Does your #smallbiz have a plan for emergency situations? If not, don’t worry because this week’s Trending Thursday has you covered with advice on preparing for the worst. We’ve also cover the latest news about the social media landscape, business automation and the benefits and drawbacks of Virtual Reality.

Check out all of this week’s trending #smallbiz news and tell us what your favorite social media platform is.

  1. No matter how smoothly your small business is running, sometimes things break — figuratively and literally. Be it a natural disaster like a tornado or earthquake, an equipment failure or even the death or illness of a key business owner or employee, it’s smart to be prepared for the worst. Steve Nicastro at Huffington Post has shared three ways to prepare your small business for a disaster, an emergency situation or a major slowdown.
  1. TrendingApril14(1)There are a few books out there that have stood the test of time in the business world. They helped shape the industry years ago, and they continue to remain true to this day. If you have high aspirations for yourself and haven’t read these five books, you are doing yourself a disservice. Here’s a preview: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which Nicholas Cole says is the “greatest business book ever written” and Leadership and Self Deception by The Arbinger Institute.
  1. Entrepreneurs and small business managers are hands-on folks. They are often involved in nearly every aspect of the business — from marketing to fulfillment to accounting to website design. At some point, however, all of that special attention may actually inhibit growth, so that the business leaders need to step back and let some processes happen automatically. The term business automation is broad. For some businesses, it might mean automating physical processes like product assembly. For others, it might mean setting up automated emails to occur when a customer takes some action. Armando Roggio has shared 6 principles of small business automation in a recent Practical Ecommerce article.
  1. TrendingApril14(2)As a #smallbiz owner or entrepreneur, you’ve likely already tapped into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest to push your brand. Sure, these networks work great, but there are others out there that can help you reach niche audiences. If you haven’t considered social networks like Quora, Snapchat and Vine, now might be the time to do so. Just remember, the social media landscape changes quickly — and often it’s better to be an early-adopter rather than jumping on the bandwagon.
  1. Virtual Reality (VR) was once the type of thing you’d see in the movies or hear about occurring in the distant future, but many of us have already experienced forms of this. There’s a huge debate raging in the tech industry about virtual reality vs. augmented reality and which will be viable for small businesses. Megan Totka breaks down the arguments in this article for Small Business Trends.