Saturday, February 17, 2018

DocuSign Event will Help Your Business Make It Rain Money

Getting paid is an essential function of any business. So your goal as a business owner should be to make it as easy as possible for customers or clients to actually send you their payments.

So how do you go about accomplishing this goal? You can learn some valuable deal closing tips at an upcoming webinar put on by DocuSign. The webinar, Make it Rain Money: Close Deals Faster and Speed Up Collections, is scheduled for March 13 and includes some actionable ideas for improving your company’s systems. You’ll also get access to DocuSign whitepapers on the subject.

Interested in attending? You can learn more about the event and how to sign up in the Featured Events section.

And that’s just one of many upcoming events that could potentially benefit your small business. Check out the full list of opportunities below.

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

WEBINAR: "Make it Rain Money: Close Deals Faster and Speed Up Collections"WEBINAR: “Make it Rain Money: Close Deals Faster and Speed Up Collections”
March 13, 2018, Online

Would you like to bring revenue in the door faster? Do you want every edge possible to get paid fast? Register today for this webinar to learn how other small businesses are eliminating their pain points in the contract and invoicing process, through use of electronic signature and invoicing apps. Walk away with concrete tips for how to get contracts signed and invoices paid faster. Plus, get access to DocuSign whitepapers with actionable ideas for how to improve YOUR company’s systems. Register today!

Spring 2018 Franchise Business Expo. Meet with Top Franchisors!Spring 2018 Franchise Business Expo. Meet with Top Franchisors!
March 27, 2018, Lafayette, Calif.

Don’t miss an exclusive opportunity meet face to face with select franchisors expanding in the SF Bay Area. The first 50 attendees will receive a free copy of E-Myth Revisited. All attendees will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an iPad!

Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018
April 22, 2018, Fla.

Are you an Entrepreneur and need to get away and take a break? Ready to recharge, rejuvenate in new surroundings and be inspired by other like minds? Then, you can’t miss the 4th annual Entrepreneurs Cruise! Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018 takes place April 22nd to 29th, 2018 onboard the Royal Caribbean ‘Oasis of the Seas’ Cruise Ship departing Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida, sailing to Philipsburg (St. Maarten), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Labadee (Haiti). Register today!

DigiMarCon East 2018 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDigiMarCon East 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
May 10, 2018, New York, N.Y.

DigiMarCon East 2018 Digital Marketing Conference takes place May 10th to 11th, 2018 at the luxurious New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City.
It’s the one digital marketing event you can’t afford to miss! Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DigiMarCon East 2018’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools. Register today!

TECHSPO Houston 2018TECHSPO Houston 2018
June 06, 2018, Houston, Texas

TECHSPO Houston 2018 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place JUNE 6 – 7, 2018 at the luxurious Houston Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Houston, Ontario. TECHSPO Houston brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Houston 2018 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will join us. Register today!

Growth & Success ConGrowth & Success Con
September 17, 2018, Online

This small business virtual conference is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs at all stages who are stuck in the daily grind of building their businesses and struggle to get solid advice and guidance. An amazing panel of experts in various disciplines and business coaches will share tips & tricks on topics including Growth, Marketing, Management & Business Building for Success. Register today!

More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

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This article, "DocuSign Event will Help Your Business Make It Rain Money" was first published on Small Business Trends

DocuSign Event will Help Your Business Make It Rain Money

10 Tech-Centric Methods for Growing Your Business

Stop the Fake Google Robocalls That Never Stop Phoning

You already know that technology can have a major impact on your business. But it’s finding the right technology to use that’s the real trick. For that, it can help to get some expertise from other successful business owners. Here’s what some members of the online small business community are saying about the tech tools they’ve used to grow their businesses.

Learn How to Use Automation for Your Ecommerce Business

Running an ecommerce business doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, there are many tools out there that you can use to automate some of the essential functions of your business. Learn more about ecommerce automation in a recent post by Jeremy Webb.

Look Out for These App Development Trends

Apps continue to be powerful tools for businesses to market, communicate and interact with customers. But the trends related to those apps have changed throughout the years. Here are some app development trends to keep an eye on this year from Ravin Lad of Right Mix Marketing.

Use These Video Content Marketing Ideas

Video has become an incredibly powerful tool for marketers. If you’re not yet using the format because you’re not sure what type of content to create, check out the Cloohawk post by Uma Bhat for some ideas. Then see what BizSugar members are saying about the post here.

