Posted by: WPL | 2015/08/13

Appointment (not always) required!

We get a lot of referrals from some of our great area partners, and people often call to ask about appointments for business help. And that’s great – we’re here to help. However, the good news is that you don’t always need an appointment. We work on an appointment basis when clients need to access our PCensus product – PCensus is a little more involved, and we’ve found that it works best when we’re able to sit down and have a good face-to-face conversation, although people are welcome to have a go independently if they wish. For everything else, though – no appointment required! That includes our Reference Group and Scott’s business listing databases, although please note that you need to be in the library to use Scott’s, and a staff member has to sign you in – sorry, those are the terms of our Scott’s subscription. And if you need demographic data, don’t forget that Statistics Canada has plenty of stuff available on their website. You can find basic demographics through Census Profiles and further info (income, education, etc.) through the National Household Survey.

Please note that PCensus appointments will be unavailable until after Labour Day. This blog will also be quiet(er) as well. See you in the fall!

Posted by: WPL | 2015/08/07

Remember the fax machine?

Picture of a fax machine.If you were in business in the 90s and early part of the oughts (early 2000s), you probably remember the fax machine. As a matter of fact, if you worked in an office during that time, you probably remember the fax machine. Technological advances like scanners (not to mention email, texting, Facebook, Twitter – in fact, the internet in general) have made the fax machine pretty much obsolete.

However, they’re still around. And sometimes you can’t avoid them – maybe a client or other contact insists that you fax them a document instead. And some people consider them more secure than email, although that’s probably not the case. We get patrons who ask that very question – we offer the scanning option, but they either have been told to fax or simply don’t have an email address to use.

What to do? Fortunately, there are options. You can scan a document (we have scanners at the Central Library if you need them) and fax it online. There are services that will enable you to enter an actual phone number, upload your document and fax it to a fax number.

What does it cost? It depends, as different sites have different terms, but generally you can fax a few pages for free, and you can do that a limited number of times. The service we’ve used (not allowed to advertise) will let you fax three pages (plus a cover). And you can send five of these short faxes per day for free. They do brand the cover page. Or, you can pay for the service ($1.99 in our example) and get a couple of dozen pages without branding. Some services also have subscription options.

The process is fairly easy. The service we’ve used (and tested by sending a fax to the library fax machine) has you upload the scanned pages, type information for a cover page and enter the sender / receiver information. You’ll need to include your own email address, as they send you an email with a confirmation link.

From the other end of the equation, receiving faxes is trickier. There you may have to use a paid service or check out a local business centre. But if you only occasionally have to send out a fax, online fax services are good options.

Just Google “online fax” and you’ll see some options. How to Geek did a write-up a few years ago as well. Happy faxing!

Posted by: WPL | 2015/07/24

Lead a workshop!

Durham Business Summit 2015 logo.The Business Summit returns October 21! And the Whitby Chamber is looking for expertise from members of the local business community. The workshops for this year will focus on talent, marketing and financial management. If you’re interested in being a presenter (or know someone who is) on any of these topics, you can submit a workshop proposal. Deadline for submissions is July 31.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/07/21

Did you know….

Graphic of Durham College's corporate training logo.…that Durham College offers neat training services for your business? Durham’s Corporate Training Services can design and deliver training solutions tailored to the specific needs of your business. Some of their courses are more technical – truck driving, heavy equipment operator and health & safety. Others are specific to business – computer, business performance improvement, management, lean manufacturing and more. All are customized to your business and are available either in-class or through e-learning.

Drop them a line if any of these programs (or their others) sound interesting.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/06/29

New biz books

Picture of four business book covers. We have new stuff coming in all of the time. Here’s a sample of our newest business book arrivals: #Girlboss is a business memoir with a twist. Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso went from dumpster diving to boss of her own vintage clothing company. Here she tells her story, with plenty of advice for new entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship for the Rest of Us looks at best practices of successful entrepreneurs and encourages businesspeople, whether they’re in a start-up or part of a large organization, to think like entrepreneurs. In Return on Character, Fred Kiel researched the idea that character and leadership excellence has an impact on the bottom line. His conclusion? More character = better results. Fredrick Eklund, star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York, penned The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone. He takes a broad perspective, talking about using preparation, persuasion, negotiation and selling (obviously) to get ahead in life, business and otherwise. These are all pretty popular at the moment, so reserve now! And enjoy!

