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IMPORTANT SPPA DATES


Date Event Location
March 25 Webinar Wednesday Online Webinar
March 18 Jackson Promo Lunch Jackson, Mississippi
April 22 New Orleans Promo Lunch New Orleans
May 20 Mobile Promo Lunch Mobile, Alabama
June 17 Shreveport Promo Lunch Shreveport, Louisiana
July 15 Lafayette Promo Lunch Lafayette, Louisiana
Aug. 19 Decatur Promo Lunch Decatur, Alabama
Sept. 9 Louisiana Fall Showcase Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Sept. 10 Mississippi Fall Showcase Jackson, Mississippi
Sept. 11 Alabama Fall Showcase Birmingham, Alabama
Oct. 21 Holiday Showcase Pensacola Beach, Florida


For more information on these SPPA events, go to www.sunbeltppa.org.


INDUSTRY NEWS


Why small businesses don't want a loan
CNBC
Fed Chair Janet Yellen revealed to Congress that demand is not "very high" for small business loans, adding that some of this may be due to uncertainties caused by the financial crisis and the fact that home values have fallen so much. Yellen's comments come at an interesting time in the world of small business, where, by several indicators, there is still a fair amount of optimism.
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6 tips to become a digital marketing superstar
The Financial Brand
More than three-quarters of all executives say digital initiatives are a major priority, yet almost as many feel unprepared to deal with the explosion of radically new and different landscape. So says Ira Kaufman in his new book co-authored with Chris Horton entitled, Digital Marketing Guidebook. Kaufman, an assistant marketing professor at Lynchburg College, says even marketing managers with an advanced education aren't necessarily prepared with the mindset to create a DIY digital strategy.
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Is this job candidate a devil or angel?
By Mel Kleiman
It is human nature to prefer like-minded others who share our values, assessments and opinions, but it's in your best interest to curb this tendency when evaluating job candidates. Nothing could be a bigger hindrance to your organization's success than being fully staffed by cookie-cutter replicas of top management. Think about it. Do your customers all think, look and act alike? Most certainly not. How are you going to "find a need and fill it," if no one on staff knows what that need might be? Here are a few tips to help you avoid this misstep.
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Small business owners: Everything is awesome!
Washington Post
"Have you heard the news, everyone's talking / Life is good 'cause everything's awesome."

Sure, they're the lyrics from that ridiculously infectious ode to positivity from The Lego Movie. But they could easily double as the opening sentence in most small business optimism reports these days. After several rough years on Main Street, the mood among small employers started to turn north last year, surged during the holidays, and has remained upbeat to start 2015. Just check out the, well, awesomeness oozing from these recent charts.

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The 7 best Facebook alternatives you didn't know about
TIME
Your Facebook friends are boring. Your Twitter followers sound like a bunch of parrots. And your LinkedIn contacts, well, who wants to talk about work all day, anyway? Amazingly, in 2015, it's still possible to feel like you've reached the end of the Internet, especially if you rely on your social networks for news and amusement. But there are more ways to connect with people online than the three most popular social networks.
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Here's how 1 marketing firm is tackling the Pinterest problem
GigaOM
Pinterest is coming of age and marketing firms are gathering to preach Pinterest marketing gospel. The site is an unusual beast: a mix of image-focused design (like Instagram), founded on a social-follower premise (like Twitter), but has since shifted to search-driven results (like Google). Making the most of the site’s reach takes more than just a promoted pin — brands need a marketing strategy that taps into all of Pinterest's qualities.
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3 things entrepreneurs must learn about digital marketing and PR
Entrepreneur
In running a digital-marketing consultancy in a tech mecca like Seattle, I work with larger companies and spend time with local startups hoping to crack the big time with their ideas and energy. What's apparent, though, is that many startup entrepreneurs struggle to market their companies through digital channels. Many of these fledgling businesses are led by people who are perhaps great developers or salespeople but they lack experience with digital marketing and public relations.
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Why hackers love companies who use social media
Forbes
For many companies, social media is an amazing marketing tool. You can get your name out in front of established customers and potential customers without spending a lot of dollars. A lot of organizations turn to interns to create Facebook posts or to send out regular tweets on Twitter, or they will hire a freelance social media expert who can keep the company's name in the public eye for a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee.
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Retirement: Why small-business owners don't save
USA TODAY
Baby Boomers are becoming entrepreneurs at an amazing pace. By some accounts they are starting 50 percent of new businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration says more than 5 million Boomers 55 and older either own businesses or are self-employed. There are plenty of reasons for this rush to entrepreneurship: They have the skills, they have the dreams and many aren't ready to retire.
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