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Start and Run a Business

Business Inc. applications being accepted for Fall 2015

June 2, 2015 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Business Inc

Starting a Business

Are you planning to start a business?  If so, you may be interested in Business Inc., an eight-week business program offered at the Toronto Public Library in partnership with the Economic Development & Culture Division of the City of Toronto and the Toronto Business Development Centre.

The eight-week program covers:

Module 1:  Taking the leap to entrepreneurship
Module 2:  Market research for your business
Module 3:  Resources for researching your business
Module 4:  Developing a powerful marketing strategy
Module 5:  Creating an operating framework for success
Module 6:  Building blocks for financial management
Module 7:  Financing for business growth
Module 8:  Making your pitch

In addition, you will have leverage expertise from a certified business advisor:

  • Access via email for the duration of the program
  • Meet for a one-on-one consultation, following Module 5
  • Consult to review your business plan, following Module 8


Business Inc. benefits:

During the program, you will:

  • Prepare / update your business plan
  • Access a business advisor and other valuable resources
  • Network with other entrepreneurs

Upon completion, you will:

  • Obtain a Business Seminar Series Certificate of Completion from the Toronto Business Development Centre
  • Be eligible to apply for a small business loan ranging from $5,000 - $30,000*
    * Completion of the course is not an automatic qualification for the loan.

Program Dates and Details:

Location:    Bloor/Gladstone Branch
Sessions:    Wednesdays, October 14 to December 2, 2015
                    6:30 to 9:30 pm

Location:    Barbara Frum Branch
Sessions:    Thursdays, October 15 to December 3, 2015
                    6:30 to 9:30 pm

Location:    Fairview Branch
Sessions:    Mondays, October 19 to December 7, 2015
                    6:30 to 9:30 pm
Cost:        $150 + HST per participant
Value:       This program is generously supported by the Toronto Public Library Foundation.     

An online application is available.  You can also pick-up an application at the three branches offering the program, i.e. Bloor/GradstoneBarbara Frum, and Fairview, as well as at the Business, Science & Technology Dept., Toronto Reference Library  or Business Dept., North York Central Library

Application deadline is Wednesday, October 7, 2015 and send via email or fax to:
Fax:        416-345-9044

Enrolment is limited to 20 participants per location (total of 60).  Participant requirements are:

  • You must be 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Toronto Public Library card
  • Have a potentially viable business idea to be eligible for the program

All applications will be reviewed by a selection panel.  Given a maximum capacity of 60 participants, there is no guarantee that you will be accepted into the program.  Only one individual per business can be eligible for the program.

Your application will be reviewed for:

  • Demonstrated intent to start a new business within a six-month period or accelerate the growth of an early-stage business
  • A potentially viable business idea
  • Opportunity for business growth
  • Attendance at the orientation session 

To learn more before applying, call 416-345-9437 to attend one of the following orientation sessions:

Location:         Barbara Frum Branch
Orientation:     Thursday September 17, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm

Location:         Fairview Branch
Orientation:     Monday September 21, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm

Location:         Bloor/Gladstone Branch
Orientation:     Wednesday September 23, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm

If unable to participate, the Canada Business Network has information on business planning; i.e.

  • Why do you need a business plan
  • Writing your business plan
  • Sample business plans and templates
  • Business planning FAQs
  • Succession planning
  • Market research and statistics
  • Social enterprises and non-profits


Find out about Cold Calling at Fairview Branch

April 9, 2015 | Thomas | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Talking on the phone by Daniel Foster

Cold calling (or the act of soliciting business from a client you have had no previous contact with) is a practice that has both its advocates and its detractors. Criticised by some as a way of drumming up new business that’s heavy on investment and low on return, advocates argue that when done properly, cold calling can be an excellent and effective way to increase your business’ client base.

Continue reading "Find out about Cold Calling at Fairview Branch" »

Meet with a Small Business Advisor

March 27, 2015 | Thomas | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Ready to Start or Grow Your Business?

Book-A-Business Advisor at the Toronto Public Library


Idea Plan ActionAre you an entrepreneur currently researching, starting or running a business in Toronto? If so, Fairview Branch is excited to announce a new pilot project with Enterprise Toronto that you might be interested in!

Enterprise Toronto is a one-stop source to start and grow your small business. Its team of small business advisors can help you make the right decisions during your business start-up and help develop your management capabilities as your business venture grows. The consultations are free and services include: 

Continue reading "Meet with a Small Business Advisor" »

Get a Speed Coaching Session for your Small Business

February 25, 2015 | Thomas | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Amy Ballon Danielle BotterellInterested in some free expert coaching for your small business? 

Meet Amy Ballon and Danielle Botterell, MBAs, entrepreneurs, authors, and business coaches at Spark Consulting. Amy and Danielle will be stopping by Fairview Library's Small Business Networking group tomorrow to help you look at your business with a trained eye.

The Small Business networking series also give participants the opportunity to meet and learn from other business owners, share your own experiences, and soak in the collective wisdom of the group. 

Please register at the Information Desk at Fairview or call 416-395-5750 to let us know you're coming.


Bring your business cards!

Fairview-library-01 Mom IncSmall Business Network: Speed Coaching
Fairview Branch
35 Fairview Mall Drive  
Thursday February 26, 6:30 PM


(You can also check out Mom Inc., Amy and Danielle's awesome book from a library near you!)


Small Business Network: Come meet CEO and Visionary behind Orchard

February 2, 2015 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

I hope everyone had an amazing start into the New Year!

North York Central Library's Small Business Network series is back and we sure are excited about the amazing speakers we have lined-up for you this year.

(image courtesy of jairoagua posted on on July 5, 2006. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)

If you haven't attended one of our networking sessions, come and join us this month! It's an on-going network event for small business owners or people who are thinking about starting their own business. We invite successful entrepreneurs to share their stories and provide their expertise. There is opportunity to network with others in the group and exchange business cards! Plus, it's free!

Bruno WongOn Wednesday, February 18th, come and meet Bruno Wong, owner of Orchard, a Toronto-based startup focused on changing the way Canadian buy and sell used computer technology.

As a self-taught designer, and entrepreneur, Bruno will share the insights he has gained after taking a business from idea to $250,000 in transactions over a 10-month period.

The session will be held in the Large Study room in the Teen Zone from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

                                       Please register online!  

 Check out a few of our latest books on Business Start-Ups:

Invent Reinvent Thrive  Start Your Own E-Business Business Start Up in the Digital Age  From Passion to Profit      

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





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 2014 Entrepreneur in Residence program, discussed Napoleon Hill's secrets of success and how they 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.

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.

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.