3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: April 13

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

1. This nonprofit organization lowers barriers for low-income and minority entrepreneurs. Hot Bread Kitchen is a Harlem, N.Y.-based nonprofit bakery that runs two incubator programs for low-income and minority food entrepreneurs.

The incubator cuts through some barriers to entry faced by immigrants and minorities. One of the programs, HBK Incubates, gives them access to modern facilities, food-handling trading and even classes teaching English as a second language for a low cost. However, necessities like incorporation papers and health licenses can be as much as $5,000 and out of the reach for many of these entrepreneurs, DNA Info> says.

HBK Incubates is using a grant from Citigroup ( C) to create a new program to lower the barriers even further. The Low Income Food Entrepreneurs program (LIFE) will target low-income minority entrepreneurs in the food business, mainly in Manhattan, DNA Info says.

"After a year in the program, the goal is that low-income entrepreneurs will have grown their business enough to enter the incubator's standard program where they could stay for another two to three years," the article says.

2. Small-business owners spend too much time on their taxes. Fox Business cited a study by the National Small Business Association in which 64% of small-business owners said they spent more than 40 hours this year on their federal taxes, up from 57% last year.

Approximately 45% reported spending more than 80 hours on their taxes, the article says. Not surprisingly, 85% hired a professional to help them wade through the regulations, which means more money to the tax-preparation industry. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they spent more than $5,000 getting their taxes done in 2011, the article says.

3. Don't let your business become like the Titanic. This Sunday will mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking. Business owners can learn a lot from the Titanic's failing. Entrepreneur contributor Carol Tice offers lessons to learn from the awful fate of the Titanic.

First, keep your eye on the prize. The Titanic's crew failed to keep a sharp lookout for icebergs, even in places where they did not expect them. If you let your business ride on your initial success, it's very possible that you will miss new opportunities - some that could change the game completely. This leads to the second lesson: don't get cocky, Tice says.

Titanic was promoted as the ship that was "unsinkable." Well, no business should ever think of itself as invulnerable. There is always a weakness and smart business owners will plan for every possible risk, she says. Business owners should also have their employees prepared for any scenario.

Finally, don't sweat the small stuff. Focus your energies on the important stuff instead. "The term 'rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic' has come to symbolize an inappropriate focus on the small stuff when there are big, underlying problems," Tice says. For business owners, if you're ship is sinking, "get down to the engine room and find out why."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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