Start and Run a Business

Starting a home-based business

April 23, 2014 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you thinking of starting your own home-based business? Having trouble deciding on what kind of business is best for you? Or do you already have an idea but don't know where to start? Begin by writing down all the things you think you can do with your skills and talents, then narrow it down to what you truly want to do.  Thinking through all aspects of your business ideas will help ensure you start in the right direction. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before investing your energies into building your business:

  • Does working on my own suit my personality?
  • Am I self-disciplined enough to be motivated, even when business is quiet?
  • Can I set boundaries between my personal life and my business role? Will there be interruptions from family and friends?
  • Are there any legal or health restrictions that pertain to working out of my residence?
  • Is there enough room for any special equipment or extra help?
  • Is there room to expand?

Next, consider the following:

  • Decide what kind of business you want to have based on your skills and talents. Keep in mind that there is a huge difference between talents and things you enjoy. Just because you enjoy something doesn't mean you will be good at it.
  • Know your competition. Do some research to find out if other similar businesses exist in your area.
  • Understand the needs of your area. Listen to what people say and need in the area. If something they mention is an interest of yours and you are good at it, you should definitely try it.
  • Figure out your profits. To do this you must ask yourself two questions: how much will people pay for my services and can I make a good income off these services?
  • Check into any legal barriers for your business. Some areas have certain rules and regulations for home-based businesses, and you need to check into those before investing much time or money in your business.
  • Connect with your local insurance agent. Find out if you need any special insurance for your home-based business.
  • Create a business plan. This will help you organize the business process and also help you determine what kind of start up costs you are looking at.
  • Invest in your business. You will need to advertise and market your business to get customers. Use the local paper and radio stations near your home to promote your services.
  • Launch your business. Keep in mind that you will make mistakes but entrepreneurs learn as they go.

For information on a variety of topics related to starting your home-based business check out the following governmental agences:

Canada Business Network   Enterprise Toronto      Ontario Service Centre    

 

Still not sure? The library can help! Check out these books, ebooks and DVDs:

Home             Home2         Home3

Home4 Home5        Home6

 

 

 

Small Business Matters: Canadian Youth Business Foundation

April 14, 2014 | Thanu | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Have you heard about the CYBF?

Cybf

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to assisting young emerging entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39 start-up their businesses. CYBF provides pre-launch coaching, business resources, start-up financing, and mentoring to help them launch and grow their successful business.

To learn more about what CYBF does, watch the video below:

  

Have more questions? Come join us for an information night held on April 24, 2014 at North York Central Library (auditorium) at 6:30pm where you can hear two representatives from CYBF give an overview of what the foundation offers. They will also provide some key tips to a successful business plan. Questions will be taken.

This program is free. Registration is required. Call 416-396-5613 to register.

See you all then! 

Where to find government innovation assistance programs for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada

April 7, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Small-business-logoAre you a Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) seeking information about programs and other resources to pursue technological innovation?  Do you need help accessing these services?

The Government of Canada's Concierge Service may be able to help.   The Concierge Service, delivered by the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, is a direct response to the 2011 Jenkins expert panel report titled Innovation Canada:  A Call to Action that recommended a more focused approach to facilitate SME's access to available programs, services and funding to help them grow and prosper through innovation.

The Concierge Service is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to help SMEs identify and access the most appropriate business innovation assistance and programs and reflects the Government's aim of bringing services from various departments and organizations together in a way that collectively responds to SME challenges.

 Accordng to the Concierge Service website, they can help Canadian firms from any and all industry sectors

  • Firms undertaking Research and Development
  • Firms in all phases of product and service development
  • Firms seeking productivity gains through the adoption or adaptation of technologies

Initially, you will be asked regarding your innovation need; i.e.

  • Product, Process, or Technology Development
  • Improving Productivity
  • Acquiring Equipment
  • Acquiring or Adopting Existing Technology
  • Finding or Hiring Technical Staff / Student / Consultant
  • Finding or Hiring Business Staff / Student / Consultant
  • Finding a Strategic Partner
  • Intellectual Property / Patents
  • Market Research, Market Development, Exporting
  • General Business Guidance / Support

In an article titled " Research and Development within Reach", Corinne Pohlmann, vice-president of national affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business states " This one-stop shop for small businesses seeking information and guidance on R&D-related activities at federal, provincial and municipal levels of government will help ensure small businesses receive the support they need in a timely and efficient manner."

