5 ways to deal with difficult customers | How to generate more sales leads from your website | How to get rid of unnecessary meetings
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March 8, 2013
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Stories from the Street
How business owners without technical expertise are building apps
Some small-business owners without technical backgrounds are creating applications for their companies through online app-building tools, by taking online courses to brush up on their skills or by attending local mobile-developer boot camps. For example, Keith Brown, who owns Austin Tree Experts in Texas, used an app builder and online tutorials to create an app that gives employees and customers information about trees. The Wall Street Journal (3/6)
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Caring for Customers
5 ways to deal with difficult customers
When customers get angry, turn the negative situation into a positive one by thanking them for calling attention to problems with your service, Monika Jansen writes. Avoid getting defensive and try to see things through their perspective. NetworkSolutions.com (3/7)
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Keeping Shop
How to generate more sales leads from your website
Your company's website should seek to capture browsers' contact information through Web forms, BoostSuite.com CEO Aaron Houghton writes. That information can then be used to generate sales leads. Try offering coupons or access to e-books in order to encourage people to fill out the Web forms, he writes. Duct Tape Marketing (3/7)
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How to get rid of unnecessary meetings
It's easy to waste a lot of time in unnecessary meetings, but you can avoid this problem by using a simple decision-making process. Before agreeing to attend a meeting, consider whether it is covering a topic important to you and whether a meeting is the best way to solve the problem, a Harvard Business Review post recommends. If a meeting is necessary, invite as small a group of people as possible, keep the time as short as possible and choose someone to take notes. CBS MoneyWatch (3/6), Harvard Business Review online (2/26)
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Managing the Money
How to keep your small business' books in order
Keeping track of the books can be a pain, but it'll be easier if you keep personal and business transactions separate, hire a professional and dedicate just a few minutes a week to organizing financial details, writes Kirk Simpson, CEO of Wave Accounting. "You'll have more insights into your business, be able to make more informed financial decisions and have everything organized when tax time approaches," he writes. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (tiered subscription model) (3/7)
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Apps that help track your expenses
A number of mobile applications are available to help you track your expenses -- a practice that can help you write them off on your taxes, Kathryn Hawkins writes. She suggests four helpful apps: Mint, Shoeboxed, MileBug and Expensify. Intuit Small Business Blog (3/7)
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Tips & Tools
Web app provides a new approach to task management
A Web application called Droptask helps you manage your to-do list and get more organized, writes Dave Johnson. The app uses a visual layout that involves circles and bubbles to keep track of the projects you are working on and the tasks involved. A downside is there's no mobile version yet, Johnson writes. CBS MoneyWatch (3/7)
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News You Can Use
Women-owned businesses to sell items on Walmart.com
Wal-Mart's website is adding an "Empowering Women Together" section, selling items from small, women-owned businesses. The section will sell more than 200 items, including a dress from the Gahaya Links company in Rwanda, and a gift set of soup mix and cornbread mix from the Women's Bean Project. Reuters (3/7)
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Democrats introduce bill to raise federal minimum wage
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., on Tuesday introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour by 2015 and tie future increases to inflation. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., signed on as a sponsor of the bill, which would also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (3/5), Taunton Daily Gazette (Mass.) (3/5)
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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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Putting together a detailed plan before you start working with a customer is the best way to avoid any misunderstanding or conflict."
-- Monika Jansen, writing at NetworkSolutions.com
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