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Q1 - Decisions: Which would you rather have: The power to make all the decisions, or the ability to veto them?

Q2 - Time Management: Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, "You may delay, but time will not." What's your most valuable time management advice?

Q3 - Cutting Back: Economists tell us the U.S. economy began contracting in late 2007, and that the economic downturn became global by the beginning of the 4th quarter of 2008. With the current recession in mind, what have you already done to reduce costs within your company, and what do you think you might have to do going forward?

Q4 - Expressing Your Opinion: In an op-ed appearing in the Wall Street Journal last week, Whole Foods Market, Inc. CEO John Mackey proposed eight things we can do right now to improve health care in the U.S. without adding to the federal deficit. While Mackey's points weren't necessarily new, groundbreaking, or even controversial (all had been proposed during the run-up to the last Presidential election), the tone of the op-ed -- along with many characterizations of it by those who support the President's health care reform -- has caused a backlash in the form of calls to boycott the grocer's 275+ stores nationwide (on Facebook alone, more than 22,000 people have signed on to boycott the chain). As a founder, CEO, or senior company executive, how likely are you to stand up for something you believe in -- as Mackey did -- even if it means putting your brand's reputation and business in harm's way?

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small-biz-bankruptcy.jpgEvery new story that comes out about climbing small-business bankruptcy rates seems to send small business owners I know into a new downward cycle of negativity. Which I always think is a little odd. More on why in a minute.

First, our latest news flash: Equifax reports U.S. small business bankruptcy rates soared 81 percent in June 2009 compared with June 2008. More than 10,000 small businesses bit the dust. Leading the pack in small business shrinkage: California, natch, with 10 metropolitan areas in the top 15 worst-affected areas. The top four losing markets were the Charlotte, NC area; Atlanta; Portland, Ore.; and Dallas.
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Daily Dose has already talked with two of the namesakes from "Shark Tank," a new reality show that puts would-be entrepreneurs at the mercy of five venture capitalists. But what does the bait have to say?

This week, WalletPop's Editor-at-Large, Jason Cochran spoke with Susan Knapp, whose gourmet food company A Perfect Pear wowed the Sharks.



resume-avalanche.jpgRecently, I noticed something about the job listings my LinkedIn newscatcher is picking up: more and more of them have an asterisk, which means they've been posted only on LinkedIn. Also, increasingly, I see notes in jobs that say the companies only want to see respondents who have LinkedIn recommendations posted.

Among the recent job posters I noticed exclusively using LinkedIn -- Google, Cisco Systems, and Kaiser Permanente. Big companies from a variety of industries. I used to see just a tiny fraction of the job listings carrying asterisks, but that percentage is definitely increasing.
america-healthcare.jpgIt's been a crazy couple weeks on the national healthcare reform issue. Angry mobs have turned up to shout at legislators at town hall meetings. Academics have decried the 8 percent payroll tax businesses that businesses would pay if they fail to offer their employees healthcare coverage under the proposed America's Affordable Health Choices Act. Many prominent business associations including the International Franchise Association have urged that legislators let the marketplace solve the problem.
shark-carol.jpgEntrepreneur.com talked to Barbara Corcoran for the next in our five-part interview series with "Shark Tank" judges. (Read the first Q&A here.) The show, which debuted on August 9, has a simple hook: Watch entrepreneurs plead their case for capital to five investors (aka sharks) who have no problem ripping bad ideas to shreds.

And if you want proof that real deals are happening, get this: When we caught up with Corcoran, she'd just finished up a business call with episode one's Tiffany Krummins, who got $50,000 to fund production of Ava the Elephant, a cute elephant-shaped medicine dispenser for children. The website is now up-and running (but if you want one, it's back-ordered until November 30), with store distribution to follow shortly.
future-franchise.jpgA recent story in QSR Magazine looks at what the year 2030 might have in store for the quick-service industry. Sadly, none of the more than 20 experts consulted for the article addressed how drive-thrus will accommodate flying cars. Some of the ideas they did bring up do sound pretty wild, though. Then again, we'd have probably thought the same thing if someone had predicted 20 years ago that our cars would give us directions to the nearest McDonald's or that we'd be able to order pizza with our computers. So, if you want some insight into what the future may hold for quick-service franchises, here are a few highlights:
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Q1 - Reality TV: No longer a fad, reality television shows can be seen on nearly all major networks, and span the programming landscape from shows focused on birth, dating, marriage, divorce and death, to ones about sports, travel, cooking, and talent (and yes, the word "talent" is debatable). The latest trend in reality TV programming may just be entrepreneurship. Would you allow a television production company that develops and produces original non-scripted programming to film the inner workings of your company? Why or why not?

