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A Dangerous Assumption You May Be Making

I hear a lot today about how every business is really good, even great, at delivering on basic customer expectations.  The idea is that, because you and your competition are all so good at the fundamentals, what you have to do is focus on “extras” in order to win and keep customers. Wow. Talk about a [...]

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What You Can Learn From a Bread Stick

Olive Garden has been in the news a lot recently. The chain offered a $100 “pasta pass” to 1,000 customers that allows pass holders to chow down on unlimited pasta for seven weeks. That marketing ploy got a lot of coverage in the press, but more important to the restaurant in the long run is [...]

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Local Planners, Not Big-Box Execs, Blamed For Small Biz Woes

How cozy are you with your local planning commission, city council or county officials? If you want to preserve existing small businesses and the look of a local business district that has evolved over many years, those are the decision makers you need on your side. While it’s popular to blame national big-box retailers for [...]

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How to Prevent Workplace Porn Problems

Pornography in the workplace is a problem in more ways than you might imagine. Here are two examples: In a case that got a lot of publicity, a high-ranking official at the Environmental Protection Agency downloaded more than 7,000 porn files and spent as much as six hours of his work day viewing them. A [...]

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Customer Service: What Not to Do When You Don’t Know

Recently I had a question about my international calling plan for my mobile phone. I was preparing for several overseas trips. My assistant was tasked with finding the best plan our carrier had to offer. One might think this would be an easy project; just get the information and sign up for the program. But, [...]

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Word-Of-Mouth Wins Big: Now What?

In Alignable’s poll of over 1,000 local business owners, 64 percent selected “word-of-mouth referrals” as the most effective way to acquire new customers—by a mile. In fact word-of-mouth was 3.5-times higher than the next result, Social Media. (See full poll results).  But now what?  Since you can’t simply go out and buy word-of-mouth, what’s a [...]

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How To Take a Slice of the 3D Printing Pie

Some years ago a friend of mine had an idea for a new cross-country ski binding that he thought would be an improvement on what was available then. He made a simple drawing and took it to a local fabricator to get an estimate for a prototype. The cost was so high, he abandoned the [...]

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Now’s the time! Budgeting for 2015

It’s that time again when most businesses start to create their budgets for the coming year. To do this, you need to estimate where you think various costs are heading. Here are some projections to help you. Wages. How much of a raise can you expect to give your staff? Obviously this depends on how [...]

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Planning to Sell Your Small Business? The Time Could be Right

There are four words that I’m always listening and looking for in the news. And when I hear or read those four words, I go into “pay-close-attention” mode. Those four words are: “…more businesses plan to…” These words are important because they mean that some survey firm has talked to business owners about their actual [...]

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Top 10 Internet Law Developments of 2014: Part I

Each year around this time I write an update for Advising eBusinesses, my one-volume handbook on Internet law designed for lawyers who represent online businesses. As part of this update, I list what I consider to be the ten most significant developments in Internet law over the past year. Here are this year’s selections: Internet [...]

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