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October 19, 2012
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Stories from the Street 
Caring for Customers 
  • A focus on customer service makes social media effective
    Less than half of small businesses use social media for customer service, which might be an opening worth exploiting, writes Frank Strong. A social media survey by Duct Tape Marketing revealed that most businesses use social media to push their services or products and solicit feedback from customers. "Addressing service complaints quickly may not just resolve the issue, but turn a customer into an advocate; there is a bonus in that those observing will credit you for addressing the matter," Strong concludes. Duct Tape Marketing (10/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Local companies can bring in customers with location-based ads
    Targeting specific areas where your customers live with location-based ads can boost business, Tara Hornor writes. It can be especially effective for local restaurants and businesses with few locations and no online buying options. But do your homework. "For small businesses with a tight budget, careful analysis of the regions in which you want to advertise can significantly improve your return on investment of marketing dollars spent," Hornor advises. BPlans.com/Up and Running Blog (10/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Keeping Shop 
  • Rise in small-business wages signals economic growth, game change
    Employees at small businesses are seeing their wages grow faster than those who work for medium or large-sized businesses. The PayScale Index shows small business wages growing by 1.5% in the third quarter of this year compared to wage growth of 1.1% in large companies. That's good news for the economy. It's also important news for business owners for whom "it's going to be crucial to get pay right in order to get and keep key people," Laleh Hassibi writes. PayScale.com (10/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Look for likeability, listening skills in top salespeople
    To find and keep the best salespeople, hire those who are instantly likeable, ask good questions and take time to listen, advises James Palmer, owner of Great Little Box Company. Also, take time to review all the resumes you receive and meet people even if you aren't hiring. "I always have a stash of good people," Palmer said. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (10/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Managing the Money 
  • Micro-lenders give small businesses more funding options
    Big banks might be loosening their purse strings and engaging more in business lending, but those that employ fewer than 10 people and have annual revenue of less than $500,000 are unlikely to secure a loan. Small businesses should instead look to micro-lenders, nonprofit organizations that often receive money from the Small Business Administration, the government or philanthropic organizations, to spur growth. Fox Business Small Business Center (10/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Tips & Tools 
  • Small businesses can now use PayPal's Buy Now, Pay Later feature
    Small to medium businesses can now take part in PayPal's Bill Me Later program when customers make purchases of $99 or more. Merchants are paid immediately while customers are offered six months of no-interest financing for their purchases. "We're rolling this initiative out in time to give small businesses a growth boost during the holidays when shoppers can be low on cash," said PayPal's Peter Karpas. Entrepreneur online/The Daily Dose blog (10/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
News You Can Use 
  • What the next president should really do to help small businesses
    The best way to help small businesses is not by extending the George W. Bush tax cuts or even raising taxes on the rich, Matthew Yglesias writes. Instead, extending the payroll tax cut that expires at the end of this year could be key. Allowing the tax to expire could reduce next year's economic growth by 0.8%. Yglesias also points out state and local licensing requirements are also squeezing small business. Slate (10/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
 
  • Now is the time to review at-will employment disclaimers
    Small businesses might want to review their employment agreements in light of two decisions by the National Labor Relations Board, which struck down two at-will disclaimers, writes Deanne Katz. The two disclaimers violated union and collective bargaining rights, according to the NLRB. "Even if you don't have an at-will disclaimer or think yours is different from the ones struck down, it's still a good time to review your employment agreements with a lawyer," Katz concludes. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (10/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
SmartQuote 
Simply having free chips and soda in your company kitchen and a ping-pong table won't be enough to cut it now."
--Laleh Hassibi, senior manager of content marketing at PayScale, writing at PayScale.com
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