3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: March 29

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

1. How to tell if you're acquiring an Apple or a Gateway.

If you think your company could benefit from an innovation-driven acquisition, Harvard Business Review shares a few considerations for business owners before agreeing to the purchase.

First, innovation is always a gamble. However the acquisition should be based on "something other than a Hail Mary pass or ill-defined synergies," the article says.

Second, consider how hard your company may have to work to differentiate the product resulting from the acquisition.

Are you buying the company for what you can learn from it or what you can teach it? "If it's the latter, you might want to reconsider," the article says.

Finally, weigh the pros and cons of the financials against the value of innovation.

"Who can say what the possibility of innovation is really worth? In the late 1990s, nobody acquired Gateway or Apple ( APPL). However, Apple did get Steve Jobs back and purchased his company, Next. The market reaction to all of this was mixed, but the trajectory was set for one way: higher," the article says.

2. Is it necessary for entrepreneurs to know how to code?

Getting a startup going requires entrepreneurs to wear many hats, but with so much of business going online and through social media sites these days, many are adding programming to their skill set.

And now, it's looking more like investors want to see that skill set too. According to Entrepreneur, one entrepreneur pitching his product during a SXSW panel was interrupted by a potential investor who asked: "Do you code?"

The entrepreneur said no, but is probably looking at programming classes as we speak.

3. Learn why you should optimize your mobile search.

Googling your favorite restaurant on a smartphone is becoming much more popular than doing so on a desktop computer. Mobile search is growing so fast that it's even beating Google's ( GOOG) predictions, according to Quick Sprout, which cited Google's eBook Zero Moment of Truth.

For small businesses, optimizing your Web site so that it can be found via mobile apps is crucial, Quick Sprout says.

"Some people might say that because they are doing traditional SEO they are doing SEO, so that basically there is no difference between the two," the article says. "The main reason why mobile sites demand different SEO standards is that the mobile experience is so much different than the desktop version. If you try to apply traditional principles you aren't going to get the same results."

For instance, in traditional searches users are using keywords, but this is not always the case in mobile search. Or they might be using keywords in different contexts. Additionally, searchers don't want to scroll, meaning the top three positions on a search page matter even more in mobile.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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

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