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Financing your business

October 6, 2014 | Raya | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Starting or growing a small business takes planning, hard work and money to make it happen. So how much money do you think you will need to start your business? Some typical startup costs involve purchasing office supplies, furniture, equipment and machinery, legal fees, permits and licenses just to mention a few. But a lack of cash doesn't mean you have to give up on your dreams. Each small business is unique and has its own specific finance needs and finding the funds you need isn't as difficult as you might think. According to the Canadian Bankers Association there are various ways to finance your small business:

1. Debt financing is money that you borrow (usually from a bank) to run your business. This is a loan that must be repayed in full, usually in instalments, with interest. The lender will need to assess your business plan, management capabilities and financing in order to determine your company's chances of success. Debt financing can include some of the following: line of credit, credit cards, business term loan and leasing.

2. Equity financing is usually provided by you or people you know. You need to do a good job selling your idea to potential investors especially if you don't have a track record. An investor will make money available for an ownership share in your business and a say in how you run your business. Using your own money has its advantages especially when it comes to making decisions. You won't need to get approval from any of your investors and you get to reap the rewards of your success. Possible sources of equity financing can include: personal savings, loans from friends and relatives, government programs and angel investors.

3. Government programs are another way to get the funding you need to start your business. The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP) is run in collaboration with financial institutions and was created to increase the amount of money available to small business owners who are just starting a business or for existing small businesses needing money to expand, modernize and improve operations. In the event of default the federal government will reimburse the financial institution 85 percent of the lender's losses. The federal government has several other financing programs that are specific to certain provinces. These programs range from summer/student companies to businesses located in Northern Ontario to programs for people with disabilities. The Ontario government also offers industry-specific incentive programs including credits, business and tax incentives, and has introduced generous venture capital funding for some business activities.

To read more about how to finance your business, you can borrow the following books and ebooks:

Raising Capital Crowdfunding for Beginners  Get Financing Now  The Entrepreneurial Bible to Venture Capital

Kickstarter for Dummies Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods Starting a Successful Business in Canada Raising Entrepreneurial Capital

Commercial Leases: What You Should Know

October 3, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

  Your Name Here

(image courtesy of BostonBill posted on on September 23, 2007. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)


Are you currently a landlord or a business tenant? 

Or are you looking to rent a space for business purposes and would like to know more about the terms and conditions of property rental?

Well, this program is for you!

This specialized workshop presented by Connect Legal covers the following topics:

- things to consider before signing a lease

- negotiating and signing the lease

- assignment and sublet

- lease termination

- landlord's responsibilities

- and what to do when you have a disput with landlord

This FREE program will be held at North York Central Library on Monday, October 20, 2014 at 6:30pm in the Concourse Level. Please register online:


For more information on commercial leases, the following titles may be of interest to you:

  Investing in real estate     The Commercial Lease A Practical Guide     Negotiating Commercial Leases and Renewals     Insurance and Risk Management in Commercial Leasing




Business Apps Programs @ Toronto Reference Library

September 26, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Business, Science and Technology Department at the Toronto Reference Library is offering the following programs on Business Apps :

Business Apps for Beginners
A look at some popular investment, business news and personal finance apps for mobile devices.  For hands-on use of an Android or iOS tablet, an active library card is required to check out the tablet.
Place:  Hinton Learning Theatre, 3rd Floor, Toronto Reference Library
Dates:  Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 3:00 pm
            Monday, November 10th, 2014 at 3:00 pm
To register, call 416-393-7149, Business, Science & Technology Dept @ TRL.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD):  Business Apps
Bring in your mobile device and use it to download and look at some of the popular investment, business news and personal finance apps.
Place:  Hinton Learning Theatre, 3rd Floor, Toronto Reference Library
Date:  Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 6:00 pm
To register, call 416-393-7149, Business, Science & Technology Dept @ TRL

All are welcome.

