The Week in Small Business – 03.05.11

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

Apple Offers Small Business Tech Support Plan

Apple, more often associated with the high-end consumer market rather than the business computing world long-dominated by Windows-based PCs, has launched a tech support package aimed at small businesses. The plan, called Joint Venture, offers a variety of services from training to troubleshooting. The base package costs $499 — with the purchase of a new Mac, of course — and covers up to five systems, each of which includes a Mac, an iPhone, and an iPad. (Apple on Wednesday unveiled the iPad 2.) Curious: If your business uses Macs or other Apple products, what do you think? Is it worth the price tag? And if you don’t use Macs for business, would this make you more likely to start? Let us know in the comments.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

Open a lemonade stand! Research firm AMI this week said there was a significant uptick last year in home-based businesses started as a result of a corporate layoff. The number of at-home entrepreneurs in the U.S. who attributed the birth of their business to a job loss grew by 11 percent in 2010. Perhaps more compelling: 80 percent of those who began a home-based business as a result of being laid off said they have no intention of returning to a large company’s payroll. In fact, the lemonade stand might be hanging out a help wanted sign soon: AMI’s study found a 10 percent increase in the number of home-based businesses that plan to hire in the coming year.

Small Businesses Haggling For Lower Rents

In an article and follow-up blog post, The Wall Street Journal‘s Sarah Needleman takes a look at how continuing softness in the commercial real estate market might be helping small businesses. With landlords loathe to lose current occupants, the time might be right to sit down at the bargaining table — even if your business is on a current lease. Needleman’s coverage includes a 40-person law firm that re-negotiated more favorable terms on its office space — even thought its previous lease ran through 2013. Of course, this particular type of business was well-suited to handle its own contract work.

Daily Deal Spending Will Approach $4 Billion By 2015

Daily deal websites will become a multi-billion dollar business by 2015, according to research from consulting firm BIA/Kelsey. The company gave a sneak peek at new data that projects consumer spending on sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial — and their 200-plus competitors — will increase from $873 million in 2010 to $3.9 billion by 2015.

The Ups and Downs of Accepting Credit Cards

KIMT, a local CBS affiliate serving parts of Iowa and Minnesota, ran a story on its website that takes an on-the-ground look at how one business deals with credit card transaction fees. The approach? The business only accepts cash or checks. That alone doesn’t make Jitters Coffee, based in Mason City, Iowa, unique. But the story highlights how transaction fees can force local businesses to raise prices, and the balancing act between offering value and convenience.

About Kevin Casey

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

DO NOT USE INTUIT ONLINE FOR VISA OR MASTERCARD TRANSACTIONS. THEY ARE THIEFS AND THEY WILL TAKE MONEY AND NOT RETURN IT TO YOU. WORST GROUP OF PEOPLE I HAVE DEALT WITH IN A LONG TIME

Jay Badenhope
Jay Badenhope

Hi Liz, I'm sorry to hear you had a bad experience. We'll reach out to understand better what happened and see what we can do. Jay B. (Intuit)