How small retailers can survive the threat of large competitors | Using in-person meetings to make sales | Tips for more effective content marketing
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March 13, 2013
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Stories from the Street
How small retailers can survive the threat of large competitors
Big-box stores such as Wal-Mart might present a threat to local businesses, but there are still some factors that may cause consumers to favor local shops over the competition. Local companies create a unique atmosphere within the community, help to power the local economy and sell a diverse array of products, according to the Institute for Local Self Reliance. "My point of view on this is that there is no room to compete in pricing. There has to be something else that makes the buyer seek the smaller retailer," says Virgilio Rubini, owner of ChocoStyle. Forbes (3/12)
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Caring for Customers
Using in-person meetings to make sales
In today's world of electronic communication, companies might be able to set themselves apart through in-person meetings with clients, Stephanie Faris writes. Do your research before attending a face-to-face meeting and use trip-planning tools to maximize the productivity of your travel. After returning home, follow up with your clients, she recommends. Intuit Small Business Blog (3/12)
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Tips for more effective content marketing
You can make your content-marketing initiatives more successful by identifying specific goals for the content you create, Tommy Walker writes. For example, your content might be designed to kick-start a conversation or generate leads or sales. Either directly or indirectly, your content should ask your audience to take specific steps, he writes. MarketingProfs (3/11)
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Keeping Shop
Help your employees disconnect from the office
Technology allows employees to be constantly connected to the work environment, but research shows that this can cause stress and doesn't necessarily lead to increased productivity. You can help your staff handle this kind of stress by using automation where possible and finding ways to share the burden, writes Rieva Lesonsky. "If an element of your business truly requires 24/7 responsiveness, figure out ways to spread the responsibility among multiple employees so each person has some guaranteed downtime," she writes. Small Business Trends (3/12)
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Do your policies indicate a lack of trust in your employees?
Many companies implement policies that suggest that they don't trust their employees, Liz Ryan writes. For example, they might require their workers to provide proof when they say they are sick or when they have had a death in the family. "If we value talent, we'll start dismantling the lumbering Godzilla of controls and policies that hampers creativity in virtually every organization, and we'll start trusting ourselves to hire people we trust," she writes. Bloomberg Businessweek/The Management Blog (3/12)
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Managing the Money
Tips for making it through tax season
It's a good idea to get some professional help when you file your taxes unless your return is going to be very simple, according to Russell Fox of Las Vegas-based Clayton Financial & Tax. Before meeting with a professional, gather important documents and do some of the prep work yourself, he recommends. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/12)
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Big banks' approval of small-business loans is on the rise
Large banks approved small-business loans last month at the highest rate in more than two years, according to Biz2Credit's monthly Small Business Lending Index. Such banks authorized 15.9% of applications in the index, compared with 15.3% in January and 11.7% in February 2012. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/12)
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Tips & Tools
Cloud-based app makes faxing easier
A cloud-based application called eFax might be useful for companies in industries that still rely on faxes, T.J. McCue writes. The app allows users to send or receive faxes without having to use a fax machine. Small Business Trends (3/11)
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News You Can Use
Rule changes could make SBA's loan programs more accessible
The Small Business Administration is considering rule changes that could make loans more accessible for businesses. One change would loosen the agency's affiliation rule, which is designed to prevent large companies from pretending to be small for the purpose of securing loans. The other change would drop the "personal resources test," which requires business owners with a lot of assets to put some of their own money into their companies before getting loans. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/You're the Boss blog (3/11)
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SmartQuote
If you're addicted to urgency, your employees will be too. Your business will suffer from the constant adrenalin overload."
-- Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media, writing at Small Business Trends
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