3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: December 12

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

1. Use technology to manage your holiday rush. Independent retailers can maximize their use of inexpensive technology to better manage their online holiday rush orders, says BloombergBusinessweek.

One of the biggest issues that can cause lost sales is when a website is down from too much traffic at once. Prepare ahead of time for the spike in purchases by running a "free load-test tool during off hours to locate where your site's breaking point" then put in a call to your hosting company to make sure servers are up to capacity and that plans are in place for any issues that arise from heavy traffic.

Look to streamline tasks and save time with mobile apps and other services and automate sales metrics. "Put systems in place that record customer-contact information and track buying patterns. This can help you decide what products to sell next year and how to market them most effectively, as well as find and correct any stumbling blocks that stop potential customers from buying," the article says.

Another recommendation: make sure you convert those new visitors to your website into customers by spotlighting your best products and offering excellent customer service. And remember to follow-up in the new year.

2. 5 franchises that will be hurt by higher taxes. BuzzFeed summed up what executives from five mid-size franchise chains: Firehouse Subs, Primrose Schools, Batteries Plus, Two Men And A Truck and Outdoor Living Brands - had to say about why tax increases, especially on the top 2% of wage earnings would be bad for their franchisees.

Darin Harris, COO of Primrose Schools, perhaps summed it up best.

"Many of our franchise have an income over $250,000 and it will have a negative impact on their ability to reinvest back into the system," Harris says, adding that the tax increases might also put a half on the company's plan to expand. "We've got a lot of our businesses that are scared."

If no deal regarding the fiscal cliff comes to pass, franchise owners will feel it. "They will feel it through reduced sales and they will feel it through higher taxes," Outdoor Living Brands CEO Christopher Grandpre says.

3. Avon to cut jobs. Avon Products ( AVP) plans to cut roughly 1,500 jobs, or 4% of its workforce, and exit South Korea and Vietnam, in one of the first major moves by new CEO Sheri McCoy, according to Associated Press.

"The decisions outlined today are necessary to stabilize the company and begin the process of returning Avon to sustainable growth," McCoy said in a statement cited by the AP.

Avon sells its beauty products via 6 million independent sellers. The company said Tuesday it plans to focus on "high-priority" markets in a plan to save $400 million by 2015. The company has struggled this year with declining sales and a bribery investigation, among other issues, AP says.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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

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