Free Webinar – Creating a Successful Small Business Website 101: Approach and Execution

shutterstock_216859354croppedDid you know that 88% of Canadians will research online before making a purchase at your place of business? Furthermore, 80% of Canadians’ searches are for local purchases.

Having a compelling, effective website is no longer a nice to have for entrepreneurs. It is now an essential tool in running your successful small business. Everyone is looking for the magic bullet solution – the tactical advantage that will act as a launch pad for your business and its bottom line.

There are numerous tools and strategies that businesses can implement on the web to contribute to that goal, but which ones do you choose, and are those individual tactics enough?

In this free webinar, Andrew VanderPloeg, VP Communications at Bark Communications, will share valuable strategies on how to strategically approach your site, and then within that strategy, employ effective tactics to win on the web.

This webinar is free but space is limited. Please sign up for your preferred date below today.

Creating a Successful Small Business Website 101: Approach and Execution
September 27, 2016 at 1pm EDT

Creating a Successful Small Business Website 101: Approach and Execution
September 28, 2016 at 1pm EDT

You do not need to be a web developer or designer to benefit from this webinar.


A life-long love affair with independent book stores

By Jessika Diamond

I love books.

I think it’s genetically bred into me, with my family having sold books for more than a century.

In July 1810, Louis, King of the Netherlands, forced Jews to take family names, and like many of our Gentile neighbours, we took names related to our trades. The name my great-greats chose?


Thanks to anti-Jewish legislation prohibiting the owning of businesses in the Netherlands during World War II, my grandmother sold the bookstore to a family friend. My mom still lived above it until she moved to Canada, making me and my sisters the first generation of descendants not to grow up in the family bookstore since the mid-19th century.

Not that we haven’t done our best to duplicate this environment at home – my mom had close to 6,000 books when I was growing up, and I myself have a few floor-to-ceiling shelves double-stacked.

Due to this particular family history, my loyalty has always been to independent stores. They don’t have the volume sales to offer insane discounts on the selected (read: generally overstocked and badly-selling) books, but you can’t beat the selection or the customer service.

If I go to a chain and ask for something by my favourite fantasy author, they’ll have the latest few books from her and maybe one or two of her earlier works. Bakka Phoenix (84 Harbord St, Toronto), on the other hand, has just about every book this author ever wrote. This is especially true if the author is new to you but has been around for a while: don’t even bother with a chain. You’ll only be able to buy bits and pieces of a series.

I have an acquaintance who writes a mystery series that takes place in San Francisco. Her stuff’s not a huge seller, and I’ve looked into Chapters to find it – they had only her latest. Sleuth of Baker Street (907 Millwood Rd, Toronto), the mystery bookstore, however, has her work front and centre in the new releases.

Before every move, I purge my book collection to get it back down to a “manageable” 2,000 titles. I generally do this by selling books to second-hand bookstores. In my latest purge, I brought books to BMV (multiple locations; I chose 471 Bloor W, Toronto). I walked in with four boxes of books and walked out with nearly $200.

They opened and checked the spine of every book, buying only the ones with few-to-no cracks in the spine. They only buy books in good quality, which means they only sell books in good quality. They pay $1 and up for each book, and their prices to buy are reasonable. If I can spend $5 to buy a two-year-old, almost-new book at a second-hand store, versus spending $11.99 for a new copy at a large chain, I know where I’m going.

I’m a big fan of excellent customer service. In my experience, most of the employees I deal with at chain stores are simply employees – decent and knowledgeable about their section, yet that’s about it. I’ve lost track of how many times an employee at a second-hand or independent store has bent over backwards for me, taking time to specially order books of a genre that’s completely outside their wheelhouse, going to the back and searching, calling me on their day off to tell me that the store couldn’t order X book but they found it at another independent in town for me…

After all this writing about independent bookstores… I think I know where I will be going shopping today!


