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Grow Your Business Using Social Media

April 15, 2016 | Christina | Comments (0)

Social Media                      (Photo Credit: Ibrahim.ID)                                 

By Elle

My dad and his business partner owned a small import/retail business in the city’s core. They imported and sold Chinese artifacts, furniture, paintings, fabric and traditional Chinese dresses (Cheongsams). Their client base grew from a few people in the community and tourists who were passing by, to clients who would make a regular trek from the U.S. How did they grow their roster of clients? There was no Internet, no tv or radio ads (too expensive!), no flyers sent far and wide. The answer: word-of-mouth.

Now word-of-mouth is done electronically through social media. Sure, we can create a website profiling our products/services; but, with a website, you are talking to your customers (one way) whereas with social media, you are talking with your customers and they in turn are talking to each other about you and your business. Plus, with social media you can see how your customers are feeling instantly and address any concerns right away.

Use social media as a way to promote and brand your company and connect with new clients.

I recently came across a report by Michael Stelzner, Founder, Social Media Examiner, whose group surveyed 3,700 marketers with the goal of understanding how they're using social media to grow and promote their businesses. The largest group that took the survey works for small businesses of 2-10 employees (37%), followed by the self-employed (23%). Seventeen percent of people taking the survey work for businesses with 100 or more employees. Most participants (52%) were based in the United States, followed by United Kingdom (9%), Canada (6%) and Australia (5%). Most survey participants (69%) were between the ages of 30 and 59. The median age was 40 to 49. Females edged out males, representing 58% of all participants.

Guess what were the findings?

Facebook & LinkedIn are the two most important social networks for marketers, with 93% of marketers using Facebook.

For Twitter, YouTube & LinkedIn, 62% plan on increasing their use of these tools.

A significant 64% of marketers were using social media for six hours or more and 41% for 11 or more hours weekly. For people just beginning with social media (less than 12 months of experience), 49% spent five or fewer hours per week. However, of the folks who have been doing this for two years or longer, at least 68% spend six hours or more per week on social media activities.

The top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing exposure and increasing traffic. A significant 90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts generated more exposure for their businesses. Increased traffic was the second major benefit, with 77% reporting positive results. Most marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans (69%) and gain marketplace intelligence (68%).  

Other identified benefits to using social media:

  • Built new business partnerships by investing an average of six hours per week in social media marketing: 62% of businesses reported.
  • Generated new leads: 66% of businesses reported.
  • Reduced marketing expenses: 52% of businesses reported.
  • Improved search rankings: 62% of businesses saw an improvement in search engine rankings.
  • Increased traffic: 81% of businesses reported increased traffic.
  • Provided marketplace insight:  63% of businesses reported.

Time invested made a difference. Of those spending at least six hours a week, 72% found benefit, with B2C (Business to Consumers) marketers (73%) much more likely to develop a loyal fan base through social media than B2B (Business to Business) marketers (63%).

B2B marketers were more likely (64%) to use social media to gain thought leadership than B2C marketers (50%).

Commonly used social media platforms:

Facebook (93%), Twitter (79%), LinkedIn (71%), Google+(56%), YouTube (55%), Pinterest (45%) and Instagram (36%) were the top seven platforms used by marketers, with Facebook leading the pack by a long shot.

The overwhelming majority of marketers used Facebook ads (84%), followed by Google ads (41%) and LinkedIn ads (18%) with B2C marketers using Facebook ads more (89%) than B2B marketers (75%).

A large percentage (71%) used visual assets in their social media marketing. Close behind was blogging (70%). Podcasting was only used by 10% of marketers so this represents an opportunity. B2B marketers are much more likely to use blogging (77%) when compared to B2C marketers (64%). Podcasting was also more common among B2B (12%) than B2C (9%). The self-employed were more likely to use blogging (79%)

And did you know that Canada has the highest social media network penetration in the world, with 82% of Canadians using a social network? (We Are Social: Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide in 2014)

(Source:  Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association)

This begs another question: is it possible to measure ROI (return on investment) for social media activities? Only 42% agreed they are able to measure their social activities. The ROI issue has plagued marketers for years. In 2014, 37% indicated they could measure ROI and in 2013, it was 26%.

