Weekly business rail, with five tips for growing a small business, BBB’s new iPhone app and more.

Tip of the Week

When you start a small business, you'll probably discover that what you learned in business school doesn't cover everything you need to know as a business leader. That's what Michael Alter, SurePayroll president and CEO, discovered during his 10 years leading the company:

- Don't be afraid to make new mistakes. Mistakes are one of the most valuable learning tools I've ever come across. You can't learn anything if you're afraid to try something new, or worried about letting your staff do things differently.

- Saying "no" to new business is one of your most powerful assets. Taking on new challenges and doing practically everything yourself is the hallmark of a small-business owner. But rather than accepting every new opportunity that looks like it might be helpful with your business, start saying "no" to things that aren't strategically aligned with your business.

- Use negatives as positives. You may never have the big marketing budgets, huge cash flow or large infrastructure that your big competitors will. Most people will tell you that's a negative you'll have to overcome (or a "challenge" you have to overcome, if they're being nice). Rather, think of it as a positive - an opportunity you need to seize. As the owner of a small business, you are able to change quickly. Use your nimbleness to your advantage. Turning your idea into a reality quickly is much easier for you than for a colleague who works at a large employer.

- Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. In past jobs your bosses probably tried to help you by identifying skills or traits you should improve when they conducted your performance reviews. But time is the one resource you can never get more of. So why waste time trying to improve something you're not good at - and probably don't have any passion for - when you can outsource your weaknesses?

- Use technology to improve everything. The advances in business technology over the last 15 years have leveled the playing field. With the right technology, you can revolutionize how your business and service works - and even what your market expects. Find the technology that can help you improve operations and free your staff to work on tasks that generate more revenue.

- ARA

BBB Watch

A new mobile application for iPhone users, BBB Search, allows Business Reviews and other information from the Better Business Bureau to be available on the go.

More than 4 million companies are covered internationally by BBB Business Reviews. This includes over 120,000 businesses in the Chicago and northern Illinois region.

The iPhone app can be downloaded for free at the App Store under "BBB Search.”

Features of the new app include: search capability for businesses and charities; access to BBB Business Reviews; information about the BBB's vision, mission and values; FAQs; and support. BBB Business Reviews also highlight if a company is an Accredited Business with the BBB.

With the BBB Search iPhone app, businesses and charities can be found by name, phone number or web address. It also allows users to add Business Reviews to a Favorites list, store business information to their iPhone contacts and share a link for Business Reviews through email, Twitter or Facebook.

Users with other smartphones may still find BBB Business Reviews and connect to the BBB website on their phone's internet browsers by going to m.bbb.org

For more information, go to www.bbb.org.

The List

Forbes recently took a look at the highest-paid athletes from a decade ago. Here were the leaders then:

- Evander Holyfield
- Mike Tyson
- Michael Jordan
- George Foreman
- Ayrton Senna

Number to Know

55 percent: The amount that Netflix stock is down since July 12. The company recently took another hit after it announced it was splitting its DVD-mailing service into a separate website.

Tech Talk

Want to join Google Plus? Now you can! Google recently opened up the social-networking site to anyone after having it in invitation-only beta mode for 12 weeks.

GateHouse News Service