The Week in Small Business – 10.29.11

by Kevin Casey on October 29, 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.

Small Business Saturday, Redux

Mark your calendar: American Express and partners are bringing back Small Business Saturday this November 26, the day following “Black Friday,” which has long signaled the official start of the holiday shopping season. The event, first held last year, encourages consumers to shop local, independent businesses instead of big-box retailers. Social media is again a big part of the program: Facebook will give small businesses $100 in free advertising on the site, and Google will offer a tool to create simple YouTube videos. Consumers get some incentive to shop, too: American Express cardholders can receive a $25 statement credit, and this year FedEx will distribute $1 million in gift cards to be used exclusively at participating small businesses.

Why Employers Aren’t Getting Good People

Small businesses and other employers that grumble about the perils of finding reliable, qualified workers might want to take a look in the mirror. So says a detailed analysis in The Wall Street Journal of some of the myths and real reasons behind the hiring challenges facing American companies. Short version: The companies themselves deserve a healthy chunk of the blame. The piece, written by a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, also makes some key recommendations for employers looking to improve their hiring, training, and retention practices.

Get More Out of LinkedIn

Among the reasons small business owners should consider using LinkedIn even though you’re not looking for a job: You might find some good people for your business who are looking for a job. If you’re new to the professional networking site, The Globe and Mail serves up three ways to get more out of it. Check out the Intuit Small Business Blog’s previous advice on leveraging LinkedIn for your business.

Ka-ching! How to Profit from a YouTube Hit

Did that video of your cat chasing its own tail become a sudden sensation on YouTube? Turn that kitten into a cash cow! The New York Times offers up a crash course in making money off of YouTube hits — and the same principles could apply for any small business owners and marketers. For starters, YouTube offers the owners of popular videos the chance to split ad revenue — one example in the story has earned more than $100,000 from doing so.

Trick-or-Treat Traffic

Local retailers and other small businesses know the value of foot traffic — it can inform a whole host of important strategic decisions, such as store location, hours of operation, inventory, and promotions. But how serious are you about tracking its patterns, particularly around holidays and other special events? One San Francisco neighborhood might set the bar: It has been collecting data on trick-or-treaters each Halloween since 2007 — broken down in 15-minute increments — and residents plan their candy stockpiles accordingly. With good reason, too: In a previous year, one resident handed out some 1,300 treats on Halloween night. The typical treat traffic peak: between 6:45 and 7:15.

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

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