The Week in Small Business – 05.14.11

by Kevin Casey on May 14, 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.

SEC to Review Small Business Funding Rules

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will re-evaluate the financing regulations that govern small businesses to determine whether they’re outdated or hindering economic growth. The Wall Street Journal reports that the review was prompted in part by the increasing number of online “crowdfunding” venues that enable startups and small businesses to sell shares directly to individual investors. Got an opinion? The SEC is accepting public comments via web form and email.

A(nother) Busy Week in Social Media

What’s shaking in the vast social media universe: Quora drops its policy against self-promotion. Facebook tightens its promotions rules and publishes a free social media marketing guide. Marianne Worley argues against the mid-tweet hashtag. And a timely way to motivate Foursquare check-ins — offering gas discounts — meets with mixed results.

IRS: Please Talk to Us! (Wait, Why Are You Running Away?)

The IRS wants to hear from small business owners on certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which will require firms with more than 50 full-time employees to offer group health insurance or pay penalties beginning in 2014. Notice 2011-36 solicits public comments via email, mail, or in person through June 17. The IRS said it’s particularly interested in feedback on “possible approaches employers could use to determine who is a full-time employee,” which seems likely to be one of the gray areas for compliance.

The Most Common Reasons Why Startups Fail

Business Insider examines the top 20 reasons why new businesses fail, with an emphasis on technology companies. The top two causes of businesses going bye-bye shouldn’t come as much surprise to seasoned owners and entrepreneurs in any industry: Ignoring your customers and trying to fill a non-existent market need. (We don’t recommend either strategy.)

Small Business Confidence Dips

The NFIB’s small business optimism index dropped for a second straight month, marking a lull in the survey’s measure of how owners are seeing current and future economic conditions. The index had risen in six of the previous seven months as the economy crawled out of the recession. Earnings continue to improve, according to the index’s respondents, but the outlook for the next six months remains tepid, with fewer owners expecting business conditions to improve in that span.

Did South Carolina Small Businesses Get Raw Deal?

Chris Haire of Charleston City Paper does a postmortem of recent business news in South Carolina, namely the state legislature’s de facto “no” to Amazon.com — in the name of small business growth, among other things — followed shortly by the welcome of a major Wal-Mart expansion with open arms. Wal-Mart had supported the group — including small businesses — that opposed Amazon’s planned distribution warehouse in the state. Haire’s verdict: “This is backstabbing at its finest.”

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

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