Time to negotiate with your landlord.When is the last time you got a rent decrease? Outside of a time machine and a trip back to the days of Mr. Roper, you might reasonably have figured it’d never happen. Until now. Your landlord may very well be willing to renegotiate your lease to keep you from leaving for cheaper space. “The balance of power is now with the tenant,” says Janet Portman, an attorney and coauthor of “Negotiate the Best Lease for Your Business,” in a recent article by the Associated Press. “If the market is awash with space you’re going to have some real clout.” But watch out, Portman adds. If your landlord is very anxious to renegotiate, it may be a sign he’s losing tenants already. And you don’t want to re-up in a neighborhood that’s going to look like downtown Chernobyl in six months.
Need a big new client? Follow the money. Businesses large and small are pinching pennies nowadays. With the exception of the biggest business of them all: the U.S. federal government. Uncle Sam is spending like the N.Y. Yankees at the free-agent deadline; so this may be a good time to look into landing a government contract. It’s not as hard as you might think, says the Wall Street Journal in an article on the “Three Best Ways to Win a Government Contract.” It’s an interesting read. Although, in the interest of accuracy, it might better have been titled “Three Best (Legal) Ways to Win a Government Contract.”
Survey predicts cooling trend among holiday shoppers. A year after the dismal holiday season of 2008, many small businesses are hoping for a greener season this year. They may be disappointed. In fact, a new survey by Experian, a market research company, suggests the recession may have changed consumer spending habits for good. And when we say good, we mean bad. The survey cites “new trends in holiday shopping” that retailers should be aware of, lest they be left out in the cold. The trends include: consumers spending less, spending more on necessities, and avoiding sprees by spreading out their shopping. Twenty-two percent of survey respondents said they started shopping for the holidays in October. (Sheesh. We hadn’t even bought Halloween candy by that time.)
Tim Devaney has been a senior editor at Red Herring, Industry Standard and San Francisco magazines, and editor in chief at the Berkeley Monthly and Peninsula magazine. He currently handles marketing communications for Working Assets, a long-distance, wireless, and credit card company in San Francisco.
Tom Stein has contributed to leading business and general interest publications including Wired Magazine, Business 2.0, Venture Capital Journal, and Tennis Magazine. Previously, he held staff-writer positions at the San Francisco Chronicle, Red Herring and InformationWeek. He also was a senior editor at Success Magazine, where he covered some of the most unusual and utterly unique entrepreneurial companies in the world.