Don't get stuck in costly financing situations | The keys to building your brand on social media | Phrases that will please your customers
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March 15, 2013
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Stories from the Street
Don't get stuck in costly financing situations
Small-business owners may have to use expensive financing options to get their companies off the ground, but they should look for opportunities to move to lower-cost solutions, writes Ami Kassar, founder of MultiFunding. Fear of change is not a good reason to stick with costly financing. "If your current lending agreements have automatic renewal dates, put them in your calendar -- and make sure you're doing the right thing if you choose to renew," he recommends. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (3/14)
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Caring for Customers
The keys to building your brand on social media
Instead of obsessing over the size of your audience on social media, serve the followers you have, Scott Steinberg writes. "[T]his commitment will help your business build a loyal and involved following, the influence of which may far outstrip that of larger, less engaged audiences," he writes. Pay attention to the feedback you receive and make sure your posts are concise. Mashable (3/14)
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Phrases that will please your customers
There are certain phrases your staff should use to put your customers' minds at ease. This article includes 10 examples, which include "I can solve that problem," "I will take responsibility" and "I will keep you updated." Entrepreneur online (3/14)
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Keeping Shop
How to re-spark inspiration during small-business setbacks
Setbacks are a natural part of running any small business, and the key is to rekindle your motivation when times feel low, writes Lee Polevoi for the Intuit Small Business Blog. Polevoi offers seven motivational tips to use when you need new inspiration, including revisiting your initial spark, making new goals, acknowledging your successes, finding inspiration in others, cutting out negative thinking and talking, changing up your routine and considering taking a little bit of time off to recharge. Intuit Small Business Blog (3/14)
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5 simple tips for improving your company culture
"There are adoptable practices to turn a halfhearted team into one that’s resilient and devoted," writes Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network. "It’s as easy as celebrating and investing in your employees." Gimbel's tips include making teams out of people who don't normally socialize together, embracing cultural events like March Madness, involving employees in big decisions, setting aside regular times to meet with each staff member, and offering workshops and additional training. Fox Business Small Business Center (3/14)
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Managing the Money
SBA is seeing loan growth in fiscal 2013
The Small Business Administration is continuing with a multiyear push to expand loan availability and streamline its loan-guarantee approval process, says Jeanne Hulit, associate administrator for capital access. This fiscal year, government-guaranteed loans have increased 6% compared with fiscal 2012. However, it's not clear whether that growth will continue because the effect of the sequester is not yet known. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/14)
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Tips & Tools
3 steps to writing a branding strategy
During the business planning process, you should create a strategy that defines how you will develop your company's brand. The branding strategy should be only a page long, and it can even be a short as a paragraph. To create one, identify your target customers, figure out what sets your company apart from the competition and find a way to demonstrate your company's value to your customers. Entrepreneur online (3/13)
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News You Can Use
Legislation could help companies struck by natural disasters
Lawmakers have introduced legislation designed to help companies recover faster after natural disasters strike. The Small Business Disaster Reform Act would eliminate personal-collateral requirements for some disaster recovery business loans and empower out-of-state development centers to provide assistance to affected businesses. "Our small businesses are the economic heartbeat of these communities," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. USA Today (3/14)
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Employers face fines in states that forgo Medicaid expansion
Employers in states that refuse to expand their Medicaid programs may be liable for up to $1.3 billion in federal fines, according to a report by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. The Affordable Care Act will penalize employers that don't provide health coverage to workers, but employers are exempt from the penalty if workers qualify for Medicaid. Bloomberg (3/13)
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SmartQuote
The more you learn about how other successful innovators overcame their obstacles, the more motivated you'll be to attack your own challenges and setbacks."
-- Lee Polevoi, writing at the Intuit Small Business Blog
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