The Week in Small Business – 02.18.12

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

Payroll Tax Cut Extended

Your employees — and consumers in general — will continue to see a little extra green in their checks at least through the end of 2012. Congress on Friday voted to extend the current payroll tax break — as well as unemployment benefits for millions still out of work — through the end of the year. The White House this week also touted healthcare tax credits for small businesses as part of President Obama’s 2013 budget, saying the proposal would expand the existing credit to benefit nearly 500,000 small businesses. Among other changes, businesses with up to 50 employees — double the current 25-employee cutoff — would qualify for the credit.

No Product, 10,000 Users

Behold, the beauty of the internet, where a bit of marketing mojo can net a new company with no product more than 10,000 registered users. Mashable breaks down Wander and its seemingly overnight audience — even though the startup hasn’t actually announced what its business does. Its particular mojo? An “utterly pointless” online game in which users earn points for clicking on a cow.

We Don’t Need No Education

Seasoned owners and novice entrepreneurs alike have plenty of options these days for learning new business skills. Both in-person and online classes cover a wide range of topics and run the pricing gamut from “free” to “far-from-it.” The problem: How do you know if the education is any good? Bloomberg Businessweek weighs in on how to avoid useless business training.

A Penny Saved, a Dollar Lost?

Shrewd small business owners are often good at finding cost savings. Yet TheStreet.com’s Lea Strickland notes a downside in bargain-hunting: Passing over a dollar to pick up a penny. It can happen, for example, if you switch to a vendor that offers a lower price but you fail to calculate the real cost of the change. In some cases, you spend more money to “save.” Another variation of the same wayward financial sense: Businesses that can’t pass up a good deal on new equipment or other purchases. “The only catch?” Strickland writes. “They do not need it.”

5 Things You Shouldn’t Go Cheap On

Then there are those times where pinching pennies simply doesn’t pay off. The Southern Pines Pilot runs down five things your business shouldn’t scrimp on. Do you agree with the list? Tell us in the comments what’s worth spending money on — and what’s not.

About Kevin Casey

Kevin Casey is a regular contributor here, at InformationWeek and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @kevinrcasey.
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