Good small business reads #16: Save money, do better planning, staging a comeback, and stand out from the crowd

It’s time for our monthly roundup of interesting articles found on the Internet in the past month. I am constantly amazed at the wealth of helpful information available to small business owners these days. Here’s what caught my attention lately:

A guest blogger for the SBA’s community site offers up “10 Cost Saving Ideas for Small Business Owners.” My favorite from the list is #6: Switch banks. For decades I’ve made sure I banked with small local banks. Their fees are significantly lower than those too-big-to-fail banks that try to nickel and dime you to death at every turn. People seem to think changing banks is a big hassle but I’ve never found it to be. Try it; you’ll like the money you save.

Tim Berry is someone I know through my work with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship; he is a columnist for the NACCE journal, which I edit. Tim is an expert in business planning and in “It’s Not One Size Fits All” he makes the important point that your business plan should meet the needs of your company and not just fit into a mold that matches every other business on the block. For example, he suggests that for some small businesses, a series of bullet points is sufficient as your business plan.  Those who hope to attract investment dollars, on the other hand, will need a more formal document. Tim’s latest book is The Plan As You Go Business Plan. You might want to check that out, too.

In “Small Business Comebacks” on the Entrepreneur magazine website, guest writer and freelance journalist Jane Porter suggests three turnaround strategies to get through the economic bad times. I suggest that the advice in this article is good any time, even when your business is not in the dumps, so check it out.

Peter Shankman is founder of HARO, which stands for Help A Reporter Out, a service that connects journalists and sources. He has a wicked sense of humor so I follow him on Twitter. Last week, I saw he tweeted about his newest blog post, which had the attention-grabbing title of “Why most people are full of shit and how not to be one of them.” Well, who could not click on that link? There was sure to be a really good rant on hand. And while his post is definitely funny, it also has a lot of smart advice for how to stand out by being sincere and caring toward others. I highly recommend giving it a read. And check out HARO; it’s a great source for potential publicity for your small business.

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