13 Business Books That Will Blow Your Mind

BY FC Expert Blogger Rich BrooksSun Aug 15, 2010

This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert’s views alone.

 

Having never taken a business class in college I find that I read and listen to a lot of business books to round out my education. The books usually aren’t “How to Manage Your Cash Flow” but rather get me to rethink the way I run my business, which–despite no business classes or diploma–continues to be in business 13 plus years after I started it.

In that time, here are 13 of the books that had the biggest impact on how I run my business (in no particular order):

order):

  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink: If you supervise anyone in your business, this book is a must read. It shows that what science knows about motivation, business isn’t putting into practice. In fact, many of the incentives we create can actually de-motivate our employees. If you create an incentive program that provides financial rewards for work that your employees already enjoy, expect the results to be negative. You’ve just destroyed their internal motivation. Also important (and well documented within the book) is that internally motivated people succeed more often than externally motivated people; they last longer and do better work. Think about that when you’re hiring your next employee.
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath: This is an essential read for anyone not in a managerial position. In fact, this is a book that targets people who can’t force others to change their way. With an easy-to-understand and implement model of the rider, the elephant and the path, the Heath brothers do it again by showing us how to motivate people who can’t be forced into action. There are great examples in the book from the world of commerce and non-profit work. If you have to deal with clients (and who doesn’t), this book shows you how you can influence them to behave in a desired way if you engage the “rider” (intellect), the “elephant” (id or emotion), and make the “path” as clear and easy to follow as possible.
  • Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith: There are plenty of social media books that are out-of-date before they even hit Amazon or your local book store, but Brogan & Smith avoid this trap by talking more about strategy than specific platforms…something that will continue to provide value as long as people are doing business with people, no matter what the medium is.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: Talk about timeless, there are few books that have the shelf-life (no pun intended) of Dale Carnegie’s classic. I mean, with all the recent talk about the importance of influence, I’m surprised this book isn’t quoted from more often. For years I avoided this book, thinking it was out-of-date and held little insight into the modern world. However, it’s the only book on this list I’ve read and listened to the audiobook (twice.) There’s not a business person in the world who wouldn’t be more successful by picking up How to Win Friends and Influence People.
  • Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin: This book literally changed my life and the way I do business. I didn’t really know who Seth Godin was (although I recognized his bald head) when I downloaded this book off Audible, but I still remember when I fired it up for the first time on my iPod as I mowed the lawn that day. My neighbors must have thought I was crazy with the number of times I slapped my forehead in a moment that was a mash up of “of course,” “how obvious”, and “why didn’t I realize that before.” It’s driven the way we market our own company and how we help other companies reach their audience.
  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presenting Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds: This is the book that I’ve read most recently, and I’m glad I did. I can’t remember which of the many business books I read referenced/recommended this book…I believe it was mentioned a couple of times. I received it while I was in the middle of giving the same presentation in a series of marketing lectures over 5 days. I promised myself I wouldn’t look at it until the series was over, because I was afraid it would cause me to change my presentation. Boy, was I right. I broke my own rule and ended up working in the hotel room until past 2 in the morning revamping my presentation as much as I could, and getting up a 6 the next morning to practice the new version. For anyone who has to present any information before a group and has been using PowerPoint or Keynote as a crutch, grab a copy of this book.
  • Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner: Okay, I’m cheating: these are two books. However, if you’ve read them, they’re both basically the same: they pull in different examples to show how people respond to incentives, but not always in the way we expect. These books work well with anything written by Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink or Chip & Dan Heath. However, as I read them, I was constantly making notes on what our company was offering to prospects and even current clients in the way of incentives (planned or otherwise), and whether they were having the intended results. I think the books are eye-opening in terms of forcing us to take a closer look at how our offerings affect our customers, vendors and employees.
  • The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas L. Friedman: This book had been given to me by a customer of mine and it sat on my shelf for over a year. It looked boring. It looked like it was geared towards big business. I don’t know what made me give in and take the plunge, but after the first chapter I was hooked. Friedman’s guide in India offers to do his taxes. Friedman gently rebuffs the man, explaining that he’s happy with his accountant back in the states. The guide says, “oh, then chances are I’m already doing your taxes.” Once you realizes that U.S. tax returns can be outsourced the world really does become flat. I finished the book that week.
  • Crush It! Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk: Vaynerchuk is a force of nature, and that comes through in this quick read book. Part inspirational, part autobiographical, you can see how in this new era there’s nothing holding you back from success except hard work and leveraging the tools that are at our disposal. Vaynerchuk shows you how to brand yourself no matter where your passion lies: how to create great content, how to distribute that content, and how to succeed. If you’re still struggling with how all this social media “stuff” can help you out, this is the book to pick up.
  • The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss: According to Ferriss, some of the themes in his book came from reading the World is Flat. There’s an excellent chapter on outsourcing, including a funny bit about a journalist who outsourced his love life (emails and flowers to the wife and such) to India, only to find out they did a better job of managing his relationships than he did. On a more serious note, although I never expect to be working just 4 hours a week, (what would I do with my time), there are great insights in how to fire bad clients, remove mind-numbing drudgery from your day, and free up your time for more creative work and/or play. Even if you only take a fraction of Ferriss’s advice (which is how I played it), you’ll find yourself in a better place.
  • Shogun by James Claville: I read once that in a survey of CEO’s favorite business books only one book was mentioned twice: this one. It’s a great read and it does show how leaders can influence/manipulate people to achieve goals.
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand: In this very influential and even more controversial book, Rand paints a dystopian alternate universe of a world where government regulation has crippled the country and the world. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say this book rewired my brain in college. Unfortunately, the epic story in this huge tome is somewhat hampered by mediocre writing skills and characters who could only be generously described as two-dimensional.
  • The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham: I wanted to have at least one book that was dedicated to small business and the entrepreneurial spirit. This last book was in a close race with Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big by Bo Burlingham. However, The Knack has some priceless stories and advice that can’t be overlooked. It’s a collection of advice and anecdotes on how to start, grow and possibly sell a business by someone who’s been there (and a co-author who helps write his columns.) A lot of these stories have been told before in Brodsky’s column for Inc. magazine, but if you haven’t read them all, this book does a great job of curating them and putting them together in an order that would help any small business owner grow their business.

