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Shoppers browse in Michael Kors at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday January 12, 2013. An increasing number of high-wage-earners from the oil sands projects in Northern Alberta are coming to West Edmonton Mall, especially on weekends and spending heavily on high-end goods in stores. Jason Franson for The Globe and Mail. (JASON FRANSON For The Globe and Mail)
Shoppers browse in Michael Kors at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday January 12, 2013. An increasing number of high-wage-earners from the oil sands projects in Northern Alberta are coming to West Edmonton Mall, especially on weekends and spending heavily on high-end goods in stores. Jason Franson for The Globe and Mail. (JASON FRANSON For The Globe and Mail)

Small Business Briefing

Bargain hunters tap global demand for American brands Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz.

Coupon-clipping entrepreneurs eye foreign markets

A new kind of entrepreneur has hit the market place with full force, thanks in combination to advanced technology and the world’s global income gap. According to a story in Bloomberg Businessweek, an estimated 3-million coupon-clipping, digitally savvy merchants are scouring online retailers for discounted goods that they can resell to developing markets clamouring for American goods.

Many online resellers are part-timers, with time on their hands and a desire to supplement their income. But they’re also in the business because the obsession with Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs, for example, continues to outstrip supplies overseas. Frank Muscarello, CEO of MarkitX, whose IT hardware exchange company has seen sales rise since he started the company in April 2012, says that many of these countries want to be Westernized but don’t have the distribution in place.

How are these online merchants doing it? With the dozens of couple sites out there, such as like CouponCactus or Honey, and accessibility to simple and affordable eCommerce platform tools, there’s never been a better time to start this type of business. And while larger premium brands aren’t thrilled about these so-called "coupon-clipping arbitrageurs," they’re not going away any time soon; at least not until retailers implement adequate distribution channels for their goods.

Small business owners have a brighter outlook

Though the weather outside is still frightful, small business owners' outlook is shining from coast to coast. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s latest Business Barometer survey, the national index rose a half a point to 66.2. The CFIB said Alberta entrepreneurs are the most confident in Canada about the economy and their future success, closely followed by Saskatchewan at 69.8 and Newfoundland and Labrador at 67.0.

A case for outsourcing

From budgeting to marketing to accounts, many small business owners feel the need to do everything. But in this Q&A from the Guardian, a panel of small business owners make a compelling case for outsourcing from the start. Here's a small excerpt from the piece:

  • "If somebody else is better than you at something, then why not let them do it and concentrate on the things you are great at," says Ella Gascoigne, founder of Startup PR.
  • "Business owners are expected to have multiple skill sets and juggle many tasks on a daily basis. It's just not realistic to think they'll be expert at every single one," says Aylish Jarvie, community manager at PeoplePerHour.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

What should you consider when selecting an accelerator?

On Tuesday, Mar. 26, the Vancouver Enterprise Forum (VEF) will host a panel event that looks at the benefits of partnering with academic researchers, Government and Vancouver innovation communities. The panel will include local companies who have graduated from an accelerator, specifically those who have collaborated with academic researchers to build their company. These companies will be asked to share their insights on what services helped accelerate their business and what criteria other companies should consider when selecting an accelerator. The panel will also discuss the types of assistance opportunities available for entrepreneurs and highlight areas where academics can work with industry to address challenges and create new solutions. For more information, click here.

Communitech’s Tech Leadership Conference

Featuring a keynote speech by Seth Godin, TLC is the largest annual all-day gathering of tech community professionals in Waterloo Region. The event takes place on Mar. 7 at Bingemans Conference Centre.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Video: Using 3-D projections, Vancouver studio brings buildings to life

Adrian Scott, president and creative director of Go 2 Productions, explains how 3D projection mapping - the modern-day 'fireworks - has pushed his small animation studio into the global spotlightFROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Why you shouldn’t be handling your own PR

In business, whether you like it or not, it always looks better if you appear larger than you are

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com.

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT.

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