February 25, 2024

You’re the Boss Blog: This Week in Small Business: Best Facebook Pages


A weekly roundup of small-business developments.

What’s affecting me, my clients and other small-business owners this week.

The Big Story: The Democrats

Four big ideas from entrepreneurs were presented at last week’s Democratic National Convention, and the president said America’s problems could be solved. Introducing Run DNC! The Small Business Administration’s Karen Mills spoke to the delegates. Meanwhile, both the national unemployment rate and weekly unemployment claims decline slightly as private employment and online job demand rise. Stocks return to their 2007 levels. Geoffrey James says there are eight ways Washington could really help small businesses. And Charlotte and Tampa were nice but doesn’t this convention look like more fun?

The Economy: Twilight of Public Companies?

Auto sales surge and productivity grows faster than previously believed. Economic activity in the nonmanufacturing sector increases for the 32nd consecutive month. But manufacturing contracts and construction spending (PDF) fall. Small-business lending rises. An economics professor reports on the twilight of the public corporation. Kim Kardashian weighs in on the economy.

Social Media: Best Small-Business Facebook Pages

A new study shows that social media is surging at large companies. Jason Keith says there are five misconceptions about social media — including that it’s just for pleasure. Jeff Korhan asks whether your social network is an online community or a club? Twitter announces plans to certify third-party apps for businesses. Jeff Bullas says there are two ways to advertise on Twitter without spending a lot of money. Lisa Peyton offers nine Twitter lessons she learned from tennis pros. The Social Media Examiner names its top 10 small-business Facebook pages. LinkedIn adds Facebook-style alerts. Pinterest becomes the fourth largest traffic driver in the world. Don Power has four tips for managing multi-author blogs. And while you may be focusing on social media, be aware that online reviews can have more impact — and here are six ways to turn a critic into a fan. These were YouTube’s most shared ads in August.

Your People: A Virtual Company’s Culture

Sandra Bellamy wants to know if you are a manager, leader, teacher or coach: “Businesses are expecting more from their managers and more from their employees. They rely on the manager to get the employees to do more work, to work harder and to work smarter. How can they do that if they are merely managing the team?” Nadia Goodman offers five tips and tools to create a company culture in a virtual business, including: “Welcome new employees with a virtual orientation.” Robert Wagner lists a few facts about employer background checks and credit reports. J. Daniel Marr says that in discrimination claims, employees must prove intent. Here’s some advice for recruiting in a tight labor market. Bane takes a telemarketing job. Michael Essany says there are four easy steps for handling payroll. Keith Elwin is the world’s pinball wizard again. This guy demonstrates how to win at table tennis. A cool video captures  5050 years in 150 seconds.

Management: Sexy Little Numbers

Om Malik says timing is everything when starting a business. You decide: did Chipotle cheat on pennies, or was the company just saving time? David Novak of Yum! Brands discusses global brands and growth. Leslie Young reminds us that McDonald’s was once a fairly small operation: “That means that small businesses can offer their customers consistency too. All you need to do is figure out the process that helps you to ensure that you give everyone consistently good results.” Jason Tezgerevski suggests five benefits of writing press releases, but Mickie Kennedy asks how often you should do this. Henry Hutcheson warns that shareholder arrangements in family businesses can be tricky. A new book says small-business owners can learn from their “sexy little numbers.” These are the management secrets of the N.F.L. (is managing health insurance one of them?).

Marketing: What Is the Goal?

Joan Woodbrey Crocker shows how to find out which keywords your competition is targeting. Here are a few dos and don’ts for writing search-engine text ads. Brad Smith says you can increase your sales without increasing your traffic. Matthew Toren says your inbound marketing must “reach out to your readers to solve their problems.” For maximum productivity, search — don’t sort — your e-mail. A marketing firm says the goal of marketing is not to be good at marketing. Reputation management services are still trying to make the connection to small businesses. Shane Vaughan asks which type of local Web site is best for your brand? This is how trade shows can improve business. Martin Zwilling says these marketing rules command customer attention. Five small businesses receive marketing makeovers from American Express OPEN and Facebook.

Around the Country: Office Pranks

In the United States, 22 million businesses are one-person companies making an average of $43,000 a year. In Florida’s employment recovery, minimum-wage jobs lead the way and health care coverage may soon be only a few clicks away. Meanwhile, a crackdown on small-business self insurance in California faces a delay. A biker takes on San Francisco. In Alaska, small businesses have big market share. In Washington, the White House brewery kicks into action, and a Sears in the Midwest gets a jump on Christmas. A web seminar says retailing is going mobile. The pranksters at College Humor are running an office pranks contest. Karen Klein reports on what limits Hispanic entrepreneurs.

Around the World: Maple Syrup Theft

The United States falls in worldwide competitiveness. Spain is set to surrender its rank as 12th-biggest economy to Australia. A glut of product announcements from the portal and search giant Baidu shows China isn’t just copying western ideas. The Economist provides a global debt clock. German exports (PDF) continue to fall. This is how they watch movies in India. Timothy Taylor writes about supply, demand and the theft of 10 million pounds of maple syrup from a Canadian storage facility. New research from the University of Bristol suggests that American parents are not the only ones overspending on college tuition.

Your Finances: Putting Cash to Work

Here’s how not to pay too much in credit card processing fees. Andrew J. Sherman has a novel idea for putting cash to work: What if our largest companies used their idle cash as collateral to secure loans for small businesses? Loan processing in the cloud is called a “game changer.” A Wall Street summer intern shares his diary.

Technology: Steve Jobs, Reincarnated

Voice mail is in decline. Super WiFi is on track to be more widely available in 2013. A start-up prepares to manufacture electronics that conform to skin, arteries, and organs, allowing new surgical and measuring methods. Skype celebrates its ninth birthday. Sage’s ACT! software is 25. With 65 percent of the market, Apple has three rumored iPhone upgrades that could be particularly meaningful to entrepreneurs. Steve Jobs is rumored to have been reincarnated as a warrior-philosopher. Amazon announces a new Kindle Fire.

Tweets of the Week

@darrenrovell: Krispy Kreme says that any1 who comes into a participating store on Sept 19 dressed in a full pirate outfit gets 12 free donuts.

 ‏@pkedrosky: Approx 0% of people who use cliche “Not out of the woods yet” have ever had to even think about getting out of real wilderness.

The Week’s Bests

Dr. Jeff Cornwall questions your intestinal fortitude: “Having guts to be an entrepreneur does not imply that you take careless risks – quite the contrary. Having guts to be an entrepreneur means that you are ready through experience to carefully and prudently manage and mitigate the risks that lie ahead.”

Roger Altman explains why he thinks the economy may surprise us all: “The U.S. has made a huge leap in industrial competitiveness. Unit production costs are down 11 per cent over the past 10 years, while costs have risen in almost every other advanced nation. The differences in labor costs compared with China are narrowing. Consider the automotive sector. In 2005, Detroit’s hourly labor costs were 40-percent higher than at U.S. plants owned by foreign car makers, according to research by Evercore Partners. Today these costs are virtually identical and the Big Three car makers have regained market share. Furthermore, personal savings rates are up to 4 per cent – from near zero before the crisis – and are expected to stabilize. This will spur higher levels of private investment and even further productivity gains.”

This Week’s Question: Do you think we’re out of the woods yet?

Gene Marks owns the Marks Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa., consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management. You can follow him on Twitter.

Article source: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/this-week-in-small-business-best-facebook-pages/?partner=rss&emc=rss