Standardized replies save you time but can cost you good will. Create templates and common paragraphs that you can pop into an e-mail or letter, then easily personalize. Use these shortcuts:
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If you're shopping for cheaper phone service, include companies that sell Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, services to small businesses.
Here are three tips
"Web rings" are basically a linked collection of Web sites with a common theme, industry or product business. The idea behind them: Banding together an assortment of smaller merchants or services can help the entire group compete more effectively online and build Web traffic.
Some little-known, but still-helpful sites
If spending time figuring out how to reset your computer features seems like too much trouble, Microsoft makes it easier with "Tips for the Awkward Age of Computing," at www.microsoft.com/enable/aging.
1. Place a strong emphasis on benefits. Say you sell skin-care products. You need to highlight the benefit to the customer (younger-looking skin) rather than the features (it contains 12 different moisturizers).
If you're planning to do more instant messaging (IM) as a way to avoid your spam-clogged e-mail system, take note: IM spam—or "spim," as it's being called—is growing like wildfire.
Here are your best options
Starting this year, the federal government offers a single Internet portal for small businesses that want to do business with the government. The result: You'll have an easier time registering as a contractor and marketing your goods and services to the government.