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A worker collects items to pack into boxes at Amazon's logistics centre in Graben near Augsburg December 17, 2012. (MICHAEL DALDER/REUTERS)
A worker collects items to pack into boxes at Amazon's logistics centre in Graben near Augsburg December 17, 2012. (MICHAEL DALDER/REUTERS)

Small Business Briefing

Self-published author bucks Amazon's system Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz.

This isn’t science fiction

Matthew Mather is the author of a chart-topping Amazon book called The Atopia Chronicles, which sold 40,000 copies in eight weeks. Unless you’re a huge science fiction fan, chances are you’ve never heard of him. But as VentureBeat reports, he followed a very strategic publishing and publicity model to achieve his success, and Mr. Mather shared his 11-step program with writer John Koetsier.

“If you start to become popular, you get into the recommendation system, and the system feeds itself,” the author explains.

His program, combined with a 14-hour day when the book launched, kept The Atopia Chronicles from getting buried in a landslide of other offerings. “I started at 3 a.m., sent out three to four press releases, ran through the whole marketing program in 14 hours, and by the next day I was No. 1 in science fiction.”

Mr. Mather adds pricing is also key. The cost has to be significantly lower than books from major publishers.

BDC Venture Capital supports Atlantic Canada

The Business Development Bank of Canada’s venture capital arm is contributing $10-million to the Atlantic Canada Regional Venture Fund to finance startups in IT, clean energy and health care, bringing total fundraising efforts to about $50-million. The process of finding investment candidates throughout the Atlantic Provinces has now begun. The fund is privately managed and it was jointly initiated by the governments of Nova Scotia, which has kicked in $15-million, and New Brunswick (another $15-million) in November, 2010. Prince Edward Island has contributed an additional $2.5-million, and Technology Venture Corp. added $5-million. Businesses chosen for investment will receive $1-million to $5-million for product development and commercialization. Entrepreneurs will also be offered training programs.

The naughty and nice list

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has come up with its eight best and eight worst developments affecting small business in 2012.

The top three on the best list are:

  • Red tape action by the federal, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick governments
  • Improved tax administration by the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Municipal accountability by the government of B.C., which appointed a municipal auditor general to oversee local government spending

The top three on the worst list are:

  • Plans by most provinces to raise CPP premiums. “Leadership to push back is needed by Ottawa,” the CFIB argues
  • Credit card fee hikes announced by Visa Canada in October
  • The Ontario government’s expansion of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to cover previously exempt employers in construction


Learn from accomplished female leaders

WXN celebrates Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 with a morning summit at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver. Connect with and learn from past and present Top 100 award winners through inspirational stories of how these accomplished female leaders have overcome obstacles to carve their place on the corporate ladder, accelerate business growth and reach their goals. Takes place Jan. 31, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Expand your professional network

The Toronto Entrepreneurs Conference, which takes place May 30 in Mississauga, Ont., is designed to provide entrepreneurs, whether budding or experienced, with the opportunity to expand their professional network, hear from experienced and successful entrepreneurs on tips and opportunities, and learn what it takes to become successful and thrive.


The story of the five CEOs

In 2001, when five friends left their full-time jobs and pooled their savings to launch the Indianapolis, Ind.-based company Bluefish Wireless Management, they made a bold decision: Instead of establishing the traditional hierarchy of one CEO, they would split the top job five ways. The unconventional structure has worked well, and the five launched a wireless mobility management platform, MOBI Wireless Management, in 2009. Here are some of the lessons they’ve learned to remain effective and resolve conflicts.


Divorce, business style

In the world of small business acquisitions, marriages of convenience – when the entrepreneur becomes the employee – rarely end in anything but divorce, says Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Pierre L. Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Richard Ivey School of Business of the University of Western Ontario.

“Probably finding ones that did work well would be more the exception than the rule,” Mr. Thornhill adds.Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com. Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzTOur free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you can sign up here. Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit ‘save changes.’ If you need to register for the site,click here.

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