Start an Online Business That Lasts

The internet has made starting a business as easier than ever. In some cases, all you need is a website or an account on a platform like Amazon. But starting an online business that actually lasts can be a bit more tricky. A recent post on the Abtech Blog includes some valuable tips from Abasifreke Etop.

Read Up on the Google Chrome Ad Blocker

For businesses that advertise online, the new Google Chrome ad blocker is definitely something you should be aware of. Learn more about the new ad blocker and how it can impact your online advertising strategy in this Search Engine Journal post by Matt Southern.

Integrate Local SEO into Your Existing Marketing Strategy

Local businesses tend to have some low tech strategies as part of their marketing plans. But if you’re completely ignoring SEO and other tech in your marketing efforts, that could be a mistake. A recent Target Marketing post by Phil Frost features some tips for integrating local SEO into your existing marketing strategy.

Use Robotic Process Automation to Save Your Business Time and Money

Robotic process automation is a type of automation that learns processes based on what a human user does. It’s something that can potentially benefit a lot of businesses — if you understand how to use it properly. Benjamin Brandall provides a comprehensive guide in a recent Process Street post.

Follow These Laws of Content Marketing Mastery

Content marketing has become one of the most popular online marketing strategies for small businesses. If you’re looking to make use of this tactic for your own business, check out some important tips to consider from Jeff Bullas. You can also see what members of the BizSugar community are saying here.

Instantly Author Your Own Ebook for Just a Few Bucks

Becoming an author has never been easier, thanks in part to online tools and platforms that let you quickly self publish your own work. In her recent post, Susan Solovic details how you can make your own work available without a huge investment.

Check Out These Snapchat Analytics Tools

Lots of marketers and influencers have fled Snapchat in recent months in favor of rival Instagram. But the app is still popular with teens and now offers some analytics tools that could be beneficial to businesses. Tim Peterson elaborates in a recent Marketing Land post.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:

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This article, "10 Tech-Centric Methods for Growing Your Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Tech-Centric Methods for Growing Your Business

Make Deals for Your Business in Plain English with Outlaw

Make Deals for Your Business in Plain English with Outlaw Contract Platform

The newly launched Outlaw platform seeks to help small businesses close deals faster by simplifying contracts. Outlaw helps small businesses and contractors who frequently make and sign deals with clients for products or services, do business faster with more transparency.

Outlaw transforms existing contracts from complex and unmanageable paperwork into easy-to-read, edit, share, negotiate and sign templates, available in real-time. Outlaw’s contract platform is based on a subscription model and features smart authoring tools.

A Look at the Outlaw Contract Platform

Composing, negotiating and signing contracts can be a lengthy, intricate and time-consuming process for small business owners. Being forced to spend time dealing with overcomplicated contracts means business owners are not spending time on what they do best, running their business.

By simplifying the whole process and bringing contracts ‘back to basics’, Outlaw takes the headache out of contracts, meaning small businesses don’t waste time on this often-laborious administration task.

Evan Schneyer, co-founder of Outlaw, explained in a press statement about the new contracts platform, how Outlaw brings transparency and cooperation to the contracts negotiating and signing process.

“Contracts are relationships. Because legalese is so intimidating, people lose sight of that essence. We started Outlaw to breathe mutual trust and understanding — the basis of successful relationships — back into contracts,” says Schneyer.

With Outlook’s fill-in-the-blank authoring tool that customizes contracts in seconds, small businesses and entrepreneurs can draw up contracts with custom templates.

The platform also provides summaries in plain English, which offer translated summaries without unnecessary and overcomplicated legal jargon.

Outlaw also allows contracts to be shared to multi-parties, alongside commenting and digital signing, to accelerate the legal process.

This new contract platform is ideal for small businesses and freelancers who are wanting to take their contracts and legal process to another level, whether it’s for HR purposes or sales processes.

Image: Outlaw

This article, "Make Deals for Your Business in Plain English with Outlaw" was first published on Small Business Trends

Make Deals for Your Business in Plain English with Outlaw

Marijuana Business Leaders Sue Sessions Over Schedule I Designation

Medical Marijuana Industry Files Cannabis Schedule 1 Lawsuit to Fight Designation
Business leaders from the legal cannabis industry have filed a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in an effort to reverse the decision to have cannabis classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Cannabis Schedule 1 Lawsuit

The lawsuit, which was originally filed over the summer, aims to prove that this classification is unconstitutional in an effort to get cannabis descheduled. This move would allow states to set and enforce their own laws in regards to cannabis without fear of the federal government getting involved. This week, the court heard the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the case. However, attorneys for the plaintiffs are optimistic they’ll be able to continue presenting their case.