14248947_10153636288831537_1741204463_Jessika Diamond is a senior event manager working in the green building industry. A life-long reader who still favours paper over e-books, especially since she reads in the bath, she’s even been known to bring books on dates (though in all fairness, that started when she was dating a firefighter who often got called out on fires during dates). She also listens to e-books when she drives or walks, and vehemently avoids those “What fictional reality should you live in?” quizzes because she wants to experience ALL of them.

A Bigger and Better Shop Small Biz Directory is Coming Soon!

ssb_laptop_en-cropped-2-coming-soonWe have some fabulous news for Shop Small Biz participants – both businesses and consumers. We will soon launch a new and improved Shop Small Biz!

There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to bring you a value added online experience. The new and improved Shop Small Biz will continue to offer you many of the same great features, like:

  • Exclusive promotion and access to independently owned Canadian businesses
  • High impact campaigns to connect local businesses with the people who love to support them
  • Downloadable imagery

Here is a taste of what we will be adding:

  • A better design that will be easier to navigate
  • More options for businesses to customize their profile
  • Ability to target other businesses and/or consumers
  • An opportunity for shoppers to review and comment on their favourite shops
  • An events calendar

CFIB members will get additional benefits, including:

  • Access to free premium ad space on the Shop Small Biz homepage and social media
  • A member-only section that lets your business promote exclusive deals and events to other CFIB members
  • Customizable, downloadable posters and imagery

Our directory overhaul will be complete in time for our annual Small Business Saturday event, which will take place on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016. Make sure to stay tuned for our brand new website and announcements of more exciting stuff to come on Small Business Saturday!

Discount Codes to Small Biz Networking events in Toronto

CFIB is happy to offer discounted pricing to two upcoming networking events for small business owners in Toronto.

The first is the Summer Networking Bash, which takes place on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at Atlantis, Ontario Place. To learn more and get your discount admission code, click here.


The second event is the Develop Your Personal Brand Conference, which takes place Aug 12-13 at the Telus House – 25 York Street. To learn more about this event and get your discount admision code, click here.

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CFIB business counsellors will have a booth at both conferences so we hope to see you there, and come armed with your small biz questions!

Support your fellow small businesses — they are all of us

Ever wonder what makes up the average small business owner in Canada?

Are they part of the super-elite, positively flush with wealth, or are they more likely to fall into the middle-class?

Check out the infographic, which paints a picture of a typical Canadian small business owner as firmly in the middle-class.

The data is from from Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey and other official government sources, compiled by CFIB’s Chief Economist.

Put in on display in your small business as a conversation starter.


Find full report here.

FREE WEBINAR: Preventing Fraud in Your Small Business

StopSign_02_vector_jpgMarch is Fraud Awareness Month in Canada. It lasts for an entire month because that’s how big of deal fraud is! And not just for individuals. Small businesses can be very susceptible to fraud. Every year, small business owners become victims of fraud, sometimes with devastating effects. In fact, it is estimated that fraud is costing small businesses millions of dollars annually.

CFIB works on anti-fraud initiatives all year long for our small business members. When March hits the calendar, however, our Fraud Squad jumps into action with a lot of activities and awareness initiatives. As such, and in recognition of March Fraud Awareness Month, CFIB is hosting a FREE webinar! Preventing Fraud in Your Small Business will provide entrepreneurs and small business owners with  valuable, actionable info on how to recognize, report and stop fraud.

During this free webinar, participants will learn about the types of fraud specifically targeting small businesses

  1. Credit card fraud
  2. Directory fraud
  3. Health and safety*
  4. And more!

This webinar will also cover the steps you need to take when you see fraud and what you can do as a small business owner if you are a victim of fraud.

Register for CFIB’s free webinar today. Space is limited.

Preventing Fraud in Your Small Business
March 8th, 1pm EST

Apprenez à reconnaître et prévenir la fraude dans votre entreprise
March 9th, 1pm EST

Preventing Fraud in Your Small Business
March 10th, 1pm EST

*Yes there is fraudulent activity surrounding health and safety. If you don’t know, take the webinar!