This Week in Small Business: Good News for the Next President

(This post originally appeared on The New York Times)

In Case You Forgot

There’s an election Tuesday, and this little girl can’t wait for it be over.

The Big Story: Storm Pummels Small Businesses

What could be the most damaging storm ever wreaks havoc on small businesses on the East Coast (this was the most accurate forecast of them all). In New York, big businesses shut while small businesses stayed open. For some small businesses there are costs, but for others there are opportunities. Subway-dependent businesses saw their traffic slow. The storm could costmore than $50 billion and help the economy but others believe it will not help. Jared Bernstein offered some cold, wet comfort. In the middle of it all, American Apparel made an odd advertising choice and a model picked a poor time to model. The storm caused a disturbance in the airline force. The cloud took a beating. Office Depot offered free office space and services to affected businesses. Brooklyn got smug. Mayor Bloomberg’s interpreter stole hearts online. And a biker toured the damage.

The Economy: Greece Is the Word

The latest unemployment report is good news for Tuesday’s winner. As the United States approaches its borrowing ceiling by year end, Ezra Klein believes the “fiscal cliff” will bring on a faster contraction than Greece’s. Edward Hadas says economists should just admit their ignorance. Consumer spending jumps. Home prices continue to increase. Gallup’s economic confidence and the Conference Board’s consumer confidence are the best since 2008. But growth in the Texas region slows and manufacturing in theChicago region drops. General Motors’ profit falls. October’s factory activityhits a 37-month low. Intuit reports a decline in small-business employment and revenue. Did ADP grossly overstate job growth over the past 12 months? Online labor demand (pdf) falls. The Restaurant Performance Index declines. SurePayroll’s Small Business Scorecard shows a 15-point drop in optimism.

Your People: Digital Literacy Is Essential

Sarah Rowson has some tips for running a multicultural work environment, including: “Even if asking questions reveals ignorance on your part, taking steps to correct that ignorance is still better than continuing to grope about blindly.” Lars Lofgren explains how to recruit a world-class marketer to your start-up. Silicon Valley employers go wild with lavish benefits for their employees. These are five out-of-the-box ideas from Zappos for keeping employees engaged. This business wants to keep solicitors away unless they’re selling Girl Scout cookies. Here are seven reasons people hate being in meetings with you, but don’t worry – this company is working on a way tobeam you up. Rick Broida tests another teleconference solution. A new report finds most small businesses consider digital literacy essential for new hires.

Management: Managing Disruptions From Home

Here are 33 reasons you’re not getting anything done. Julien Smith lists the 12 phases of a successful project. The folks at EnMast put together some businesshorror stories in honor of Halloween. Here’s how to manage disruptions when working from home. Jim Smith lists six questions a small business should ask itself, including: “Are we spending enough time studying our customer needs?” Here are some things to consider when buying or selling a business.

Online Marketing: Finding Early Adopters

This is how to use photo-sharing apps to increase your online presence. Adrian Aoun thinks the future of search may look more like Yahoo than Google. Twenty-four percent of consumers who conduct “local” searches, according to a new white paper, are tech-savvy early adopters who own multiple mobile devices, use mobile shopping apps, purchase daily deals and post reviews of businesses more than the average population. A small-business study finds a disconnect between mobile device use and mobile security preparedness. Jeff Bullas asks if your business is right for Pinterest and lists his top 10 Pinterest boards. A new survey finds most small-business owners are not capitalizing on social media while another shows that small businesses are investing more in social media but juggling resources. Zachary Knight thinks being online has become so common that some people no longer identify it as being online (kind of like these people). Facebook now enables advertisers to target specific mobile devices.

Marketing: Ruining Your Proposals

Jim Connolly learns some lessons from Jo Average. Jeff Korhan shares three ways content marketing can make every business better. Sydni Craig-Hart hassome ideas for getting prospects to sign up for your teleseminars and webinars. These are 10 small daily habits to help you manage and build your network. Here are three marketing ideas inspired by Apple. A Crowdspring blogger explains how to slice and dice your customer service data. Becky McCray wonders if you’re treating all of your customers the same. This is how your high school English class is ruining your proposals.

