The Week in Small Business – 01.14.12

We do the legwork of finding the best in small business news and links. You have more time to do what you love.

Obama Proposes Federal Consolidation

Big businesses often reshuffle their operations in search of healthier bottom lines — can the federal government do the same? President Obama on Friday asked Congress for the authority to reorganize the federal government, starting with a proposal to roll up the Small Business Administration and five other agencies into a single group. The plan intends to cut wasteful spending and fuel the economy — largely by giving small businesses a boost. “The President’s proposed reorganization would help small businesses grow and, in doing so, would help get more Americans back to work,” says The White House.

Got Snow?

While the masses might have welcomed the milder winter weather, some small businesses will be relishing the season’s first heavy snowstorms. A CBS News report looks at how this winter’s weather — which has been decidedly un-wintry in much of the U.S. — is freezing cash flow at businesses that rely on snow and similar conditions to make money. A Northern Michigan motel and snowmobile rental business, for example, should be hanging a “No Vacancy” sign this time of year, but it’s been all but empty. Even tony, brand-name destinations like Vail, Colorado, are feeling the pinch — a lousy ski season has hotel bookings there down 24 percent.

Does Unlimited Vacation Perk Up Productivity?

Last week, we mentioned “thinking days” — one small company’s approach to happier, more innovative employees. How about unlimited vacation time? No, really: Red Frog Events founder Joe Reynolds gives four reasons why his team gets more done because people are allowed to take as many days off as they want. One upside for owners and managers: No longer needing to track vacation time.

Making Money Making Music

A cool profile in The Detroit News checks out how a local music school has survived and thrived — it now has 70 full- and part-time employees — in spite of increasing competition from online instruction venues. “The best part of owning my business is the personal gratification, the enlightening experience of mentoring children and adults that come through our doors,” says Axis Music Academy owner John Antone.

Have Kitchen, Will Cook

Got the culinary chops to succeed in the food business, but no kitchen to cook up your wares? That’s a bit of a problem, but some New York City chefs have a new solution: The Entrepreneur Space offers would-be restaurateurs 24-7 access to four commercial-grade kitchens to help them get their business cooking. Not in the New York area? Check out the Intuit Small Business Blog’s guide to starting a baking business without a commercial kitchen.

About Kevin Casey

Kevin Casey is a regular contributor here, at InformationWeek and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @kevinrcasey.
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