The Week in Small Business – 07.16.11

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

Carpocalypse Now: L.A. Businesses Strike Carmaggedon Deals

What happens when a city notorious for its traffic closes one of its busiest freeways for the weekend? Carmaggedon! (Or the Carpocalypse, if you’d prefer.) As Los Angeles drivers prepare to meet their maker — or at least map an alternate route — some SoCal businesses are drumming up ways to keep shopping traffic flowing during the prime summer days. For entrepreneurs everywhere, it’s an interesting case study in how to deal with — or simply cash in on — events that alter consumer behavior, not to mention the media melodrama that sometimes surrounds them.  The Los Angeles Times checks in with several small businesses to see how they’re planning to cope. The Wall Street Journal does the same, even noting a pet photographer that’s knocking 20 percent off her rates.

Late Payments Clogging Up Cash Flow

Slow-paying customers and their dastardly cousins, the deadbeats, can cause all sorts of financial problems for a lean-and-mean small business. According to a USA Today story, those problems are growing, with payment terms ballooning from the once-typical 30 days to 60 or even 90 calendar checks before a business gets its money. Slow or nonpaying customers a problem for you? Check out the Intuit Small Business Blog’s advice on how to collect money you’re owed.

Is E-Verify an Enemy of Small Businesses?

An opinion piece in The Houston Chronicle takes issue with the federal “E-Verify” program, which enables businesses to check whether their job candidates are actually eligible for employment. The program is currently voluntary, but at least one lawmaker is pushing to make it mandatory — a move that business owner J. Kelly Conklin says would be a disaster for small companies and their employees.

Can a Farmers Market Grow Local Businesses, Too?

Here’s a neat story out of Prince George’s County, Maryland, where The Washington Post profiles a new farmers market hoping to dole out local produce and boost local businesses at the same time. The nonprofit group Branch Avenue in Bloom got the volunteer-driven market going with a $5,000 grant from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Maryland Small Business Development Center.

A New Source for Young Employees

How can startups and other bootstrapped businesses compete for top-notch talent? One way is to hire inexperienced people with promise, but that’s sometimes easier said than done. Techcrunch profiles College2Startup, a new site that connects new or recent grads with smaller companies looking to staff up on a tight budget.

About Kevin Casey

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