3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: March 21

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

1. An argument for using Yelp to get more business. "Kind of like an Angie's List gone viral, Yelp ( YELP) has become one of the premiere Web sites to offer user-generated reviews," says Noobpreneur.

Small businesses can use the site to get more business because Yelp ranks fairly high in Google ( GOOG) search, and even if a business does rank on the first page for local search term, one more listing surely couldn't hurt. It also is a good way to get feedback from customers, because those who had a bad experience with a company are more likely to leave a review than those who had a good experience, the article says.

Finally, it doesn't cost anything to list your business on Yelp. Be sure to fill out the entire business profile, including business hours, location and tons of photographs, though. This is essentially free advertising for your business, so play it up.

2. Women-owned businesses are gaining ground. Women-owned firms continue to grow in number and economic stature in a broad range of industries, including traditionally male-led ones such as construction and transportation, according to the American Express ( AXP) OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

As of this year, the report estimates there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people.

Some notable findings include:

U.S. businesses rose by 37% in the 15-year period started in 1997; the number of women-owned businesses rose by 54%, a rate 1.5 times the national average. Within the past year, the number of women-owned companies rose by 200,000, equivalent to just under 550 women-owned firms per day;

Women-owned firms exceed overall sector growth rates in seven of the 13 industries with the most number of businesses: wholesale trade; finance and insurance; other services; real estate; health care and social assistance; construction; and arts, entertainment or recreation;

One of the biggest challenges for women-owned businesses is growing beyond the $250,000 to $499,999 revenue size, the survey says.

3. Advocacy groups are supporting a House proposal for a temporary small-business tax cut. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is backing a temporary tax cut for small businesses. The measure, expected to be introduced Wednesday, aims to reduce small-business tax rates for the next year, according to Roll Call. Small businesses with 499 or fewer employees would be able to deduct up to 20% of their income taxes for the 2012 year, the article says.

Organizations including the International Franchise Association and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council support the measure.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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