Small business owners have had beef with online customer review site Yelp for years, with some saying the site filters reviews so the worst comments rise to the top. But research has found that the service has done some good in making “shop local” a lot easier for consumers:

… The revenues of Seattle restaurants between 2003 (pre-Yelp) and 2009 (post Yelp’s introduction), which found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating raised a restaurant’s revenues by 5 to 9 percent.

Read more on OPEN Forum.

Small business owners have had beef with online customer review site Yelp for years, with some saying the site filters reviews so the worst comments rise to the top. But research has found that the service has done some good in making “shop local” a lot easier for consumers:

… The revenues of Seattle restaurants between 2003 (pre-Yelp) and 2009 (post Yelp’s introduction), which found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating raised a restaurant’s revenues by 5 to 9 percent.

Read more on OPEN Forum.

If the idea of sitting down to write immediately fills you with dread, this tip is just for you:

For more writing tips, read “3 Easy Hacks for Kicking Your Lazy Writing Habits" on OPEN Forum.

If the idea of sitting down to write immediately fills you with dread, this tip is just for you:

For more writing tips, read “3 Easy Hacks for Kicking Your Lazy Writing Habits" on OPEN Forum.

How to Avoid the FTC’s Bad Side on Pinterest

A contest might sound like a great idea for a social media campaign, but if you don’t follow the rules, you may find the FTC knocking on your door, just like the marketing team at Cole Haan did when it launched a Pinterest contest to its followers.

These are the four things brands should consider when launching a contest on social media, particularly if that platform is Pinterest:

  1. Pinning may constitute an endorsement of a product or organization. 

  2. Entry into a sweepstakes or contest requires disclosure.

  3. Understand the terms and services of the social networks—all of them—before launching a contest. 

  4. The FTC is closely scrutinizing the business use of social media.

Read “4 Things You Must Know Before Running a Social Media Contest" on OPEN Forum.

Want to start a new venture or diversify your current small business? There are some fields you should consider. Here are the five best industries to start a small business in, courtesy of Mashable.com.

Small business owners typically don’t have big budgets for legal fees, but there are times when you should turn to a lawyer for advice. Rebecca Geller, the president and CEO of The Geller Law Group, has these four tips for entrepreneurs.

Why being a people curator is a way more effective way to connect with others than just networking.

Why being a people curator is a way more effective way to connect with others than just networking.

Sarika Doshi, a co-founder of the fashion and beauty website Rank & Style, shared some insight into how she launched her company while still working a full-time job:

It was a lot of work. I was working at a legal startup that was doing really interesting things, and I was learning so much, so it really wasn’t a drag. Basically I would work during the day, and then Pooja and Sonal would come over at night. We would order food and then start our second shift, building Rank & Style. It was like being in full-on final exam mode all the time. I would usually take Saturday off, but that was it.
How did you know when it was the right time to quit your job and dive in?
I was dedicated to getting my savings account to a certain place before quitting. That, and I wanted to get funded before launching. I know that isn’t traditional for a lot of risk-taking entrepreneurs, but I think everyone needs to do their own math. We ended up raising $500,000 right before we launched.

Learn more about Doshi and her company, Rank & Style, on OPEN Forum.

Sarika Doshi, a co-founder of the fashion and beauty website Rank & Style, shared some insight into how she launched her company while still working a full-time job:

It was a lot of work. I was working at a legal startup that was doing really interesting things, and I was learning so much, so it really wasn’t a drag. Basically I would work during the day, and then Pooja and Sonal would come over at night. We would order food and then start our second shift, building Rank & Style. It was like being in full-on final exam mode all the time. I would usually take Saturday off, but that was it.

How did you know when it was the right time to quit your job and dive in?

I was dedicated to getting my savings account to a certain place before quitting. That, and I wanted to get funded before launching. I know that isn’t traditional for a lot of risk-taking entrepreneurs, but I think everyone needs to do their own math. We ended up raising $500,000 right before we launched.

Learn more about Doshi and her company, Rank & Style, on OPEN Forum.

With as much as 15 percent of e-commerce sales coming from mobile devices, you need to make sure your website is in top shape. Turn those mobile viewers into paying customers with these five tips.

Being a great storyteller has never been more important for businesses than it is now, in the age of social media and viral stories. Customers who connect to your brand on an emotional level through the stories you tell end up being your most powerful brand ambassadors:

Chris Hurn left his son’s favorite stuffed animal, “Joshie,” at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Amelia Island, Florida, on a family vacation. When he got home, his son was devastated. Hurn told him that Joshie had decided to stay a few extra days at the hotel on vacation. The hotel staff sent Joshie back to his son. In the box, Joshie came with pictures of him by the pool, having a massage and taking a drive on the beach. Hurn was so impressed that he made a video about it that got 30,000 views. 

Read more about the power of storytelling on OPEN Forum.

Being a great storyteller has never been more important for businesses than it is now, in the age of social media and viral stories. Customers who connect to your brand on an emotional level through the stories you tell end up being your most powerful brand ambassadors:

Chris Hurn left his son’s favorite stuffed animal, “Joshie,” at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Amelia Island, Florida, on a family vacation. When he got home, his son was devastated. Hurn told him that Joshie had decided to stay a few extra days at the hotel on vacation. The hotel staff sent Joshie back to his son. In the box, Joshie came with pictures of him by the pool, having a massage and taking a drive on the beach. Hurn was so impressed that he made a video about it that got 30,000 views. 

Read more about the power of storytelling on OPEN Forum.

The Worst Parts of Being an Entrepreneur Nobody Talks About

1. Depression. Whether you’re talking about feeling a little blue or having a full-on, nonfunctional episode, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to suffer from depression. 

2. Personal sacrifice. Entrepreneurs can sometimes focus on work to the exclusion of things—relationships with a spouse or with children—that will matter more in hindsight.

3. Unhealthy habits. There’s never enough time in a day to accomplish everything, and entrepreneurs often prioritize work over things like exercise, taking the time to eat properly and getting enough sleep.

For three more downsides of being an entrepreneur—and helpful tips on how to address them—visit OPEN Forum.