Some of you might know that my journalism roots go quite deep. For each of us in “the business” the core of a publication is a personal thing. For some it’s the sports section; for others it’s readers’ feedback. For still others it’s the back page. Whatever, every publication has its core, its raison d’être.
When you pick up a copy of Small Business Canada, the pulse of this four colour magazine is very likely somewhere along its spine. It’s the spine of Hayden Bradshaw, publisher, editor, designer, circulation manager, enthusiast. Right here in Barrie, inside a home bustling with endeavour, a bright little magazine devoted to entrepreneurs gives birth every other month to articles and attitudes designed to help all across the country.
But Hayden Bradshaw didn’t just happen onto journalism. His whole history is tied into starting and selling this and moving on to that. His background began in the graphic arts business 20 years ago when he worked for a couple of weekly newspapers in the throes of cutting edge technology called “offset”. Followed by the computer where a creative person could actually design and print proofs right from the tops of their desks, graphic art and desktop publishing created an entirely new industry. And Hayden Bradshaw was there. Then he started a typesetting business, producing quality work for advertising agencies in Toronto. He sold it and began exhibiting at trade shows, and then started organizing trade shows, small business expos designed to connect people running small businesses with people who could service their needs.
And, that’s where Small Business Canada comes in. Anyone who’s done a trade show for very long quickly realizes that a companion publication really helps. It’s the companion publication that can carry the advertising to support a directory, a floor plan, and the expensive printing costs surrounding booth numbers, directions, and personnel. After talking with exhibitors at small business shows, Hayden decided to produce a magazine himself and in January, 1999, Small Business Canada was born.
The fledgling company partnered with Mailboxes Etc as its distribution system and now every Mailboxes outlet across Canada offers free copies of Small Business Canada to its customers, bringing the circulation today to 50,000. The magazine also has newstand sales and some subscriptions. Hayden is quite proud of a new arrangement with the accounting software manufacturers of Quickbooks. For every Quickbooks program sold, the buyer receives a free year’s subscription to Small Business Canada.
It’s a numbers game, national publishing, and Hayden is after national advertisers, companies that want to reach small business people across the nation.
The magazine is designed to help small businesses grow and focus. Offering four focii, each issue centres on networking, technology, finance and information. Within those areas experts write informative pieces on marketing tips, sales, advice.
Last summer, the publishing company launched a second magazine, Business Woman Canada, with content geared to the specific needs and operating styles of women entrepreneurs. Its managing editor is Donna Messer, a networking dynamo whose personality and background bring flair and vision to the publication. It deals with success stories, hardships and growth, positive stories that help people learn. This publication runs 32 pages in comparison to its older sibling’s 48.
Many publications struggle for years before making budget, but Hayden is delighted with the response to a need for a Canadian publication devoted to Canadian issues. “We’ve never lost on an issue. The profit’s there and I keep the overhead low. We do as much business locally as possible. We print in Elmvale. We’re looking for a local mailing house to ship our product.”
Both magazines and their contents are regularly featured on Small Business Canada’s one-hour talk show on 640 Saturdays at 11. The hour is presented by the magazine and sponsored by Scotiabank, partnerships that Hayden protects with enthusiasm.
You can have a look at both publications by launching into their websites… www.sbcmag.com and www.businesswomancanada.com. Circulation address is Box 23006, Barrie, ON L4N 7W8.
Clearly this is a local success story with national implications. Another reason why the Barrie region is so wonderful to call home.