So what’s the next step? Check out these select sources on social media and small businesses.

Social Media Advantage Online Marketing for Small Businesses Social Media Analytics
Social Media Advantage Online Marketing
for Small Businesses
Social Media Analytics
Build in Social Social Media MBA Media Guide to ROI Zero to 100,000

Built in Social
eBook Available

Social Media MBA
Guide to ROI 
eBook Available


Zero to 100,000
eBook Available
                                         Socialnomics  
  Socialnomics
eBook available
 


LyndaWatch video tutorials on Facebook advertising fundamentals or social media marketing with Twitter or Facebook, on Lynda.com, Toronto Public Library’s exciting new electronic resource, free with your library card. Lynda.com gives you access to more than 3,500 video tutorial courses led by experts on web design, software development, photography, business skills, home and small office, project management, 3D + animation, graphic design audio, music, video editing and more. It requires the creation of a personal account which will allow you to track your progress through your tutorials. Available anywhere you have Internet access, you are just required to sign in with your valid TPL card.


All the best with growing your business!

 

Helaine Olen, Author of "The Index Card", in Conversation with Ellen Roseman

March 30, 2016 | Christina | Comments (0)

The Index Card


Helaine Olen, award-winning financial author of Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry, discussed her new book The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to be Complicated with Ellen Roseman, the Toronto Star's personal finance writer, on April 6, 2016 at the Toronto Reference Library. 

Helaine Olen became a personal finance expert in a few months, according to Roseman's Star article Personal Finance Rules on an Index Card.  In fact, Olen relied on a copy of Personal Finance for Dummies.  "My takeaway was how easy most of this stuff is, even though the financial industry tries to tell us how complicated it is."

In her new book, Olen explains what lies behind the eight rules -- including "pay your credit card balance in full every month, max out your retirement saving plans and avoid actively managed mutual funds."                                                         


Other titles mentioned in Roseman's article that may be of interest: 

Personal Finance for Canadians for Dummies      Pound Foolish      Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women & Money
Personal Finance for
Canadians
for Dummies
Pound Foolish Cold Hard Truth on Men,
Women & Money

Check the Toronto Public Library catalogue for additional titles on the topic of Personal Finance.  

 

Starting a Business?

February 11, 2016 | Thanusa | Comments (0)

A new year, a new you!

Was starting a business this year one of your goals?

Join the eight-week business program this spring at North York Central Library or Oakwood Village Branch and reap the benefits of getting expert assistance with your business plan, access to a business advisor, and networking with other like-minded entrepreneurs.

Upon completion of the program, you will be awarded with a Business Seminar Series Certificate from Toronto Business Development Centre and be eligible to apply for a small business loan ranging from $5,000 to $30,000.

Have more questions? Visit the Business Inc. page, or attend an orientation session at either of these locations to learn more before applying:

 

Orientation Dates: 

Oakwood Village Branch- Monday, March 7 at 6:30pm

North York Central Library- Tuesday, March 8, at 6:30pm

 

Check out these new titles to help you get started:

Starting a business dummies   Fail fast or win big   Your Guide to Starting and Self Financing    Content Inc.






 

 

Market Research with Library Resources

February 1, 2016 | Christina | Comments (0)

Market Research with Library Resources 

Toronto Public Library provides information in a variety of formats. These include downloads and ebooks, DVDs, articles and online research. Additional help is available by consulting a librarian in the branch, calling Answerline (416-393-7131), or by using our email or online chat service, Ask a Librarian. You can also Book a Librarian (a 30-to-60 minute personal appointment with a librarian).

