Business network helps Mo. companies expand through referrals | The power of personality | Harness your advocates to market your business
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March 5, 2013
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Stories from the Street
Business network helps Mo. companies expand through referrals
A year ago, small businesses in Barry County, Mo., formed a network to refer customers to one another and to work together to save on health care costs. The group has grown to include 60 members, and some business owners report that their companies have expanded since joining the network. "Basically this is free advertising. Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get," said Valerie Speer, owner of Forever Yours Embroidery. KYTV-TV (Springfield, Mo.) (3/4)
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Caring for Customers
The power of personality
Many smart and qualified people are competing in the business world, and it's often relationships and interpersonal skills that are the deciding factor in who gets the job, writes Steve Strauss, a lawyer specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. "People like working with people they like," he writes. USA Today (3/4)
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Harness your advocates to market your business
To magnify your word-of-mouth marketing, find your strongest advocates and encourage them to rate and review your business online, writes Rob Fuggetta, founder and CEO of Zuberance. Give advocates special deals to share with their networks of acquaintances, and offer social sharing widgets that allow advocates to talk up your company on social media. (3/1)
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Keeping Shop
A quick, proactive approach is best in employee conflicts
Acting quickly and proactively is the best way to address employee conflicts, says Sheryl Kovach, president and CEO of human resources consulting firm Kandor Group. Having an open-door policy is the best way to find a quick resolution in employee disputes, and addressing them quickly is critical for fostering a productive working environment, Kovach says. (3/1)
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Managing the Money
Increase your prices without losing customers
Don't be afraid to raise your prices, even if your competitors aren't raising theirs, writes Grant Cardone. The key to implementing a successful price increase is to focus on the benefits you provide. Rather than attributing the price hike to external factors, increase the value of your offer. "I refuse to be the lowest-cost provider," Cardone writes. "I am committed to being the highest-value provider." Entrepreneur online (3/1)
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Why leasing works
Businesses should consider equipment leasing in many circumstances. It can be cost-efficient, provide access to the latest tools and technology, conserve working capital and offer tax advantages. About 80% of companies lease at least some of their equipment, according to the Equipment Leasing Association of America. Entrepreneur online (3/3)
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Tips & Tools
Microsoft Office 2013 comes with new restrictions
Microsoft Office 2013 can be licensed to only one computer, unlike older versions of the software, writes Dave Johnson. "That means if you buy Office 2013 today and your computer fails catastrophically tomorrow, you can't reinstall it on a new PC," he writes. That could persuade customers to try Office 365, the company's software-as-a-service alternative, but the ongoing subscription fees will irritate some users, he writes. CBS MoneyWatch (3/4)
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Finding the right Web developer
Web developers shouldn't be judged by their skills but instead by their ability to learn, Nelly Yusupova writes. Every technology grows obsolete, so it's important to find developers who can adjust to new programming standards. Ask open-ended questions when interviewing candidates, start a new developer with a small project and be quick to fire a developer who turns out to be ineffective. Entrepreneur online (3/4)
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News You Can Use
Bullies at work may prompt more legal claims, experts say
Some experts say bullying may become the dominant legal issue faced by employers. "This will replace sexual harassment," says Sharon Parella, an employment lawyer. Business groups generally oppose anti-bullying laws, saying they could lead to unnecessary lawsuits. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (3/1)
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SBA plans to continue lending under sequestration
The Small Business Administration will lose the ability to guarantee 1,928 loans, totaling $902 million, because of the sequester. However, the agency says it expects to meet loan demand because another program, the 504, has been retired and the SBA hasn't hit its legislative cap. Entrepreneur online (3/4)
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Editor's Note
Help SmartBrief cover SXSW Interactive!
SmartBrief will cover the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, from March 8 to 12, and we need your help! SXSW has way too many must-see events for our staff to cover, so we're turning to our readers to help document the best panels as blog contributors. If you're headed to Austin and want to contribute to SmartBrief's blogs on Social Media, Leadership, Finance, Food and Beverage or Education, check out our guest-post guidelines and send a note to Jesse Stanchak.
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People like working with people they like."
-- Steve Strauss, writing at USA Today
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