Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: What Works Best to Motivate Employees?

motivate employees

When it comes to motivating, engaging and retaining employees, there’s no one-size-fits all strategy that small business owners can rely on.

That’s the finding of Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent Survey, which polled employees ranging from Generation Y to Baby Boomers to uncover how they feel about job rewards and recognition, performance reviews and overall career satisfaction.

Key Finding to Motivate Employees

One key finding that might make cash-strapped small business owners nervous: Job rewards (that is, monetary or non-monetary compensation).

It is the most important factor in employee engagement overall. Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents rank job rewards first, above job recognition (42 percent) and job motivation (11 percent).

Keep in mind, however, that “job rewards” include both monetary and non-monetary compensation. So if you can’t offer raises or bonuses, you can offer non-monetary rewards (something 60 percent of companies in the survey do). In fact, the survey found that younger employees are driving a shift toward non-monetary rewards.

Sixty-four per cent of employees surveyed say they would like to see their companies offer non-monetary rewards, but among Generation Y, the percentage jumped to 70 percent.

The most popular non-monetary rewards:

  • Comp time off
  • Free food or meals
  • Event tickets (to shows, sporting events and concerts)

While these do cost money, they cost less than offering raises since they’re given on an occasional, not ongoing, basis.

That said, tangible rewards like raises, bonuses and promotions still matter to Gen Y. In fact, possibly more than they do to other age groups. While 31 percent of respondents overall say they’d start job-hunting if an expected raise, bonus or promotion didn’t materialize, among Gen Y that figure jumps to 48 percent.

It Depends on the Life Stage of the Employee

Other key motivators for employees vary depending on their ages and life-stages, too. For example:

  • Gen Y and Boomer respondents are more motivated by interesting work.
  • Gen X was more motivated by good benefits and good pay/salary.

This may reflect on life stage:

  • Gen X: Typically married and raising a family with lots of financial obligations.
  • Gen Y: Carefree with fewer financial obligations.
  • Boomers: Working less from financial need and more because they want to stay mentally active.

In general, employees of all ages say being able to work at home, have flexible hours, receive additional training options and opportunities and take on additional responsibilities make their jobs more rewarding.

The Differences

There are some key generational differences:

  • Gen X: Values flexible hours most (reflecting their busy lives juggling work and children).
  • Boomers: Prefers flexible hours and training opportunities (reflecting their interest in being mentally active).
  • Gen Y: Want the chance to take on more responsibilities and handle bigger projects.

What’s the takeaway for your business?

Don’t treat your employees like they come out of a cookie-cutter mold when it comes to benefits, pay and rewards. In fact, don’t even treat employees in one generation like they’re cut from the same mold.

Sure, some Gen Y employees are fun-loving singles who live with their parents and pay no rent, but others are frazzled new parents raising twins and going to night school.

Make the effort to get to know each of your employees and what matters to them. Yes, it will take some time and thought to craft rewards that motivate each worker (and are fair to everyone else). But the effort will pay off not only in financial savings but also in improved employee satisfaction, productivity and loyalty.

Generations Photo via Shutterstock


Here’s What Happens in 60 Seconds on the Internet

60 seconds on the internet 2

Consider this: Every minute of every day, staggering amounts of data are being generated as consumers connect to, search for, watch, create, download, and shop for content.

Making sense of what all this data means is critical for the success of your company or brand.

So what are the 3.2 billion people who make up today’s global internet population doing online?

Business intelligence startup Domo recently released the third installment of their infographic, with 15 mind-blowing statistics for 2015.

Every Minute:

  • YouTube users upload 300 hours of video, an increase from 72 hours a year ago.
  • Netflix subscribers stream nearly 80,000 hours of video.
  • Vine users view more than 1 million videos.
  • BuzzFeed users watch more than 34,000 videos.
  • Instagram users like more than 1.7 million photos.
  • Snapchat users share nearly 300,000 snaps.
  • Pinterest pinners pin nearly 10,000 images, up from 3,400 a year ago.

Did I blow your mind yet?

Here are Five More Huge Stats:

  • Facebook users Like more than 4.1 million posts.
  • Twitter users tweet more than 347,000 times, up from 277,000 a year ago.
  • Apple users download 51,000 apps, up slightly from 48,000 a year ago.
  • Amazon sees more than 4,310 unique visitors.
  • Uber passengers take nearly 700 rides.

