Your March 16 Edition Of Small Business Today

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At least once a week, we’ll deliver a roundup of small business news from around the nation.

Wal-Mart Goes Small

Retail giant Wal-Mart is unleashing hundreds of smaller stores on the nation, part of an effort to go more nimble with stores that will still feature a grocery and pharmacy, but will be as much as ten times smaller than the typical  monolithic buildings. Small Business Daily has the news.

Wal-Mart has been the bane of small business in the past, but experts note they’re likely to struggle initially and many small stores are already entrenched in their communities. One Arkansas-based business seemed entirely unfazed:

“It is concerning, but competition is good,” said Lindsey Watford, a pharmacist at the Gravette-based Teasley Drug. “Our customers have chosen us because we really get to know them, and go the extra mile for people.”

Section 179 For Software

Did you know you get a tax deduction for off-the-shelf software? Now you know! has a host of recommendations on how to best use the deductions, but one that might come as a surprise to you is the software piece. There’s a set of specifications here—it has to be purchased outright or financed by you and must be expected to last more than a year, among others—but it’s a chance to get another deduction. I’m guessing you’re not eager to pass that up.

Bankruptcy Trends A Roller Coaster

Challenges remain for small businesses, and while bankruptcy appears to be declining in many quarters, it’s still high in places like California:

“For small businesses, the road to economic recovery was marked by a number of challenges in 2010 and many states such as California and Oregon face an uphill battle in the months ahead,” said Dr. Reza Barazesh, senior vice president, Equifax Commercial Information Solutions. “Despite these hurdles, the landscape is showing some signs of improvement. Our recent analysis indicates that bankruptcy trends are easing and creating an environment that is more conducive to cultivating small business growth.”

As long as you’re in a place where businesses still aren’t crashing hard, you have to feel encouraged by this. Add it to a trickle of good news for small businesses over the last couple of months, especially those seeking small business capital operating loans as the recession winds down.

Avoiding Bad SEO Consulting

Hiring the wrong SEO company can lead to you getting less than ideal search engine results, or it can completely blow up in your face, as JC Penney found when it was penalized by Google for engaging in bad SEO practices.

Business Insider has some good advice for avoiding those common pitfalls. One of the keys is patience, because it does take time to improve your search engine ranking. A company who promises instant results could be either lying or willing to stoop to unscrupulous means to achieve that, and either outcome will ultimately end with your company getting burned.

Got news for future roundups? Let us know in the comments!