A look at today's headlines from the entrepreneurial world:
More bad news on the economy. "The recession deepened last month," reports the Wall Street Journal. Companies cut more than 500,000 employees from their payrolls, pushing the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent, the highest since 1993. Inc. 500 alum Liquidnet responds by postponing its planned IPO. And oil prices keep going down. Happy Friday!
Wait, small companies are hiring? Small businesses have actually been adding employees for 24 straight months, according to data from a November 2008 survey from SurePayroll. The survey looks at payroll data from over 20,000 small businesses. November saw small companies increase their staff levels by .26 percent, and small businesses have increased 3.3 percent for the year. How do you think this data squares with what we're hearing about the overall economy?
Facebook calls off sale of employee-held stock. CEO Mark Zuckerberg emailed employees yesterday with some back news: the company won't be buying their stock. Tech blog Valleywag, which first reported the news, blames the economy and says it's "a crushing blow to morale at the company that was once Silicon Valley's highest-flying startup." (Meanwhile, watch out for Facebook messages from mysterious sources that compliment you on your performance in that Web video. A nasty virus is making the rounds.)http://blog.inc.com/mt-static/images/formatting-icons/field-smaller.gif
Donald Trump says Donald Trump's condos are too expensive. So reports the New York Times. "But he isn't cutting the prices," the Times writes. "He says the banks won't let him." So he's filed suit to avoid paying a $40 million personal guarantee to Deutsche Bank; he wants them to pay him $3 billion.
Bratz gets grounded. A big, shocking blow to Issac Larian, the entrepreneur behind MGA Entertainment, the maker of Bratz Dolls. MGA is actually the world's largest privately held toymaker, and may now be forced to give up the billion-dollar Bratz brand.
The demise of a family-owned bank. The Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein (a former Inc. editor) eulogizes Chevy Chase bank. After more than a 100 years in the banking business the Saul family has sold out to Capital One at what Pearlstein says was a fire sale price. "With no disrespect meant to Capital One, yesterday's sale of Chevy Chase Bank was a sad day for Washington and the Washington business community," he writes.
Get your marketing moving. Should your CMO be the only one who knows how to market your brand? John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing has a nice rundown of how to get your entire company to buy in to your marketing manifesto.
Whither VCs? Will venture capitalists go the way of The Big Three? The always prescient Paul Graham, the founder of the influential web incubator Y Combinator, argues that the economy is going to help make start-ups less dependent on big-pocketed backers. And, from Austin, there's more word that green-minded VCs may be staying on the sidelines.
Cash, as you may have heard, is still king. It's one thing to think you have an killer idea for a world-beating start-up; it's another thing entirely to be cash-flow positive. Susan Schreter of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has some helpful tips on how to get from idea to income (via The Entrepreneurial Mind)
One industry that's not hurting. It's the scooter business. The weak economy has sent scooter sales skyrocketing. They're up 50.6 percent this year, according to the Los Angeles Times. Cheap, fuel efficient mopeds are all the rage at this year's International Motorcycle Show.