 

 

Small Business Matters: How to Start a Successful Business

March 16, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

For titles on how to transform a business idea into a business, check out the following titles at the Toronto Public Library

Innovation       Invent It Sell It Bank It Pivot
       Innovation Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! Pivot

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

  •  Creative ability in business
  •  Entrepreneurship
  •  New products

Small Business Matters: Scott Bowmen, Senior Director @ CYBF, Discusses Help for Young Entrepreneurs

March 9, 2014 | Christina | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

 

Small Business MattersAre you between the ages of 18 to 39 and are interested in starting a business?  Are you looking for the financial support and expert advice that will help you bring your business idea to life? 

Come join us at the Toronto Reference Library to hear Scott Bowmen, Senior Director @ Canadian Youth Business Foundation, discuss programs and services offered by CYBF that support young entrepreneurs throughout the life-cycle of their businesses.

Date:  Wednesday, March 12th, 2014
Time:  6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Place:  Atrium, Toronto Reference Library

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation provides pre and post-launch coaching, financing, mentoring, and business resources.

Visit the Canadian Youth Business Foundation website for online information about their programs and services.

To find titles that focus on young entrepreneurs, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the recommended subjects:

  • Young adults - Employment
  • Young adult-owned business enterprises
  • Young businesspeople

 

Small Business Matters: Buying a Business or Franchise

February 28, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Small-business-logoThis blog post was updated on March 8th, 2014.

Are you interested in buying a business or franchise?

Check out the following titles that may be of assistance at the Toronto Public Library:

Bond, Robert E.  Bond's Top 100 Franchises.  4th ed.  Oakland, Calif. : Source Book Pubns., c2012.

Gray, Douglas A.  The Complete Canadian Small Business Guide.  4th ed.  New York:  McGraw-Hill, 2013.

So, Daniel F.  Canadian Franchise Law : A Practical Guide.  Markham, Ont. : LexisNexis Butterworths, 2010.

West, Donald.  Business Acquisition Agreements : An Annotated Guide.  2nd ed.  Aurora, Ont. : Canada Law Book, c2011.


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

  • Business enterprises - Purchasing
  • Franchises (Retail trade) - Canada
  • Franchises (Retail trade) - Law and legislation - Canada
  • Sale of business enterprises - Canada
  • Sale of business enterprises - Law and legislation - Canada 

 

Greening your business

February 17, 2014 | Raya | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Tree

Greening your business isn't just good for the environment, it also makes good business sense. No matter the size of a company, it is possible to draw in customers and reduce company costs by creating a greener workplace. Over the last few years, MacLean's magazine has  featured companies making green business decisions that have affected employee morale and involvement while at the same time  improving their bottom line. Companies such as Canadian Tire, McDonald's Canada and Memorial University have been retrofitting buildings with energy efficient lighting, reducing water consumption and using unbleached paper. Efficient and cost effective alternatives have also made it easier for many companies to continue to be successful during times of economic turbulence.

If you are looking to green your business and create a better relationship with your customers, employees, suppliers and investors, start with these few simple first steps:

 1. Use electricity wisely. Turn off all computers, printers, photocopiers, and other equipment that doesn’t need to be left on at the end of the day and leave them off until you need to use them again.  When leaving a room for more than a few minutes, switch off the lights. Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones. Take advantage of natural sunlight as much as possible.

2. Reduce, reuse, recycle. This means more than just throwing old notepaper in the blue bin. Really think about everything you use. Do you need disposable cups at the water cooler? Can you use the other side of the used sheets of paper you’ve thrown in the recycle bin? Australia has added a fourth R – Refuse. Simply put: Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. And, when you do make a purchase, bring your own bags.

3. Use environmentally friendly office products. On average these products only cost 5% more, which is a small price to pay to cut down on waste and pollution. Start small – 100% recycled paper, refillable ink cartridges, non-toxic highlighters, etc. 

4. Use non-toxic cleaning products. There are many brands available. Encourage your cleaning company to use green cleaning products and if they won’t, switch to one of the many companies that do use environmentally friendly products.

5. Telecommuting and transportation. Encourage working from home, particularly for workers who would normally drive to work. This cuts down on pollution and increases time availability. Help arrange carpooling and encourage use of public transportation, biking, or walking to work.

6. Aim for a paperless office. Though the paperless office may still seem unrealistic, at least try to cut down on printed material when possible. Read on-screen and only print documents when absolutely necessary. Use only 100% recycled content paper products in the office.

