What’s affecting me, my clients and other small-business owners this week.
The Economy: The Fed Makes Its Move
Economic growth in the third quarter is forecast to be slightly stronger, and the Federal Reserve announces another stimulus plan. The Treasury recovers bailout money from A.I.G. Barry Ritholtz questions the success of government bailouts: “By most measures, the bailouts did stabilize the system and prevented another Great Depression (so far). … However, there are legitimate criticisms of the societal costs of these bailouts, about the collateral damage that it wrought.” Moody’s warns of a cut in the United States credit rating. An economics blogger says we’re not heading toward a fiscal cliff. The United States Chamber of Commerce’s chief economist says we’re staring down the barrel of a recession. Manufacturing profits are 35 percent above prerecession levels, but a new poll finds that manufacturers remain anxious. A strong holiday season is forecast. Some researchers fear growth in the informal economy.
The Big Story: A Subtle and Sublime Phone
The charms of Apple’s new iPhone are “subtle and sublime.” One observer says the device includes a new feature that will give shape and purpose to previously empty and meaningless lives. CollegeHumor pokes fun. Morgan Stanley says the new iPhone could add half a percent to gross domestic product, but Jacob Goldstein says not to believe it. Here is Gizmodo’s full rundown of the day. But is the phone being built by forced labor? A Chinese company makes a play to become the world’s largest smartphone maker. Smartphone shipments will pass one billion in 2016.
Technology: GoDaddy Goes Dark
A blackout at GoDaddy affects thousands of small-business Web sites. Solar power is rocking it. A vending machine swindler gets two years in jail. Here are five technology events that are affecting small businesses. QuickBooks introduces a new product for the Mac. How about this idea for cutting payroll: a remote-controlled robot that video-chats with those it encounters and peers into the spaces where it roams. Which is better: storage software or hardware? And even inside Microsoft, users rarely “Bing it.”
The Election: A Republican Bear Hug
A business blog outlines what’s at stake for the economy, and Diana Ransom begins a series analyzing the issues affecting entrepreneurs. Small-business optimism rises but a report by the National Small Business Association finds that small-business owners are less optimistic about the outlook of their own companies and the overall economy than in the previous six months. Leaders at the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council talk about election-year issues. Ian Salisbury offers 10 things small businesses won’t tell you, including, “The tax code favors us — when we pay.” If President Obama wins another term, Robert Reich believes his biggest challenge will be getting consumers to spend. A Republican small-business owner in Florida gives the president a bear hug.
The Data: Home Sales Gain
Many cities’ August home sales show double-digit gains. Wholesale sales and inventories improve but producer prices rise. North Dakota oil production continues to set records. The trade gap widens. The July job openings and labor turnover survey gives a mixed view of job growth. Machine tool orders fall for the second straight month.
Marketing: Nokia’s Mistake
Darren Herman says five tech trends are changing marketing. John Parham shares five classic strategies for expanding your brand. Here are five lessons you can learn from Nokia’s marketing mistake. A new Pitney Bowes survey finds most small businesses are missing opportunities to reach customers. James Hughes tells an interesting history of ad jingles. Emily Suess suggests essential phone skills for business owners. Drew McLellan finds that e-mail click rates rates are rising. A theater chain uses Facebook to promote its mobile coupons. Here are five ways to spot a fake review online.
Social Media: Google Plus Has Swag
A new study finds that online networking is growing among small businesses. Grocery markets are going social. Philip Roth writes an open letter to Wikipedia. Robert Cringely is annoyed with LinkedIn. Tara Hornor says that Google Plus is a “station wagon with swag.” Attend this webinar to learn how nine companies are doing Facebook right. A new study finds that fewer than 20 percent of small businesses are using Twitter. Here are three strategies for social media marketing for business-to-business marketers. John Jantsch suggests five habits practiced by market leaders. And here’s how to deal with false third-party matches on YouTube.
Start-Ups: Latinos Lead
Small-business starts are highest among Latinos. A start-up wants to bring unused patents back from the dead. A start-up bus begins its tour of Maryland. This company wants to be the Zipcar of scooters. These are the three questions Yahoo’s chief asks start-ups. The “Uber of car maintenance” wins a TechCrunch Disrupt award in San Francisco.
