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August 2009 - Issue 87
The Business Link
Issue Sponsor
Community Futures

Growing communities
one idea at a time


Community Futures

For over 20 years, Alberta's 27 Community Futures offices have nurtured rural diversification by working with communities, entrepreneurs and businesses that want to grow and evolve. Our goal is to help build communities that have long-term sustainability, resiliency in the face of change, and a broad economic base with a variety of types of businesses and jobs.

Our Rural Diversification Initiative (RDI) provides funds for Community Futures organizations to work in partnership with community leaders and the private sector on rural diversification projects that provide measurable economic benefits to rural communities and/or industries. Any organization interested in making an application for RDI funding must do so through their local Community Futures organization. Go to www.ruraldiversification.com for more details.

Community Futures also offers new and improved financing options designed to help clients start, expand, relocate or buy a business in a rural community. These include short-term loans, flexible lines of credit, and special loans for young entrepreneurs and persons with a disability wanting to start a business. Applying is fast and easy, and loans are flexible and affordable. For more information, go to www.roadahead.biz

To complement our loans program, and to help ensure that clients have the best possible chance of success, we provide a range of business counselling services. CF organizations may offer group workshops and one-on-one sessions on topics such as writing a business plan, market research, strategic planning and financial projections, and many CF offices connect clients with mentors from the local business community.

To find the CF office nearest you, go to http://cfna.ca/cfna/public/
find_cf.ph

Road to Success

Service for Newcomers to Canada

FPR International was registered in Alberta in January 2006. The owner, Alla Ternikova, came with her husband and two small children to Canada from the Soviet Union 20 years ago.

In the early years she was busy caring for her family while her husband, a highly skilled carpenter, started his successful business in building kiosks for malls.

With the children grown and more time available to her, Alla decided to start a business. Where to begin?

Wisely, she decided to get assistance from people who knew how to start and operate a business. While studying at Microbusiness Training Center, she was introduced to The Business Link where she found Business Officers and Library Staff helpful and encouraging. She spent many days in the library doing research and preparing her business plan along with attending seminars.

Her original idea was to start a business assisting newcomers to Canada connect with the many services available to them. However, she was advised that she would not be able to make a living from such an enterprise.

So, Alla began with a temporary employment agency. She developed a large network of contacts with employers and the social agencies that she had learned about as a newcomer to Canada herself.

Increasingly she received phone calls from people planning to move to Canada. She started to specialize in services for them, providing contacts for basic and social needs along with job leads, employer contacts and assistance with resumes. With the introduction of the Temporary Foreign Workers program, Alla's business became very active.

One success story she likes to relate is that of a gentleman from Toronto who was looking for a job as a Class 3 driver. After he arrived in Alberta, Alla discovered that he was an expert in martial arts and had been one of the leading trainers for a Soviet Union Martial Arts Olympic team.

She rewrote his resume and took him to meet the owner of a martial arts school. There he signed a long-term contract to train the trainers at the school-his dream come true.

Alla recommends that entrepreneurs keep an open mind and look for business opportunities.

Recently, she successfully introduced Alberta to a large-scale international import-export entrepreneur and convinced him of the advantages of working with small and medium-sized enterprises in Alberta. As a result, her company has expanded to include an import-export business.

Alla believes Alberta provides the best opportunities for business success and a good life.

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Resource Feature

Sports and Recreation: For Fun and Profit

All year round, many people participate in a wide variety of sports and other forms of personal recreation. This creates a big market for products and services--softballs to snowshoes, golf lessons to gliders; folks need what it takes to have fun and keep fit.

Do you need to do business research in the sport and recreation industry sector? In addition to information found in libraries such as The Business Link Library and the Alberta Government Library at Commerce Place, there are statistics, industry reports, trade publications, and links to relevant industry associations and government departments to be found online. Here are useful sources for Canadian sport and recreation information:

Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Recreation and Sport page:

Here, you'll find the Alberta Recreation Survey (2008) (Information for all of Alberta, Edmonton, and Calgary)

Directory of Alberta associations for sport and recreation, organized by type of activity. Other information: programs and grants for sport/recreation programs, facilities, athletes, coaches.

Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute:
Periodic reports with statistics are available in the Physical Activity Monitor and Sport Monitor.

Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) is located in Ottawa and has the world's largest database for sport and recreation information.
Description of information and services available:
Membership access is free for 24 hour introduction; $25 monthly.

Sport Canada (part of Department of Canadian Heritage):
List of Canadian sport organizations, by type of sport or activity; provincial government departments for sport and recreation; Canadian Sport Centres; federal government funding for sport; major sport events in Canada.

Industry Canada provides a free online directory of some Canadian businesses in the recreation and sport sector, not including amusement parks.

Lifestyle Information Network database:
Choose from right-hand list of Topics: Sports & Activities; select sport from list. Or select Recreation & Leisure for topic. And/or choose a Population Group from left-hand list. Click Search at bottom (page may be slow). See also: Links section.

"Contact Your Audience"

How would your organization, association or industry like to reach over 11,000 subscribers within Alberta and beyond through an upcoming Issue of E-News! from The Business Link?

This and other unique opportunities exist for your organization to be showcased within a number of The Business Link's associated products and services, providing you with valuable profile within Alberta's small business community.

To explore the options available for a strategic relationship with The Business Link, please contact Jim Ewing, Business Development Officer at 780 422-7768 or email Jim.Ewing@canadabusiness.
ab.ca
.


Cliquez ici pour accéder, ou vous abonner à ce bulletin électronique en français.

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Latest from the Link


Exciting Fall Seminar and Brown Bag Season

With more events planned this year than ever for our Fall season, we invite you to participate in training that will assist you in starting and operating your business.

In collaboration with novaNAIT, our Innovation series will continue. Topics covered include evaluating the commercial potential of an idea, business valuation and the contribution business incubators can make to fledgling enterprises.

New is the Immigrant Entrepreneur Series for newcomers to Canada. This series has been developed with the support of Alberta Employment and Immigration.

Another new topic is Diversity Training with two sessions--the first for employers of immigrant employees and the second for service providers with immigrant entrepreneur clients.

In addition to these topics, new information sessions are scheduled for International Trade and Aboriginal Business training.

For our agri-business clients, we continue with the Agriculture Info Series offered in conjunction with Alberta Agriculture.

We invite you to join us for these "quick-to-learn, quick-to-use" business training sessions.


Volunteer Opportunity

If you are a business professional and are interested in volunteering a couple of hours per season in our Edmonton or Calgary office locations, we may have an opportunity for you! Immediate openings are available in our Guest Advisor Program for accounting and legal professionals, particularly in our Calgary office.

PLUS - if you are comfortable communicating in languages other than English and/or French, we also have openings for a wide variety of business professionals willing to assist immigrants interested in starting a business in Canada.

Please contact: Jim Ewing, 780 422-7768 or Nilofer Saadat, 780 422-7776 in Edmonton or Katarina Vasiljevic-Galic in Calgary at 403-221-7810.



Our exciting new line-up of Seminars and Brown Bag Presentations for this Fall begins on September 1.  We have included the first week of events for September in this August issue of E-News so you can plan ahead to include a session in your schedule.


Events at The Business Link
Date Time Topic Cost VC

Sept. 1

noon to 1 p.m.

Importing Documentation and Procedures

FREE VC Logo
Sept. 2 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Starting Your Business $35.00 VC Logo
Sept. 3 noon to 1 p.m Researching Global Markets FREE VC Logo
Sept. 3 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Record Keeping and Accounting for Small Business $35.00

VC Logo


VC Logo Video-Conferenced Event

To see the entire schedule, click here.

All sessions are held at The Business Link in Edmonton and Calgary unless otherwise noted. However, through the Entrepreneurship Learning Centre (ELC) Network, many of these sessions will be available across Alberta via video conferencing. Visit www.elcnetwork.ca to find a participating site near you.

Pre-registration for seminars is required, and payment must be made in advance in order to secure registration.

