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Yogurt finds its stride

Just as doughnuts take on cupcakes for ultimate baked goods supremacy, the same can be said for yogurt's battle with ice cream in the frozen treat sector.

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While chains like Yogen Früz and TCBY have been around since the 1980s, they've traditionally been found in shopping malls, movie theatres and other suburban destinations. The next generation of frozen yogurt shops, however, is geared towards the urban customer looking for new flavours, exotic toppings and – perhaps most importantly – self-serve options.

Robyn Urback of blogTO likens the phenomenon of customizing yogurt to the pleasure one derives from unsupervised access to the soda fountain machine, where, as a child (or still today, if you're me) you would mix all the flavours together and see what you get. Yes, deciding the perfect quantity and flavour of yogurt, coupled with selecting from a cornucopia of toppings from fresh fruit to gummy bears to Cap'N crunch, is a satisfying and delicious experience.

The popularity of this breed of yogurt shop is clear as companies like Yogurty's begin popping all over the Greater Toronto Area and U.S.-based PinkBerry and Menchie's continue to win over American customers searching for healthier alternatives. And the phenomenon is here to stay, according to Aaron Serruya, founder of Yogen Früz. In an article from The Financial Post, he says "the trend is not a fad."

The unquestionable strength of yogurt in the marketplace is evident with companies like Chobani, the maker of Greek-style yogurt, which is forecasting $1-billion in sales and also PepsiCo's announcement that it is getting into the business by partnering with  Müller. The fact that two new shops offering fresh – not frozen – yogurt just opened in New York is further evidence of the dairy product's popularity.

If you've ever considered opening a yogurt store but didn't know where to start, or wondered if they're profitable as a business, here's some advice from Open a Yogurt Store and eHow.

Make meetings work for you

We've all been to disorganized meetings we'd rather not attend. Here's some sound advice from Inc.com on the nine things to avoid when running a meeting. Some may surprise you.

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  1. You meet at a neutral site.
  2. You’re a slave to clock conventions.
  3. Your agenda includes information
  4. You allow people to “think out loud.”
  5. You’re penny polite and pound rude.
  6. You don’t establish accountability.
  7. You publish a lengthy recap.
  8. You follow up as the group.
  9. You meet to improve team cohesion.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Crowdfunding in Ontario

On Monday July 16, from 1 to 4:00 p.m., the Centre for Social Innovation, as a part of its ongoing policy work – is collaborating with Cdling to host Sherwood Neiss – one of the team that drove the crowdfunding legislation in the U.S. – to brief attendees on what they did, how they did it and what we might do to make it happen here in Ontario. Guests will also hear from local experts on where we are at in moving the crowdfunding agenda forward in Canada.

Social Mix

On July 26 in Toronto, join Gary Vaynerchuk and Amber Mac for this day-long event to help businesses better understand how to use social to drive result. The Social Mix conference aims to teach you what it means to engage, share, and build relationships; the importance of strategic online personal branding; and why 'one-on-one' relationship building with consumers is crucial to business success. For more click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

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Can a fair trade boutique expand without its alienating customers?

This week's case study features Salem's Ethiopia, a craft shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The company wants to ramp up production of its popular, hand-woven baskets but maintain an authentic experience for customers. Experts weigh in.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Buying a franchise? Seven things to consider

You can only make money by reducing expenses, says columnist Tony Wilson, so here's how t o get ahead of the game.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.comJoin The Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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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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