Business Potpourri: Did You Know …?

A weekend-plus of reading left me with a few business-related nuggets to share:

  • According to one respected analysis, 38 state economies are growing. Seven (Wyoming, New Mexico, Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, West Virginia and Rhode Island) are expected to turn around soon; two (Maine and Mississippi) should reach that point early next year; and three (Nevada, Michigan and Georgia) are still in the waiting game.
  • Twenty years ago, employee performance pay (bonuses, incentives, stock options, etc.) accounted for less than 4% of total payrollls; today, that number is at 12% and growing.
  • Cell phone applications are all the rage, with a new one intended to help avoid rage on the road. It will assist with finding the nearest E85, biodiesel, hydrogen or other fuel station, along with where you can charge up your electric vehicle.
  • Within 20 years or so, four countries (China, India, South Africa and Brazil) will account for 40% of the world’s water use.
  • California is not expected to gain any additional seats in the House of Representatives — marking the first time that will have happened since the state joined the union in 1850.
  • A simple retail sales greeting chance may make a big difference. Instead of “Can I help you?” and getting, “No, thanks, I’m just looking,” as a response, try  “Hello. What brings you into the store today?”
  • Pointing out problems within an organization is OK unless it develops into a culture of complaints. One way to keep the whining under control is to require that all complaints be accompanied by at least one proposed solution. This will force people to take a closer look at the problem, and often they’ll realize it’s not that big of an issue after all. Or they may have a legitimate complaint and now they are focused on solutions instead of just problems.
  • The once-required white page phone directories are becoming a thing of the past. In three states (Florida, Oklahoma and Ohio) where distribution is by request only, just 2% of phone users ask for a copy. Savings in paper and energy costs could be substantial.