The Week in Small Business – 01.07.12

by Kevin Casey on January 7, 2012
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We do the legwork of finding the best in small business news and links. You have more time to do what you love.

Resolved for 2012: Making More Money

Optimism is an abstraction. Cash, on the other hand, is not. So while less than half of small businesses included in a recent TD Bank survey are positive about the U.S. economy, there’s a more important stat to be understood: 74 percent believe they’ll meet or exceed their revenue projections for the first quarter of the year. It should be noted that the respondents were all in TD Bank’s market, which spans the eastern seaboard. What say you, rest of America? Will 2012 ring in more revenue?

How to Deal with Water Cooler Talk

With no shortage of topics for office chit-chat these days, idle gossip is something that can hit small employers with a potential management migraine. Political discussion can be especially thorny, all the more so as November’s presidential election draws closer. No matter the topic, Associated Press writer Joyce Rosenberg asks: “How much chatter is OK when there’s work to be done?” Her answers offer some good advice for small business owners on how to maintain productivity without killing your company culture, and some particular thoughts on political talk in the workplace.

Want More Productive, Innovative Employees?

Send them home! Small business owner Barry Glassman explains how and why he started “Thinking Day” at his company. The program gives employees a paid day off each quarter to stay home and do just that: think up new ideas and innovations to help the firm succeed, no email or conference calls required. Skeptical? Glassman says Thinking Days have improved both productivity and profitability, with better-rested employees to boot.

Don’t Make These Mistakes in 2012

New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on the positive: Lose weight, volunteer more, be a better you. But what about watching out for the downside? The Wall Street Journal checks off three small business blunders to avoid in the year ahead. A timely gaffe considering more businesses are adding staff and the jobless rate is at a three-year low: Not hiring smart.

TEBOW!

We’ve come full circle to that whole optimism thing. Drawing on Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow — and his apparently bottomless pool of confidence and cheer — blogger Jason Keith wonders just what the whole concept of optimism means for small businesses. He asks whether optimism — not to mention the scores of surveys that try to measure it in small-business owners — matters at all.

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