Current business information for entrepreneurs

September 15, 2014 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

(photo courtesy of Raya)

If you are thinking about starting your own business or have an existing business and need up-to-date information, North York Central Library and Toronto Reference Library have a series of special publications that are updated throughout the year. They contain primary source materials, information on new trends and recent developments, editorial notes and comments as well as indexes to help you search your topic. The following is a list of publications that may help you in your day-to-day business operations:

 1.   Canadian Employment Safety and Health Guide

Stay up-to-date on all the latest health and safety information, as it happens. This publication includes the background and context that enable you to understand health and safety regulations. Includes employers and workers' duties and responsibilities and covers occupational health topics such as drug testing, fragrances in the workplace, stress management, ergonomics and workplace design.

 2.  Canadian Goods and Services Tax Reporter

The Canadian Goods & Services Tax Reporter keeps you up-to-date with complete coverage of all developments, including full coverage of legislation and proposed legislation, detailed commentary and analysis, and all related government documents. Easy to use topically-based set-up.

 3.   Wrongful Dismissal Practice Manual

A comprehensive  reference source on the law of wrongful dismissal. Coverage includes: The doctrine's scope and the employment relationship, termination of employment, express termination, notice requirements, resignation, what does and does not constitute constructive dismissal, what does and does not constitute  “just cause”, termination agreements and severance packages.

 4.  Canadian Commercial Law Guide

Designed to provide all the information you need, this guide provides in-depth coverage of all federal and provincial law. In additon, it recaps all the most important recent cases and provides monthly updates on key changes in commercial legislation. It also presents a comprehensive overview of Canadian federal and provincial commercial law, including these key areas: sales contracts, personal property security, statutory liens and trusts consumer protection, bankruptcy and competition law.

5.  Ontario Corporations Law Guide

This guide includes a detailed discussion of the Ontario Business Corporations Act, focusing on: incorporation, corporate finance, directors and offices, shareholders, liquidation and dissolution and financial disclosure. The guide also deals with special types of corporations, including extra-provincial corporations, corporations without share capital, insurance corporations, co-operatives and credit unions.

6.  Canadian Business Management Manual

Just about every area that can affect a business is covered in this practical information source. Designed for business managers, Canadian Business Management Manual will be helpful to anyone who is responsible for managing a large or small organization or a particular area of a business. It gives you easy-to-read information on a wide range of business and human resources issues, along with examples, checklists, and procedures.

7.  Business Legal Advisor

A practice-oriented how-to guide to business transactions including planning and preparation of supporting documentation. Features commentary, materials and precedents covering: buying and selling a business, family trust, shareholders, buy-sell agreements, tax implications of a business purchase/sale, incorporation, executive compensation, employment law, reference to pertinent sections of the Income Tax Act and Interpretation Bulletins. It also provides an extensive number of forms.

8.  O’Briens Encyclopedia of Forms

O'Brien's Encyclopedia of Forms is a comprehensive collection of forms and precedents covering a broad range of legal subjects.It provides thousands of documents which can be easily customized to suit your individual needs. Each topical division includes authored commentary.

9. PaySource

This service is the ultimate authoritative source for answers to payroll questions. It includes a handy annual Quick Facts for Payroll Managers desktop reference chart as well as the monthly newletter, PaySource. PaySource covers everything you need to know about payroll, from setting up a payroll system to commentary on key issues to up-to-the-minute changes in payroll laws across Canada.

10. Human Resources Advisor for Ontario Employers

The Human Resources Advisor is written in plain-language that makes it easy to understand how to comply with government standards in your province. This resource helps you effectively deal with virtually any HR and payroll issue. It is written with the law uppermost in mind, and is thoroughly reviewed by lawyers. It is an indispensable guide for employers in Ontario and provides small-to-medium-size businesses with guidance on compliance with payroll and employment law.

Small Business Network: Come Meet the Co-Founders of Menyou!

September 10, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Nothing planned for next week Wednesday? Wednesday Socks(image courtesy of mickeyp2000 posted to on May 15, 2013. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerives 2.0 Generic)


 Want to build your professional network and share your wisdom? Or you just want to sit back and listen to great minds tell their successful story?

North York Central Library's Small Business Network is for you!


This month's theme is all about improving customer experience with technology! Who better to share their creative business strategy than young entrepreneurs like Ara Ehamparam and Thaves Ponnamplam, co-founders of Menyou.   

