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December 6, 2012
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Stories from the Street 
  • Small-business owners express concerns over higher tax rates
    Some small-business owners are voicing their opposition to President Barack Obama's push to raise tax rates, arguing the move would hurt their companies. Kim Irwin said she hasn't hired a new employee for her company, Integrity Wire, due to uncertainty over tax policy. "I don't want to hire anyone I may have to lay off next year," she said. "I want them to feel secure to work here." The House Committee on Small Business has gotten about 300 comments on Obama's proposal -- many of them negative -- since Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., asked for small businesses' opinions. The Wall Street Journal (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Caring for Customers 
  • How to capture your customers' loyalty this holiday season
    You can help turn holiday shoppers into loyal customers by offering them a superior purchasing experience, according to Shep Hyken, author of "The Cult of the Customer." The business owners featured in this article are fostering this sort of loyalty by keeping in touch with customers throughout the year and surpassing shoppers' expectations. Entrepreneur online (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • What consumers hate most: Bad customer service reps
    Some 75% of consumers say their top complaint with companies is talking to customer service representatives who know nothing about their purchase or service history with the business, a new poll shows. And bad experience with service personnel takes a toll on a business: Some 52% of consumers said they stopped doing business with companies after such interaction. (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Keeping Shop 
  • Smart steps for employee background checks
    Small businesses that screen employees before they hire them should state their policy in writing, widen the scope of their criminal background checks and consider screening applicants' educational and job histories, according to background-check firm HireRight. A final step: Regularly review background-check policies to be sure they're effective. Resource Nation blog (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Your business' obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act
    The law prevents businesses from refusing to hire people simply because their disabilities might make performing tasks more difficult; instead, companies must make reasonable accommodations to allow them to get the job done, writes Deanne Katz. The law also requires that restaurants and other businesses make accommodations for disabled customers, but there is some leeway for older buildings. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Managing the Money 
  • Tax-planning strategies to employ as the year comes to an end
    As the end of the year rapidly approaches, now is the time to be thinking about your tax bill. It might be a good idea to offer dividends before the end of the year and to think about accelerating expenses, according to Samuel DiSalvo of Freed Maxick CPAs. Businesses should also review the potential financial impact of the health care law, he noted. Forbes/Sageworks Stats blog (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Tips & Tools 
  • 8 ways to boost productivity while working from home
    Many business owners are choosing to run their companies from their homes, but this arrangement presents its own challenges, writes Rieva Lesonsky. It's a good idea to meet with other people frequently and find reasons to leave the house. You should take advantage of the flexibility that working from home provides to develop the work habits that are best for you, she advises. Small Business Trends (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Protect your data when the next natural disaster strikes
    You can get ready for the next natural disaster by storing your business data on a separate hard drive from the one you use to boot up your computer, Dave Johnson writes. You should also have an offsite backup of your data and consider using cloud-based services, he recommends. CBS MoneyWatch (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
News You Can Use 
  • Why aren't more business owners seeking SBA disaster-relief loans?
    The Small Business Administration's disaster-relief loan program hasn't received as much interest from company owners as one might expect in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. That might be because of misconceptions about the program, according to spokeswoman Kathy Cook. For example, some business owners might incorrectly assume they need insurance to qualify for such a loan. In addition to the SBA, disaster-relief loans are being provided by the New York State Emergency Small Business Loan Program and nonprofit lenders. Bloomberg Businessweek (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
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