too surprising when you consider small business survival rates. The first 10 years are rough on small businesses. About 80 percent fail within 10 years. It could be that once you get past the 10-year point, the stresses of keeping a business alive decline. And after 10 years the owner has figured out how to better cope with work burnout.

The Xero survey dealt with small businesses of up to 20 employees. Over 550 owners located in the United States responded to the survey. Some were Xero accounting software users, others not.

Xero  (XRO: NZE) is a cloud accounting software provider founded in 2006 in New Zealand.  The company grew from helping a handful of small businesses in New Zealand. Today it has over 1 million subscribers worldwide to its cloud accounting software platform.

Stressed Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Work Burnout Poses Problem for Small Business Owners, Per Xero Survey” was first published on Small Business Trends

MoviePass Shows Small Businesses the Power of Membership Programs — as Long as They Work!

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MoviePass Shows Small Businesses the Power of Membership Programs -- as Long as It Works

MoviePass is a new service that essentially lets customers see one movie in participating theaters every day for just $10 per month. The service creates an obvious incentive for customers. Unfortunately, the service might still have some bugs that need to be worked out.

Business Insider recently tested out the service and ran into some issues, however. First, the app didn’t update with the customer’s information from the website. Then the live chat feature on the website offered a less-than-stellar solution that would have required the customer to actually buy his own ticket then receive a refund later. Eventually, MoviePass fixed the issue. But it wasn’t exactly a seamless experience.

Membership Programs Bring Customers Back

MoviePass can offer some important lessons for small business. First, the idea of the service is one that small businesses could try to emulate in their own unique ways. It’s a low cost way to get people through the door more often. So if you have a local business, maybe you could start a membership club or coupon special where people pay a small monthly fee to get great deals every time they visit your store or restaurant.

But Test Your Membership Programs Before Launch

But the second lesson is about the way your initiative actually works. If people sign up for something like this and it doesn’t work the first time — maybe there are tech glitches or your employees aren’t up to speed on how to handle those purchases — it can turn those customers away from your business forever. So make sure you really test your initiative to work out all the kinks and ensure that your employees know exactly what to do, or all your great local marketing efforts could be for naught.


This article, “MoviePass Shows Small Businesses the Power of Membership Programs — as Long as They Work!” was first published on Small Business Trends

30 PayPal Alternatives Ideal for Small Business

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30 PayPal Alternatives Ideal for Small Business

PayPal is a great solution for businesses  looking to accept payment, send invoices and manage finances online. But it’s far from the only option. For businesses that are looking for a PayPal replacement or just some other options to add more flexibility, here are 30 PayPal alternatives for small businesses.

PayPal Alternatives

Google Wallet

30 PayPal Alternatives Ideal for Small Business - Google Wallet

Google Wallet is an app and web platform that allows users to send and receive money using their email address and phone number. You can connect the service directly to your bank account and also use it to track your expenses and payments over time.


Stripe is a software platform that allows you to accept credit card payments online. But the tools are also flexible so you can set them up to accept subscription payments or make it fit with the specific needs of your business.


Venmo has become a popular platform for individuals looking to send money and share expenses. But it can also have business applications for those who want to make it easier for customers on mobile devices and social media apps to make purchases using Venmo.

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments gives online merchants a way to accept payments through Amazon’s online platform. So for customers who have payment information saved on their Amazon account, they can really easily just login and use that same payment method in other stores that use the platform.


Square is already well known for providing a POS system for businesses that accept credit card payments in person. But the company also offers tools for ecommerce and appointment based businesses. Processing fees start at 2.75 percent per transaction.


Payline provides a few different options for payment processing, including those for mobile, online and in-store purchases. Fees start at 20 cents per transaction plus 5 percent overall.


30 PayPal Alternatives Ideal for Small Business - Payza

Payza is a payment platform that works with credit cards, bank accounts, Bitcoin and more. The platform supports ecommerce businesses and even offers a Payza card to make purchasing even easier for customers. Accounts and sending money are free. And there are minimal transaction and Bitcoin processing fees.


Skrill is a digital payment platform that can help online merchants, app developers and game creators accept payments.


WePay is an integrated payment platform that can help you accept payments from customers, send invoices and even manage things like marketing automation. provides payment processing tools for businesses that accept payments in stores, online or on site. Pricing starts at 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction.


QuickBooks from Intuit provides a platform for businesses to send invoices and accept payments from anywhere. Fees start at 25 cents per transaction plus 2.4 percent.

Shopify Payments

Shopify Payments lets you accept payments online if you run a Shopify ecommerce store. But the company also offers a POS system for businesses that need to accept payments in person as well.


30 PayPal Alternatives Ideal for Small Business - ProPay

ProPay offers payment solutions for everyone from small businesses to enterprises. The company supports credit card payments, bank transfers, mobile payments and more.


