The Week in Small Business – 10.15.11

by Kevin Casey on October 15, 2011
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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.

NBA Lockout Could Hurt Small Businesses

At the start of last summer, a labor standoff between NFL owners and players threatened the 2011 football season — and to sack sales at a variety of small businesses that profit from the sport. The sides ultimately agreed to a deal and the seasons started on time. Now, the NBA is in the midst of its own lockout, with no end in sight. The league has already canceled the first two weeks of the season and it appears likely more games are on the chopping block. The Wall Street Journal examines how the protracted fight over a $4 billion annual revenue split is impacting the bottom lines of retail stores, parking lots, bars and restaurants, and other smaller businesses that depend on basketball-related sales.

Hiring For The Holidays?

If you’re adding temporary staff to help your business survive the holiday shopping rush, you should have plenty of qualified applicants. The News & Observer, for example, notes that with unemployment in North Carolina’s Research Triangle still lingering just under 9 percent — which is actually a shade below the national average, and more than a point below the statewide figure — retail stores and other small businesses have a well-stocked labor pool to pick from (again) this year.

Small Businesses, Big Community Boosters

The Christian Science Monitor‘s “Entrepreneurial Mind” blog takes a look at how some “small” businesses can become enormous community builders. The post describes the work of a group of Belmont College students and their program to help ex-convicts get a fresh start — including their sometimes frustrating effort to connect them with local employers willing to take a chance. Related: Check out the Intuit Small Business Blog’s piece on why you should consider hiring ex-convicts.

Lesson Learned: Netflix Does About-Face

Is the customer always right? Maybe not always — but when a business makes changes that generate a large, public outburst from unhappy customers, it might need to re-evaluate its decision-making process. That was the case for Netflix, which this week emailed customers to say it was no longer planning to split its DVD and online video services into separate companies — an announcement that had caused a flood of internet angst. A good reminder for any business: Sometimes, you have to reverse course and admit to customers: You know what? You are right.

Can YouTube Deliver Results For Advertisers?

A New York Times feature takes a look at Google-owned YouTube and its efforts to become a bigger player for businesses and their advertising budgets. In spite of online video’s wild popularity — YouTube users watch more than 3 billion videos a day — it only commands around one percent of ad spending. What about you? Do you (or will you) spend any of your advertising budget on online video? Why or why not?

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