The Week in Small Business – 10.22.11

by Kevin Casey on October 22, 2011

We do the legwork of finding the best in small business news and links. You have more time to do what you love.

I’ll Have a Latte, a Scone, and a Loan

Starbucks is getting into the small business lending game — sort of. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera profiles the efforts of Starbucks uber-barista-slash-CEO Howard Schultz to help small businesses acquire necessary financing through the Community Development Financial Instutitions Fund. The coffee giant will kick-start things with a $5 million contribution, and give customers the chance to make smaller contributions when paying up for their caffeine fix. (Tip of the cap to Bloomberg Businessweek’s The New Entrepreneur blog for the link.)

How Much Money Should You Make?

It’s a question that vexes even seasoned business owners: When the buck stops with you, just how many bucks should you pay yourself? Fox Business tackles the problem of setting your own salary when you own a business, and the potential downsides of underpaying the head honcho: You.

Tax Planning: Two Small Biz Breaks Set to Shrink

Speaking of cash in your pocket: The Associated Press details two related, recession-driven tax cuts for small businesses that will decrease significantly starting in 2012. Both could be worth considering for year-end tax planning purposes. The Section 179 deduction allows small businesses to deduct up to $500,000 worth of equipment such as computers, furniture, and vehicles up front — rather than depreciating their value over time. The cap will drop to $125,000 next year, and likely go even lower in 2013. A related “bonus depreciation” break allows for a larger deduction on top of the Section 179 break, but it will also be scaled back beginning next year.

Put Your Website Through the Ringer

The New York Times’ You’re the Boss blog breaks down the website of a Manhattan dermatologist and asks readers where it succeeds — and where it fails. Among the noteworthy tidbits: The doctor has spent some $20,000 on search engine optimization but isn’t thrilled with her return on investment. Feeling brave? The recurring feature is looking for other businesses to volunteer their websites for critique.

How to Train New Employees

From full-time staffers to the summer intern, the Harvard Business Review blog offers up the best approach to training employees. One of the key pitfalls: Forgetting what it’s like to not know anything. What do you do to give your people the tools and knowledge they need to get the job done? Share your tips below.