Going Outside the "GET-A-JOB" Box!
Alternatives to Getting a Job, number 1 in the Outside the "Get-a-Job" Box! Series
Why look at alternative ways to make money?
Our Library hosted the Toronto Social Services annual Job Fair last month. In past years, this small event attracted between 600 – 700 job hunters. This year, a staggering 2,300 turned out. The line to get in to the Job Fair was about two blocks long!
Unlike past years, where the majority of attendees were new Canadians and unskilled workers, this year’s attendees were from all walks of life. Grey haired, immaculately suited businessmen, young professional women in the latest fashions, retirees needing work to supplement meagre pensions, newcomers, and factory workers jostled shoulder to shoulder.
Library staff who participated in the event were overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and the sense of desperation they saw in everyone’s face. We all came away shaken by the stories of job loss and hardship we heard from the people who lined up at our booth looking for work.
Approximately twenty employers were on hand to take applications. But the number of applicants far exceeded the available jobs.
The Financial Post recently summarized the job situation in Canada:
Canada lost about 82,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday, as the country struggled under an economic downturn. Most economists had predicted 55,000 fewer jobs last month. In January, there were 129,000 positions lost, resulting in an unemployment rate of 7.2 per cent. - Financial Post March 13, 2009.
Alternative #1 - Start Your Own Business
What the experts say
A Recession Can Be a Good Time to Start Your Own Business - "There are various reasons why starting up a business when the future looks bleak can be a good idea. First, not everybody is doing it, so there might be less competition. Second, people who have been in a market for a while might collapse under the strain, creating an opening. Third, resources, such as premises and raw materials, can be cheaper than in boom times. Fourth, it might be easier to recruit the people you want if there are fewer opportunities. And the list goes on.“ - Roger Trapp. The Independent - London 03-03-2009.
Entrepreneurship "Only way to Avoid Global Recession" Says EMLYON Business School, Leading International Business School -
Entrepreneurs need to understand how to do business in global, rather than just domestic markets if they are to fulfill their true potential," says Patrice Houdayer, Dean of the leading European business school, EMLYON. "In fact this type of entrepreneurship may be the only viable way of escaping the threat of global recession. - Anonymous. Canadian NewsWire. November 26, 2008.
The National Post reported that, in the retail sector, Smaller shops dominate sales rankings - First Coverage has unveiled its 2008 performance rankings for Canada...and the winners' list is dominated by smaller shops.
"It's really the boutiques and independents that are shining in this volatile environment," said First Coverage founder Randy Cass. - National Post, March 25, 2009. page FP8.
Of course, entering into private business is something that takes a lot of thought, research and plain hard work.
A business advisor with Enterprise Toronto, Jason Li, recommends that prospective entrepreneurs :
- Take time to do a self-assessment on their skills and resources in such areas as financial resources, leadership ability, industry knowledge and risk tolerance.
- Determine which type of business would best suit their capabilities and resources.
- Thoroughly research their market to identify opportunities and create a solid business plan.
Mr Li noted that about 70% of small businesses that enter the marketplace survive for one full year; half survive for three years. Approximately 25% of small businesses are still operating after nine years.
Poor cash flow is a frequent cause of business failure. However, good planning can greatly increase the odds of success.
Enterprise Toronto is a City of Toronto advisory service for entrepreneurs and small business owners. You can visit their website for small business advice, information on upcoming seminars, links to other small business sites and more.
At Enterprise Toronto you can:
- Find out rules and regulations for small business
- Register your business name
- Get advice on writing your business plan
- Attend seminars on all aspects of small business ….and more…
Make an appointment to speak with an ET business advisor.
The Toronto Public Library’s SmallBizXpress is also a great place to find current information on all aspects of starting and running a small business. This is a comprehensive guide to websites of interest to small business owners and entrepreneurs in Ontario. It includes links to websites on self-assessment, business plan writing, market research, sources of financing and a lot more.
If you have never seriously thought about starting your own business before, click on the heading Before You Start a Business. From here you’ll find links to sites that will help you to answer key questions such as;
- What business is best for me?
- I have an idea for a business, what now?
- Who should I talk to first about getting started?
Another key site for budding entrepreneurs is the Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre (COBSC). Check out this site for assistance on all aspects of small business start-up, including an Interactive business planner and an Online small business workshop. The COBSC site also provides access to information on Federal and provincial programs, services and regulations for small business, and personal assistance from expert staff.
Although the web resources listed above are a must for most entrepreneurs, books provide more in-depth, reflective coverage of specific small business operations and assistance with decision making.
The Library has current books on all aspects of small business start-up and management.
Here are some great reads!
Watch for #2 in this Series -