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Cover your Bases

Leaving your business for a while? You need a game plan.

If you ever need to leave your business for an extended period of time, you'll want to plan ahead for when you can return, if at all. Whether you want to suspend operations temporarily or keep the company running without you, Deploy Proof helps by giving you a step-by-step guide through the entire process. Developed by The Veterans Corporation, the site focuses on active members of the military who are expecting deployment, but its advice can be useful for almost any business owner who faces an impending absence.

New Best Friend
With Sandy, a little virtual help goes a long way.

Meet Sandy, your new virtual assistant. Sandy is a free program that works with your e-mail to help you remember important dates and events and keep your life organized. Sign up and the program will send you Sandy's e-mail address. You can then CC her or e-mail her directly with requests to remind you about upcoming dates, events and tasks, or you can use keywords in the body of your e-mail that the program will recognize. Can't remember that client's number? Sandy can look up contacts and other details for you.

Do You Pass the Test?
Product reviews play a big role in consumers' decisions on what to buy.

67% of shoppers read consumer-written product reviews online.
80% say their purchase decisions have been directly influenced by reviews.
70% of shoppers share product reviews with their friends, family or colleagues.
18% of consumers say they look for more product information online or in other locations in addition to on the product's packaging.

Here to Help
These government resources have got your business's back.

Entrepreneurship.gov: Presented by the Department of Commerce and the Kauffman Foundation, the site aims to foster global entrepreneurship with educational content, research and events.

FederalNewsRadio: Stay in the know about the federal government and the latest contracting news with this online and AM radio station. GovernmentExecutive.com: Keep up with the news and issues that affect federal and state department and agency heads.

Small Business Speed Coaching Test Drive: This multicity series offers business owners one-on-one, 30-minute sessions with SCORE coaches. The series will hit Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix and run through the month of April.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the February 2008 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Cover your Bases.

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