February 11, 2013
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Stories from the Street
Blizzard could cut into sales in the Northeast
The blizzard that has buried the Northeast could take a large financial toll on businesses and the government. The storm may have caused a drop in sales for some merchants; others -- grocery stores, for example -- may have experienced a boost as customers tried to get ready for the snowfall. CBS MoneyWatch (2/8)
Caring for Customers
How to make your content meaningful
Customers will appreciate content that's easy to understand and helps them find solutions to problems, writes Monika Jansen. They also value content that's supported by data and provides actionable steps, she writes. NetworkSolutions.com (2/7)
Bad habits that thwart your social media efforts
Ignoring Facebook comments and bombarding followers with posts are among the missteps some businesses make on social media, writes consultant Sophie Bujold. Sloppy posts are another mistake because they convey a lack of concern about how you run your business. TravelMarketReport.com (2/11)
Keeping Shop
4 ways to expand your business
Expand your business by entering a new geographic area, introducing a new product, solving customers' related problems or searching for new customer groups. One example of the last tactic is the clothing retailer Gap, which started new brands to serve new groups of customers. Inc. online (free registration) (2/8)
Don't let company data fall into the wrong hands
Many employees don't see a problem with transferring business data to their personal computers and devices, but the practice could jeopardize your company's competitiveness, writes Suzanne Lucas. Protect your intellectual property by setting clear policies, ensuring that sensitive documents are shredded and providing your workers with company smartphones. Inc. online (free registration) (2/8)
Managing the Money
Where to look when you can't find a loan
Several programs may be able to help your company if you're having a hard time finding funding, Stephanie Faris writes. For example, the Small Business Administration's Microloan Program provides funds for furniture and equipment, while the Minority Business Development Agency offers financing for minority-owned companies. Intuit Small Business Blog (2/8)
Tips & Tools
How to develop top-notch mobile apps
You can create mobile apps that will stand out from the competition by coming up with new concepts and focusing on efficiency and high-quality design, according to Prasant Varghese of IT-services company Icreon. "Focus on delighting people and making your product usable," he said. Entrepreneur online/The Daily Dose blog (2/7)
News You Can Use
A 20-year progress report on the FMLA
Most employers say the Family and Medical Leave Act has not harmed productivity as some had feared, and many say it has reduced turnover, according to a government report released on the law's 20th anniversary. Workers have taken leave more than 100 million times since the law was enacted in 1993, with illness being the most common reason for time off, followed by pregnancy or child care. Detroit Free Press/The Associated Press (2/7), The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Economix blog (2/8)
Diversifying your portfolio of products and services spreads risk across the business instead of concentrating it on one or two core offerings."
-- Karl Stark and Bill Stewart, managing directors and co-founders of Avondale, writing at Inc. online
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