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Flu endangers U.S. economy, businesses

By Small Business Trends
Free Enterprise, a publication of
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON (Jan. 22, 2013) — There are so many things that can take down your business from an operational standpoint. From workplace illnesses such as the flu, to employment and management issues, the dangers are many. Here is a look at the threats and at some of the possible solutions too.

Flu is widespread in Kentucky, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Flu is widespread in Kentucky, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Cure your business

Sick and tired. A flu outbreak reported in the U.S. and leading to increased interest in the “flu shot” to ward off the ailment, may threaten more than just the health of its victims. Experts and business leaders say the outbreak can threaten business operations and more broadly, the economy. The flu can deprive companies large and small of needed workers critical for operations. NBC News

The best medicine. To combat the dangers the flu outbreak poses to your business, it’s important to develop strategies that allow you to adapt, explains Stephen Morris, online media coordinator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Here are seven steps you can take immediately to lessen the danger to your day-to-day operations. It’s a bitter pill, but experts consider these steps the best medicine to keep your business healthy. SBA.gov.

Build a healthier company

Chart your success. Taking the time to chart the organization of your company may seem like an unnecessary activity compared to other tasks, but these charts can help in many ways, writes business adviser Ian Smith. You can use them to better understand the leadership dynamic in your company and help you break down goals into delegated assignments for members of your team or different departments. The Smith Report

Don’t get personal. Hiring for your business is always a challenge, says blogger Ben Hargrove. Choose the people who will strengthen your business and your team. Avoid hiring decisions based on personal factors like friendship. This doesn’t mean refusing to interview friends for positions in your business. It does, however, require making clear distinctions between professional and personal considerations. Business2Community

Fire when ready. Sometimes you come to a point when making your company healthier means letting someone go. Deciding it’s time to fire an employee is never easy, writes business adviser Brad Farris. So it’s critical you make sure your decision is the right one. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when trying to decide whether it’s time to show that troublesome employee the door. Anchor Advisors

Take control. Business meetings can be a helpful exercise for achieving your company goals or an agonizing waste of time for everyone involved. Learn to effectively plan and chair meetings with these tips from training consultant Kim Larkins. Simple tips for establishing desired outcomes, creating defined agendas, and assigning roles and responsibilities ahead of time will help you improve your meetings and increase their benefits. KSL Training

Be the best. Another general approach for improving your company involves encouraging your employees to be at their best. This post looks at some deceptively simple tips to improve the overall performance of your staff. Suggestions range from better listening to encouraging goal setting. Managers or business owners are also advised to be positive while avoiding glossing over reality. Start making these improvements today. CorpNet

This post was originally published at Small Business Trends. Originally published January 2013. Reprinted by permission, freeenterprise.com, January 2013. Copyright© 2013, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.