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The Vince Lombardi Trophy sits between a New York Giants and a New England Patriots helmet during a press conferene for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Indiana, Feb. 3, 2012. (GARY HERSHORN/GARY HERSHORN/REUTERS)
The Vince Lombardi Trophy sits between a New York Giants and a New England Patriots helmet during a press conferene for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Indiana, Feb. 3, 2012. (GARY HERSHORN/GARY HERSHORN/REUTERS)

Small Business Briefing

What small business can learn from Super Bowl ads 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

Lessons from the commercial breaks

They'll be outrageous, entertaining and attention-grabbing -- and carry some marketing lessons for small businesses.

They, of course, are the Super Bowl ads, and small businesses have many things to learn from the commercial breaks, says this posting at Fox Small Business.

The Fox story warns small businesses not to get "budget envy" when they look at the lavish Super Bowl ads, but to pay attention to the research that goes into them.

Note the kinds of ads that are broadcast: 'air cover' ads, which try to associate a creative idea with a brand, and 'ground cover' ads, which are about getting consumers to take action, the story suggests.

And measuring return on investment of any marketing effort is important, it says.

But while most Super Bowl ads will do a good job of standing out and getting noticed, not enough will use direct response marketing principles, which won't bring the return on investment you'd expect the ads to get, argues this piece in Chicago Business.

Some small businesses that will be super-happy about Super Bowl will be those in host city Indianapolis, says this other Fox Business story. Citing National Football League stats, it notes that the average host city rakes in $150-million to $400-million at Super Bowl time.

And some viewers may find entrepreneurial inspiration in one unlikely ad that will be on the Super Bowl roster: from the Kauffman Foundation, a 30-second spot to encourage more people to launch their own businesses.

Japanese entrepreneurs set sights on Silicon Valley

Forget the company man: An emerging generation of Japanese aren't aiming for lifetime work at a big company, but turning toward an entrepreneurial life, and aiming for Silicon Valley, according to this Associated Press report.

Two decades of economic stagnation and a shrinking and aging population are contributing to the trend. As well, "the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear disaster that followed compelled many Japanese to take an increasingly uncertain future into their own hands," the story says. Since then, a small but growing number of Japanese entrepreneurs have been jumping to California's startup scene, the story says.

Certainly, Japan was a country whose entrepreneurs created some giant companies. But, the story, notes, as "Japan grew into one of the world’s biggest economies, it seemed to lose its pioneering spirit. Business leaders, officials and academics in recent years have blamed the country’s dearth of entrepreneurship on a mix of social and structural factors that constrict new innovators." Among the obstacles: an aversion to risk, a scarcity of venture capital and dificulties existing companies.

Now there are growing efforts to rekindle Japan's entrepreneurial spirit and system, the story says.

Among them, Japan's entrepreneurs are being nurtured by the growth of Tokyo-based incubators, as well as scholarship programs and other initiatives that are hoping to help reinvigorate entrepreneurship in Japan and the growing numbers who have set their sights on Silicon Valley.


Enterprize Canada conference

Sudent-run entrepreneurial organization Enterprize Canada is hosting its tenth national conference on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11 in Vancouver. The show offers an opportunity for budding student entrepreneurs to connect with industry professionals through speakers, workshops, panel discussions, and networking. Teams of student entrepreneurs from across the country will also present their business ideas in a competition to win cash prizes. For more information, click here.

Startup Weekend hits Montreal

It's Montreal's turn for a Startup Weekend, beginning today through Sunday, where entrepreneurs and wanna-be entrepreneurs have an intense 54 hours to see if they can create the foundations of a new business. Prizes are in the offing. For more information, click here.


Professional work sparks entrepreneurial venture

Being on the job can lead to unexpected ideas for a business.


Lawyers, dentists wrestle their way onto the mat

Speaking of sports mania, last August, we wrote about the craze for mixed martial arts, that controversial sport that fought its way into the mainstream with the bloody, sweaty Ultimate Fighting Championship. The story talked about the growing number of young professionals who have wrestled their way onto the mat as an alternative to the treadmill after long days at the office.

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