3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Nov. 30

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. Sole proprietors saw double-digit increase in sales over Thanksgiving weekend. Sole proprietors saw an average sales increase of 23% during the Thanksgiving weekend retail rush compared with last year, according to Outright, a program that streamlines small-business' taxes and financial transactions from commerce sites such as eBay ( EBAY), Amazon ( AMZN) and PayPal into a central database.

The data included sales from Thanksgiving day through Cyber Monday. Outright aggregated data from a sampling of the company's 10,000 small-business customers who are sole proprietors from all sectors -- everything from designers to dog walkers to consultants, it says.

The businesses saw the biggest lift in sales on Black Friday. Sole proprietors who used a major e-commerce site to sell products sold an average of $440 this year versus $100 last year over the Thanksgiving weekend.

2. NRFsays it's fighting for the little guy on sales tax. The National Retail Federation, a retail industry trade organization, urged the House Judiciary Committee to support legislation that would reform online sales tax laws to offer a more level playing field to bricks-and-mortar stores competing with online sellers.

According to the NRF, online sellers have a price advantage that is "stifling" Main Street's ability to compete.

"As retailing evolves and Internet sales become a more prominent portion of total retail sales, it is critical that Congress addresses the sales tax collection discrimination that exists between brick-and-mortar and remote retailers," NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French said in the written testimony. "Congress must resolve the Constitutional questions posed by the 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Quill v. North Dakota decision in a fashion which promotes a level playing field between retail competitors."

According to the NRF, online sellers are already required to collect sales tax from customers in their own states, but congressional action is needed to be able to collect from all out-of-state customers (if they do not have a physical presence such as a store, warehouse or office in the customer's state) since the ruling said that sorting through various state laws is too complicated to know how much tax to collect.

While there are small online businesses and large bricks-and-mortar stores, the three pending bills in Congress that would address the issue have names suggesting they're acting on behalf of mom and pop stores: the Main Street Fairness Act, the Marketplace Equity Act and the Marketplace Fairness Act.

While determining "collection authority" is priority, French said, requirements for states to "simplify their sales tax systems are also key to ensuring sales tax reform."

The committee is scheduled to hold a hearing today to examine the issue.

3. How to negotiate with investors. In this video Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council and Inc. Magazine contributor, offers some entertaining tips on how to negotiate with investors.

Here are two tips:

Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered (an old saying meaning you shouldn't get too greedy).

Know your walk-away position (meaning that before negotiating you should decide which talking points are non-negotiable and determine your limitations).

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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