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December 7, 2012
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Stories from the Street 
  • Can fresh paint draw new customers?
    Gus Lambros, who owns a building in Herkimer, N.Y., is looking to attract attention by repainting its exterior in bright colors. Giving a building a fresh look can be a good step, but a new coat of paint won't make up for other problems, according to Alfred Price, a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. "If you don't have an integrated, multipronged strategy, façade fix-up is probably not going to be an effective tool," he said. The Telegram, (Herkimer, N.Y.) (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Caring for Customers 
  • Make marketing gifts from photos of your business
    One way to make sure your customers continue to think about your business is to give them calendars or other supplies that feature photographs of your business, Helen Bradley writes. A company called Vistaprint can be used to create desk calendars; is a good place to go to make custom business cards, she adds. Small Business Computing (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • How to make sure your business has good customer relationships
    You can foster a positive relationship with your customers by creating guidelines for interacting with clients and gathering feedback from them on a regular basis, writes Jeanne Bliss, founder of CustomerBLISS. "But don't just listen. Write down the issues and get someone assigned to taking care of the major ones," she advises. She also recommends providing training to your front-line employees and splitting your customers into different segments. Small Business Trends (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Keeping Shop 
  • 9 ways small employers can keep their stars
    Promoting from within, providing stimulating work and linking performance to bottom-line success are ways that small companies can hang onto their best employees, Samuel Bacharach writes. "Employees won't stay because of the size of the paycheck. They'll stay because they feel they are recognized, engaged, challenged, and part of a team," he writes. Inc. online (free registration) (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Do you have to give time off for religious holidays?
    Your company doesn't have to recognize religious holidays such as Christmas or Hanukkah, writes Andrew Lu. "But if you do provide time off for some religious holidays, you may find yourself in a position where you are legally required to provide time off for all similar religious holidays as well," he writes. Additionally, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 directs companies to "reasonably accommodate" their workers' religious practices. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Managing the Money 
  • Business owners turn to alternative financing
    Some small-business owners are using alternative funding methods to build their companies. One such alternative, known as revenue-based funding, allows borrowers to repay loans by giving lenders a fixed percentage of their revenue every month. Another method, known as factoring, allows a company to get a cash advance by selling its invoices. Fox Business Small Business Center (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Market your business without spending a lot of money
    There are several ways to market your business without breaking the bank, writes Megan Totka, chief editor of For example, you can reach out to fans of your brand, encourage your clients to write online reviews or establish your credibility through blogging, she writes. B2C Marketing Insider (12/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Tips & Tools 
  • How to guard your business against IT failures
    IT failures can be costly for small businesses, but companies can protect themselves by using multiple Internet connections and backing up their data with network-attached storage devices, writes Paul Mah. "SMBs should seriously consider the use of at least two Internet connections from multiple Internet service providers to insulate against isolated network faults," he writes. Small Business Computing (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
News You Can Use 
  • Credit access, economic uncertainty limit business sales
    Economic uncertainty and difficulty accessing credit are limiting business acquisitions, writes Mike Handelsman, the group general manager for and However, you might be able to improve the odds of closing a deal by offering seller financing. "Although business owners should carefully screen potential buyers' credit histories, seller financing is typically less stringent than commercial lending, equipping buyers with the capital they need to complete purchase transactions," he writes. Inc. online (free registration) (12/5) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Small businesses must start paying Google for office apps use
    Google has announced it will begin charging businesses with 10 or fewer employees $50 per year per user to use its Web-based office productivity applications, which the Web giant was previously offering for free. Though it will grandfather in the basic Google Apps for existing users, new users will get a premium version. "Businesses quickly outgrow the basic version and want things like 24/7 customer support and larger inboxes," Google explained on its company blog. Reuters (12/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Featured Content 

Small businesses are at an advantage when it comes to making the most of a small or non-existent marketing budget."
--Megan Totka, chief editor for, writing at B2C Marketing Insider.
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