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June 2011

Library Resources on BP and the Aftermath of the Spill

June 30, 2011 | Margaret W. | Comments (0)

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico took place well over a year ago now. The Library subscribes to some products that will help you discover what BP has done to address the aftermath of that tragic spill.

MarketLine, available at any library and also remotely with a Toronto Public Library card, has company information on BP which includes information on the financial and research commitments that BP has made regarding the spill and what followed, including:

  • BP made a commitment of up to $500 million to an open research program to study the spill and its environmental effects.
  • BP set up a $360 million escrow account to be used to build six sections of Louisiana barrier islands. This was required of them by the United States government.
  • BP established a $20 billion fund to satisfy some of their many other obligations arising from the spill.

Mergent Online includes a comparison of BP's revenues, direct costs, and gross profit for 2009 and 2010, as well as SEC filings that together can help you glean what has happened to BP's bottom line because of the spill. 

Business and Company Resource Center has a company profile, investment reports, company history, rankings and periodical articles, all about BP.

These database are all well worth exploring.

Here are a number of new books that the library has purchased about BP, the spill, and its continuing, devastating effects.

Drowning in Oil  Fire on the Horizon  Poisoned Legacy 

A Sea In Flames   A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea   Black Tide 

 "I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest." —Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, interview with Sky News television, May 18, 2010

Investing in Stocks

June 27, 2011 | Christina | Comments (2)

For those thinking of investing in stocks, recent swings in the market can possibly be daunting.

If you are interested in stock trading, the following current titles at the Toronto Public Library may be of interest:

Dagys, Andrew and Paul Mladjenovic.  Stock Investing for Canadians for Dummies.  3rd ed.  Mississauga, Ont. : J. Wiley, c2010.  Click HERE for details.

Kelly, Jason.  The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing.  3rd Rev. Ed.  New York, N.Y. : Plume Book, c2010.  Click HERE for details.

Thomsett, Michael C.  Getting Started in Stock Investing and Trading.  Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley, c2011.  Click HERE for details.

For additional titles on this topic, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the subject headings Stocks and/or Investments.  Click HERE to begin your search.


Be your own boss

June 20, 2011 | Raya | Comments (1)

Many people think about starting their own busines but don't follow through because it seems so overwhelming. As Arnold Goldstein says in Starting on a shoestring  "If you really want your own business you'll face only one real enemy--procrastination" .There are many excuses people come up with to avoid taking the plunge.  The key is to arm yourself with knowledge and do some careful planning. Pick a business that's right for you and that inspires you. Will you enjoy the business, be able to manage it, can you earn from it and can you actually afford the business? Check out the Service Canada: Services for starting a business  and the Canada Business--Government Services for Entrepreneurs websites for answers to all your questions.

 SmallBizXpress is a Toronto Public Library portal for small business and entrepreneurship information that covers topics from business plans, to loans, to research tools. Information has been organized according to different stages of business development, geographically by Ontario location, and by subject categories. In addition, you can check out the library's many books on the topic.  Here are some to get you started:

Entre1 Entre2 Entre3





Motivation for the Salesperson

June 13, 2011 | Margaret W. | Comments (0)

In his book "Ziglar On Selling", Zig Ziglar mentions that when he was new to sales, whenever his attempt at a sale was refused he saw it as a personal rejection. 

"I would then have to spend time rethinking my situation, and alternating between pouting, meditating, having a "pity party", and planning what to do next."*

It took him a long time to realize that those rejections, whether gentle or mean-spirited, were only business rejections and had little or nothing to do with him personally.

He mused that if someone had only told him this earlier in his career, the knowedge would have helped him greatly to improve both his self-image and his productivity.

Many books have been written about self-esteem and motivation in sales - and I don't mean how to motivate your customers to buy. I mean how to motivate yourself to keep on trying during tough times.

The following three books are classics. If you haven't read them, do. They will teach you how to gain confidence in yourself and your abilities in sales, and in life.

