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Small Business Briefing

Why small businesses love Valentine's Day 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

Cupid's arrow strikes gold on Valentine's Day

From sellers of flowers to purveyors of chocolates to restaurateurs, Cupid's arrow strikes gold for many small businesses on Valentine's Day.

In the United States, consumers are expected to drop $17.6-billion on Valentine's Day gifts and activities this year, according to the National Retail Federation, as quoted in this story. According to a survey the NRF carried out, they'll spend $126.03 apiece, which is up 8.5 per cent over last year and a record for the 10 year the survey has been conducted.

Canadians are no Valentine's Day spending slouches either. According to this CTV News story, Canadians will drop an average of $126 apiece.

And according to this Valentine's Day By the Numbers, compiled by Statistics Canada, Canadians spent $1.6-billion on lingerie and other intimate items and $3-billion on jewellery and watches in 2010. They spent $5.8-billion on wine in 2009-2010 and $1.5-billion on chocolate in 2009. 3 That doesn't taken into account the 12 million roses they purchased in 2010.

ABC News reports that florists are seeing an unprecedented demand for roses this Valentine's Day. One reason that might be happening: With Valentine's Day falling mid-week this year, many men are caught by surprise, suggests this story. While on a weekend, they might peruse stores for "cheaper chocolates or stuffed animals," at mid-week, they go for quick and easy flower deliveries, and are willing to pay a premium.

Anxious to find a unique gift? Huffington Post offers a slide show of items made by "some of America's most creative entrepreneurs."

Small Business Trends offers a nice roundup of stories across the Net today about Valentine's Day -- even why it's turned into big business in China and Iran.

But here's some food for thought for those in the selling business: This MSNBC story poses the question of whether businesses risk alienating consumers by inflating prices on Valentine's Day. And one business coach reminds small businesses to share the love with customers all year round.

U.S. small business confidence makes insignificant gain: NFIB

U.S. small business confidence made the slightest of gains in January, but is still sitting at recession levels, according to the latest index of small business optimism from the National Federation of Independent Business.

The index gained 0.1 points to reach a level of 93.9 in January. That was the highest reading since December, 2007, when the recession began, but, even though the index made gains five months in a row, it's still below where it was a year ago, according to the NFIB.

“Nothing happened last month that would significantly improve the small-business outlook,” said NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg in a statement. “The index remains below its level a year ago of 94.1, which means that no progress was made in 2011."


Social media smarts

Join our very own Sean Stanleigh as he moderates a panel of socia media experts who will talk about how small businesses can leverage social media platforms and online tools to grow their businesses. The event, called "Accelerating Small Business Growth in our Economic Times," presented by Bank of Montreal and part of Social Media Week Toronto, takes place in Toronto on Thurs, Feb. 16. For more information, click here.

B.C. small business awards

The ninth annual Small Business BC Successful You Awards night will take place on Feb. 28 in Vancouver. The province-wide contest recognizes and celebrates important contributions of B.C. entrepreneurs. For more details, click here.


Red-hot dating apps to spice up your love life

Sick of spending Friday nights alone? Eager to get back in the saddle, but turned off by traditional dating sites, like eHarmony, Plenty of Fish and Match.com? Check out our lineup of cutting-edge mobile apps, which use real-time, GPS and push notifications, can help you meet new people, and maybe even score a date for Valentine's Day


Couples share the love in business

In case you missed it last Valentine's Day, three couples who took the entrepreneurial leap of faith by going into business together shared what they learned from the experience.

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

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