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February 5, 2013
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  • Navigating an unfriendly regulatory climate
    France's culture and regulatory atmosphere can make the country a complicated place to start a company, but some business owners make it work anyway. Fabien Cohen, creator of a smartphone application known as Whoozer, has found sponsorships from business schools, lined up new financing after his original backers fell through and tweaked his business strategy to keep going. "The climate is still tricky, but I've jumped in at the deep end," he said. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/International Herald Tribune (2/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
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Marketing 
  • Don't be a social media robot
    Too many small businesses act like robots when it comes to using social media, using automated posting systems and form comments to populate their feeds. That's a big turn-off for consumers, Susan Payton writes. "People follow brands that seem like they’re run by humans. Show that yours is by writing your tweets like -- you guessed it -- a person," she advises. Small Business Trends (2/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Why customer targeting is at the heart of great digital marketing
    In the social-media era, the best marketing builds relationships organically, rather than simply trying to ram branded messages down their throats, writes IBM's Stefan Pfeiffer. It is important for brands to use customer tracking not just as a sales tool, but also as a way of improving the customer's experience, so that they're more receptive to the brand. "Personalized advertising that builds on what the customer already owns, identifies gaps and spots ways to expand the relationship is much more effective than trying to ram something down people’s throat by inundating them with spam mail and other in-your-face methods," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Social Media (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Management 
  • Why specificity is key when praising your staff
    As the research of psychologist Carol Dweck shows, it's important to be specific when praising your employees. Rather than offering general compliments, highlight the specific behavior that you want to encourage, writes Margaret Heffernan. This sort of feedback can motivate employees to keep up the good work, she writes. Inc. online (free registration) (2/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • 5 ways to help your employees get fit
    Spurring your employees to get fit can boost engagement and teamwork. To get started, try setting up a challenge board that directs them to complete tasks such as running a few laps or exercising at their desks. You could also encourage your team to enter a 5K together or volunteer as coaches for children's team sports. Intuit Small Business Blog (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Money 
  • What it takes to get a bank loan
    Your business will need to have positive cash flow if you want to get a bank loan, according to Brian Hamilton, co-founder and chairman of Sageworks. "You need hard facts from tax returns, income statements, and balance sheets to prove that your business is stable and profitable from month to month," he writes. You'll also need a credit report and collateral. Inc. online (free registration)/Making Cents blog (2/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Tips & Tools 
  • Free software to safeguard your personal data
    The Internet is full of security threats, but there are several free tools available that can help you to protect sensitive information from prying eyes. For example, you can use KeePass to store lengthy passwords, and you can use TrueCrypt to encrypt your data. PCWorld (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Just for Fun 
  • The Irish argument for farmers' right to drive drunk
    Rural Irish people should be given a license to drive drunk, some local officials say, because otherwise tougher blood-alcohol limits will prevent them from visiting remote pubs. Tipsy farmers should be allowed to drive home -- "maybe on a bike, or maybe on a tractor" -- to help rural businesses, one local official argues. PRI's The World (Boston) (2/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
SmartQuote 
[V]ery specific feedback -- especially about something an individual can control -- can work wonders."
--Entrepreneur and author Margaret Heffernan, writing at Inc. online's Serial CEO blog.
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 John Jantsch, Editor at Large
John Jantsch is author of "Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide" and "The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself." John is a marketing and digital technology coach and creator of the Duct Tape Marketing small-business marketing system.
 

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