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September 2011

Business success - is it in the colour of your tie?

September 29, 2011 | Teresa | Comments (0)

When my husband and I first got married, we spent alot of time shopping.  My husband had just started his first job in accounting and after being a poor student, he needed to upgrade his wardrobe.  Since he had inherited his grandfather's flair for colour and design (GrandDad had worked as the head buyer for men's clothes for the now defunct Eaton's department stores), he really didn't need a whole lot of help from me in selecting clothes.  One of my favorite purchases from that time was a light pink tie that my husband wore with a charcoal suit. 

I was thinking of that tie when I recently read an article after President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress promoting his jobs bill.  The article focused on the colour of the President's tie (purple) and suit colour (navy blue), and that of the Vice President (lighter mauve) and the Speaker of the House (pink) and the message that those colours send.  According to the article ("Tying on some purple persuasion" by Dana Flavelle Toronto Star, September 9, 2011), Mr. Obama chose well -  "Long associated with royalty, because the dye was historically difficult to create, purple is seen as rare and precious and denotes qualities like vision, caring and trust". 

While I knew colours were important in dressing for success, I didn't know that colours of ties could say so much.  I decided to do a bit of checking and came across two interesting pages, both from the website, one dealing with the personality, the other psychology of tie colour. 

While women generally don't wear ties, colour and style say alot about who you are. What you wear says 8 things about your personality according to this blog entitled "Dress for Success" including organizational skills, reliability, creativity, soundness of judgement to name a few.

Want some help dressing for success for business?  The library can help with that.  Check out just a few of a number of books in the Toronto Public Library system on this topic.

Dress success oh no   Dress success how to be a man   Dress success how to dress   Dress success secrets of style

Dress success style and the man   Dress success the handbook of style mens   Dress success wear this   Dress success what i wore

By the way, pink ties are "are indicative of coolness and calm.. and are indicative of an optimistic and happy personality type." - a perfect fit !

New! Small Business Network at Toronto Reference Library

September 22, 2011 | Margaret W. | Comments (1)

The Toronto Reference Library is hosting an ongoing Small Business Network, meant for small businesspeople or people who are just thinking about starting their own business.

If you have a small business, here you can find out from your peers the kind of services they offer, and talk to them about their experiences. Of course you can tell others what you have to offer as well. Bring your business cards!

If you are just thinking about starting a small business or in the process of doing so, this network is for you too. Learn from others, share your own experiences, and soak in the collective wisdom of the group.

The next session will take place on the third floor of the Toronto Reference Library on Tuesday, October 18th, from 7-8pm. Meet at the Business, Science and Technology reference desk.

Drop in and join us! No registration is required.





This month's business quote is...

September 19, 2011 | Christina | Comments (0)

... "Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."  Dale Carnegie (1888-1955)

Crainer, Stuart.  The Ultimate Book of Business Quotations.  New York:  AMACOM, c1998.

Here are a few titles written by Dale Carnegie that may be of interest:

Carnegie, Dale.  Public Speaking for Success.  Rev. and updated / by Arthur R. Pell.  New York : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006.

Carnegie, Dale.  How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  1st Pocket Book pbk. ed.  New York : Pocket Books, 2004.

Carnegie, Dale.  How to Win Friends and Influence People.  Rev. ed.  New York : Pocket Books, 1998.

For more titles by Dale Carnegie, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue by author.

Promoting your book - 21st century style.

September 12, 2011 | Teresa | Comments (1)

The book publishing industry is in the midst of what could be called a mid-life crisis.  The publishing industry, much like the music industry, is awash in a sea of change.  Technology has driven these industries to either adapt or go under.  The book, which for years was that thing that had a spine and was made of paper, has morphed into digital bytes that can be downloaded onto computers and handheld devices. 

Never has there been more formats to choose from to read a book - audio CDs, audio-streaming, downloading to mobile devices, large print to name a few.  And the number of books being published, with the acceptance of self publishing - well - how do you know what is worth your time to read?  And if you are an author, how do you create buzz about your book, so people will buy it?

One of the newest trends for promoting books is the book trailer - which is defined as a video trailer, similar to a movie one, used to promote a book.  They can be acted out, use still photos, or animation to convey the plot of the book. 

Want to view a few trailers?  Check out some of these websites:

Best You Tube Trailers Part One and Part Two

Book Trailer Central - a site for authors and readers to view and rate trailers.

Check out this collection of book trailer sites that cover everything from how to make your own book trailer to articles on the topic to assistance on where to post your trailer.

Want to find out more about the publishing industry and some more traditional ways of promoting your book?  Check out a few of these titles:

Publishing essential guide    Publishing publish for profit    Publishing writers guide    Publishing publish your nonfiction

Good luck in promoting your book!



What do you look for in a leader?

September 8, 2011 | Teresa | Comments (0)

Three individuals have been in the news the past few weeks - each from different walks of life.  Each considered outstanding leaders.  I wanted to have a closer look at what qualities each possessed for people to consider them great, since the topic of leadership is one that is perhaps the most written about in management literature. 

