February 5, 2013


sign to exitI’m leaving the Toronto Board of Trade after two years of membership. I feel obligated to tell you why because my posts about the experience have been read thousands of times:
  1. Why join the Toronto Board of Trade? (the most-read post today and this week)
  2. A nominee’s view of the Business Excellence Awards
  3. What matters more than winning an award?
  4. Fixing what's wrong with conferences and networking
  5. Reviewing the SMB Exchange (the most-read post this month)
First, no one incident lead to the decision. We’ve grown apart.

Get Involved

SMB Exchange websiteTo get the most out of an organization, you must participate. Here’s what I did
  • attended most events for small business
  • attended the excellent SMB Exchange event (here’s why) and joined the online community (my testimonial is on the home page)
  • joined the Community Advisory Committee which helped with the small business events
  • joined the Business Excellence Award Committee (focused on the Local Economic Impact category)
  • made and maintained connections with selected people
I’m not sure how I could have been more involved.

No Events

where are the small business events? (click to enlarge)Since the Business Excellence Awards gala in mid-November 2012, small business events have vanished without explanation.

No December holiday luncheon.
No networking in Etobicoke, North York or Scarborough.
Only one small business event in downtown Toronto.
This month there is absolutely nothing.
Yet there are many other events.
Maybe the focus has changed.

Why belong when there aren’t any appealing events? There’s isn’t much else to do besides attend.

What Else?

The Toronto Board of Trade has different levels of membership with different privileges. I had the basic $475 Connected plan which includes a $200 credit to use towards purchases, such as tickets. Opportunities to speak and write appear to be restricted to members who pay more. That’s unfortunate.

Compare with the Mississauga Board of Trade. Any member can write for MBOT Magazine and I did several times. Also, the committees have meaningful roles (e.g., selecting themes and speakers) while the staff handle the logistics.

Other Places

There are other ways to meet nice people without paying an membership fee or a surcharge as a nonmember:
  • the Star Business Club from the Toronto Star
  • the Small Business Summit from The Globe and Mail (now in Calgary and Vancouver too)
  • alumni events: e.g., Western University (where I also volunteer) charges $0 or $15 for events in nice spots like the CN Tower, 180 Panorama or the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
There’s no shortage of quality events. I get ideas by asking my LinkedIn connections and noticing where they go.

The Name Change

What is On Jan 28, 2013, the Toronto Board of Trade became the Toronto Region Board of Trade (announcement).

Huh? What’s the Toronto Region? Not even Google knows. A search gives results for Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

Just because members and issues extend beyond the City of Toronto doesn’t require a longer name with more syllables. Can you imagine these name changes?
  • the Toronto Region Star
  • the Toronto Region Blue Jays
  • the Toronto Region Maple Leafs
  • the Toronto Region International Film Festival
News stories for the Toronto Region Board of TradeThere’s power in brevity.

Based on the lack of media coverage, the name change looks like a nonevent. Here’s Google News a week later.

The Future

The Toronto Region Board of Trade may be ideal for you. You might want to attend several events before deciding. You can join the mailing list to find out what’s happening.

Maybe amazing changes are underway. If so, I may return. For now, I’m taking a break and felt you deserved to know.


PS I’ll miss the committees the most

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