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(Jiri Kabele/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Jiri Kabele/Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Small business confidence holds steady Add to ...

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CFIB’s monthly index barely budges in December

Small business confidence held steady in December, found the latest business barometer index from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The monthly index had a reading of 62.6, barely moved from its 62.9 level in November.

“After a few months of swings, small business confidence ends the year very close to what it was in November,” said Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president, in the release about the index reading, which was based on responses from 889 randomly sampled CFIB members.

“While optimism is better than it was during the summer, the December reading is lower than index levels that were registered in the preceding winter, spring and fall months.”

Mr. Mallett said that entrepreneurs were generally positive about employment and capital investment plans. That, he said, “suggests growth could improve once we see more economic optimism in the U.S. and Europe.”

The strongest optimism came from small business owners in Newfoundland and Labrador. Those in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia were above the national average. Entrepreneurs in Ontario, and Manitoba were about equivalent, while those in Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island all fell below the average.

When the scale, which ranges from 0 to 100, has a reading above 50, it means more owners expect their small business to perform better in the next year than those who expect weaker performance; a reading of 65 to 70 is usually seen when the economy is growing at its potential, according to the CFIB.

Why you should save your New Year’s resolutions until August

At the start of a fresh year, there are all kinds of resolutions stories across the virtual airwaves, including this one from The Wall Street Journal on how to resolve to be a better boss, this one on Forbes of favoured entrepreneurs’ resolutions, this one on Lifehack for following through, and even this one by our own columnist Chris Griffiths on five resolutions every small business should make. But BloombergBusinessWeek offers up some research that shows now is not the right time to even make resolutions. Here’s why August might be better timing.

What’s in store for small business in 2013

As the year starts, what’s in store for small businesses over the next 12 months? There’s also no shortage of predictions, including this piece about the U.S. economy on Entrepreneur.com, this one on marketing forecasts on Inc. and this piece in Amex Open Forum, which offers up 13 predictions from someone who had an 80-per-cent success rate peering into the crystal ball last year.


How to build an enduring company

Want some inspiration on how to build a company that endures on “little capital but plenty of passion?” John Baker, founder, president and chief executive officer of Desire2Learn, will share insights, tools and tips at an event being hosted by MaRs Discovery District on Jan. 9 in Toronto. It’s part of the MaRs best practices series. For more information, click here.

Competitive sales tactics and strategies

From tactical pre-and post-selling tactics to practising a sales pitch, entrepreneurs who want to learn ways to boost sales might want to take in a two-day workshop being held by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development in Halifax on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9. For further details, click here.


Advice helps firm turn down time into productive time

For most of the past six years, Zone Marketing Group has been in overdrive for half of the year, but barely moving for the rest. Now, however, the company, is on the way to turning into an operation that is productive all year round. In a Challenge revisit, read how the company, the subject of a Challenge in October, 2011, has made use of the advice of the experts to turn its busy season even busier and geared up its traditionally down season.


Serial entrepreneurs: how to find the next great idea

If you’re all fired up at the start of the year, on the hunt from your next big business idea, it’s not likely to come from a bolt striking out of the blue, noted serial entrepreneur Reza Satchu. As his experience shows, finding that next big idea is simply about looking at things you experience every day from a customer's perspective, and thinking about how you can improve on that experience, he recounted in this article, published in November, 2011.

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/jWWdzT Our 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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