Where do you draw the line on employee benefits? When do they threaten your company's health? For one reader, those persistent questions have reached a flash point, so he's inviting Networkers to discuss the issue. Other letters concern restaurant marketing, finding suppliers, and managing from a distance. And in Resources: if advertising hasn't worked (or costs too much), can you live by word of mouth alone?
Doing Good, Doing Well
The greatest challenges facing our company right now are providing adequate medical coverage for our employees and proper facilities for the handicapped, and developing a suitable parental-leave policy. We work hard to consider what is morally right in all our business decisions, but the economic impact of these issues concerns us. How have others in business dealt with this?
Consolidated Glass & Mirror
My wife and I are planning to move to northwest Wyoming and buy a restaurant there. The town we're looking at, Cody, has a population of about 8,000, off season. From late April to August more than 750,000 tourists visit the area. Our attorney in Cody tells us there isn't a really good restaurant in town. I trained under European chefs years ago, and I've managed restaurants, so perhaps we can make a difference.
My wife and I don't have any advertising training. We'll probably start simple -- flyers, radio ads, T-shirts -- but how do we determine what potential patrons want?
Robert S. Haskell
Fayetteville, N. C.
A Drachma for Your Thoughts
I would like to develop a catalog of Greek artifacts. I do not want to stock all the items but would like to advertise manufacturers' products in my catalogs and drop-ship my orders. How do I find manufacturers that will work with me, and how should I structure deals with them?
Lois E. Primas
From a Distance
Seven years ago my husband and I started a successful window-cleaning business in Newport Beach, Calif. When we divorced, he got the business and I moved three hours away to Santa Barbara, where I started my own cleaning service. My business is doing well, and I'm thinking about starting another company back in Newport Beach. I still have my old contacts, plus a little money and a desire for revenge. I don't want to move back, though. How difficult will it be to start a new business without being there?
Santa Barbara Cleaning
Santa Barbara, Calif.