The Week in Small Business – 11.27.2010

by Kevin Casey on November 27, 2010
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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.

It’s Small Business Saturday

Today is the inaugural Small Business Saturday, the American Express-sponsored initiative to encourage shoppers to buy local. We’ll have to wait a bit to gauge the real-world impact, but the online response — including more than 1,000,000 “likes” on the campaign’s Facebook page — has certainly been positive. Here’s to happy returns for participating businesses.

TGIBF

Meanwhile, a sampling of reports from around the country indicated feverish turnouts for Black Friday, the “traditional” post-Thanksgiving retail spree. Which, in some cases, didn’t wait for Friday to get started — Toys ‘R Us opened its doors at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night.

Main Street’s Diner is… IHOP?

This ain’t exactly your mom-and-pop’s greasy spoon. Rather, in the words of CEO Jean Birch, IHOP is the 20th-largest restaurant chain in the country. Yet the company’s 1,500th franchise, which recently opened its doors in Washington, D.C., was able to take advantage of tax increment financing that the city allocated for development of its Columbia Heights neighborhood, with 15,000-square feet of commercial space to be set aside for local, minority-owned businesses at discounted rents. It’s an interesting story that highlights the unique position of franchises in the grand landscape of American small business.

Do You Need a Slush Fund?

You might not need a bank account in the Cayman Islands just yet, but you should consider a more transparent rainy day fund for your business: This CPA advises small businesses to set aside 3 to 6 months of standard operating expenses, much like guidelines for households.

How to Pick a Credit Card for Your Business

A credit card can be an effective weapon in your business’s cash-flow arsenal — provided you have a good one and use it responsibly. Creditcards.com asks six questions to help you find the right piece of plastic.

Boss’s Big Sacrifice a Boon for Employees

Job loss isn’t usually fodder for a feel-good holiday story, but this Florida business owner’s unorthodox decision might qualify: faced with choosing one employee to cut from her nine-person staff, Lola Gonzalez laid herself off instead. She stopped paying her own salary and took a job as a social worker in order to keep her background-check firm in business — and all nine of her employees on the payroll.

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

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