3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Nov. 19

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

1. A strategy for avoiding a Petraeus-like email scandal. Here's a way to have a foolproof plan to avoid the email disaster suffered by David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell. The "plan is so effective and perfect that it doesn't even involve any adjustment in personal behavior, standards of marital fidelity, or anything else of the sort," according to TheAtlantic.

"Never put anything in an email message, to anyone, that would cause you serious problems if it fell into the wrong hands," author James Fallows writes.

"I mean things that really can make trouble. Harsh criticism of people we work with -- or, worse, work for. Behind-the-back snark about people who think we're friends. And clues of any sort about behavior that could make trouble if exposed -- for instance, if you are having an affair that you would rather your spouse and work mates didn't know about," he writes.

Of course, scandals similar in nature happened in the days before email, but email makes everything different because it can be easily forwarded and sent to places it shouldn't go; it can also be easily mis-addressed ( that "Reply All" button is a sneaky one) ; and it can be easily stored and searched for.

2. Small firms benefit from outsourcing. Even if your small business is doing well, the benefits are large to outsourcing some of the most basic operational tasks. According to USAToday, identifying necessary tasks and turning them over to a specialist firm can free up capital and manpower, which can then be redirected to jobs directly related to growth, such as customer relations, production and sales.

One such area that small firms can benefit is in the payment of sales tax, which may sound simple, but isn't, according to the article. And with local governments stepping up sales tax compliance, the risk of an audit is increasing. Using outsourced software can help mitigate any potential conflicts for a small business, the article notes.

"Knowing the sales tax we collect is accurate down to the house number provides us with a great deal of comfort," says Logos Bible Software CFO Andrew Skipton. "We provided the examiner with our monthly Avalara AvaTax product reports, and our audit resulted in no additional tax due."

Another area is in streamlining expense reports. Redmond, Wash.-based Concur helps employees file expense reports from the road using their laptops, tablets or smartphones. The Internet-based technology software is able to complete a wide variety of tasks including scanning taxi and restaurant receipts, the article says.

A third chore is managing basic telephone and Internet connections. Outsourcing this task through Voice Over Internet Protocol systems, especially as a firm grows, can save the company a few hundred dollars a month in overall expenses.