Leave your products alone and focus on customer's experience | Are you leveraging social media for customer service? | Business benefits of a living will
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February 26, 2013
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Stories from the Street
How a business makes money investing in old paper plates
Jennifer Sherwood and Adam Schlain, founders of HardToFindPartySupplies.com, have built a successful online business selling paper plates and other party supplies, many of which are no longer available in stores. They stock supplies up to 30 years old, including items featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Snow White and Garfield. "Other people, they go out there and invest in the stock market," Sherwood says. "We invest in paper plates." USA Today (2/26)
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Caring for Customers
Leave your products alone and focus on customer's experience
Some business owners place too much emphasis on making their product as close to perfect as possible, when the products are probably just fine and the customer service could use some work, writes John Jantsch. He suggests bringing in new people to review your processes. The outsiders' view could lead to "simple innovations that deliver far greater return than any improvement or tweak in what you sell could even offer," he writes. Duct Tape Marketing (2/25)
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Are you leveraging social media for customer service?
Customers are turning to social media to air their questions and complaints, bypassing more traditional feedback channels such as e-mail or phone calls. Business owners should pay attention to these messages, train their staffs to handle them and try to address each concern using the same medium the customer used, experts say. Entrepreneur online (2/22)
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Keeping Shop
Business benefits of a living will
In a living will, business owners can define when they will be considered incapacitated. That definition triggers a power of attorney for someone to take over decisions regarding the business, writes attorney Maryam Ansari. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (2/25)
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Managing the Money
Bartering, buying used and other cost-saving strategies
Small-business owners can save money by bartering their services and buying used goods and equipment, writes Holly Mangan. Other strategies include optimizing social media and "going green" in the office to reduce consumption. MainStreet.com/MoneyCrashers.com (2/25)
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How to finance multiunit operations
Business owners looking to start or expand into a multiunit operation should consider future units when seeking funding for the first. In most cases, seek the largest loan you can obtain for the first unit, writes Rocco Fiorentino, CEO of Benetrends. "This enables you to hold on to your liquid assets for cash flow in the event you need additional working capital and provide the highest possible equity injection for the second location," he writes. SCORE Small Business Success Blog (2/22)
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Tips & Tools
Square offers equipment bundle for small-business sales
Square, a mobile payment company, has developed a bundle of hardware and software to serve as a robust payment system for small businesses that use Square's systems. Square's package comes with two card readers, an iPad stand and a cash drawer, with the option of adding a receipt printer. Small Business Trends (2/25)
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News You Can Use
Analysis: Support grows for paid-sick-time measures
Officials in U.S. cities and at least three states are working to advance measures that would require companies to offer paid sick leave. The efforts coincide with what many consider to be an unusually severe flu season. The Wall Street Journal (2/22)
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SBA uses blog series to explain the Affordable Care Act ramifications
The U.S. Small Business Administration has started a blog series to help clear up some of the misconceptions about the Affordable Care Act. The blog series aims to address a wide range of questions, and small business owners are encouraged to post questions in the comments. Entrepreneur online (2/26)
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Some people who are really great at customer service might not necessarily understand a brand's voice on social media. That's where training comes in."
-- Jen Rubio, head of social media at Warby Parker, quoted at Entrepreneur.com
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