Small-business owner says higher wages are worth it | Tapping into the power of word-of-mouth | Make sure your employees are familiar with the business plan
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May 8, 2013
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Stories from the Street
Small-business owner says higher wages are worth it
Paul Downs, founder of Paul Downs Cabinetmakers, writes that he prefers to err on the side of paying employees too much. "I'm with my employees as often as I'm with my family, and I made the decision long ago that I'd rather spend my time with people who are happy to be working for me than people who hate me," Downs writes. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (5/7)
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Caring for Customers
Picking the right customers for your business
As a small-business owner, it's critical to define the characteristics and behaviors of your ideal customers, writes John Jantsch. Until you have completed this step, "it's far too easy to take work and customers that drag you away from the work you deserve to be doing," he writes. You can get started by figuring out which customers you would like to avoid, he writes. Duct Tape Marketing (5/7)
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Tapping into the power of word-of-mouth
There are six important attributes -- including emotion and practical value -- that can help determine whether a marketing message will go viral, according to Jonah Berger, author of "Contagious: Why Things Catch On." Companies of all sizes can tap into the power of word-of-mouth, which is 10 times more effective than advertising, he notes. "You don't need a huge advertising budget, you just have to get people talking," he said. (5/7)
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Keeping Shop
Make sure your employees are familiar with the business plan
The business plan you've worked so hard on may go to waste unless employees are aware of your goals, writes Amy Buckner Chowdhry. For this reason, you should distribute a one-page summation of your business plan to your employees and new hires, she writes. Also, revise the plan regularly and gather feedback. Inc. online (free registration) (5/7)
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What the law says about how to treat new mothers
Several federal laws are designed to protect pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace, writes Brett Snider. For example, federal laws prohibit discrimination against pregnant women and require that new mothers be given breastfeeding accommodations. Depending on where you live, there may also be state laws you should become familiar with, Snider writes. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (5/7)
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Why simplicity is critical for improving your business
It's easy to get distracted by all of the demands that come with running a business, so you should strive for simplicity whenever possible, Chris Griffiths writes. "The truth is, many aspects of our businesses are hard because we make them that way," he writes. "Learning to stay focused and keep things simple is a skill that you have to hone through practice and self-reflection." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (5/7)
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Managing the Money
What type of business tax year should your business use?
If your business doesn't keep records or books, the IRS requires you to file taxes on a calendar-year basis. But filing on a fiscal-year basis, using any 12-month period that ends on the last day of any month other than December, has advantages. For example, if your business is seasonal, a calendar year might split your busy season and make it difficult to compare sales periods. Intuit Small Business Blog (5/6)
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Tips & Tools
Is franchising right for you?
Franchising can be a good way to manage risk while expanding your business, and it can also make it easier to find talented people, writes Scott Shane of Case Western Reserve University. However, franchising can make innovation more difficult, and you might have to sacrifice some control over how individual outlets are run, he writes. Entrepreneur online (5/7)
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Strategic plans can go stale if they aren't updated continuously."
-- Amy Buckner Chowdhry, chief executive and co-founder of AnswerLab, writing at Inc. online
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