This sponge on a string can detect cancer – and it's now being trialled in the UK

TheCytosponge is a tiny sponge on a string which expands in the human stomach. When it is pulled out, the expanded sponge collects cells along your food pipe.

This can be a detector for oesophageal cancer.

The 5-year survival rate for this cancer is just 18%, mostly due to late diagnosis. The sponge is now being trialled at around 150 GP practices in the UK.

Produced by Leon Siciliano

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Twitter is planning to stream live video 24/7 (TWTR)

Anthony Noto

Twitter is going to get 24/7 live video, according to the company’s COO and CFO Anthony Noto.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Noto said: “We will definitely have 24/7 [video] content on Twitter. Our goal is to be a dependable place so that when you want to see what’s happening, you think of going to Twitter.”

Noto hasn’t said which shows are coming or when, but the company will cover sports, news, and entertainment programming.

Some of the new shows will be unveiled at next week’s NewFronts, an annual marketing event where media firms try and drum up advertising business. According to BuzzFeed, Twitter will introduce some of its new shows to try and find some big advertisers.

Twitter recently lost NFL, its biggest livestreaming video partner, to Amazon. Twitter had paid $10 million (£7.8 million) for its original deal last year, but Amazon paid $50 million (£39 million) for the same rights earlier this month.

Nonetheless, Twitter’s still pursuing live video. According to Noto, live video is good for conversion rates and it means Twitter can offer TV-style 15- to 30-second unskippable ads, which can generate major advertising dollars. But Twitter hasn’t actually said how much it earns from ads against live video, and missed analyst estimates in its most Q4 earnings. The company reported its first quarter earnings today.

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What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur? (INFOGRAPHIC)

What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?

What separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest?

Among other things, prior work experience seems to be a key deciding factor. According to data gathered by accommodation booking agent Central London Apartments, 96 percent of successful entrepreneurs credited “prior work experience” for their success.

What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?

Previous Experiences Pave the Way

But that’s not all. Approximately 75 percent of respondents had worked for someone else for at least six years before they carved out their own paths.

Forty percent said learning from previous failures was an extremely important factor when being an entrepreneur.

In other words, successful entrepreneurs ensure they understand the challenges involved in setting up their business before making the move. Moreover, they focus on learning from their past mistakes.

Education and Passion to Get Rich Keys to Achieving Entrepreneurial Success

Research further highlights the role of education in contributing to entrepreneurial success. About 95 percent of surveyed business founders had acquired at least a Bachelor’s degree.

Further in most cases, it was found that entrepreneurs had a higher level of education than their parents.

Apart from education, the ambition to become wealthy (74.8 percent) is a motivating factor for entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.

More Details on the Data

Central London Apartments compiled data from a study of 549 business founders by the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship.

For more information, check out the infographic created by Central London Apartments:

What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?

Anatomy Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur? (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Identify a Bad Sales Lead

How to Identify a Bad Sales Lead

Sales people waste a lot of time on bad leads that will never buy from their company. They are sometimes referred to as tire kickers or “Lookie Lou’s” since they are glad to talk about buying, but in reality, they never end up purchase anything. Unfortunately, sales team spend an inordinate amount of time not qualifying these bad leads since they get caught up with the quantity of their prospects, not their quality. This results in missing sales goals.  To maximize their sale goals, teams need to only call on prospects that have a high likelihood of buying

Identifying a Bad Sales Lead

Here are surefire ways to spot them before they waste too much valuable selling time:

Start by Googling

Do background research on the prospect. Google their name and company if appropriate. Determine if they fit the target demographic of your typical customer.

Make a Phone Call

Before setting up a meeting, ask the prospects some key questions by phone.

In their view, what is their problem (that your solution addresses)? Get very specific since people only act when they are trying to solve a real pain.

What does it cost them if they don’t solve the problem? (i.e., if they wait, what is the cost to them?) This helps justify the expense of any new solution.

What is their budget for solving it? If their budget is too low, it does not make any sense to continue the discussion. For example, if the solution costs $10,000 and the budget is $7,000 this is still within the range and is worth continuing. If their budget is $10 and your solution costs $5,000, then the conversation should stop there with these type of bad leads.

At the Actual Sales Call

Have a very specific further set of questions for the in person meeting.

How do they think your solution will help them (solve their pain)? What exactly do they think your product will do for them and is this a realistic result from your point of view.

What have they tried before? This is critical since you want to know what solutions they have implemented previously and apparently failed. This tells you the level of spending and commitment they have for solving the solution. It also may give an indication if you can really help them.

Who else are they considering? Know who the competition is. If they are considering other vendors (or doing it inside their company), this may show how serious they are or is this just a bad lead.

