The economy has changed for good (and not for the better). So if you’re running a business, you’d be wise to change with it. But how? Well, by now you’ve no doubt identified the obvious steps: make more money, spend less money, switch to basic cable. But there are other modifications you can make to leverage business trends. First, of course, it helps to know what the trends are. You might start with the “Top 10 Trends in Small Business for 2010” suggested by USA Today small-business expert Steve Strauss. Some of them are pretty simple: people are spending less (duh). Some you’ve no doubt heard before: get your business on Facebook (annoying but true). And others are a little scary: full-time jobs with benefits are, like, so 2007.
What to do with holiday leftovers. Around here, we love holiday leftovers: cold pizza, warm beer–bring it on. But retailers hate them. So what should they do with all those breadmakers and Tiger Woods golf shirts they couldn’t sell? The Wall Street Journal has three suggestions. One, flog them to a consignment company (check out ConsignmentShops.com. Two, unload them to a liquidator. Three, advertise them at eBay or Craigslist. Or four, leave them at the curb in front of your neighbor’s house. (OK, we made that last one up. But it might be worth a try: our home foot spa disappeared overnight.)
Ready for retirement? These days, retirement seems kind of a quaint notion, like home equity and easy credit. But according to a survey by Discover Small Business Watch, 62 percent of small-business owners do indeed have a plan for their retirement. And, unlike us (whose retirement plan is someday winning the lottery), 63 percent of small-business owners say it’s somewhat or very likely they’ll have enough money to last through their retirement. And what about the other third? Seems they’re resigned to working till they drop: 30 percent of survey respondents say they plan to retire sometime around…never.
Employment advice: don’t get old. Sadly, the recession has been hardest on those workers who can least afford a setback: older folks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate for people over 54 has doubled since 2007. And, worse, they have a tougher time than young people finding a new job. The AARP says it takes laid-off older workers an average of 34 weeks to land a new gig–a lot longer than other age groups. This is mainly because employers think young people are cheaper and better with technology. As non-young people ourselves, we can’t argue with that: we’d rather eat cardboard than open a Twitter account. And, considering our retirement plan (see above) it may come to that. Pass the mayo.