The Week in Small Business – 02.25.12
We do the legwork of finding the best in small business news and links. You have more time to do what you love.
Is "Huge" the New "Small?"
The federal government may need to spring for a new dictionary. A recent report finds that 72 of the 100 largest federal contracts awarded to "small" businesses in 2011 went to firms that exceeded the SBA's definition of the term. Another four companies were listed as "anomalies." Altogether, those 76 firms earned $16.4 billion in small-business contracts. The report, conducted by the American Small Business League, includes some mammoth names that received federal contracts earmarked for small businesses last year: Bank of America, General Electric, Apple, Microsoft, and AT&T, headline a long list of other "small" companies.
Corporate Tax Reform: Gimme a Break!
The White House on Wednesday proposed a plan to reform the country's oft-maligned corporate tax code, including lowering the highest rate from 35 percent to 28 percent. USAToday columnist Rhonda Abrams says small-business owners shouldn't rush out to celebrate just yet — for starters, the reforms have a long way to go before becoming reality, and they weren't designed with smaller firms in mind. But it's not all bad: Abrams calls out the components that could help some small businesses should they come to pass.
What You Can Learn From Target's Targeting
An extensive feature in The New York Times Magazine examines how companies discover and track information about consumers — whether those shoppers realize it's happening or not. The piece includes an example in which a man walked into a Target to complain that the store was mailing his teenage daughter coupons for baby-related products. But Target had used data mining techniques to figure out what the father didn't yet know: His daughter was indeed pregnant. Forbes writer Kashmir Hill breaks the incident down from a consumer-privacy standpoint, but taps into a question any business owner should ask: When do my marketing tactics cross over from competitive to creepy?
Greener Pastures for Small Biz Spending
The percentage of small businesses with plans to boost capital spending in the coming year hit its highest point in four years, according to a new poll. Likewise, the gap between those that plan to spend more and those that plan to spend less hit a four-year high of plus-five percent.
Living the Dream: Take a Month Off
Tell a small-business owner to take a month-long vacation; they'll likely ask how hard you hit your head. But is it so far-fetched? Harvard Business Review blogger Dorie Clark offers advice on how to do just that: Take an entire month off. One tip that will be tough for most business owners to swallow: "You're going to lose money — deal with it."
Kevin Casey is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.