3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Mar. 14

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

1. How did one entrepreneur turn women's shapewear into a $1 billion company? Sarah Blakely, founder of Spanx, started the woman's hosiery line out of her apartment. But the product soon turned into an entire industry -- shapewear -- for women. This lively profile by Forbes shares Blakely's ups, downs and how she got used to being half-naked in public to sell her line.

Spanx has a team of 125, only 16 of whom are male. Spanx and its 200 offshoot products are sold in 11,500 department stores, boutiques and online shops in 40 countries. Blakely says international distribution is just heating up.

The investment world values the company at roughly $1 billion and Blakely, at 41, is the youngest billionaire to make the Forbes' World's Billionaires list.

2. Did you know small businesses can get a health insurance coverage tax credit? The Internal Revenue Service is encouraging small firms that provide employees with health insurance to claim the small-business health care tax credit if they are eligible, according to infoZine. The IRS has recently revamped its Small Business Health Care Tax Credit page, providing a guide for determining eligibility, tax savings and a webinar.

The health care tax credit was included in the Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010, which says "small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for employee health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement" may be eligible for the credit.

3. What product got pulled from a Gettysburg gift shop? Bobblehead dolls of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, got pulled from a tourist store's shelf after being on sale for one week, according to the Huffington Post. The Gettysburg National Military Park decided to pull the items after a local newspaper asked about them.

"On rare occasions, there's an item that might cause concern, and obviously the bobbleheads appeared to be doing that," Gettysburg Foundation spokeswoman Dru Anne Neil told HuffPo. She didn't say the exact reason for pulling the items from the shelves.

The Booth dolls sell online for about $20 each and are a popular item, according to its manufacturer, BobbleHead.

"There's a market there," sales manager Matt Powers told HuffPo. "We like to let the customer decide if it's a good item or not."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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