Getting Started 

The Business, Science and Technology Department of the Toronto Reference Library (3rd floor) has many resources related to market research. For additional information please ask at the Information Desk.


Searching the Library Catalogue Using Suggested Subjects or Keywords

Subjects:

Associations – Canada – directories

Business enterprises – Canada - statistics

Canada – economic conditions – statistics

Consumers – research

Consumer behaviour - research

Economic indicators – Canada

Industries - Ontario - Toronto region - directories

Internet marketing

Marketing research

Marketing research – Canada

Marketing research - methodology

Marketing – Canada - periodicals

Market surveys – Canada

Market surveys – Canada – statistics

New products – management

Questionnaires - methodology

Small business - Canada - finance - statistics


Keywords
      

Market surveys                              

Market research

Marketing management   

Marketing plans

Marketing strategy

 

Checking the Shelves

Relevant call numbers:

330.971

338.09

338.439

337.74097

380.109

658.800

658.83

658.83028 

RMA  Annual Statement Studies


Company Information 

Contact Toronto

Ontario Business-to-Business Sales & Marketing Directory. 4 vols. 

Regional Directory.  Ontario [Dun & Bradstreet]

Scott’s Directories:  Ontario Business. 4 vols.


Using Online Sources

Toronto Public Library provides access to a wide range of online resources, such as downloads and eBooks, as well as articles and online research. Most of these resources can be accessed outside the library from the Library's website with a valid Toronto library card.
 

Find Your Way…Downloads & eBooks

Click on Downloads & eBooks from the FIND YOUR WAY section of the Library's homepage. Click on eBooks & Digital Content: Start Here to find Getting Started with Library eBooks. From the Downloads & eBooks page, select OverDrive eBooks and eAudiobooks. Our largest eBook collection, OverDrive includes current non-fiction, videos and audiobooks. Click on Business & Careers under eBook Nonfiction to browse all titles in this category.   
 

Find Your Way…Articles & Online Research

Click on Articles & Online Research from the FIND YOUR WAY section of the library’s homepage, select Databases & Research Tools by Topic and then Business & Careers. (Or, just enter the title of the database in the main search box of the homepage, or browse using the A – Z List of All Databases).

Suggested Databases:

Marketline (available at TRL and NYCL branches only)

Scott’s Business Directories Online

Safari Tech & Business Books Online


Find Your Way…Small Business                                         

Click on Small Business from the FIND YOUR WAY section of the library’s homepage to find Spaces to Meet and Work, Expert Staff Assistance, Specialized Business Resources, and business-related Programs and Seminars.


Recommended Websites 

Click on Books, Video, Research and More from the library’s homepage, select Recommended Websites, and then Business, Finance and Economics. To find websites on doing market research click on Small Business and Entrepreneurship/Research Tools.           

 

Demographic Information

Census Profile, 2011 Census

NHS Profile [National Household Survey], 2011 Census

Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada, 2008 to 2012  
 

Business/Industry Performance/Company Information

Canadian Companies Capabilities

Financial Performance Data

Key Small Business Statistics

SEDAR Issuer Profiles

SME Research and Statistics

Toronto Industry Profiles


Additional Sources

Associations

Various associations and organizations produce newsletters and websites. They may contain very specific and specialized information and are useful sources of information regarding news, developments, new products and suppliers in an industry. For example, in Canada the Restaurants Canada and the Retail Council of Canada have websites with statistics on their industries and major trends.
 

Magazines/Newspapers

Trade Publications and Directories 

Trade publications often contain information on competitors and new products. They may also have information about industry developments, issues, forecasts and market surveys. Trade, professional or business associations (e.g. local Chamber of Commerce) can be another good source for market information. These associations may have market research available pertaining to their industry. These reports can sometimes be purchased. In some cases, this material will be sold only to members.
 

