This is our first unofficial poll. Oh what the heck. Let’s make it official. When is the last time you bought a car at a dealership? This question is spurred by all the chest beating and garment rending we’ve seen in the wake of GM’s bankruptcy, including this inane discussion at the near-bankrupt New York Times. It caused us to think: who buys a new car nowadays anyway? We don’t. We never have. And if we ever did, it wouldn’t be a GM or Chrysler. (It’d be a VW bus.) Maybe it’s just us. Or maybe it’s the numbers. (Hard to argue with numbers.) But will the bankruptcy of these carmakers really be so bad in the long run? (Hard to argue with the long run.) It’s called capitalism, which some smart person once defined as creative destruction, which is something small-business owners are all too familiar with. Hey, Wall Street. Welcome to our world. Now can we please get on with it?
Learn to hire people. How often do you hire new hourly workers? Statistics say most businesses have a turnover rate of 100 percent, meaning they replace all their hourly workers every year. A new book by a guy named Shawn Boyer tells you how to hire hourly employees more effectively. Boyer is the CEO of a website called SnagAJob, which is the largest hourly job site in the U.S. (although we never heard of it.) But this Boyer dude must know something, because he was the SBA’s 2008 National Small Business Person of the Year. His book includes studies of hiring practices of Starbucks (we like) and Boston Market (we don’t like). Check out the interview with Boyer. He seems like a cool boss. Everybody in his office wears short pants.
The illusion of reform. Last week we wrote about small-business credit-card holders getting left out of the new credit-card reform bill. Now it’s the turn of the health-insurance industry. While agreeing to a healthcare rehab for individuals, health insurers have declared concessions for small business DOA.
Joke of the week. You’ve paid your dues. You’ve read this far. (Or maybe you just skipped ahead. That’s what we’d do.) Either way, as Fruit Pie the Magician once said, here’s your reward: the next installment of our small-business joke of the week! A client sends a big order to its distributor. But the distributor balks. The client’s last bill hasn’t been paid. So the collections department calls. “We’ll ship your new order when you pay for the last one.” “Cancel the order,” says the client. “We can’t wait that long.”