  Ara and Thaves
(Left: Thaves Ponnamplam, Right: Ara Ehamparam)

Menyou is a leading-edge technology solution (featured on CTV and in the Toronto Star) that places an on-demand, interactive ordering experience at your fingertips. These young entrepreneurs will discuss their major influences, key challenges, and the critical events that helped them stay business-driven and positive.

Join us on Wednesday, September 17th at North York Central Library from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in the Teen Zone (Large Study Room) to hear Ara and Thaves share their expertise and network with other inspiring enterpreneurs. Register by calling 416-395-5613. Registration is free.

Don't forget your business cards! Looking forward to meeting you all!


"Lets go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday" -- Steve Jobs

How to Choose the Right Price if Selling Your Home/Property

September 1, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

An article entitled "How to Price Your Home for Sale" offers advice from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).

The "right list price" for your house or condo may "lead to a timely sale and maximize your investment".  A strategic approach based on "precise numbers" when picking a property's sales price is recommended.  According to Costa Poulopoulos, "the right list price is the first step to getting buyers to look at the house, and if the number is too high or too low you can attract unrealistic offers."

The article refers to a study from Psychological Science.  The study discovered "that sellers received offers closer to their asking price if the figure was precise, for instance $299,500, versus a round number like $300,000."

The Ontario Real Estate Association recommends the following steps in relation to pricing your home:

  • have your realtor review sales of similar houses in your neighbourhood.  Properties that are different sizes or in different parts of town may give you a false idea of your property's worth;
  • discuss with your realtor factors such as mortgage rates, nearby schools, and access to transit and how these factors can create interest in your listing; and
  • get the price right the first time.  Each time the price is lowered, you may make your property appear unsellable and offers may come in far less than what you wanted.

For more information on how to price your home, the following titles may be of interest to you:

Welcome Home


Welcome Home:  Insider Secrets for Buying or Selling Your Property:  A Canadian Guide by Sarah Daniels.

Chapter 6:  Pricing Your Home, pages 77 - 86





 Staging to Sell

Staging to Sell:  The Secret to Selling Homes in a Down Market by Barb Schwarz

Chapter 8:  Recipe for a Sale:  Pricing the Property Right, pages 105 - 116

Chapter 9:  The Pricing-Your-Home-Triangle, pages 117 - 130




 Buying and Selling a Home for Canadian

Buying & Selling a Home for Canadians for Dummies, 4th Edition by Tony Ioannou and Sarah Daniels

Chapter 15:  The Price of Selling, pages 221 - 231





For additional titles on this topic, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the recommended subject House selling.



Entrepreneurs in Canada

August 25, 2014 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit?  Do you wonder what it takes to start your own business? Are you ready to join the legions of famous Canadian entrepreneurs who have made major contributions to the business world? Throughout history Canadian entrepreneurs from all backgrounds have shaped the face of Canadian business and our way of life. Many are today's role models and are celebrated as innovators who have helped drive our economy forward.

Canada has a rich history of entrepreneurship. There is John Molson (1763-1836), who at the age of 23 began running his own brewery. Then there is John Redpath (1796-1869) who, in 1854, built the first sugar refinery in what was then the Province of Canada. And Samuel Cunard (1787-1865) from Halifax who founded the firm of A.Cunard and Son in 1812 and entered the timber and West Indian trade--importing molasses, brown sugar, coffee--while selling timber abroad. John Rodolphus Booth (1827-1925) is another Canadian success story. With only a modest elementary education, he left home as a young man to work in various sawmills in Quebec before becoming manager of operations at a mill owned by Andrew Leamy. He eventually purchased his own in the Ottawa area and in 1868 founded the Upper Canada Improvement Company which built dams and piers. Over the next few years he established related businesses in New York State, Vermont and Massachusetts and expanded his fortune in the lumber industry until his death in 1925.

Do you need inspiration in starting your own business?  Are you interested in finding out more about Canadian entrepreneurs? Various branches of the Toronto Public Library are hosting a series called Small Business Network. These programs are meant for those who already have established small businesses or for people who are just thinking about starting their own business. As well, take a look at the following books that you can find at your local library:


Entre Entre2 Entre3 Entre4

Entre5 Entre6 Entre7 Entre8









What is this 90 Percent Myth all About?

