Investing and Global Finance News


What Small Business Owners Can Do Right Now

Building and sustaining a small business is no easy task. Marketing, developing, and producing products or services demand high levels of attention and involvement. This digital marketing checklist lays out simple and effective tips for businesses of any size.

Your brand’s identity is critical for marketing purposes, digital or otherwise. Articulate what makes your business special and project those qualities into all aspects of your company. The name, logo, font, pictures, social media presence, etc. should all channel these values.

digital marketing checklist

In today’s digital environment, a good website—with both desktop and mobile compatibility- is a must for any business. It is often the first point of contact for any customer and should be as presentable and professional as the rest of your company. Make sure to optimize your website for search so that you reach the clientele you want. Once your website is up and running, work to ensure that your customer service interactions are exemplary at all times. Your interactions with clients must be quick and courteous. Express appreciation for their patronage and set reasonable expectations for resolving any issues.

Even if you do not have a social media footprint for yourself, your business needs one. It is a great way to gain visibility for your business, generate traffic to your site, and build a community around your services.

digital marketing checklist

Adapt your tactics for each social media platform and generate unique content suited to the audience and “vibe.” Blogging is another great way to highlight your business and your personal flare. It is a prime SEO venue that you can control for keywords and links, further enhancing traffic to your site.

Remember, you may have the greatest business idea or product concept in the industry, but none of it will matter if nobody knows about it. Review and implement these ideas and checklist so that your business can thrive now and in the future.

Virtual is the In-Person of 2021

Most in-person marketing events and conferences are pivoting to virtual gatherings as professionals continue to seek to expand their network, grow their business, and up their game. Digital marketing conferences, enable the most innovative, creative, and imaginative marketing minds to come together.

digital marketing conferences

When considering hosting a virtual event, it is important to remember that a successful digital gathering should mirror an in-person one in as many ways as possible. There should be keynote speeches alongside interactive sessions. Meetings should be recorded and made available after the event. Partnerships and existing professional relationships should be leveraged to create new cross-industry connections. The best practices from the broadest possible range of fields should be applied. Just because your online event is focusing on SEO practices, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from other virtual events held recently on other topics. 

digital marketing conferences

Tech Insights for the New Year

The arrival of 2021 offers a moment for active and thoughtful reflection. In practically every industry and avenue, the new year is one that promises hope and renewal, optimism and opportunity. In the tech world, the next 12 months are not likely to highlight flashy new developments and gadgets. It is more likely that the unseen heroes of our devices will have their moment; the software and services that offer practical and efficient solutions in our everyday lives have proven their value.

Mobile wallet apps have been on the market for years, but credit cards and cash were still the preferred method of payment for most consumers. In less than 10 months, COVID-19 concerns brought many more people to try contact-free payments; now it seems it is here to stay.

Augmented reality has also emerged as a previously untapped resource. Bringing virtual objects into our everyday lives was the stuff the Jetsons was made of. But as shopping excursions and try-on options are limited, using a digital rendering service to select a dress, pick-out eyeglasses, or buy a sofa has more appeal. EMarketer says that companies anticipate spending $2.4 billion on augmented reality in 2021, a 71% increase from 2020.

Similarly, more retail options are offering conversational technologies to interact with consumers. For many customers, the ability to chat with a representative and ask questions is an important part of the retail experience.

Also critical to our overall experience in 2021 will be the stability and reliability of our internet connections. That’s why the advancements in Wi-Fi technology are definitely good news. New networking standards, Wi-Fi 6, will be more efficient and spread bandwidth across devices. This means that all our contraptions and tools that connect to the internet, will work better for everyone in the household.

Funding Boost for NY Security Company

The New York City-based, BigID, a privacy and protection technology company, has raised $70 million in Series D funding. Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global lead the investing this cycle. Longstanding supporters of BigID, Bessemer Venture Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Boldstart Ventures put forth additional funding.

Series A funding in January 2018 yielded $14 million and a second round just six months later brought in an additional $30 million. By the Series C funding in September 2019, the company raised $50 million. Dimitri Sirota, CEO and co-founder of BigID, says that the tech company employs 235 people and plans to reach 300 by the end of 2022. The focus for 2021 is sales and marketing efforts.

“It’s a tremendous vote of confidence to have Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global join Bessemer Venture Partners, Scale, Boldstart Ventures, and Glynn in preempting our series D with this latest investment. It’s a testament to our traction, team and vision that we can continue to attract the capital to fuel our data innovation for privacy, protection and perspective.”

Dimitri Sirota, CEO and co-founder of BigID

Pilot Plan to Bring Fans Back to NY Sporting Events

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a new plan to allow sports enthusiasts back to the bleachers for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

The NYS Health Department, the Buffalo Bills, and the NFL signed an agreement to permit 6,700 fans to attend the team’s first home playoff game in close to twenty years. Social distancing protocols will be strictly enforced and mask wearing will be required at all times. All fans in attendance will be required to test for the coronavirus before the game; NY state will do contact tracing after the event to determine effectivity and future steps.

According to the Governor, this is the first stage in a multi-pronged rollout to allow restaurants and other entertainment venues like Madison Square Garden and Broadway theaters to open.