Q2 - Rehire: We all know the story about Michael Vick (talented professional football player who served time in federal prison for his involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring). Vick plead guilty to felony charges in 2007, served 18 months of a 23-month sentence in federal prison, with the rest of it in home confinement. While he wasn't rehired by the team he played for before his arrest and conviction, another team -- the Philadelphia Eagles -- today inked Vick to a two-year deal worth a reported $6.6 million over two years. If Vick (or someone who committed the same crime) worked for your company, would rehire him after his release from prison?

Q3 - Videoconferencing: The promise and potential of videoconferencing is clear: Connect to anyone with the ability to connect with you and in doing so, save time and money over doing it the old way -- traveling for face-to-face meetings, which takes time away from the office and has a measurable environmental impact. Do you use desktop or enterprise level videoconferencing in your business? If so, would you say its saved your time and money? If you haven't used it, do you think videoconferencing is worth exploring?

Q4 - Pets: According to a national poll of working Americans, 17% report their company permits pets at work, while nearly 25% are of the belief that pets should be allowed in the workplace. Do you allow pets in your office/workplace?

red-tape.jpgThere's something new at business.gov, the official online business link to the U.S. government: community. OK, starting a blog site isn't that new an idea generally. But the business.gov blog, which just got going in July, offers a unique opportunity for small business owners to learn how to do business with the feds.

The site includes a variety of independent experts in business topics, but the majority of the bloggers on the site to date are more than a half-dozen federal employees with the Business Gateway program, including program manager Nancy Sternberg. Business Gateway is a partnership of 22 federal agencies striving to make their information easier to access...and now you can blog with their managers? Sounds like a real time-saver.
domain-micro.jpgChat boards are rumbling and grumbling with the news that Microsoft is going to make customers who signed up for free custom domains with Office Live Small Business start paying $14.95 a year as of Oct. 1. This despite the fact that its site still encourages small business owners to "Get a free web site and more." But few have bothered to ask Microsoft what's up. Turns out it's not quite as sweeping of a change as you might think.
small-biz-hiring.jpgDespite massive layoffs continuing to come from corporate giants, small businesses in the U.S. are recruiting new talent. Companies with fewer than 50 employees accounted for more than 50 percent of hiring in the second quarter of this year, according to a recent Beyond.com career trend analysis.

So where are these jobs? The top online job postings for small businesses in Q2 were in the fields of information technology (11.8 percent), healthcare and medical (9.5 percent) and human resources (6.7 percent).
clunker.jpgThere's hope for those of you still hoping to get $4,500 for your old gas-guzzler under the new federal Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). Though last week it appeared the program might be out of money, the Senate ended up pumping $2 billion more into CARS at the end of last week.

That may sound like a lot, but if you're interested in participating in this program, you shouldn't drag your feet. Though many mainstream newspapers are reporting that the new funding should take the program through Labor Day, CARS may not make it that far, even with the new cash infusion.
sony-pic.JPGLast night was the network television premiere of "Shark Tank," a new reality series featuring desperate entrepreneurs trying to sell their business ideas to a panel of five millionaire investors. If judges like what they see, they'll negotiate (or attack each other) for a piece of the venture. More often than not, though, contestants just get chewed up. But hey, with credit markets the way they are, what else can business owners do?

Entrepreneur.com had a chance to speak with each of the "sharks" about the show and their personal successes, so over the next five weeks, we'll be sharing these interviews on the Daily Dose. Stay tuned.
business-questions.jpgWelcome to the inaugural edition of 'Four For Friday For Entrepreneurs.' Each Friday for the last six-and-a-half years, I have posed four questions on my blog (Belicove.com) geared toward engaging my readers on a variety of issues and topics. Today, I'm pleased to launch the same for Entrepreneurs here on Entrepreneur magazine's Daily Dose blog. Participation is simple... read the questions below and click on the 'Comment' link to leave your answers.

Q1 - Challenge: What is the largest single challenge facing your start-up or established business today?

Q2 - Social Media: Do you use social media platforms (e.g., blogs, micro-blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to engage with customers and prospects? If so, how is it working?

Q3 - Coworking: If you were in the early stages of forming a new business and became tired of working from home or your local coffee shop, would you consider coworking? (For the uninformed, coworking is an emerging trend that allows entrepreneurs to share non-traditional, community-style office space and office equipment, usually on a month-to-month basis. Many coworking spaces feature open floor plans and encourage renters to collaborate with one another while maintaining their independence and working toward their own business-related goals.) So, what do you think... is coworking something you would consider doing or do you need a space of your own, even it is your kitchen table?

Q4 - Health Care: What do you think is the best health-care solution for small businesses?

businessman-happy-sad.jpgIt's raining research this week. Several studies of small business owners' attitudes have just been released, and depending on who you believe, owners are either more despondent than ever, or becoming more upbeat. Take your pick.

The quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index reports that small business owners' level of optimism fell to its lowest level in the survey's six-year history. Owners' assessment of their present situation declined, as did their future expectations.