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2014 Business News Mini Quiz

January 5, 2015 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Another year has come and gone. Can you remember the major business stories of 2014? 

Philip Jackman's Year in Review Quiz 2014 (PDF)  published in The Globe and Mail on Thursday, January 1st, 2015 included business highlights such as:

1.  In its biggest acquisition so far, Facebook announced it was paying $19 billion (U.S) for which company?

2.  Which famous advertising mascot received a makeover, making him slimmer and more dynamic?

3.  The Canada Revenue Agency's website was taken offline for nearly a week in response to an Internet security bug.  Name it.

4.  Who contributed $3 billion to Burger King's takeover of Tim Hortons?

5.  Google executive Alan Eustace made headlines by doing what?

To test your knowledge about other 2014 news stories, visit the complete Year in Review Quiz 2014 (PDF).

For additional information about some of the persons or companies mentioned in the 2014 Business News Mini Quiz, check out the following titles at the Toronto Public Library: 

The Facebook Effect     How Google Works    Essays of Warren Buffett
The Facebook Effect How Google Works Essays of Warren Buffett

If you would like to take an indepth test of your 2014 business news knowledge, try The Star's 2014 Year-End Business Quiz.  It consists of 50 questions!

Happy New Year to All

Answers to the 2014 Business News Mini Quiz:

1.  WhatsApp
2.  The Maytag Repairman
3.  Heartbleed
4.  Warren Buffett
5.  Skydiving from the edge of space

Best Business Books of 2014

December 29, 2014 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you interested in starting your own business? Do you want to improve how you run your business? Do you want to know how Pixar has been able to dominate the world of animation? Or are you looking to get better returns on your investments? You can find the answers to all of these questions and more in the following books selected from lists of the Best Business Books of 2014 published by Forbes.comthe New York Times, and the Globe and Mail. Check them out at the Toronto Public Library.

How We Got to Now The Gen Z Effect The Innovators Money Master the Game

How Google Works

  The Hard Thing About Hard Things Lean In Creativity, Inc.

    House of Debt  Capital in the Twenty-First Century How to be a Power Connector The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Tax On Your Mind? I'm Talking about Business Tax!

December 22, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

(image courtesy of Steven Depolo posted on on July 15, 2014. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)

It will be that time of season again, when we start thinking about preparing our personal income tax. For those aspiring entrepreneurs with the new year's resolution of starting up a business or for those that already have an existing business, you might want to focus on business tax return preparation.

You probably have commonly asked questions that you need answers to such as, What can I claim or write off as expenses to my business?, Should I apply for GHT account?, or Which form should I use to file my small business return?

Come with your questions and join us on January 15th at North York Central Library for the Business Tax 101: Vital Tax Strategies for all Business Owners- New and Seasoned program.

Dale Barrett
Dale Barrett
, Tax Lawyer at Barrett Tax Law and bestselling author of "Tax Survival for Canadians: Stand up to the CRA", will teach you how to keep the business profits in your pocket and not in the government's.

Topics include: corporations and other business structures, HST and other tax compliance, capital gain verses business income, owner and employee compensation structures, recordkeeping and audit preparedness, and much more.


Click Here to Register for the Free Program





Debt and Credit Cards

December 15, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The average debt held by Canadians is $20,891, according to The Canadian Press article Equifax debt report says Canadians now owe $1.5 trillion. Equifax also states "the increase in consumer demand for new credit has been driven mainly by credit card and auto credit inquiries."

Before applying for new credit, you may be interested in visiting the Canadian Bankers Association website. They have consumer information on Understanding Credit; i.e. how a credit card transaction works, credit card products, budgeting, and avoiding money mishaps. The site also provides statistics and facts regarding credit cards.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a web page dedicated to credit cards. Credit cards interactive tools such as Credit Card Selector Tool and Credit Card Payment Calculator are provided.

Another website of possible interest is GreedyRates.  This site ranks "the best credit cards for you based on your spending habits." The site helps you find and compare the best low rate credit cards. In addition, you are able to compare credit card programs; i.e. rewards, points, and cash back offers.

For additional information on credit cards, check out the following items at the Toronto Public Library:

Personal Finance for Canadians for Dummies How You Can Profit from Credit Cards       Understanding Credit Basics
Personal Finance for Canadians for Dummies (Book) How You Can Profit from Credit Cards (eBook) Understanding Credit Basics (DVD)


6 tips to avoid holiday debt

December 8, 2014 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...



Gift Box
image courtesy of

This can be a pricey time of year but by planning ahead you can avoid a financial hangover come the new year. Author and financial expert Gail Vaz-Oxlade has come up with a few financial tips that will take the stress out of shopping and help you stay within your budget during the holiday season.

1. Make a plan. Don't leave shopping to the last minute and avoid using your credit card to purchase everything before actually starting your holiday shopping. Pay off any outstanding balances on your cards beforehand. Vaz-Oxlade suggests saving ahead of time by putting away a certain amount of money each month. Another way to really stay within your budget is to use an envelope for each category (food, gifts, wrapping paper) and write your list on the front and put the cash inside. In addition, she recommends making a list of people for whom you plan to shop and to consider setting a dollar limit on gifts.

