February 11, 2013
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SmartBrief on Small Business

Problem. Solved.
Building support for a new concept
When Bradley Silver got the idea to build a content-marketing platform in 2010, he wasn't sure how companies would respond to what was then a new concept. He involved potential customers early in the development process to learn from them and educate them. Silver's business has since grown to include 15 employees and brought in $1.25 million in outside funding. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (2/8)
How to make your content meaningful
Customers will appreciate content that is easy to understand and helps them to find solutions to problems they are facing, writes Monika Jansen. They also value content that is supported by data and provides them with actionable steps, she writes. (2/7)
Bad habits that thwart your social media efforts
Ignoring Facebook comments and bombarding followers with posts are among the missteps some businesses make on social media, writes consultant Sophie Bujold. Sloppy posts are another mistake because they convey a lack of concern about how you run your business. (2/11)
The power of "why"
You need to explain why your company does what it does if you want your employees to be truly engaged with their work, writes Bryan Burkhart, founder of H.Bloom. Burkhart is planning an internal "road show" during which he will discuss the company's values and goals for 2013. He also plans to give employees a theme for 2013 and allow them to ask questions. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (2/7)
IRS program can help you to correctly classify workers
An IRS program offers a reprieve to business owners who have incorrectly classified their employees. Under the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, eligible employers who come into compliance pay a portion of their tax liability and can avoid employment tax audits for previous years as well as penalties and interest. Generally, workers should be classified as employees instead of independent contractors if they provide the same service as your business, writes Bonnie Lee, the owner of Taxpertise. Fox Business Small Business Center (2/8)
Tips & Tools
A solution for streamlining your technology
A company called Ontraport has a product that helps companies manage all of their technological functions in one place. The system integrates content management, lead tracking, marketing automation, billing management and online payments. Small Business Trends (2/9)
Just for Fun
The year in photographs
The Sony World Photography Awards will announce its 2013 winners during the next two months, but the shortlisted images have been made public. The photos include portraits of Botswanan heavy metal enthusiasts, amazing wildlife shots, and some of the most startling news photography of the year. The Atlantic online (2/6)
The number of people you speak to is less important than your level of engagement with your existing crowd."
-- Sophie Bujold, consultant, writing at
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