It's a new year, and that means a whole new set of problems for small business owners. From negative employees to difficult customers, there's always something new managers and business owners need to deal with. It's enough to keep you up all night and hiding under the covers when the alarm goes off in the morning. But don't worry. It could be worse. Here's a few work-related problems that made the news this week. The next time you're ready to call it quits, just remember, at least you didn't have to deal with these problems…
And this, kids, is our quality control station…Known for lovable, huggable personalized stuffed friends, the customized stuffed animal business Build-a-Bear had a teensy, little problem this week, in the name of some tiny plastic eyeballs that popped out of its "Colorful Hearts" bear and posed a choking hazard to children. It's a lesson business for owners of all kinds of companies. Make sure you put quality first.
Wanted: One part-time oboe player…The next time you have to deal with a griping employee, remember, it could be worse, as the New York City Opera can tell you. The opera company, which is scheduled to perform its first opera of the season on Feb. 12, may be doing so without an orchestra or chorus. Talks are under way, but, like in any good opera, things are complicated and there's infighting and drama on all sides. So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, just remember, at least you don't have to find a fill-in third bassoon ten minutes before show time.
Talk about a big PR problem.A well-known marine biologist has been accused of feeding whales while on an expedition and then lying to authorities about it. The scientist, who has been featured on PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet, said she did nothing wrong, but with news stories about the incident swirling about like the humpback whales she supposedly fed, it's not going to be easy to repair her reputation, no matter what the truth is.
When's the UPS guy coming, again? Has your company ever run out of what you're selling? It's a bad situation for any company, but running short on product is especially stressful when that product is Adderall, a drug that many children take for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The New York Times says the shortage was partially sparked by the government's request that manufacturerskeep supplies low to avoid people using the drug for illegal purposes, the cut in production has left parents looking for viable alternatives — including generic versions of the drug, which many fear won't work as well. Next time your short-staffed or under-stocked, be glad the whole world's not watching.
Oops. Is that thing on? Next time you frustrated with your employees for bad-mouthing the company, be glad they didn't do it on national television. That's what Weight Watchers had to deal with when its new spokesperson, former basketball star Charles Barkley, told his co-hosts that Weight Watchers was a bigger scam than getting paid to work as a sport commentator. Just goes to show that loyalty may be a better quality in an employee than reputation.
Who let her in? If you think your company can get away with something just because no one's paying attention, think again. It's doubtful that Bank of America or Verizon thought a 22-year-old who started the two petitions that forced those companies to end their plans to charge new fees to customers posed much of a threat to their giant corporations. But, as it turns out, they were wrong. So, next time you're tempted to do something you know isn't quite right, remember, you never know who's paying attention.
London, we have a problem. The organizers of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London might know their sports, but they must be new to the social media games. An effort last week to dictate to volunteer employees what they can and cannot communicate via social media is backfiring, of course, on social media. As most employers already know, the social media cat is out of the bag and there's not much you can prevent your employees from tweeting to the masses. Your best bet is to pay attention and do damage control as necessary.
Jeanette Mulvey is the managing editor of BusinessNewsDaily. She has written about small business for more than 20 years and formerly owned her own e-commerce business. Her column, Mind Your Business, appears on Mondays only on BusinessNewsDaily. You can follow her on Twitter at @jeanettebnd or contact her via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.