Sometimes the best way to get ahead in business is to simply network and gather input from your fellow entrepreneurs.

And you don’t even need to travel or buy expensive conference tickets to do this. There are two upcoming Twitter chats next month that can help you learn more about various aspects of small business ownership.

The first chat is about confronting challenges in business. The MetLife sponsored chat takes place on June 21. And the second is just a week later on June 28. That Microsoft sponsored chat is all about getting inspired in business.

You can learn more about these chats and how to participate in the Featured Events section. Then check out even more upcoming event opportunities for small businesses in the list 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

Twitter Chat: "Voices of Small Business: How Business Owners are Confronting Today’s Challenges"Twitter Chat: “Voices of Small Business: How Business Owners are Confronting Today’s Challenges”
June 21, 2017, Online, Twitter

Join us on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm ET under the hashtag #MetLifeSmallBiz to explore how small business owners are navigating the current economic climate as well as their outlook on hiring and future business conditions. Spotlight findings will be shared by Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends (@SmallBizTrends), and MetLife (@MetLife) from the new MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, including commentary from real business owners. Join in the discussion to receive actionable insights that will help you manage your businesses for success.

Twitter Chat: "Get Inspired in Your Business"Twitter Chat: “Get Inspired in Your Business”
June 28, 2017, Online, Twitter

Are you ready for the Microsoft Inspire event? The company’s annual partner conference is only a couple weeks away! Join Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, and Small Business expert Gene Marks on June 28, 2017 at 3pm ET (12pm PT) under the hashtag #MSBizTips for a preview of what’s coming down the pipeline for small businesses from Microsoft, and discover what you can expect to learn from the conference.

Sales World 2017Sales World 2017
November 08, 2017, Online

Sales World 2017 takes place November 8th to 9th, 2017, Online; Live and On Demand. It is the largest Sales Industry Event in the World and will be attended by over 10,000 Sales Professionals. It’s the one sales event you can’t afford to miss!

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 – Digital Marketing Conference
November 14, 2017, Online

DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017 Digital Marketing Conference takes place November 14th to 16th, 2017. Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DIGIMARCON WORLD 2017’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.

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.

Twitter Happenings photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Are You Attending These Two Important Small Business Twitter Chats in June?" was first published on Small Business Trends

While mistakes can often teach valuable lessons, they also have the potential to cost your business — and set you back from achieving your goals. So here are some tips from the online small business community that may help you avoid some of the more costly errors. And also there are some tips to help you avoid missing out on great opportunities as well. Read on.

Don’t Ignore Cybersecurity

If you’ve paid any attention to the news in recent months, you’ve probably heard a lot about cybersecurity issues. And small businesses are not immune. But some CEOs ignore cybersecurity, as Rebecca Jordan of the Sociable Blog discusses here. She also explains why you should take it seriously.

Keep This Secret in Mind to Achieve Your Goals

Achieving business goals can be a complicated process. But you need to stay focused on your main processes and objectives if you want to be successful over the long run. In this SUCCESS Agency blog post, Mary Blackiston shares the number one secret you can use to achieve your goals.

Banish These Entrepreneurial Fears

Fear can be a major roadblock to success for small business owners. And there are some common fears that entrepreneurs have to deal with. In this Biz Epic post, Akshay Nanavati outlines some of those fears and how to banish them.

Keep an Eye on Your Small Business Competitors

When running a small business, it’s important to focus on your own goals. But you should still have an idea of what your competitors are up to, as Tony Paull details in this post. BizSugar members also shared thoughts on the post here.

Get a Top of the Line Antivirus for Your Mobile Device

You probably already have an antivirus program for your small business computer. But the same technology is often overlooked when it comes to mobile devices. In this post, Sean Mir explains why small businesses need to consider this technology.

Make Ads Less Adversarial

Not all online ads are necessarily effective. There are some common problems advertisers face when trying to communicate with customers online. But you can combat that with the tips in this Marketing Land post by Brad O’Brien.

Heed Google’s Warning About Guest Posting to Build Links

Guest posting can be a great way to share your expertise and build your network online. But Google warns against doing it strictly to build links. This Search Engine Journal post by Matt Southern includes more information.

Go Beyond Linear Thinking in New Ventures

Today’s businesses require more innovation and creativity than ever. So you may need to reset your thinking if you want to create something new that can really disrupt an industry, as Martin Zwilling discusses in this Startup Professionals Musings post. You can also see commentary from the BizSugar community here.

Make Your Content Marketing Profitable

You already know that content can help you connect with potential customers and spread the word about your business. But if you’re not making your content marketing profitable, you could really be missing out. Neil Patel shares more information in this post.

Make Sure Your Copy Has a Human Voice

When writing copy, it can be easy for marketers to get stuck in the trap of using a copywriter’s voice. But you need to add in a human tone to really get through to your audience, as Gary Hennerberg discusses in this Target Marketing 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: [email protected]

Small Business Mistakes photo by Shutterstock

This article, "10 Tips for Avoiding Mistakes While Running a Small Business" was first published on Small Business Trends

How To Use YouTube Cards on Your Business Videos

YouTube cards, also known in some quarters as Info Cards or Interactive Cards, replaced annotations in 2015. While annotations had their benefits, one major disadvantage is that they didn’t work on mobile devices. Like annotations, YouTube Cards give you the ability to add clickable calls to action in your YouTube videos that prompt viewers to respond.

Adding YouTube Cards to Your Video

To add Cards to your YouTube video you need to first start by going to YouTube Video Manager and finding the video that you want to add the Card to then click Edit below the video title.

How To Use YouTube Cards on Your Business Videos

On the next screen, click the Cards tab in the top navigation bar.

At this point you can now add cards to your video. Just click “Add card” and then click create to add more information to your card.

How To Use YouTube Cards on Your Business Videos

Once you have added the card then you can go back to your video and choose the points that you want your card to show up on. Just drag the time marker below the video to the spot where you want the card to appear. The video below should make it easier for you to know how to go about this.

After you are done with setup, it is important for you to check everything is functioning as it should before you publish. It is also important for you to know that you can add up to four more cards to the video.

How to Use YouTube Cards for Business

And if you are wondering how you can use Cards for business then a few tips would be to use them to send your viewers to the video in the series, direct viewers to an influencer’s content featuring your product and to get viewer input to drive content development by using polls for a truly interactive experience and to drive engagement. You can also use YouTube Cards to highlight some charitable institutions that you support. This will have positive impacts on your business’s reputation.

Image: YouTube

This article, "How To Use YouTube Cards on Your Business Videos" was first published on Small Business Trends

Free Range Brands Have to be Innovative, Agile, Engaging to SurviveFree Range Brands: Join the New Breed of Agile Brands by branding expert Nicole Ertas, is an exploration of the newly-disrupted world of branding. In this world, brands can’t depend on large budgets or media control to reach their prospective customers. Brands have to be innovative, agile and engaging in order to survive. Ertas’ book helps entrepreneurs understand the principles governing this new reality facing marketers and refine their brands so they can survive the age of Millennials and whatever technology is coming our way.

What is Free Range Brands About?

“This isn’t a digital revolution. This is total brand anarchy.”
Free Range Brands

Ertas starts her book by contrasting the branding of the past (called “dynasty brands” in the book) with the new kind of branding (called “free range” brands) required for today’s marketing. Dynasty brands thrived on the nature of control and scale. Businesses focused on creating a strong brand with large budgets that guaranteed their message on the marketing channels of their choice. Brands innovated at a snail’s pace and only enough to keep customers happy without losing a lot of money. As a result, smaller brands could not effectively compete and the bigger brands kept on dominating the market share.

Enter the Millennial generation, the internet and social media.

In this new branding environment, the rules that used to guide branding are no longer relevant. Situations are reversed. Legacy brands used to maintain external control of the marketing message. That power is now shared in a two-way relationship with the world. Internally, businesses that use to plan their branding campaigns by the year or month are shortening that time into weeks to avoid getting left behind. Well-established brands with large budgets are facing disruption from small-budget innovators.

Free Range Brands explores how branding reached this point. In particular, it places a spotlight on the shift in values and technology that disrupted everything. Unlike previous generations, Millennials (and those generations that came after) no longer tolerate artificial and one-dimensional branding. Millennials want a two-way conversation with a brand that is transparent, authentic and engaging. They want brands that are as “free” as they aspire to be.

Ertas is a speaker, consultant, and branding strategist who has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands including Johnson & Johnson and General Mills. She is the founder and CEO of Free Range Brands, a global consultancy agency.

What Was Best About Free Range Brands?

Free Range Brands is visually and conceptually engaging, which serves as the perfect embodiment of what Ertas stands for in this book. Her message in Free Range Brands is delivered with a set of specific observation that reflect a deeper understanding of what drives Millennials and how this understanding can be leveraged for branding in the future. For any reader who is trying to answer the “How do I market to Millennials?” question, this book serves as a great starting point.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

At a little over 100 pages, Free Range Brands is a brief look at branding in the age of the Millennial generation and beyond. Free Range Brands spends the majority of those pages exploring and contrasting the old-school approach to branding with the new “free range” approach. Here some attention to strategy might be helpful for those who grasp the book’s central message but need directions for their next step.

