February 12, 2013
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SmartBrief on Small Business

Problem. Solved.
Why investors aren't always necessary
Many company founders think they need to attract investors to get their businesses off the ground, but sometimes the best first step is to secure a client, writes Ami Kassar of MultiFunding. A contract or paying client will give the company real value. Another upside is avoiding months spent chasing investors without producing any income. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (2/11)
How to manage your company's digital assets
Chances are that your company has a wide array of digital assets -- images, documents, videos -- that can assist with your marketing efforts, writes Matthew Gonnering of Widen Enterprises. It's a good idea to store these assets in a central location such as on a cloud-storage platform and to understand how they are sued. "If you know how frequently a product image is downloaded by users or staff, for instance, you might make different decisions when it comes time to shoot an updated set or photograph a new line," he writes. (2/11)
Developing a schedule for content marketing
How often you need to update your marketing content depends on what types of media you are using, writes Pawan Deshpande, founder and CEO of Curata. Post on your company's social media accounts frequently, and consider using a tool such as HootSuite to schedule your tweets. Update your blog at least once a week, and schedule e-mail newsletters based on your customers' preferences. MarketingProfs (2/11)
Reward your employees to maximize productivity
Rewarding your employees for their hard work is a good way to keep them motivated and create a strong community, writes Jacob Kache. "[T]he most effective rewards programs combine smaller, regular rewards, with bigger, more extravagant rewards at greater intervals," he writes. (2/11)
How to create a customer-centric culture
Customers are skilled at exchanging opinions about your company, especially with social media. That's why it's crucial to make sure your employees at all levels are focused on customer satisfaction and act as advocates for your company, writes Clint Oram, co-founder of SugarCRM. Ditch the "old-school view of customer relations" in which only the sales team is responsible for keeping customers happy. TechCrunch (2/9)
Where to look for working capital
As the owner of a small company, working-capital funds can be key. Sources of working capital include equity investments, bank lines of credit, factoring, trade creditor arrangements and short-term loans. Entrepreneur online (2/11)
Tips & Tools
SBA chief will leave her post
Karen Mills, who became head of the Small Business Administration in April 2009, will resign once a successor is in place. The SBA supported $106 billion worth of business loans to at least 193,000 businesses during her time with the agency. "Over the last four years, Karen has made it easier for small businesses to interact with the federal government by reducing paperwork and cutting through red tape," said President Barack Obama. CNNMoney (2/11), The Wall Street Journal/Washington Wire blog (2/11)
Just for Fun
Don't hire a radiologist to catch a gorilla
More than four out of five radiologists in a study failed to spot an image of a gorilla inserted into a lung scan that they scrutinized for signs of cancer. The finding highlights people's tendency to ignore unexpected data when focusing their attention on tough challenges, researchers say. National Public Radio/Shots blog (2/11)
Customers will trust each other before they'll trust a company, relying heavily on user opinions before deciding where to spend their money."
-- Clint Oram, chief technology officer and co-founder of SugarCRM, writing at TechCrunch.
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