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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

Pawn Stars shine light on success

With technology-based companies continuing to dominate the headlines – for landing a tidy amount of venture capital or for launching a hot IPO – the idea of opening a bricks-and-mortar shop may seem antiquated. But as Rick Harrison and his father (aka The Old Man) have proven in the hit series Pawn Stars , going old school can put you at the head of the class.

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In this Q&A from the Amex OPEN forum, Mr. Harrison opens up about the popularity of the family run Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, how he scored a juicy reality-TV contract with the History Channel, and some of the weirdest things people have tried to sell.

Teach your kids entrepreneurship in 10 easy steps

Duane Spires, a U.S. motivational speaker and the CEO of Extreme Youth Sports (EYS) in Tampa, hosts after-school programs and summer camps that teach children aged five and up how to become leaders, develop confidence, and learn how to create successful lives through sports training and entrepreneurial education. In this text gallery from, he offers 10 lessons to teach your children to become entrepreneurs:

Here's a quick rundown:

  1. Goal setting is vital for future success
  2. Kids must learn how to recognize opportunities
  3. Selling is involved in every part of life
  4. Financial literacy is a must
  5. Inspiring creativity will build marketing skills
  6. Schools are wrong about FAILURE
  7. Effective communication improves all relationships
  8. The art of giving back creates happiness
  9. Independence creates confidence
  10. Get the advantage by becoming a leader now

Confidence inches up modestly in January

Small business confidence continues to improve, but only slightly, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Optimism in the West outshines the East, with Alberta leading the charge with an index level of 73.3. Ontario and Quebec businesses, on the other hand, slide in just below average, while those in the Atlantic region remain the least optimistic of the pack.

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The percentage of owners who described the state of business as being good jumped five points in January to 47 per cent, compared with 45 per cent who said it was satisfactory, and only 8 per cent who said it was bad, said the CFIB.

"The Index remains below what it had been at any point between January and July of 2011, revealing the economy is growing, but not at the pace we had seen at this point last year," said Ted Mallett, vice-president and chief economist for CFIB.


Small biz, big things

In this interactive forum you'll hear from business growth experts who have built (or are building) successful companies and can share their lessons learned, success stories, growth challenges and victories with you. The event takes place on Feb. 7, from 9 am to 4 pm in San Francisco. Click here for more information.

Marketing your business: What it takes to survive and thrive

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On Feb. 24 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Holiday Inn in Oakville, Ont., Niki Papaioannou, director of marketing for St. Louis Bar & Grill, will speak at this lunch-and-learn series. She studied at the University of Toronto and has been nominated for the prestigious Hostilery Top 30 Under 30 award. Read more about the event here.


Social media bring coupons into digital age

Studies show that many users engage with brands on Facebook and Twitter because of incentive offers.


Small-town bar drafts marketing plan

Investment and ideas lead to a 30-per-cent sales increase at Ducky's in Sackville, N.B.

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