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New Year’s No’s

Let’s make a list some goals to avoid

This year, I’m focusing on “no.” It’s a magical word rarely used when it comes to answering work emails on vacation, committing to stuff you swore you would avoid and attending events that drain productivity from your day. And for what? If you count the number of really valuable nonmandatory meetings, networking mixers and fundraisers you attended in 2014, how many would you come up with?

Dec 31, 2014 Christine Calvin
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Back Off!

Micromanaging is toxic — here are 3 tips to help you stop today

At my first full-time job after college, the office manager routinely sorted through the recycling box to ensure that tossed junk mail had been cancelled with the sender. If someone from my department did not write the cancellation clearly enough, there was a lecture. This culminated in a 20-minute rant and the ultimate request to track all incoming junk mail, date of cancellation and subsequent mail on a spreadsheet for review. I refused. And then I quit.

Dec 19, 2014 Kelly Azevedo

Food for Thought

Acuity with Chris Jarosz

Chris Jarosz is the founder of Broderick Restaurant & Bar and co-owner of the Wicked ‘Wich food truck. This year, he also took on the overhaul of midtown’s Capital Dime restaurant and its sister eatery, Trick Pony, which have been folded into the Broderick Roadhouse family of restaurants. It’s not all glamorous, but it is pretty tasty.

Dec 15, 2014 Christine Calvin
Andrew Cook, assistant manager, Utrecht Art Supplies

Browsers & Shoppers

Retailers check consumers' pulse with social media

As shopkeepers have done for thousands of years, Andrew Cook talks with his customers about what he ought to carry at the Utrecht Art Supplies store on Howe Avenue. The difference is that Cook, Utrecht’s assistant manager, holds the conversations on Facebook. The store had nearly 800 fans as of late November.

Dec 1, 2009 Robert Celaschi
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Missing Moms

Can an employer require employees to return after maternity leave?

I run a small business. Twice in the past two years, I’ve had employees quit directly after taking maternity leave. Prior to their departures, it was understood that they would return to work. This has caused understandable upheaval in the office. What questions, if any, can I ask employees taking maternity or paternity leave? Can I require them to come back to work in order to take the leave? Are there any options for me to avoid this happening in the future?

Dec 8, 2014 Coral Henning
Illustrated by Zuza Hicks with elements from Shutterstock

On the Cover: Web of Thieves

Big-name cyberattacks make headlines, but smaller businesses have more to lose.

In cyberattacks against multimillion-dollar companies, computer criminals break in and steal personal information from millions of customers. Though there will be big losses and maybe a high-profile resignation, the reality is, these retail giants will live to sell another day. But the stories that won’t make the front pages involve the most frequent targets, whose survival isn’t guaranteed: small businesses.

Nov 18, 2014 Russell Nichols
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Stop, Drop, Open Up Shop

The region’s new Small Business Development Center sends a clear message: We want YOU for the Capital Region

Existing business expansion is the single biggest source of job creation in the United States, accounting for nearly two-thirds of new jobs nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s why the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is bolstering small businesses by kicking off a one-stop shop for regional employers looking to grow and expand.

Nov 17, 2014 John Blomster
(Illustrated by Zuza Hicks with elements from Shutterstock)

Bank Role

3 ways financial institutions can safeguard against cyberattacks

Compared to other industries, banks operate from a unique position, in that they have to focus intently on their own security, but also make sure their clients have the knowledge and tools to protect against computer criminals. Providing that protection usually comes down to a matter of security versus convenience.

Nov 13, 2014 Russell Nichols
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Tactical Training

An efficient system will save you time and energy

You’ve finally done it. Your business now has that elusive support team that should enable you to take the odd weekend off, serve more clients and stop being the bottleneck for every decision. Time to celebrate! … Except, you remember, you still need to train those new team members.

Nov 7, 2014 Kelly Azevedo
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Catty Chatting

When you need to reprimand a digitally dubious employee

I manage a group of about 13 people, and we communicate via instant messages. I have one employee who persistently bad-mouthed me in online conversations. I confirmed that he was aware that I could see his messages, and I told him I saw messages that concerned me. Since then, he’s disengaged from his job and is only doing the bare minimum. I feel I should address this with him, but I’m unsure of how to do so.

Nov 5, 2014 Suzanne Lucas
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Threat Control

Smart companies take a proactive approach to risk

During the recession, risk management seemed a lot more like crisis management than a forward-looking, enterprise-wide approach to handling risks in a way that promoted sustainable growth. But today, smart companies align their risk management tactics with their strategic plans, which is helping them achieve their most important business priorities. 

Nov 3, 2014 Christine Calvin