small business owner's advices

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Persuading Consumers to -Buy Local-

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As Black Friday looms large, independent retailers are working harder than ever to avoid getting trampled by big-box stores and online sellers. The question is: How do boutiques, specialty shops, and other small enterprises convince consumers to buy locally, when multimillion-dollar ad campaigns and extreme virtual bargains are enticing them to do exactly the opposite? The answer, according to many entrepreneurs, is simple: Teach people about the benefits of local purchasing.

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College Entrepreneur Wins Small Business Grant from Intuit

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Brandon Rives is a busy young man. When he isn-t studying computer science and business at Tuskegee University or running his upstart entertainment and management company, Rives is actively involved in his community and helping other youngsters find their passion and live their dreams.

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In the Trenches: Ramping Up for the Holidays

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There-s no doubt that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I-m drooling just sitting here thinking about stuffing my face with turkey. But things are different this year since my small business actually has to ramp up instead of ramping down like most.

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Get ready for National Small Business Week

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Did you know that every year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week to -recognize the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America-?

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Michigan Ebook Mogul Wins Grant from Intuit

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For more than 15 years, Vern Firestone of Redford, Michigan has followed his professional passion. As a freelance marketer, Firestone developed such an impressive body of work that he and his equally marketing-savvy wife, Joni, finally went into business for themselves just last year.

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Why the Cloud Makes Sense for Small Business

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“Your customers demand that you be in the cloud,” says Doug Sleeter, a nationally recognized expert in accounting-software consulting. “The latest innovations in cloud, mobile, and connected solutions are changing everything about how you will work in the future.”

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In the Trenches: A Test Vacation

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September isn’t very far away. Although it may not matter to you, that’s when I’m scheduled to be sitting on a beach drinking fruity cocktails for a week — and I’d like to be able to enjoy that time instead of constantly thinking about my business from afar. So, I’ve been working with my employees to prepare for my absence.

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Do Superhero Blockbusters Supercharge Comic Store Sales?

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Ah, summer. The barbecue, the pool, and nights spent in the air-conditioned movie theater. With superhero blockbusters like The Avengers currently raking in box office cash and long-anticipated installments like The Dark Knight Rises due to hit theaters soon, we wondered if the -super- effect that graphic novel-based movies have on ticket sales extended to comic book store sales, too.

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25 Essential Kindle Fire Apps for Small Businesses - 2012 Edition

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The $199 Amazon Kindle Fire has been burning up the Android tablet sales charts and, at less than half the price of an iPad, it’s easy to understand why. Although many people use the Kindle Fire exclusively for media consumption, the device can also serve as a capable, portable productivity platform for small-business owners — if you install the right applications.

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In the Trenches: Picking Up the Pace

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As you know, I hired my first employee a couple of months ago. He’s been a quick study in how to handle certain tasks, and now it’s time to move training into the next phase — and speed things up.

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How To Turn a Product Into an -Impulse Buy-

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Especially around the holidays, shopping is a constant battle of wills: The retailer pulls out all the stops to encourage customers to buy, buy, buy. The shopaholics mentally prepare themselves not to overdo it when they head to the store. Say it with me now: “I do not need another pair of cute little flats (or boots or kitten heels or stilettos)!”

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Can I Use Arrest and Conviction Records When Hiring?

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You operate your small business with only the staff you need, and you rely on your employees to keep the doors open and customers happy. Hiring a lawbreaker is not something you ever want to do, so you always check job applicants’ references and records thoroughly.

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Spark &amp; Hustle-s Tory Johnson on Her Entrepreneurial Success

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Tory Johnson’s career trajectory should provide ample inspiration for anyone with an entrepreneurial dream. After being fired unexpectedly from a steady job 14 years ago, Johnson had next-to-nothing going for her: no Rolodex, little money, and no college degree, let alone a MBA. She decided to set out on her own, starting Women For Hire out of her home, in spite of long odds that the business would succeed.

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How to Handle Complaints and Keep Your Customers

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Let’s face it: Customers complain all the time. When a delivery arrives late, a product falls short of its promise, or a service is perceived as inefficient, patrons often make sure the “offending” business knows about it.

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New Year, New Skills: Learn from the Experts

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The ink may not yet be dry on your new year’s resolutions, but it’s not too early to start putting them in action. And if things like “refresh web site” or “learn about social marketing” are on your list, we are here to help!

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Helping Employees Cope with Non-Work Issues

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Small-business owners are often reluctant to get involved in an employee’s private affairs — and rightly so — but when the circumstances start to affect job performance, you may need to take action.

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Stay on Schedule with These 7 Mobile Calendar Apps

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Some professionals still swear by paper organizers, but lately more of us are turning to smartphones to serve as digital personal assistants — in which case, a calendar app is essential. If you already handle scheduling and task management via a Google or Outlook electronic calendar, you can take that rich information to go.

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3 Tips for Making the Most of a Conference

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Industry conferences can be an exhilarating — and intense — few days, packed with inspiring panels, workshops, and keynotes, not to mention networking over cocktails. However, these events can be exhausting, too, which can make it easy to lose momentum once you’ve returned to your daily routine.

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In the Trenches: Preparing for Vacation

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It-s been a long time since I-ve had a real vacation. In fact, I think the last real vacation I had was my honeymoon about three years ago. Once I started Cranky Concierge, there was no way to escape for a break. Now, my goal is to make that happen in just a few short months.

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4 Trends in Content Marketing to Watch

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The idea behind content marketing is to engage existing customers and generate new business leads by offering high-quality, useful advice and information that isn’t overtly sales-focused. Small businesses can go about this by providing everything from grocery flyers and Rotary Club speeches to blog posts and how-to * - s. And, of course, it pays to stay on top of the latest developments.

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How to Find the Best Opportunities for Guest Blogging

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Guest blogging can be an effective way to promote your business online. But you don’t want to waste time writing articles that few people will read — or that won’t attract the right audience. Here’s how to develop a winning guest-blogging strategy that will help you attract new readers and generate sales leads.

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How Musicians Are Using Crowdfunding to Ditch Record Labels

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Until recently, working with a record label was a necessary evil for most musicians. Few artists had the financial resources to record an album in a studio, market and distribute their product, and finance a tour on their own. However, with the rise of cheap, high-quality recording equipment, digital music downloads, and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, that’s all changing. Many artists are ditching record labels — and making a go of it on their own.

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Sight, Sound, and More: Easy, Affordable Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace

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A little can go a long way, and there-s perhaps no place where this is more true than in the office. Seemingly small adjustments to things such as the thermostat, lighting, and furniture can make a world of difference in creating a healthy and productive workplace that helps to retain employees. In fact, 1 in 3 workers say they accepted or left a job due to the condition of the building and/or amenities offered.

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5 E-Commerce Trends to Watch — and 1 You Can Ignore

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Online retail sales topped $200 billion in 2011, and most industry forecasts point higher. Market-watcher Forrester Research, for one, predicts that e-commerce will account for 9 percent of overall retail sales by 2016, up from 7 percent in 2011.

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The Inception of Open Innovation: A dream or reality?

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Critics have called the recently released film Inception an innovative tale. The storyline itself even gives a nod to the concept of open innovation. The film’s lead character, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, wants to take his dreamscapes to a new level and recruits a graduate student as the architect to help him construct these new worlds.

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4 Money Trends to Watch - and 2 You Can Ignore

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Your business can’t do much without money, but your financial health hinges upon far more than just making the cash register ring. Given the abundance of advice, stats, and other data available, how do you avoid information overload and uncover what’s important to your enterprise?