Snowfall could be good news for some D.C. businesses | Study: Many small companies don't admit to security breaches | Smart business moves that can keep you profitable
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March 6, 2013
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Stories from the Street
Snowfall could be good news for some D.C. businesses
Some businesses in the Washington, D.C., area are finding sales opportunities in the region's late-winter snowfall. At Twins Ace Hardware in Fairfax, Va., sales jumped 200% this week as customers came in for snow shovels and other equipment, allowing owner Craig Smith to unload some of the $20,000 of snow-related merchandise he'd bought in November. Meanwhile, some local bars were hoping to attract extra customers if some workers are sent home early. "Half of the city may be off of work, and they could be looking to have some fun with the day or a half-day off," said Ben Fiske, general manager of Bedrock Billiards. The Washington Post (3/6)
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Keeping Shop
Study: Many small companies don't admit to security breaches
Research shows that many small businesses that have suffered from data-security breaches have failed to alert the victims of such attacks, even though many states require disclosure. "When it comes to disclosure, a lot of them think, 'We're so small, no one's going to know,'" said Eric Cernak, a vice president at Hartford Steam Boiler, a subsidiary of Munich Re, which commissioned the research. Simple security tools such as antivirus software or firewalls can help foil hackers, he says. Bloomberg Businessweek/The New Entrepreneur blog (3/5)
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Smart business moves that can keep you profitable
Upgrading software, hiring freelance employees and targeting global markets are among the ways small businesses can stay in the black this year, writes Bri Bauer. Raising your prices, if needed, and introducing a new product or service to existing customers are other strategies. iMedia Connection (3/5)
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Managing the Money
Low-cost benefits to keep your employees happy
Employee benefits can be expensive, but there are many low-cost ways to provide your staff with a few extras, according to this article. You might allow employees to buy excess inventory from your company at a discount, for example, offer free educational lunchtime seminars or negotiate with local businesses to get special deals for your staff. Entrepreneur online (3/5)
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Tips & Tools
Safeguarding your tax data from hackers
Hackers are tuned into the fact that small businesses are handling large volumes of data and money this time of year as they prepare to file their taxes. Protect your business by using reputable software, looking out for phishing scams, backing up sensitive information and making sure your network is secure, according to Grant McDonald of Symantec. "It's amazing how many small businesses don't even set up a password on their Wi-Fi," McDonald said. Small Business Computing (3/4)
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Do you know how to write a good news release?
A good news release can boost your search engine optimization, drive traffic to your site and potentially result in media coverage. Get yours noticed by using a professional, objective tone and focusing on important events such as product launches or business milestones, Maryalene LaPonsie writes. Look for ways to distribute your releases through online and offline channels, and don't overload your media contacts, she writes. Small Business Computing (3/5)
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News You Can Use
Lawmaker to propose simpler small-business tax rules
Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., is expected to release draft legislation intended to simplify tax rules for small businesses. Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, reportedly wants to cut individual and corporate rates, and his proposal could target taxes affecting S corporations. The Wall Street Journal/Washington Wire blog (3/5), Bloomberg Businessweek (3/5)
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Editor's Note
Help SmartBrief cover SXSW Interactive!
SmartBrief will cover the South by Southwest Interactive Festival through Tuesday in Austin, Texas, and we need your help! SXSW has too many must-see events for our staff to cover, so we're turning to 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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SmartQuote
Hire people who are passionate about the industry you're in and believe in the product or service you provide."
-- Bri Bauer, writing at iMedia Connection
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