You’ve Heard of Hiring Ex-Cons? This One’s an Entrepreneur!

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It takes discipline to run a successful business. And if you have that discipline, you have a pretty good chance of making your idea into reality — no matter what obstacles you’ve had to overcome. Case in point: Coss Marte, founder of ConBody. Marte originally got the idea for his business in an unlikely place — a prison cell. The founder had some health issues while serving a seven-year prison sentence. And since he only had a small cell and his body weight to work with, he had to … Read Entire Story

Starbucks’ New Mobile Store Should Have Small Business Owners Thinking

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Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is finding new ways to integrate mobile technology and artificial intelligence into its stores. The coffee giant recently announced that it will test a new store model at its headquarters where all customers place their orders and pay via mobile, instead of waiting in line to deal with cashiers. And a few months ago, the company also began testing an AI barista that could help customers place their orders via mobile. This would potentially mimic the experience that customers might have with a barista. But the conversation would take place in a mobile app instead of a busy store. Starbucks certainly appears to be at the forefront of … Read Entire Story

Maine Dairy Lawsuit Demonstrates the Importance of Little Details Like Grammar (Watch)

Think the little details like grammar don’t matter when it comes to the big picture of running a business? Think again. A dairy business in Maine just learned this lesson the hard way. A group of the company’s drivers recently sued the business for overtime pay. And they won a huge settlement due to a missing Oxford comma. According to Maine law, workers who are involved in “the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution” of some food products are ineligible for overtime pay. But the drivers were able to successfully … Read Entire Story

Healthcare Changes Highlight Need for Small Businesses to Be Adaptable (Watch)

The American Health Care Act Republicans have proposed to replace Obamacare, has faced criticism from both sides of the aisle. But Speaker of the House Paul Ryan argues that it’s only one part of a larger plan. Other parts of the plan may come later in the form of executive actions from Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price as well as future legislation. “Right now there is an uneven playing field. It is those self-employed individuals and small businesses that are paying the penalty… Read Entire Story

Green Businesses Find New Uses for Air Pollution (Watch)

Talk about turning a negative into a positive — a company called Graviky Labs has figured out a way to make its own ink out of air pollution. The company collects pollutants using a device that attaches to the tailpipe of a car. It then removes the heavy metals and carcinogens, which leaves simple pigments that can be turned into inks or paints. According to Graviky Labs, 45 minutes of pollution can make about 30 mililiters of ink. Given the high levels of air pollution in some cities around the globe, this innovation could represent multiple wins for the business and, of course, for the environment. Finding new ways to use pollutants and other harmful materials is… Read Entire Story

The Solar Energy Industry is Growing But Still Faces Challenges (Watch)

The solar energy industry is growing — fast! In fact, a recent report from The Solar Foundation says that for every 50 new jobs created in the U.S., one comes from the solar industry. Wow! And that same report also says that the solar industry now employs more than twice the amount of people currently working in the coal industry. This growth comes from a few factors, like increased consumer demand and lower prices for solar panels. It also represents a unique opportunity for small businesses, both those that want to make names for themselves in this growing industry and those that want to take advantage of lower prices for renewable energy. There is one potential roadblock though. Throughout his campaign and early… Read Entire Story

What Your Business Can Learn From This Unique Asteroid (Watch)

Most asteroids that have been found hurling through space have been made of ice or rock. So when you find one made almost entirely of metal, you have to check it out. That’s the case with 16 Psyche, a recently-discovered asteroid that scientists believe is composed mainly of nickel and iron. For that reason, NASA is setting its sights on the asteroid for its next mission. But even though the iron on the asteroid alone could be worth up to $10,000 quadrillion, this mission isn’t about mining resources from the asteroid. Some scientists believe that the earth’s core is made of some of the same metals as the asteroid. And so 16 Psyche could actually be… Read Entire Story

Food Pantries Are Getting Smaller to Better Serve Communities (Watch)

Today’s food pantries are getting a makeover. In past years, communities would rely on local charity organizations and churches to collect food and other needed goods and then wait for families in need to ask for help. But there are some issues with that process. For one, even those who have genuine needs aren’t always willing to go out of their way to ask for help. And charity organizations that serve larger communities might not always have the ability or the resources to really target their offerings to the specific needs of their communities. So food pantries are getting smaller. Little Free Pantries, which are basically just small boxes that hold food and other needed goods, are popping up around the country. And they solve … Read Entire Story

What Your Business Can Learn From Paris’s Pollution Problem (Watch)

Paris has a major smog problem. And an organization that monitors air quality in France estimates that pollution levels will reach even higher levels by the end of 2016. So the city is trying to do something about it. On December 29, officials offered free parking to residents throughout the city to encourage ride-sharing and the use of public transportation. If the one-day experiment doesn’t make enough of an impact, the city could go even further and offer free bike-sharing and services for electric cars. It remains to be seen if this free parking experiment will have the desired effect. Since it’s… Read Entire Story

Did You Know? Times Square New Year’s Eve Party Started As a Business Event (Watch)

When you think about New Year’s Eve, a few things likely come to mind. There’s the champagne, noisemakers, silly glasses — and of course, Times Square. But that famous annual celebration didn’t actually start out as just a New Year’s party. In fact, it has a history that is steeped in the business world. The party started in 1904. That’s the year that the New York Times moved its headquarters to that intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue — more commonly known as Times Square. In fact, the newspaper is what gave Times Square its current name. Before that, it was known as the Long Acre Square. So… Read Entire Story

Snapchat Could Use Augmented Reality to Differentiate From Facebook, Instagram (Watch)

How do you compete with huge brands like Facebook and Instagram? Well, if you’re Snapchat, you acquire new technology startups. Snap Inc., the company that owns Snapchat, just acquired Cimagine, an augmented reality firm based in Israel. Right now, Cimagine mainly makes tools for home retailers and manufacturers. The idea is to provide ways for customers to create a virtual space where they can move around furniture, change paint or wall colors and just see how new products might look in their space before they buy. Of … Read Entire Story

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From Small Business Trends!

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The holidays are here! And here at Small Business Trends, we want to wish all our readers the very best for this season and the new year. Below, some Small Business Trends writers and staff members share photos of their holiday traditions as well as holiday greetings for all the readers. Chief Technology Officer Leland McFarland has had to make a few holiday-related adjustments thanks to having young children in the house. But he wishes all the readers a happy holiday anyway! McFarland says, “With two little children in the house, we have resorted to gating up the tree and presents. Even… Read Entire Story