Power of Positive Thinking     How To Win Friends And Influence PeopleZiglar On Selling

 "In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can."
Nikos Kazantzakis

*Ziglar On Selling. Published by Thomas Nelson, 1991, p.66. 




More Great Seminars From Enterprise Toronto

June 9, 2011 | Margaret W. | Comments (0)

There are three interesting seminars coming up in June, sponsored by Enterprise Toronto:

  • Take Full Advantage of Your Corporation: A Financial Planning Perspective. This will take place Wednesday June 15th at the Etobicoke Civic Centre.
  • An Alternative Source of Funding: Scientific Funding and Experimenal Development Tax Credits. Tuesday, June 21st, Toronto City Hall.
  • Managing Your Cash Flow: Thursday, June 23rd, North York Civic Centre.

All seminars take place 10am - 11:30am and are free.

Check out the Enterprise Toronto Morning Seminar Series calendar for registration details and descriptions of the seminars.





Are You Paying More for Less?

June 6, 2011 | Christina | Comments (0)

When my favourite cereal goes on sale, I normally stockpile boxes.  Recently, I went to the grocery store in order to restock my supply.  As my stockpile normally lasts for months, I was surprised by the noticeably smaller size of many cereal boxes.

Companies may be trying to hide price increases by selling their products in smaller packages.

In an article "Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags" by Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell from the New York Times News Service, they note that the changes are most visible at grocery stores.  As a result of the new packages, you will pay the same amount but get less.

It is stated that “in every economic downturn in the last few decades, companies have reduced the size of some products in order to disguise price increases and avoid comparisons on same-size packages, before and after an increase.”

Companies sometimes claim the smaller packages are greener (good for the environment), more portable (for takeout lifestyles) or healthier (fewer calories).

In other instances, companies may not change the size but the quantity within the package. 

John Gourville, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School states "Consumers are generally more sensitive to changes in prices than to changes in quantity.  Companies try to do it in such a way that you don't notice, maybe keeping the height and width the same, but changing the depth so the silhouette of the package on the shelf looks the same.  Or sometimes they add more air to the chips bag or a scoop in the bottom of the peanut butter jar so it looks the same size.”

Some companies design a new shape and size altogether for their product so that it is difficult to comparison shop.  But, with the recent surge in prices for energy and raw materials, many companies are barely trying to conceal their shrinking packages. 

To read about changes to specific products or to view the entire article, click HERE.

To learn more about packaging, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the subject headings Packaging, Food - Marketing or Food - Packaging.  Click HERE to begin your search.



The Importance of Bar Codes in Business

June 2, 2011 | Christina | Comments (0)

All of us have experienced standing patiently in line while waiting for our turn to purchase groceries at a grocery store or supermarket.  The cashier works quickly as he/she scans the bar code of each item in our shopping baskets.

This small, powerful label has made our time spent in line-ups much shorter.  Items no longer have to keyed in and registered separately.

Presently, the commonly used bar code helps retail sales in many ways:

  • enables faster, more efficient customer service
  • keeps track of products and need for replenishment
  • helps in relation to inventory management
  • increases check-out operations at point of sale
  • assists customers at self-service check-outs

If you have a small business and would like to learn more about the importance of bar codes and its various applications, visit GS1, an international not-for-profit association that designs and manages a global system of supply chain standards.  Click HERE for more information on GS1 BarCodes & Identification.  For more information about GS1, click HERE.

Also, visit the Barcode Handbook page.  Click HERE to visit.

For books on the topic, check out the following titles at the Toronto Public Library:

Hansen, Wolf-Rüdiger. RFID for the optimization of business processes.  Chichester, England ; Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley & Sons, c2008.  Click HERE for details.

Palmer, Roger C. The Bar code book : comprehensive guide to reading, printing, specifying, and applying bar code and other machine-readable symbols.  4th ed.  Peterborough, N.H. : Helmers Pub., c2001.  Click HERE for details.

For current articles about bar codes, search by subject Bar codes in the Canadian Business and Current Affairs database and/or the Business & Company Resource Center database.  An active Toronto Public Library card is needed for access.  Click HERE to begin your search. 

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.