See all 15 statistics here:

60 seconds on the internet

[Click on image for larger version]

Image Credit: Domo Data Never Sleeps 3.0

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What is Calm Design and How Can You Use it in Your Marketing?

What is Calm Technology Design and How Can You Use it in Your Marketing?

Cisco estimates there will be 11.6 billion mobile-connected devices by 2020 — a number that exceeds the world’s projected population. The mobile Internet of Things (IoT) is spreading consumer attention thin, making it more difficult than ever to break through the noise and reach target audiences. With this many connected devices on the horizon, content marketers must find a way to use mobile to their advantage. There’s an emerging concept within IoT that may hold the answer to regaining some consumers’ attention: calm design technology.

What Is Calm Design Technology?

Calm design technology is a new idea that strives to blend technology seamlessly with everyday life. While modern smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and connected devices aim to respond to users’ needs, calm design takes responsive design a step further. Calm design is the next generation of connected devices. Its purpose is to connect consumers with their devices and others in a way that lets them live their lives freely — without interruptions, pop-ups, or “smart” technology that makes life more difficult.

The example Amber Case used at InBound 2015 when speaking about calm technology is electricity. Electricity is invisible, working on its own without interrupting our daily lives. We only notice electricity when it stops working. Calm design aims to reach this level of invisibility — not literally, but figuratively. Instead of your Apple TV turning on and asking if you want to download an update, it should simply play movies.

Principles of Calm Design IoT

Technology shouldn’t take up most of our time and attention. It should only require some attention when absolutely necessary. Here are a few principles of calm technology from

  1. Technology should require the smallest amount of attention possible. It should communicate without having to “speak,” creating awareness using different senses to keep consumers in their current environment or task without interrupting.
  2. Technology should amplify the best of humanity and machines. Tech design should be for humans first. Machines shouldn’t act like humans or vice versa — good design should amplify the best parts of both.
  3. Technology should solve a problem, and that’s it. The minimum amount of technology possible to resolve an issue should be the only tech we see. Calm tech is slimmer, doing what it needs to do and nothing more.

Calm tech design doesn’t require focused attention to use. It lets users multitask and do other things while the tech quietly does its job. It utilizes the periphery.

Calm Design and Marketing

When virtually everything in a consumer’s life is connected, distracting notifications and daily interruptions escalate out of control. Customers are nearing a breaking point with marketers, blocking advertisements and leaving websites that have pop-up ads. Instead of contributing to the noise, marketers need to find a way to advertise their brands without interrupting the consumer’s day. Calm design is the answer.

Trying to grab attention with irrelevant ads will only push consumers away and eventually make your brand extinct. Calm design is a new platform — one that enables interaction with customers without interrupting their days. Marketers can join the trend toward calm by understanding how to transform advertisements into meaningful conversations with consumers, adding something of value without taking them away from their current tasks.

How Can Marketers Use Calm Technology Design?

Combining content with calm design is going to lead the movement. Marketers need to change how they communicate with consumers to optimize outreach in the modern world. Instead of relying on the interrupting nature of advertising, content marketers should evolve into what Haydn Sweterlitsch, chief creative officer at HackerAgency, calls the Atmospheric Approach. The Atmospheric Approach doesn’t create content that adds to the noise. Rather, it enables marketers to quietly integrate ads into a customer’s peripheral awareness.

Marketing should theoretically “disappear” while engaging customers, getting a message across without interfering. Real life examples of this are the Roomba, a stoplight, a light-up occupied sign on a bathroom door, and captics technologies. Captics use the sense of touch to communicate, vibrating when users are slouching and telling them to sit up straight without making a sound. Content marketers must gear their efforts toward the same concept.

As IoT, robotics, smart homes, artificial intelligence and mobile devices create a hyper-connected world, consumer attention will become more and more scarce. Marketers need to find creative ways to attract consumer attention without distracting them. Paying strict attention to consumer demands will be more important than ever, so think about what consumers may be doing while viewing your content.

Creating compelling, simple and useful brand messages is the wave of the future. It’s possible to attract attention without interfering through engagement and empowerment. Utilize other senses, not just sound. Integrate touch and sight. Instead of spending money on pop-up advertisements, spread your message quietly. Blatant appeals are a thing of the past, and marketers who cling to them will become extinct. Take control of your future and join the trend toward calm design technology.

