NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?
1. NFIB is asked to disclose its donor list. Congressional leaders are challenging whether the National Federation of Independent Business truly works on behalf of its constituency -- small businesses. A letter sent Tuesday written by U.S. Reps. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairmen of the Democratic Congressional Progressive Caucus, questioned donations made to the organization that could "undermine its claims to be a nonpartisan small-business advocacy group," according to Entrepreneur.com.
The NFIB is spearheading litigation against President Barack Obama's health care reform act.
A $3.7 million contribution by Crossroads GPS has lawmakers wondering if the NFIB is more sensitive to big business and conservative interests. The letter requested more information on how that money was spent and asked the organization to "disclose all contributions it received over the past three years," among other information, Entrepreneur says.The NFIB does not plan to disclose its donor list, amounts of donations or its member list, according to Jean Card, a spokeswoman for the NFIB. "We are representing our membership well and per their wishes," the spokeswoman told Entrepreneur. "The underlying charge of this letter is unfounded." 2. Vending machines making pizzas is coming to the U.S. This is just plain cool. First we saw cupcake vending machines and now a U.K. company is looking to bring its pizza vending machine, which prepares pies from scratch in just a couple of minutes, to the U.S., according to Gawker. A1 Concepts plans to open offices in Atlanta this year. It's targeting "Let's Pizza" machines for malls, airports, supermarkets, universities, gas stations, bus stations and hospitals. Will it compete with New York pizza? Probably not, but if you're stuck between flights at an airport, it might hit the spot. 3. Can being too high-tech be bad for business? As technology evolves to handle even the most complex business tasks, consider whether automating your business is truly, well, good for business. On the one hand, using automation is critical for businesses that want to scale, says Inc.com. On the other hand, the author wonders if the latest and greatest tech ideas take away from a company's human touch. "People do business with companies for many reasons. Satisfying a specific, practical need is only one of them. Consumers also want to be recognized and valued. They want attention, which is at the heart of service," the author writes. "Instead of spending money to save some pennies through greater efficiency, why not invest in teaching your staff how to properly treat customers and rake in the dollars?" -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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