Investing In People And Goods In A September 29 Small Biz Roundup

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Once a week, PointBlank will deliver a roundup of small business news and advice from around the nation.

Businesses Invest In Equipment, Which Is Great News

The Associated Press has some good news for us, which runs contrary to their usual editorial policy. I’ll take it!

The upshot is that businesses small and big have been ordering more equipment and machinery of late, with a huge jump in July giving way to a modest bump in August. What makes that modest bump important, analysts say, is that it deals with those pieces of equipment that are part of the long-term planning of businesses the country over. That’s gone up 1.1 percent after traditionally falling in recent years.

With so many indicators and stories that are, to put it mildly, grim, this is great to hear. As one lender bluntly put it:

“Business capital spending is rising. There is no recession,” said Christopher Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New York.

While that may be more optimistic than I’d be willing to go, I’ll take any encouraging sign I can get. If job losses start to reverse, we may yet see days that are all sunshine and rainbows.

Layoffs Are Not A Winner For Small Businesses

Sometimes, layoffs are truly unavoidable. More often than not, they’re used as a way to cut the bottom line when economic hard times are coming. In the case of really unscrupulous businesses, it’s to fill executive pockets, but that’s a bit more rare.

The larger point of the New York Times article I’m linking now is that for some small businesses—and even larger ones—seeing red numbers shouldn’t result in an automatic round of layoffs. Using the example of the Marvin family in Minnesota, it draws on the idea that sometimes it’s better to cut corners in other places than in dropping employees.

The reasons for this should be pretty obvious to anyone who works on a skeleton staff. Less workers generally means less productivity, or working other employees to the bone to deal with the job responsibilities that were left vacant. It also creates a paranoid work environment, as the employees who are left begin to feel the axe can fall on them.

Again, sometimes it’s necessary or even good to cut employees. But it shouldn’t necessarily be the first action a small business jumps to, a case that the New York Times piece makes in a roundabout sort of way.

Train In Social Media Or Else

It’s a small world for small business advertising, PointBlank argues. As they should.

Other Useful Links

Getting eyeballs on your website

Employees absent often? Take action

The value of a company wiki, explained


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