February 19, 2013
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Stories from the Street
How 5 small businesses in Fla. have embraced social media
Some busy small-business owners push social media marketing by the wayside, but five companies in South Florida have found ways to incorporate social media into their operations. Buttercream Cupcakes, for example, finds that responding to Facebook comments right away is more efficient than relying on an outside firm to handle it -- and that responsiveness helps keep customers engaged. Cool Cuts 4 Kids has found success with posts that aren't overly promotional. The Miami Herald (free registration) (2/17)
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Caring for Customers
How to satisfy an unhappy customer
The next time a disgruntled customer complains about your business, thank him or her for giving you information that you can use to improve your company, recommends Marilyn Suttle. Try to stay calm, and ask what you can do to rectify the situation. "When a customer puts pressure on you, see it as a good way for you to grow your abilities," she writes. Inc. online (free registration)/The Successful Soloist blog (2/18)
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4 ways to get prospects to answer your e-mails
If your e-mail sales pitches lack specificity, don't explain the value you're offering and force the recipient to guess at who your mutual contacts are, they could be ignored, writes Ryan Estis. "Be helpful. Focus on the customer. The customer will only be interested in your product or service because it could help them," he writes. PassionOnPurposeBlog.com (2/18)
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Other News
Keeping Shop
How to energize employees through responsibility
To keep employees energized through a winter slump, try letting them set their own hours, collaborating online quickly instead of dragging workers through long meetings and giving them the authority to get things done without constant supervision, writes Andrew Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab Design. "At MetaLab we don't care when or how long your lunch is, or whether you have to run to a doctor's appointment -- just go do it. We aren't your parents and we aren't going to time your bathroom breaks," he writes. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (2/12)
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Managing the Money
Are your independent contractors actually employees?
Companies may be able to save on payroll costs by using independent contractors, but they should be aware that the IRS is on the lookout for employers that try to game the system. Your workers are likely to be considered employees rather than independent contractors if you train them, set their schedules and have the right to fire them. Entrepreneur online (2/18)
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Tips & Tools
Business Journals ranking says Austin is best city for small business
Austin, Texas, once again claimed the top spot on The Business Journals' list of the best metropolitan areas for small businesses. Among other things, the list is based on population changes and the concentration of small businesses in each area. Oklahoma City was ranked second and Denver third. The Washington Post (2/18)
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News You Can Use
Analysis: U.S. minimum wage is low by global standards
President Barack Obama's proposal to raise the U.S. minimum wage by 24% comes at a time when America's minimum is one of the lowest among developed economies, according to The Economist. Proponents say the plan would increase the poorest workers' spending power and reduce poverty. Critics say it would decrease jobs for low-skilled workers. Economists traditionally have opposed minimum wages, but research questions that view. The Economist (tiered subscription model) (2/16)
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Report: Online retail rose 16% last year
U.S. e-commerce sales rose 16% to $225 billion in 2012, according to the Commerce Department, and other estimates show online retail accounted for 8.8% of all retail sales in the fourth quarter. A separate report from Shop.org found that non-store retail sales rose 11.6% last year, compared to a 4.9% rise in total retail sales. Internet Retailer (2/15)
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SmartQuote
The ability to demonstrate understanding related to the prospective buyer's business and unique situation elevates credibility."
-- Ryan Estis of Ryan Estis & Associates, writing at PassionOnPurposeBlog.com
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