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Monday's Afternoon Update

Thousands of new condos planned for coastal South Florida

Developers are proposing nearly 55 new condo projects with more than 10,000 units for the coast of the South Florida region that includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Expectations are the number of proposed condo units could become even greater in the upcoming months as prospective developers -- both domestic and international -- scour South Florida in search of previously approved projects that were shelved during the real estate crash that began in 2007. More at the Miami Herald.

More on this topic from Florida Trend:
» High times for high-end condos in Miami-Dade
» More Florida real estate news and analysis here

Sales & Marketing Advice

Customer service is a winning marketing strategy

Ron Stein

Business coach Ron Stein challenges you to redefine what you think about customer service and instead, turn it into a winning marketing strategy. From his column:

"How do you think of customer service -- as problem resolution, helping new users to learn a product, how things get fixed when they break, or just the cost of doing business? To some companies it’s the department down the hall that takes care of customers after they buy... " Continued.

Florida SAT scores improve, but many students not prepared for college

Florida's average SAT scores climbed three to five points higher on each test from 2011, however the state's average scores on reading, math and writing are still lower than the nation's. Florida's average scores for the three tests were 492, 492 and 476 compared with national scores of 496, 514 and 488. Across the country, only 43 percent of SAT takers hit the exam's "college-ready" standard, showing they have a high likelihood of earning at least a B in college classes. More at the Orlando Sentinel


Obama stimulus package divides Florida Forum participants

Panelists in a "Florida Forward" forum this morning were divided about how they view President Barack Obama's $787 billion federal stimulus package. Speaking for Democrats was Florida's former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. Speaking for the Republicans was former state Attorney General Bill McCollum. Their debate revealed Republicans see the Democrats' deficit-fueling stimulus spending as destructive, preventing any strong recovery, while Democrats see it as a key reason the recession of 2008 and 2009 did not lead to a depression. More at the Orlando Sentinel.

US orders Discover to refund $200M to cardholders

Discover Bank, the sixth-biggest U.S. credit card issuer, will pay a $14 million fine and refund $200 million directly to more than 3.5 million customers. Discover will pay millions in fees to settle accusations by U.S. regulators that it pressured credit card customers to buy costly add-on services like payment protection and credit monitoring. More at AP.

Small Business Advice

Don't check your email first thing!

This week, Jerry Osteryoung tackles the mountain of email choking your in-box.

"When email first came out, it was billed as a time-saver, but now I think most people would agree that it is anything but that. We all get way too many emails and every person behind each message deserves a response, which takes so much time... " Continued.

Out of the Box

How small business helped NASA land the Mars Curiosity Rover

Earlier this week, SBA Administrator Karen Mills and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden held a Google+ Hangout with a small business that helped NASA land the Curiosity rover on Mars. Staff from ATA Engineering joined the Hangout to explain their role in the Mars Science Laboratory and how small businesses can expand their markets by working with the Federal government. More about small business achievements at NASA here. Video below:

More from SBA.gov


Today's Afternoon Update was compiled by Joyce Edmondson