August 21, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This is exactly what author Roger Fields discusses in his 2nd edition of Restaurant Success by the Numbers: A Money-Guy's Guide to Opening the Next New Hot Spot. You probably heard of this saying as well, "90 percent of all restaurants fail in the first year".

Yes, we are open(image courtesy of h5B9 posted to on May 25, 2010. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.) 

Fields states there is no concrete evidence to prove the much-cited failure rate for restaurant businesses anywhere. He goes on to prove this by citing a number of studies and literature reviews conducted in the States to prove otherwise. "In the United States, restaurants and food services together make up the nation's largest retail sector (Fields, 2014). According to the National Restaurant Association, total restaurant-and-food services sales are projected to reach $683.4 billion at more than 990,000 locations in 2014.  

So what about the food industry in Canada you ask? According to, Canada's restaurant industry generates $68 billion in annual sales, which equals 4% of Canada's economic activity (2014). In Ontario, $26 Billion sales was generated by the restaurant industry which is 3.8% of Ontario's Gross Domestic Product. With more than 88,000 locations, the restaurant industry contributes to urban and rural communities across Canada. Furthermore, based on Ontario's Restaurant Industry report updated March 2014, there had been 7.5 Million visits to restaurants every day in Ontario. Factors such as rising supermarket prices, households earning two incomes, and people having less time to prepare meals at home, all contribute to the demand for dining for convenience.

Fields explains that generally, restaurants are less risky and better investments for small business entrepreneurs than other types of consumer goods retailers and even high-tech start-ups. For those that have dreams of owning a restaurant or those that simply just want to know the elements of running a successful restaurant, his 2nd edition is worth a read. He discusses your target market, location, pricing, kitchen designs, staffing, and much more.

Check out other great titles that provide great tips to running a successful restaurant:

   Restaurant Success By the Numbers   Start Your Own Restaurant and More   The everything guide to starting and running a restaurant   The restaurant from concept to operation



Is franchising for you?

August 4, 2014 | Raya | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...


Are you thinking of becoming your own boss but aren't sure what kind of business you want to start?  Have you considered becoming a franchise owner? If so, there are a number of things to think about before starting any business, but owning a franchise is quite different from starting your own business from the ground up.  

A franchise is a legal agreement between a franchisor (seller) and the franchisee in which the franchisor grants the franchisee the right to distribute certain goods or services developed by the franchisor in a particular way, in a particular location and for a specified period of time. In return, the franchisee pays the franchisor various fees and royalties.

There are several types of franchise arrangements but a business franchise is what most people think of when they hear the term "franchise." A franchisee buys the right to market and sell particular products or services. The franchisee buys those rights for a specific time and a defined area by paying the franchisor a franchise fee for the right to use the franchisor's trademarks and marketing plan. In some cases the franchisee buys an entire system - buildings, equipment, supplies, bookkeeping, uniforms, training, and so on. The franchisee can often walk in off the street, turn the key in the lock and start the business. This ready-made set-up is also known as a turnkey operation. Fast-food chains are good examples of this kind of franchise.

Buying an existing well-established business might reduce the possibility of failure. According to Statistics Canada's Key Small Business Statistics current survival rates for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada decline over time. About 85 percent of businesses that enter the marketplace survive one full year, 70 percent survive for two years and 51 percent survive for five years. Buying a franchise can be more expensive than starting a business "from scratch" because you are actually buying a product/brand name with a proven track record and because the franchisor will generally provide training, marketing, support and other services to the franchisee.

Like any other business, however, franchising is not without risks. Purchasing a franchise is a major investment decision and not every franchise is ideal for every individual. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before taking the plunge:

  • Are you ready to take on the responsibilities of starting and running your own business?
  • Does your family accept your choice and are they ready to support you?
  • Do you like the activity you are considering enough to make a commitment for 5, 10 or 15 years?
  • Do you like dealing with people and are you good at it? - You will have to interact with your customers, your employees, the franchisor and other franchisees.
  • Do you like the franchisor's staff / those people with whom you will be working?
  • Are you willing to follow the franchisor's rules and system?
  • Can you afford the franchise?
  • Have you carefully studied the legal documents?
  • Does the franchise you are considering have a track record of success?
  • Are the other franchisees generally happy and successful?

