Although the US trade deficit has continued to increase, the oil and gas trade balance is on its way to a positive figure, writes Justin Fox. The shale boom has allowed the government to restrain private-sector borrowing and helped buoy the US economy, Fox writes.
The Federal Reserve will increase its benchmark interest rate by 0.25% due to a stronger economic prognosis in the US. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that although inflation is expected to rise in the near future, the increase isn't likely to be an aggressive one.
Microsoft has updated its business applications, adding features that include a common data service to allow for more consistent data analysis. The company has also announced Dynamics 365 for Sales Professionals, which will offer a scaled-down customer-relationship management experience for small businesses.
Finding and holding on to first-rate employees can be a challenge. However, small businesses may have hiring advantages to exploit in their competition for talent, including the potential for flexible work schedules and the opportunity for advancement.
Scoring leads is an effective way to evaluate where people are in the customer journey. Dana Tran explains how to augment Facebook Messenger bots with automatic lead-scoring systems.
Customer experience is crucial to success, and tools are available to help with measurement. However, Katharine Paljug writes that it's important to begin by considering five things, such as the fact that experience and opinion are different.
With the help of her parents, Joslyn Varona started and has since expanded Gym Kidz to give children a place to learn and practice gymnastics. Looking back, Varona advises aspiring small-business owners to avoid fretting about the little things.
Performing market analysis can help you clarify your target audience as you seek to attract new customers. It's also critical to build a strong connection with existing customers and to provide stellar service, writes Mike Kappel, CEO of Patriot Software.
Being willing to take calculated risks, adapting as situations change and staying focused on the big picture can help you succeed as a leader, experts say. "When you're a CEO, you can no longer be in the weeds," said Halelly Azulay, founder of TalentGrow.