Top Stories: Big Mobile News from Infusionsoft, Blackberry

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Business technology is constantly evolving. There are new smartphones, software products and other tools being released on a daily basis. And some of them have the ability to make a big impact on the business world.

Topping the list this week are a new mobile payments system from Infusionsoft and more news on the BlackBerry Leap smartphone. Read on for the full list of headlines in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.

Tech

Infusionsoft Announces Mobile Payments and More at ICON15

Infusionsoft CEO Clate Mask (above) and his executive team kicked off the company’s annual conference, ICON15, with several product announcements. Among them: Infusionsoft is entering the super-hot mobile payments space. This summer the company will offer a built-in payments solution in its marketing automation software platform.

Will You Jump at the Chance? BlackBerry Leap Pre-orders Begin

On Monday, March 30, BlackBerry announced the new BlackBerry Leap will be open for pre-orders. Pre-orders will be available in five regions but supplies will be limited. Blackberry did not announce just how many phones are available so if you are interested you might not want to wait. Currently availability is only offered for the US, UK, Germany, France, and Canada.

Social Media

The Original Social Swami Joins Surefire Social

When you once were called the “Social Media Swami,” what might a logical next career step be? For Shashi Bellamkonda, that next career step is to become a Chief Marketing Officer. Bellamkonda joins Surefire Social starting April 1. He will be the new CMO of the technology and services provider based in Herndon, Virginia.

Facebook Wants Your Businesses On Messenger

Your small business may already use Facebook to keep in touch with customers. And the ubiquitous social media platform is getting ready to introduce a way for your business to contact them there directly in all new ways. Facebook recently unveiled Businesses on Messenger. It’s set to be formally launched soon, the company’s website reports.

eCommerce

Lawn Care Services Offered on Amazon Soon

Could Amazon be the next place people go to hire a landscaper? Starting Monday, March 30, small businesses in select markets nationwide were able to offer services to customers through the eCommerce site known mostly for selling products. A report from TechCrunch notes that Amazon will re-launch its Amazon Local Services as Amazon Home Services.

Finance

Sole Proprietors’ Interest Expenditures in Long Term Decline

Small business owners are paying a lot less to borrow money now than they did three decades ago. That’s based on analysis of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data. Per the IRS, the average sole proprietor paid four times as much on interest expense in 1983 as in 2011, when the numbers are measured in inflation-adjusted terms.

Events

The Evolution of Affiliate Marketing

A favorite session of Affiliate Management Days continues to be the panel of key players in the affiliate networks. Known for controversial topics and heated discussions among respected competitors, the fifth annual network panel filled the room.

Everything You Need to Know About Attribution and Affiliate Marketing

This is a live blog post from AMDays in San Francisco. Topic: Everything You Need to Know About Attribution and Affiliate Marketing.

A New Code of Conduct for Affiliate Marketing

This is a live blog post from the Affiliate Management Days Conference in San Francisco. Affiliate Management Days is an educational event for affiliate managers and those responsible for performance marketing programs within their organizations.

Meet 15 Movers and Shakers at ICON15

It was a place for big ideas. Leaders in the small business community gathered for the VIP dinner at Infusionsoft’s massive ICON15 Small Business Conference March 31 through April 2 in Phoenix, Arizona. And none other than Infusionsoft Co-Founder and CEO Clate Mask addressed the group as the festivities got under way.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: Studypool Provides Fast Online Homework Help

Making it through school can be difficult if you don’t have any help. In the past, students looking for homework help would have to stay after class or sign up for study groups. But technology now offers new opportunities. That’s where Studypool comes in. The business, which was started in a college dorm, helps students find tutors who can answer their homework questions quickly.

Crowdfunding

Keep Warm Like an Astronaut With the Lukla Endeavor Jacket

Like so many other products, the Lukla Endeavor Jacket began as a solution to a problem. When Michael Markesbery and Max Squire were climbing one of the tallest mountains in the Swiss Alps, they noticed a problem with the expensive outerwear they were using. It was bulky, cumbersome, and they were still cold.

Combine Fashion and Tech with the Leoht Handbag

When was the last time your handbag got a tech upgrade? These days our technology is an everyday personal experience. There’s the ever present smartphone in our pocket and the tablet in our bag. Now, smart watches and even glasses are becoming more common. Leoht is one company that thinks it’s time your handbag got on board the wearable technology train.

Startups

Oakland Program Helps Underprivileged Youth Start Businesses

Anyone can become an entrepreneur. But some have less access to the education, mentors and resources that can be a huge help in starting a business. That’s why Youth Impact HUB Oakland aims to help the youth in low income areas of Oakland, California.

Retired Entrepreneur Launches Coconut’s Fish Cafe in Paradise

Entrepreneur and cat lover Michael Phillips decided to return to the business world with his latest restaurant franchise … after retiring to paradise. Phillips founded Coconut’s Fish Café in Khei, Hawai’i, on the island of Maui, opening the doors of the flagship restaurant in 2009.

Taxes

5 Things You May not Know about Small Business Taxes

Dealing with taxes is a fact of life for small business owners. Annual expenditures for taxes for most owners is likely their largest outlay each year, exceeding rent or mortgage payments, marketing costs, and vehicle expenses (the only possible larger expenditure is payroll).

Web

Simple, Branded Websites From 99Designs and Jimdo

It can be tough on small business owners to match the resources of larger more established companies when establishing a powerfully branded website. Creating a branded online presence requires you to worry about a variety of details including Web design, hosting, graphic design and more. And all this must be done while trying to focus on your core products and services.

WixMusic Lets Musicians Set the Tempo for Their Brand

Wix is hoping to hit the high note with independent musicians on its latest offering. Saying that indie musicians are under-served in being provided a competent Web platform to share and sell their music, Wix has introduced WixMusic. This new specialty platform allows musicians to upload their recorded music directly to their new Wix site and sell it immediately.

Image: Small Business Trends

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