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Take Your Perch Get the bird's-eye view that can help alert you to potential problems.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Working deep underground, with limited oxygen and a long way togo for more, old-time miners took canaries down with them to serveas early indicators of trouble with the air supply. In themetaphorically titled Corporate Canaries: Avoid Business DisastersWith a Coal Miner's Secrets (Nelson Business, $19.99),turnaround expert Gary Sutton delivers a collection of simple andpractical tales that serve as entrepreneurial substitutes forfainting songbirds.

The indicators are clear, and the prescriptions are emphatic. Ifyour company's sales are growing while profits are falling, forinstance, Sutton gives you 180 days to fix it or fail. What to lookat first in that situation? If your salespeople get commissions onrevenue, he suggests switching them to a compensation scheme basedon profits per sale. Brief and conversational, and loaded withhomey tales of the author's coal-miner grandfather, this may beexactly the quick read a business owner needs when disasterlooms.

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