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) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. What are the most overused startup buzzwords?

"If your company 'pivots' to 'disrupt' an industry, you need a new strategy,"


contributor Louis Bedigian writes in an article that takes some buzz out of buzzwords.

While some successful companies describe how they made billions of dollars by using jargon, when thousands of entrepreneurs start describing their own businesses that way, the words begin to lose meaning, writes Bedigian, who is also an analyst for



Here are a few buzzwords to avoid:

1. Game-changer

2. At the end of the day

3. Leading

4. Pivot

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5. Disruptive

2. Fast-casual chains lead restaurant industry.

Panera Bread




(CMG) - Get Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Report


Five Guys Burgers and Fries

were the top sales fast-casual chains last year, according to

QSR Magazine

, citing


Fast-Casual Top 150 Chain Restaurant Report.

The top 150 fast-casual chains grew 8.4% to $21.5 billion in 2011 compared to 6.6% in 2010, the report says. Sales growth last year for the top 500 U.S. restaurant chains was 3.5%.

Fast-casual restaurants are characterized by speedy service, moderate check averages and tend to have a large takeout component.

"The cluster has a strong consumer appeal and major emerging fast-casual chains demonstrate healthier average unit volumes compared to traditional quick-service dining establishments,"



Panera Bread and Five Guys had particularly strong sales growth last year, at 10.1% and 32%, respectively.

3. Will Twitter supersede email marketing?

As social media becomes an essential part of businesses' online marketing strategies, some experts say that Twitter will replace email marketing altogether. Rather, the two strategies complement each other well, according to

Practical eCommerce


Both forms of marketing have their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, email newsletters can be designed to match brand identities and style, while Twitter has limits to that. Or when it comes to uniformity, Twitter wins this battle. No matter how you access the social media site, the interface is always the same. Email newsletters mean dealing with word processing and design, among other things.

Most importantly, be cognizant of who your customers are and who you would like to target. Not everyone wants to get their information via 140-character Tweet. The article says to use Twitter to spark customer interest, but follow up with a newsletter with strong content to make the sale.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to:


To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to:!/LKulikowski

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