Why Read Free Range Brands?

Free Range Brands is very similar in style and look to books by author Seth Godin (author of books like “All Marketers Are Liars”), although her book focuses exclusively on branding. Both Ertas and Godin urge readers to break away from static thinking into a dynamic one. The book will probably best serve business leaders and staff working in the marketing field. Free Range Brands offers a specific and clear perspective for businesses that might be confused about the barrage of marketing advice that is currently out there.

This article, "Free Range Brands Have to be Innovative, Agile, Engaging to Survive" was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Manage the Scarcity of Time, Talent, Energy for SuccessTime, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power addresses how successful companies like Netflix, Google, Apple, and other powerful brands are able to maintain their success in a world where competition is brutally fierce and customer loyalty is fleeting.

The book argues that the continued success of these companies doesn’t depend on their capital as many would assume. It depends on how they manage scarcity, particularly three scarce resources: time, talent and energy. Any business that can leverage these three resources, the book says, will have a massive competitive advantage over every other business in its industry.

What is Time, Talent, Energy About?

In Time, Talent, Energy, the key to becoming a profitable and successful company isn’t getting more money so you can invest in more resources. (In fact, the authors argue that the business world has an overabundance of capital!) Money helps, but it isn’t the only factor. It’s how you use the resources a business already has — time, energy and talent. This is what distinguishes an excellent company from an average one. Companies able to attract the right talent, cultivate that talent and direct its energy will create a decisive competitive advantage that builds each year rather than declines.

The book contends that businesses, in their quest to grow, sabotage their efforts with red tape, complexity, ineffective leadership and a lack of engagement with their workforce. Businesses don’t do this on purpose, but it happens. As businesses start to mature, culture develops and policies develop. More meetings are scheduled and more departments are created. Decisions take longer to get approved as more layers of management get involved. Leadership focuses on maintaining the status quo instead of developing and cultivating talent. Slowly, the once successful company becomes a fossilized version of its own success.

Time, Talent, Energy suggests it doesn’t have to happen this way. Businesses, especially mature ones, can adopt the book’s strategies to cultivate an efficient, loyal and engaged workforce. Once a business takes the steps to create that workforce, those employees begin creating a cycle of success on their own. In attracting and retaining good talent, a business becomes more productive. In becoming more productive, it can afford to hire even greater talent for even better results.

Author Michael Mankins is a strategy expert, speaker, regular contributor to Harvard Business Review and partner at management consulting firm Bain & Company (San Francisco office). He is also a board member of the Children’s Creativity Museum and the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues.

Co-author Eric Garton is also a partner of Bain & Company (Chicago office), a frequent contributor to Forbes, an expert in organizational transformation and part of the leadership team that develops best practices for consumer and industrial goods.

What Was Best About Time, Talent, Energy?

The best part of Time, Talent, Energy is the book’s core message and the recommendations that build on that core message. The book argues that every company can improve its productivity by paying attention to just three resources: time, talent, and energy. In a cash-strapped world still reeling from a recession, this is empowering news. Every business has the same amount of time. Time, Talent, Energy shows how to optimize that time so you can leverage the talent and energy every business possesses to reach a higher level of performance.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

One area of Time, Talent, Energy that could use more attention is the spotlight on small and medium-sized businesses (referred to as “everyday businesses” in the book.) While the book promises to demonstrate how an “everyday business” can utilize the strategies of Time, Talent, Energy, it doesn’t develop that promise into a fully fleshed-out example. More attention here (specifically a case study or case studies with a small business that utilized the book’s examples) might help small or medium-sized business owners who aren’t sure if the book’s strategies can be implemented on a smaller scale for big results.

Why Read Time, Talent, Energy?

Time, Talent, and Energy is a very important book because it redirects the conversation about internal growth with specific, actionable recommendations on how to optimize it in simple ways. Many business advice books focus on the paradox of success experienced by companies like Kodak and Blockbuster. As companies grow, they tend to reinforce their internal growth. That reinforcement includes policies, aspects of culture, assumptions and leadership styles that can become so ingrained in a business that it gets in the way of future growth. In other words, these businesses get so successful that they lose the qualities that make them so successful over the long run. Time, Talent, Energy was written to remedy that. By regularly focusing on the three scarce resources involved with growth, it is hoped, business owners can prevent their businesses from falling into the paradox of success.

This article, "How to Manage the Scarcity of Time, Talent, Energy for Success" was first published on Small Business Trends