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

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

1. Google plans to open retail stores. Google (GOOG) is in the process of building brick-and-mortar stores in a move to get its products -- Google Nexus, Chrome and other upcoming products -- into the hands of consumers, 9to5Google.com reported. Google hopes to have the first flagship Google Stores open by the holiday season in major metro areas.

"Google feels right now that many potential customers need to get hands-on experience with its products before they are willing to purchase. Google competitors Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) have retail outlets where customers can try before they buy," the blog says.

A nagging question is: Will Google retail be as bad as Microsoft stores?

2. How sequestration will affect small businesses. Imminent federal spending cuts have been looming and, if enacted, could put a damper on small business. A failure by Republicans and Democrats to reach a deal over how to increase U.S. federal government revenue could trigger large spending cuts. Entrepreneur.com says if sequestration happens, SBA loans will shrink, there will be fewer federal contract deals for small businesses and a general economic slowdown in an already struggling recovery.

"If sequestration goes into effect, the U.S. economy could see any progress it has made toward recovery erased, causing consumers to slam their wallets shut. Gross domestic product could decrease by $215 billion, personal earnings of the work force could fall by $109.4 billion and the U.S. economy could lose 2.14 million jobs," Entrepreneur says, citing a 2012 report by George Mason University.

3. IFA launches franchise finance initiative. The International Franchise Association and the National Association of Development Cos. , the trade association for Certified Development Companies, or CDCs (nonprofit companies that have been certified by the Small Business Administration SBA to provide financing for small businesses under the SBA 504 Program) have partnered for a new franchise finance initiative. The initiative, launched Monday at the IFA Convention Financial Summit in Las Vegas, will use SBA loans for franchise real estate, equipment and remodels.

The funding initiative, featuring 10% down, long-term fixed-rate financing will support single- and multi-unit new development as well as transfers, conversions, refranchising, remodeling and refinancing, a release says.

"This new initiative will increase the use of the SBA's 504 lending program, finance new franchise establishments and create jobs in the franchising industry in 2013 and beyond," IFA CEO Steve Caldeira said in a statement. "The SBA and its partner lending institutions are a critical vehicle to finance the growth plans of franchisors and franchisees that continue to grow at rates that outpace growth of other industries."

NADCO CEO Beth Solomon added: "While franchisees have long used SBA-guaranteed asset finance programs, franchisors can now deploy these asset finance programs for system-wide, game-changing growth. The 504 industry, through its 270 CDCs in all 50 states, is mobilizing to support franchise growth and create the jobs America needs."