New York Times Archive

All of Paul’s “You’re the Boss” columns for the New York Times

Company History:

Introducing staying alive: what it’s like to struggle

Staying alive: how I got myself into this

Staying alive: meet the partner

Staying alive: the wipe out

Twenty-five years, and I’m still standing


How I got my company back

Is this a recovery? Or is it just a bump?

Thinking about a double dip

Cash Flow:

My week in cash flow: Monday

My week in cash flow: Tuesday

My week in cash flow: Wednesday 

My week in cash flow: Thursday

My week in cash flow: Friday

Responding to my week in cash flow

So how are cash flow and information technology?

Tuesday: can we do this net 30?

Wednesday: the check is in the mail

Thursday: the big check arrives (sort of)

Friday: did I make money this week?

My week in cash flow: Monday

Giving my business a stress test

So how are cash flow and information technology?

Boss Problems:

Staying alive: crawling from the wreckage

I hope I feel better tomorrow

So how’s the boss?

Here are my three problems this week

My boss problems this week

My three problems this week

What happens when a business owner reveals what he makes?

Taking money out of the company

My three problems this week

Resolving a problem like a boss

Why I cut my own salary

Middle East journal: why I went to Kuwait

Middle East journal: pitching tables in Dubai

Middle East journal: can we compete with a factory in Dubai?

Middle East journal: I’ll stick with our model as long as I can

I swear I’m going to stop doing that

A business owner goes back to school

Figuring out how to help small business owners

Remembering why I got into business

Nevermind I’ll find someone else

There is no free shipping

Introducing a new shipping policy — and pondering how to sell it

Why this has been the winter of my discontent

Marketing & Advertising:

So how’s business?

Adwords and me: exploring the mystery

Do you still use print ads?

My grand experiment: turning off adwords

Debating the use of Google adwords

My adwords debacle: dumb and happy

My adwords debacle: a new product

My adwords debacle: statistics and stories

My adwords debacle: waiting for a miracle

My adwords debacle: a wake up and a fix

Why I manage my own adwords campaigns

Deciding whether it is time to revamp a website

How one owner approached building a new website

Searching for a web design firm that understands search

Why it took us so long to finish our new website

My new site is up. Did I get my money’s worth?


I know I’m doing this wrong

More on soliciting employee ideas

So how’s human resources?

Do I owe my employees a career path?

Should I fire a recent hire I find someone better?

Equal pay for equal work? Not necessarily

Does higher pay make people more loyal?

Should I give my employees a bonus — or buy a sander? 

Monitoring the private lives of your employees

Thinking about layoffs again

Layoffs? Suddenly, we have different problem

How I fire people

The balance of power rests between bosses and workers

Figuring out a better way to train employees

Why training workers costs more than you think

Something in my last post didn’t add up 

Why I pay what I pay

Why I would rather pay my employees too much

My disturbing experience with employee reviews

How we picked a format for employee reviews

What we learned by doing employee reviews

In our second round of employee reviews, a problem emerges

When a 20-year employee becomes a problem

What I learned from firing my employee of 20 years


Do I push aside existing customers to take a big order?

Monday: the $29,000 client

The very picky customer

Further thoughts on the very picky customer

The government’s calling about a table.Should I take the call?

The customer is always (convinced that he’s) right


My health insurance rates just went down

Further thoughts on health insurance

Looking to the affordablke care act for help

A system that encourages small businesses not to hire older workers

My health insurance rates just went down again

Further thoughts on why our health rates fell

For business owners, the health care details begin to emerge

How did you get so lucky with renewal rates?

A small business starts to navigate the affordable care act

A business owner’s first brush with

Seven conclusions about small business health insurance

What I needed to understand about health insurance

How I found a surprisingly good health plan 

An owner figures out how to save on his health insurance 

What the new health insurance law means for my workers

Here’s what my company will pay for health insurance

The information we still need to manage our health care

An owner asks a question about offering employees a stipend to buy health coverage

My mission to buy small business health insurance begins again

It’s not all about the premiums

One business owner’s journey to a health insurance plan

Is this any way to pick a company health insurance plan? 


So how are sales and manufacturing?

Running the numbers: why our sales increased

Why we hired a sales consultant

How our sales process broke down

Meet the sales consultant

The brutal truth: my score as a sales manager

Why I’m not going to renew the sales consultant

Welcome to the life of a sales consultant

Pricing & Profits:

What I take out of the business

My week in collections

How I finally turned a profit

What it means to make a profit

Why I finally decided to make a budget

What I took home in 2012

I want to make a profit

My search for a smart way to share profits

Designing a profit sharing plan

Sharing the profits requires some tough calls

Here’s what happened when I introduced profit-sharing

Debating the merits of a profit-sharing plan

Why 2013 was our best year ever (except for one crucial metric)

What I took home from my business in 2013

Assessing the impact of a profit sharing plan

The constant struggle to put a price on custom work

My pricing problems continued: responding to readers

My struggle with pricing

Credit Cards & Banks:

What you need to know about credit card processing

My search for reasonable and understandable credit card processing

My seach for a credit card processor, part 2

My search for a credit card processor, part 3

Choosing a credit card processor (and drawing some conclusions)

Processing credit cards and anger

What’s going on with my bank?

Why I’m looking for a new bank



Why I think manufacturing has a future

How we increased our manufacturing productivity (and turned a profit)

Running the numbers: why our productivity improved

Running the numbers: making sense of our costs

Running the numbers: controlling labor costs

I have seen the future of manufacturing

I have seen the future of manufacturing, part 2

How we increased productivity on the shop floor

Questions & Advice:

The dumbest thing I’ve ever done (in my business life)

There’s a business in my trash

More about the business in my trash

What should I ask of my accountant?

My five stages of accepting advice

Should I dump my servers and embrace the cloud?

Should I buy a building or continue renting?

The comment that changed my business

Deciding whose advice to take

What happened next

I’d be happy to share my thoughts and experiences as we go down

Solving problems: hiring, visiting competitors, an old web site


My virtual business group 

How I managed to take a vacation

10 reasons I drive a ’92 camry with significant body damage

Things I’ve been thinking about this week

Leaving money on the (conference) table

Owner sets goals for the company and himself 

Finding suppliers who meet our standards

What I’ve learned from blogging

Has Sandy affected youir small business?

Following up on our sales training, profit-sharing, health insurance and the shutdown