Vertical Files – Industry Files 

Located behind the Business, Science and Technology Department Information Desk, they include recent printouts and clippings from various sources for Canadian industries. Press releases, pamphlets and other sources of information about industries may also be included.


See Also

Business Directories : City of Toronto and Area
Researching a Canadian Company
Researching a Canadian Industry
Starting a Small Business in Canada

Need Help Doing Your Tax Return?

January 16, 2016 | Thanusa | Comments (0)

Tax season is soon approaching!

 Tax

Do you or do you know someone who needs help doing taxes?

North York Central Library (and other branches) is once again offering FREE community income tax service provided by Chartered Professional Accountants. Qualified accountants will help individuals to fill out their 2015 Income Tax Returns.

Do you qualify for the service?

The service is available to single persons with incomes under $30,000 or families with an income of under $40,000.

Note: Interest income must be under $1,000. The accountants will not handle self-employment income or rental income. 

Below lists the documents to bring with you:

  • a copy of your completed 2014 Income Tax Return along with "Notice of Assessment" sent to you by the government
  • all T4, T5, T3, etc.
  • Property Tax Bill for 2015
  • rent receipts
  • TTC Metropasses
  • Students - post-secondary must have tuition forms T2202 

Registrations are taken on the day you arrive on the following dates, times, and locations:

Saturdays

March 5, 12, 19

Held in the concourse level of North York Central Library

10:00 am to 4:30 pm (last session at 3:45pm)

 

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays

March 15, 22

April 5, 11, 15, 19, 25, 29

Held in room 2/3 at North York Central Library

6:00 pm to 8:30 pm (last session at 7:45pm)

 

Wednesdays

March 30, April 27

Held in room 1 at North York Central Library

6:00 pm to 8:30 pm (last session at 7:45pm)

 

If you need more information, please call North York Central Library at 416-395-5613.

 

Reading Recommendations from Mike Brcic, 2015 TPL Entrepreneur in Residence

January 2, 2016 | Christina | Comments (0)

Mike Brcic, 2015 TPL Entrepreneur in Residence, has completed his residency at the Toronto Public Library.  
  

Mike Brcic, 2015 TPL Entrepreneur in Residence
Mike Brcic, 2015 TPL Entrepreneur in Residence

                                                 
Before leaving, Mike recommended a list of books for aspiring entrepreneurs. The titles are:

Entrepreneur Roller Coaster Scaling Up Delivering Happiness
Entrepreneur
Roller Coaster
Scaling Up Delivering Happiness
To Sell is Human Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid Start with Why
To Sell is Human Fortune at the Bottom
of the Pyramid
Start with Why

 

Looptail Automatic Customer Getting to Maybe
Looptail Automatic Customer Getting to Maybe
                          Business Model Generation                                
  Business Model Generation  

For more titles, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the recommended subjects:

'Tis the Season for Giving

December 21, 2015 | Raymond | Comments (1)

The holiday season is the time of year when most Canadians consider giving to charities. There are many worthy causes out there, and for those who are too busy to volunteer, a quick and easy financial donation is a great way to make a difference.

No matter how big or small, donating to a charity can have positive personal effects including increased satisfaction, a sense of civic engagement and even reduced stress. Furthermore, charitable contributions reduce your taxable income, meaning that you could potentially pay less taxes. For a detailed guide on how to claim a charitable tax credit, please visit the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Charities often receive a large portion of their annual totals in December. This is because many donors choose to give a one-time lump sum. An alternative method of donating is to commit to a monthly contribution. Charities prefer this because it provides them with a more predictable cash flow. For more information on ways to donate strategically, consider borrowing the titles below.

Charity and Philanthropy for Dummies Give Smart Master Your Philanthropy  Giving 2.0

Staff at the Toronto Public Library support the Toronto Public Library Foundation and United Way. I routinely donate to the Canadian Red Cross after each major natural disaster. It's always a good idea to do some research into the charity to see how your money gets spent. Either way, setting aside some money to give to a charity of your choice can be rewarding both personally and financially.