2. Buy ahead of time. This tactic will help you avoid jam-packed malls and line-ups. Since we know that we have to buy presents anyways, Vaz-Oxlade recommends that if you see something on sale in August buy it and put it away. Sales happen all the time and if you wait long enough the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy for person will usually go on sale. If you have a hard time staying on budget, Vaz-Oxlade suggests shopping with cash.

3. Use coupons to shop around for the best deal. Check out sites like,, or for deals. Try discount malls and liquidations centres for huge discounts on new items.

4. Don't buy presents for yourself. Avoid the temptation to shop for yourself while shopping for everyone else. This will help you save money, and when the bill comes in it won't be higher than it should have been.

5. Try regifting.  Vaz-Oxlade condones regifting if it is something the person would really like. It can be something you received as a gift but can't really use. Canadian Living Magazine has some helpful tips on how to tactfully regift.

6. Give personalized gifts. If you know a new mother who could really use an evening out with her husband, offer to babysit or perhaps cook dinner for someone who works long hours. Vaz-Oxlade suggests clipping a picture of your "service" stating clearly  how often you will perform this service or try making your own coupon book. These kinds of gifts only require your time and attention and are sometimes more special than a purchased gift.

Check out these books for more helpful hints on how to save money, avoid debt and stay on budget:

Money Rules Fight for your Money How not to move back in with your parents Thrifty

Debt-free forever The Everything Budgeting Book The Cheapskate Next Door Clar Howard's Living Large in Lean Times

Small Business Network: Come meet the owner of BizLaunch!

December 1, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

We made it to the last month of the year but are you still thinking about making your business dream into a reality?

Come join North York Central Library's last Small Business Network session to motivate you in taking that next step!

Andrew P 

In December's session, you will meet owner of BizLaunch, Andrew Patricio. BizLaunch trains, advises and mentors Entrepreneurs. Andrew is the author of two books on small business and has started 7 businesses of his own. He worked with thousands of entrepreneurs in USA, Canada, Russia, Latvia, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Korea, Holland, Namibia, Belgium, USA, Barbados and South Africa.

For this session, Andrew will share with you the 7 secrets to building a successful small business. You'll learn the importance of defining your vision and how to develop a growth strategy that includes: your marketing and sales strategy, your financial strategy, your employee strategy, technology strategy, and your exit strategy.

Please register online: Small Business Network on December 17th

Session will be held in the Large Study Room in the Teen Zone at 6:30pm.

Don't forget your business cards and be ready to network!


Can a Book Change Your Life for the Better?

November 22, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Think and Grow Rich
Satish Verma, guest speaker at TPL's Entrepreneur in Residence program How to Realize Your Dream on Wednesday, November 26th, discusses Napoleon Hill's secrets of success that have inspired Andrew Carnegie, Oprah Winfrey, Sunny Verma, and many other entrepreneurs today.

After bankruptcy, Satish read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, a book which changed his life for the better.  He was able to crawl out of poverty and create many multi-million dollar businesses and now teaches others how to do the same.

Learn how to create your destiny through entrepreneurship in this mind-opening seminar with Sunny Verma.  All are welcome to attend.  The program is free.

How to Realize Your Dream

Sunny Verma, TPL's 2014 Entrepreneur in Residence
Sunny Verma, TPL's 2014 Entrepreneur in Residence

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Toronto Reference Library - Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium - 1st Floor

For other inspiring books by Napoleon Hill, check out the following titles:

    Success through a Positive Mental Attitude         Outwitting the Devil            The Law of Success
Success through a Positive
Mental Attitude
     Outwitting the Devil The Law of Success

Additional titles by Napoleon Hill.

Talk to me: Discussing finances with your aging parents

November 22, 2014 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


Stack of Files

(photo courtesy of

Many people find it difficult talking about finances with their aging parents, who would prefer to keep such information secret, even from their kids. But delaying this discussion can have unfortunate consequences especially when there is a crisis according to Carolyn Rosenblatt, mediator at She suggests a few ways to get this conversation started: work with your parents over time, ask what they are expecting of you in terms of helping out with their finances, and reassure them that you are not trying to take advantage of them or take away their independence. Let them know that if something should happen you would be completely lost as to how to help them. And finally, choose a quiet moment to introduce this conversation.

Once your parents are comfortable discussing their finances,  Rosenblatt recommends going over the following four issues:

1. Legal: Have they done estate planning? Who is their attorney? Is there a will, a trust, and power of attorney? Where are their legal documents? Would they let you speak to their attorney?

2. Healthcare: Do they have additional medical insurance? What is covered? Do they have assets set aside to pay for care at home? Do you have permission to speak with doctors?

3. Income and expenses: What income do they have? What are their debts and expenses each month? Do they have a financial planner? Do you have permission to contact that person?

