Fear of employee lawsuits strongly influences management methods. Inc. magazine reports almost half of small companies have been sued by employees resulting in an average legal and settlement cost of $40,000. Charges of wrongful termination represented a third of the suits, followed by age discrimination and racial discrimination. At the bottom of the list was sexual harassment. Fear of employee litigation was cited by almost eight of 10 small business CEOs as affecting how they manage.
An Offer That's Hard to Refuse
Money-back offers for customers not satisfied with products they've just purchased pay off in the long run for direct mail marketers. Even after deducting the cost of redeeming returned goods, the strategy pays for itself in higher profits. A money-back offer is particularly attractive to consumers who don't trust catalog photographs for their selections. As an added benefit, the offer also helps keep out fly-by-night merchants selling shoddy goods.
Thank You, Uncle Sam
Larger and faster federal income tax refunds perked up consumer spending in March and April 1996. As of April 12, total refunds were $63.1 billion, up 19 percent from the same time the previous year. The average refund totaled $1,238, up 13 percent. Last year, many refunds were delayed by an Internal Revenue Service crackdown on refund fraud.
Because of the sheer numbers involved, downsizing at major U.S. corporations has people scared, but job stability actually is about as high today as in the good old days. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that from 1983 to 1991 job tenure for men dropped only slightly from 7.7 years to 7.5 years while it rose a bit for women from 5.4 years to 5.9 years. Large-scale layoffs due to downsizing, or "personnel re-engineering," affect only about three percent of the labor force.
Yellow Pages Ad Scam
Small businesses are bilked of $400 million a year by phony telephone book advertising invoices. To counter this trend Yellow Pages Publishers Association, representing 200 established publishers, has launched an information campaign. Misleading solicitations often prominently display the walking fingers symbol and use the term yellow pages because neither is a trademark. The scam billings typically are $100 to $200 for an advertisement not in a local telephone directory but in a nationwide directory with very limited distribution.