The beauty of this list is that I get to leave off a whole bunch of mind-blowing business books that you can’t believe didn’t make the list. I’d love to hear what I forgot for my next trip to Amazon, Audible, or my local library. Please feel free to start all suggestions with “I can’t believe you left off…” Rich Brooks can be followed, engaged, and argued with on Twitter.

http://www.fastcompany.com/1681972/13-business-books-that-will-blow-your-mind

Buy? Sell? Should Canadians buy into real estate or not?

Carmi Levy, Yahoo Finance

It’s either the best of times to buy a house, or the worst of times. A conflicting sea of economic factors doesn’t help matters as on-the-fence Canadians try to decide whether to take the plunge into home ownership.

With prices rising, it may seem like an easy choice to lock in now. But with continued economic uncertainty due to the stagnating American recovery and its effect here, some Canadians are feeling skittish. Is it time to panic or is time currently on Canadians’ side?

“Some Canadian cities are experiencing price increases that seem out of step with consumer affordability,” says Gregory Smith, a partner in Novantas. “But I think it’s inaccurate to say the whole country is experiencing a housing bubble.”

On the plus side, interest rates remain at historic lows. Reduced unemployment — the national rate was down to 7.4 per cent in May — may encourage more Canadians into the market. And when they start looking, they’ll find that prices in most regions still haven’t recovered to their pre-recession highs.

Rising prices, though, are being driven by an influx of money, some of it from foreigners seeking relatively affordable real estate investments abroad. That means the clock is ticking before the window of opportunity closes; a situation that only fuels speculation and fears about waiting too long to buy.

But there’s a dark side that’s giving many Canadians pause before they pick up the phone and call a realtor. Those low-as-can-be interest rates have nowhere to go but up, and despite continued debate over precisely when they’ll begin their one-way trip in that direction, no one disagrees it’s only a matter of time.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney says rising rates coupled with record-high levels of household debt and recent moves by the federal government to tighten eligibility for mortgages will all dampen demand for real estate.

“There will be a large section of soon-to-be homeowners who will no longer qualify at higher borrowing costs,” says Smith. “That has a knock-on effect through the rest of the housing market and soon thereafter house prices flatten or decline. I believe that rather than a bubble bursting, we’ll experience a bubble stabilizing or deflating to a more reasonable, natural buoyancy.”

Jobs are another sobering factor. Slowly sinking unemployment rates in most regions of the country mask a more troubling reality: That many Canadians have simply given up looking for work. Even for those who have jobs, employment uncertainty breeds fear that may keep many out of the market.

“The fundamentals of the economy are driven by GDP growth, population growth and employment,” says Addy Saeed, a sales representative with Re/max Active Realty Inc. Brokerage in Toronto. “Canadians are unemployed at a higher rate, which is troubling. But GDP and population growth has been steady, which is bringing new money into the country.”

That new money comes with a cost to Canadians, says Aaron Best, a realtor and property manager with Coronet Realty Ltd. in Vancouver.

“When you have foreign speculators buying here just to ‘park’ money outside of their home country, it skews the market,” he says. “It’s no longer a level playing field.”

But does this mean we’re in a bubble? Likely not.

Michael Drouillard, author of ‘Landlording in Canada,’ cites historical pricing in B.C.’s lower mainland as an example. After prices there increased rapidly and dramatically between 2003 and 2008, the pattern shifted.

“If this were a classic bubble, prices would have rapidly declined afterwards, but they didn’t,” he says. “Prices have been stagnant for a few years and now it looks like they are slowly moving upwards once again.”

Drouillard says “all we need right now is something like an increase in interest rates and that could set us over the edge and cause a decline.”

Regional pricing trends play a significant role, too, but that still doesn’t mean Canada is riding the bubble.

“We feel it’s business as usual in the housing market,” says Terry Loney, sales representative with The Loney Group in London. “We don’t feel there’s a housing bubble due to the fact that the real estate market fluctuates differently in each region across Canada. Certain areas such as Vancouver and Toronto have a shortage of supply with high demand, while other cities have their own regional influences.”

Loney says as rates begin to rise, the market will start to slow down, with prices continuing their steady rise.

Some real estate professionals, like Shannon Murree, a sales representative with RE/MAX Chay Realty Inc, Brokerage in Barrie, say the long-term trajectory of the market is clear, and speculation over whether or not we’re in a bubble does little to change reality.

“So long as the population is growing and people are working, house prices will go up,” she says. “This is especially true in Canada with our conservative practices. And no other investment can offer the returns that real estate can.” http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Buy-Sell-Should-Canadians-buy-yahoofinanceca-1645894761.html

Up to 15 EU banks to fail stress test: sources

FRANKFURT/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Up to one in six European banks is set to fail an EU-wide financial health check, according to euro zone sources close to the stress-testing, as officials scramble to set up backstops for those at risk.

The result, which the European Central Bank (ECB) and others hope will persuade investors that the EU is finally coming clean about the extent of its banks’ problems, will put pressure on reluctant states to prop up lenders if they cannot raise money themselves.

Euro zone sources said the European Banking Authority is set to announce within weeks that between 10 and 15 of the 91 banks being scrutinized in the tests had failed, with casualties expected in Greece, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

The checks will provide the first picture of the health of the region’s banks since a previous round a year ago was deemed too lax. In that round, Ireland’s banks were all given a clean bill of health — just months before their difficulties drove the country to seek an international bailout.

The new checks will measure how well the core capital that banks rely on to absorb losses such as unpaid loans holds up when exposed to an economic dip or fall in property prices.

They also gauge the impact on banks should the bonds they own issued by states such as Greece lose value. But the tests stop short of assessing the full impact of a country default including the likely resultant freeze in interbank lending.

In the drive for credibility, the European Banking Authority (EBA), which runs the tests and the ECB, which sets the macro economic scenarios, are pushing for more banks to fail than last year’s seven.

“How many do we expect to fail? I would say 10 to 15,” said one senior euro zone central banking source.

The EBA wants the number of banks that do not pass the tests to be around that level to show the examinations are serious, said a second source, adding that the authority did not want to push for more, for fear it could spark panic and intensify the euro zone’s debt crisis.

“In order to demonstrate that it is credible, the EBA would need to show that the number of bank failures is significant, without being substantial,” said the source. “A number in the teens is about right.”

A spokeswoman for the EBA said testing was still under way and declined to comment on what she called speculation about the outcome.