One of the lead attorneys, Lauren Rudick, recently spoke with Small Business Trends in a phone interview to explain a bit about the case and how it could impact businesses in the cannabis industry.

She explained, “We’re arguing that the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional on a number of fronts.”

That includes arguing that the classification violates the equal protection clause, freedom of speech and the right to seek medical treatment, among others. Currently, attorneys are arguing the constitutionality of the classification on all of these fronts. However, Rudick notes that a partial appeal would not be an option in this case. So if, for instance, the judge rules they can only argue it’s unconstitutional based on the equal protection clause but not freedom of speech or other areas, the team will have to continue its argument using only that part of the law.

The ultimate goal is to get cannabis descheduled, which would leave the legality of marijuana use and sales up to the states. Currently, the federal government does not recognize the legality of marijuana even where states have voted to legalize. So many believe that a ruling to deschedule the substance would lead to more potential for investors and outside support, as well as the possibility for innovations in medical research.

If the judge at some point rules against the plaintiffs in all of their arguments, Rudick says they would appeal. However, in the meantime, such a ruling wouldn’t lead to any tangible negative changes for cannabis businesses. They could continue to operate in states where medical marijuana or recreational marijuana have been legalized, but without the backing of the federal government.

Rudick says, “For businesses, it wouldn’t necessarily lead to any changes from how things currently are.”

The case has been granted expedited status. So Rudick is optimistic there will be some kind of resolution in the near future, though the actual timetable will depend on whether or not appeals are needed.

She also stressed the importance of cannabis businesses advocating for change and staying up-to-date with the ever-changing regulations and landscape of the industry.

Rudick adds, “If you’re in this industry, you’re also in the industry of being an advocate. So it’s important for small businesses whose futures depend on legalization to stay abreast of the changes in laws and the regulatory landscape.”

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Marijuana Business Leaders Sue Sessions Over Schedule I Designation" was first published on Small Business Trends

Marijuana Business Leaders Sue Sessions Over Schedule I Designation

Friday, February 16, 2018

(POLL) Do You Ever Hold Off-site Meetings with Your Team?

Data shows that nearly every small business loathes meetings.

OK, loathe may be a strong word but they’re probably one of the least looked-forward to events in your team’s weekly calendar. They may all come to dread the sight, sounds and smells of your regular meeting space.

So, one solution is to move regular meetings to another location. Perhaps somewhere away from your business headquarters.

That could be anywhere from a local restaurant or coffee shop to a public park (if the weather permits). The change of scenery could loosen everyone up, including yourself, and present a nice change of scenery for your team. That new scenery could even spark some newfound creativity in your team.

Of course, it could also have the opposite effect. Taking your business team to a non-business environment could distract everyone from the task at hand. Tech that you rely upon in your regular business setting could malfunction or not work at all. Then the whole off-site meeting experience could turn into a total disaster.

So this week, in our poll, we want to know if you hold off-site meetings for your small business. After you answer, let us know some of your experiences with this in the past. Has it worked? Has it been a total failure? Use the Comments section to share your stories with our readers.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "(POLL) Do You Ever Hold Off-site Meetings with Your Team?" was first published on Small Business Trends

(POLL) Do You Ever Hold Off-site Meetings with Your Team?

Amazon Considering New Shipping Service, New Payment Features Announced

What Amazon Can Teach You About Online to Offline SuccessAmazon has already gained popularity with small businesses as a platform for selling goods to online shoppers. But the ecommerce giant is also now reportedly testing its own shipping service that could benefit third party sellers.

In addition, a couple of new payment and billing services from Xero and SoverPay could impact the way small businesses get paid. Read about these updates and more in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Operations

New Amazon Shipping Service Could Benefit Third-Party Sellers

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is considering a shipping service of its own. Why? Last year alone, Amazon spent $21.7 billion shipping products sold on its site to its customers. Many of those customers weren’t charged. According to several reports, Amazon is going to be rolling out Shipping with Amazon in Los Angeles.

Xero Adds Stripe ACH Bank Transfer Payments to Benefit Small Business Customers

An online accounting software firm is providing a new payment gateway to small businesses that can get them paid up to 10 days faster with smaller transaction fees. As part of the next phase of its partnership with Stripe, an online payment software company, Xero (NZE:XRO) customers will be able to accept Automated Clearing House (ACH) bank transfers.

