Good small biz reads #12: Marketing and communication mistakes to avoid, advice for home office users, how to think like an innovator and more

Writing July’s compendium of valuable advice for small business owners that I’ve come across online was hard because of the wealth of good articles and videos I’ve found in the past month. It’s an abundance of riches! Not wanting to overwhelm you, I’ve narrowed the possibilities down to four must-read articles and one must-view video.

First up is “When Small Business Communication Goes Wrong” from the SmallBizTrends.com blog. If you’ve ever found yourself at loggerheads with a business client or with someone who is consulting to your business, you know that nine times out of ten the problem relates to poor communication. The four steps to better communication offered here will help you avoid communications-related problems in the first place.

Small businesses must make every marketing dollar count. In “5 Massive Marketing Mistakes for Small Business Owners,” author Jessica Swanson points out significant marketing errors that small business owners make all too often. Make any of these mistakes and you’re putting your business in serious jeopardy. Alas, I have to report that I have seen most of these mistakes all too often.

Last month, my blog colleagues Laurie Breitner and Karen Utgoff wrote about innovation for small businesses. Karen found this interesting video on the Harvard Business Review’s blog that gives valuable advice on how innovators think. These are methods that anyone can learn through practice. Check it out for insights into how to develop your innovation muscle.  By the way, if you’ve missed Laurie and Karen’s recent posts, here they are again:

• Encouraging innovation: Rebuilding your airplane while in flight

• 6 ways to find inspiration to fuel innovation in your small business

Do you often feel overwhelmed by the volume of incoming and outgoing email? When my email program hit a major glitch last week that required several hours of a techie’s time to resolve, I realized that, on average, I send and receive 1,000 emails a month. That’s ridiculous! So I signed onto the Email Charter, which contains 10 rules to reverse the email spiral. Check it out here and learn what you can do to stop drowning in email.

Finally, here’s good advice that will simplify your work life if you work out of a home office. In “6 Ways to Stay Focused in Your Home Office,” you’ll find great ideas on how to take back control of your work day and avoid the dreaded “home office interruptus” that can skill your productivity.

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