Is the recession over? Can we quit moping around and take out a third mortgage and buy a Porsche Cayenne and drive to Vegas for the weekend? Possibly. Reports pouring in from all points indicate that economic confidence is on the rebound. For example: at an Intuit Money Matters Town Hall in New York City this week, small-business owners in attendance said they’re willing to take more risks, hire new people and consider expansion. Now, we know what you’re thinking. Of course these folks are upbeat. Who, other than a total Gomer Pyle, would turn out for an Intuit town hall on a Wednesday night? (Everyone else was at home watching “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”) But still, you really can’t construe this event as anything but a positive. The fact that anyone showed up at all is a good sign.
Another good sign: small businesses are hiring. A group of lonely New Yorkers at an Intuit town hall meeting is one thing, you say. Maybe they had free Folgers, you say. What you want is proof of this rumored upturn. Evidence, hard numbers. Well, you’ve come to the right place (for once). A recent survey, also from Intuit (hmm…), shows small businesses hired 66,000 new people in April. The Intuit Small Business Employment Index reports that 300,000 workers have been taken onboard since June 2009. And what’s more, hours worked and wages are also up. So if you own a small business, it’s time to turn off “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and keep pace with your competition. Yes, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is still, oddly, attractive (see photo). But you have better things to do. Like figuring out how to keep your best people. Or else.
Big biz cherry-picking small-biz talent. Corporate managers know that success depends on good people. Where do they find it? Not Craigslist. Employment experts say big companies these days are sniffing around small businesses and luring away the talented employees. And small businesses without the cash to match a lucrative offer are losing their best and brightest. What can they do? Play up their intangibles, say HR specialists. Tell the most valuable staffers things like: “You’re much more involved here than you would be with a larger company.” More involved? Yeah, that’ll work. Now if you’ll excuse us, the phone is ringing. It might be Jason Calcanis.