How to get your bailout. Okay, so it's not the blank check you may have been hoping for, but the government is expected to spend vast sums of money on technology, education, and infrastructure--contracts which you may want to compete for. The Wall Street Journal's small business blog has some advice for how businesses can gear up to get a piece of the stimulus package. And there's a searchable database for federal contracts.
Yahoo to buy Tumblr? Peter Kafka at AllThingsD gets off his sick bed to squash rumors via Valleywag that Yahoo was in talks to buy "revenue free" microblogging service Tumblr for "low to mid-eight figures." Founder David Karp called the rumors "categorically false" and quipped that Valleywag "got it backwards". But Tumblr coder Marco Arment takes sarcasm one step further: "I hope they let me work on some of the many exciting projects at Yahoo! Who needs a high rank at a small company in New York? I want to move to California and get stuck in traffic every day on the way to my midlevel engineering job where I sit in a cubicle all day and can't make any product decisions while working on something nobody will ever see to manage regional ad clickthrough stats tracking."
The Obama Stimulus Package. Last night Obama made his case for quick passage of a stimulus package. The Wall Street Journal has coverage here. "Obama set benchmarks for his economic recovery plan, saying its success should be judged by whether it creates or saves four million jobs, stabilizes the housing market and gets credit markets operating again," the article notes. Meanwhile, NewTeeVee sees a shift in consumers' viewing habits when it comes to live events.
The Mark Cuban Stimulus Package. The entrepreneur, ballroom dancer, and noted basketball critic blogged yesterday (thank you, Alley Insider) with a competing plan to help the economy recover. He suggests an "open source funding environment," inviting entrepreneurs to send him their business plans and offering to invest money in the ones he thinks are promising. He's only looking for companies that can generate revenue quickly and can be profitable within 90 days.
Is your bank in trouble? One in eight banks in the U.S. could fail in the next five years, according to a frightening report from RBC Capital Markets cited by Reuters. Commercial loan delinquencies may push over 1,000 already struggling U.S. banks towards insolvency, says RBC. (For some perspective, over 1,300 banks collapsed during the S&L crisis of the late 1980s). Besides mortgage losses, industrial and commercial real estate loans are weighing heavily on banks.
When the person you fired has a friend. Workforce Management's community forum is hashing out a thorny problem: How do you retain a key employee if you've been forced to let go someone the key employee really likes. A user recommends this approach: "Have an honest conversation that acknowledges that you understand that she is angry, but that there were good reasons why you came to this decision and that you hope she understands that it would be inappropriate for you to disclose any details about why her friend was terminated because it would be unprofessional and would violate trust and that she would expect the same courtesy if she were in that situation."
Online classes worth taking. The Oregonian's personal finance blog flags a cool service, Academic Earth, which collects online courses from top colleges. You can audit a 26-lecture series from famed Yale economist Robert Shiller. There's also a class called "Five Critical Skills That Entrepreneurs Need," by Jerry Kaplan and a lecture on entrepreneurial ingenuity from Yale's Barry Nalebuff.
Savings plans, instead of raises. Despite the downturn, some small companies are adding 401(k)s for their workers, but bypassing company matches and delaying raises, according to the Journal. It's a low cost way to retain workers in turbulent times. And it's a way to make sure your employees are planning for the future.
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