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

1. The U.S. Postal Service's planned cuts worry small-business owners. The millions of sole proprietors running operations that rely on inexpensive shipping could face a new reality as the U.S. Postal Service implements its planned cost-cutting measures in 2012, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

The 21 million "nonemployer firms," in Census Bureau language, are the potential business owners who are likely to be hurt most by the U.S. Postal Service, when it begins reducing services in May. Nonemployer firms, or sole proprietors, account for nearly three-quarters of all U.S. businesses and about $973 billion in annual business revenue -- about 3% of total U.S. business activity, the article says.

These are the businesses that sell products through eBay ( EBAY) and Etsy rely on the USPS to ship their merchandise as well as their bulk mails needs. They will now have to rely on more costly and longer delivery alternatives such as UPS ( UPS) or FedEx ( FDX) for their shipping needs.

2. Another federal initiative to encourage small-business lending. Since Congress' repeated attempts at providing capital for small businesses has yet to be successful, it is now trying with a third attempt -- the $1.5 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative, another part of President Barack Obama's 2010 Jobs Act.

>>> Why the Small-Business Lending Fund Didn't Work

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's online publication, each state was allocated an amount "based on a formula that considered the number of jobs lost during the recession." The states are then expected to use the federal money to "generate private investment of at least 10 times that amount," the article says.

New Jersey should receive $34 million; Delaware expects $13 million or so; and Pennsylvania expects to get $29 million, according to the article.

3. Are you taking a vacation? The reality of the tough economic environment means that most small-business owners won't be taking a vacation this holiday season. But with the advent of mobile technology, meditating on a beach in Thailand is more of a possibility for some business owners. American Express ( AXP) OPEN offers three applications that could help you control your business from afar: QuickOffice Pro, LogMeIn Ignition and Alarm.com.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

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