Good small business reads #36: How to lead by listening, master Google+ Hangouts, inspire business change and growth, plus a new infographic

It’s March and before we all jump into March Madness and spend every spare moment worrying about our brackets, here are some great small business reads I’ve come across lately that I hope will be of interest. First up is my good friend Karen Utgoff’s post on “Five Steps to Inspire Business Change and Growth.” Many of you have become fans of Karen’s from her posts at succeedinginsmallbusiness.com. I know you’ll love her take on how to refocus your organization and change its culture so you’re all working cohesively as a well-oiled team. This is from the blog she does with our mutual friend Laurie Breitner.

Determined to try something new in the social media realm this year to market your business? Check out “Tips for Hosting and Attending Google Plus Hangouts” for great advice on how to use this platform to build your community. I particularly liked the advice about not being afraid to bring up controversial topics since this “demonstrates that there isn’t a superficial façade attached to your brand.” Great advice, but just be sure you know how to appropriately respond to any negative comments coming from participants.

As faithful readers will recognize, I am a huge fan of Richard Branson. Here’s a great article from entrepreneur.com in which he answers questions on being a successful leader…the key to which, he says, is knowing how to listen. This is a must-read; don’t miss it.

Finally, here is this month’s infographic, which is on the critically important topic of data loss and disaster recovery. As the company that provided the infographic, Singlehop, states, a data loss can put your small business in severe danger. Check out the common causes and the steps for a recovery plan in the infographic.

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