Do you have confidence in the continued success of your #smallbiz? If you answered no, you’re not alone. U.S. small business confidence fell to a two-year low in March. The good news is there’s room for improvement and this week’s Trending Thursday has some great advice for #smallbiz owners, featuring emerging retail trends, productivity hacks, and the top jobs of 2016.

Keep reading for this week’s trending #smallbiz news and let us know how you’re feeling about your business and the economy in general.

  1. U.S. small business confidence fell to a fresh two-year low in March amid persistent worries about sales and profits, the latest indication that economic growth braked sharply in the first quarter. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said on Tuesday its small business optimism index dipped 0.3 point to a reading of 92.6 last month, the lowest since February 2014. It has declined from a reading of 100 in December 2014 and has pushed further off its 42-year average of 98. The soft reading fits in with recent economic data on consumer and business spending as well as wholesale inventory investment that have suggested economic growth slowed sharply from the fourth quarter’s 1.4 percent annualized rate.


  1. Perhaps no industry is changing more rapidly than retail. To help you keep up, Rieva Lesonsky at Small Business Trends has gathered eight predictions that will give you insight into upcoming retail trends and may help your business. Here’s a preview of the top projections for this year: rent, don’t buy. Taking a cue from the sharing economy and businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, 15 percent of U.S. consumers are interested in renting products from stores. The most popular products people wanted to rent are exercise equipment, consumer electronics and furniture. Additionally, consumers are looking for sensory stimulation. In an increasingly screen-oriented world, consumers in the survey want to stimulate all five senses when they actually go into a real store. Not surprisingly, vision and touch were rated as the most important senses in the store experience, but smell and sound matter, too.
  1. Like most people, Brian Edmondson has wasted a lot of time on smartphone games and social media. However, Edmondson has changed his ways, thanks to some simple productivity hacks that he’s implemented over time. He says, “productivity isn’t something that most people are born with. It’s a skillset and that means it can be learned.” Check out his top seven ways to stay productive in the face of limitless distractions.


  1. Did you know you have to be born an entrepreneur? And you need a completely unique idea to start a business? If you’re shaking your head, that’s because those are two of the biggest myths about becoming an entrepreneur, shared by Jonathan Long. The thought of becoming an entrepreneur is appealing to many people, but dreams are often put on ice due to misconceptions and myths. Poor advice from unqualified individuals, outright assumptions, and inaccuracies in the media may all prevent someone from jumping into the entrepreneurial fray.
  1. While you might be comfortable in your current position, maybe you’ve been dreaming of making a move to a job that pays better, that causes you less stress, or that is a better match to what you really like to do. Or maybe you’re going to graduate soon, and you’re wondering what career offers you the best long-term potential. So, if you’re wondering where the grass might actually be greener, what’s the best way to figure that out? just released its 2016 Jobs Rated report, which reveals which are the best jobs – and the worst – for 2016. 200 different jobs were rated on a variety of factors – including environment, income, outlook for the future, and stress – to determine an overall ranking. Check out the top 10 in this Inc. article by Peter Economy.