4. Financial records: Where do they keep their tax returns? Who prepares them? Where are their bank accounts and other records of assets? Do they bank online? Where are the usernames and passwords?

Keep records to organize all of the above information and make sure to keep all siblings in the loop. Offer your parents assistance so that when the time comes to take over completely you are ready to do so. But most important, arrange this conversation sooner rather than later.

Here are a few books that can help you prepare for this important stage in your life:

Estate Planning Through Family Meetings Financial Care for Your Aging Parent When I Die: Financial Planning for Life and Death 2014 Protect Your Elderly Parents

The Family War The Canadian Guide to Will and Estate Planning The 50 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes So You've Been Appointed Executor

Always Think Big

November 14, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

By Sunny Verma

Sunny Verma is the Toronto Public Library's 2014 Entrepreneur in Residence. Sunny, founder and CEO of TutorBright, is an advocate of self-employment, dedicating his time to help individuals realize their dreams through entrepreneurship.


The first time I can recall intuitively understanding what the words “Whatever the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve,” meant, I was a 5-year-old boy living in the squalors of India.  A distant uncle visited us, and generously took my brothers and I to our first western movie. 

It was a James Bond show.  One scene in particular struck a chord with me - James Bond (in those days played by Sean Connery) was in Zurich having coffee on a sidewalk cafe beside a very beautiful river with a stunning blonde woman.  It was the first time I had the opportunity to see what life outside my tiny, slummy neighborhood looked like, and I longed to escape.  I left the theater believing without a doubt that one day I was going to visit Zurich, and have a coffee on a sidewalk river café, just like James Bond.  Keep in mind, I was a very poor child, being raised by a single mother in the lowliest neighborhoods in India.  At that time, to the outsider looking in (and even to the insiders I lived among) the chance of me ever leaving those dirt streets I called home was next to nothing. 

But the image stuck in my mind until it was tattooed onto my brain. The years went on, and I got the opportunity to attend a Canadian university through a scholarship.  As I was making my travel arrangements (to leave the home almost everyone told me I would be chained to) it occurred to me that I was going to be flying across the world.  Surely, at some point along that route, I would come close to Switzerland.  On a whim, I asked the travel agent if it would be possible to make a stopover there.  Somehow, he managed to make this work!

As I sat on a sidewalk café situated along Zurich’s beautiful river Limmat, sipping my coffee on a sunny fall day, it flashed through my mind that the longing I held for almost 15 years had come to fruition. Through one tiny seed of thought, backed by childlike faith, some unknown force had orchestrated this very moment.   

As I embarked on my journey, I truly felt that whatever my mind could conceive, and believe, it would achieve.  Armed with this knowledge, I wondered why I had limited my dream.  While sipping coffee on that sidewalk café was truly a symbol of how far I had come, my only minor regret was not adding the detail about the gorgeous blonde woman sitting across from James Bond to my vision (if my wife is reading this, this is joke).

All of us should dream big.  So why do so many of us settle for pennies? Our limitations are only in our minds. 

Finding a Mentor

November 12, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

By Sunny Verma

Sunny Verma is the Toronto Public Library's 2014 Entrepreneur in Residence. Sunny, founder and CEO of TutorBright, is an advocate of self-employment, dedicating his time to help individuals realize their dreams through entrepreneurship.

Photo credit: EOS 5D Mark II (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.)

Choosing the RIGHT Business Mentor 

Many entrepreneurs need advice, especially when starting out.  One of the best ways to get this guidance is through mentorship.  Finding the right mentor, however, can be a bit of challenge, so here are some tips on finding the right mentor for you: 

Who should your mentor be? 

Make sure you choose your mentor wisely.  Their advice can heavily impact your life and business; therefore you have the right to be selective.  The best mentors tend to be those who have “done it before.” They have a wealth of experience and can share insights on their failures. It is best to look for people in your industry and those who have had success with a similar business model.  Also, make sure your mentor shares the same values as you.  Mentors with these characteristics can help fast track your success. 

Where do you find a mentor? 

With a plethora of places to seek advice and an abundance of business leaders who are willing to share, there has never been a more ideal time to be an entrepreneur. LinkedIn is a great way to view profiles of business leaders and connect with them. When you find profiles of potential mentors who meet your criteria, offer to take them out for coffee. 

Another great avenue is networking events.  There tends to be a wide range of people at networking events. Put yourself out there and let people know about you and your business.  At networking events, people are often willing to offer help and meet with you at a later date.

What to ask a mentor? 

Tell potential mentors about your business and that you are looking for guidance. Describe where you are at (i.e. are you just starting out, or are you making millions?) and the roadblocks you see ahead.  Let them know why you have asked them specifically to help. For example, explain that you have done your research on both them and their business, and why you think they can help you.  Be careful to only ask for a short meeting - nothing more than 30 minutes. 

When should you seek a mentor? 

Ask before you need the help. It is always great to have a mentor who you can call with issues and seek advice from. 

Give back!

Once you make it, give your time by mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs. Keep the entrepreneurship ecosystem alive and never forget those who guided you on the road to success.  

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.