Smart Tech Photo via Shutterstock


What is Responsive Web Design?

responsive web design

Have you asked yourself, “What is responsive Web design?” Responsive Web design is an approach whereby a designer creates a Web page that “responds to” or resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being seen through.  That could be an oversized desktop computer monitor, a laptop, a 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet, or a 4-inch smartphone screen.

Responsive Web design has become one of the hottest trends in 2013.  This is due in part to the  growth of smartphones and other mobile devices. More people are using smaller-screen devices to view Web pages.

In fact, Mashable even dubbed 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design. Pete Cashmore wrote,  “For those of us who create websites and services, all this leads to a singular conclusion: A million screens have bloomed, and we need to build for all of them.”

What Does Responsive Web Design Look Like?

The purpose of responsive design is to have one site, but with different elements that respond differently when viewed on devices of different sizes.

Let’s take a traditional “fixed” website.  When viewed on a desktop computer, for instance, the website might show  three columns. But when you view that same layout on a smaller tablet, it might force you to scroll horizontally, something users don’t like. Or elements might be hidden from view or look distorted.  The impact is also complicated by the fact that many tablets can be viewed either in portrait orientation, or turned sideways for landscape view.

On a tiny smartphone screen, websites can be even more challenging to see. Large images may “break” the layout. Sites can be slow to load on smartphones if they are graphics heavy.

However, if a site uses responsive design, the tablet version might automatically adjust to display just two columns. That way, the content is readable and easy to navigate. On a smartphone, the content might appear as a single column, perhaps stacked vertically.  Or possibly the  user would have the ability to swipe over to view other columns.  Images will resize instead of distorting the layout or getting cut off.

The point is: with responsive design, the website automatically adjusts based on the device the viewer sees it in.

How Does Responsive Web Design Work?

Responsive sites use fluid grids. All page elements are sized by proportion, rather than pixels. So if you have three columns, you wouldn’t say exactly how wide each should be, but rather how wide they should be in relation to the other columns. Column 1 should take up half the page, column 2 should take up 30%, and column 3 should take up 20%, for instance.

Media such as images is also resized relatively. That way an image can stay within its column or relative design element.

Related Issues

Mouse v. touch: Designing for mobile devices also brings up the issue of mouse versus touch.  On desktop computers the user normally has a mouse to navigate and select items.  On a smartphone or tablet, the user mostly is using fingers and touching the screen.  What may seem easy to select with a mouse, may be hard to select with a finger on a tiny spot on a screen. The Web designer must take “touch” into consideration.

Graphics and download speed: Also, there’s the issue of graphics, ads and download speed. On mobile devices, it may be wise to display fewer graphics than for desktop views so that a site doesn’t take forever to load on a smartphone.  Larger ad sizes may need to be exchanged for smaller ads.

Apps and “mobile versions”:  In the past, you might have thought about creating an app for your website — say an iPad app or an Android app.  Or you would have a mobile version specifically for BlackBerry.

But with so many  different devices today, it’s getting harder to create apps and versions for every device and operating platform. As Smashing Magazine wrote, “When will the madness stop? It won’t, of course.”  A responsive design that is flexible enough to be viewed on multiple devices just makes sense.

Why Small Businesses Need to Switch to Responsive Web Design

More people are using mobile devices. A recent Pew study found that 45% of American adults own a smartphone, and 31% own a tablet computer. As we reported yesterday, smartphone shipments outpace those of regular mobile phones, and tablet growth is surging.

Check your traffic and you might just be shocked at how many visitors are getting to your website  through mobile devices.  (In your Google Analytics, select “Audience” on the left side, then “Mobile” to see what proportion of traffic is from mobile devices. You can even drill down to see which devices are sending the traffic.)

Responsive design templates are everywhere now, for purchase.  If, for instance, you have a WordPress site you can visit a reputable template gallery such as ThemeForest and search for “responsive WordPress themes.”  Purchase one for under $50. Your Web developer can then customize it for your logo and brand.

Editor’s Note:  Here at Small Business Trends, we are working on a new responsive design. Shouldn’t you?

Responsive Design Photo via Shutterstock

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PS4 Pro Unboxing: What to Expect

PS4 Pro Unboxing: What to ExpectPS4 Pro Unboxing: What to Expect
The PS4 Pro comes with a revamped DualShock 4
Other additions include a headset and an HDMI cable
It will release internationally on November 10
The release date for the PS4 Pro is November 10. In the run up to that some early units have made their way to select reviewers, one of whom was kind enough to let us know what you get when you buy the PS4 Pro.