Top 6 Qualities of Great Leaders

December 11, 2015 | Elsa W | Comments (0)


Image from Flickr's Creative Commons (Steve Depolo). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons, 2.0 Generic.

Consider some of the leaders you have admired, in the past and present, and you will likely see some common traits among them.

Here are some top traits that leaders have:

Integrity - Great leaders not only set the rules, but they live by them. People want to work with a leader they can trust, a leader with morals, values, and honesty. Ultimately, if a leader lacks integrity, they will not be respected, trusted or followed.

Compassion - Great leaders not only have great ambition but great humility. Instead of using their ambitions to inflate their ego, they use them for the greater good. These leaders, like the Dalai Lama, are very effective and inspiring.

Confidence - Having the confidence to make decisions is paramount. Confidence is also reassuring to the rest of the team and will help them feel confident in their leaders.

Creativity - Creative thinking allows leaders to think past the status quo. Also, creative leaders can potentially make the most of too little time, and too much to do with their out-of-the-box thinking.

Intuition - This trait requires a combination of great pattern recognition, wisdom, trend anticipation, personnel insight and confidence. These attributes ultimately lead to successful decision-making, a key skill for leaders.

Visionary - Inspiring the team to see the vision of the successes to come is vital. Visionary leaders are always charging ahead to where they want to be tomorrow.

Although some people just seem to be natural leaders, everyone can learn what it takes to be an effective leader. You can learn how to be a leader through the Library’s subscription to Lynda.com (available for free to TPL customers). Lynda.com offers over 3,500 video tutorial courses led by industry experts on topics including a leadership course. Log into Lynda.com through the library website with your library card to learn how to transform your leadership potential.

Also, check out your local Small Business Network. No two businesses and industries are alike, but successful leadership principles are largely universal. So, learn by emulating what successful business owners and leaders have done to succeed.

What are some other important leadership traits you think should have made this list?

Starting a Small Business in Canada

December 1, 2015 | Christina | Comments (0)

  Image1 

Starting a Small Business in Canada 

Toronto Public Library provides information in a variety of formats. These include downloads and ebooks, DVDs, articles and online research.  Additional help is available by consulting a librarian in the branch, calling Answerline (416-393-7131), using our email or online chat service, Ask a Librarian. You can also Book a Librarian (a 30 to 60 minute personal appointment with a librarian).

 
Getting Started  
The Business, Science and Technology Department of the Toronto Reference Library and the Business Department of the North York Central Library have many resources related to starting a small business in Canada.  For additional information please ask at their Information Desks.  


Searching the Library Catalogue

Suggested Subjects or Keywords:

Subjects

New business enterprises -- Canada -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Small business -- Canada -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Entrepreneurship -- Canada -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Keywords  

Small Business
           

Checking the Shelves

Relevant call numbers

658.022
658.041
658.11
658.15224
658.4012
658.8
 

Suggested Titles:

General Small Business 

The eventual millionaire: how anyone can be an entrepreneur and successfully grow their startup

Grow:  hot to take your DIY project & passion to the next level and quit your job

Grow regardless:  of your business's size, your industry or the economy--and despite the government!

Run your business, don't let it run you: learning and living professional management

Sell local, think global: 50 innovative ways to make a chunk of change and grow your business

The young entrepreneur's guide to starting and running a business: turn your ideas into money!
 

Business Plans

Business Plans Handbook: a compilation of actual business plans developed by small business throughout North America 

The one-hour business plan: the simple and practical way to start anything new 

Preparing effective business plans: an entrepreneurial approach 

Write your business plan: get your plan in place and your business off the ground

Writing a convincing business plan 


Using Online Sources

Toronto Public Library provides access to a wide range of online resources, such as downloads and eBooks, as well as articles and online research. Most of these resources can be accessed outside the library from the Library's website with a valid Toronto library card.

