Here are this week’s links to a few good stories that we found and selected. We feel they might add valuable insights and perspectives for small to midsize businesses.

For many years, PEOs have offered 401(k) retirement plans with robust investment platforms for small and midsized businesses. It appears this concept is now something the federal government thinks is a pretty good idea, too—even though they might be a little late to the party. In the article Obama Wants to Help More Small Businesses Offer 401(k) Plans, author Ethan Wolff-Mann says over half of the 31 million people who work for a business with fewer than 50 employees don’t have access to a 401(k) plan. This proposal is designed to address that concern.

Better late than never, perhaps, but while well-intentioned, it’s impossible for the government to offer the full menu of a PEO’s human resources services. Still, I interpret this initiative as a silent endorsement for the PEO industry, which continues to grow and support the small business community like no one else in the business services sector.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division fined a restaurant chain for failure to pay overtime and keep adequate records. In some cases, kitchen staff worked 90 hours in a week without the being paid overtime. I imagine that having to pay $750,000 in fines and back wages should be enough to make any business stand up and take notice. Unfortunately, stories such as these keep appearing in the headlines. So, business owners take note: Learn and understand the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)! If you don’t do it now, it could be an expensive lesson to learn later. For more on the recent ruling, read S. CA Restaurant Chain to Pay Over $750,000 for Violating Wage & Hour Laws.

“Your products and services are multidimensional, as are your clients. One approach couldn’t possibly fit all.” So says Marcia Bagnall of the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center in her article, No magic bullet when it comes to marketing. I agree; there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and as she says “…if it were that easy, we would all be doing it already.”

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