A Struggling New York City Café and Theater Get Help from Famous Friends

The West Bank Cafe is a New York City staple, particularly in the tight-knit performing arts community. It is in the Café’s basement theatre, known as the Laurie Beechman Theater, where the first “Sunday in the Park With George” rehearsals were held and Joan Rivers did her last standup routine. But the once-bustling eatery and cultural epicenter had fallen victim to the pandemic. The prolonged lockdown kept it closed for several months, outdoor dining was obliterated by cold weather, and the high costs of adhering to new hygiene and safety regulations stifled revenue.

The West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theater were at risk of closing

Located in Hell’s Kitchen, on 42nd Street just west of Ninth Avenue, West Bank Café has been operating for more than 40 years. The theater opened in 1983.

Actor Tim Guinee and others rallied to save their favorite venue, coming up with the idea for a virtual telethon held on Christmas Day. Joe Iconis, Broadway composer and lyricist, served as producer of the event. Some 200 artists, including Matthew Broderick, Pete Townshend, Debra Messing, Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming, Isaac Mizrahi, and Alice Ripley appeared on the five-hour fundraiser. Ultimately, $319,000 was raised, far beyond the original goal of $250,000.

A Christmas Day virtual telethon came to the rescue of the theater scene staple

Plexi-Craft: A New York Business in Demand

Plexi-Craft used to be a simple, swanky, high-end, Bronx-based furniture factory. Now it is one of the country’s most sought after businesses.

The 60-year-old company has a long history of acrylic resin skills, designing trendy, clear plastic chairs, tables, cabinets, and more. And as the world scrambles to resume some sense of normalcy alongside the coronavirus pandemic, these skills are in high demand.

Medical offices, banks, hotels, convenience stores, and eateries have all turned to Plexi-Craft to create and install aesthetically pleasing barriers for their work areas.

A reception desk waiting to be outfitted with customized plastic barrier

Plexi-Craft prides itself on customized work and quality craftsmanship; they do not do mass-production or one-size-fits-most solutions. Adhering to the health and safety regulations, getting the City’s businesses back to running again, all while supporting a New York business is an all-around win.

Supporting Local Businesses This Holiday Season

There is nothing typical about the 2020 holiday season. Celebrations have been curtailed, guest lists have been tightened, and shopping options have been limited. New Yorkers, however, ever resilient and resourceful, are finding ways to keep the holiday spirit alive and support local entrepreneurs and businesses in the process.

Primarily organized on social media, these neighborhood holiday fares and markets are highlighting local shop owners, artists, and crafters.  Here are just a few we’ve seen:

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Over the weekend of December 5-6th, the first community-run holiday market was held in Red Hook. The Red Hook Business Alliance planned the event and said that the community came out to show their overwhelming support for local businesses. Pioneer Works, a trendy gallery and arts venue, was transformed into an enticing holiday bazaar, selling everything from protective face masks to homemade holiday treats and serving platters made from recycled materials. Luquana McGriff, the owner of A Cake Baked in Brooklyn, said the fare was a great way to introduce her business and baked goods to new patrons.

Social distancing was strictly enforced; a few local musicians performed street concerts for those waiting to get in.

The Rockaways, Queens

A random shout out on the Friends of Rockaway Beach Facebook Group in early November has turned into a very helpful holiday resource for buyers and sellers. Over 100 people sent in their suggestions for local vendors, generating an impressive community-based marketing effort.

Justin McKibben organized the Send Chinatown Love grass-roots movement to support businesses in the once buzzing area. The cadre of volunteers, all committed to helping Chinatown’s businesses and eateries survive the pandemic, engage in everything from marketing campaigns, fundraising efforts, to website building. Welcome to Chinatown uses social media to relay the stories of Chinatown’s struggling shops and restaurants. Places like Eggloo, selling waffles and pancake mixes, and Jing Fong, with famous dim sum, have seen their business stabilize as a result of these efforts.

New York’s Inaugural Black Restaurant Week Raises revenue for Black-owned Eateries

All of New York City’s businesses are hurting in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. The number of Black-owned businesses in general fell by close to 40% during the crisis. Diners, restaurants, and eateries have been particularly hard hit. Black-owned restaurants across the City have seen revenue fall as much as 80% since March 2020.

These hard facts inspired Black Restaurant Week to move their event to NYC for the first time in late November. Even with indoor dining limitations, and related Covid-19 concerns, the organizers knew that this culinary tradition would boost morale and business for over 100 Black-owned food shops in the City, including cafes, bakeries, food trucks, and take-out only stores.

Originally launched in Houston, Black Restaurant Week is the brainchild of partners Falayn Ferrell, Derek Robinson, and Warren Luckett, the Chief Operating Officer of Branwar Wines.

The goal each year is to showcase Black-owned businesses and introduce a broad range of African culinary experiences to a wide audience.

Shifts in Home Stores in New York City

Housewares giant Home Depot announced that it has signed a lease to take over the 120,000 square feet, 4-story facility that was once occupied by Bed Bath & Beyond store at 410 E. 61st Street in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Home Depot gets New Home in Manhattan
Houseware giant Home Depot is taking over the lease for Bed Bath & Beyond’s Upper East Side location

This is Home Depot’s third location in New York City, with one in the Flatiron district and one in midtown at 59th street. The latter location is expected to close once the larger space at 61st Street is ready. The lease is one of the largest retail deals, in terms of both size and total yearly rent, on record in Manhattan in recent years.