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Business Briefing

If you have children in college, hiring them straight out of college into the family business could be a big mistake, even if they’re fabulous contributors and even though the economy stinks, says entrepreneur Allen Fishman.

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Until now, newspaper ads, mailings and referrals may have kept your business growing. But fewer people are reading newspapers these days, and they’re doing more Twittering than actual talking. So how can you connect with those “lost” potential customers? One great way: Have your company appear high up in the list of results when people do Google searches for your product or service.

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A person’s business success has far less to do with one great decision than it does with sound day-to-day habits. “Most people think that there is some silver bullet to being great,” says Pam Bilbrey, co-author with Brian Jones of the new book, Ordinary Greatness. “Greatness is really about doing the ordinary, everyday things consistently well.” Here are a dozen habits to practice in your business (and personal) life:

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Web sites don’t last forever. Some changes can be accomplished with simple maintenance, but patching can take you only so far. Here are five signs that it’s time to revamp your site.

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This month’s collection of real-world quick tips from American business leaders, brought to you by members of The Alternative Board.

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Everyone talks about getting good customers to give you a referral, but few businesses actually pursue them. Earning referral business can be a fantastic way to grow your business. The best part: All of the calls are warm leads. Here’s a step-by-step plan for asking for (and reeling in) those referrals.

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Digging your company out of this recession will probably require some unconventional thinking. Most small businesses can’t simply play it safe and expect to thrive, let alone survive. Ira Blumenthal, author of Ready, Blame, Fire: Myths and Misses in Marketing, points out 10 common business myths that small business owners are too quick to believe in.

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You’re already printing on both sides of paper and recycling. Now, what can you do to inspire your less-green co-workers? Tips from Tim Sanders, author of Saving the World at Work:

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Driving visitors to your company’s web site and coaxing them to provide contact information is a great way to generate sales leads. However, only 4% to 8% of people who click to a web site leave their personal information. To convert those web surfers into customers, consider these four surefire tips from FuelNet.

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Half of all employees still haven’t heard from their leaders about the impact of the economic crisis, and more than two-thirds say they’d rather hear something than nothing, reports a survey by Weber Shandwick. And 70% fear their companies are in for rough sledding. Here’s how you can calm the troops.

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Employees who hurt themselves at work sometimes wait weeks or even months before filing a workers’ compensation claim. What at first seems like a relatively harmless injury can flare into a debilitating condition months later. Such late claims put business owners at a serious disadvantage.

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These days, most small businesses rely—either somewhat or heavily—on software applications. According to a new report by PC World magazine, here are 15 of the best free and low-cost software tools for powering any small or midsize business.

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The U.S. government’s main site for business regulatory compliance, www.Business.gov, has always billed itself as the go-to site for federal compliance. Now its expanded content allows you to search for regulatory information from state and local governments, too.

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If your web site loads onto a customer’s screen slower than the speed of instant gratification, you run a serious risk of losing that customer forever. Here are seven simple ways to make your web pages load faster, according to the experts at the Mequoda consulting firm.

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Change. America voted for it, and small businesses will certainly receive their fair share in 2009. Here are the five most important workplace issues on President Barack Obama’s agenda.

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Even in a good economy, about one-third of new small businesses don’t survive the first year. The No. 1 reason: poor financial management, which is often preventable. So how can a business survive in a bad economy? Smart cash-flow management is vital.

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At your small company, the buck stops with you. So how can you handle an angry employee’s complaint and resolve his or her problem without adding more stress to your day? Use the following six A’s to deflect anger without taking the blame.

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Federal agencies were embarrassed by a national newspaper report last month that revealed at least $5 billion worth of federal contracts intended for small businesses actually went to large companies.

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A new Federal Trade Commission rule puts much tighter limits on businesses that use telemarketing calls to deliver prerecorded messages …

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Even when the economy hits the skids, it doesn’t mean everyone has stopped buying. People still need products and services; the challenge is attracting them to your doorstep. To help goose your sales before year-end, go back to some of these traditional tactics.

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