Good small biz reads #9: Sage advice on taxes, PR agencies, brainstorming and more

April brings the Tax Man, but thankfully, it also brings daffodils. (Flickr photo by antaean/CC License)

T. S. Eliot dubbed April “the cruelest month” in his poem, “The Waste Land,” but we can thank the IRS for truly making is so. Thus, I start this month’s selection of recommended articles with this piece from Intuit entitled “What Are the Biggest Small Business Tax Mistakes?” Great use of infographics, by the way; click on the poster and it enlarges for easy reading.

I’ve recently become a big fan of American Express’ Open Forum as a source of interesting reading material. If you’ve emptied out your bank account to pay your taxes, you might want to check out this piece from that site, “Before You can Multiply You Must First Learn to Divide.” Writer Steven Shapiro points out the wisdom behind the notion that sometimes the path to growing your bottom line is through sharing your profits with a partner. He gives several examples of situations in which people were able to increase the size of their pie by being willing to share that pie with others.

Ragan’s PR Daily recently posted a piece entitled “5 Types of PR Agencies to Avoid” that certainly rang true for me. Having worked in agencies and competed with them, I can vouch that these types of firms do exist and that you should run away from them as fast as possible.

I particularly find egregious the agency that plays the role of “yes-man.” Too many agencies and freelancers – and in fact consultants of all types, not just in public relations – are either afraid to tell clients they are wrong or don’t care enough to ruffle anyone’s feathers. My philosophy is that you are paying me for my expertise; if I hold it back, I should give back your money.

And finally, how many brainstorming sessions have you sat through that went nowhere? The McKinsey Quarterly offered up an article with ideas on how to do better; it’s entitled  “Seven Steps to Better Brainstorming.”

Happy reading!

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