The Week in Small Business – 08.27.11

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

How Important is User-Generated Content?

Very, says Mashable contributor Cathy Halligan: Read on for her analysis of how website content created by your customers and other visitors is changing the search engine optimization (SEO) game. That could become even more true: Google this week began rolling out two important enhancements to its +1 button for websites. Both enable users to share content from your site directly with their Google+ network.

You’re Paying Too Much for Health Insurance

Health insurance is expensive — no great revelation there. But a new study indicates small businesses are paying more than they need to. The report, published in the American Economic Review, says that small businesses overpay on average 29 percent for health coverage. The report’s authors tell Inc.com that business owners should consider a couple of tips. First: If you use a broker, don’t assume they’re getting you the best price. Second: Keep a close eye on your state’s approach to the health insurance exchanges mandated by federal law. They could create more competitive rates, but it’s not a slam dunk.

Location, Location, Location!

You’ve heard what they say about location, right? So has The Wall Street Journal: It roamed the countryside to come up with seven hotspots for startups and other smaller businesses. From nanotechnology in upstate New York to beer brewing in Asheville, North Carolina, these areas have fostered growth and innovation no matter what the news headlines say about the economy.

Big and Small: Perfect Together?

It can occasionally seem like smaller businesses are pitted against bigger ones — and that can certainly be true if you’ve got larger competitors. But small and big can make great partners, too. Take this example from Rochester, New York, where smaller business owners met with large company reps to explore potential deals. Or take South Carolina, which has had some public debates of late over the issue: While the arrival of a behemoth like Amazon.com can cause hand-wringing, at least a few owners there are excited for their new neighbor.

What You Can Learn From Failed Businesses

It’s a fact of small business life: Sometimes companies go under. It’s not necessarily something to relish, but it is something to learn from. USA Today takes a look at a variety of entrepreneurial missteps — and what wisdom other business owners can take away from them.

About Kevin Casey

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