February 7, 2013
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SmartBrief on Small Business

Problem. Solved.
After a disaster, does starting over make sense?
The Automobile Film Club of America, a Staten Island small business that provides cars for movies and television shows, lost many of its vehicles during Hurricane Sandy. Now, the club's owner, Ralph Lucci, is considering whether to use his house as collateral to get a loan to get the company up and running again. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/6)
How to come up with fresh ideas for blog content
If your blog is in a rut, you can look for ideas for new posts by monitoring industry trends and repackaging old content, according to Monika Jansen. "Pull your top advice from several older blog posts on one subject and combine them into a new post," she writes. Also, consider reviewing books or films related to your industry or sharing personal stories. NetworkSolutions.com (2/5)
Why you can't prioritize customers over employees -- or vice versa
Company leaders shouldn't focus on pleasing just their employees or just their customers, writes Steve Tobak, managing partner at Invisor Consulting. Instead, they need to grow their businesses while making them attractive places for people to work. This two-pronged approach is necessary, because "when a company is stagnant, when it's growth trajectory flat-lines, that's a sign for employees, shareholders, customers -- indeed, everyone -- to start looking elsewhere," he writes. Inc. online (free registration)/Last Word blog (2/6)
Secrets to attracting top talent
If you want to attract talented employees, create a welcoming workplace and produce superior products, writes Christian Twardawa, chief operating officer at Paessler. "No one really wants to work at a company with poor products or services," he notes. Also, give your staff members responsibility, and provide them with some flexibility as to how and where they do their work. BusinessNewsDaily.com (2/6)
Key tax provisions in the "fiscal cliff" deal
The government's recent deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" included a number of tax provisions that small-business owners should be aware of, writes Bill Bischoff. He summarizes some of the key provisions, which include 50% first-year bonus depreciation and the ability to give your staff transit passes that won't be subject to taxes. MarketWatch (2/6)
Tips & Tools
Postal service to end Saturday delivery
The U.S. Postal Service is to discontinue Saturday mail delivery to homes and businesses as of Aug. 5. Saturday package delivery will continue, as will delivery of mail to post office boxes. Post offices will remain open Saturdays, although some locations may reduce their hours. The move is expected to save the postal service $2 billion annually. The Washington Post/Federal Eye blog (2/6)
Just for Fun
Canada's weirdest place names
The next time you're in Canada, be sure to stop by Vulcan, Alberta. The town's name conjures memories of "Star Trek," but it was originally derived from a Roman god. Vulcan is only one of several oddly named areas in the country; other examples include Swastika, Ontario, and Lower Economy, Nova Scotia. MentalFloss.com (2/5)
If there was ever a time when executives and business leaders could afford to just focus on one thing, one metric, those days are over."
-- Steve Tobak, managing partner of Invisor Consulting, writing at Inc. online's Last Word blog.
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