Say you’re a small-business owner and you’re struggling to keep your head above water. Well, grab a snorkel. Because it’s summertime and your key employees are making plans to head for the beach. Or the lake. Or the swimming pool at a nearby KOA Kampground. What should you do? You could get tough and ban time off. Or you could take the high road: paste on a smile, wish them happy trails and vow that, by god, you’ll make their workdays a living hell when they get back. Or you could listen to the experts (i.e. not us). Management consultants say business owners ought to tread lightly around vacation time because cutbacks could cause morale problems down the line, especially if workers are already putting in long hours. If you must limit days off, these consultants advise, be open about the reason why. Explain, in person, that the business climate is not so hot and tell employees they need to make a small sacrifice. (Or they could find themselves living at that KOA Kampground.)
Searching for help? Ask Google. One way to hurdle this downturn is to do more business on the internet. If you want to know how, now you can learn from the best: Google. The web titan has teamed up with the Small Business Administration to produce a series of videos explaining how to expand your business online. The short clips feature small-business owners from around the U.S. telling ways they use the net to build an online presence, attract new customers and other web-biz basics.
U.S. casket manufacturers get some stiff competition. A lot of people are trying to live cheaper these days. And die cheaper too. With the average funeral running around $6,500, families are looking for places to save money and many are opting for low-cost Chinese caskets. Some funeral home directors say customers overwhelmingly choose American when told where coffins are made (we’re not sure why it should matter, given that the coffin is going in the ground anyway) but manufacturers aren’t so optimistic. They report that the Chinese caskets are putting a serious dent in their bottom line.