Starting Up: Go to Stanford

In this video, Roger Bicknell shares his best small-business ideas for college students. But to get your idea financed you might want to attend Stanford(where you will not find students taking notes like this). Here are a bunch ofbusiness ideas that cost less than $20. Dane Carlson has 20 small-business ideas for small towns. Entrepreneurs share their stories of what start-up life is really like. In Las Vegas a fund is helping start-ups. A start-up hub emerges in Chicago and Denver’s Startup Week attracts 3,500. While Dharmesh Shah shares the classy way to get media coverage for your start-up, here’s how to tell if your start-up needs a public relations firm. Adam Gottlieb explains the various types of alternative financing. A start-up that bills itself as an alternative to Groupon raises $5 million.

Around the Country: Haunted in Denver

Pitney Bowes and Google plan a marketing event for small businesses in New York City. New Orleans plans a series of informational meetings for small-business owners. Los Angeles will be the site of a Small Business Expo on Wednesday. A small business in Denver is hailed as one of the nation’s top haunted houses. FedEx plans a $1 million gift card giveaway for Small Business Saturday. This infographic explains what small businesses mean to everyone. A company that sells software to monitor networks and servers tops a list of America’s best small companies.

Around the World: Performing Tricks for Six Figures

Japan’s factory output falls. Britain gets 4G, and the Olympics help put an endto its recession. Retail sales in Spain plunge while German retail sales increasefor the second month in a row. Euro zone unemployment hits a new high. Ababy robot plans to conquer the world. An elephant speaks Korean. The world’s first commercial-scale vertical farm opens in Singapore. Canada’seconomy shrinks. A mentalist and illusionist makes $350,000 traveling around the world performing tricks and reading minds. So far, 108 billion people have been born.

Technology: Is Buying an iPhone Irresponsible?

IBM has a chip breakthrough. Here are six ways the Surface beats the iPad, and here are five reasons buying an iPhone is financially irresponsible. BothMicrosoft and Google announce new smartphones. Sherisa Aguirre wonders ife-mail is friend or foe, and here’s how to keep e-mail from driving you crazy. George Lucas sells Star Wars to Disney (it was a tax move!) while the militaryprepares for a zombie apocalypse. The bar code turns 60. Ryan Pinkham suggests eight things small businesses should know about the future of mobile marketing, like: “Most mobile searches are location-based.”

Tweets of the Week

‏@jasonillian: Entrepreneurs don’t see the glass as half-full or half-empty. They see the glass as completely full in the future.

@ConsistencyKing: Why survey customers if you are not going to follow-up? This is a great question that 100% of your customers are asking under their breath.

@KingAndJames: Ok when you have to put your cell phone call on hold so you can open your Trick or Treat bag, you’re too old for #Halloween

The Week’s Bests

Donna Maria shares advice for picking yourself up when you’re discouraged: “Run toward something. Maybe things didn’t work out the way you thought they would. You didn’t win the competition. You didn’t get the sale. If you are an entrepreneur, set some new business goals. More money won’t solve all of your problems, but it will make them easier to deal with. Use your business to create new ways to generate more excitement, enthusiasm and income in your life. As you do this, your confidence will increase. As your confidence increases, so will your ability to deal with the next gobsmack.”

Matthew Torn says to let people work for you and “offer a high commission even if you may feel a little uncomfortable doing so. Put yourself in the position of somebody looking for a product or service to sell. Obviously, their time is as important to them as yours is to you. They want to receive the most reward for their investment, and they’re drawn to high commissions. Of course, the best and brightest marketers are not making decisions solely on commission rates. But if you’ve taken care of the first step and created something of true value, your offer will have a dual shine.”

This Week’s Question: What will you do differently before the next storm?

Gene Marks owns the Marks Group, a Bala Cynwyd, Pa., consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management. You can follow him onTwitter.

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