If you are interested in attending a session via video conference at a location other than The Business Link in Edmonton or Calgary, please call that location prior to the session to check availability and to register.

 

August Networking Event

The Business Link's Monthly Networking Event will be held in Edmonton and Calgary on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Meet prospective clients and trade business cards and information with other entrepreneurs.

To join us for this event, you can drop into either office.

Calgary:
250-639 5 Avenue SW
Edmonton:
100-10237 104 Street NW

For more information about this FREE event, contact Jean-Jacques Mitakaro in Edmonton at jean-jacques.mitakaro@canadabusiness.ab.ca or Alvaro Carvajal in Calgary at alvaro.carvajal@canadabusiness.ab.ca.



Around Alberta

Explore Local Food and Farms This Season!

16th Annual Fresh Air Market
August 2, 2009
Dunvegan Provincial Park
For information call 780 835-7150 or email historic.dunvegan@gov.ab.ca

Brunch at the Beach
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Visitors will enjoy local foods while taking in the calming scenery at Gull Lake. For tickets and more information, please contact Catherine Ward at 403 755-6935

Buffalo Adventures
August 10-15, 2009
Buffalo Adventures is running all summer (May thru August, 2009). While the availability of individual adventures may vary, the majority of adventures will be available on the above prime weeks. For more information, please visit http://www.buffaloalberta.ca

Country Drive
Summer Time Country Drive - August 1-2, 2009
Harvest Country Drive - October 10-11, 2009
For more information, please visit: www.countrydrive.ca

Dames on the Range
Partnership Learning and Enrichment Tour - August 9-13, 2009
backcountry overnight 3 - 4 day tour
For more information, please visit: www.damesontherange.com

Dine Kalyna
August 6, 2009
Vegreville Social Centre
For more information, please visit: http://www.kalynacountry.com/Dine-Kalyna

Donald Cooper Boot Camp
September 21, 2009
Grande Prairie, AB
Management guru Donald Cooper will lead the process to help you create greater focus and commitment across your organization. The process requires integrity, self-awareness, the courage to face reality, the optimism to see an extraordinary future and the commitment to create that future.
For information contact Tatiana.catana@gov.ab.ca

Flavours of the Foothills
Flavours Harvest Festival - August 22, 2009
Visit: flavoursofthefoothills.com

Get Outta Town Bus Tours!
To receive updated information as it becomes available, send a message to info@galtmuseum.com, or call 1 877 320-3898 ext. 1 expressing your interest!

Intellectual Property Services Workshop
Each month intellectual property lawyer, Doug Thompson, will be in Grande Prairie to answer your intellectual property questions. For further information and the next available appointment date contact Jenn Vos at the CRI, 1 780 539-2807.

Rural Rendezvous:
Summer Rendezvous - August 16, 2009
Visit: ruralrendezvoustour.com


Aboriginal Business Circle

 

What's the Right Business for You?

Thinking of starting a business? Not sure what the right business for you may be? Aboriginal Business Development Services (ABDS) has the resources and information to help you determine the right business fit.

In deciding what business to start, it is important to do your homework. Start by making a list of your knowledge and experience. Many successful businesses owe their success to entrepreneurs who know the business before they start. Doing something you are passionate about and know well will increase your chance for success.

Current trends may also play a factor in identifying a viable business venture. One of the fastest growing industries in Alberta is Aboriginal tourism. The industry is expected to generate a forecasted 1.9 billion for the Canadian economy by the year 2010. Aboriginal tourism provides products and services that reflect the traditions and values of Aboriginal people. Operations range from a community cultural centre to an individual start-up, such as an artist or storyteller.

Whether you set your sights on operating a tourism business or a business in another industry sector, make ABDS your first stop. Find out how we can help you start or grow your business by calling us at 1 800 272-9675. Be sure to join us at noon on Thursday, September 17 for the free Brown Bag presentation "Aboriginal Business Development Services and You" available throughout the province via video-conferencing.



Business Feature

Rural eOnline Social Networking and Your Agri-Business

Online social networking is here to stay but does the buzz around blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other online communities really matter to your agri-business? Absolutely.

