September 2, 2013

When it comes to pulling off a corporate comeback, there’s nobody quite like Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. He’s had to fend off detractors at every juncture, beginning with those who denied his company’s ability to compete with the traditional video store. After almost singlehandedly ending that era of home video distribution, Hastings nearly lost it after he split Netflix’s streaming and DVD delivery services in two. The schism cost the company millions of subscribers and sent stock tumbling from $298 Continue reading

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July 15, 2013

Throughout Pepsico’s history, one thing has remained constant: the company’s flagship soft drink has always played second fiddle to chief competitor Coca-Cola. Known by name by billions throughout the world, Coke is not only the gold standard of soft drinks, but of branding in general. Although Pepsi and its umbrella of products certainly command a fair market share, Coca-Cola’s continued worldwide dominance is all but assured at this point.

Except in Russia, that is. Pepsi was one of the first Continue reading

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April 15, 2013

zaraThe years following the start of the recession have not been kind for much of the retail industry. For the clothing company Zara, however, the downturn has been something of a blessing. The Spanish brand came to global prominence in the 1990s as its affordable but fashionable looks started to arrive at stores on foreign shores. Today the company brings in more than $9 billion annually from 1,600 locations as shoppers the world over turn to Zara’s lower price tags Continue reading

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March 20, 2013

yarnAs long as there are offices, there will be conflicts between management and staff. Still, no business can hope to succeed without a successful working relationship between these two occasionally combative entities. Managers will always need motivated employees to work hard and achieve the company’s goals, and employees will always need managers to set those goals and pay them for their efforts to meet them. Indeed, this seeming imbalance of power is why some staffers inevitably come to resent their Continue reading

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March 15, 2013

By now, the perks available to employees at Silicon Valley’s hottest startups and established tech giants are the stuff of legend. Google staffers can enjoy their breaks either by eating a free gourmet lunch in the commissary or by receiving a relaxing massage from one of the company’s in-house masseurs. YouTube employees can walk down the stairs to their next meeting or they could take a ride on the story-high slide instead. And if a Twitter programmer doesn’t want to Continue reading

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March 5, 2013

With economic recovery proceeding at a sluggish pace, many companies are operating on razor thin margins that can be easily disrupted. For instance, business got so slow at the plastics company Saint-Gobain last fall that executives cut worker hours by 40 percent. Although this type of story has become all too common since 2008, a federal government-funded work share program ensured the company’s staff didn’t lose their entire income. Thanks to the additional funds, Saint-Gobain’s employees recouped 70 percent of Continue reading

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March 1, 2013

The revival of American manufacturing is often cited as a clear indicator of the economy’s slow but sure recovery. After all, manufacturers added half a million new jobs since 2009, marking one of the few positives in this relatively sluggish upturn. But that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story: none of the workers who landed those manufacturing jobs are in a union. In fact, the number of union factory workers dropped by four percent from 2010 to 2012, just as Continue reading

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February 10, 2013

When it comes to running a business, you can never know too much. That’s why many national chains are sending potential franchisees to school before they get the keys to a store. Although classroom lectures figure in to many of these programs, the main goal is to educate the franchisee-to-be on as many aspects of the business as possible. This can include everything from working the grill and mopping floors to employee management and media relations.

At Culvers, for instance, Continue reading

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February 1, 2013

For years socially conscious entrepreneurs have been trying to find ways to help people in third world countries without giving them outright charity. While microfinancers help many ambitious poor people start small businesses, there are many people who are not ready to assume the risk of starting a business. That’s why a new group of activists is focusing their efforts on “impact sourcing” by providing simple but integral work to citizens of impoverished communities.

Outsourcing jobs to emerging nations is Continue reading

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