Have you ever walked into a semi-dried lake bed? You start out on firm sand, and little by little the ground gets softer and stickier and deeper until finally the mud pulls your boots straight off your feet. That’s the position of many companies battling today’s marketplace, particularly small-business owners set in their ways and family businesses unable to overcome Dad’s unwavering march into the ground.
Scott Hanson and Pat McClain started their careers as employees of an insurance giant that simply sold proprietary investment products. Immediately dismayed by this short-view approach to business, they both dreamt of creating something new.
Trends in politics take hold as quickly as those in fashion, and minimum wage increases are definitely “in” this political season. But unlike in the past when Capitol Hill and state legislatures served as battlegrounds for minimum wage debates, cities are now the epicenter. Buoyed by increases enacted in a handful of megacities, American municipalities of all sizes have started asking whether they should follow suit, and if so, to what degree.
Competing with big-league firms for employees is tough — average pay at small businesses runs about two-thirds that offered at other companies. Not keeping up with pay hikes elsewhere can create staff turnover, eating into morale and creating operational problems. Enter profit-sharing plans.
Magpie Café killed tipping in Sacramento. It won’t be a sudden death, nor was it intentional. But when we look back in five years, we’ll remember Magpie as patient zero.
Over 20 years ago, Peter Drucker, the American management consultant whose writings contributed to the foundations of the modern business corporation, said it was time America changed the way it addresses our ever-increasing social problems. Unfortunately, little has changed since then.
Among the counterintuitive gems economists have excavated in recent years is this curious insight: When the economy is humming along and unemployment is low, the U.S. death rate rises. Many in the field have tried to fathom why. And now, UC Davis Graduate School of Management interim dean Ann Huff Stevens and three of her colleagues think they know.
Judging by prevailing retail practices, somewhere etched in stone is this edict: “To slay thy competition thou shalt undercut on labor costs.”
But a few apostate companies have strayed from that decree by offering decent wages, good benefits and predictable work schedules. Shockingly, the wayward are prospering.