The Week in Small Business – 02.26.11

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

Online Crooks Like Small Businesses, Too

MSNBC’s ConsumerMan, Herb Weisbaum, takes a look at a growing trend: Small businesses can be cybercrime victims, too, and they may not be taking the necessary steps to secure their — or their customers’ — information. I wrote about this recently over at InformationWeek: A noted security expert told me that even though you might not harbor state secrets, the rapid spread of malware poses a real threat to companies of all shapes and sizes, especially as it becomes easier and easier to put your business online.

Very Small Businesses — Very Confident

Printing vendor Vistaprint conducted a survey of “microbusinesses” — those with between one and 10 employees — and found that companies in that range have high hopes for this year, with 60 percent of respondents saying they expected to make more money in 2011 than they did in 2010. 88 percent of businesses included in the poll said they plan to spend more on marketing in 2011, with “setting up or enhancing a business website” the leading reason. One in three small companies will increase their use of social media for business purposes.

Small Biz Bankruptcies Drop

New data from credit reporting bureau Equifax shows a significant decrease in small business bankruptcies: Filings fell 18 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009. Consumer bankruptcies, on the other hand, declined less than 1 percent over the same period.

NFL Lockout: Small Business Killer?

If the NFL and its players union can’t come to terms over a new labor deal this off-season, legions of fantasy football players would not be the only ones to despair. Michael Sinensky, who owns five bars in the New York metro area, explains in explicit financial detail how a canceled NFL season would wreck one of his sports bars — and the small business vendors that supply it. Intuit Small Business Blog’s Michael Essany offers up his analysis here.

Is Your Schedule C Setting You Up for an Audit?

With the April tax filing deadline looming, personal finance site Walletpop takes a stab at answering the question: Is a Schedule C return like a target on your back? It’s a yes-and-no proposition: While Schedule C filers do get audited at a higher rate, it’s what’s on the return that matters.

Bad Gas

Forgive me if I sound a bit like Andy Rooney here, but I just about needed CPR when I pulled into my local gas station on Thursday. The price of a gallon of regular unleaded my area shot up about 20 cents in two days: An employee told me they expect prices to hit four bucks a gallon by late April and $5 by summer. The national average is currently around $3.28 per gallon, and businesses are feeling the pinch. If your business relies on vehicles to run smoothly, you have my sympathy. I half-expected my credit card company to flag the transaction when I filled up this week. Air travelers are seeing significant fare increases, too. Let us know how your business is managing fuel costs in the comments.

About Kevin Casey

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