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April 18, 2012
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Business news you can use from your Better Business Bureau®

  Trends & Trust 
  • Study: Trust in online reviews is increasing
    The percentage of consumers that trust online reviews has increased, according to a study by Nielsen. "[C]onsumers around the world continue to see recommendations from friends and online consumer opinions as by far the most credible," said Nielsen's Randall Beard. The percentage of respondents that trust television, magazine and newspaper ads has decreased in recent years. Internet Retailer (4/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why your business' online reputation is so important
    Your online activities -- including interactions on social networks, transactions on e-commerce sites and Web searches -- contribute to your "social currency," which can affect your success in future endeavors, writes Markus Barnikel of "Marketplaces must define clear rules for rating other users and ratings should only be allowed after social interactions truly occur; if bad behaviors occur, they must be eliminated quickly," he writes. TechCrunch (4/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 2 strategies to help you chill out -- and possibly lead better
    Research suggests yoga and meditation can help to reduce stress. And, according to psychologist Karuna Cayton, it might be good for business leaders. "Empathy is greatly increased through mindfulness practice," Cayton said. "As we know from the studies in emotional intelligence, empathy is one of the key leadership competencies in positive leadership." Inc. online/Start It Up blog (4/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Customer Satisfaction & Marketing 
  • How a business owner uses content marketing for growth
    One challenge to successfully marketing a business is to figure out which strategies to focus on, according to business owner Paul Marciano. "My advice would be to pick and choose just a few strategies and really stick with them." Your goal with a content-marketing strategy should be on sharing valuable information with others, he advised. (4/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Factor time investment into your social media marketing budget
    When budgeting for business-to-business social media, consider the time it will take to develop content and engage customers, writes Brad Shorr. At the very least, a social media program will require a team leader, if not a dedicated staffer, as well as corporate support for the long lead time it takes to get a program up and running. "A healthy start-up budget for B2B social media program starts at something around $2500 a month. That number is not as big as it may sound if you consider all-in costs for per-hour labor," he writes. (4/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Management & Leadership 
  • Key elements of a successful employee-rewards program
    Running a rewards program or contest can help get your employees motivated, but a few key mistakes could prevent them from being successful, John Treace writes. It's important to announce such programs before you begin tracking employee performance, and you should make sure that the goals you set are within reach. "If you set the bar too high, you'll be seen as out of touch with reality -- and your employees will wonder why they should even try," he writes. Inc. online (4/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • How to prepare for succession at your small business
    There are practical and legal issues to think about when planning for succession in your company. You can begin the succession-planning process by figuring out what you do on a daily basis, buying necessary insurance policies and providing training to your employees. (4/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 5 ways to manage negative emotions in the workplace
    As a leader, it's important not to discount your team members' negative feelings, writes Tony Schwartz of The Energy Project. Such feelings will "show up later, more covertly, in the form of disengagement, simmering resentment, and passive aggressive behaviors that poison the workplace," if you just brush them off. You should provide opportunities for your workers to share their feelings, he advises. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (4/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Most small business owners know the importance of managing credit effectively and that a "one size fits all" model won't work. Use Managing Credit - Made Simpler to find the right credit management model for your business and to help identify strategies to ensure you are on top of your business's financial condition.
  Funding & Finance 
  • Tips for forecasting future cash flow
    Forecasting future revenue and cash flow can be tricky, but it is doable, Tom Gray writes. When making this forecast, you should consider the invoices you have sent out and how much money you expect to receive in the coming weeks. You should also factor in the projects that you are working on and the likelihood of winning new business, he writes. SCORE Small Business Success Blog (4/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Overly complicated tax code confuses business owners
    Research shows small-business owners consider the administrative burdens involved with filing their taxes to be a significant challenge. Eighty-five percent of small-business owners enlist a professional to help with the preparation of their returns, according to a survey by the National Small Business Association. South Dakota, Texas and Nevada are the three states with the most favorable tax codes for small-business owners and entrepreneurs, according to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. (4/16), Small Business Trends (4/16), Business Finance (4/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Weekly Poll 
  • Do you purchase online ads to market your business?
    No  67.97%
    Yes  32.03%
  • How often do you trust online reviews?
Almost always
Almost never

  Featured Content 

  BBB in the News 
  • Protect yourself from sketchy storm chasers
    Attorneys general in Arkansas and Oklahoma are cautioning consumers to watch out for scammers who promise to fix storm damage or make improvements to their properties. It's a good idea to ask for references and research contractors with BBB. Also, be wary of contractors that want the entire payment upfront. Tulsa World (Okla.) (4/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
A daydreamer is prepared for most things."
--Joyce Carol Oates,
American author

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