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Do It for the Gram … and the Kids … and More Tips for May

Corral your vendors and keep it to five sentences or less are just a few of this months bright ideas.

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MARKETINGModel Customers

There’s a portion of the back-to-school market that is going to be particularly sensitive about how they look when classes return — teens headed to high school for the first time and college freshmen. Take a tip from British fashion retailer Topshop: For one day a week hire a pro to photograph these youngsters in their new frames during peak BTS season and then give them the photos to post them to their Instagram pages (tagging your biz of course!). It’s amazing what a pro can do with even staid portrait shots.

BUYINGHave a Vendor Day

If you constantly have reps dropping in when you least expect them or are getting headaches trying to keep track of all your vendor appointments, here’s an approach from Jason Jennings, author of Think Big, Act Small that should help make your life simpler. Have one day a week when vendors are free to visit you with no appointments needed. The rest of the time, you are off-limits.

COMMUNICATIONSFive Sentences Max

Email is great, at least compared to what came before it. But it still takes too long to respond to, resulting in continuous inbox overflow for those who receive a lot of it. The solution? Treat all email responses like tweets, but with a set limit of five sentences (opposed to so many characters), web designer Mike Davidson told Entrepreneur magazine. Add the rationale in your signature — that your policy is designed to save everyone time — and you may find everyone in your email circle getting to the point faster.

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DESIGNFont First

This is possibly the best website we’ve seen — ever — for fonts used in logos, signs and sandwich boards: letterheadfonts.com. Check out the samples. Pick a favorite. Tell your designer you want “something in this general ballpark” and give him $100 to buy the fonts.

COMMUNICATIONSPhone Form

When you meet with someone in person, make a point of shutting your phone completely off, says Chris Bailey, author of Hyper Focus. “(It) shows them they’re important to you, and that you’re ready to give them 100% of your attention.”

PRODUCTIVITYHold That Thought

You’ve spent the morning on a new marketing plan, settled on a bold new initiative, and now it’s time for lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll come back and hammer out some detail. Wrong move, says business coach Karen Salmansohn, author of Ballsy. A better strategy is to leave the project at a place where you’re psyched and you’ll be excited to get back into it the next day, she says.

INFORMATIONVisit Your Local Library

The public library … nothing there but musty old books and out-of-touch librarians. Wrong. Most big public libraries have sections that provide a tremendous array of resources for small businesspeople including trade magazines, databases and digital tools, as well as traditional reference materials. In addition, they are increasingly hosting seminars and workshops on topics such as copyrights, internet marketing and e-commerce. Best of all, they have librarians eager to help you find the exact information you need. Google can’t compete.

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