The credit cards in most Americans’ wallets are pretty much antiques. They’re easy to counterfeit, thanks to magnetic strips that rely on basically the same 1960s technology used in cassette tapes. At last they’re getting an upgrade, giving them the technology, called EMV chips, used almost everywhere else in the world.
“Everyone’s stressed out about money, everyone’s nervous, everyone’s embarrassed about it, everyone thinks they’re making all these mistakes and they’re the only ones doing it. The idea of getting to relax and have a meal with somebody just changes the conversation and changes the atmosphere.”
In California, higher state and local minimum wages are contributing to some owners’ decisions to sell businesses, said Bob House, general manager of the San Francisco-based brokerage BizBuySell. The company listed 2,296 businesses for sale in metropolitan Los Angeles between March and June, compared with 2,136 in the same period a year earlier.
Governor Jerry Brown convinced voters in 2012 they had to raise taxes if they wanted to avoid Draconian cuts to schools. It was temporary, he said. Now, as state coffers are heavy with surplus revenue, advocacy groups and organized labor want to keep the levies in place.
We sat down recently with CEO Lisa Rowland Basher, the fifth generation of her family to run the company, to learn a little bit about the Jelly Belly philosophy of sustaining a family business.
Have you ever walked into a semi-dried lake bed? You start out on firm sand, and little by little the ground gets softer and stickier and deeper until finally the mud pulls your boots straight off your feet. That’s the position of many companies battling today’s marketplace, particularly small-business owners set in their ways and family businesses unable to overcome Dad’s unwavering march into the ground.
Scott Hanson and Pat McClain started their careers as employees of an insurance giant that simply sold proprietary investment products. Immediately dismayed by this short-view approach to business, they both dreamt of creating something new.
Trends in politics take hold as quickly as those in fashion, and minimum wage increases are definitely “in” this political season. But unlike in the past when Capitol Hill and state legislatures served as battlegrounds for minimum wage debates, cities are now the epicenter. Buoyed by increases enacted in a handful of megacities, American municipalities of all sizes have started asking whether they should follow suit, and if so, to what degree.
Competing with big-league firms for employees is tough — average pay at small businesses runs about two-thirds that offered at other companies. Not keeping up with pay hikes elsewhere can create staff turnover, eating into morale and creating operational problems. Enter profit-sharing plans.