Best Practices for Selling Jello Shots?
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Getting serious about in-bar promotions. Lovely gals selling candy-colored shots to drunk guys – sounds easy as pie, right? Well, it turns out there's a little more to the formula than meets the eye. Today the Wall Street Journal profiles a service that outsources these so-called "shot girls" to trendy Manhattan bars and clubs. Founded by a pair of former J.P. Morgan and Bear Stearns analysts, Auld D'Leo Inc. trains its 25-person staff in the 10 best practices of the trade, which are distributed to each new waitress-slash-promotions specialist on her first day of work. Unsurprisingly, the list includes practices like being as friendly, personable, upbeat as possible, and not spending too much time with a single patron or group of patrons. Following the practices, these mostly college-educated women rake in between $300 and $600 a night. And if all else fails they can get a little, well, creative. One woman uses her large hands as a secret weapon, coaxing guys into wagering a round of drinks over whose hands are bigger. Typically the guys take the bet, and buy the shots.
Private sector jobs up, overall numbers down. In its August report on employment, the government announced that the private sector added 67,000 jobs last month, about 26,000 more than was forecasted, The New York Times reported. At the same time, the overall economy lost another 54,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate rising to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent. The government attributed the job losses to terminated Census-related temporary positions and the paper said the results were still better than expected. But as former Inc. reporter, and current Huffington Post associate business editor Ryan McCarthy tweeted: "What % of Americans actually care whether the jobs numbers are 'better [or worse] than expected'"?
Forget cockroaches. Forget fruit flies. This isn't your typical office infestation, but it might just be the infestation of the future. Yes, Google has bedbugs. Infestation by the nocturnal, blood-sucking insects isn't as of late an uncommon problem for New York retail spaces - like Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, and BuyBaby. That doesn't mean it isn't gross. Meanwhile, the New York Observer is already trying to turn Google's bug problem into a whodunit. Start your bedbug conspiracy theory engines, because this problem for businesses isn't going away anytime soon.
How everyone benefits from more women in technology. Venturebeat has a piece weighing in on the question of why there aren't more women in tech that takes a refreshingly practical approach to the issue, giving advice to members of both genders on how to boost the gender diversity and why they should bother. The author, herself a woman and tech journalist, counsels men that female employees and co-founders are a competitive edge that concretely bups financial performance. For women, she suggests making the most of the fact that they aren't insiders. She cites Anita Roddick of The Body Shop as a favorite female entrepreneur for "pioneer[ing] notions like environmentalism and fair trade in business long before they were fashionable or profitable." Check out the top woman building successful companies in tech and other fields on the Inc. 500.
China gets the Google treatment. The former head of Google's Chinese outpost, Kai-Fu Lee, is investing in 12 growing businesses in China through an incubator he founded called Innovation Works. According to BusinessWeek, Lee's interest in Chinese innovation is part of a larger trend that sees more investors turning their attention East. One University of San Francisco entrepreneurship professor tells BusinessWeek, "While confidence in Silicon Valley has been declining among VCs, there's more money flowing to China venture funds." In Lee's opinion, because China's angel investor community is virtually "nonexistant," it's up to well-funded incubators like Innovation Works to encourage Chinese entrepreneurs to grow. For more information on doing business in China, check out our Beijing city page.
Nine tips to being a better boss. Sometimes the best thing a boss can do is to get out of the way and let their employees do what they do best. With that in mind, the American Express OPEN Forum has a list of nine things a boss can do to remove those stumbling blocks that keep employees from reaching their potential. Excerpted from the book Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best...and Learn from the Worst, the post extolls the virtues of simplification. Among the key suggestions is to, "List all the performance metrics you use. Pick the three most important. Do you really need the rest?" (As long as you are on a self-improvement kick, here's our list of 6 ways to be a better CEO.)
Tips for collecting on late payments. The first rule of making sure late payments don't spoil your cash flow is to act quickly, according to a post on BusinessWeek. The odds that the delinquents will cough up your cash drop drastically over time from an 81 percent payback rate at two months, to 52 percent at six months, and less than 25 percent after a year. So don't be shy about demanding what you're owed and doing it fast. For four more tips on coaxing money from laggard customers see the rest of the article.
Silicon Valley, vacation destination? Well, the New York Times seems to think so. The former agricultural cradle that swaddles Apple, Google, Intel, and countless start-ups is featured in this week's "36 Hours In..." feature. What's hip to do on a vacation to programmer paradise? Rub elbows with venture capitalists at Rosewood Sand Hill hotel in Menlo Park, stake out the Googleplex from Shoreline Boulevard, or take an Airship tour to spy on Larry Ellison's "23-acre Japanese-style compound." The piece also urges visitors to stop by the bar where an Apple software engineer lost an iPhone 4 prototype last April. And don't forget to stay in the Avatar Hotel and visit the Computer History Museum! Oh, man, where are those shot girls when you need them?
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CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer
Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.