The Week in Small Business – 01.28.12

by Kevin Casey on January 28, 2012
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We do the legwork of finding the best in small business news and links. You have more time to do what you love.

Small Businesses Mixed on State of the Union

President Obama this week delivered the 2012 State of the Union, and small businesses earned some notable mentions. “Most new jobs are created in startups and small businesses. So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed,” Obama said. Still, reports indicated mixed reviews from the small-business community. Reuters rounded up some of the responses that appeared in local and national media. Among them: VentureBeat’s take on Obama’s emphasis on innovation and helping the entrepreneur who “aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.”

Gold Rush Lives on in Silicon Valley

Indeed, there appears to be no shortage of people that fit President Obama’s bill. The New York Times examines the sustained sway that California’s Silicon Valley holds over entrepreneurs — particularly young ones with dreams of striking technology gold. “Some have already founded companies; nearly all have toyed with the idea,” writes Erica Goode.

Facebook to Masses: It’s Time for Timeline

If you’ve been ignoring Facebook’s newest feature, time’s up. The company announced this week that its Timeline design will soon be rolled out to all users whether they want it or not. The internet abounds with reports of users unhappy with the new interface, but it seems unlikely that many will abandon ship. Check out Intuit Small Business Blog’s advice on crafting your brand for the Timeline design.

Big Businesses Fight “Showrooming”

Small businesses are no stranger to the intense competition created by online superstores like Amazon.com. The latter recently raised eyebrows by running a promotion for its “Price Check” app, which enables shoppers to scan a product on a store shelf and compare it with Amazon’s price. Big businesses are feeling the brunt of such tactics, too. The Wall Street Journal notes that Target recently issued a letter to vendors condemning “showrooming”— that same practice of checking out a product in a physical store and then waiting to buy it online. The big-box retailer urged its suppliers to develop unique, exclusive products as an answer. How do you deal with the problem?

Generations of Green

A good story to close the week: The Huffington Post profiles San Francisco-based A. Maciel Printing, whose husband-and-wife team recently handed over the reins to its children. The company credits family ownership and environmental citizenship as core values rather than nice marketing slogans. In fact, founder Alfonso Maciel, Sr., says he didn’t jump on the green bandwagon — rather, he helped build it.

Kevin Casey is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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