The Canadian Franchise Association website provides resources, facts, reports and much more for anyone considering becoming a franchise owner or for someone who already owns a franchise and is looking for more information. Or you may also wish to attend one of many franchise trade shows held throughout the year where you can have all your questions answered.

To learn more about the ins and outs of franchising, take a look at what the library has to offer:

Double double : how Tim Horton's became a Canadian way of life, one cup at a time     What no one ever tells you about franchising Street smart franchising The secrets of my success and the story of Boost Juice, juicy bits and all

In addition to the above books, you can also find the following resources at the library:

Canadian business franchise   

Published five times a year, Canadian Business Franchise Magazine is the face of franchising. The magazine’s editorial offers a unique, behind the scenes look at those entrepreneurs who have embraced the franchise lifestyle and have parlayed their passions into a thriving business.  Read the success stories and get advice from experts and franchise owners. 



Canadian Business Franchise Directory

Canadian Business Franchise Directory is Canada’s top-selling annual directory of franchises and franchise services. It offers information about more franchises that operate in Canada. The Directory features expert advice on key issues for the would-be franchisee including financing, accounting, and what to expect from the franchise lifestyle.



Canadian business franchise handbook

The Canadian Business Franchise Handbook is the ultimate beginners’ guide for anyone looking to purchase a franchise.This resource details what potential buyers need to help them take the first step.

The handbook also includes advice from franchise professionals, including financing and accounting tips and secrets to long-term success.



Canadian franchise guide

The Canadian Franchise Guide is an up-to-date resource that provides commentary, checklists and statutory requirements that you need for your business venture. It contains a complete set of forms and precedents, including franchise applications, disclosure and prospectus documents, franchise agreements and trademark documents for franchise financing.

Provides straightforward commentary, checklists and statutory requirements that you need to advise and assist your client. Also contains a complete set of forms and precedents, including franchise applications, disclosure and prospectus documents, franchise agreements, and master franchise agreements and trademark documents for franchise financing. - See more at:
Provides straightforward commentary, checklists and statutory requirements that you need to advise and assist your client. Also contains a complete set of forms and precedents, including franchise applications, disclosure and prospectus documents, franchise agreements, and master franchise agreements and trademark documents for franchise financing. - See more at:

3Ds Applied in your Business Pitch

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

Mariano RiveraWhether you are pitching your business to potential partners or prospective investors, it is important to know the key messages you want to communicate to drive your business forward.

Ronald M. Shapiro, author of Perfecting Your Pitch: How to Succeed in Business and Life by Finding Words that Work, believes there is a process that leads to a higher level of success rate when entrepreneurs have these challenging interactions with stakeholders. He refers to the scripting process as the 3Ds- Drafting, Devil's Advocacy, and Delivering.




Drafting is getting your raw ideas out in the open either by writing it down or typing it up. Sketch out what you feel are important to express in your pitch. At this stage, you are not worried about grammar or the flow of the pitch. It is the process where you are jotting down all your strongest possible thoughts and arguments whether you use them or not.

Devil's Advocacy:

The Devil's Advocate stage improves how we do things. In this situation, others review and provide constructive input on the business pitch. We often forget this stage. "This is a variation on the old saying that two heads are better than one." (Shapiro, 2013) Seek out people that can provide feedback and help you adjust your message. Shapiro states that when you don't have access to a devil's advocate, read the script out loud and act as your own devil's advocate. This process can be an on-going process, more than one redraft might be developed before you end up with a final script.   


Practice Makes Perfect Yoyo

Practice makes perfect! You may have heard this saying a million times, but when you are delivering that pitch, you must be comfortable with your script. Rehearse out loud, prepare for questions, and establish confidence with what you want to say. "Being comfortable and speaking with confidence makes your position less vulnerable to the other side pushing back." (Shapiro, 2013)

Remember it's not only what you say but also how confident you say it that grabs those stakeholders' attention.  

Check out other great titles that provide great tips to improve your Business Pitch:

       Perfecting Your Pitch         Here's the Pitch        Pitch Perfect        The Art of The Pitch

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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