February 21, 2013
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Small-business owner fights employee lawsuit, wins apology
Jeffrey Herold, who owns West Coast Trends, says he didn't join the trend of other small businesses in rushing to settle legal claims from terminated employees to avoid going to costly trial. Instead, he fought allegations from a worker and settled for a much smaller amount than originally sought -- and demanded and received a letter of apology from the former employee and his lawyer. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/20), The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (2/20)
Four Places to Start Measuring What Matters
You've instituted an employee engagement program to address deficiencies in business critical areas, but how do you know it's working? Furthermore, how do you demonstrate ROI to executives that might doubt engagement is business critical? Read this guide for 4 ways to start measuring the results of your engagement programs and how to use this data to drive desirable business outcomes.
A better way to think about your target audience
You should think about your customers as individuals rather than as members of demographic groups if you want to create effective marketing messages, writes James Archer, CEO of Forty. He suggests creating a customer persona, giving that persona a name and understanding his or her habits and preferences and what motivates them. In meetings, he writes, your team would "no longer have to try to hold an abstract customer profile in their heads; they can simply ask, 'What would Sarah think about this?'" Inc. online (free registration) (2/20)
Why creativity and practicality are key for marketing success
A successful marketing campaign should have both creative and practical components, writes Walter Dailey, consultant and creative director for Dailey Sound Vector. On the creative side, you should be willing to take risks and study how companies in other fields are delivering their marketing messages. On the practical side, you should set a budget and make sure your marketing prompts consumers to take action. Fox Business Small Business Center (2/20)
How doodling could lead to better hires
Letting job candidates' individual personalities shine helps ensure you're hiring someone who fits your company culture. At Carrot Creative, for example, applicants are asked to write a haiku, doodle and play with refrigerator magnets. The exercise shows how an applicant might fit with the social media agency's playful culture. Another smart move is to show applicants your true personality in the interview and see how they respond, says Jonathan Basker, vice president of people at Betaworks. Entrepreneur online (2/20)
Don't overwhelm your customers with unnecessary choices
Providing too many choices for your customers can present problems for your business. A surplus of choices can make it hard to develop your brand and focus on your core offerings. In addition, customers may take longer to make decisions when they are faced with many different options. Forbes (2/20)
5 ways to make filing your taxes easier
You can make preparing your taxes less of a headache by using accounting software to record your expenses, backing up key files on your computer and holding on to key documents, according to tax expert Russell Fox. Entrepreneur online (2/20)
Tips & Tools
How to reduce physical strain while using your laptop
Stay comfortable while using your laptop at work by getting a separate keyboard and mouse, setting up an external monitor or using a laptop stand or other device to position it properly, writes Paul Mah. "Often overlooked, bad ergonomics with the keyboard can result in pain or other long-term injury," he notes. Small Business Computing (2/20)
Just for Fun
Dolphins are not anonymous, researchers say
Wild dolphins call one another by name, researchers say. The creatures, which tailor whistles for specific acquaintances, are the first non-human species to be shown to use signature communications for one another. Wired.com (2/20)
Your customers aren't demographics. ... They're human beings."
-- James Archer, CEO of Forty, writing at Inc. online.
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