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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Feb. 17

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

1. The IRS issues details on veteran hiring tax credit. Looking for more guidance and forms needed to get a tax credit for hiring a veteran? IRS forms are now available for employers to claim their tax credit for hiring veterans on or after Nov. 22, 2011. The credit can be as high as $9,600 per veteran depending on the "length of the veteran's unemployment before hire, the hours the veteran works and the amount of first-year wages paid. The maximum credit applies if employers hire veterans with service-related disabilities," according to a notice from the National Restaurant Association.

2. The new retail world. Small retailers are in trouble, that's no secret. Independent bookstores have probably seen the worst of the bricks-and-mortar demise. But all is not lost so long as a business is willing to adapt to changing times. Small retailers need to approach their businesses with new strategies to keep customers coming in the door.

Small businesses should look to diversify their revenue stream with complementary products and services; give shoppers more of an "experience" -- something that can't be sold on the Internet; enlist membership special programs; and create relationships with vendors to ensure loyalty.

3. Twitter partners with AmEx. American Express(AXP) merchant cardmembers will be given exclusive first access to Twitter's new advertising initiative for small businesses. Amex will give $100 in free Twitter ads to the first 10,000 eligible businesses that register at ads.twitter.com/amex. Businesses that sign up will kick off their Twitter campaigns at the end of March, and the new advertising solution will open to the general public later in the year.

"Small businesses were among the first to embrace Twitter as a way to connect and interact with consumers in real time," said Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter. "We're announcing a simple way for small businesses to amplify their voices on Twitter and reach a new set of potential customers."

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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

To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski

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