The Week in Small Business – 02.19.11

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

Tax Mess in Texas

State Comptroller Susan Combs sent a clear message to Amazon.com recently: Don’t mess with Texas. Combs has publicly demanded that the online retailer cut a check for $269 million in unpaid sales taxes on purchases by Texas residents. But Governor Rick Perry issued a different message to Combs: Don’t mess with Amazon. And the retailer has said it will shut down its warehouse in the state. A Dallas Morning News editorial backs Combs in the fight. It’s another chapter in the increasingly complicated relationship between online retailers that don’t collect taxes and state legislatures — not to mention some small businesses — that think they should.

SBA Faces 2012 Budget Cuts

The U.S. Small Business Administration would see its funding slashed by 45 percent next year under President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget, though The Wall Street Journal notes in its breakdown that a straight budget-to-budget comparison isn’t all that accurate. The reason: The SBA received extra funds last year as a result of the Small Business Jobs Act and the broader Recovery Act. Though the SBA would be forced to trim salaries and administrative costs in the 2012 budget, the line items for business loans and disaster recovery loans will actually increase if you exclude stimulus funds from the equation.

Small Business Microloans Go Social

You might already use sites like Facebook and Linkedin to promote your business — but how about using them to get a loan? Microfinancing site 40Billion.com this week launched new tools that enable business owners and entrepreneurs to use their existing Facebook or Linkedin accounts to raise funds through their online networks.

Linkedin Goes Old School for Small Business Education

Speaking of Linkedin, the professional networking site has launched a promotional video series for small businesses. Sponsored by Fedex, Linkedin’s Timeless Guide to Small Business Success was shot to resemble bad infomercials of a bygone era. In a blog post, producer Rob Getzschman (who also does video for comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade) explained that the retro style was used to combat the fact that “the average office worker can only watch a screenshot tutorial for a few seconds before the onset of spontaneous narcolepsy.”

How to Write Good — Real Good

You likely write for business reasons nearly every day, from email to marketing copy to formal proposals. But is your message getting through? Small Business Trends outlines five steps to better business communications.

The Customer Is Always Right — But They Might Be Lying

BNET’s Geoffrey James offers up the top 10 lies that customers tell when responding to sales pitches. Number one? “We can’t afford it.” James follows up with some suggested responses for when you encounter these fibs in your day-to-day business.

About Kevin Casey

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