This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Nov. 19

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. A strategy for avoiding a Petraeus-like email scandal. Here's a way to have a foolproof plan to avoid the email disaster suffered by David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. The "plan is so effective and perfect that it doesn't even involve any adjustment in personal behavior, standards of marital fidelity, or anything else of the sort," according to TheAtlantic.

"Never put anything in an email message, to anyone, that would cause you serious problems if it fell into the wrong hands," author James Fallows writes.

"I mean things that really can make trouble. Harsh criticism of people we work with -- or, worse, work for. Behind-the-back snark about people who think we're friends. And clues of any sort about behavior that could make trouble if exposed -- for instance, if you are having an affair that you would rather your spouse and work mates didn't know about," he writes.

Of course, scandals similar in nature happened in the days before email, but email makes everything different because it can be easily forwarded and sent to places it shouldn't go; it can also be easily mis-addressed (hint: that "Reply All" button is a sneaky one); and it can be easily stored and searched for.

2. Small firms benefit from outsourcing. Even if your small business is doing well, the benefits are large to outsourcing some of the most basic operational tasks. According to USAToday, identifying necessary tasks and turning them over to a specialist firm can free up capital and manpower, which can then be redirected to jobs directly related to growth, such as customer relations, production and sales.

One such area that small firms can benefit is in the payment of sales tax, which may sound simple, but isn't, according to the article. And with local governments stepping up sales tax compliance, the risk of an audit is increasing. Using outsourced software can help mitigate any potential conflicts for a small business, the article notes.

"Knowing the sales tax we collect is accurate down to the house number provides us with a great deal of comfort," says Logos Bible Software CFO Andrew Skipton. "We provided the examiner with our monthly Avalara AvaTax product reports, and our audit resulted in no additional tax due."

Another area is in streamlining expense reports. Redmond, Wash.-based Concur helps employees file expense reports from the road using their laptops, tablets or smartphones. The Internet-based technology software is able to complete a wide variety of tasks including scanning taxi and restaurant receipts, the article says.

A third chore is managing basic telephone and Internet connections. Outsourcing this task through Voice Over Internet Protocol systems, especially as a firm grows, can save the company a few hundred dollars a month in overall expenses.

3. Six online small-business marketing trends for 2013. While small-business owners aren't typically marketing gurus, there are a few strategies that should be implemented sooner rather than later, according to an article via Business 2 Community, an online community focused on social media, marketing, branding and public relations news.

Static websites are out; interactive tools are in. Add "content marketing" to your website. "Creating quality, relevant content attracts your target market and positions you as the expert in your industry," the author writes.

Which leads to always having fresh content on your website. Try implanting an "editorial calendar" to help plan ahead so you don't waste time trying to figure out what type of content to produce and what is relevant to your readers.

Get with the program on SEO. Changes to Google (GOOG) search algorithms earlier this year mean small-business owners should be reading up a little on what works and what doesn't when it comes to SEO. It may be more efficient for you to hire a local, reputable marketing company to help you.

Support your mobile visitors. Customers more than ever are using their smartphones to connect via the Internet. Don't miss out on the opportunity to connect with your customers by failing to offer a mobile-supported website. "Most small businesses will not be able to afford having both a browser website and a mobile website designed and developed. If you transition your website to a responsive theme, you can support all devices easily," the article says.

Don't abandon email marketing; it just needs some refining. "Make it part of your content plan to create a valuable product such as an eBook, whitepaper or useful tool, that people get for free when they sign up for your email list," the article says.

Make sure your overall Web presence is optimized. Are you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest? Getting on these sites has several benefits, including creating more visibility for your brand; networking opportunities and attracting your ideal client.

-- 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.

RELATED STORIES:







Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,614.81 +215.14 1.31%
S&P 500 1,941.28 +37.27 1.96%
NASDAQ 4,419.4780 +103.4040 2.40%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs