How customer service defines your brand | Weighing the pros and cons of Facebook and LinkedIn | Form a peer group to get valuable advice
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February 28, 2013
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How a business owner saved his company by answering questions
After the financial crisis took a toll on his pool-installation business, Marcus Sheridan refocused his marketing efforts on blog posts and videos that provide answers to his customers' questions. The approach has helped the company bounce back and exceed the peak revenue it achieved before the crisis. Sheridan says it's his content marketing, not social media, that has turned his business around. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/27)
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How customer service defines your brand
Your brand is defined by how you treat your customers, writes Monika Jansen. She gives the example of a hotel company that picked up positive publicity for its response when a child left his stuffed animal behind on a vacation. The hotel photographed the stuffed animal enjoying his extended stay and mailed the photos to the owner along with the stuffed animal. "As you can imagine, this story went viral," she writes. (2/26)
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Weighing the pros and cons of Facebook and LinkedIn
B2B marketing via LinkedIn and Facebook requires discerning the pros and cons of each social network, writes James Trumbly, director of business development at HMG Creative. Facebook has a giant user base and allows direct marketing, but ads must battle for attention. LinkedIn boasts about 60% of B2B marketers and serious pros who routinely go to the site. But its engagement stats are comparatively low. iMedia Connection (2/27)
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Form a peer group to get valuable advice
Business leaders can feel isolated when they are struggling with a leadership challenge and have no one to talk it out with. Consider forming a small peer group where you can exchange ideas with like-minded individuals, writes John Coleman, founder of the VIA Agency. Keep membership at about six or eight people, set clear expectations for the group, require everyone who joins to attend the meetings and make sure discussions stay private, he recommends. Fast Company online (2/27)
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3 ways to boost employee retention without giving out raises
Even if you can't offer your employees higher salaries, you can encourage them to stay by giving them the flexibility needed to excel, communicating your business' purpose and giving them some control over their work, according to Daniel Pink. In fact, for some employees, those actions provide more workplace satisfaction than money, Pink says. Business Insider (2/27)
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SBA proposes streamlined approach to 2 loan programs
The Small Business Administration is looking to streamline the application process for the 504 and 7(a) programs. Changes would include eliminating the personal-resource test, revising a rule on affiliation and eliminating the "nine-month rule" for 504. Fox Business Small Business Center (2/27)
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Tips & Tools
Launching a food company? Here's where to look for help
Whole Foods has a program to help small food vendors get loans, and Sam Adams offers micro-loans and coaching for food-related startups. Another program, called Local Food Lab, provides entrepreneurs with weeks of training and connections to others in the industry. (2/26)
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Featured Press Releases
Just for Fun
Homeless man to receive more than $160,000 for returning engagement ring
Sarah Darling dropped her engagement ring by mistake while giving some money to a homeless man. The man, Billy Ray Harris, kept the ring safe and returned it to her two days later. Darling's fiance created a fund to reward Harris' good deed that already has raised more than $160,000. The Independent (London) (tiered subscription model) (2/27)
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[M]ost businesses don't want to give answers; they want to talk about their company."
-- Marcus Sheridan, an owner of River Pools, as quoted by The New York Times.
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