Tag Archives: small business

Celebrating My 100th Post: Who Would Have Ever Thought…

I am excited to announce that today marks my 100th blog post on this website. As I look back overCluster of colourful fireworks the past year and a half since I started this blog (and my own business), many exciting things have happened. It truly is amazing to see how my small business has evolved as a concept and through relationships with new and existing customers. And I have so much more to look forward to in the future – all because I simply started a blog.

Because today is such a momentous occasion, I think it’s necessary to look back on what has been accomplished since my first post. Without trying to sound like I’m to0ting my own horn, here are the top five things that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by and am proud of having experienced since my very first blog post.

1. Meeting and connecting with amazing people in the Canadian digital media industry who share the same passion and drive for entrepreneurship and a better digital world. Again, I don’t want to brag but Canada has a remarkably close-knit community of startups, freelancers and consultants who all want to see our nation become a global leader in the digital economy.

2. Either discovering or being discovered by new customers who also share the same interests as I do and using my blog and their blogging platforms to share that enthusiasm and knowledge.

3. Being inspired to go back to school to get a Certificate in Freelance Writing at U of T to continue my new-found passion for writing and discussing digital media trends and key issues that shape my world.

4. Working with creative and intelligent Canadian startups, small businesses and small business supporters in the digital space who seek to tear down walls/barriers and replace them with their own unique solutions.

5. Continuously being pleasantly surprised that where I initially thought I’d be at this point in the game is much different from where I thought I’d end up. However, I am ecstatic and optimistic that where I am is exactly where I should be.

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog and for your encouragement via e-mail, Twitter/LinkedIn and in-person comments. I appreciate your support and will continue to share my thoughts, tips and ideas with you on this platform.

 

Image source: iStockPhoto.com

Four Elements of a Good Brand Story

In his presentation at the Small Business Summit in Toronto this week, Tony Chapman, CEO of Toronto creative agency Capital C outlined the four elements ofTypewriter spelling the words "Once upon a time" telling a really great brand story.

These elements include:

1. Framing your story. It’s important to help your audience identify your brand/business as “the ones who…” Your story should make it easy for customers to understand who you are and what you do.

2. Problems solved. Your story should help the audience to understand what consumer or business problems your product helps to solve.

3. Characters. Your should have clear characters which help to tell the story. This can be a spokesperson from your company (think Galen Weston in the Loblaws commercials), or fictional – like the Mac versus PC characters in the Apple commercials.

4. Plot. This is essential to making your story relatable. Chapman showed a video clip from Mad Men, where Don Draper introduced his agency’s brand concept for a new Kodak product. See the video via this link (the network has disabled embedding on YouTube). Notice that Draper makes a grown man cry – that’s when you know you’ve humanized your story!

 

Small business co-working spaces abound in Toronto

Last week, I tried out ING DIRECT Cafe’s new Network Orange co-working space in Toronto. What’s great about the space is that small businesses can drop-in for just $20.00 per day. To be a member, all you have to do is fill out an application form and explain how your business can collaborate with and give back to the other small businesses who use the space.

Network Orange has everything that a small business would need including: meeting rooms, work benches, a reception, free wifi and coffee, access to printers and much more. You can also book their event space for free. However, I’ve heard that you have to schedule it far in advance, as it’s becoming a pretty popular venue for startups.

What’s interesting is that Network Orange seems to have a partnership with AutoShare - a Toronto car sharing service (like Zip Car). Clearly, ING is also attracting advertising/promotional dollars from businesses who want to cater to startups. Great idea!

Th ING Café concept is very similar to what I described in a blog post about how coffee shops can capitalize on the small business market about a year ago. The trend is definitely catching on!

In the past few months, I’ve heard about two other new co-working spaces opening up to serve the Toronto technology startup community:

  • [IN]Cubes: a new incubator launching in November. You can read more about this space on my blog on Techvibes from last month.
  • MaRS Commons: MaRS announced this week that they have created a new space for 50 of their Information technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) practice startups. However, other startups and entrepreneurs can apply to collaborate with these businesses and become mentors. You can read more about it on their newly launched website.
There is obviously a growing need for these services. Have you heard of any other new co-working spaces that have launched in Toronto in the past few months? If so, please share a link in the comments section below.