Small Business Brief for 11/19

Politics and Government

Business Braces for Washinton Changes
Businesses across the U.S. are bracing for stricter financial regulations and more pro-labor policies. One such policy actively opposed by business interests allows unions to hold informal votes, without the use of traditional secret ballots.

Economics and Labor Issues

Cash Injections May Eclipse Fed's Benchmark Interest Rate

The Federal Reserve's efforts to rescue the U.S. from financial collapse risks the eclipse of the central bank's benchmark interest rate as the most important signal of monetary policy.

Consumer prices drop record 1 percent in October
WASHINGTON (AP) - Consumer prices plunged by the largest amount in the past 61 years in October as gasoline pump prices dropped by a record amount. The Labor Department said Wednesday that consumer prices fell by 1 percent last month, the biggest one-month decline on record.

Fed Members: Slower Growth, Threat to Price Stability

Policy makers at the Federal Reserve predicted the US economy will contract through the middle of 2009, with some prepared to lower interest rates further in response.

Reasons Behind the Rise in Healthcare Costs
Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates, uncoordinated care and need for more doctors are among the factors causing costs to rise, concluded a panel of Ohio business leaders.

Law and Regulation Enforcement

Lawmakers to Push Paid Family Leave
The president-elect is likely to make progress with his call for a federal sick-day mandate. The proposed Healthy Families Act would require employers with 15 or more workers to provide seven paid days for employees to take off to care for family.

Doing Business

Raising the Bar for Your Customer Service

Everybody wants to deliver great customer service, but few actually succeed. If you want to go from being a wannabe to a pro when it comes to knowing and pleasing your customers, measuring individual employee performance is the best way to get there.

Hard Times for Employee Gifts
The tough economy will prompt companies to cut back on gifts to employees this year as consumers reduce how much they spend and buy less expensive goods.

Raising Capital From Your Customers
Raising capital funds by selling shares to customers, a practice called private placement, may seem like an act of desperation to traditional investors, but it has the benefit of increasing customer loyalty.

Sales and Marketing

Desperation Marketing Leads to E-mail Hell
Why e-mail marketing managers should not send e-mail to the living dead, plus other bad practices to avoid.