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Cash-less? Cash only? You’ve got to be crazy to reject any form of payment

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

This week, the state of New Jersey passed a law banning businesses – with the exception of parking lots, car rental companies and a few others – from not accepting cash. The move, which follows a comparable law recently enacted in nearby Philadelphia (Massachusetts has had similar legislation in place 1978) – has sparked a debate.

Is this fair? Is this discriminatory? Is this anti-business? Oh please. To me, the law doesn’t go far enough.

If you’re a supporter of “cash-less” stores you’re probably a chain store like Sweetgreen or a disruptor like Amazon. These companies argue that cashless stores are safer for employees, provide a quicker and more seamless experience for their customers, and encourage more productivity and better accounting. They’re probably right about that. Read More…

Why shouldn’t there be a Yelp-like app for Trump-supporting diners?

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

Can’t a Trump supporter find a quiet place to eat dinner nowadays? Geez! Across the country, people who openly display their support of the president – usually via some type of Make America Great Again clothing – are getting harassed in public restaurants and other places of business. Thank goodness a clever entrepreneur has come up with a solution: it’s called 63red Safe.

63red Safe is a mobile app that differs from other review services in one major way: it provides information to its users about whether a business is safe from politics, especially for those that lean right.

“I’m trying to position it as an everyday ‘where can I go eat safely’ app,” Scott Wallace, the app’s founder, told the Daily Beast. Read More…

Businesses may not like the overtime rule, but best not to mess with it

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

Starting in January 2020, small businesses will see their compensation costs rise. It won’t just be due to the increased wages as a result of the tight labor market. Or entirely because of higher minimum wages mandated by a city or state. Or as a result of the paid time off that’s increasingly becoming required in regions. All of those factors will contribute. But now there’s another thing: overtime pay.

Currently, if a business – big or small – pays a salaried worker who does not supervise others and is not a salesperson more than $23,600 a year, then that worker is not entitled to any overtime. This week, the Department of Labor issued a proposed ruling – effective next year – that would raise those wages approximately 50% to $35,308. The DoL estimates the 1.1 million US workers will be affected.

Business owners “generally do not like it when the federal government intervenes on wage issues”, Karen Kerrigan, president of the advocacy group Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, told the Associated Press. That’s not surprising. But the rule, however, isn’t a big surprise to most of the business owners I know. There’s a history. Read More…

A startup says used tissues are safer than vaccinations. Should you trust it?

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

There has been a lot of attention recently on anti-vaxxers, the people who – for religious or other reasons – don’t get vaccinations for certain diseases or the flu. Opponents believe this practice places themselves and their children in potential harm’s way, but also puts the general public at risk.

But now a startup claims that it has an unusual solution to this problem: used tissues.

Yes, you read that right. Vaev Tissue, a small company which might possibly be based in Los Angeles (or then again, maybe it’s Copenhagen?) and may or may not have eight employees (the details are unclear), claims that it is selling tissues that, they say, have already been infected by its team of professional sneezers. The company believes that using just a single tissue – which is reasonably priced at $79.99 – that already carries a human sneeze is actually safer than needles or pills or any of that other science stuff. Read More…

New York City’s required paid time off proposal will drive businesses away

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

Should a government require a business to provide paid time off for its employees? That’s what New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, wants.

“More than 500,000 hardworking men and women should earn paid personal time when they contribute to the success of their companies,” De Blasio said in a Washington Post report. “Our city’s businesses will benefit from a more productive, healthier workforce.”

The proposed bill, which was introduced in January and is still under consideration by city council, would require employers in New York to provide at least two weeks of paid time off for their full-time employees and also provide similar pro-rata benefits to part-timers, all in addition to sick time. The bill would target businesses with more than five employees in the hotel, food, retail, professional and businesses services industries. Read More…

A passion for small business is overrated – it won’t make you money

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

Passion? Oh, puh-lease. I oftentimes speak to people starting up their own companies. They’re “excited” and “passionate” and “overjoyed” to be entrepreneurs. Good for them. It’s important to be passionate. But that’s not the most important thing. It’s not even close.

Passion only accounts for so much. Passion doesn’t pay the bills. Passion doesn’t collect cash from deadbeat customers. It doesn’t avoid employees from not showing up and vendors from not making their deliveries. Just having passion doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a cold, hard world out there and that no matter how many people are wishing you well, very few of them will write checks. If you’re working a corporate job and dreaming of the life of an entrepreneur pursuing your “passion” then know that that passion will not replace a guaranteed paycheck, snow days, flex time, coffee breaks, reimbursed lunches or week-long conferences in Vegas. Read More…

Businesses refusing to sell to Trump supporters may want to think twice

(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)

A business owner in Ohio made news this week because he refused to sell his products and services to supporters of Donald Trump. Was that a good idea? I’m sure you can guess the answer.

“Joe”, the owner of Joe’s Music, a 15-year-old small musical instrument and accessory shop that also provides lessons in Willoughby, Ohio, made the declaration in a recent Facebook post.

“Dear Trump sympathizers,” he wrote. “I am truly sorry, however I feel unclean and dirty accepting money from you. Please, politely shop somewhere else. Sorry, I would rather starve and close the store than participate in wrongdoing.” He also posted a sign on his shop’s front door with a similar message, basically telling the president’s supporters to stay away.

Uh-oh. Read More…