7. Fair trade & organic. Buy fair trade, organic coffee and teas for the office. If employees prefer to go out for their hot beverages, encourage them to take their own mugs.

Need more help?  Check out these books:

Green Green2 Green3 Green4




 

 

 

 

The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook for Toronto CMA is now available.

December 23, 2013 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

For those interested in economic insights for the Census Metropolitan Area of Toronto, the Conference Board of Canada produces a publication entitled Metropolitan Outlook:  Economic Insights:  Toronto CMA.  This publication provides five-year economic insights into the economy of Toronto CMA and is updated three times a year; i.e. Spring, Fall and Winter.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, Metropolitan Outlook:  Economic Insights:  Toronto CMA, also known as Metropolitan Economic Trends - Toronto CMA, is the "only market-by-market forecast of the full set of economic indicators necessary for success."

The publication includes data for Canada and Ontario. For Toronto, there is an overview as well as forecasts for manufacturing, construction and services.  Projections are available for employment, gross domestic product, housing starts, real estate, and more.

To view the latest copy, ask for assistance at the Business, Science & Technology Information Desk on the 3rd floor of the Toronto Reference Library.

Jean Chow's residency as TPL's 2013 Entrepreneur in Residence comes to a successful end

December 19, 2013 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Many thanks to Jean Chow, Toronto Public Library's 2013 Entrepreneur in Residence, for all her valuable advice and inspiration to aspring entrepreneurs and small businesses during the past two months with her three programs and numerous, free one-on-one business consultations.

Jean Chow  Photo 2012 jpeg
If you missed opportunities to attend her programs or have a one-on-one consultation, visit TPL's Entrepreneur in Residence blog.  You can continue to follow Jean Chow at msbizwiz.com

The Toronto Public Library has other programs and services that may be of assistance.  Visit TPL's Small Business page for upcoming Programs & Seminars, Specialized Resources, and Spaces to Meet & Work.   Expert Staff Assistance is also available via Book a Librarian, a free 30 to 60 minute interview with a librarian, or IntelliSearch, a fee-based custom research service.

Here is a list of six titles in relation to Entrepreneurship recommended by Jean Chow.  Check them out at the Toronto Public Library

Icarus Deception E Myth Enterprise Self Leadership
The Icarus Deception The E Myth Enterprise Self Leadership and the                One Minute Manager
Catch Tipping Point One Minute Manager
Catch! The Tipping Point One Minute Manager

Are you a good manager?

December 16, 2013 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

ManagingYourTeam

 

Being a good manager can make all the difference in the success of a business. In his best-selling book, The One Thing You Need To Know:...About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success, Marcus Buckingham focuses on four key elements or principles that make a good manager. By focusing on these management principles you will reach the ultimate goal of creating a great work environment and bringing out the best in your people.

The most important goal of a good manager, says Buckingham, is to discover what is unique about each person, and capitalize on it. As a manager you should learn their strengths and weaknesses, what motivates them, and their learning styles. This can be done by either observing them or, even better, asking them questions like: What were the best and worst work days you've had in the past three months?  Once you have figured out their strengths you can turn these talents into better performance. By making an employee responsible for honing their unique skills, employers will have each person working at what they do best.

There are some basic principles to meeting this primary goal. First,  Buckingham recommends hiring good people.  Of course, this is easier said than done. However, if you spend a bit of time defining what you are looking for in this employee,  you will be rewarded by a perfect fit for the job.  For example, in the interview ask open-ended questions such as requesting specific examples of how they've done things in the past.  These kinds of questions will generate spontaneous responses.

Second, you should set clear expectations and remind employees of these expectations throughout the year. One way to do this is to set goals, and revise and reinforce them four to five times a year. Talk about progress, offer feedback, and, of course, correct.

Thirdly, offer praise and recognition. This will lead to great performance.  Buckingham believes that withholding praise from employees because you feel that it will go to their head is wrong. There is no such thing as too much praise, he says. An emplolyee who is appreciated will work harder, enjoy what they do more and inject a postitive atmosphere into the workplace.

And finally, show your people that you care about them.  According to the research, there is a clear link between caring and productivity, Buckingham says.  These workers are less likely to miss work, have accidents, steal or quit. Listen to them, learn about their lives and tell them you care.

Here are just a few of the many books, e-books and DVDs the library has that can help you become a good manager:

Manage Manage2 Manage3 Manage5




 

 

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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