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Top 10 Business Tips From This Week's OPEN Forum

No time to read this week? Here are our favorite tips from this week's top OPEN Forum stories, including some just in time for Small Business Saturday.
November 30, 2013

1. Work with other stores to boost "shop small" efforts. Partnering with other small businesses in your area incentivizes customers to shop local, increasing sales and foot traffic for everyone involved. (From "How To Make The Most Of Small Business Saturday," by Kelly Spors)

2. Offer rewards associated with the shopping eventSmall Business Saturday isn't just for retailers. Non-retailers can get in on the day's benefits, by offering customers a discount that expires a week after November 30. (From "Small Business Saturday: Not Just For Retailers Anymore," by Phaedra Hise)

3. Make your store a place people want to hang out. Create a space that people want to linger in, increasing sales and promoting favorable word of mouth. You'll add to your coffers and to your community, securing your spot as a beloved neighborhood fixture. (From "8 Ways To Make Every Day Small Business Saturday," by Rieva Lesonsky)

4. Calm down on the decorations. Sure, you're in the holiday spirit. But if it looks like the holiday decorations aisle of your local party goods store exploded in your store, all you're doing is overwhelming your already beleaguered customer. (From "Put Down The Tinsel: 5 Holiday Marketing Don'ts," by Vivian Wagner)

5. Give back to your community. "Smart businesses realize that charitable giving doesn’t have to bankrupt the company coffers," writes Phaedra Hise. "In fact, good works can actually strengthen the business." (From "Giving Back: Small Businesses Find Cool New Ways To Make A Difference," by Phaedra Hise)

6.   Consider your brand's strength before spinning offBrand extensions, or spinoffs if you will, can either be incredibly lucrative or a huge, money-guzzling mistake. Make sure your revenue stream is strong and that people really know about your brand before you take the next step. (From "Are You Ready For A Brand Spinoff?," by Mark Henricks)

7. Host a thank-you lunch for clients and business partners. Go beyond your typical business gift to show your best clients just how much you appreciate their business. It will go far in strengthening bonds. (From "15 Ways To Give Thanks This Season," by Rieva Lesonsky)

8. Get your mission statement down to 140 characters. If you can't tell people what your business does in that amount of space, your company may be too broad, which can hurt you when it comes time to grow your business. (From "The 140-Character Mission Statement," by Chris Guillebeau)

9. Forget all the holiday sales myths you know. That includes the work-life balance destroying myth, "you can't take time off." It's important to use the holidays to refresh yourself and reconnect with those you love most. (From "5 Holiday Sales Myths You Shouldn't Believe," by Jason Brick)

10. Don't ask for a to-go box at your business lunchIt may be tempting, but you're there on business, not for leftovers, career coach Barbara Pachter notes in her newest book. (From "14 Dining Etiquette Rules You Need To Know," by Vivian Giang)

And just because there can never be too many adorable animals on the Internet, take a look at some of Small Business Saturdays fluffy supporters

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