Where is the budget coming from to make the purchase (and who can authorize it?) This helps identify whether you are actually talking to the decision maker who can buy your product. It becomes part of a series of bad leads if you are selling to someone that can’t authorize or influence the sale.

Always do more listening than talking. Don’t be afraid of a “no” from any of the bad leads or answers that do not move the sale along. The positive outcome about a “no”, is that you can now find other leads that may buy and not waste time with those that actually never will.

Call Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to Identify a Bad Sales Lead” was first published on Small Business Trends

Small Businesses Should Embrace Big Data

Why You Should Embrace Big Data

First, let’s start with the definition of big data. Big data means large sets of structured and unstructured data. It is so large and complex that regular data processing techniques do not work in dealing with this type of data sets. Generally, in the industry, the 3V model is used to describe big data. These 3Vs are; volume, velocity and variety.

Volume is related with how the data is stored. Businesses collect data from many sources such as sales transactions and social media and storing this continuous data was a problem in the past. Nowadays, big data technologies made storing data easier.  Velocity stands for real time data. Data streamed in real time must be dealt with immediately. Finally, variety refers to the different formats of data such as text, video, image and audio. Businesses should be able to arrange and store data in all formats.

Why You Should Embrace Big Data

Now that we have an idea about what big data is, let’s try to understand what big data means for businesses and why it is important for them.

  • Understand the market conditions: Analyzing big data helps understanding current market conditions. For example; by analyzing customers’ purchasing behaviors, a business can find out the products that are sold the most and produce its future products according to this trend. As a result, it can get ahead of its competitors.
  • Understand customers better: A business can understand its customers better with the help of big data analysis. It can predict what its customers want in advance and provide them a better service in addition to better products. Also, businesses can minimize customer complaints easily using big data tools, since these tools can automatically detect negative comments on social media. As a result, you can act promptly.
  • Control your online reputation: Big data tools can do sentiment analysis. Therefore, you can get more feedback about who is saying what about your company. If you want to monitor and improve the online presence of your business, then, big data tools are a must-have for you.
  • Cost Savings: Implementing big data tools may be expensive at the beginning but it will eventually save you a lot of money. Big data tools reduce the burden of IT staff, since they are real time systems. Therefore, you can use these resources somewhere else. Also, storing large amounts of data is much easier using big data technologies but more importantly, the data you store will be accurate because big data tools has greatly reduced the risk of inaccurate data.

Data Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Small Businesses Should Embrace Big Data” was first published on Small Business Trends

Fast fashion retailer Boohoo grew sales by a huge 51% last year

Boohoo image 3

LONDON — Online fashion retailer Boohoo announced surging revenue and profits on Wednesday, as it published its full-year results.

The Manchester-based company published these figures for the year end February 28, 2017:

  • Revenue: up 51% to £294.6 million;
  • Pre-tax profit: up 97% t0 £30.9 million;
  • Gross margin: down 320bps to 54.6%.

Revenue growth is slightly above what the market was expecting, despite several forecast upgrades from the retailer in the year.

Boohoo’s UK sales jumped 33%, while European sales rose 50%, and USA sales surged 140%. The retailer, which primarily targets young women, now has 5.2 million customers.

The company’s joint CEOs and cofounders, Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane, call it a “momentous year” in a joint statement. They said:

“The boohoo brand has achieved outstanding revenue growth and increased profitability margins during the year. We continued to grow strongly in the UK, our largest market, whilst international growth exceeded our expectations, particularly in the USA. Our customer proposition is proving consistently appealing.”

Kamani and Kane also flag the importance of recent acquisitions: the retailer acquired a majority stake in rival PrettyLittleThings at the start of the year and bought US retailer Nasty Gal out of bankruptcy earlier this year.

The CEOs said: “Both brands have huge potential and the acquisitions represent a step change in the size, structure and operation of the group.”

Not only has Boohoo recorded storming growth in the last year, the company are expecting the performance to continue, thanks in part to the deals. Kamani and Kane expect revenue growth of 50% again next year. They add that it has been “a promising start” to the 2018 financial year so far.

Jefferies, Boohoo’s house broker, said in a note on Wednesday morning:

“Despite a further slowdown in the boohoo brand’s UK sales growth to 25% in the final 2 months of FY17, and arguably modest guidance of 25% in the core boohoo brand for FY18E, the early stage growth of PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal in addition to promising initiatives in the core boohoo business make for an exciting investment story.”

Like ASOS, Boohoo is one of the UK’s online fashion success stories. Founded in 2006, the company specialises in offering fashionable clothes for women at cheap prices and has a very quick turn around time from design to production, meaning it can keep on top of the latest trends. 70% of Boohoo’s traffic comes from mobile apps.

