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Decision-Making, Pop-Ups and More Answers to Your Questions

How do you decide between 2 job candidates?

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HIRINGI have two good candidates for the position of sales associate, but I can’t decide between them. Can you suggest a tie-breaker?

Toss a coin and let fate be your arbiter. If they’re equally appealing candidates, and you can’t reduce the uncertainty by doing further research, interviews or trial runs, then your decision doesn’t much matter. That likely sounds like rash advice, but this paralysis you’re experiencing has a name: Fredkin’s Paradox. The computer scientist Edward Fredkin summed it up as, “The more equally attractive two alternatives seem, the harder it can be to choose between them — no matter that, to the same degree, the choice can only matter less.” To be sure, it will probably turn out to have mattered in hindsight, but by then it’ll be too late. Given that you’re unable to know how things will turn out, overthinking this one — or any similar tough choice — is futile.

MARKETINGI’m thinking about doing a pop-up at a seasonal shopping fair about 20 miles away this spring. It’s not cheap, but I figure it’s an easy way to meet new customers, raise brand awareness and maybe make some money. Am I being too optimistic?

Perhaps only about the work involved. That’s the first thing to understand about pop-ups. They seem like an almost spur-of-the-moment thing — throw up a tent or park a container, and have some fun under the spring sun — but they can involve some serious work, both in the preparation and the staffing. There are also lots of extra costs aside from the rent — such as advertising, promotional giveaways and possibly extra employee costs. If the fair is in the common area of a mall, don’t expect the competition to welcome you with open arms. Still, at PETS+, we never like to discourage anyone looking to get out of the store and out of their comfort zone. So, if you do your marketing correctly and you get the product and the demographics right, pop-ups can reap nice rewards. They are also a particularly effective way to test the local market if you’re thinking of expanding or have started as a primarily online business. That was the case for Ben Prakobkit, co-owner of Modern Paws, a pet business in Tampa, FL, who called setting up pop-up events in local markets and at animal-related events their “best marketing strategy,” allowing them to connect with customers face-to-face, he said, adding that he’d used pet-related social media influencers to help spread awareness of the events.

OPERATIONSHow do you share the chores among staff fairly and in a way that is easy to enforce?

Store consultant David Geller feels he knows well the issues you’re facing. “Typically, we as store owners, when something isn’t done, pick our favorite person who is always willing to help to do what others should have done,” he says. “It’s not fair.” To create a system that IS fair, he suggests breaking your staff into groups and rotating the responsibilities. “Put some easy chores with some bad ones like vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom,” he says. The people whose names are under the different groups of chores (see table) do them for only one week, and then they move on to the next group of tasks. This shares the heavy and light chores, and also makes it easy for the store owner to raise the issue when a job needs doing. “After doing this, I no longer need to complain to a person. I complain to a group,” Geller says. “If I go out and see the front window is dirty, I don’t expect everyone to clean it, just Group 2. ‘Hey, who is Group 2 this week? The front window is dirty. Please take care of that now.’”

PROPERTYI’m looking to relocate but am in the midst of a long-term contract that I foolishly signed a few years ago. What are some tips for breaking my lease?

You can lessen or even eliminate the consequences of breaking your lease through aggressive preparation. According to Janet Portman, attorney and author of Negotiate the Best Lease for Your Business from Nolo Press, follow these three steps for a smooth transition:

1) Scrutinize the lease. See if there’s any clause that deals with your right to terminate. Sometimes leases will anticipate this need and provide a mechanism in advance.

2) Understand the consequences. The lease is a contract, so you will be responsible for the balance of the rent for the remainder of your lease agreement, minus the new tenant’s rent payment once the landlord finds someone to lease the space. Most states require that the landlord do this within a reasonable amount of time.

3) Find a new tenant. Ideally, this is someone you find on your own who can come in right away and reduce the time you are responsible for rent. You may be able to sub-let or assign the lease, but in either case you are liable for the rent if the new tenant doesn’t pay. The best option is to simply get the landlord to terminate your lease and start over with your new tenant, if possible.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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