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) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Tax deductions small businesses are likely leaving on the table.

Small business owners know what it's like to pinch pennies, especially as they get their businesses up and running, so why not take advantage of the tax deductions available to businesses?

Small businesses can deduct many expenses, including materials for products, business travel expenses (which includes the miles you put on your car to go to the post office to mail packages), home office expenses, which could potentially include electricity, gas, and even mortgage/rent as long as the room is dedicated solely for working purposes, according to a guest post by Outright on



Other things that could be deducted include "business aids," such as software, magazine subscriptions, and anything that helps run your business more efficiently. Keep in mind, saving receipts will be key to prove to the IRS that you have indeed spent the correct amount of money you have deducted when filing.

2. Are startups becoming boring?

Business Insider

thinks so given that we've just come out of a very exciting time in the tech world, where four big names --





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-- went public and the next tech star, Instagram was snapped up by Facebook.

In addition, for the first time in a long time, exciting stuff is coming from big companies --


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self-driving cars,


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iPad, and


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same-day delivery exploration,



Startups that were expected to be big like Airtime, Brewster and Viddy were letdowns.

Now the consumer tech startup space is too crowded, particularly as it gets easier and less costly for businesses to launch. Some say the era is ending.

"The interesting innovation now is happening in

business-to-business and infrastructure, which doesn't seem as intellectually interesting but can have a large impact," one investor told


. "

Business-to-consumer might just be tapped out for the moment after a good 5+ year run."

Less sexy sectors are where it's at now including hardware, enterprise software, infrastructure and biotech. "Those startups may be better, more predictable bets for investors. But they require a different mindset from entrepreneurs and the rest of us,"



3. What can business owners learn from Nike's Lebron's X brand controversy?

Athletic clothing and footwear giant


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has created a bit of a PR nightmare for itself regarding the new Lebron X product line. Slated to hit stores this fall, it includes shoes that will retail at a $315 price point -- that's one very expensive sneaker. While the company is also releasing a lower price point offering -- at $180 -- consumer advocate groups are enraged, with the main criticism being how insensitive the company seems given the state of the economy and unemployment.

Huffington Post

contributor Erica Nicole, who is also the founder and CEO of

YFS Magazine

, says Nike is a for-profit company and can price their goods -- amid rising costs and global macroeconomic pressures -- any way they want.

But the lesson for small business owners is to take heed.

"Pricing is one of the most challenging dilemmas any company will face," Nicole writes. "A wide array of variables impact pricing decisions and further market acceptance. This is why it is essential for entrepreneurs and marketers to know, with laser-focused precision, who their customer base is and why they buy your brand. You may find that your brand appeals to multiple audience segments. If so, prioritize accordingly."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Follow @LKulikowski

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to:


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