3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: July 12

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

1. Big banks are offering mentoring programs for small businesses. While they may not be lending as much to small businesses, several big financial institutions are taking initiatives to help established businesses expand by providing programs that connect owners to financial advisors and business experts.

According to The Los Angeles Times, UBS ( UBS), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Citigroup ( C), Bank of America ( BAC), Goldman Sachs ( GS) and Wells Fargo ( WFC), are just a few financial giants looking to make nice with small businesses by offering mentoring and advisory programs.

2. This is the right way to "angel" invest. Angel investors are popping up everywhere these days: Venture capitalists are making side deals, entrepreneurs are investing in other entrepreneurs and seed funds are increasing. However, most angels will fail to make a profit (let alone get their money back) because their expectations are too high for the investment they make and they don't understand the role of an angel investor in the investment cycle, according to a guest post on OnStartups.com by active angel investor Dave Balter.

The problem is that many angel investors act like "sophisticated venture capitalists" seeking 10x or more home run acquisitions, do follow-on acquisitions, invest in potential "game-changing" ideas that are too risky and wait for companies to get sold to see a return, Balter writes.

Instead, they should aim for a 2-4x return, get out of deals by year three and remember they're playing with their own money versus a fund.

"Ultimately, it's about following the rules of the investing ecosystem: Angels get things started, venture capitalists create mature, sustainable businesses, and investment bankers sell them. And if we all play by our roles, we're all going to win," Balter writes.

3. Nominations need to be in by July 15 for the 2012 Small Business Influencer Awards. If you haven't already done so, take a few minutes to nominate those who inspire you in your small business. They can be business leaders, experts, companies, news channels, journalists or apps, according to Small Business Trends, the publication that sponsors the annual awards.

After the nomination period closes, voting will begin. The top 100 Influencers will be honored at a gala held in conjunction with the New York XPO on Oct. 17, 2012 in New York City.

Follow the conversation about the awards on Twitter by using the hashtag #SMBInfluencer.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I've been nominated in the journalist category. Please vote for me!

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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