The Week in Small Business – 03.19.11

by Kevin Casey on March 19, 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.

SBA Plans to Upsize “Small” Business

The U.S. Small Business Administration is considering expanding its definition of what a small business is. The changes would increase the number — by nearly 9,500 — of American businesses that qualify for SBA programs, The Street reports. The proposal is available for public comment. Meanwhile, New York Times blogger Robb Mandelbaum takes a closer look at recently proposed budget cuts at the federal agency.

California Accounts for One in Five Small Biz Bankruptcies

Bankruptcy filings by small businesses declined overall in 2010, according to a study conducted by credit reporting bureau Equifax. That was good news for most parts of the country, with a notable exception: When Equifax recently tallied up the 2010 bankruptcy numbers, it found that California businesses accounted for nearly 20 percent of all filings. California was home to four of the top five metropolitan regions — and seven of the top 11 — for Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 filings by small businesses. To be fair to the Golden State: California is a big place with an outsized economy — the eighth-largest in the world in terms of GDP — so it stands to reason that it would produce a disproportionate number of business failures.

How’s Your Bracket Looking?

Some businesses, such as bars, profit directly from the annual rite of spring known as March Madness. But are there broader business lessons to be learned — even if you don’t trade in chicken wings — from college basketball’s premier tournament? Harvard Business Review blogger Eddie Yoon provides timely insight into what owners and managers can glean from March Madness, particularly when it comes to assessing the competition.

Gimme a Break!

With that other March madness — tax season — in full swing, The Wall Street Journal takes aim at the moving target known as tax breaks. While some potential deductions are simply overlooked, the WSJ piece finds that the benefits of business credits are occasionally outweighed by the complexity and paperwork involved in claiming them.

Will Patent Reform Hurt Small Businesses?

The Phoenix Business Journal examines recent legislation that would revamp U.S. patent rules by switching to the “first to file” standard common in the rest of the world from today’s “first to invent” policy. Detractors of the change contend it favors large companies with more resources, simultaneously harming small businesses and individual inventors. Those in favor say it will simplify the patent process and limit legal disputes.

Five Digital Marketing Tactics Worth Watching

Keeping the online marketing landscape in focus for your business can seem like, well, a full-time business. Mashable, purveyor of all things social media, serves up five digital marketing trends it thinks you should keep tabs on, including group messaging, reputation engines, and QR codes.

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

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