The Week in Small Business – 01.22.11
We do the legwork of finding the best in small business news and links. You have more time to do what you love.
Large Truck Sales Point to Pick Up
We tend to look at the financial markets, employment data, and other broad indicators when considering economic health, but a less visible trend may bode well for smaller businesses: Large pickup trucks and cargo vans are moving off of dealer lots again. The news was echoed by General Motors, which announced Friday morning that sales by its Chevrolet unit to small businesses spiked 36 percent over the final three months of 2010.
Obama Orders Small Business Regulatory Review
President Obama this week directed federal agencies to review existing and future rules to ensure they do not stand in the way of small business growth, in an effort to "reduce regulatory burdens on small businesses, through increased flexibility." It's worth noting the timing: The President issued the executive order one week before delivering his 2011 State of the Union address next Tuesday night. It will be interesting to see what kind of airtime small business gets. Stay tuned.
Treasury: IRS Needs to Get to Know You Better
Before you go frantically dialing your accountant, it might not be such bad news: The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration this week said that the IRS must do more research on the needs of small businesses and the self-employed so that it can better serve them. What's in it for them? Bridging the tax gap, or the difference between what the government is owed and what it is actually paid on time. The IRS chalks up 43 percent — roughly $148 billion — of the gap to unreported income earned by unincorporated businesses and unpaid self-employment taxes.
Small Business Lending Fund Getting Lukewarm Reception
Community bankers aren't necessarily lining up to take advantage of the recently launched Small Business Lending Fund, according to a report in The Washington Post. The fund, which was created as part of last year's Small Business Jobs Act, earmarked $30 billion for banks with under $10 billion in assets to lend to small businesses.
Darn You Pesky Kids!
Harvard Business Review blogger Michael Fertik offers advice on managing young employees, particularly those in their roaring 20s. Among Fertik's tips? Don't necessarily mistake informal speech or body language for apathy: "It's just leftover adolescent [stuff] mixed with professional immaturity and generational sloppiness."
Is Your Website Doing Its Job?
If you think your website might be underperforming, Executive Limousine's experience might help. The New York Times did a case study of sorts on the company's site, which has evolved from being simply an online brochure to generating 85 percent of the company's business.
Kevin Casey is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.