 
Find Your Way…Downloads & eBooks

Click on Downloads & eBooks from the FIND YOUR WAY section of the Library's homepage. Click on Downloads: Start Here to find Getting Started with Library eBooks and Help for new users. From the Downloads & eBooks page, select OverDrive eBooks and eAudiobooks. Our largest eBook collection, OverDrive includes current non-fiction, videos and audiobooks. Click on Business & Careers under eBook Nonfiction to browse all titles in this category.    


Find Your Way…Articles & Online Research

Click on Articles & Online Research from the FIND YOUR WAY section of the library’s homepage. Select Databases & Research Tools by Topic and then Business & Careers. (Or, just enter the title of the database in the main search box of the homepage, or browse using the A – Z List of All Databases).

Suggested Title:

Safari Tech and Business Books Online 


Find Your Way…Small Business    
                                  

Click on Small Business from the FIND YOUR WAY section of the library’s homepage to find Spaces to Meet and Work, Expert Staff Assistance, Specialized Business Resources, and business–related Programs and Seminars.


Recommended Websites 

To find websites on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, click on Books, Video, Research and More from the library’s homepage, select Recommended Websites, and then Business, Finance and Economics. 

Suggested Websites:


Demographic Information

Census Profile, 2011 Census

NHS Profile [National Household Survey], 2011 Census

Report on the Demographic Situation in Canada  


Business/Industry Performance/Company Information

Canadian Companies Capabilities

Financial Performance Data

Key Small Business Statistics

SEDAR Company Profiles

SME Research and Statistics

Toronto Industry Profiles


Additional Sources


Magazines/Newspapers

Canadian Business


Vertical Files – Industry Files

Located behind the Business, Science and Technology Department Information Desk at the Toronto Reference Library, they include recent printouts and clippings from various sources for Canadian industries. Press releases, pamphlets and other sources of information about industries may also be included.


See Also

Business Directories : City of Toronto and Area
Market Research with Library Resources  (to be published in the near future)
Researching a Canadian Company
Researching a Canadian Industry

 

Personal Budgeting – Tips for First Timers

November 21, 2015 | Raymond | Comments (2)

We’ve all been there; life gets tough financially and we somehow just have to make it work. Budgeting is a tool that helps manage these difficult times to ensure that all of your important priorities and obligations are met.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Understand why you are budgeting. Are your debt levels getting too high? Are you saving up to make a big ticket purchase? Do you expect your income to change significantly in the near future? Once you know why you need to budget, it’ll be easier to commit to it for the long term.
  2. Know what your current income sources are and calculate the appropriate amounts. Employment and investment income are subject to taxes. Use this Tax Calculator to see what your post-tax income is. Do you have other income on the side that fluctuates (tips from work, gifts from family/friends)? Try and calculate an average amount based on prior years.
  3. Be honest with your spending patterns and identify what could be considered luxuries. Look at some past receipts and credit card bills. Do you eat out at restaurants often? Do you enjoy going to the movies or splurging on new clothes? Get exact numbers and see where you could cut back without reducing your quality of life too much.
  4. Start simple. Use a pen and paper if you want. Or try Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. You could even put cash in labelled envelopes (groceries, clothes, etc.) and stop spending once that envelope is empty until your next refill date. More sophisticated software programs (Quicken, Microsoft Money) are available, but don’t feel obligated to use them until you’re ready.
  5. Don’t be afraid to adjust and start over. It’s ok to go over your first budget. Sometimes unexpected expenses or circumstances arise. When this happens, go back and investigate what went wrong so you can take it into consideration next time.

Keep at it and good luck! If you’re interested in reading more, check out some of these titles:

                     Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money Managing Money Cash and Credit Information For Teens                 The Everything Budgeting Book The Only Budgeting Book You'll Ever Need Budgeting and Banking Math                            Managing My Money Quicken 2015 The Official Guide 

 

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.