TECHNICAL AND POLITICAL

The tests are technical, as well as political. While the EBA and ECB want to show up the failures, national regulators want to stop their banks appearing on the list, concerned they would look incompetent for having failed to spot such problems themselves.

EU authorities want to expose failures around the EU, said the second source, avoiding too many problems in weak countries, such as Spain, as that could prompt international lenders to shun the country and its banks.

“They are going to find a way of preventing one center … from sticking out,” said the source. “If it were to be Spain, it would be very bad news. Failing German banks in a stress tests would be much safer.”

The EBA, which is due to announce the results in mid-July to coincide with a meeting of EU finance ministers, also faces pressure from governments wanting to avoid failures that may force them to come up with financial support.

A dispute with Germany for failing to apply the stress-test criteria as strictly as it should recently delayed the conclusion of the stress tests by some weeks, said one EU official.

“Every national regulator will be fighting for none of their banks to be on the list,” said the source. “It’s a mark of incompetence. It’s a reputational issue and it’s an issue of money.”

High-level officials from European finance ministries are now working on how to help those given a failing grade.

Andrea Enria, head of the EBA, called on governments last week to put plans in place to help banks that fail or are shown to be vulnerable.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the EBA emphasized that governments must not be slow to plug any capital holes exposed in the checks.

“It is important that concrete and decisive actions by the banks and authorities are taken following the results, including ensuring that credible capital plans … are taken to address deficiencies.”

Although the EBA is insisting on the publication of each bank’s sovereign debt holdings by maturity as well as size, it is ultimately the number of banks to fail that will establish the credibility of the checks.

“If it was the same as last time — when seven failed, next to nothing — then no one would believe it,” said one source. “But you cannot fail 50, or the banking system would collapse.” http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Exclusive-Up-15-EU-banks-fail-reuters-2798350039.html

Canada’s inflation leaps most in 8 years

Financial Post Staff OTTAWA — Consumer prices were up 3.7% in May from a year earlier, the biggest leap since March 2003, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.

Economists polled by Bloomberg expected 3.3% annual inflation in May.

Gasoline prices were cited for the main reason for such a high inflation rate last month.

The core inflation rate, which factors out volatile items such as energy and certain foods, was 1.8%. Economists anticipated 1.5%.

The Canadian dollar firmed to a session high of $1.0280 after the data was released.

More to come … http://business.financialpost.com/2011/06/29/canadas-inflation-jumps/

Are we headed for rapid rate rises?

Bloomberg News      Central banks need to start raising interest rates to control inflation and may have to act faster than in the past, the Bank for International Settlements said.

“Tighter global monetary policy is needed in order to contain inflation pressures and ward off financial stability risks,” the BIS said in its annual report published Sunday in Basel, Switzerland. “Central banks may have to be prepared to raise policy rates at a faster pace than in previous tightening episodes.”

While policy makers in Asia and Latin America are already raising borrowing costs to damp price pressures, rates remain near record lows in the world’s largest developed economies. Central banks in the U.S., U.K. and Japan have signalled they intend to keep that stimulus in place for some time, with only the European Central Bank moving to gradually tighten credit as inflation risks increase.

“Global inflation pressures are rising rapidly as commodity prices soar and as the global recovery runs into capacity constraints,” said the BIS, which acts as a central bank for the world’s central banks. “These increased upside risks to inflation call for higher policy rates.”

With U.K. inflation running at 4.5%, more than double the Bank of England’s target, the BIS said “one wonders how long its current policy can be sustained.” The pound rose half a cent in early European trading to $1.5985 before retracing to $1.5931 at 9 a.m. in London.

Crude oil prices have gained 20% in the last 12 months, putting pressure on companies to increase wages and pass on higher costs to consumers.

“The price pressure is there,” said Carsten Brzeski, chief European economist at ING Group NV in Brussels. “One of the lessons of the financial crisis is that you shouldn’t leave rates too low for too long. Now is the time to remember that lesson.”

BIS General Manager Jaime Caruana said global headline inflation has risen a percentage point to 3.6% since April 2010. At the same time, short-term interest rates adjusted for inflation “have actually fallen in the past year, from minus 0.6% to minus 1.3% globally,” he said in a speech in Basel Sunday.

“The world economy is growing at a historically respectable rate of around 4%,” Caruana said. “The resurgence of demand has put concerns about deflation behind us. Accordingly, the need for continued extraordinary monetary accommodation has faded.”

The ECB in April raised its benchmark interest rate from a record low of 1% and has signalled another quarter-point step is likely in July.

By contrast, the Federal Reserve last week repeated a pledge to keep its policy rate close to zero for an “extended period,” while the Bank of Japan this month held its benchmark near zero and kept credit and asset-purchase programs in place.

Minutes of the Bank of England’s last policy meeting this month, at which the key rate was held at 0.5%, show some officials see the potential to extend bond purchases to boost a faltering recovery.

The BIS said that in “some advanced economies” policy tightening still needs to be balanced against the “vulnerabilities” associated with balance-sheet adjustment and financial sector fragility.

Still, “undue delay in the normalization of the monetary policy stance entails the risk of creating serious financial- market distortions,” it said. Furthermore, a “timely tightening” of policy in both emerging-market and advanced economies will be needed “to preserve a low-inflation environment globally and reinforce central banks’ inflation- fighting credibility.”

The BIS said central banks should reduce the size of their balance sheets, though it would be “dangerous” to cut them “too rapidly or too indiscriminately.”

In response to the financial crisis, the Fed and the Bank of England “sharply” increased their total assets from about 8% of gross domestic product to just below 20%, while the ECB expanded its assets from 13% of GDP to more than 20%, according to the BIS.

“Balance-sheet policies have supported the global economy through a very difficult crisis,” it said. “However, the balance sheets are now exposed to greater risks — namely interest-rate risk, exchange-rate risk and credit risk — that could lead to financial losses.”

The BIS also urged governments to pursue fiscal consolidation, saying the biggest risk is “doing too little too late rather than doing too much too soon.” In Europe, policy makers must fix the region’s debt crisis “once and for all,” it said.

“Nowhere is the link between fiscal sustainability and financial health more apparent than in parts of Europe today,” Caruana said. “There is no easy way out, no shortcut, no painless solution.”