Posted by: WPL | 2015/06/11

The Business Summit is back!

Durham Business Summit 2015 logo.Last year’s Durham Business Summit was the first of many. The idea was to bring an electrifying speaker, informative sessions, a chance to network and a showcase for Durham Region businesses together for an “impactful day to learn, lead and succeed.” It was a terrific day and proved to be exactly that.

The Durham Business Summit is back for 2015, bigger and better. Everything takes place on Wednesday, October 21 at the beautiful Deer Creek Golf & Country Club in Ajax. The keynote speaker is the inspiring Michael “Pinball” Clemons. And again, there will be an interactive panel of local business leaders and entrepreneurs, working sessions, and a trade show featuring more than 30 exhibits.

Early bird tickets are available now, so start planning your day. And watch this space, the DRBS website and the DRBS Twitter feed for updates.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/05/28

Durham Region Business Count

Region Business CountNot so long ago, we wrote about Durham Region’s health neighbourhoods and the cool demographic data that they offer. Like the commercials say, “but wait, there’s more!” The Region has also released data on Durham’s business community. Every summer, Regional staff hit every business in Durham and gather basic info about it – type of business, number of employees, etc. They then aggregate* all of the information into the Region of Durham Business Count, highlights of which are available on the Region’s website.

And what do those highlights tell us? There are over 11,000 businesses in the Region. These businesses bring with them 170,000 jobs, of which 114,000 are full-time. Not surprisingly, retail is the leading sector for jobs at 21%, followed by health at 14% and 9% in each of the food & accommodation and education sectors. While small business has a great reputation for providing jobs, 250 businesses with 100+ employees are the largest employers in the Region. And all of this data is broken down in turn by individual municipality. Maps also show where businesses are concentrated.

This information provides a neat overview of the business community in Durham, as well as its importance to the local economy. And don’t forget, you can create customized lists of competitors and potential partners in Durham or anywhere in Canada by using our Reference Group database, which is searchable by name, type of business, number of employees and much more.

* – Putting all of the information together means that no one’s privacy is compromised, as the highlights don’t include info on individual businesses.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/05/19

Sad News…

Ontario Self Employment Program Durham logo.We received some unfortunate news last week. The Province of Ontario is ending the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit (OSEB) program. Students currently enrolled and those accepted into the final intake (deadline last Friday the 15th) will finish the program, but that’s it.

We’ve had a great relationship with Essential Communications, which provides OSEB here in Durham. They’re located just down the street from the Central Library, so many an OSEB applicant or student has come in looking for information via PCensus or our other resources. More recently, we’ve had the pleasure of talking to prospective clients through a brief presentation on library resources…we really appreciate the opportunity and hope that the OSEB students who dropped in found our services helpful.

We’re still here to help any and all entrepreneurs who ask, as are the great people at Business Advisory Centre Durham and other Small Business Enterprise Centres throughout Ontario.

Thanks for everything, OSEB. We’re sure many Durham entrepreneurs feel the same.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/04/28

Demographics everywhere!

ICXThere’s PCensus, Statistics Canada, Environics’ PRIZM5…and now ICX. ICX is the commercial real estate version of the MLS listings service. When you’re looking at a house, MLS gives you all of the usual (and important) details about the building and property. There’s also a demographics tab that tells you about the neighbourhood – ages, education, projected population, income, children, etc.

ICX provides the same demographic information essential for buying a business. ICX business listings give you about the same demographic information as MLS, plus added data on the daytime population, number of businesses in the area and retail sales. Obviously you’d want to look at this for a business listing that you’re interested in pursuing, but even if you’re just looking in the area generally, you can find useful data quickly and easily. The daytime population is a particularly useful figure, as we don’t have access to that data elsewhere. Daytime population refers to the number of people who are working in the area – for example, Bay Street business district in Toronto doesn’t necessarily have a high population of people living there full-time, but it has a high daytime population of workers and shoppers. These people live elsewhere, but still spend lots of time (and probably money) in the area. Good data to have.

Remember ICX next time you need demographics for an area. It’s free and easy to access, and is worth a look.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/04/16

Business Bestsellers

Wondering what the hot books are in the business world? Here are a couple of places to check:

Whatever you find and wherever you find it, check to see if we have it! There’s an excellent chance that we do – we have eight out of ten books from the current NY Times list. The two that we don’t have refer more specifically to the American real estate market and US health care. But if you would like to read something that we don’t have, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

Happy business reading!

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