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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: September 17

The IFA prefers to use its own data, including the fact that over 90% of franchisee owners renew their contracts with franchisors.

Bob Purvin, chairman and founder of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers, argues that the IFA statistics are also misrepresented. "The renewal rate claim is yet another example because it implies that 90% of franchise buyers are successful, meaning that they are profitable and happy," he says.

Still it's a number that many franchisors use in their marketing materials to attract would-be franchisees, regardless of whether it's providing a comprehensive picture of the business experience.

3. Con marketing fools no one. What can a small business learn from Nokia's (NOK) marketing mistake? Plenty.

Last week, the tech company got caught red-handed when it was discovered that some of the promotional videos and photos it used to hype its new Lumia 920 PureView smartphone weren't legitimate.

It's an embarrassment that is bad for a corporation and arguably even worse for a small business, particularly if it's a major public relations disasters AND self-inflicted as Nokia's was.

Information Week shares lessons that small businesses can learn from Nokia's error.

"Con marketing is a fast path to SMB ruin," Techaisle CEO Anurag Agrawal told Information Week. "SMBs, especially very small businesses, reply upon word-of-mouth and referrals to grow their business. They have to be extra careful to make sure that they deliver what they promise."

The first rule of thumb is that if you think no one will notice any falsified measures used to promote a product or services, think again, and the news media as well as the far reaching abilities of social media used by customers won't let you forget it.

Is the risk associated worth the reward? Many times it is not, particularly in terms of the financial measures that might be needed to get your business out of the hole.

Communication is also key. Make sure any major customer-facing decisions are well-communicated and well-vetted within the company, the article says.

While pre-launch buzz can be a good thing don't promise what you can't deliver.

Finally, making a mistake is one thing, but not being prepared to react and respond is likely to scratch your second chance with the public. Have a plan ready to go in worst-case scenarios.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

>To submit a news tip, email: tips@thestreet.com.

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