Management: Crazy Busy or Fake Busy?
Mark Zuckerberg acknowledges missteps. Matthew Toren says it’s never too early to encourage your children’s interest in entrepreneurship. Meryl Evans wants to know if you’re crazy busy or fake busy: “It’s critical — not selfish — to take care of yourself first and keep your busyness under control.” Geoff Vincent suggests 10 steps for small-business planning. This guy is using bacon as currency. Schuyler Velasco says these are the companies we love in eight industries we hate. Here are a few under-the-radar industries where you can profit. Jim Connolly asks whether your customers would miss you if you weren’t there. A new book explains the science behind the entrepreneurial mind-set. Here are some amazing facts that will blow your mind.
Your People: Yelling Doesn’t Work
Ryder Cullison says yelling doesn’t work and shares five other workplace truths (but yelling does seem to work for this little girl). A retiring boss surprises his employees with thank-you checks. Did you know that green companies have more productive employees? Here’s a different way to judge if your company is one of the best to work for. Jay Goltz wonders whether it is a mistake to pick an employee of the month. A report from Deloitte reveals that 80 percent of employees plan to stay with their current employers in the next year. Here are nine keys to successful safety processes for your plant.
Around the Country: The Future
Is franchising the answer for job growth? An entrepreneur puts Detroit’s homeless to work making coats. A plane flies over 1941 San Francisco. Bloomberg ranks the most and least miserable states. Bend, Ore., could be the next big city for entrepreneurship. Lockheed Martin receives an award for its work with small businesses. Pennsylvania’s governor signs antiregulation legislation for small businesses. Expedia introduces a new reward plan, and Staples announces a disaster preparedness program. In October, the Singularity Summit will bring more than 800 thought leaders to San Francisco to discuss technological advances on the horizon, and the World Future Trends Summit will be in Miami. Oct. 2 will be National Encore Entrepreneur Mentor Day, and if you can name the female entrepreneur who inspires you the most, you might win a free ticket to a future Women 2.0 conference in New York.
Around the World: 54 Hours in Iran
Entrepreneurship flourishes for 54 hours in Iran. Car sales in India are down 19 percent. China’s industrial growth continues to slow, and these are four likely situations for its economy in 2013. A Malaysian car wash owner’s highly unusual marketing idea is shot down by the police. Britain is experiencing a surge in high-tech investment. Canada introduces a new visa for immigrant entrepreneurs. Russia looks to enter the tablet market.
Finance: A Cash Mob in Tennessee
Rob Russell has three questions for your financial adviser, including: “How well did you do in 2008?” Billy Patterson offers some personal finance tips for small-business owners. Odysseas Papadimitriou reveals the biggest credit card mistake entrepreneurs make. Here are six tips for running a layaway program. A representative from Score offers financing ideas for new businesses. A cash mob will infuse dollars into businesses in Cleveland, Tenn.
Tweets of the Week
@petershankman: The Simpsons first aired 25 years ago this week. We’re old. Have a nice day.
@badbanana: The new iPhone, while larger, is still not quite large enough to fill the hole in my soul. Excellent news for Hostess Brands.
@WarrenWhitlock: “An entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” — Peter Drucker
The Week’s Bests:
Ed Powers says private equity investors are looking for liquidity: “Liquidity is going to become more of an issue, because the private equity fund probably used some leverage to buy your company. Private equity managers will want weekly, monthly and quarterly cash flow models (perhaps even daily in a crisis) to make sure your company stays within the liquidity covenants negotiated with its lenders. It’s impossible to predict liquidity needs perfectly, but modeling helps avoid crises.”
Al Natanagara explains how to manage your team without turning into Bill Lumbergh, the manager in “Office Space”: “Don’t be too proud to get your hands dirty. One of the first things we learn as managers is how to effectively delegate work. Some managers take this to mean that everything outside of the strictest definition of ‘management’ should be done by employees, and this is a mistake. If you have skills that match any of your employees’, help out during crunch time. Get coffee for people every once in a while. Even something as simple as throwing away garbage or wiping up a spill can go a long way toward showing that even though you are higher up the corporate ladder, you are still a regular person like everyone else.”
This Week’s Question: Do you ever Bing it?