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Loom Offers Simple Video Creation Alternative to Viewedit

Loom Video Recorder is Alternative to Viewedit

Is your business using video? If so, you’ll be glad to meet Loom, a cloud-based screen recorder and video manager. If you’re not using video, maybe this post will convince you of the many benefits.

The power of video can be applied to a variety of business use cases from external marketing materials to internal training manuals. Businesses are able to save time, effort and money by creating bite-sized videos as opposed to another email or paper trail.

Introducing Loom Video Recorder

This entire process is made easier with Loom. The platform brings a welcomed simplicity to the screen recording space, by allowing you to instantly record, edit and share your video.

The one-click install will place a gray-shaded Loom logo on your toolbar. Clicking on this logo, which turns it into the application’s signature salmon color — lets you know it’s active.


Loom Video Recorder is Alternative to Viewedit

A group of recording settings will appear, letting you choose the specifications of your video.

The Capture option gives you the ability to record your entire desktop, just the current tab or only through your camera.


Loom Video Recorder is Alternative to Viewedit


After you’re done recording, simply click the check mark. From there, Loom opens a new tab populated with your video and its dedicated URL for sharing.

Loom’s versatility shines on this page. The video is presented in a chat-stream format that places all of its surrounding communications in one place.


Loom Video Recorder is Alternative to Viewedit


This page becomes the central location for all things relevant to the video. Populate recipients, monitor their interactions and add any supplementary information or comments.

Loom’s communication platform offers a more robust alternative to ViewedIt, a similar tool, while maintaining its no-cost approach.  The five-minute time limit on your videos can be lifted by referring a few people to Loom, unlocking your unlimited free storage.

This quick video summarizes the entire process of creating, narrating and sharing your videos with Loom:



Although Loom uses Gmail to get into your inbox, it has the power to make the standard email obsolete, at least in terms of content heavy messages. In the time that it would take your team members to type a how-to article or describe a campaign — they could create and send an engaging video.

Your partners and clients are sure to appreciate a quick video over the standard and often boring text-based email. As Loom continues to evolve, expect more features — making this ingenious app even more exciting.

Images: Loom

This article, “Loom Offers Simple Video Creation Alternative to Viewedit” was first published on Small Business Trends

What is an Integrated Marketing Campaign?

What is an Integrated Marketing Campaign?

The first part of this series discussed the basics of integrated marketing and how the method blends traditional techniques with digital parts. The previous article looked at how this modern tool combined the elements of more conventional outbound marketing with inbound marketing.

This second installment looks at how to take a step back and watch how these moving parts interact by looking at a few hypothetical campaigns that bridge the gap between cyberspace, print, radio and television.

Integrated Marketing Campaign Example

Some of the best integrated marketing campaigns encourage customers to support local small businesses. For example, an event promoting small retailers in a place like Pennsylvania could start with a hashtag like #ShopPenn as the fulcrum of the campaign.

YouTube Videos

That twitter hashtag might point to some YouTube videos about specific local businesses in the Pennsylvania area and perhaps even a live event to be held in a public location where shop owners can distribute pamphlets and flyers, all through one centrally organized campaign.

The Sagefrog Marketing Group has long been leaders in the integrated marketing space. Their 2017 B2B Marketing Mix Report highlights the need to use this integrated technique to engage both younger and older demographics.

The survey notes:

  • 55 percent of businesses don’t have a formal marketing plan.
  • The top lead sources have email marketing, social media marketing, public relations and trade show events all sharing space as big drivers for success.
  • Online marketing and trade shows and events have excellent ROI.

Mark Schmukler, CEO and Co-founder of Sagefrog Marketing Group, sees the parts of these campaigns as interrelated and the focus continually shifting.


“I think the whole thing is a pendulum really,” he tells Small Business Trends. “When digital first came along it was so innovative and powerful people thought all the old channels were dead.” He goes on to say that while digital routes are great for measuring ROI, people are looking to drive revenue too and that’s where these more traditional tools come in.

There are more than a few examples that prove Schmukler’s point. Narrowing the focus helps to get the message out across different channels to your target market. Not everyone needs to be on Facebook or Pinterest. Deciding what’s right for your business and target market is critical.

Therefore, it stands to reason a good marketing communications mix might have several elements like:

  • A press release.
  • Product giveaways on social media that tie in with a series of limited coupons.
  • A website that’s updated with new offers.
  • Demos and events where your product or service gets demonstrated.

Here’s another example of a campaign that would have your goods and services flying off the shelves.

Selling Refurbished Computers?

Let’s say you’ve got a small business selling refurbished computers — a nice example that combines digital uses with a physical product. A website would need to be a part of any integrated marketing campaign and it’s a good idea to offer some kind of break on shipping so you can compete with the bigger players in the online space.

A good old-fashioned press release might highlight the fact that you’re going to give a free seminar on the best practices to use in the cloud. Having your logo strategically placed on charging booths at the local computer show makes sure you’re covering all the bases.

