The Week in Small Business – 01.29.11

by Kevin Casey on January 29, 2011
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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.

Facebook Likes Small Business

Facebook’s manic growth — and its recent $50 billion valuation — may owe a good deal to small businesses that advertise on the social network. Reuters blogger Deborah Cohen dug into an upcoming report by research firm eMarketer and found that the lion’s share — up to 60 percent — of Facebook’s $1.86 billion in revenue last year came from its self-service ad engine. Although the column duly points out that advertisers of any size can use Facebook’s platform, an eMarketer analyst speculates that the bulk of self-service spending comes from smaller businesses.

Government Road Show to Urge Smaller Firms to Export

On the heels of the State of the Union address this week, members of the President’s Exports Council announced a multi-city tour to encourage small businesses to export their goods beyond U.S. borders, and to offer resources to help them do so. In a statement, SBA head Karen Mills said: “Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. In order for small businesses to continue to lead the American economy into prosperity, they need access to the global marketplace.” The New Markets, New Jobs campaign kicks off Februrary 17 in Minneapolis.

Small Businesses Sprouting Up in Cuba

Cuba — yes, Communist Cuba — has seen a recent boom in mom-and-pop shops after a recent easing of strict government regulations on private business, according to an interesting Reuters feature. The tourism industry has seen the most noticeable wave of new entrepreneurs, though the story notes that the longstanding U.S. trade embargo presents a significant obstacle for private business growth on the island nation.

More Money On Deck

Small business financing firm On Deck Capital — which operates under the slogan “Connecting Main Street to Capital” — itself got a new infusion of cash this week, securing an additional $15 million in venture capital. The web-based company markets its services as an alternative to traditional bank loans and says it has lent more than $100 million to date.

10 Ways to Avoid an Audit

‘Tis the season for taxes, and The Wall Street Journal this week offered up 10 tips for avoiding a dreaded audit of your business’ return. Even if you’re a hardened veteran of the tax trenches, it never hurts to brush up — taxes may be certain, but the rules are forever changing.

That’s One Way to Hang Out Your Shingle

Successful retailers know the value of an eye-catching sign — but this one kind of stinks.

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

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