April 15, 2024

You’re the Boss Blog: Wrestling With Expansion Plans

She Owns It

Portraits of women entrepreneurs.

At the most recent meeting of the She Owns It business group, the owners gave updates on some longstanding issues, and raised a few new ones. Thinking Caps Tutoring, owned by Alexandra Mayzler, may be closing — and opening — a location. At the same time, Ms. Mayzler is moving ahead with the company’s new tagline and a Web site redesign. Beth Shaw, who owns YogaFit, also has plans to revamp her Web site. But they’ve recently been delayed.

Ms. Mayzler opened a Houston location in January. Now she is considering closing it because the branch has failed to pay for itself, let alone make a profit. She’s not sure why. Perhaps, she speculated, it’s because of personnel changes in that office or maybe it’s because Houston’s population is so spread out. “But those are just excuses,” she added. For now, she plans to see how things go through December and determine whether Thinking Caps should adjust its Houston prices.

Thinking Caps’ location in Austin, Tex., is doing fine, Ms. Mayzler said. New York, where the business started, remains its largest market. And despite the disappointing results in Houston, Ms. Mayzler is still interested in expanding. But this time, she plans to stay closer to home.

She has set her sights on central New Jersey, a location Thinking Caps can manage from New York with existing staff. Despite high demand for tutors in “the obvious places like Long Island, Westchester, and northern New Jersey,” Ms. Mayzler said it’s been hard to find tutors to service those areas. “No 20-year-olds live in Westchester,” she said. “So you wind up sending tutors out there, which is a logistical pain and very difficult and exhausting for the tutors.”

Central New Jersey appeals to her because it is close enough to keep an eye on from New York, yet far enough from the city to pull in different clients. And with Princeton and Rutgers in the area, there are plenty of graduate students to draw on as potential tutors. She said she has already interviewed a few promising prospects. Additionally, Thinking Caps is contacting schools and education professionals in the area. “We’re just feeling it out — we’re not going to do anything crazy,” she said. But if everything falls into place, she hopes to move forward.

In addition to making these decisions, Ms. Mayzler is overseeing the redesign of her Web site, which she said is proceeding on schedule. “I was thrilled to see all the comments Deirdre got,” she said, referring to reactions to my previous post in which the group member Deirdre Lord, who owns the Megawatt Hour, solicited feedback on her company’s site. Ms. Mayzler said many of the comments addressed issues that wouldn’t have crossed her mind.

“Did you ever pick a tagline?” asked Ms. Lord, following up on a discussion from previous posts.

Yes, she said. “We’re going with, ‘Where bright students become brilliant learners.’”

Ms. Lord said she loved it but didn’t recall hearing it among the options Ms. Mayzler mentioned during earlier meetings.

Actually, said Ms. Mayzler, it was one of her first ideas. When she came up with it, she ran it by two people. One liked it and the other said it was too long, so she scrapped it. But recently, she revisited all her old ideas. She realizes it’s long but, “I’m not coming up with the next, ‘Just do it,’” she said, referring to the Nike slogan. Thinking Caps’ logo will be redesigned to complement the longer tagline.

Further refining Thinking Caps’ tutor-training program, which Ms. Mayzler revamped last fall, is also on her 2012 to-do list. “By December 15, a lot of stuff needs to get finished at Thinking Caps,” she said.

The conversation turned to Ms. Lord, who said Green Capital Empire, which introduces investors and start-ups, just named her company one of the 50 most promising privately held green tech companies in New York. She said she is trying to figure out what, if anything, this will mean for the Megawatt Hour. At the very least, it puts the company on the radar screens of potential angel investors and V.C.’s, she said. “We’ll see about what it really turns into, but it’s better than not being on the list,” she added.

Ms. Shaw said she is back to “square one” with YogaFit’s Web site redesign plans. “I thought I had found a company to redo our Web site and they ended up bailing,” she said.

“Why?” Ms. Mayzler asked.

“They wanted us to switch to their back-end system to go forward and then said their quote was going to be higher than they anticipated, so I’m thinking they didn’t realize the scope of the work when they first looked at the project,” she said. YogaFit now uses Orderwave to manage its inventory, which includes apparel, books, DVDs and CDs. Ms. Shaw said that Orderwave, unlike the back-end system the Web design firm proposed, is compatible with QuickBooks, which her company uses. Additionally, she said YogaFit has invested at least $100,000 into the Orderwave system and has no plans to switch to another one.

In future posts, we will take a closer look at all of the companies’ Web sites. In the meantime, do you think Ms. Mayzler’s expansion plans make sense? If your business has expanded geographically, how did you decide on the right location?

You can follow Adriana Gardella on Twitter.