Advertising box

The last word here goes to the experts. Schmukler is clear you shouldn’t assume  your small business will get to where it needs to go without thinking outside the traditional advertising box.

“I think there are opportunities for even traditional brick and mortar businesses to look at online revenue streams,” he adds. “What’s hot now is paid social media where I can sponsor a post on your timeline.”

Business Team Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What is an Integrated Marketing Campaign?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Small Business Loans at Institutional Lenders, Small Banks on the Uptick

Biz2Credit Lending Index March 2017

The latestBiz2Credt Small Business Lending Index shows a positive outlook for small business loans based on their approval rates. Specific upticks were measured at institutional lenders and small banks.

Biz2Credit Lending Index March 2017

Institutional Lenders Leading the Pack

Institutional investors and their lending counterparts reached a new high on the Biz2Credit index  in March 2017. Current approval rates for small business loans came in at 63.6 percent — the third increase within the last four months.

Small Banks Believe in Small Businesses

Small banks are showing they have faith in small businesses. Loan approval rates are creeping up to the elusive 50 percent mark, inching up to 48.9 percent. This one-tenth of a percent increase is a bump in the right direction compared to our previous highlight of Biz2Credit’s report.

Biz2Credit CEO Rohit Aroa, commented on the increase, saying, “We are seeing more small businesses taking advantage of SBA loan programs, … SBA-backed loans are popular with small business owners and lenders because of the mitigated risk involved for those financing the loan products. As a result, this has become a popular vehicle for entrepreneurs to leverage in order to get access to funding.”

Big Bank Approvals Stall but Optimism Intact

Small business loan approvals remained unchanged at the nations biggest banks. The 24.1 percent approval rate for March 2017 brings to a halt the increases seen for the past seven months.

It’s important to note this is not an indication on the overall outlook of the economy and the small business landscape. Big banks are optimistic about the economy as a whole, made evident by the Fed’s desire to “unwind the $4.5 trillion in bonds on its balance sheets,” as well as the possible rate hikes.

“It signals that the economy is strong and will likely result in yet another interest rate hike. Since a majority of small business loans are linked to U.S. prime interest rates, this will improve spreads at banks while providing more incentives to approve funding requests,” said Arora.

All in all the market is a positive one for small businesses with the remainder of 2017 progressing on an up note.

Biz2Credit’s March 2017 edition of its report analyzes the results of more than 1,000 small business loan applications.


This article, “Small Business Loans at Institutional Lenders, Small Banks on the Uptick” was first published on Small Business Trends

Join Our Twitter Chat About Transforming Your Business in the Cloud #MSBizTips

Join Our Twitter Chat About Transforming Your Business in the Cloud #MSBizTips

Is your small business all-in on the cloud? If not, it might be time to make the move.

The cloud can be an elusive concept for a lot of businesses. But if you’re able to harness all the different capabilities of the technology, you can boost your business in a number of ways.

Transforming Your Business in the Cloud

That’s exactly what small business owners and influencers will discuss in an upcoming Twitter chat. The Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) sponsored Twitter chat “Transforming Your Business in the Cloud” is scheduled for Monday, May 1 from 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. EST.

The chat will be moderated by Small Business Trends founder and CEO Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) and Maria Groeschel (@MariaGroeschel), General Manager, Worldwide Marketing-Cloud Services, Microsoft. During the event, moderators and participants will discuss the wide ranging benefits that cloud technology can offer small businesses.

Here are some of the specific questions that entrepreneurs will discuss during the chat.

What are the main benefits of cloud computing for small businesses? If you have yet to really dive into the world of cloud computing, then you might be unaware of all the potential benefits that the technology can have for small businesses. The chat will kick off with a discussion about why the cloud can make a difference for all different types of small businesses.

How can businesses make the most of cloud technology? Of course, cloud-computing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many different potential applications and uses. So you can gain some insights about how other entrepreneurs make the most of the technology.

What should businesses look for in a cloud vendor? If you’re going to make the most of the cloud in your small business, you need to find a great vendor. Different businesses may look for different things when considering those vendors. So chat participants will talk about what they look for when choosing one.

Don’t miss the chat on May 1 for answers to these questions and more. This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and anyone looking to gain more insights into the potential of cloud computing.

More Details

What: Twitter Chat “Transforming Business in the Cloud”


  • Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends (@smallbiztrends)
  • Maria Groeschel, General Manager, Worldwide Marketing-Cloud Services, Microsoft (@MariaGroeschel)

Where: Twitter

Hashtag: #MSBizTips

When: Monday, May 1 from 1:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. ET

Twitter Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Join Our Twitter Chat About Transforming Your Business in the Cloud #MSBizTips” was first published on Small Business Trends


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