This modern marketing tool is all about making connections and using the power of the Internet to launch, sell, improve and profile your product or service. Whether you are a vendor at an Alberta Approved Farmers' Market, an ag-tourism operator, food processor, organic beef producer or greenhouse grower the vast world of social networking can be a powerful marketing tool for your agri-business.

Online social networking offers a convenient way to exchange information with countless numbers of current and potential customers. This may be why it is one the most popular marketing tools for small businesses, that, and it is free!

If you are thinking about harnessing the power of social networking for your agri-business here a few tips to help you get started:

1. Start with one site. Explore various social networking sites and choose one that will best reach your target customers. Find out who's talking to whom!

2. Prepare your site before you promote it. You only get one chance to make a first impression so make sure that your site is informative, timely and visually appealing. Take pride in your virtual business appearance!

3. Invite current customers to join your site. Send virtual invites to your current customers and encourage them to invite their friends. The 'domino effect' will take care of the rest!

4. Update your site regularly. Give your customers something new to discover such as product specials, photos, recipes and links. Keep them coming back for more!

5. Use your site to test the water. Post new business ideas on your discussion board and get instant feedback. Back to the drawing board or off to the races!

There is a huge opportunity for agri-businesses to get connected and farm the online community. To learn more about online social networking and your agri-business call 310-FARM (3276) and ask for a New Venture Specialist.

Be sure to check out The Business Link's Agriculture Info Series Brown Bag presentations; this series and this article are brought to you by Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Agri


Business Feature

Small Business Summer Survival

For entrepreneurs, the summer months are often times of mixed emotions. On one hand, reduced customer traffic allows time for business planning and organizing. On the other hand, it can be a time of worry and frustration if a small business owner chooses to take a vacation.

The dilemma is always "Who will run the business if I am away?" This is even truer for those self-employed, than those who have staff to call upon for assistance.

There are a number of things that you can do to prepare yourself for a vacation. The following points will assist you with the transition for while you are away:

- Find someone responsible to temporarily fill your role, take charge, and manage the business

- Inform your current clients that you will be away, for how long, and who they can contact in your absence

- Have proper workplace training in place

- Anticipate and communicate any potential problems that may occur when you are away

- Collect from overdue accounts and pay any invoices that may be due

- Ensure your operations are stream-lined and simplified

Taking time off during the summer is an important aspect of leading a healthy and balanced life. In particular it helps prevent burn-out, revitalizes your mind and body, and gives you a chance to reconnect with yourself and others. By following the above steps, you can ensure that you enjoy the vacation you deserve!




Post-Recession Consumer

Perhaps it's too early to say it, but the Alberta small business owner may want to look at how Albertans will spend income when the recession breaks.

Some economic forecasts are showing that by mid 2010, the Alberta economy will be coming back. One sign is the resumption of some large projects.

Will your customers be cautious about spending for your service or product? A recent survey by Boston Consulting Group forecasts that, post-recession, almost 75% of Canadian consumers will buy products on sale and will postpone major purchases that can be put off.

Thrifty consumers will be seen more often, whereas, there will be fewer free spenders.

Expert marketers say segmentation studies are the best way to determine how to market to your consumers. This segmentation can be done by location, industry, type of business or lifestyle.

Retailers wanting to express "feeling their pain" to customers may better reflect it in marketing literature than in cutting prices which can adversely affect cash flow and profit margins. The marketing message should be that thrift is a lifestyle choice rather than the result of economic reality.

As to the recession itself, according to Mr. Drummond, TD Bank economist, the current recession is one that is commodity-price based. The Conference Board of Canada's Pedro Artunes agrees. They think that once commodities are on an upswing the Canadian and, thereby, Albertan economies will improve.

Alberta small business owners will need to ride out this current economic situation knowing customers may not be in contact as frequently as they were. But, an important key to keeping your business afloat and the best way to gauge customer behaviour is to keep in touch with them. Make the experiences you do have with your customers as pleasant and rewarding as possible.

For more market research statistics and forecasts, contact The Business Link Library at 1 800 272-9675.


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