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managing

Are You Treating Your Long-term Employees Well?

A recent post You Probably Mistreat Your Best Clients, by Tim Berry on his Planning Startup Stories got me thinking about a corollary … Do businesses treat their new hires better than their existing long-term employees? Berry asks: Do your long-term loyal clients get the worst treatment? Do they pay the highest rates? Do you... Read more »

managing

Three Envelopes Transition

I first heard about the Three Envelopes more than 30 years ago when I was working for a local educational institution. It was a very short presentation on briefing the person replacing you. Over the years I’ve run across the program in other places, in slightly different forms, including some Internet search results. I’m retiring... Read more »

managing

Contacts List Fails Email

My sister-in-law is due for some very specialized heart surgery. She has to travel from Hawaii to Los Angeles for the procedure. For several weeks she was emailing the surgeon’s office, trying to confirm the day and time of her procedure, pre-op appointments, preparatory instructions and the like. Irritatingly, the surgeon’s office never replied. Finally,... Read more »

planning

Women in the Workplace—The Tipping Point

Women will become, in the next few months, the majority of the American workforce, passing the 50% threshold, according to The Economist’s Dec. 30, 2009 issue. Here are a few items from the article highlighting this accomplishment, and pointing out the challenges. High points: Women run many of the world’s great companies, e.g. PepsiCo in the... Read more »

Despair Humor Success

Here on the Business In General blog, and at Bplans.com, we are committed to optimistic support of entrepreneurship and the startup and growth of business, especially small- and medium-sized businesses. I’m not Pollyanna-ish about our business environment, however. It is unrealistic to think, or even hope, that a few short months of so-called recovery, including... Read more »

managing

Talk your Walk–Public Speaking as a Marketing Tactic

“One of the best business-building tactics is to demonstrate your knowledge to a receptive audience,” say Marketing Masters Ken Burgin and Elizabeth Walker. “Public speaking is particularly effective if your business has a service or consulting component.” In their recent article, ,Speak Up! Get out there and find an audience for what you do on... Read more »

managing

Create a Marketing Kit for your Business

In a new article on Mplans.com, Fiona Friesen, president and founder of Glue, outlines why your business needs a Marketing Kit as part of your strategy to convert potential customers to loyal ideal clients. 1) It keeps your marketing efforts consistent 2) It tells customers why they need you 3) It keeps you on track... Read more »

starting

Are Pop-up Shops the Latest Retail Phenomenon?

Pop-up shops seem to be going mainstream this year. A Time.com story, Why Pop-Up Shops Are Hot, looks at this new retail business model. While pop-ups have had a dubious reputation in the past, of being fly-by-night outfits, they have recently been gaining respectability. The main indoor retail mall here in Eugene, Oregon has had... Read more »

starting

Startups Surprise Because They are More Than a Job

“Unconsciously, everyone expects a startup to be like a job,” says Paul Graham, programming language designer, author, and venture firm partner. “It explains why people [in startups] are surprised…and why the surprises are so extreme.” Graham’s recent post, What Startups Are Really Like, talks about the surprises in startups. He sent an email to all... Read more »

managing

We Don’t Give No Respect!

“I don’t get no respect!” That was Rodney Dangerfield’s catchphrase. I say this is terribly true today in the universe of electronic communications where, I point out, it is we that don’t give any respect. In our typing and our composition we are lazy, slovenly, careless, thoughtless, nonchalant — in short, downright disrespectful — and... Read more »

managing

Is Disaster Recovery Possible When the Computing Cloud Evaporates?

How much is your data worth? If you are a customer of T-Mobile using their Sidekick mobile device, all your personal data, pictures, contacts, emails, calendars, etc., which you had stored with them is worth one month’s service plan fees. So, do you agree? Well, that’s what T-Mobile is offering users who lost all their... Read more »

starting

Law Courts Entering the Social-mediasphere

It seems that there is no human endeavor that will not be subverted by those with evil intent. The social-mediasphere is no exception. This recent Yahoo! News article, Injunction by Twitter: A Blogger Makes History Trying to Unmask His Impostor reports how the English High Court is using Twitter to serve an injunction against a... Read more »

managing

Recession Successes

It’s always difficult to keep an upbeat view during hard times, and to remember that there are always opportunities for those who look close enough. Still, without those doggedly incurable optimists, we would still be plodding along without the benefits of some iconic inventions. A list of Recession Inventions: Success Stories in Bad Times, was... Read more »

funding

National Move to Local Investing

Since start-up funding and growth financing for small- and medium-sized businesses has been in such short supply these past couple years, I thought posting about this CNNMoney.com / Fortune Small Business article on finding novel local investment would be a welcome change. The article, originally published earlier in September, is about owners of several types... Read more »

managing

Good planning for succession in the family business

Small businesses, individually owned or family-owned, are really the backbone of this country’s economy, employing more people nationwide than the big-name giant corporations, and serving most of our daily living needs. For many of these businesses, family continuity, the transition/succession of ownership/management from one generation to the next, is a huge issue. I’ve worked for... Read more »

managing

Great New Superlatives Needed

We need to start using some new improved superlatives in our marketing copy. “Great!” you say. Yes, that’s the one. Great really grates on me. Great is so overused that it may as well be blank space. Great carries all the impact of a cotton puff. Now, there was a time when great really meant... Read more »

managing

Troubadour takes bad customer service to task. Song #2.

This past July I talked about how Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars” YouTube post had brought new strength and power to consumer complaints against corporations’ customer dis-service. The original song/video has had over 5 million views, and is now available on iTunes. This is an astounding amount of bad publicity, damaging mainstream media press coverage,... Read more »

managing

Paying attention to voice mail

As part of your Customer Service, your team must pay attention to the voice mail messages of your customers. Almost all of us have answering machines or voice mail capabilities on our home phones, office phones, and cellular phones. And we all leave some kind of outgoing message on those systems, sometimes humorous, sometimes dull... Read more »

Small and medium businesses getting short shrift… again

The private funding of CIT Group this week highlights once more how small- and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of the day-to-day American economy, are getting short shrift from the federal bailout and economic recovery programs. CIT Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s prominent lenders, supporting more than 1 million small- and medium-size businesses, including... Read more »

starting

Cracking down on fake reviews.

The marketing potential of social media has been recognized since its inception. And, for just as long, there have been those people who are willing to manipulate that potential. One of those ways has been the posting of fake reviews. This involves filling blogs and sites full of ostensibly genuine, satisfied-customer-written reviews, extolling the excellence... Read more »