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ShopTalk: Small business help
Welcome to ShopTalk, where the Observer tells you about small businesses and local entrepreneurs who have solved a problem, met a challenge or carved a unique niche. Follow us here each day, and in our Wednesday printed edition.

To draw customers and make money, Dave Daniel juggles two separate ventures a car-servicing business called Manetain, and a construction company called Daniel Enterprises.

Nearly as long as there have been coffee shops and carwashes, all manner of businesses have handed out buy-10-get-one-free punch cards and hoped to reap the rewards of this simplest of loyalty marketing campaigns. But a new day is dawning.

At the ShopTalk small business conference, Charlotte-area business leaders advise aspiring entrepreneurs to be flexible, knowledgeable, persistent and thoughtful.

The Observer and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina are hosting a small business conference today. Get live updates throughout.

We value comments and suggestions. Contact reporter Jonathan McFadden.

EMAIL ShopTalk or call: 704-358-6045.
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ShopTalk is independently reported and edited through the newsroom of The Charlotte Observer. The underwriter plays no role in the selection of the content.

Small-business owners, we want to see what you look like when you're at your place of business.

Jeff BrokawThe season doth approach for startup kickoffs, pitches and competitions.The late winte...

ShopTalk
Read excerpts from Julie Haack’s keynote address at ShopTalk’s Small Business Conference explaining how she weathered the recession and survived her own business “plane crashes.”

Networking events and classes of interest to the small business community

Paul Spinak, president and creative director of The Marketing Machine in Raleigh, says direct mail marketing can be effective because companies are delivering their message directly to the consumer. Companies also know that that advertising will be touched and seen.

‘Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work’ By Liz Wiseman, HarperCollins.

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