The BIS warned that a failure of the U.S. to tackle its budget deficit could become a source of instability, with potentially “far-reaching ramifications for the global economy” should a rapid depreciation of the dollar result.

“The current ability of the United States to easily finance its deficit cannot be taken for granted,” the report said.

The BIS holds currency reserves on behalf of its members and provides policy makers with a forum for discussion. Attendees at the annual general meeting in Basel Sunday included ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann. http://business.financialpost.com/2011/06/27/central-banks-need-to-raise-rates-%E2%80%94-and-quickly-bis/

Why economists see a modestly stronger second half for 2011 after a dismal 6 months

By Christopher S. Rugaber,Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Farewell and good riddance to the first half of 2011 — six months that are ending as sour for the economy as they began.

Most analysts say economic growth will perk up in the second half of the year. The reason is that the main causes of the slowdown — high oil prices and manufacturing delays because of the disaster in Japan — have started to fade.

“Some of the headwinds that caused us to slow are turning into tail winds,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

For an economy barely inching ahead two years after the Great Recession ended, the first half of 2011 can’t end soon enough. Severe storms and rising gasoline prices held growth in January, February and March to a glacial annual rate of 1.9 per cent.

The current quarter isn’t shaping up much better. The average growth forecast of 38 top economists surveyed by The Associated Press is 2.3 per cent.

The economy has to grow 3 per cent a year just to hold the unemployment rate steady and keep up with population growth. And it has to average about 5 per cent growth for a year to lower the unemployment rate by a full percentage point. It is 9.1 per cent today.

As welcome as the stronger growth envisioned in the second half is, the improvement should be modest. For the final six months of the year, the AP economists forecast a growth rate of 3.2 per cent.

So far this year, high gas and food prices have discouraged people from spending much on other things — from furniture and appliances to dinners out and vacations. That spending fuels economic growth.

And some U.S. auto factories had to suspend or trim production after the March earthquake in Japan interrupted supplies of parts and electronics. American dealerships have had fewer cars to sell.

The latest dose of glum news: The government reported Monday that consumer spending was about the same in May as in April, the first time in a year that spending hasn’t increased from the previous month.

The report confirmed the toll that high gas prices, Japan-related disruptions and high unemployment have taken on personal spending in the second quarter.

“Here’s to a better third,” says Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Relief is in sight, economists say. Oil prices have been falling since Memorial Day. The drop has lowered the price of regular unleaded gasoline by 23 cents in the past month, to a national average of $3.57 a gallon, according to AAA.

The timing of the drop in gas prices is especially fortunate because they usually rise during summer driving season, says Robert DiClemente, chief U.S. economist at Citigroup .

And the kinks in the global manufacturing chain are starting to be smoothed out as the Japanese factories that make cars and electronics resume production.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, says auto sales should improve “quite substantially” later this year because the lost production from the earthquake is coming back faster than had been expected.

One sign of that rebound came when the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday that manufacturing in the Midwest rebounded in May after falling sharply in April.

And last week, the government said orders for machinery, computers, cars and other durable goods rose slightly in May after dropping in April. Economists attributed the turnaround, in part, to Japanese factories that started to rev up.

The U.S. economy is also expected to get a slight second-half boost from reconstruction in flood-ravaged sections of the South and Midwest. Construction workers will be employed rebuilding homes and businesses. People will replace destroyed cars and other possessions. Analysts predict the economic losses from the floods in the April-June quarter will be reversed in the July-September quarter.

The economists surveyed by AP predict unemployment will fall to 8.7 per cent at year’s end. It is not exactly the start of a boom: The economy is still carrying too much baggage from the financial crisis — damaged banks, depressed home prices, debt-burdened consumers — to achieve much liftoff.

Though some of the economy’s weakness in the first half is temporary, “it is hard to see much on the horizon to cheer about,” Swonk says. http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Why-economists-see-modestly-capress-1496951129.html?x=0

6 Stupid Mistakes Businesses Make On LinkedIn — And What You Should Do Instead

If you use LinkedIn correctly, it can be a marketing godsend.

You can form relationships with hundreds of potential customers and solidify your brand — without spending an arm and a leg.

Do it, wrong, however, and you won’t just embarrass yourself. You might actually hurt your company’s reputation, and your own.

How to do it right?

Learn the most common mistakes small business owners make on LinkedIn — and what to do about them.

Mistake: Coming on too strong in your profile

LinkedIn is all about the subtle, soft sell. Promote your product or service too openly on your profile and you’ll be sure to turn people off.

“You don’t want to sound like you’re bragging,” says Jill Konrath, a sales expert and CEO of Sellingtobigcompanies.com

The answer:

Get your customers to write as many positive reviews of your company on your profile as possible.

If people who use your product or service comment about it, you’ll increase your credibility. Why? It shows that customers are willing to take time out of their busy days to write something nice about your company. “It carries more clout,” says Konrath.

Mistake: Promoting your product or service in a message or a group discussion

Similarly, just because you’ve connected with someone, doesn’t mean you have permission to start plugging your wares.“It feels like a violation,” says Konrath.

That’s also true for group discussions. “People will see right through you,” says Patrick O’Malley, who runs 617-PATRICK Social Media Training and Consulting in Medford, Mass.

In fact, according to O’Malley, you can be tagged for spam if you do that too often.

The answer:

Before contacting anyone, make sure you understand the number one rule of making connections on LinkedIn: keep it low-key.

In group discussions, don’t ask questions or make comments that are obvious sales pitches. Instead, establish yourself as a key expert or resource by providing thoughtful, pithy observations.

Mistake: Failing to highlight the problems you solve for customers in your profile

Too often, small business owners describe the product or service they sell in their profile, without explaining what the benefits are.

Result: you miss the chance to stand out from the crowd

The answer:

Focus on the issues and challenges your company addresses.

Examples: “We help customers struggling to increase their sales to tap new markets,” or, “We show companies how to decrease their manufacturing costs.”

You’re talking about results, and that’s what attracts more interest,” says Konrath.

Mistake: Not taking advantage of all the capabilities available

LinkedIn provides access to a plethora of research and other features that many people aren’t aware of.

“They’re things that, quite simply, can give you a leg up on the competition,” says Konrath. “People think of it as a referral network, but there’s a lot more.

The answer:

Find out what LinkedIn has to offer — and use it.