Small Businesses Lose 500 Hours a Year Managing Freight Shipments

Managing freight shipments tends to be an afterthought for a lot of businesses that import and export goods. But the inefficiencies in this sector can lead to a lot of wasted time for small businesses. A recent survey from logistics company Freightos found that small businesses spend about 500 hours annually managing freight shipments.

SoverPay Claims to Simplify Billing Thus Getting Contractors Paid Faster

More than 70 percent of self-employed individuals have difficulty getting paid. Needless to say, invoices being paid late can have crippling effects on small businesses. SoverPay is a new online platform that aims to overcome the issue of delayed payments.


79% of Service Companies Say Competition Is Heating Up

The second annual Mavenlink State of the Services Economy report for 2018 finds almost 4 in 5 or 79 percent of service companies are facing increased competition. This rivalry is coming from new entrants who are pushing established businesses to work much harder to find new customers and keep existing ones.


Small Business Demand for Restaurant Food Workers Up 355% Over 2014

The food and hospitality industries are feeling the effects of the economic good times in the U.S. And many of the companies in these areas are small businesses. According to, there’s been a sharp uptick in the number of job listings at small businesses in the food and hospitality industries.

You Can Thank Us Later – 5 Things You MUST Know About Office Romance After #MeToo

More than half of all employees have engaged in a workplace romance at some point, according to a 2017 survey from Vault. So even for small businesses, romance is likely to be an issue that comes up at some point. And when it does, you should have policies in place to make sure that everyone acts appropriately and it doesn’t have a negative impact on your business.

GrubHub Ruling Good News for All Businesses Using Contractors

The judge a lawsuit against online and mobile food delivery service GrubHub has ruled Raef Lawson, who made deliveries for the company, was an independent contractor and not an employee. The Lawson v. Grubhub decision comes as several gig-economy companies grapple with the status of their employees and the associated costs of misclassification.

Retail Trends

What are the Most Purchased Items for Valentine’s Day this Year?

According to Mastercard data, spending on air and train travel has been on the increase while purchases of flowers and jewelry are on the decline in recent years Valentine’s Day. This suggests couples may be more focused on experiences rather than gifts for the holiday and small businesses, particularly those in destination locations,may want to plan accordingly.

Is the New York City Small Business Scene Really Vanishing?

The streets of New York City today look quite different than they did decades ago — or even, in some cases, just a few years ago. This is due, at least in part, to what Jeremiah Moss calls “the plight of Mom and Pop.” Moss is the author of Vanishing New York and one of the main voices behind the crowdsourced #SaveNYC movement.


Nimble Mobile 3.0 Introduced for Teams on the Go

Nimble has just released its new mobile app, Nimble Mobile 3.0. Nimble Mobile 3.0 works on the same premise as the desktop version of the platform. But instead of being tethered to your desk computer, the app goes with you wherever you or your team goes.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Dibia DREAM Creates Business out of Teaching STEM through Sports

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. And the focus on these disciplines has been making a huge mark on the education world. There are also plenty of after-school programs focused on sports and recreation. But Dibia DREAM is a program — and a business — that aims to mix those two concepts to help underserved kids in a really unique way.

Small Business Loans

5 Quick Ways to Increase Your Credit Score and Secure a Small Business Loan

Anyone seeking to secure small business financing knows — or will quickly find out — how important past credit history is to the decision-making process for bank underwriters. Lenders are primarily interested in whether or not the small business borrower will be able to replay to loan with interest.

Social Media

Survey: 26% of  Small Businesses Lack Financial and Human Resources to Make Social Media Work

New data shows 26 percent of social media managers say human and financial resources are their biggest roadblocks. And by that, of course, they mean there aren’t enough of either. A total of 344 social media managers responded to the survey conducted by researchers from The Manifest, a site launched by Clutch. Human and financial resources were identified as the top challenges.


Women in Cloud Network Hopes to Empower Female Entrepreneurs in Tech

A new movement is afoot in the tech industry. A group of women in leadership roles in companies like Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Meylah have banded together to form the Women in Cloud network, a group dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs and professionals in the tech space through a number of different initiatives.

Fiverr Introduces Business Tools to Track Your Projects and Purchases

The global online tasks and services marketplace Fiverr has launched a new feature, Fiverr Business Tools. The Business Tools feature is designed to help small businesses and teams who work on Fiverr manage their purchases and projects on the platform with greater transparency and efficiency.


