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Can Love Improve Your Bottom Line?

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HUG IT OUT
DailyFeed
What’s the latest message from small business owners?

This morning, we learned that the Small Business Optimism Index rose 2.7 points to 91.7 last month, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. Despite the pickup, the NFIB said that “this is still a recession level reading based on Index values since 1973.”

Notwithstanding what he called a few specks of good news, NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg said that not much has changed for small business owners.

“The Index remains at recession levels where it has been for two years,” he wrote. “Few owners expect business conditions to improve, few expect real sales to rise, more plan to cut inventories than to order more, and capital spending plans and actual expenditures remain at recession levels.”

Ok, but forget about the lack of customers, weak sales trends and possible tax hikes come January 2011. Maybe what businesses owners across the country, both large and small, really need are hugs. That’s right: a little love can boost a bottom line.

Paul J. Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University, says that he hugs everyone who works for him and most of those working around him. He even hugs people that he meets for the first time. This behavior has earned Zak the moniker “Dr. Love.”

The academic explains that all these good vibrations between co-workers can actually be good for a company’s profits. Love, he says, can be a smart management policy:

“My research has shown that trust is the secret behind many profitable companies,” Zak says. “The benefits to managing with love include higher employee morale and productivity, lower employee turnover, fewer sick days, and legions of return customers.”

There are indeed a growing number of successful companies that do manage with love, Zak notes. For example, Southwest Airlines boasts the corporate slogan, “How do we love you? Let us count the ways…” Its stock ticker symbol is LUV.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.

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