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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

Twitter and Facebook, much like David's stone and sling, give small businesses the chance to compete head on with Goliath corporations. Not requiring large expenditures of time or capital, social media helps level the playing field and allows smaller, more nimble companies to interact with their customers directly, according to a new study by the DeGroote School of Business.

The study's three most interesting findings (listed below) may offer some clarity to those business owners still weighing the pros and cons of social media:

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1. Size doesn't matter: Small businesses shouldn't hesitate to try new social media marketing technologies simply because they are small retailers with limited resources. Many of these new technologies do not require a large capital investment.

2. Communicate to increase dialogue: Creating an interactive and open dialogue through social media can help differentiate small businesses from its competition.

3. Large chains don't adopt new technologies faster: Small businesses have a chance to get ahead of their competition by adopting new social media technologies first.

The advantages of social media may seem obvious, but only 12 per cent of small businesses in the U.S. consider social media important channels to promote their products and services, according to research conducted by Hiscox. Perhaps more surprising, only half of respondents indicated they did not use social media for business purposes at all.

Fund launched for businesses burned by England riots

A fund offering emergency help to small businesses affected by this month's riots has been launched by the Mayor of London and a number of large firms including Barclays, BP and Lloyds. This initiative, which has already raised £3-million and will start taking claims on Friday, is in addition to the government's £20 million High Street Support Scheme, which will be distributed by councils.

Five lessons entrepreneurs can learn from J. K. Rowling

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Before Harry Potter's creator was named "the most influential woman in Britain," J.K. Rowling was living in London, working as a researcher for Amnesty International. She was also on state assistance to provide food and a home for herself and her daughter. Her rags-to-riches story is an inspiration to any entrepreneur.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

ROSB gets small biz influencer nod

Report on Small Business editor Sean Stanleigh was recently named one of the top 100 Small Business Influencer 2011 Champions by Small Business Trends and Smallbiztechnology.com. The selection process involved two stages: voting by community and voting by a panel of judges. The criteria for judging included: a person, company or other organization that has made a meaningful and lasting impact on the North American small business market. Mr. Stanleigh is among a distinguished pool of social media influencers, including Google, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

How to lure a big executive to a small town

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Jakait's CEO wants to hire a COO, but is having a tough time convincing candidates to make the move 'to live in the middle of nowhere'

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Great entrepreneurs: born or built?

Most great ideas start out extremely rough and half-baked, and they are only chiselled into greatness over time

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