According to VG247’s Alex Donaldson, there’s an HDMI cable, a power plug that’s similar to what the original Xbox One (not Xbox One S) used, a Micro-USB cable (not USB Type-C) that many Android smartphones ship with, and Sony’s standard headset which in our experience, you should replace with something more substantial.

(Also see: Here Are the PS4 Pro’s Launch Games)
In terms of literature, there’s a Quick Start Guide, and a leaflet for Horizon Zero Dawn. And in case you were wondering, yes, it does ship with the [revamped] DualShock 4 controller we’ve seen with the PS4 Slim. The light bar on it has been modified so you can see what colour is emanating from it while playing without having to tilt it. Also, you can allow for it to relay button presses via USB connection, making it ideal for games that require split second response times, such as Street Fighter V. The new DualShock 4 works with older PS4s as well.
(Also see: The PS4 Pro Won’t Solve the PS4’s Biggest Problem)

As for India, there’s no clarity as to when the PS4 Pro would hit the shelves. Though if we were to take a guess given Sony India’s actions in the past, we’d peg it for a January release at Rs. 39,990. Reason being, it occupies the $399 price – which is what the PS4 was at launch. This translated to a Rs. 39,990 price. It will be interesting to see if foreign exchange fluctuations result in a higher price though.

Are you waiting on the PS4 Pro? Or the PS4 adequate enough? Let us know in the comments below.

Tags: PS4 Pro, PS4 Pro Release Date, PS4 Pro unboxing, PS4 Pro Unboxed, PS4 Pro Price, PS4 Pro India Price


What Is the Future Outlook for Small Business?

It’s that time of year when we begin looking ahead to the coming year. In fact, with 2010 drawing to a close (can you believe it?), it’s that time when business owners begin looking ahead to the coming decade. If you want to know what the next 10 years have in store, take a closer look at a new report from Intuit.

Intuit 2020 Report: 20 Trends That Will Shape the Next Decade builds on more than five years of research led by the Institute for the Future and Emergent Research. It is the first in a series of reports looking at key trends affecting consumers and businesses in the coming years. Subsequent reports will drill down into specific trends and industries, but the current report presents a broad overview.

What Is the Future Outlook for Small Business?

What’s the takeaway? “The coming decade will be complex, volatile and uncertain, but it will also provide many new opportunities for small businesses and their customers in the United States and abroad,” the report notes. Here are some points I found especially interesting and that have big implications for the future of innovation:

Small businesses will get ever more specialized. Customers will increasingly seek customized products and services. The rise of innovations such as cloud computing, a flexible workforce and lower-cost manufacturing options will make it easier for small businesses to seek out product and service niches.

Startup will get easier and cheaper. In response to growing niche market opportunities, lower equipment costs and better technology, it will be easier than ever to launch a business without a big investment. This means more innovation, as new ideas can be tested without much risk – and startup companies will proliferate.

Big and small firms will join forces. Collaborative partnerships with big companies will increase, as small companies bring to the table innovative practices, market agility and intimate customer knowledge. What will big firms offer small businesses? Marketing and distribution power so that they can take their innovations to broader markets.

One prediction I’m not so sure I agree with: “The Web and mobile technologies will become the great equalizer of big and small, with customers no longer knowing – or even caring – about the size of the firm that provides their goods and services.” In a niche economy where personalization is sought after, will being a small company actually be an advantage? I think consumers may, in many cases, prefer to do business with small firms provided their needs are being met.

And here’s one innovation I particularly hope to see – and I think most busy business owners wish for as well: “The hardware and software we use on a daily basis will get smarter, helping people make everyday decisions and streamline complex tasks,” the report contends. That’s especially good news given that data will become even more critical to competitiveness. Information overload isn’t going away – so smart machines to help us deal with it will be very welcome.

Be sure to check out the full report. You can also find related materials at the Intuit website.

Editor’s Note: This article was previously published at under the title: “What Does the Future Hold for Small Business?” It is republished here with permission.


It’s Time to Invest In Tech for Your Small Business – Now What?

Are you a fledgling entrepreneur? To help get your dream up-and-running, here's a list of the must-have technology for your new small business.

Entrepreneurs have enough on their plate without worrying about the technological needs of their new business. Between complicated and highly technical infrastructure, advanced operating systems and constantly evolving technologies, it can be difficult for the most steadfast of IT pros to keep up.

