Here is a recap of key stories and developments this week in small business news … in case you missed them.
Much of the small business news involves economic and policy issues. Big picture issues like Saturday mail delivery not going away after all, the Federal budget, and the use (or misuse) of taxpayer funds were the biggest headlines.
The news in social media, commerce and online marketing was relatively light this week. LinkedIn introduced streamlined search, and the world is still digesting the news about Facebook Home.
More detail is below, as the Small Business Trends Editorial Team puts it all in perspective:
Small Business Operations
- U.S. Postal Service reverses itself, keeps Saturday delivery – After announcing back in February that it would stop Saturday mail delivery, this week the post office abandoned those plans.
- Small business health care exchanges are delayed –– The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) mandates exchanges where employees can purchase health care, but now 33 U.S. states won’t be able to offer them until 2015, instead of 2014.
- Sales of small businesses are trending up in 2013 – If you’re in the market to buy a business or sell your small business, 2013 is shaping up with more activity. That’s according to a survey of business brokers by BizBuySell. However, valuations are down a bit due to tax law changes.
Economy, Taxes and Lending
- Banks used public funds to repay bailout debt, not make small business loans – To the cynical this will be no surprise. More than half of a government fund designed to increase small business lending was actually used by banks to repay earlier bailout debt. So says a Special Inspector General report.
- California is no longer a friendly place for small business – A Federal court reversed a tax break meant to encourage entrepreneurship in the state. California is now retroactively billing small business owners and investors to recoup $120 million. Unhappiness and outrage ensues.
- President Obama offers a budget, but Ryan’s is better for small businesses – So says Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University, Scott Shane. You may agree or not. Just read the piece first before taking sides.
- Green energy startup at risk: Fisker lays off staff, considers bankruptcy – Investment in entrepreneurship is generally good. But in this case it likely will cost taxpayers $200 million – with little to show for it.
- When small business lending goes down, so do exports — Less money, less exporting. Yes, there is a connection, concludes a research report issued through the SBA Office of Advocacy.
- Crowdfunding is expected to double in 2013 – Bank financing isn’t the only option for small business owners. Consider getting smaller dollars from many sources, i.e., “crowdfunding.”
- Has the Great Recession permanently put a damper on the American consumer? – Now for the “Debbie Downer” news of the week …. One study suggests consumers have become more pessimistic — permanently. Let’s hope the study’s wrong.
- 10 small business tax deductions not to ignore – If you’re working at the last minute on your taxes, the SBA reminds us of 10 tax deductions.
- LinkedIn announced a new streamlined search – The social-media arms race continues. After Facebook announced its new “graph search” in March, LinkedIn announced a unified search function – no longer do you need to search people, companies and jobs separately. Results are also more customized. BizSugar member Tom Allton of The Social Media Hat also looks at LinkedIn Insights for your company page.
- Facebook expands advertiser features – again – Is your head spinning with all the advertising features the social media giants keep introducing? Our heads are, too. But if your small business is into advertising on Facebook, check out our simple guide to Facebook Partner Categories.
- Klout scores now incorporate Bing and Instagram information – For those who obsess over Klout scores, your activity on Instagram and Bing will now be taken into account in scores. If like some people you ignore Klout scores, then you can also ignore this news.
- Facebook Home for Android was introduced – In case you missed it, late the previous week Facebook announced an app called Facebook Home. It puts Facebook front and center on the home screen of Android devices. This week we started seeing positive reviews and negative user reviews.
Technology, Commerce and Online Marketing
- The UK gets its own Small Business Saturday – In hopes of mirroring similar U.S. success, the UK announced that December 7, 2013 will be UK Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday in the United States will be held a week earlier, on November 30, 2013. Mark your calendars.
- Amazon founder Bezos leads $5 million investment in Business Insider – Entrepreneurs in the tech and publishing sectors may be interested. The big keep getting bigger.
- Google introduces a resource portal for hacked sites – – Businesses everywhere are worried. Google and others are trying to help.
- Online payment feature “Mozilla Wallet” currently in development – There may soon be a new way to pay for products online. Would your customers go for this one?
Health Care Photo via Shutterstock