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March 2010

2010 Ontario Budget

March 26, 2010 | Silvia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

"The Big Freeze", "Ontario's Deep Freeze", and "A Sea of Red" are the morning headlines, the day after Finance Minister Dwight Duncan delivered his provincial budget. The 2010 Ontario Budget promises more stimulus spending while freezing wages for public service workers, postponing major transit expansion Dwight
projects and reducing spending on Canadian Forces. Postponing the city's public transit expansion, including the cross-city Eglinton line had Mayor Miller calling the move "thoughtless" and "disgraceful".

Read the Conference Board's 2010 Ontario Budget Briefing for more details and offer your own thoughts.

Wouldn't It Be Nice If You Could Hear What Your Customers Were Thinking? Well...

March 22, 2010 | Margaret W. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Twitter comes pretty close to making that a reality.  But just how, exactly?

Check out these real examples of companies that used Twitter in creative ways to help their business succeed:

These three examples are all from the "Twitter 101: A Special Guide For Business" tutorial. It includes easy-to-understand information on how to get started, explains some of the lingo, and suggests some of the best approaches companies can take when using Twitter for their business.

It's a whole new world!

Small Business Arts Forum

March 16, 2010 | Silvia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Enterprise Toronto will be hosting a full day of activity at the Small Business Arts Forum. It is organized in collaboration with Urban Arts, Community Arts Council, Cultural Careers Council of Ontario, and others, bringing together an aspiring and informative day to help bring the Arts into Business.

When:  Monday, March 22, 2010, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Where: North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge Street

Register at Enterprise Toronto or 416-395-7416.

Beginning The Bushwhack: Finding Toronto Market Stats For Your Business Plan

March 15, 2010 | Margaret W. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

If you are working on a business plan for an enterprise in Toronto, how can you find your way through the jungle of stats out there to find out how Canadians, and Torontonians in particular, spend their money?

Spending Patterns In Canada 2008 will give you a good, basic start. This Statistics Canada publication looks at amounts spent on shelter, transportation, household operation, and tobacco products and alcoholic beverages in Canada and selected metropolitan areas.

One of the tables in the publication is the Average Spending Per Household for Selected Cities. It tells us, for example, that the average household in Toronto in 2008 spent:

  • $18,901 on shelter
  • $3,832 on clothing
  • $2,125 on health care
  • $272 on reading materials and other printed matter
And you can dig even deeper. A look at Household Equipment at the Time of Interview, Canada and Selected Metropolitan Areas will reveal that, in 2008:
  • 80.8% of Torontonians had a cell phone
  • 76.8% had cable
  • 83.6% had a home computer
  • 80.3% had Internet use from home

The table also has statistics on the number of CD players per household, as well as DVD players, satellite dishes, colour TVs, microwave ovens, air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, cars, and more. 

When looking at reports of this kind, knowing Statistics Canada's definition of terms such as "household" is essential to understanding the information. You can find this and other important definitions at the Standard Statistical Units section of the Statistics Canada website.

So put away your machete, put the kettle on, and have a look at the tables!

Harmonized Sales Tax for Small Business Owners

March 13, 2010 | Silvia | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

A representative from the Canada Revenue Agency will provide important information on the new combined Federal Sales Tax - HST (Harmonized Sales Tax). Find out how the HST works, who has to register, how to complete your HST return, and more.

When:  Thursday, March 25, 2010, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Where: North York Central Library, Auditorium

FREE. Register by calling 416-395-5613

Have A Look At The Credit Card Calculator - And Prepare To Be Astonished

March 8, 2010 | Margaret W. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Although we all know that it is best to pay off our credit cards in full every month, sometimes it can't be done. Given your own particular circumstances, what is the best way to pay off the cards in order to save as much interest as possible?

The Finance Consumer Agency of Canada has an on-line tool that has the answer. It's called the Credit Card Payment Calculator and it looks at three different payment options:

  • Option A: What if you only make the minimum payment each month?
  • Option B: What if you make the minimum payment plus an additional amount each month?
  • Option C: What if you pay a fixed amount each month?

It calculates how much interest you would pay for each option, given the amount you owe and the interest rate on your card.

The results of a simple calculation are astounding: If you owe $1000 on your card at 18% interest, and you pay a minimum monthly amount of $10.00, it will take you ten years to pay off the card and you will have paid $798.89 in interest!

However, the calculator will show you that there are better options. It can calculate how payment methods B or C (above) can make a huge amount of difference in the amount of interest you will pay and the time it will take to pay the card off. 

Educate yourself - take a look.

 

Self-Employed? New Legislation Is Now In Force That Most Certainly Will Benefit You!

March 1, 2010 | Margaret W. | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Self-employed people who wish to access maternity, parental, adoptive, sickness and compassionate care benefits may now start paying into employment insurance. However, you must register by April 1st, 2010 for your benefits to become available starting January 2011.

The Service Canada website explains the program in detail. It explains how to register and gives examples of EI special benefits for self-employed people.

Great news!

Welcome! We are specialized librarians in our business department and we write about current issues for small business owners and those interested in personal finance matters. For more information and resources see our Small Business & Personal Finance page.

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