February 20, 2013
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Stories from the Street
Minneapolis businesses seek sidewalk sales to lure walk-in traffic
Business owners in Minneapolis aren't allowed to display items outside their shops, but the city is considering changing that ordinance. "We're really trying to encourage walkable neighborhoods and walkable business districts," said City Councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden, who is advocating for the change. Business owners said the change could help them show off their products and attract passers-by. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (2/17)
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Caring for Customers
How to build a buzz on social media
Companies can make the most of social media by being memorable, engaging with their fans and referencing cultural events, Lindsay LaVine writes. For example, the frozen yogurt brand Red Mango was able to generate social buzz by creating a flavor called Honey Badger, named after a viral YouTube video. Entrepreneur online (2/19)
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6 tips for customer satisfaction
You can build your business and generate more referrals by communicating with your customers, teaching them what you know and looking for opportunities to surpass their expectations, writes John Jantsch. "Doing what you promised might actually exceed some people's expectation, but it's funny how complacent our customers can become when we merely do what was expected," he writes. Duct Tape Marketing (2/18)
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Keeping Shop
A little word with big power
Saying "no" to colleagues is a professional skill that requires practice and the right mindset, Peter Bregman writes. You'll feel less guilty if you remind yourself that you're not rejecting the person, just his or her request. Be polite and appreciative, but push back against people who are persistent, Bregman writes. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (2/15)
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Managing the Money
Secrets to more efficient marketing
Your marketing initiatives will be more effective if you develop a plan to guide your activities and stick to it, writes Jeanne Rossomme of RoadMap Marketing. "Decide up front on 3-5 marketing initiatives for the quarter complete with goals and target markets," she advises. Use pilot programs to test your tactics, and consider teaming up with other businesses, she recommends. SCORE Small Business Success Blog (2/18)
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What you should know about buying a company car
Before buying a vehicle in your company's name, you'll need to set up a formal business structure, writes Tim Parker. Tax deductions are available for vehicle use, but you should be sure the vehicle you choose is appropriate for your company. "Purchasing a Corvette with company funds could be a red flag for IRS auditors, unless you can prove that your business needs a luxury sports car," he writes. Intuit Small Business Blog (2/19)
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Tips & Tools
How to respond when your business has been hacked
Knowing how your network usually operates can help you determine whether you've been hacked, says Martin Roesch, founder of SourceFire. The next steps are to determine the scope of the security breach, address the issue and look for ways to prevent future problems. Fox Business Small Business Center (2/19)
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Tool shows how prospects are viewing your presentations
SlideShare's new Send Tracker feature allows users to monitor who is viewing their presentations and which parts are the most popular. SlideShare's analytics can provide information such as total views and the amount of time customers are spending on each slide. Small Business Trends (2/17)
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News You Can Use
State, federal laws conflict on criminal background checks
State laws prohibit employers in some sectors from hiring convicted felons, but firms that comply with these laws can be targeted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for using criminal background checks, James Bovard writes. The EEOC opened a case in 2010 against a staffing firm that complied with a state law in declining to hire a twice-convicted thief as a security guard. The Wall Street Journal (2/14)
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SmartQuote
Few things sell better than teaching."
-- Marketing consultant, speaker and author John Jantsch, writing at Duct Tape Marketing
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