Why you need an FAQ page. Let's face it -- good customer service or not, answering daily queries about the same topics can become tedious and time-consuming. That's why you should consider creating an FAQ page for your company's website, according to a recent post over at Web Worker Daily. A good FAQ page not only educates clients and customers about your services, but it can also provide useful info about your work processes and pre-empt absences and missed deadlines. "An FAQ page can help you reduce the frequency in which you provide the same information to different people," the post says, "It can also help you to remain productive and focused on tasks that actually require your expertise."
What Krishna can teach you about business. As we mentioned yesterday, Austin-area entrepreneurs might want to check out this week's RISE Austin conference, a free conference designed to encourage the sharing of ideas and encouragement between entrepreneurs. On the RISE site, Bijoy Goswami, founder of the Bootstrap Network, discusses the business lessons he has learned from an even higher power--the Hindu god Krishna. Taking lessons from the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu scripture, Goswami tells of how Krishna explains to a young warrior that, "Your job is not to be good at everything...your job is to know what you're good at, discover what it is, and then deepen that capability. From that excellence, you will then find out what you're here to do. And then you will find people to come along with you on that journey." Consider it a lesson in delegating from a higher power.
Quiet time: not just for kindergarten anymore. All of the dings, buzzes, and alerts coming from your computer and cellphone might be small distractions, but they can add up to big losses for your business. Reuters reports today that interruptions and distractions cost the average desk worker 2.1 hours of productivity every day and the companies they work for as much as $1 billion annually. In addition, constant e-mail lowered workers attention spans, increased stress, and decreased job satisfaction and creativity. Intel dealt with this problem by imposing a four-hour "quiet time" on its engineers. The 14 people worked alone and all messaging and contact was banned. Although you might not be ready to enforce an all-out ban on communication, Inc.'s guide can help you develop a cell phone policy that fit's your company.
Google secures a patent for location-based advertising. While most of the blogosphere was distracted with Facebook locking down the patent for its news feed format, Google stealthily nabbed a patent for location-based advertising, reports VentureBeat. The patent itself, which was fairly broad, was filed 6 years ago. It governs location for targeting, setting a minimum price bid for an ad, offering analytics, and changing the content of an ad. VentureBeat says that it's still unclear whether start-ups should be alarmed, calling it "a defensive practice, rather than as a tool for pressuring other companies to desist or pay license fees." But it certainly gives Google, which has made location-enabled search and advertising a priority in the past year, an edge in its war with Apple over mobile advertising. Indeed, competition has heated up recently with Google acquiring Admob in November and Apple buying Quattro Wireless in January.
Another start-up bites the dust (thanks to Google). Google's recent buying spree continues with the announcement that the search giant has acquired Picnik, a start-up that offers an online photo editing service, The New York Times reports. The service allows users to edit photos through a browser without having to download any software. "The sale puts Google in yet another competing business with Adobe, going up against Photoshop.com, and with Apple and the basic photo editing tools within iPhoto," the Times writes. Picnik CEO Jonathan Sposato previously sold another company to Google--Phatbits, in 2006.
Why Joel Spolsky is Giving Up His Blog. He wants to focus on other ways to market his business. Spolsky is the creator of Joel on Software, a long-running and very popular blog about programming, the founder of Fog Creek Software, and an Inc. columnist. He writes in his latest column that he has decided to hang up his pen for awhile and will no longer post Tweets, record podcasts, or speak at conferences. "The truth is, as much as I've enjoyed it, blogging has become increasingly impossible to do the way I want to as Fog Creek has become a larger company," he writes. "We now have 32 employees and at least six substantial product lines. We have so many customers that I can't always write freely without inadvertently insulting one of them." Meanwhile, Spolsky says that although blogging has been an effective way to reach people who read blogs, he has been ignoring customers who might be reached through more traditional marketing channels. So, bad news: Joel is giving up his Inc. column. But, good news: We're adding a new columnist, 37 Signals founder Jason Fried.
Starbucks unruffled by gun-toting customers. In the past we've covered the debate over workplace gun policies but now chains including Starbucks are being drawn into the fray. Even in states that allow people to carry firearms openly, businesses can choose to ban them. Fans of the 2nd amendment in those states have been parading through establishments forcing them to take a stand on the issue. While California Pizza Kitchen and Peet's Coffee & Tea have given the NRA crowd a chilly reception, Starbucks is letting it's customers flaunt their firepower, writes the Huffington Post. John Bruce, a University of Mississippi professor and gun policy expert says, "Starbucks is a special target because it's from the hippie West Coast, and a lot of dedicated consumers who pay $4 for coffee have expectations that Starbucks would ban guns. And here they aren't."
Make way for a new chocolate entrepreneur. From your everyday extras, like caramel, toffee, and almonds, to more daring additives, like chili peppers or bleu cheese, there are plenty of ingredients you can add to chocolate to make it taste better - even air bubbles. While aerated treats have become all the rage in Europe and other countries worldwide, air-infused confectionary goodies have yet to make a real mark in the U.S., until now. The Boston Globe reports that a year-old, Salem, Massachusetts-based company called Bubble Chocolate is attempting to become the first successful aerated chocolate bar business in the U.S. market. The company has begun nation-wide distribution through Whole Foods and Duane Reade, with additional talks in the works with other retail giants, such as Wal-Mart and Target. According to owner Paul Pruett, "The U.S. is the last frontier for this type of chocolate. The premium chocolate category is looking for something new."
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