Example: Before every first-time meeting with a prospect. Konrath always checks the person’s LinkedIn profile to learn about the individual’s background and interests.

It’s information she uses to “create important connections right away that I couldn’t make otherwise,” she says.

Mistake: Joining too many groups

By taking part in group discussions, you can attract a lot of positive attention.

But, join too many and you’ll be spread too thin.

The answer:

Focus on two or three that are most likely to provide access to potential customers or partners.

Mistake: Inviting too many people you don’t know

Do that a lot and you can get in a heap of trouble: you’ll find yourself on a list of violators.

Then, if you want to invite somebody to join you, you’ll need to have their email address to do so, according to O’Malley.

The answer:

Just don’t do it. Make sure you know your invitees.

And be especially careful if you’re inviting a lot of people at one fell swoop. O’Malley, for example, once invited 3,000 people, only to find that several of them were individuals with the same name as contacts he knew. He’s never done that again.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/6-common-linkedin-mistakes-small-businesses-make-and-what-to-do-instead-2010-4#ixzz1QQkpFLlC

Canada Day Celebrations

The Mortgage Emporium will be celebrating Canada’s Day with our families in Durham and we want everyone to be aware about some of the celebrations being hosted in the are so you too can enjoy the day with your family and friends.

Oshawa – Where: Lakeview Park

What: Enjoy a fun filled day of music, games, and sun with fireworks to finish off the night. Events include, carnival, children’s village, historical village, live stage entertainment, safety zone, vendors market, music and much more. For more information please click here. http://www.oshawa.ca/tourism/canada-day/activities.asp

Oshawa – Where: Durham College & UOIT

Kids Zone Featuring Jumping castles, Carnival Games, Prizes, Sport Activities, Temporary Tattoo Stations, Magic and Ballooning, Face Painting and Live Entertainment for the whole family to enjoy! Skills Competition (Open to kids and adults) shooting and skills competitions with prizes to be won for all ages. ABA Canada Showcase: NEW All Canadian Basketball league. Four team tournament showcase with all-star teams representing Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and Durham. Great basketball with exciting half time shows and entertainment. FREE FOR KIDS UNDER 12 BUY 1 GET 1 FREE TICKETS… go to our website and pre-order your tickets using Promotional code: CHILDSLIFE Proceeds from this FULL-DAY celebration will go towards Youth in Need and FEED the NEED in DURHAM.

  • July 1, 2011
  • 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
  • 2000 Simcoe St. North, Oshawa
  • Free for kids under 12. BUY 1 GET 1 FREE Tickets available for preorder with Promotional code: CHILDSLIFE

Whitby – Where: Victoria Fields – South of Iroquois Park Sports Centre

What: Come out and enjoy the fun and games at the Whitby Country Town Carnival. There will be jumping castles, face painting, petting zoo, live entertainment and fireworks at dusk. For more information please click here. http://www.whitby.ca/index.php?app=1&uid=2073&dateid=07

Pickering – Where: Kinsmen Park -Sandy Beach Road, south of Bayly Street

What: The fun starts at 12:00 pm (noon) until 11:00 pm, take pleasure in listening to live entertainment, rides, games, prizes, senior strawberry social, family community party, free teen stuff and refreshment area. For more information please click here. http://www.cityofpickering.com/standard/lifestyle/events/index.html

Bowmanville – Where: Bowmanville Museum (62 Temperance Street, Bowmanville)

What: Canada Day Celebrations from 10:30 am until 2:30 pm come out and enjoy a horse and wagon rides through historic Bowmanville, face painting, cotton candy, BBQ, games, and live entertainment. For more information please click here. http://www.claringtonmuseums.com/index.html

Ajax – Where: Rotary Park – Ajax, 177 Lake Driveway W.

What: Canada’s 144th Birthday Celebrations start at 10:00 am and run until 5:00 pm. There are activities for the entire family including, Bowmanville Zoo Live Animals Shows, (select times), live entertainment, pony rides, petting zoo, inflatable rides, camel rides ($3.00 per person), arts & crafts, ventriloquist show (2:00pm) and much more. For more information please click here. http://www.townofajax.com/Page5763.aspx

How To Dominate Twitter And Facebook And Get Millions Of Business Followers

Use targeted advertising on Facebook

Sure it’s pretty basic, but that’s for a reason. It’s the most effective tactic for growing your Facebook followers. These adds are relatively inexpensive, highly targeted, and can be customized to appeal to different prospective demographics

Pay for fans

Believe it or not, there are actual services out there that guarantee you a certain number of fans–if you’re willing to pay for them. FansAndInvites.com and SocioNiks are two such companies that offer these services. You can even target fans or followers by location.

Though the companies absolutely insist that the followers they bring are real, genuine people, beware: their interest in your company or intent to support your small business probably isn’t. Still, one Facebook “like” begets more, and this is one way to get the snowball rolling in hopes of an eventual avalanche.

Incentivize clicking “like” or following on Twitter

If you’re not willing to pay for followers directly, try offering free stuff, discounts, or other attractive items. But make them available only for people who “like” you on Facebook or follow your Twitter feed. 

Piggyback off hot-button issues

How did one little-known author get more Facebook fans than George Clooney? Completely by accident. But it serves as a good lesson for those looking to up their fans.

Gregory Levey’s memoir recounting his experiences as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s speechwriter was titled “Shut Up, I’m Talking.” Facebook users became fans of the book’s page for the title’s implications rather than the content of the book.

Sure, many of those fans aren’t likely to buy the book, but once again, it’s crucial to get the ball rolling. And going from 700 fans to 700,000 in a matter of months does exactly that. Consider using catchy headlines, or reference hot-button issues to garner attention for your Facebook page. The more popular it becomes the more likely you are to turn heads among people that actually might contribute to sales.

Notice trending hashtags

Maybe the popular #RIP2TheCompetition hashtag isn’t the best way to introduce the world to your business, but engaging in trending topics is an excellent way to get the word out.

For example, if you’re in the travel industry, be sure to chime in on the “Travel Tuesdays” hashtag and offer a discount to followers. Or, your company sells treats or luxury items, engage in the “TGIF” hashtag and tell all who are willing to “Like” your Facebook or follow your twitter that they’re eligible for weekend savings

Target popular tweeters

Say you’re opening a sandwich shop in your neighborhood. Seek out a popular local food blogger that tweets, and tell him about your business. Fatten him up with a free sandwich, and, if he likes it, he might fatten your social media following.

How? Be sure to tell him that any of his followers that follow your business on Twitter are welcome to a half-off sandwich. Remember, anyone interested in the blogger’s content is perfectly suited for your business. Or, for a quick gauge of your ROI, consider offering a discount to customers that mention the blogger’s name. 

For a mere $8 sandwich, you could potentially gain dozens of interested followers

Create good content

If people who discover your page find it boring or useless, all that hard work you put into getting them there in the first place will go to waste. Create beautiful, compelling content that invites visitors to click around, read, and truly “like” or want to follow your page.

Update frequently

Several digital media PR experts told us the number one mistake businesses make with their Facebook and Twitter pages is they don’t update enough. Social media is not rotisserie chicken—you can’t “set it, and forget it.”

Take advantage of Facebook’s news feed, and applications like TweetDeck, by constantly updating your social media pages. It will keep you fresh in your follower’s minds and, with a little luck, can appear on news feeds–or be retweeted–to prospective customers. 

Engage customers conversations

The beauty of social media is that customers truly believe they can have direct content with your company. Uphold this belief and create trust by responding to your customers who comment on your page or tweet to your account.

But don’t dare do so in PR-speak or corporatese. You’ll shatter their trust. Answer in an authentic voice that’s consistent with your values to keep existing followers happy and give reasons for new ones to hop on the bandwagon.

 Respond to complaints

 Remember Domino’s recent campaign that urged customers to post photos of pizza delivered to their homes? Well, here’s a shocker: some of those pictures showed some pretty sloppy, nasty pies. Worse, some pizzas depicted orders gone wrong.

Yet Dominos used social media savvy to turn a disaster into more Twitter followers. One store manager-turned-social media expert, Ramon DeLeon, took matters into his own hand. He tweeted a link to a video to one unhappy customer, and has since garnered nearly 7,000 followers.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-be-popular-10-tips-for-growing-your-fans-and-followers-on-facebook-and-twitter-2010-10#use-targeted-advertising-on-facebook-1#ixzz1QAPVfFTG

Bank of Canada’s Carney warns of mounting risk, predicts bad quarter for economy

Julian Beltrame, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Strain from a world awash in debt is increasing the risk to what is already a fragile and weak economic recovery, the Bank of Canada warns.

And Canada faces a second, more immediate challenge from temporary factors such as disruptions from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that will limit growth to about one per cent this quarter, governor Mark Carney added Wednesday.

“This is a disruptive time, there are a major series of changes going on … so there will be some volatility,” Carney told a Senate committee after his bank released its latest biennial Financial Systems Review.

The U.S. economy — which most Canadian exporters depend on — is a shadow of itself, he said, adding that U.S. households may need a decade to get out from debt.

Meanwhile, although emerging economies are booming, Canada’s exporters, with the exception of commodities, are under-represented in that world.

And lastly, there’s the mountain of debt weighing on the balance sheets of advanced countries, from Japan to parts of Europe to the U.S., that will dampen growth for years.

The summary put into stark language the findings of the central bank’s financial systems review, released earlier in the morning, which took a more pessimistic view of the recovery.

The big problem facing the world is debt. Debt even threatens Canada’s economy, given that household indebtedness is at record levels and could grow further before tailing off.

“The key risks to the stability of the Canadian financial system remain elevated and have edged higher since December,” the bank concludes in the systems review.

For the first time, Carney revealed to a Senate committee that the current second quarter in Canada could see growth drop all the way to one per cent, from 3.9 per cent in the first three months.

Acknowledging that he had previously predicted growth of two per cent this quarter, which ends June 30, Carney told the senators: “The growth could be even lighter than that, it could be in the one per cent range.”

He added, however, that he still expects the economy to do better in the second half of this year.

The bank report and Carney’s testimony comes as Greece is again under the gun to hold off a credit default that would likely cripple some European banks and possibly touch off a new round of global financial jitters.

But the Bank of Canada says the debt woes extend further than Greece to other peripheral European nations — Spain, Portugal and Ireland — and over the longer term, to the U.S. and Japan .

Canada too faces a troubling household debt issue, the bank warns, which could be exacerbated by shocks, including an economic downturn and interest rate hikes.

In a separate report card, U.S. Federal Reserve officials also took a darker view of the situation, downgrading growth expectations both for the economy and job creation.

All these risks “are interconnected and mutually reinforcing,” the Bank of Canada said.

Carney urged Canadians to keep things in perspective, however, growth is “reclining, not declining,” and Canada still benefits from sound fundamentals.

Canada’s financial system got a “healthy” grade both in terms of the soundness of the banking system and business balance sheets, but it is vulnerable somewhat to outside forces.

Carney said Canada’s exposure to Europe’s sovereign debt is small, but not insignificant, given the interconnectiveness of the international banking system.

“The Canadian financial system is not immune to the tensions that are currently affecting European markets,” the bank’s policy council says in the report.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has also expressed concern about the Greek crisis, urging European policy-makers to “create a firewall that would ensure that this type of issue would not spread beyond Greece.”

Despite the weak recovery and the pain it will cause, governments have no choice but to start the process of getting their fiscal houses in order, said Carney.

He cautioned that indebted countries, even the U.S., shouldn’t assume bond markets will be always be prepared to fill their credit needs at reasonable rates. Canada learned that lesson the hard way in the 1990s, he pointed out.

“Our experience in the mid-1990s is that the bond market is there and then it’s not,” he said.

Domestically, the bank is still very worried about Canadian household debt, which is at an all-time high of 147 per cent of disposable income.

The risk, it says, is that as household finances get squeezed, Canadians will have less money to spend on consumer goods, which would slow down economic growth.

“Further moderation in the pace of debt accumulation by households is needed to contain the buildup of this vulnerability,” it says.

The bank also cites global imbalances, the two-speed recovery where advanced nations grow far slower than emerging economies, as additional risks that appear no closer to resolution.

“If the significant fragilities that still burden the financial system are not addressed in a timely manner, the progress achieved to date could be derailed,” the bank said.

TD Bank economist Diana Petramala said the report suggests the Bank of Canada is very much in worry mode, and is unlikely to raise interest rates — which could weaken the economy — until 2012.

“All of these risks (cited by the central bank) could have significant economic consequences on Canada’s economy and financial system,” if they are borne out, Petramala said.

“In addition, they are medium-term (rather than short-term) in nature, suggesting they are unlikely to disappear any time soon. Under our current forecast, we don’t anticipate Canada’s overnight rate to reach a more normal level of three per cent until 2013.”

The bank last hiked interest rates last September , lifting its policy setting to one per cent, still exceptionally low by historical standards. http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Bank-Canada-Carney-warns-capress-4229338819.html?x=0

Canada’s jobless rate falls to lowest level in two years

By Julian Beltrame, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Canada’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest in more than two years as a combination of more self-employed workers and fewer job seekers in May pushed the key economic marker down to 7.4 per cent.

Statistics Canada said 22,300 new jobs were created last month, slightly above consensus estimates following April’s strong 58,000 jobs gain. The last time Canada’s unemployment rate was as low as 7.4 per cent was in January 2009, a few months after the economy had plunged into recession.

The finer details of the May report were less impressive, however.

The jobless rate dropped two-tenths of a point due as much to the fact that 27,500 fewer Canadians were actively looking for work as to the new jobs created.

While all the jobs were full time, they came in the less desirable self-employment category, which could indicate that many Canadians turned to creating their own employment because they were unable to find more traditional work.

“Small business is of vital importance to the Canadian economy, but job creation within this category in a soft spot for the economy (and) is always a knock against the quality of the headline gain,” Derek Holt, vice-president of economics for Scotiabank, said in a note to clients.

The number of employees in Canada actually dropped by 7,500 in May and the goods producing sector of the economy saw a pullback in employment, with manufacturing taking the biggest hit with 22,500 fewer jobs. The month also showed the public sector is starting to tighten, shedding 44,300 jobs as governments begin dealing with large deficits.

The markets treated the report as a status quo finding. The loonie barely budged after the data was released early Friday, although the currency swooned in later trading on dipping oil prices.

Holt noted that hours worked rose just 0.3 per cent and wages were only 2.2 per cent higher than last year, down from 2.6 per cent in March.

“After stripping out inflation, real wages are going nowhere and that remains bearish for consumer spending as households are simply unable to post income growth beyond covering higher fuel and grocery costs in a generalized commodity shock,” he said.

Still, analysts said any job gain following April’s strong advance is good news. It showed April was not a mirage.

“The details in this month’s job growth were not all rosy, but any gains at all were impressive given that they came on the heels of an outsized 58,000 prior-month tally and amidst signs that the economy is decelerating sharply in the second quarter,” said CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld .

Not to be overlooked, he added, is that private sector employers added workers, although a small number.

Another positive for the future, said Jimmy Jean of Desjardins Capital Markets, is that the factory sector is likely to recover once supply chain disruptions from the Japanese natural disaster are resolved.

The summer months will also benefit from an additional $10 million Ottawa is pumping into the summer jobs program to encourage student hiring. Labour Minister Diane Finley says government support will create 36,000 student jobs this summer.

Most economists had predicted a slowdown in job creation not only because they viewed April’s increase as an above-trend anomaly but also because other economic indicators pointed to slowing activity.

Meanwhile, consumer spending and housing have fallen off of late and, earlier in the week, the government reported that the important export sector shrank by 1.1 per cent in volume terms in April.

Despite the softness, Canada’s economy is doing far better than its southern neighbour, which in the same month created only 54,000 jobs, a tiny amount given the size of the U.S. labour force.

In the past year, Canada has more than recouped all the jobs lost during the 2008-2009 recession, creating 273,000 in the last 12 months alone, most full time and in the private sector. Meanwhile, the U.S. remains several million shy of its pre-crisis level and the jobless rate is above nine per cent.

In May, most of Canada’s employment gains came in the retail and wholesale trade industries, and in information, culture and recreation. There were losses in manufacturing and educational services, mostly of those in post-secondary institutions.

Regionally, the lion’s share of job creation came in Quebec, which saw its employment rise by 24,800, while Ontario saw a drop-off of 16,100. http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Canada-jobless-rate-falls-capress-4119373303.html?x=0

Being all thumbs can mean trouble with texting

By Kate Shellnutt     Blame big fingers, tired eyes or other distractions, but odds are you’ve sent a text or tweet to someone accidentally.

It probably wasn’t a photo of your crotch, such as U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner mistakenly tweeted out last week. And it probably wasn’t a text cussing at a fashion icon, as Lady Gaga sent to Vogue editor Anna Wintour, thinking she was responding to another Anna.

Still, it happens to all of us, from text-addicted teenagers to businesspersons on BlackBerry Messenger.

About 40 per cent of texters admit they’ve accidently sent a text to the wrong person, and 10 per cent say they do it once a month, according to research by the makers of TextPlus, a smartphone app.

Accidentally replying to an incoming message or clicking the wrong person on your contact list are common errors.

“I was trying to hit on a girl named Kelly via text one time. My boss’ name is Kelly, and I almost sent it to her. I changed her name to ‘boss’ after that,” said Eric Swenson, a 21-year-old student — via text, of course.

Swenson hasn’t always caught his mistakes, though, and has been left staring at his phone screen at a disparaging message he fired away to the wrong recipient.

“If you recognize it right away, say, ‘Sorry, wrong person,’ ’’ said Drew Olanoff, the “textpert” and community director for TextPlus. “You don’t want them wondering, ‘Was this for me?’ They’ll understand. It happens to everybody.”

Weiner’s highly publicized case, Olanoff said, provided a few examples of what not to do when you make a mistake: lie about it (“I didn’t send it!”) or blame technology (“I was hacked!”).

Though the subject matter of Weiner’s messages was clearly inappropriate, even innocent texts can be problematic when they end up in your co-worker’s or your grandmother’s inbox. Humour sites have made such texts an internet meme, posting thousands of screenshots people have submitted of their uncomfortable exchanges from texting mistakes.

“If everyone just took a moment to re-read what they typed before they hit send, every one of the mistakes on DamnYouAutocorrect.com and WrongNumberTexts.com could be avoided,” said Jillian Madison, who runs the sites and wrote a book with the funniest submissions.

“Of course, it’s easier said than done. Today, we’re all moving fast, talking fast and communicating fast. The downside to that is it leads to mistakes, often with dire consequences.”

Embarrassment isn’t the only result from such mistakes, which have prompted breakups, firings and even arrests. This week, a man from Porter, Texas, mistakenly sent a text message allegedly arranging a drug deal to an officer at a Montgomery County constable’s office.

Americans’ rate of texting is booming, with younger texters sending more messages than ever. According to a recent Nielson Mobile report, teens sent an average of 3,364 a month at the start of 2011. The 18-24 age group sent 1,640 a month.

More texting means more opportunities for mistakes, so Olanoff predicts tech companies will begin to create more safety features for users, such as a “Are you sure you want to send this text?” message or even an option to retract misfired messages.

“There will be more things to ‘save us from ourselves,’ ” Olanoff said.

TIPS

Five “textpert” tips for avoiding embarrassing mistakes:

Know the technology: Whether it’s email, text messaging, Twitter or another form of communication, be familiar with the basics of how it functions before rushing through messages.

Double check: The easiest way to make sure a text doesn’t go to the wrong person is to check the recipient’s name before you send it.

Don’t list contacts on a first-name-only basis: Write a last name, business or other clues so you know exactly whom you are talking to.

Be judicious with what you text: This one’s for you, Weiners of the world. “If you’re living a lifestyle like that, technology is going to be your worst enemy,” Drew Olanoff of TextPlus said.

Don’t drunk text: No surprise here. Alcohol may be to blame for a number of accidental texting incidents.

Houston Chronicle http://www.therecord.com/living/article/545974–being-all-thumbs-can-mean-trouble-with-texting

Flaherty says Canada house market shows moderation

(Reuters) – Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Monday he continues to monitor the country’s housing market, which has some “hot spots”, but said the situation remained stable.

“We have seen some moderation in the housing market in Canada,” Flaherty told reporters after a speech in Toronto. “There are a couple of hot spots in the country, including Vancouver, the condo market in Vancouver, but overall I’m satisfied that there is some moderation in the market.”

Last week, housing figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) showed home resale prices slipped 0.6 percent in May from April, partly because of the effect of stricter mortgage rules that came into effect in the spring. It was the first full month of data that reflected the new rules.

To try to prevent the housing market problems that led other countries into financial crisis, and to curb rising household debt levels, the government has tightened mortgage rules three times since 2008.

The CREA data showed Vancouver’s hot market again had a big influence in May on the average national price, which rose 8.6 percent from a year earlier to C$376,817 ($384,507). The price gain is similar to those of the past several months, due to very high prices in some Vancouver neighborhoods and broad gains in Toronto.

Flaherty said there were no plans to take further action on mortgage rules, having just introduced the latest set, which took aim at mortgage amortization and refinancing. http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Flaherty-says-Canada-house-reuters-3810404722.html

Canadians slid further into debt in first quarter; credit outpaces income growth

The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Statistics Canada says Canadian households slid deeper into debt in the first quarter as the use of credit outpaced income growth.

The ratio of household debt to disposable income rose to 149.47 per cent from 147.64 a year earlier.

That means Canadians owe $1.49 for every after-tax dollar they earn.

Credit market debt grew by 1.3 per cent in the quarter, while personal disposable income grew by 0.7 per cent.

Mortgage debt grew, as Canadians continued to take advantage of historically low interest rates.

However, the increase in consumer credit debt slowed along with lower household spending.

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/Canadians-slid-further-debt-capress-3742141688.html?x=0

Canadian economy still near the top of G7

OTTAWA – Canada will continue to outperform most economically advanced countries over the next two years, even as the pace slows and risks mount, the IMF says.

The International Monetary Fund’s latest forecast presents Canada as a relative sea of tranquility amid rising global turbulence from European and U.S. debt issues, the aftermath of Japan’s natural disasters, and growing inflationary pressures.

This will result in growth in advanced countries of about 2.5 per cent this year, it says, about half a point lower than last year. And emerging economies as a group will suffer a one-point drop in growth to 6.5 per cent.

As well, the downside risks to the outlook have risen sharply since the IMF’s previous report in April.

“The balance of risks point down more,” it says. “Downside risks due to heightened potential spillovers from other further deterioration in market confidence in the euro area periphery have risen. Market concerns about possible setbacks to the U.S. recovery have also surfaced.

The report doesn’t mention Greece by name but the potential for its government to default on its massive debts — amid public opposition to austerity measures required by its lenders — have been unsettling financial markets.

“If these risks materialize, they will reverberate across the rest of the world — possibly seriously impairing funding conditions for banks and corporations in advanced economies and undercutting capital flows to emerging economies,” it adds.

Despite this, the international financial organization sees Canada trundling along with 2.9 per cent growth this year, and 2.6 per cent next, virtually unchanged since its previous forecast. Those numbers are also identical to the Bank of Canada’s call, made in April.

The projections are in line with a new forecast from the TD Bank, which also sees the global economy slowing but Canada hanging on with 2.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent growth rates this year and next.

Among G7 nations, the IMF sees only Germany doing better with an expected 3.2 per cent expansion this year, but slowing to two per cent next year.

All the forecasters point to a soft spot in the economy occurring at this very moment, in part due to supply-chain disruptions from the Japan disaster.

For Canada, the lull will result in the economy slowing to just over one per cent during this current quarter, from a strong 3.9 per cent in the first three months of 2011.

Friday’s Statistics Canada report that wholesale fell 0.3 per cent in April, in volume terms, adds to the narrative of a struggling economy.

However, the vast majority of analysts view the lull as temporary.

“The fundamental drivers of growth remain in place: overall still-accommodative macroeconomic conditions, pent-up demand for consumer durables and investment, and strong potential growth in emerging and developing economies,” concludes the IMF analysts.

The big change in the report is the IMF’s alarm about future risks. It makes clear the world has come out of the recession, but is not all the way out of the woods yet.

It warns of a heightened potential for negative consequences from the European debt crisis, and fiscal hangovers in the U.S. and Japan.

The IMF says the two economic powerhouses must get their fiscal houses in order.

“For the United States, it is critical to immediately address the debt ceiling and launch a deficit reduction plan that includes entitlement reform and revenue-raising tax reform,” the group says, offering the same advice to Japan.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty offered a similar assessment in a speech in New York, warning that not only America’s economy would be impacted by failure to address the problem, but Canada’s and the world’s.

The Canadian Press http://www.therecord.com/news/business/article/549522–canadian-economy-still-near-the-top-of-g7