Q: Jill, I’m currently looking to round off my volunteer hours necessary for a non-profit fundraising course I’m taking and I was wondering if you knew of any arts, film, or music festivals coming up that might be looking for volunteers, something preferably happening this month or so.
A: There’s too much! In this city there is always something on the go. Check out www.charityvillage.ca and www.toronto.com as a starter. On Friday, March 28, is the annual Mpenzi Black Women’s International Film & Video Festival. Not only do they recruit year round volunteers but they’ve also got mentorship opportunities, too (www.mpenzi.ca). Also, Cinematheque Ontario (www.cinemathequeontario.ca) is presented by the Toronto International Film Festival Group. You can volunteer while enjoying retrospectives on the history of cinema across the globe. Good luck. I suspect that once you really start researching you won’t need any help filling those hours!
Q: Jill, I was recently packaged out of my job but I feel too young to retire. I have always wanted to try my hand at entrepreneurship but I’m afraid of the costly mistakes of first-time business owners. Can you suggest an alternative to “going it alone” where I can still feel the sense of entrepreneurial independence being my own boss? Investing a sizable chunk of my savings into something already profit proven might be a real possibility for me. Thanks Jill.
A: Erin, you are right. There can be many pitfalls associated with new businesses, especially within the first three to six years. However, that can’t take away from the amazing feeling of achievement when you’ve got a business that has not only survived but actually thrives against the odds! You know, outside of a sole proprietorship you could also consider a franchise, too. Franchise and partner models can provide you with the same rush of independence but with a tighter net of resources and support from the get-go. You should visit the Canadian Franchise Association at www.cfa.ca for some information on the benefits of franchising and on various CFA members like PostNet that have franchise opportunities. Postnet.ca was recently named Canada Post’s authorized business centre and with more than 900 franchises with a reported goal of some 1,500 in the next few years I think it’s definitely worth checking out. The key with a franchise is to select something that already has a proven record and a strong consumer base. Let’s face it, one-stop business services, shipping, copying, graphics design, etc., will never go out of business and neither would you! Visit www.PostNet.ca to learn more.
jill’s tip of the week
As a small business owner there are many marketing strategies you can try that won’t break the bank. Word of mouth marketing is a great way to get your target consumers working to help you build your business brand through their everyday conversations with others! Your business deserves recognition regardless of your budget! Visit www.onqcommunications.cato learn more about marketing tools for your small biz.
JILL ANDREW FOR METRO TORONTO