Small business owners have a lot to worry about, and it’s easy to think that marketing is an expensive and time-consuming process that’s underserving of any significant portion of your budget. However, this week’s Trending on Thursday details how small business owners can use available digital tools and tricks to successfully market their company for little to no money. We also provide some ideas to make the workplace a little more fun, tips for avoiding cyber criminals, and some public speaking advice.

Keep reading for all this week’s #smallbiz news and let us know what social media or web tool you use to market your company for free.

  1. TrendingJune9(1)Many small businesses don’t have designated marketing staff or much of a marketing budget, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a very successful marketing strategy. Small businesses actually have the advantage when it comes to marketing, especially in the digital realm. Shari Medini at the Huffington Post says small business should be leveraging free or cheap tools such as guest blog posts, engaging viewers on Snapchat, or inspiring people on Instagram for free. Additionally, Medini writes, small businesses are closer to their actual audience than their larger counterparts, so they should be able to establish strong loyalty and personalization.
  1. Necessity may be the mother of invention, but boredom is its wicked stepmother. And let’s face it, the office can be a pretty boring and frustrating place – especially for startups that are typically short on staff, time and money. But, it doesn’t have to be. Larry Gadea, Founder and CEO of Envoy, is an engineer by trade and started a Podcast to celebrate some of the most interesting office spaces in the world. He shares his five favorites in this Forbes article.
  1. TrendingJune9(2)When you run a small business, you might feel less targeted by cyber criminals. But nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, small and medium-sized businesses are much more prone to attack than large corporations. That’s because cyber criminals aren’t necessarily hunting for large firms. What they want is easy access and valuable data. If you’re concerned, check out Larry Alton’s guide for protecting your small business on Small Business Trends.
  1. Having the best ideas in the world won’t help you if no one wants to listen. Speaker and author Julian Treasure gave a popular TED Talk in 2014 that explained how anyone can speak effectively, whether in a conversation or in front of a crowd. How well you influence others, he said, is as much about what you do as what you don’t. Richard Feloni at Inc. breaks down the bad habits you need to avoid if you want people to listen to you, which Treasure calls the “seven deadly sins of speaking.”
  1. If you’re a startup owner, you obviously want to figure out the best way to measure success. In the early stages of business ownership, financial gains are not necessarily a good measure of forward movement. Instead, look out for these positive reinforcers, which include: the industry taking note, your employees are eager to learn, and a sense of complete transparency in the office.

Group of happy business people clapping their hands