The day’s top five reads for small-business owners, as selected by our business experts, Rieva Lesonsky, Mike Michalowicz, Barry Moltz and Mike Periu.
Are You Trying to Innovate the Wrong Way?
Too many entrepreneurs think innovation is the same as invention—and while it can be, that’s not always the case. Inventors generally create something unlike anything that’s existed before (the telephone, for example). Innovators, on the other hand, improve on existing ideas. To coin two clichés, they don’t reinvent the wheel; they simply build a better mousetrap. If you’re struggling with innovation, try thinking laterally. That process is how we went from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles. [Harvard Business Review]
Internet Sales Tax on Fast Track to Approval
For years Internet-based retailers have had an advantage over their bricks-and-mortar competitors. Online buyers that live in a different state avoided paying sales tax. Combined with free shipping, this put traditional retailers operating on thin margins in a tough spot. That's about to change. President Obama has endorsed an Internet sales tax, and the Senate passed a bill with lightning speed authorizing it. It's likely to become law, meaning that Web sellers will soon need to start sending payments to buyers' home states. [Yahoo! News
What You Can Learn from These 3 Amazing Social Media Campaigns
The initial conclusion for many marketing and advertising studies was that social media was growing faster than the rate at which businesses could learn how to effectively use it to market themselves. However, at least three brands seem to have a pretty good handle on how to use social media to market themselves. Here's how you can mimic their success. [Irish Times]
The Main Advantage of Pop-Up Stores
When it comes to brand awareness, getting in front of consumers is half the marketing battle. Merchants in Singapore are eliminating competition from other brands by setting up temporary stores in cafes or bars inside malls or crowded outdoor areas. The stores are rarely up more than two weeks, but give merchants plenty of time to raise brand awareness. [Channel News Asia]
How to Stand Out When Every Businesses is Giving Back
Apparently most small businesses have gotten the point that the more they share and give back to the community, whether that’s local, national or global, the more loyal their customers become. So it’s become harder for small social businesses to stand apart. According to a recent study, “when quality and price are equal, social purpose ranks as the most important [buying] trigger” for consumers. But if every company has a social purpose, how do you differentiate your company? [Co.Exist]
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