The majority of today’s enterprises share many of the same IT needs, so there are some generic steps you can follow to ensure your company’s capacity for doing business in the 21st century.

Must-Have Technology for Your New Small Business

Computer Hardware

Think of your computer hardware as the basic infrastructure of your entire IT operation. Personal and laptop computers, user workstations, mainframe systems, dedicated servers and even the wires, hubs and routers that connect them are all a part of your company’s most rudimentary of technological needs.

Modern computers are powerful enough today that nearly any store-bought model could run a business, but the majority of consumer-oriented PCs are geared toward gaming, multimedia or online streaming. As you can probably tell, none of these applications are useful when maintaining an enterprise.

Servers provide you with massive amounts of storage that are accessible by any devices within your business network. They are incredibly helpful when launching a new business because many servers are scaleable, meaning they can be upgraded and expanded, as your IT requirements grow.

The hardware needed to run a successful enterprise ultimately depends on your area of business. For many, a system with a speedy processor and a relatively low amount of RAM will suffice. If you have a server, you can also afford to skimp on the storage capacity of your individual workstations and devices.

Computer Software

Once you decide on the exact type of hardware you’ll run, it’s time to choose your software. There are a plethora of options available, but companies tend to use Windows or Linux. In fact, Microsoft currently accounts for roughly 75 percent of all enterprise systems today.

In contrast, Linux is currently used on 99 percent of supercomputers across the world. There are a number of different Linux distributions available, including Red Hat, Ubuntu, SUSE and more. Some of these platforms are compatible with Microsoft Windows, which bolsters the usefulness and versatility of all systems involved, but most businesses don’t require a Linux-powered supercomputer.

People who value security may want to consider Apple computers. Mac OS X is generally more secure than both Windows and Linux, so enterprises dealing with confidential or highly sensitive materials might require the additional protection.

Industrial Computers

Some businesses might require an industrial computer. They were once reserved for the largest of corporations and academic institutions, but they’re now used by companies of all sizes. Built specifically with durability, reliability and efficiency in mind, today’s industrial computers maintain their performance in the toughest of environments. Common applications include manufacturing, mining, commercial transportation, national defense, aerospace and more.

Industrial computers are slightly more advanced than their consumer-level counterparts, but many of the same tips apply when choosing an industrial system for your business. The speed and reliability of the computer’s processor should be the topmost priority, with system RAM and storage capacity of lesser importance.

Intel has made it easy to gauge the general performance of its processors simply by looking at its name. By assigning specific codenames to each new generation of processor, they’ve made it easy to tell the new from the old. The first generation of Intel processors, for example, received the nickname of Avondale. The fourth and most recent generation carries the moniker of Haswell.

Mobile Connectivity

With so many consumers now using mobile technology on a daily basis, including smartphones, laptops and a myriad of other devices, it only makes sense for business to try and accommodate business on the go. It isn’t a viable option in some cases, but businesses that utilize a mobile workforce typically see reduced absenteeism, improved employee morale and even greater productivity.

Apart from benefiting your new company, the integration of mobile technology with your new business can have other effects, too. Your company will produce a smaller carbon footprint, experience lower overhead costs and stay on top of the latest advancements in IT.

Supporting Startup Success Through Technology

There’s an undeniable mainstream reliance on modern computing, so entrepreneurs should take every step possible when building their enterprise IT systems. Given the highly technical and advanced nature of the job at hand, you might want to recruit the help of an IT professional to judge IT needs, install infrastructure and commission software.

Technology Photo via Shutterstock


How to Gather Small Business Loan Documents: A List of What You Need

How to Gather Small Business Loan Documents: A List of What You Need

Gathering documents while applying for a small business loan is often a hassle. Yet there’s no way to avoid loan documents when you’re trying to secure funds.

The best way to minimize the hassle is to be prepared and understand how to value a small business. In other words, know all the loan documents your lender is likely to ask for when you approach them.

To make it simple for you, here’s a list of all the loan documents you need when you approach a lender so that you don’t have to find a documentation specialist for the job.

The List of Business Loan Documents You’ll Need

SBA 7(a) Loans/Bank Loans

SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program is one of the most popular borrowing options for small businesses. It’s worth noting that SBA does not extend loans itself. Rather it guarantees small business loans made by participating lending institutions. (As a result, much of the information you’ll need is the same documentation you’d need to apply for a loan from a more traditional lender.)

What makes SBA loans attractive to many small businesses is the low interest rates, but it also involves lengthy paperwork.

Once you have decided to apply for an SBA loan, you will have to gather all your documents. The process will then begin with your local lender, working within the SBA guidelines.

Here are all the documents you will need to submit.

SBA Loan Application: This is the first thing you will have to complete to process your request. You can find the most current form here (PDF).

Personal Background and Financial Statement: To evaluate your eligibility, the SBA requires you to complete a few forms where you will have to provide personal background and financial information.

Business Financial Statements: You must also be able to show that you can repay the loan. For that, you need to provide the following financial statements: Profit and Loss Statement and Projected Financial Statements.

Ownership and Affiliates: You must include a list of names and addresses of any subsidiaries as well as affiliates. These may include concerns in which you hold a controlling interest and other concerns that may be affiliated by franchise, proposed merger, stock ownership or otherwise with you.

Business Certificate or License: Your original business license or certificate of doing business is also needed. If your business is a corporation, you need to stamp your corporate seal on the application form.

Loan Application History: You should include records of any loans you may have applied for in the past.

Income Tax Returns: Add signed personal and business federal tax returns of your business’ principals for the last three years.

Résumés: Also include personal résumés for each principal.

Business Overview and History: Provide a short history of the business and its challenges. Add an explanation of why you need an SBA loan for your business.

Business Lease: Provide a copy of your business lease, or a note from your landlord.

For Purchasing an Existing Business: Provide the following information: 1) current balance sheet and P&L statement of business to be bought, 2) last two years federal income tax returns, 3) proposed Bill of Sale including Terms of Sale, 4) asking price with schedule of inventory, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures.

Alternative Lenders

If your business does not meet a traditional bank’s financing requirements and you are wondering how to get a business loan, you may want to consider alternative lenders.

Alternative lenders provide financing to even those small businesses that haven’t been around for a long time. And they have a less paperwork-intensive application process that can be completed online.

Here are the documents that most alternative lenders are going to ask you to submit.

Tax Returns: Make sure you submit the last three years of signed personal and business federal income tax returns.

Bank Statements: Submit three most recent bank statements for your business and personal accounts.

Cash Flow Statements: Include your balance sheet, cash flow statements and profit-and-loss statements.

Personal Identification: Includes social security, driver’s license or any such current government-issued photo ID.

Business Lease: Provide a copy of your business lease, or a note from your landlord.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending

P2P lenders help businesses by connecting capital from retail and institutional investors via platforms such as Funding Circle, Prosper and Lending Club. Over the years, P2P lending has become a popular source of funding for a large number of small businesses.

Here are the documents that you will have to submit when you approach a P2P lender.

ID Documents: Make sure you get your ID documents in place to set up direct credit as soon as you can.

Proof of Social Security: Provide a copy of your Social Security Award Letter or Form SSA-1099 for the last tax year.

Proof of Pension or Annuity Income: If you receive income from a pension or annuity, include a copy of your award letter or most recent statement.

Online Marketplaces

These days, a number of online marketplaces have become a popular source of small business financing. These marketplaces operate like exchanges, centralizing and streamlining the loan application process. They connect businesses to a range of traditional and alternative lenders. Some of the well-known players are Fundera and Biz2Credit.

Some of the documents that you should provide when you approach an online marketplace for funding include the following:

Personal Background: Submit your ID and address proofs along with the proof of your professional qualification.

Income Tax Returns: Include the personal and business federal tax returns of your business’ principals for the last three years.

Signed Application: Provide all the basic information about yourself and your business.

Bank Account Statements: Submit six most recent bank statements for your business and personal accounts.

Business Lease: Provide a copy of your business lease, or a note from your landlord.

Paperwork may sound like a lot of work, but preparing in advance can actually help save time. Just make a quick checklist of all the documents you need to submit before you begin the process. You may also want to speak to a representative to gather and organize your papers on time. Once you have prepared yourself, it will be easy to complete the work.

