Happy Halloween! With the scariest holiday of the year coming in just a few days, we wanted to provide some small business horror stories to help you avoid the same mistakes in this week’s Trending on Thursday. We also detail strategies small businesses can use to get more involved in their community, offer easy stress relief techniques, and more.

See this week’s full #smallbiz roundup below and tweet us at @MarlinBusiness with your worst business horror story and what you learned from it.

  1. Embezzlement. Losing your biggest customer. Unending debt. For a small business owner, lots of things are scarier than zombies on Halloween. If you’re checking under your bed for monsters, check out USA Today’s Rhonda Abrams’ eight fearsome things that might threaten your small business, along with ways to chase them away. Abrams’ number one fear? Employees from hell!
  1. Each time you take your business to market, you’re stepping into the arena. To succeed, you need innovative strategies to stay top of mind. According to Small Business Trend’s Andrew Gazdecki, developing a community outreach program is an excellent way for small businesses to gain local traction and up visibility without a huge investment. Simply put, it’s a high return on investment. Gazdecki has three community outreach ideas for small businesses that can add real value to a marketing campaign, including working with schools, NGOs and local organizations.
  1. trendingoct272Whether it be issues working with your people, working long days, not getting enough sleep, not eating right or missing out on time with your family, small business owners are usually pretty stressed out. And these stressors can be truly draining. Despite the potential for physical, emotional, and mental stress, you can learn to lead a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. To help you better manage your stress, read this Forbes article detailing effective and valuable lifestyle habits.
  1. In 2011, small businesses were only targeted 18 percent of the time by cyber attacks. By 2014, that number had scaled to 34 percent. Last year saw another substantial increase, with small businesses targeted 43 percent of the time. As cyber security threats increase all over the world, we’re seeing a rather significant shift in how small businesses and their owners view online security. Huffington Post’s Larry Alton has laid out five developing trends in cyber security and details what your small business can do to protect itself.
  1. Most people get their stuff from only a few different places. While that loyalty is great for those companies, it’s not exactly ideal for companies introducing new products. Companies are often aware of the economic costs their potential customers see. It’s why companies often make big budgets to educate customers and to make switching products easier. So why is it that between 40 and 90 percent of new products still fail? According to Inc.’s Mikael Cho, what most companies don’t consider is the power of the psychological cost of switching.

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