Article source: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/wrestling-with-expansion-plans/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Economix Blog: Not Looking, but Still Wanting to Work



Dollars to doughnuts.

The number of people not in the labor force — that is, neither working nor looking for work — rose by almost 600,000 in August.

Most of the Americans who are “not in the labor force” are categorized as such because they are retired, stay-at-home parents or otherwise not interested in holding a job. But there are also a lot of people who really want to work but have decided not to bother looking for jobs because they think the job market is too discouraging or because they are too busy with training, family responsibilities and so forth.

This group of people who want to work but aren’t looking are sometimes referred to as the shadow unemployed. Their share of the not-in-labor-force population has generally been rising since the recession began almost five years ago:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

In December 2007, when the recession officially started, 5.9 percent of people counted as “not in labor force” said they wished they were working. As of last month, that share was 7.8 percent.

Surprisingly, the share of people who weren’t in the labor force but still wanted jobs was actually higher in the mid-1990s, when the Labor Department first started collecting these numbers. In January 1994, 10.3 percent of the people who were not actively looking for a job said they actually wished they were working.

I’m not sure why that’s the case; given how poor the job market is today, you’d think an especially high share of people who have dropped out of the labor force did so because they were discouraged, not because they stopped wanting a job.

One possible reason the share of people out of the labor force who want work isn’t higher is that school enrollment has risen sharply since the 1990s. A lot of out-of-the-labor-force Americans — particularly young people, and particularly young women — have resigned themselves to not finding a job anytime soon and have decided instead to invest in improving their skills while they wait for the economy to improve.

Source: Bureau of Labor StatisticsSource: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Article source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/not-looking-but-still-wanting-to-work/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Bucks Blog: Where Do You Rank Among the 99 (or 1) Percent?

Protesters in Los Angeles.Getty ImagesProtesters in Los Angeles.

Updated 12:14 p.m. to switch $846.4 trillion to billion. This is an error of the Kiplinger tool, and we’ve informed them of the miscalculation.

The persistent Occupy Wall Street movement has taken on the debate over rising income inequality, with its notion of 99 percent of the population being exploited by a wealthy 1 percent.

Doesn’t that make you a little bit curious, about where your income — and tax burden — places you, in comparison to the rest of your fellow citizens?

Kiplinger has a calculator feature that lets you enter your adjusted gross income (that’s Line 37 from your Form 1040 tax return, or Line 4 on the 1040EZ), and shows you where you fall.

To find out where you rank, try the tool.

I plugged in a hypothetical income of $50,000, and got this report:

So where do you rank, and were you surprised by the number?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=6c71770e88659ac8ec5ce0310cb2c767

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Opinion »

Op-Ed: Making Murder Count

In New Orleans and other cities, overestimating the population is a problem because inflated numbers skew health and crime statistics.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=28c1085e6ffc64a507efb13ad3e0c733

Business Briefing | TECHNOLOGY: Apple Wins a Ruling in a Patent Dispute

Opinion »

Op-Ed: Making Murder Count

In New Orleans and other cities, overestimating the population is a problem because inflated numbers skew health and crime statistics.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=1e72cc45fad9bc95443322036cef4b15

Economix: The Population Shifts Westward

2:28 p.m. | Updated
The Census Bureau has put together a neat interactive map showing the shifting center of the population, defined as “the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all residents were of identical weight.”

Over the years the center of the population has shifted westward and then southward, reflecting political and economic forces that encouraged the population to migrate: the settling of the Western frontier; immigration patterns; and then the gravitation away from older, colder cities to the Southwest, where looser regulations made it easier to build more housing.

In 1790, the center of the population was in Kent County, Md. By last year, it had moved 872.9 miles away, to Plato, Mo.

Addendum: My colleague Timothy Williams had a fun interview with Plato’s mayor on his town’s newfound fame.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=14f078dc10d7e414e278b649c961e336

Drilling Down: More Media Time, on Various Screens

That jump reflects in part a rise by 26 percentage points in the number of Americans with access to the Internet. But it also speaks to the increasing ubiquity of smartphones, which have brought media into what were once silent spaces.

“This morning, a colleague in the cab with me spent 20 minutes checking e-mail and listening to things online,” said Tom Webster, an executive at Arbitron, the company that measures radio ratings. “These are times and places where media were not consumable before.”

The telephone survey of 2,020 people also found that those who watch a lot of television — more than 8 1/2 hours a day — skewed older than the population at large, while those who used the Internet often tended to be younger. (Some of those Internet users, of course, are watching television content online.)

Arbitron conducted the study with Edison Media Research, a polling firm and radio market researcher.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=649c44fbc1d9eded54fc0b8bfeeb1346