Ducks in a Row Photo via Shutterstock


Apple MacBook Event: What to Expect From the October 27 Showcase

Apple MacBook Event: What to Expect From the October 27 Showcase

Apple MacBook Event: What to Expect From the October 27 Showcase


  • The new MacBook Pro will come with the Magic Toolbar panel
  • 11-inch MacBook Air will be killed off
  • The event to begin at 10.30pm IST

Last month, Apple hosted an event to unveil the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 2 devices. Now, the company is hosting another event at its California Campus on Thursday. At this Apple event, the Cupertino giant is expected to refresh the MacBook Pro lineup, and unveil what may be the new 13-inch MacBook or the new MacBook Air. Other, reports indicate the company may introduce a standalone 5K Thunderbolt display, and even unveil the new iMac.

The Apple MacBook event is scheduled to begin at 10.30pm IST, and Apple is live streaming it on its website. Users with the Safari browser on Mac and iOS, and Microsoft Edge browser running on Windows 10 will be able to live stream the event. Furthermore, Apple TV (Gen 4) users can watch the event live through the Apple Events app available in the App Store. Apple TV (Gen 2 and 3) will get the Apple Events Channel automatically, where the event will be broadcast live. We have collated all that is expected from the event, and here’s everything that Apple may launch tonight.

(Also see:How to Watch Apple’s MacBook Event Live)MacBook Pro
The brand new MacBook Pro is expected to be unveiled in 13-inch and 15-inch variants. The new and improved MacBook Pro will have a faster processor, and be lighter and thinner than the predecessor. There is also a new Oled display panel on the keyboard, and is dubbed to be called the ‘Magic Toolbar’. The panel will perform key functions depending on what the user is browsing onscreen. For example, if you’re listening to music, the panel will let you skip tracks, manage volume etc.

Right beside the OLED panel is pegged to be the Touch ID sensor. The fingerprint reader will be used for unlocking the laptop, as well as authenticating payments via Apple Pay. Apple is also expected to introduce USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports on the MacBook Pro as well. Analyst Ming Chi Kuo expects that a 2TB SSD option will be made available, and he also expects the quality of the Retina display to be improved (however, the display resolution will remain the same). Kuo suggests that the MacBook Pro will come with “MagSafe-like adapter” which will be rolled out by Apple or a third-party supplier. The new MacBook Pro lineup is also expected to run on the Intel’s sixth-generation ‘Skylake’ Core SoCs, and bring the option of a discrete AMD GPU, apart from integrated Intel Iris GPUs. No Kaby Lake processors are expected to be used.

(Also see:Apple’s MacBook Event: About Time the Mac Got Some Much-Needed Love)

MacBook and MacBook Air
Kuo believes that the long-rumoured 13-inch MacBook will make appearance at the Thursday event and will come with various improvements compared to the current 12-inch MacBook. He doesn’t mention the MacBook Air in his note to investors. Separately, Apple is rumoured to unveil a 13-inch MacBook Air with minor upgrades. The USB 3.0 port will be replaced by a USB Type-C one. Apart from this, there are reports that the 11-inch MacBook Air will also be discontinued, and Apple is only planning to unveil the 13-inch variant at the event.

iMac and 5K Cinema Display
While Kuo thinks that the refreshing of the iMac and standalone 5K Thunderbolt Cinema Display will happen sometime in 2017, several reports suggest that Apple will introduce them at the MacBook event. The analyst further claims that even if the new Macs are unveiled, they won’t be shipped before 2017. The new iMac won’t have much of an upgrade apart from the USB Type-C port. Apple is also expected to include an option for AMD graphic chip integration.

As for the 5K Cinema Display, it is expected to come with integrated GPU and a screen resolution of 5120×2880 pixels. Rumours claims that Apple has decided to integrate a GPU into the display to make it future ready. The integrated GPU will help the new Thunderbolt Display maintain compatibility with future Macs, and will also reduce the need of high resolution displays to be powered by high-performance computers featuring top-end GPUs.

Mac mini and Mac Pro
With no recent reports indicating a launch on this front, it’s safe to assume Apple won’t be unveiling new Mac mini and Mac Pro hardware at the event. If it does, like the iMac, the desktops will probably only be launched at a later date.

TV Guide App
As reported earlier this week, Apple is also tipped to reveal a new TV Guide app for Apple TV to enable easy discovery of entertainment content. The app will collate content from different apps and streaming services. However, it is reported that Netflix will not be included on this list.

No iPads?
From what we know so far, Apple is going to be hawk-eye focused on its Mac products. Apart from the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, all the other models are a year old. New iPad hardware is tipped for early spring next year, so don’t expect anything new on that front from Thursday’s event.

