How customer service defines your brand | The latest developments in social media advertising | Making the case for noncompete agreements
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February 28, 2013
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Stories from the Street
Small firms embrace mobile payments to boost cash flow
Small businesses are benefiting from new technologies that allow customers to pay via smartphone. These payments provide businesses with immediate working capital that allows them to reimburse creditors without having to borrow. The Wall Street Journal (2/27)
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Caring for Customers
How customer service defines your brand
Your brand is defined by how you treat your customers, writes Monika Jansen. She gives the example of a hotel company that picked up positive publicity for its response when a child left his stuffed animal behind on a vacation. The hotel photographed the stuffed animal enjoying his extended stay and mailed the photos to the owner along with the stuffed animal. "As you can imagine, this story went viral," she writes. (2/26)
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The latest developments in social media advertising
Social media sites continue to add advertising options. In recent months, for example, Facebook added options for ads that appear below search queries and that run as "Pages You May Like" on its mobile app. LinkedIn added video advertising to its self-serve platform. Inc. online (free registration)/Digital Entrepreneur blog (2/27)
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Keeping Shop
Making the case for noncompete agreements
Noncompete agreements send a message to employees and competitors that you're serious about protecting your intellectual property, Jessica Miller-Merrell writes. "Don't look at a non-compete as a contract to hold back your employees, but to give them the freedom to develop and excel at the products offered by your own company," Miller-Merrell writes. "Protecting your assets is just good business sense especially when your employees know what those boundaries are." Blogging4Jobs (2/26)
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How to avoid legal pitfalls with worker suspensions
Wrongful dismissals lawsuits can be costly and bad for your company's image. Avoid them with a written policy on disciplinary actions, and by treading carefully when suspending employees, writes lawyer Maryam K. Ansari. "Your policies should have something written out about how long an ordinary disciplinary suspension should last. If the suspension goes on too long, the suspension might be seen as a dismissal," Ansari writes. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (2/26)
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Managing the Money
How to find serious buyers for your business
To avoid wasting time with window shoppers when selling your business, look for potential buyers who seem enthusiastic and ask questions about your specific company rather than the industry in general, writes Curtis Kroeker. Also, review the credentials of prospective buyers and verify they have enough money to make the required down payments and capital investments. Inc. online (free registration)/ (2/27)
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Tips & Tools
Tools to help your company track customer data
Businesses are collecting all sorts of data on customer behaviors and preferences, and research shows that doing so can improve business decisions. In addition, many customers want companies to use this data to send them relevant promotions. This article lists six services -- including Kaggle, Custora and Swipely -- that can help small-business owners to manage all of their data. Small Business Trends (2/26)
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Get a handle on your customers with these apps
A number of mobile apps track key information for small businesses and offer insights about customers' preferences and behavior. Among them: QuickTapSurvey allows customers to submit instant feedback, and ScanBizCards scans business cards and integrates the information with your contact list, LinkedIn and customer relations management services. Intuit Small Business Blog (2/25)
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News You Can Use
SBA proposes streamlined approach to 2 loan programs
The Small Business Administration is looking to streamline the application process for the 504 and 7(a) programs. Changes would include eliminating the personal-resource test, revising a rule on affiliation and eliminating the "nine-month rule" for 504. Fox Business Small Business Center (2/27)
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The road to buying a small business is paved with planning and preparation."
-- Curtis Kroeker, group general manager for and, writing at Inc. online
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