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3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: July 17

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

1. Venture capital's return. It's not quite the dot-com bubble, but venture capital investing and deal-making is nearing levels not seen since 2001, according to Crain's New York Business .

Funding nationwide spiked 37% to $8.1 billion in the second quarter versus the first three months of the year, and increased 5% compared to the second quarter of 2011, says Crain's, citing CB Insights' 2012 Venture Capital Activity Report . The report said that 812 companies received funding, up 4% from a year earlier.

CB Insights tracks deals in a range of categories, including internet, mobile & telecommunications, healthcare and green technology.

The report also breaks down deals completed by state. With a 10% share of second quarter deals, New York continued to hold the No. 2 spot in venture capital deal volume behind California, which had a 45% share of the deals.

New York attracted the third-highest level of venture funding among states, as measured by total dollars invested, behind companies in Massachusetts and California.

2. Reasons why businesses fail. Under30CEO has a very entertaining article on the untold reasons why businesses don't succeed. For starters, many times business owners don't even recognize the reasons that caused failure. They assume the reasons are inadequate funding or bad location or underestimating their competitors, but what if it was something less obvious?

For instance, maybe they are focusing too much on short-term profits rather than building long-term value for the company. Or maybe the reason the business was started in the first place was to boost the owner's ego rather than filling a market demand.

Maybe the owner ignored bad customer feedback or maybe the owner received untruthful advice about the business from friends and family who don't want to share bad news. Or maybe "the owner is just a jerk," the article says.

"A jerk, in this case, is someone who a lot of people can't get along with. Maybe it's because they're a super-perfectionist, or they yell a lot, or they demand that everything be done in a certain way, or they constantly complain. Or maybe they're annoying in some other way. The key is that nobody -- not employees, customers, partners, suppliers, clients, etc. -- wants to give 100% for a jerk."

3. Cure the summertime business blues. For businesses that don't rely on summer-season demand, the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day can be a difficult time of the year to generate business. But of course there are options to increase customer appeal, even during the dog days of summer. Here are three options from Micro Business Perspectives .

Try hosting an event "honoring" customers, anything from a picnic to an ice cream social. Apparently, free food always draws a crowd and if you have a physical location, hosting the event on your premises will be an easy reminder to customers of your products and services. Even if you don't have a storefront, hosting an event can make an impact, the article says.