American Express OPEN, the credit card firm's small-business branch, recently published a free booklet offering tips to help small-business owners survive in tough economic times.

Available here, the 18-page publication includes advice on how to succeed in a down economy, as well as several case studies drawn from American Express clients who own small businesses, including an airplane parts company, a bakery and a racing academy.

For more small-business resources from American Express, see

Avoiding a Sales Slump

Aspire, a Phoenix-based consulting firm, announced this week that it will be hosting a two-day workshop for sales professionals. The Revenue SurgeSM Boot Camp, to be held at the company's main office from Jan. 13-14, offers advice on improving revenue, optimizing top accounts, driving conversion during a bad economy and accelerating closing techniques.

The $750 attendance fee covers all the sessions and accompanying materials, as well as breakfast and lunch for both days. Follow-up coaching calls will be available for an additional $250.

To register or to get more information, call 704-499-3553 or email

Watchdog Forum

The SBA Office of Advocacy has launched a community blog designed to be a forum for small-business owners. The Small Business Watchdog aims to promote discussion on regulatory issues, small-business research and other entrepreneurial issues. Organizers are encouraging readers to express their views in an open-forum comments section after every post.

Check out the blog here; comments are encouraged.