October is Small Business Month

By Diana Gray

As the summer slips into the fall season and the children are getting settled into their back-to- school routines, it is now time to turn your full focus back to business.  It is perfect timing as October is considered to be Small Business Month across Canada. You will find several events, workshops and seminars being conducted around town. This can be a great help to generate new ideas, contacts, tips, and resources.

October is also a perfect time to pull out your business plan, and to review your progress to see if you are on target. Perhaps some tips gained from attending a few of the small business events will help you to move your plan forward in connecting you with the right people and information. Following are a few useful resources for home-based and small business owners.

Federal Government – Services for Entrepreneurs

The federal government has a range of services, products, educational information and resources to assist Canadian small business. Check out their website at: www.canadabusiness.ca.

Federal Government –Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Small Business Week

The third week of October (October 16-22) is designated as small business week by the federal government and BDC.  There are educational events, seminars, and other activities to stimulate and foster entrepreneurial activities. Check out the following websites to find out upcoming events in your area that could be of interest to you – www.bdc.ca.

Small Business  B.C.

If you are new business owner and you have not visited the small business centre at 601 Cordova Street, this can be time well spent.  The Centre is a collaborative initiative of the B.C. Government and Western Economic Diversification Canada. There is an extensive library of reference books and other resources specifically geared to small business owners covering a wide variety of small business sectors. There are also ongoing seminars on various topics. In addition, the Centre is staffed by consultants who can assist in identifying resources and government assistance programs specific to your needs.  Website: www.smallbusinessbc.ca.

B.C. Government Resource Centre

The B.C. Government has a website with resources, and online interactive business plans. Website: www.resourcecentre.gov.bc.ca.

Business in Vancouver newspaper

This weekly publication provides business news and articles on trends and potential opportunities, profiles of business owners that can be inspiring and generate ideas.  BIV hosts breakfast meetings with local experts discussing a range of topics.  There is also a datebook of upcoming events, conferences, and tradeshows. Check out the website at: www.biv.com.

Canadian Enterprise Institute

This organization provides educational resources for small business exclusively through its website of free online articles, checklists, quizzes, and other helpful links of information – www.smallbiz.ca.

Networking opportunities

Running a home-based business has many advantages. However, a common disadvantage is the feeling of isolation. Working alone, without the interaction with others can cause you to lose motivation and focus. To counter this, you may decide to join a networking group that gets together weekly or monthly.  Meeting other entrepreneurs with different types of businesses can provide the stimulus of ideas that you may be missing.

For example, one organization is Small Office Home office – www.soho.ca. Another one is the Association of Women Business Owners – www.wbo.ca. To locate various business networking organizations, go to www.businesspartnerships.ca. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce is a productive way of networking, meeting other business owners, and attending educational seminars from experts. To find a chamber near you, go to www.bcchamber.org. Also consider getting involved with your local Business Improvement Area (BIA) Association and give input on efforts to enhance the opportunities in your business area, such as the Collingwood BIA. Check out their website: www.shopcollingwood.ca.

You will find there are many ways to be connected, informed, stimulated, and inspired by creative ideas, along with being energized by the enthusiasm of fellow business owners.  Now is the time for your Fall kick-start to greater knowledge, new contacts and potential opportunities!