Searching for a consistent sales strategy | Using Instagram to promote your small business | Don't be too attached to your business plan
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March 7, 2013
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Searching for a consistent sales strategy
Sparta Engineering, which serves the oil and gas industry, is expecting to exceed $5 million in revenue this year, but Jason Thompson, founding partner, says the workload tends to be cyclical. Partners rush out to drum up business, work on those projects until they run out, then repeat the process. Thompson would prefer a strategy that creates long-term growth but doesn't know the best approach. Experts recommend creating a business-development strategy and using a headhunter to find someone who can help to grow the business. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (3/6)
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Using Instagram to promote your small business
Photo-sharing platform Instagram can be a powerful tool for marketing your company, writes A.J. Kumar of Single Grain. Get started by figuring out what kind of images your customers would want to see. Make sure you take photos that are high quality. Consider using Instagram's geolocation feature or running contests to engage your followers, he recommends. Entrepreneur online (3/6)
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Don't be too attached to your business plan
Your company is likely to change in unexpected ways after you launch, so sticking stubbornly to your business plan is a mistake, according to Mike Michalowicz, author of "The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow A Remarkable Business In Any Field." Instead, focus on your core purpose for starting a business, and understand that your target audience may be different than you originally expect, he recommends. Forbes (3/5)
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Are you using your employees efficiently?
Maximize the productivity of your company by making sure all of your employees are taking on tasks that match their skill sets, writes Beverly Flaxington. Don't waste your highest-paid workers' time with low-value tasks. "Know what each task is 'worth' in terms of its importance to the organization's profitability," she writes. (3/6)
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Is it getting easier for small businesses to get credit?
Credit standards for business loans appear to be easing, writes Bill Conerly. Whether or not your company currently has credit, it's a good idea to talk to loan officers to determine where you stand, he writes. Also, consider getting a line of credit even if you don't currently need it -- it could allow you to pursue unexpected opportunities. Forbes (3/5)
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Tips & Tools
Why bosses should keep on talking
Good leadership is the art of engaging in the right conversations at the right times, write Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz. Conversations help bosses build relationships, develop leadership qualities in their direct reports, make better decisions and execute more effectively, they argue. "[I]t is something you need to do well -- consciously and unconsciously -- every minute of every day," they write. Knowledge@Wharton (3/6)
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Just for Fun
How 10th-century music lovers got their fix
For about 1,000 years before Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, people sought ways to record and reproduce sounds. This gallery includes ornate music boxes, self-playing pianos and 10th-century musical transcriptions. BuzzFeed (3/6)
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Editor's Note
Help SmartBrief cover SXSW Interactive!
SmartBrief will cover the South by Southwest Interactive Festival through Tuesday in Austin, Texas, and we need your help! SXSW has too many must-see events for our staff to cover, so we're turning to readers to help document the best panels as blog contributors. If you're headed to Austin and want to contribute to SmartBrief's blogs on social media, leadership, finance, food and beverage or education, check out our guest-post guidelines and send a note to Jesse Stanchak.
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Make sure your highest paid people are doing high-value tasks."
-- Beverly Flaxington, a certified professional behavioral analyst, writing at
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