Businesses furious over Amazon's Price Check app; build an e-commerce store; learn from Jillian Michaels.



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

1. Small businesses furious over Amazon's Price Check app. An Amazon(:AMZN) app that lets shoppers check to see if they could buy their desired purchase cheaper on Amazon rather than at bricks-and-mortar stores has small businesses fuming. On Saturday, Amazon offered up to a 5% discount on purchases made with it.

Critics call it "showrooming" when shoppers go to a store to browse for a product but ultimately buy it online, according to ecreditdaily.com, and it is adding fuel to an already burning fire: that some say Amazon is using a tax loophole to not pay state sales tax. (There is legislation seeking to combat the problem through online sales tax reform, but the reform, if passed, will affect small businesses too.)

"Amazon's promotion -- paying consumers to visit small businesses and leave empty-handed -- is an attack on Main Street businesses that employ workers in our communities," says Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), ranking member in the Senate's Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. "Small businesses are fighting every day to compete with giant retailers such as Amazon, and incentivizing consumers to spy on local shops is a bridge too far. "

2. Tips for building an e-commerce store. Retailers selling through the Web have advantages compared with solely bricks-and-mortar stores. The Web can boost a business' bottom line by keeping overhead expenses down, reducing reliance on third parties to sell a store's wholesaled goods and is increasingly where customers look to buy, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Building a successful e-commerce platform within your company Web site doesn't have to be complex or expensive, the article says. Services such as Goodsie, Shopify, Storenvy and Weebly are easy and affordable for small-business owners looking to launch unique e-commerce platforms versus competitors such as eBay (:EBAY) and Etsy.

3. Entrepreneurial lessons from Jillian Michaels. Jillian Michaels, star of reality hit series The Biggest Loser, shares with CNNMoney that while she may give contestants some tough love as their personal trainer, her true passion is "improving the lives of others through her one-woman wellness brand."

Michaels, 37, overcame childhood bullying and insecurities from being overweight. Her empire, which includes her services as a life coach, an author and personal trainer reportedly brought in $200 million last year, according to the article.

Her lessons to others include defining a purpose and always look to expand those services; getting a mentor, which can "accelerate" success; finding meaning in inevitable setbacks; not selling yourself short -- as in not making businesses decisions based on fear; and aligning with vendors and other companies who share your vision.

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