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Source: Succeedasyourownboss.com

Since the recession began in 2008, more and more people are choosing to become self-employed and become their own boss.

Recent figures show that 367,000 more people have entered self-employment since the start of the economic downturn. The number of employees also fell during this period by 2%, which has been a catalyst for people to become entrepreneurs rather than facing the difficult challenge of looking for another job in corporate America.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com

Creating online conversations and touch points with customers and prospects yields indisputable business value for start-ups and entrepreneurs. In some cases, exposure through social media can create solid brand equity and lay a stronger foundation for capital-building opportunities. Embracing a social business model also positively impacts an organization's agility, allowing it to gather real-time feedback and be responsive to changing customer needs and market forces. While the concept of social business is constantly evolving, in 2013 social businesses are going to be challenged to derive business value out of their social "connectedness."

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Effective communication is a crucial skill for leaders. In the business world, a lack of clear communication with employees can damage the health of your company. "Unclear expectations lead to inefficient processes and subpar performance," says Christine Lotze, a partner at Philosophy IB, a Florham Park, N.J.-based management consulting firm.

Source: Succeedasyourownboss.com

What is the biggest struggle in any small business? Are you wearing too many hats? Yep, just what I thought. When you are a small business owner you immediately take on 10-14 jobs all at once, so it stands to reason that you might not do them all well. Sometimes, we all feel like “I AM THE BUSINESS!” But it is dangerous for a growing business to operate this way for too long. You will surely fail to maintain the business over time, not to mention you can lose your family and your sanity too, working yourself to death.

Source: Smallbiztrends.com

Last year we published a list of 20 Social Media Monitoring Tools. One of the more popular tools on that list is Hootsuite. Today we give you a deep dive into Hootsuite: what it is and how it can make you more productive with social media.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Forget the stereotypical leadership image of a buttoned-up person in a gray suit hauling around a hefty briefcase. Today, standout leaders come in all shapes and sizes. She could be a blue jeans-clad marketing student, running a major ecommerce company out of her dorm room. He might be the next salt-and-pepper-haired, barefoot Steve Jobs, presenting a groundbreaking new device at a major industry conference.

Source: Forbes.com

Keeping up with the latest developments in marketing for your small business means staying up-to-date on the world of social media. Aside from the challenge of simply staying informed about new platforms and changes to existing platforms, figuring out how to maneuver within the sometimes overwhelming sea of actual socializing to make your company’s presence felt – and not ignored or resented – presents a serious challenge to small business owners and marketing professionals.

Source: HuffingtonPost.com

Let's face it: The "big box" brands have the marketing muscle to both create and dominate most of the noise in the consumer marketplace - be it stores, restaurants or services. Smaller or emerging merchants might be intimidated by today's business landscape, especially when considering they don't have the resources to outspend larger, more established brands in marketing, or provide rock bottom prices.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Social media can level the playing field between industry leaders and upstarts, between multinational corporation executives and small-business owners, making peers of all participants. Yet appearances can be deceiving. To borrow from George Orwell's Animal Farm, all social-media users are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Source: Entrepreneur.com

In the new summer blockbuster Man of Steel, Clark Kent spends his youth on Earth completely ignorant of and confused by his superhuman abilities. It's only upon acceptance of his true self that he dons the red-and-blue caped suit and becomes the superhero he was meant to be.

Even if your startup's mission isn't as grand as saving the world, entrepreneurs can be more successful business leaders by focusing on sharpening strengths rather than compensating for weaknesses.

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