So what do we look for in a leader of an organization, be it a company, political party or a social movement? How important is a good leader to an organization?  I think most will agree that a company that has a strong front line staff, is wasted, if there isn't someone there to lead them towards a common goal. 

All of the below have any number of "great leader" skills, but these were the qualities that stood out for me.

Approachable personality: Recently deceased NDP leader Jack Layton had many strong attributes, but one that was frequently written about at the time of his funeral was how open and approachable he was as a politician.  During the most recent campaign, he was voted the leader most Canadians would want to sit down and have a beer with.  A good leader can dialogue with people on a variety of levels and make them feel like their voices are heard in the organization.  Many ordinary people who came to pay their respects during the funeral spoke of how Mr. Layton's values and causes spoke to them.

Visionary: Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, recently stepped down from his post as CEO due to health problems.  A lengthy article in a recent Globe and Mail article entitled "Right up there with Edison and Ford: He may have been the best boss or the worst, but Jobs earned his place in the pantheon of great industrialists" by David Ebner (August 26, 2011, p A3) describes a man who founded 2 successful companies (Pixar the other), who had a vision of where he wanted to take Apple.  He was an inventor, who personally held over 300 patents, including 85 iPod and iPod related items, and despite being accused of being a micro-manager, made stellar hiring choices and motivated his company into dominating the market.  His favorite quote is of Canadian Wayne Gretzky: "I skate where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been".

Inspirational: Late August marked the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.  To commemorate the event, a statue of Dr. King was unveiled honoring this event and his legacy.  His electrifying speech, almost 50 years after being given, still gives one goosebumps in its soaring oratory and inspirational message.  It gave voice to the civil rights movement.  It is still studied today in classrooms as an example of motivational speech.



Want to read up on these leaders or on leadership in general?  Check out these books available at the Toronto Public Library.  The system has many books on leadership.

Leadership jobs       Leadership kings dream     Leadership speaking out
“Leadership demands vision to see the path before us, the courage to take it and the strength to follow it.”    Dr. Jeff Turnbull, outgoing president of the Canadian Medical Association.


Toastmasters International: Not Just Another Meeting

September 5, 2011 | Margaret W. | Comments (0)

Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization, is well known for its excellent public speaking training. Less is known about the leadership skills that can be developed through Toastmasters clubs - skills from which small businesspeople can certainly benefit.

If you want to learn how to run better meetings, Toastmasters is for you. If you want to learn how to deliver constructive criticism, Toastmasters is the place to do it! If you are interested in learning firsthand how to motivate people to push their limits and do their best, Toastmasters is for you too. 

How is this accomplished?

  • Every Toastmasters meeting has a Chair whose job it is to organize a meeting, appoint the other people who will be in charge of various parts of the meeting, make up an agenda, and make sure everything is covered in the meeting, on time 
  • Each meeting also has a Toastmaster. The person in this role recruits (from among the club's members) the evening's speakers at least a week ahead. This person also writes and gives the toast of the evening, which is a set length of two minutes.
  • Meetings usually has a section for people to practice impromptu speaking. The Tabletopics Master's job is to choose the topic (and keep it secret until the Tabletopics section begins), and then keep people to their time limit, which is usually one minute.
  • Evaluators praise and critique speeches. Here is a real opportunity to learn how to offer critiques in an effective, supportive way - one that motivates a person rather than alienate or discourage them.
  • Club members can run for president, area governor, district governor and other higher leadership roles within the organization.

All of this may seem like a lot of work, and it is - but the opportunities for learning to be a leader are many. It is another tool that can be used to build a smooth-functioning business, and it's fun!

Here are some books on running meetings. All can be found at the Toronto Public Library.

Meeting Skills for Leaders   Plan and conduct effective meetings   10 Steps to Successful Meetings

 The only real training for leadership is leadership.
~Antony Jay


Help With Small Business Bookkeeping

September 1, 2011 | Margaret W. | Comments (0)

Small business owners either love or hate bookkeeping - there seems to be no middle ground. If you are looking for help in doing your own bookkeeping, Enterprise Toronto is sponsoring  a program in September called Does It Add Up? Basic Bookkeeping for the New Business Owner. Click on the link for more details.

Here are some books at the Toronto Public Library that will help you get started:

Bookkeeping for Canadians for Dummies  Bookkeeper's Boot Camp  Alpha Teach Yourself Bookkeeping in 24 Hours

If you decide you want to hire a bookkeeper, how do you find one? Have a look at the Canadian Bookkeepers Association website. It includes a list of association members organized by province and city.

You may also wish to check the Scott's Business Directory Online, one of the online databases to which the Toronto Public Library subscribes. Using Scott's you may narrow your search to bookkeepers close to you - for instance, in your forward sortation area (the area represented by the first 3 letters of your postal code). You can also sort by how long the company has been operating.

You will need your Toronto Public Library card to access this database from home. You may want to come into the library the first time you use the Scott's so a librarian can assist you.





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.