February 15, 2013
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SmartBrief on Small Business

Problem. Solved.
How a small company can find powerful partners
Alexandra Mayzler is trying to find large-company partners for her business, Thinking Caps Tutoring, but she hasn't had much luck so far. Other business owners suggested that Mayzler look for people who will advocate for her company -- one of her current clients may have powerful friends, for example. They also recommended that Mayzler pursue a few large partners at a time. "Because, if you put all your eggs in one basket, and it doesn't happen, then you're back to where you started," said Susan Parker, owner of Bari Jay. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (2/14)
Video-marketing tips from a YouTube success
Wasp Barcode's YouTube page now has more than 1 million views -- not bad for a "super nonsexy product," says Jeremy Vest, the scanner-maker's online manager. That's a sign it's possible for any business to make a splash on video-sharing sites, Vest says. "There are a lot of safe bets for small business and video," he says. For example, creating a how-to video isn't difficult and can establish authority for your business. MarketingSherpa (2/14)
Making your website easy for customers to use
Make sure your company's information is clear about what you do and that contact information isn't hidden, writes Monika Jansen. Consider using video to explain something the company does, and anticipate questions with a good FAQ. Cut back on unwanted customer contact by making instructions downloadable and providing transparent information about company policies. NetworkSolutions.com (2/14)
Understand your management style to become a better leader
Some leaders prefer to take charge of the decision-making process by using an autocratic or paternalistic management style, writes Lee Polevoi. Others would rather give their employees more responsibility by acting as democratic or laissez-faire managers. "By better understanding which kind of manager you are, you can adapt or modify your style as necessary and cultivate the most effective work environment for you and your employees," Polevoi writes. Intuit Small Business Blog (2/13)
What to do before signing a personal guarantee
You may need to sign a personal guarantee, which uses your personal assets as collateral, to get a commercial loan, writes James R. Coughlin of Asterisk Financial. But before signing such a guarantee, you should determine how much risk you are comfortable with and negotiate for more favorable terms. For example, you might ask to be relieved of the guarantee after you repay a certain amount of the loan. Small Business Trends (2/14)
Tips & Tools
How crowdsourcing can help your business
Crowdsourcing, or soliciting proposals from an online community instead of employees or vendors, can help you keep costs low while gaining access to a large number of creative ideas, writes Peter Gasca, whose company used crowdsourcing to find a new logo. Inc. online (free registration)/Wild About Business blog (2/14)
Just for Fun
When heartbreak turns into professional success
Many famous singers owe much of their success to heartache -- recording artist Adele won several Grammys for an album about a failed relationship. Other famous people, including radio personality Ira Glass and painter Edvard Munch, may also have benefited from breakups. MentalFloss.com (2/13)
Successful business leaders find a way to mesh their personality and management style to get the best results."
-- Lee Polevoi, writing at the Intuit Small Business Blog.
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