The Week in Small Business – 12.03.11

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

Will Sales Taxes Strike Down Small Online Businesses?

Amazon.com’s potential impact on local businesses isn’t new news. But usually you hear about how Amazon’s pricing — and its historical practice of not collecting sales taxes on purchases — undercuts much smaller competitors. Yet, while a Senate proposal on internet taxation might be welcomed as good news by some local retailers, other business owners are gnawing their fingernails. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at why small, internet-only retailers are worried about how the potential legislation could hurt them.

Smart Brands Go Beyond Facebook

It’s true: There are indeed social networks other than Facebook and Twitter, even if those are the two you might think of first. Mashable breaks down three lesser-known sites and how some sharp small businesses use them to get results. The tips section at the end includes several other social sites worth checking out, but comes with some wise words of caution: Take time to learn a site’s particular culture and audience, and how it might match (or not) your business, rather than just shotgun-spraying advertising messages from day one.

You Can Thank Us Later

Thanksgiving has given way to December and the winter holidays, but Fast Company blogger Howie Jacobsen advises year-round gratitude as a smart business strategy. In fact, he diagnoses “Gratitude Deficit Disorder” running roughshod. The antidote? “Spend five minutes now making a list of people you are sincerely grateful towards. Then create an action plan to communicate your thanks, with no hidden agenda, ” Jacobsen writes. The rub: Just make sure it’s not “opportunistic holiday B.S.”

To Do: Add to This Month’s To-Do List

Speaking of December, USAToday’s Rhonda Abrams doles out three items for business owners’ to-do lists before you ring in 2012. The obvious one comes first: It’s tax planning time. The third is perhaps not as clear: December can be a great time of year to update or replace important operational systems, such as accounting, payroll, merchant accounts, or other tools that keep your business running on a daily basis.

Break Out Your Crystal Balls — It’s Prediction Season

What’s in store in 2012? Time to channel your inner Nostradamus. TheStreet.com notes nine trends it expects to see in the year ahead. Among the predictions: increased hiring by small businesses, changes to the daily deals landscape, and more momentum for the buy local movement. What are some of your calls for next year? Lay ‘em on us 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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