How Trump Tax Cuts Could Impact Your Small Business – For Real

The recent passage of a new tax bill has a lot of small businesses excited — and rightfully so. But before you go about investing a tax refund you have yet to receive or changing the structure of your business to get a more favorable rate, it can help to get some expert insights.

Technology Trends

78% of Video Content to be Screened Via Mobile Devices, Marketing Study Predicts

In the first-ever report of its kind from eMarketer, a global digital video forecast predicts 78.4 percent of viewers will use their mobile phones to watch digitally streamed content in 2018. The report says close to a quarter of the population of the world will watch video over their mobile phones in 2018.

Zoho Sites Tweak Enables Easy Customization for Small Business Websites

Small businesses looking for a DIY online presence can now have pre-built website sections that don’t skimp on customizable features like video and parallax images creating an illusion of depth. Zoho recently launched some additional features on its DIY website builder, Zoho Sites.

Amazon Polly WordPress Plugin Turns Business’s Printed Content Into Spoken Word

The launch of the Amazon Polly plug-in for WordPress is going to turn blog posts into spoken audio or podcasts. And it will do this in 47 female and male voices and 30 languages. By integrating Amazon Polly with WordPress, the technology will be available to a much wider audience – many of them small business owners.

Image: Shutterstock

This article, "Amazon Considering New Shipping Service, New Payment Features Announced" was first published on Small Business Trends

Amazon Considering New Shipping Service, New Payment Features Announced

Stefan Pretty of Subbly: Machine Learning is Becoming More Critical in Consumer Relationships with Subscription Businesses

Subscription business models have been gaining traction over the last five years, particularly with small business startups.  But what impact are technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning having on subscription business models?

Machine Learning in Subscription Businesses

Stefan Pretty, CEO and founder of Subbly, an all-in-one subscription eCommerce solution, shares how he sees AI/machine learning shaping subscriptions, as well as how the combination of subscriptions and ecommerce are helping more entrepreneurs get off the ground.

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.  To see the full interview, click on the video below, or on the embedded SoundCloud player.

* * * * *

Stefan Pretty of Subbly: Machine Learning in Subscription Businesses is Becoming More Critical in Consumer RelationshipsSmall Business Trends: Tell us a little bit about you and Subbly.

Stefan Pretty: Sure. I’m from Scotland, residing in Los Angeles right now. Basically, back when I was in Scotland I used to run a digital agency, and one of the prospective clients was wanting to start a subscription box business, and our shop could have built it but it would have cost them a lot of money. So we were looking for a solution that would make it more affordable because their budget was quite limited. At the time subscription was on the radar, it was becoming a thing. I was a subscriber of Graze Box, and you get their food delivered to you every week, the healthy snacks. I don’t know how healthy they really were, but it was a nice idea. I was a big fan of that. So I did some research, discovered that subscription was on the rise. It was a fascinating business model because it’s complicated, and I like complicated things.

Basically there is no solution out there on the market so I’m gonna just create one. That was four years ago. So now we’re helping small businesses get up and running, and existing businesses add subscriptions.

Small Business Trends: You mentioned to me you like to think of yourselves as the Shopify for subscriptions. Why is the combination of ecommerce and subscriptions something that is important from a small business perspective?

Stefan Pretty: I think we’re so used to the one-way transaction. Like if you’re going to the store you buy a product and you leave. And I think that ecommerce is so thoroughbred now. Shopify has done a fantastic job of getting that down to an art. It’s more of a science now. But they’ve moved so far in that direction, and all these platforms that exist, Shopify, Bit-commerce, et cetera, these guys are so far in the direction now that it’s hard for them to really incorporate a subscription — which is technically a very complex business model — to add suddenly.

That presents an opportunity for some other platforms to exist that were more subscription focused that also did ecommerce. Because ultimately, ecommerce as I said, is a science. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discrediting that, but it’s slightly simpler than the subscription. I don’t want to offend anybody here.

I think I would compare it to the Shopify in the sense that we give you the tools to allow you to build your business to allow you to be successful, rather than being like a platform or like the Amazon direction where you’re offered the marketing services as well. That’s how we see ourselves at the moment.

Small Business Trends:  You’ve been around for about three or four years in subscriptions. Tell us, how have subscription models matured?

