The Week in Small Business – 09.10.11

by Kevin Casey on September 10, 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.

What Obama’s Jobs Plan Could Mean for Small Businesses

President Obama gave a much-anticipated speech to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night, in which he outlined a $447 billion plan to create jobs and kick-start a flagging American economy. It has a long way to go to become law, but included some key provisions for small businesses: the plan would slash your payroll tax contributions in half next year, from the current 6.2 percent to 3.1 percent. Your employees would see the same break — as would many other workers, theoretically putting more disposable income in consumer wallets. And small businesses would also stand to get certain tax credits for hiring new staff or giving current employees a raise. Check out CNNMoney’s breakdown of what’s in the President’s proposal.

Does Your Government Get You?

As long as we’re on the topic: Entrepreneur Steve Blank says governments don’t get startups, and it could be a problem of definition. While the political and economic rhetoric around small businesses continues to grow, Blank notes that all companies are not created equal: In fact, he lists six different types of startups, each with its own particular needs. The problem? Governments treat them all the same. (Tip of the cap to The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Europe blog for the link.)

Open For Business, Closed On Google

The New York Times dives into a downside of Google’s current power: the ease with which local businesses can be reported as permanently closed via their Google Places listing. An otherwise healthy business that gets “closed” on Google — which would affect its appearance on Google Maps, too — could stand to lose large numbers of would-be customers that steer clear as a result of bad information. Search Engine Land builds upon the story to take Google to task over its small business strategy, noting that while competitors such as Bing and Yahoo have comparable user-edited listings for local businesses, they don’t have the same traffic — or the corresponding influence over consumer decisions. It’s a good reminder to keep tabs on your online presence.

5 Tips For Pinching Postage Pennies

The U.S. Postal Service is on the brink of insolvency, and though it seems unlikely that the government will allow the nationwide mail system to go belly up, Entrepreneur says businesses should prepare for one near-certainty: Price increases. If postage and shipping is a line-item in your budget, check out the magazine’s tips for keeping costs in check.

South Jersey Businesses Get NFL Films Treatment

As the NFL season kicked off Thursday night, Patch writer Julie Dengler reported on the moonlighting project of James Weiner, an Emmy-winning producer for NFL Films. Weiner’s IAmSouthJersey.com produces 60-second video spots about local businesses in his community. The producer tells Patch the videos aren’t intended as commercials but as stories: “They are personal. They tell the tale of who that person is and why it is they do what they do.”

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

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