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January 24, 2013
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Stories from the Street 
  • Some business owners bring their best friends to work
    There are disadvantages to bringing pets into the workplace -- taking care of them can be time-consuming, for example -- but some business owners say it's worth the hassle. Fred Krause, who owns Structures and Trains by Fred in Batavia, Ill., brings his dog Bowie with him every day. "He's actually a very good partner," Krause said. Bowie's barking became a problem at Krause's old office, so he made sure Bowie was allowed on the premises in his new lease. Kane County Chronicle (St. Charles, Ill.) (1/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Caring for Customers 
  • Content marketing is a must, so take these tips to get good at it
    Content marketing, which involves sharing useful information to build credibility with prospects and customers, has become a popular tactic in the business world, writes Deborah Shane. You can improve your content-marketing efforts by concentrating on your target customers, setting quarterly goals and monitoring your performance, she writes. Small Business Trends (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Tips for marketing to baby boomers and older buyers
    When marketing to older Americans, you should avoid contradicting their beliefs or criticizing the people they admire, write Dan Kennedy and Chip Kessler, authors of the "No B.S. Guide to Marketing to Leading-Edge Boomers and Seniors." You should also make an effort to understand the cultural context in which these individuals grew up, they write. Entrepreneur online (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Keeping Shop 
  • Legal minefields to avoid during exit interviews
    Interviewing a departing employee can provide useful information for your company, but there are certain steps you should take to ensure you don't end up in legal trouble, writes Andrew Lu. Get the employee's permission for the interview, and try to maintain a neutral tone as you discuss his or her departure. Also, create a list of questions to use during exit interviews, and try not to stray too far off the script. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • How to ensure your employees maintain their motivation
    You can help to ensure that your employees stay energized by providing them with feedback and giving them the chance to expand their horizons, writes Michael A. Olguin of Formula PR. "[O]ne of the best ways to keep your team motivated is to continuously offer them opportunities to take on new responsibilities, challenges or projects." Also encourage your employees to take breaks so they can stay focused, he advises. Inc. online (free registration) (1/23) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Managing the Money 
  • Will you be ready for retirement?
    Research indicates that, in many cases, small-business owners aren't as prepared for retirement as employees are, writes Robert Moskowitz. You can determine whether you will be ready for retirement by calculating the amount of money that you expect to save up. "Once you've done the math, ask yourself: Is your annual income during retirement enough to support your desired retirement lifestyle?" Moskowitz advises. If the answer is no, you need to earn more money, lower your expenses or alter your approach to managing your savings. Intuit Small Business Blog (1/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Tips & Tools 
  • How to build profitable partnerships with other companies
    Building partnerships with other businesses can be a great way to find new customers, writes Deborah Sweeney. Look for potential partners within industries that are related to your own, and then get in contact with their CEOs, she writes. "This is probably the scariest step of all, but there's no getting around it -- you (yes, you) have to reach out if you want to partner with another business," she writes. Forbes (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
News You Can Use 
  • Skilled workers seek greener grass as economy improves
    As the recovering economy gives the U.S. labor force greater confidence, highly skilled workers are leaving the safety of their jobs to search for better opportunities. In a 2012 survey, 40% of employers said they were having trouble keeping workers with critical skills, up from 36% in 2011 and 16% in 2009. The Washington Post (1/22) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • PayPal plans to revamp its anti-fraud system
    PayPal's anti-fraud policies, which allow the company to freeze funds when suspicious activity occurs, can be a headache for small businesses that may be forced to wait a long time to access their money. PayPal is now saying it will overhaul its system, but it's not yet clear exactly how it will do so. "These are not minor -- these are aggressive changes," said Anuj Nayar, the company's senior director of communications. "This is a fundamental shift in our business operations." FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (1/23), CNNMoney (1/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Effective marketing is impossible without solid, strong content today."
--Deborah Shane, writing at Small Business Trends
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