Worldpay offers a global payment platform that lets you accept payments online and in person. The company works with all different forms of currency and also offers data and optimization tools. is a credit card processing platform that comes with no setup fees or contracts and lets you accept payments online and in stores.


2Checkout is an online payment processing platform that offers a mobile friendly hosted checkout with advanced security and global reach. Pricing starts at 2.9 percent and 30 cents per transaction.


Popmoney allows you to send, request and receive money online or on your mobile device. For businesses, the tool would be most useful for those who work closely with specific clients. The service has straightforward pricing at 95 cents per transaction.


Paymate’s merchant service allows businesses to accept credit card payments online, in person and over the phone. The service supports multiple currencies and also features support and dispute resolution services.


30 PayPal Alternatives Ideal for Small Business - Payoneer

Payoneer specializes in international money transfers. You can use it to bill customers, facilitate bank transfers and manage accounts.


Dwolla is a developer friendly API that allows you to build applications to facilitate bank transfers and manage purchases and customers. You can use Dwolla’s interface to quickly facilitate transfers or integrate the API into your own interface.


Braintree is actually a PayPal service. But it provides a platform for businesses to accept, process and split payments. There are several solutions available for different types of businesses, including marketplace and direct services.


Paysera offers cheap money transfers and a platform for accepting online and mobile payments. Registration is free and merchants just pay fees for services like checkout and e-banking.


PayLane is an online payment processing solution specifically for SaaS and ecommerce businesses. It allows businesses to accept payments in many different formats and currencies.


Wirecard offers end-to-end payment solutions for merchants and other types of businesses. Products include payment processing, mobile payment solutions, risk management and more.


30 PayPal Alternatives Ideal for Small Business - BlueSnap

BlueSnap offers payment processing for online stores and web and mobile development. The platform allows customers to pay with credit cards, bank transfers or online accounts like PayPal.

Merchant Inc

Merchant Inc offers credit card processing solutions for businesses that accept payments online, in person or over the phone. The company charges 1.99 percent plus 25 cents per transaction.


Selz allows businesses to process payments from online stores or social media platforms. You can actually use Selz to create your online storefront or offer products for sale on social media. Then you can process payments through Selz Pay or use other payment platforms that Selz is compatible with, including PayPal.


Viewpost is a solution that allows you to send invoices, securely accept payments and manage cash flow. Businesses can accept electronic payments for free. And the business charges small fees for sending payments and other actions.


Fastspring is a digital commerce platform for software and SaaS businesses. The platform allows you to enable payments online or in apps. The company offers a pay-as-you-go as well as business plans that come with flat monthly fees starting at $199 per month.


Avangate is another payment solution that focuses on software developers. Pricing depends on your plan and the specific needs of your business.

PayPal Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “30 PayPal Alternatives Ideal for Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends

Star Wars Promotion Teaches Small Businesses Important Local Marketing Lesson

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Star Wars Promotion Teaches Small Businesses Important Local Marketing Strategy

Disney is going local to promote the newest Star Wars movie. Instead of sticking with nationwide advertising campaigns and huge events in big cities around the world, the popular film franchise is letting fans discover secrets about the new movie through an augmented reality game that takes them to locations within their own communities.

From September 1 through 3, fans can pull up the game in the Star Wars app on their phones and use it to discover clues about the new movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Participating retail stores will include posters or other artwork that include the “Find the Force” logo. Players can then scan the art with their phones to see a virtual Star Wars character and learn more information about the upcoming film.

This promotion is unique in a lot of different ways. Of course, there’s the use of new technology like augmented reality (AR). But it’s also a very interactive promotion that actually gets customers to participate in their own communities.

Adopt This Local Marketing Strategy

Your small business can emulate this sort of promotion even if you don’t have the resources to create a full AR app. You can simply create a local scavenger hunt or work with other local businesses to create an interactive promotion that gets customers to actually visit your business and others in exchange for some kind of incentive. It could be a prize for the customer who finds the most of a certain item hidden around local stores. It could be a promotion where the customer who shares the best Instagram photo taken at your store gets a major discount on their next purchase. The possibilities are endless. You just need to get a little creative.

Stormtrooper Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Star Wars Promotion Teaches Small Businesses Important Local Marketing Lesson” was first published on Small Business Trends

Making the Decision: File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

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Getting injured is a fact of life; however, if it happens to you at work or at another person’s establishment, you might be able to claim negligence on their part.… Read more »


30 Percent of Small Business Owners Don’t Take a Salary

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Salary of a Small Business Owner? 30% Don't Take One

Running your own small business is the life, right? Being in control of your day and your destiny sounds great.

That’s the goal and the reason you decide to venture into business on your own, but a new Fundera survey of small business owners reveals small business ownership isn’t for the weak-willed or faint of heart. The life certainly comes with its hardships.