Stefan Pretty: Back when we started Subbly it was very primitive. It was very straight forward in the sense that you’d subscribe and there’s no customization to it, no personalization to it. Everybody was trying to figure it out at that point in time. Even the big guys were trying to figure it out. Graze were really doing a great job of innovating this space because you could actually go in and say, “I liked that product, I didn’t like that product”, and they would adapt your experience.

The cost of doing that personal business is astronomical. So when we started out it was very primitive, and I think over the last three years even, the expectations and the bar was just constantly going up as everybody’s getting learning. It’s just getting a very steep learning curve, but now you’ll find that even the small businesses expect, and obviously the customers expect this because of the big businesses who have innovated in this, the customization aspect and the personalization aspect to give the consumer what it is that they like, what they want. Which is gonna allow them to stay on, and be a customer for much longer.

So I think that’s the goal in small businesses, to understand that now, because there’s plenty of resources out there now and it’s obvious. You can see it, it’s moving that direction. It’s definitely growing and become more advanced and complex, and I think it is going to continue, to be honest with you. But it’s our job to enable that.

Small Business Trends:  You mentioned roughly 75 percent of folks in your Facebook group are female entrepreneurs. And some of them are building their subscription business on the side.

Stefan Pretty: Yeah, 75 percent, that’s a staggering statistic when you think about it.  The thing is about subscription, it’s extremely appealing in the sense that, “Oh I can have a business that I can turn a one-time transaction and all the effort I’ve gone into getting that customer and having them as a repeat customer, and therefore it’s going to be easier”, it isn’t necessarily easier, which is the interesting part. So there is a gap that needs to be closed in terms of understanding and expectations, which we’re working on, or making it easier.

I think the trend is that it’s attracting at-home mothers, or parents in general actually. And also it’s attracting people who have full time jobs and they’re wanting to start their side hustle. Because I think we’re seeing a movement away from this corporate stale world, where people are starting to realize that you have to fight for your own survival and create your own empire so to speak, and create your own resources.

I think people are really hungry, and entrepreneurship became cool suddenly in the last five to 10 years. I think everybody wants to get involved. I think it’s a great thing because it causes more innovation faster. That’s definitely the trend at the moment. But don’t get me wrong. You still have the existing businesses and the small businesses who really know what they’re doing and have a solid business plan. They have some resources behind them and they’ve got experience in, say, online marketing, and they come in and they’re executing immediately and then within a day there are already 50 subscribers, which is really cool to see. That really excites me to know that we’re enabling people to do that as well.

Small Business Trends:  How are things like AI impacting the way subscription businesses are being built? And also, the kind of experiences that subscription businesses can offer their customers?

Stefan Pretty: I think this is still in its early stages. I do think AI, or specifically machine learning, is going to become more and more prevalent. Let’s take the example recently, Amazon Prime, they’ve just launched their automated store. Basically, I had a conversation with one of my dear friends a couple of years ago. We were talking about it would be really awesome to have an unmanned automated support, where you could throw products in the cart and it would just charge your account with an RFID or something like that. And two years later, only two years later, it happened. It just shows, it sounds crazy, it might actually just end up happening. AI is actually allowing these things to happen.

I think that machine learning is becoming more and more critical in the consumer relationship world as well. And that obviously applies specifically to subscription businesses or services because a lot [of] it is done to the personalization aspect, understanding the consumer’s behavior and giving them what they want to increase the lifetime value and build a relationship. It’s a relationship you’re building, so you’re gonna have that constant communication contact. You want the customer to stick around for years.

I think also on the consumer’s side the demand is, “I want just to have what I want. And without any effort or thinking about it, and it to be good quality and to be easy and convenient and delivered to my door tomorrow.” And that’s because the bar keeps getting pushed up, because of companies like Amazon, and small businesses need a chance to be able to actually have a piece of that. Because the bar is being risen so much, it’s harder for a small business to actually get in on and appeal to the consumer because of those expectations. I think it comes down to platforms like us who have the responsibility to simplify and make it accessible for these entrepreneurs, but machine learning will be a massive component of that. It’s something that we’re gonna have to innovate with quickly, because I think it’s gonna happen faster than we even imagine, to be honest with you. I don’t know, one year, two years, things are gonna be very different, I think.

This article, "Stefan Pretty of Subbly: Machine Learning is Becoming More Critical in Consumer Relationships with Subscription Businesses" was first published on Small Business Trends

Stefan Pretty of Subbly: Machine Learning is Becoming More Critical in Consumer Relationships with Subscription Businesses