The Week in Small Business – 04.16.11
We do the legwork of finding the best in small business news and links. You have more time to do what you love.
Obama Signs 1099 Repeal
If you're scrambling to make Monday's tax deadline, this news won't do you much good. It will, however, lighten your paperwork load in 2011 — or at least keep it from gaining serious weight. President Obama on Thursday signed into law the long-simmering bill that will remove the 1099 rule from last year's healthcare reform. The rule would have required your business to issue 1099 forms for just about all spending in excess of $600 annually. In a blog post, SBA Administrator Karen Mills called the repeal "a big win for small businesses."
Free Wi-Fi: Frugal or Foolish?
The Washington Post ran a piece last Sunday on startups and small businesses around the District that rely largely on free wireless internet access from hotels, coffee shops, and other public locations. Mobility and cost savings are usually good things when you're running a business, especially in its nascent stages. But if you do connect to public hotspots, beware the risks — this recent New York Times feature should spark your paranoia — and take steps to protect your business. Lifehacker has a good guide to secure surfing on public networks.
Small Businesses See April Showers
The NFIB's Small Business Optimism Index took a backwards step this month, dropping to its lowest level in five months. In spite of positive signs on the hiring front, businesses were more guarded in their short-term economic outlook, with fewer expecting market conditions to improve over the next six months. Aren't April showers supposed to bring May flowers?
How Does Your Facebook Page Stack Up?
Buddy Media has published a study on best practices for businesses that use a Facebook Page for marketing and other purposes. The report is based on data from 200 or so Buddy Media clients and their Pages. Among the highlights: Don't use URL shorteners, and do post content outside of "normal" business hours. (Tip of the cap to Inside Facebook for the link.)
Six Tips For Search Engine Optimization
Sticking with online marketing: Search Engine Land provides six search engine optimization tips to help your website be discovered. SEO can be a unnecessarily anxiety-inducing concept for some small businesses, but this is a good, straightforward list. The Intuit Small Business Blog has its own Google-specific SEO advice. (Google accounts for roughly two-thirds of all online searches.) Your aforementioned Facebook Page can also help: Search Engine Land notes that links back to your site from Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites now factor into SEO.
Congratulations, Austin: You're Vital!
Austin, Texas, took the top spot in The Business Journals 2011 small business vitality rankings, which graded 100 metro markets on a variety of criteria. Oklahoma City, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, and Seattle rounded out the top five. Sorry, Modesto: You didn't do so hot. How did your town turn out?
Kevin Casey is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.