Salary of a Small Business Owner

And most notable is the lack of pay. The Fundera survey reveals that 30 percent of small business owners don’t take a salary.

Salary of a Small Business Owner? 30% Don't Take One

What that says is, if you’re looking to collect a regular paycheck or you’re dependent on the check you’re getting from your day job, think twice about starting your own business.

Of course, if 30 percent aren’t taking a salary, that means that 70 percent are. Running a business certainly won’t leave you penniless, at least if you’re avoiding catastrophic mistakes. But compared to the average CEO, a small business owner’s pay is considerably less. According to Fundera, the national average pay for a CEO is $160,000. Almost 87 percent of the small business owners surveyed told Fundera they take a salary less than $100,000.

Paying the Cost to Be the Boss

Even if a small business owner is making close to that $100,000 figure, it’s not without toil.

Fundera found in its survey that the average small business owner is working much harder than the average worker. According to the data, 81 percent of small business owners work nights and almost half (45 percent) do so on a regular basis.

Weekends are no exception either. In fact, it’s more likely a small business owner will work a weekend (87 percent) and will do so more often (45 percent) than the average worker.

The average small business owner, according to Fundera, works between 40 and 49 hours per week. The average American worker clocks in for 38.6 hours a week.

For this survey, Fundera partnered with Qualtrics and questioned 409 small business owners and people in positions of upper management at small businesses.

Images: Fundera

This article, “30 Percent of Small Business Owners Don’t Take a Salary” was first published on Small Business Trends

5 Ways That Failing Prepares You for Success

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“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Hopefully most of us won’t stumble from failure to failure too much before tasting sweet… Read more »


Show a little gratitude

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GratitudeI believe that gratitude is a brilliant marketing strategy. I’m astonished at how many businesses give their customers the distinct impression that they’re a little put out by having to sell them something.

You’ve felt it – the grocery clerk who is too busy chatting to actually make eye contact. The phone rep that can’t wait to get off the phone. The sales pro that doesn’t return your calls, even though you’ve told him you’re ready to buy.

It’s annoying and hardly breeds customer loyalty. But gratitude isn’t just for customers. I believe the smart business owner creates a continuous chain of gratitude and not only is it genuine, but it yields incredible benefits.

Here’s how the chain gets constructed. First – you demonstrate your gratitude to your employees. You then give them the tools to extend that same gratitude to your vendors and clients. Then, you invite your vendors and clients to recognize your employees for serving them well.

See how it goes full circle? When you cultivate and encourage the cycle, it just picks up steam and gets stronger and stronger. It’s like a snowball that keeps growing and accelerating as it speeds down the hill. Pretty soon, it’s been woven into your culture and becomes part of your reputation. That’s a pretty powerful brand attribute.

So how do you make it happen? You develop tools for each group of people in the cycle. Let’s start with the employees.

The good news is that this isn’t about more money. It’s about recognition and appreciation. Everyone wants to be noticed for doing a good job. You start by defining what “a good job” looks like. Be very clear in your own mind what character traits you want on your team. Interview for those soft skills and attitudes.

After you hire the right kind of people – train them well. Don’t just train them to be good at their job, train them to be grateful for the clients who bring the opportunities to your company. Help them understand how each client contributes to the bottom line.

Now – start catching them doing things right. This cannot be left to chance or it won’t get done. Create a peer recognition program, where employees can thank each other for going above and beyond. Read the nominations at an all staff meeting or share them on your intranet. Find a way to publicize the kudos they received. Personally stop by their office (or call them if they’re not local) and thank them for making a difference.

What’s the business rationale for this effort? A study of over 1,700 employees conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) indicated that more than half of all employees intended to search for new jobs because they felt underappreciated and undervalued. Further research on gratitude and appreciation documents that when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, will work longer hours, build supportive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, and are happy to help the company achieve its goals.

On top of all that – they aren’t looking for other jobs. I don’t know about your industry but in my world it’s getting tougher and tougher to find qualified employees. So we want to keep the good ones that we have.

Beyond the employee peer recognition, there are other things you can do. On your employees’ anniversary with your company, why not acknowledge their contributions and how it’s impacted the company? Or send a note home, telling his/her family how they contribute to your organization.

Celebrate your employees and their wins. Be thoughtful, be personal and be sincere. But most of all – be genuinely grateful.

Next week, we’ll wrap up the cycle of gratitude by talking about how you can cultivate that among your vendors and customers.

The post Show a little gratitude appeared first on Drew's Marketing Minute.

8 Free or Cheap Educational Apps for the Savvy Professional

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You use an app for navigation, another app for email, still others for document storage, payments, transportation, photography. Why not use an app for education?
No, not all educational apps… Read more »