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Preparing for the Recession: 'Mahalo' for Tips on How to Save $$

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Founders can never get enough advice on how to save money. Last week Weblogs founder Jason Calacanis wrote a handy post about how he’s done this over at Mahalo, where he is currently CEO. Jason took some TechCrunch flak for one tip in particular (“fire non-workaholics!”), but his post still makes a nice addition to our new series on How to Prepare for the Recession. (See also: Preparing for the Recession: How to Market Your Way Through It, and How to Turn Your Revenues Up As Economy Goes Down.

I should’ve put Jason’s post, How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips), in Found|LINKS over the weekend — but you’re more likely to read it on a Monday anyway! A few highlights follow. Read the whole thing at Jason’s blog.

I’ve got a bunch of tips on how to [save money] for business. Among them:

1. Buy Macintosh computers, save money on an IT department
2. Buy second monitors for everyone, they will save at least 30 minutes a day, which is 100 hours a year… which is at least $2,000 a year….
3. Buy everyone lunch four days a week and establish a no-meetings policy.
4. Buy cheap tables and expensive chairs…
5. Don’t buy a phone system. No one will use it…
6. Rent out your extra space…
7. Outsource accounting and HR…
8. Don’t [use] Microsoft Office. [Do] use Google Docs.

and for tip #11, the one that got Jason into trouble,
and which he’s tried to amend on his blog (unsuccessfully) …

11. Fire people who are not workaholics. don’t love their work… come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. don’t work at a startup if you’re not into it–go work at the post office or starbucks if you’re not into it you want balance in your life. For realz.

I don’t agree with this one, only because positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement.

When you fire people for not working hard enough, other of your employees will grow nervous, even fearful, and quit. Maybe not right away, but they will begin to leave — guaranteed. When reward people for working well and others will be encouraged and mimic the behavior. So I’d break with Jason here, and say: reward, rather than punish, whenever possible. This will make you feel better, too.

For more on this topic, also see Mark Cuban’s related post, which followed Jason’s:
A Couple of My Rules for Startups, and this nice digest, on Tom Altman’s blog, Wedia Conversation: Rules for Start-ups

Do you have tips for how to prepare for the recession? Send ’em our way!

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