AirPods release date
Just a day ahead of its October 27 event, Apple revealed that the wireless AirPods earphones it had unveiled alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have been delayed, and will not be available to buy in late October as it had previous promised. The company did not provide a clear reason as to the delay, or when the earphones would launch. It may be possible that Apple may provide some clarity on this front at Thursday’s event. Though of course with an announcement just before the event, it is also possible that Apple makes no mention of the delayed wireless earphones at the event.

(Also see: Apple Says It Needs More Time Before AirPods Are Ready)

As the tradition goes, Apple will most likely brag about the sales numbers of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the Apple Watch Series 2. It is also expected to announce availability of the AirPods. As mentioned, the Apple event time is 10.30pm IST, and we will be reporting everything from ground zero, giving you all the details and announcements in real-time. Stay tuned.

Tags: Apple, Apple MacBook Pro, MacBook, Apple MacBook, Apple MacBook Event, Apple Event, Apple Event October 2016,Apple Event TIme, Laptops, PCs, Home Entertainment, Apple TV, Apps, Apple MacBook Air, iMac, Mac

What LeEco, Lenovo and OnePlus are offering this Diwali

Lenovo Z2 Plus. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Chinese phone makers are turning the heat on their Indian and South Korean counterparts by offering heavy discounts, attractive trade-offs and a chance to win a free smartphone through online contests. Here are the top deals offered by LeEco, Lenovo and OnePlus on their online stores or on and

LeEco Le Max 2

LeEco Le Max 2LeEco

Chinese phone maker LeEco which has been creating quite a buzz in the Indian market with just three phones under the belt is offering a major price cut on its mid-range phone the LeMax 2.

The Le Max 2 is a big screen phone that poses serious competition to the high flagships as well as the mid range smartphones. It is selling at Rs.17,999, down from Rs.22,999. Its prime attraction is the 5.7-inch AMOLED display and the screen resolution of 2,560×1,440m, which is unheard of in a sub Rs.20,000 smartphone. This is a sharp and bright looking display and is ideal for movie buffs and fans of graphic intensive games. The audio output in the CDLA ready headphones that comes with the smartphone is one of the best we have heard in any smartphone so far. Powering the phone is Qualcomm’s 2.1GHz Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor which has been paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The phone’s metallic finish gives it the aura of a premium flagship device. You can get this phone on or LeEco’s official online store.

OnePlus 3

OnePlus 3OnePlus

OnePlus is not offering any direct discount on its new phone. The OnePlus 3 is still selling at Rs. 27,999, but if you are willing to part away with your older phone, you may get a price reduction of up to Rs.16,000 on it, depending on the condition and the model of the phone that you are planning to give away.

The company is giving buyers a chance to get the gold variant of the OnePlus 3 for free under its Diwali Dash sale. It commences on 24 October on OnePlus’ official online store. You can get the details for the contest here .

There is a direct discount on the 64GB variant of the OnePlus 2, though.

Barring the heating issues that we noticed in some of its handsets, the phone is a pretty powerful big screen option for users who fancy the clean Oxygen OS more than the custom User interface based smartphones from Xiaomi or LeEco. It runs on Qualcomm’s 1.8GHz Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM. The phone is selling at Rs.19,999, down from Rs.22,999 on


Lenovo is offering an attractive discount on its budget smartphone Zuk Z1. Earlier priced at Rs.13,499, right now you can get it for Rs.10,999. This is the most affordable Cyanogen phone the market right now. It runs Android 5.1 and offers plenty of cool customisations without feeling overwhelming as phones with custom UIs tend to get. It runs on Qualcomm’s 32-bit Snapdragon 801quad-core processor with 3GB RAM, has a 5.5-inch full HD display and offers 64GB of internal storage. The phone’s other talking point is its classy looks and the 4,100mAh battery that can clock a day and half of backup easily. You can get this device on

The other phone in the Zuk series is the recently launched Z2 Plus. It doesn’t run the Cyanogen OS but retains the plain Android interface. Lenovo is offering exchange offers which can help you save up to Rs. 13,600. Again the amount of discount you get will depend on the handset you are putting up for exchange. Z2 Plus is a small screen phone with a display size of 5-inches. It is powered by Qualcomm’s 2.1GHz Snapdragon quad-core processor with 3GB RAM in the 32GB variant (Rs.17,999) and 4GB RAM in the 64GB variant ( Rs.19,999). The phone is available on