A&A news July 2008

A&A

Business Intelligence on the rise among small businesses

More SMBs (small and medium businesses, or companies with up to 999 employees) in the United States are seriously considering using BI (business intelligence) software tools to help them better understand market drivers for sales and forecasting, and for increasing their profit margins. There are about 6.3 million SMBs in the U.S., with about 98 percent of them being SBs (small businesses, or companies with up to 99 staff).
A&A

10 Reasons (excuses) you're NOT blogging yet

Scott Ginsburg, aka "The Nametag Guy," was speaking recently at the St. Louis Business Expo, and a lot of people came up to him afterward with questions about blogging. Naturally, those questions came with a fair amount of reasons for NOT blogging. So, that inspired Ginsburg to write this list....10 Reasons Why You're NOT Blogging Yet
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E-mail newsletters grow in popularity & help small businesses gain visibility

More and more small business owners are turning to the Internet for cost-effective ways to market to target audiences, using e-mail newsletters that allow them to connect with customers and potential customers."They're an effective, inexpensive, and relatively easy way for small companies to regularly stay in touch with customers and prospects," said Rhonda Abrams in a column for Gannett News Service.
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Do you know what your clients really need?

By John DoerrRay Kinsella: So what do you want?Terence Mann: I want them to stop looking to me for answers, begging me to speak again, write again, be a leader. I want them to start thinking for themselves. I want my privacy.Ray Kinsella: No, I mean, what do you WANT? [Gestures to the concession stand they're in front of]Terence Mann: Oh. Dog and a beer.- From the movie Field of Dreams, 1989
A&A

Small business owners dissatisfied with Washington leaders

Small business owners are not pleased with the inaction of the federal government, according to a poll released last week by small business organization American Management Services. The poll was conducted by Suffolk University. Poll results showed that 63 percent of respondents said the federal government is "doing nothing" to help small businesses while 23 percent said it is doing "little." Over three-quarters of those polled, 78 percent, said this summer's economic stimulus checks did nothing to help their business.
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Is it time for your company to add a sales team?

Your business is growing and you have less time on your hands. It might be worthwhile to employ your own dedicated sales team. Louise Druce from our sister site, BusinessZone.co.uk takes a look at how to choose the right candidates.
A&A

The risks in hiring new employees

Hiring new employees can be risky business for a small business owner. After spending a great deal of money and years building a business, it can all be damaged or lost in an instant with the wrong actions of an employee.
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Election Watch: Obama unveils $6 billion small business health plan

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has presented his plan for a $6 billion per year health plan that would provide tax credits for small businesses that health insurance to employees.The Obama plan requires businesses to provide coverage or pay a fine, but it exempts small businesses from the mandate, The Wall Street Journal reports.The Obama camp reports that less than half of small firms offer heaLth insurance to employees, down from 57% in 2000.
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Ramp up your brand - sledgehammers and service brand preference

By Mike Schultz and John DoerrSwing the HammerImagine the strongman game at the carnival. You lift the sledgehammer over your head and swing it down onto the platform. When it strikes the target, a metal cylinder rises up and up - 20 feet up the pole until it rings the bell. On its way down the pole the cylinder passes the same words it passed on the way up: strongman, tough guy, athlete, junior, and weakling.In a way, establishing a services brand follows a similar process.
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Getting started with social media: Real life examples

Anita Campbell, executive editor of Small Business Trends, recently attended an event in Houston entitled Women in Business. She collected several comments from attendees about their experiences in using social media Web sites and online Web 2.0 tools. Here is what she found.When speaking at events, I get the best response from talking less and asking more - in other words, encouraging the audience to share their examples and ideas. It's more interactive that way. It's more interesting.
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Creating customer loyalty: Keep them coming back

Getting customers to buy into your brand is always going to be a challenge, but how do you make sure they return? Verity Gough argues that creating customer loyalty is down to good, old-fashioned common sense.Competition for customers has never been fiercer and as the battle to attract and retain consumers heats up, small businesses can steal a march on their larger rivals by fine tuning their own customer services.
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Is the Perfect Employee Really Out There?

In today's competitive job market, small business owners often find themselves feeling the odds are against them in finding the right employee. Positions in accounting, information technology (IT) and sales are increasingly in high demand and require businesses to have human resource tools that are both competitive and strong enough to bring in the best possible recruits.While you may be wondering if that perfect employee really exists, there are some things you can do to be ready if and when the time comes and they walk through your front door.
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Lemonade entrepreneur wins NFIB small business video contest

The Small Business Works for America Contest has concluded. NFIB was looking for the best video answers to the question, "Why small business works for America?" More than 20 video responses showing a wide range of creativity were submitted.You can see the grand prize winner, "Lemonade," from Marc Boese. He wins $5,000 in cash and an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend NFIB's Small Business Summit.