• Where to find help from the Provincial and Federal Governments during COVID-19

    IMPORTANT: This post is specific to Canada. If you are not a Canada business/taxpayer then it is probably not applicable to you. This post is specific to Canada. If you are not a Canada business/taxpayer then it is probably not applicable to you.

    We have compiled some online resources that outline how small business owners can access government services and support during this challenging time.

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  • Leveraging ecommerce to innovate and transform your services

    We know small business owners are at varying points on the technology spectrum. Some have embraced technology to operationalize a majority of their operations while others have continued to manage with minimal technology intervention for a variety of reasons.

    The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is altering the business landscape and is accelerating how businesses leverage technology to provide services and or products to clients.

    Shopify Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke recently shared in a Fortune interview that “the number of small stores using Shopify’s ecommerce platform rose by 62%” from mid March to April 2020. The shift to use ecommerce has not only affected large retailers but also smaller ones like community grocery stores, specialty stores and farms that have all gone online as consumers have shifted buying patterns to accessing stores virtually versus in person.

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  • How your business can thrive even in a recession

    The pains caused by a recession can be excruciating, which is why most of us dread the thought of it.

    A recession can mean massive layoffs, jobs becoming harder to find, and wages frozen, which means consumers hunker down and spend less– often worsening the economic slowdown unknowingly.

    For most businesses, especially small businesses, recessions can be brutal. Just take for example, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) that struck the world in 2008. Between December 2008 and December 2010, approximately 1.8 million small businesses shut down. When Investopedia looked into the impact of the financial crisis on small businesses after a decade, they found out that business creation has not yet returned to pre-crisis levels.

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  • Step 6 of Building a Better Business: Be a better leader; build a strong workplace culture

    Being a better leader and building a strong workplace culture is crucial to having a better business.

    Have you ever considered whether your workplace is toxic? With the average person spending more than 40,000 hours of their life at work, a workplace should be an enjoyable place to be.

    We all have bad days, but if the following bells ring… your workplace may be toxic.

    1. A lack of trust between owners and the team.
    Is there a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’? Everyone should feel part of the team.

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  • Ways to benchmark your business

    For many business owners, determining the success of a business comes down to how much profit the company makes. Of course, finances are an important measure of an company’s overall success. If you don’t bring in more than you spend you won’t be in business for long. Profit, however, isn’t the only important benchmark by which to measure your business.

    There are other important factors business owners can and should evaluate to determine how well their company is doing now and to predict its future success. Measure customer satisfaction

    Customer satisfaction tells you a lot about how much repeat business you can expect. If customers are satisfied with the products and services they receive from you, they’re likely to come back and refer you to their friends.

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  • Questions to ask as your small business recovers from COVID 19

    As small business owners look to operations after COVID-19, there are some important business questions to ask. These questions will help you determine what adaptations you want to keep, whether your business model is working, and if there are additional changes you want to make to keep your company operational through future economic downturns.

    It’s not always fun to do this sort of examination, but the answers to these questions will help you to make the best possible decisions for the future.

    1. What worked and what didn’t work in my business model?

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  • Battling Through COVID-19: Finance Tips for Business Survival

    We’ve heard this before: the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global health and financial crisis that has caught many off guard. While the threats to human life are very real, the damage to the health of businesses is really just starting to show.

    The seriousness of the disease and the lack of a vaccine (at the time of writing this) have prompted governments around the world to impose strict measures to contain the virus. These restrictions in people’s movements and the temporary shutting down of non-essential services have definitely taken a toll on businesses.

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  • Why Black Lives Matter

    I’m not going to make a long drawn out statement here. The events of the past few weeks disgust and shock me. But they do not surprise me. The murder of George Floyd was the spark that ignited the powder keg. Until the rest of us can acknowledge that there is in fact systemic racism in our cultures we can never properly deal with it. The great American, Canadian or Kiwi dream of success and prosperity can never truly be achieved when a segment of our population are directly or indirectly sidelined, ignored or abused. It has to change if we value the culture of our society.

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  • Business lessons learned during COVID-19

    If you’re like many small business owners you’re probably astounded by how the world has changed in a very short time. While we can all hope that the pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime scenario, the truth is there is a lot in life and in business that is uncertain, and there is a great deal we can learn from the response to COVID-19 to help plan for the future.

    Yes, your business might have changed drastically in recent months. There is good news in that, too. It means your business is adaptable and that you can find ways to survive.

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  • Step 5 of Building a Better Business: Get your organisation structure right

    Your ideal structure will allow your business to become more efficient and achieve economies of scale. This increases your bottom line returns at a greater rate than your revenue. Your organization structure should allow your revenue to increase without creating bottlenecks.

    An organization structure should show all ten departments in your business, who is responsible for what, and how the hierarchy works.

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  • How cash flow forecasts can help you

    Managing cash flow is a vital part of running a successful business. Some business owners think managing cash flow simply means keeping track of how much money enters and leaves their business, but there’s actually more that goes into it.

    Cash flow forecasting, for example, is an incredibly valuable tool that helps you anticipate cash flow issues, plan for days when your cash flow is limited, and show the bank that you are prepared.

    It’s an important process that you shouldn’t ignore. Here are some ways cash flow forecasts help entrepreneurs. They help identify cash flow issues before they happen

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  • How to use video for communications

    Since the first internal corporate note was sent—probably reminding employees about casual Friday—companies and organizations have relied on written communications to keep employees up-to-date on company policies, procedures and changes happening within. These days, though, more companies are switching to videos to relay information to their staff.

    In a lot of ways, video is more effective than written communications. It grabs peoples’ attention, conveys important information quickly and is usually memorable. It’s also practical.

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  • Recession Proof your Mortgage

    IMPORTANT: This post is specific to Canada. If you are not a Canada business/taxpayer then it is probably not applicable to you.

    Sylvia Ho, from Sylvia Ho Mortgages, explains how to Recession-Proof your Mortgage. She offered a free Mortgage Rate Monitor service to see how you may be able to take advantage of the fast-moving mortgage situation, or even just to get a second look at your current mortgage. You can contact Sylvia at mortgages@sylviaho.ca or phone 647-223-6100.

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  • Business Finance with CIBC

    At a recent Hangout we had Ashkan Refghi & Geraint Court from CIBC Business Banking talking about Business Finance. You can reach Ashkan at (905) 505-2739 or ashkan.refghi@cibc.com .

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  • What to do when reopening your business

    As many business owners look to life after COVID-19, an important question comes up: how do we plan to reopen our business? For most businesses, the easing of restrictions doesn’t mean a return to business as usual. There are rules and regulations in place about how companies can operate, including how many people can be on their premises at one time and how employees must be protected. Customers may not come back quickly and supply chains may still be disrupted.

    Your main goal is to keep your business going after COVID-19, but reopening requires careful planning.

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  • The Number 1 Thing You Need to Know About Your Business

    When you own a small business, it’s vital you understand how money flows into and out of it. At a basic level, you need to know where your income comes from and what your expenses are. At a deeper level, knowing how money moves through your business can help you make strategic decisions about growth, invoicing, and debt management. The consequences of not understanding money can be drastic—poor financial management is one of the main reasons businesses fail.

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  • Step 4 of Building a Better Business: Make a plan

    You know what you want from your business; now it’s time to plan how to get it.

    Start by deciding what you want personally from your business. For example, if you need $100,000 p.a. to cover your living costs and a family holiday, and your overheads are $100,000, your gross profit needs to be $200,000. If your current gross profit margin is 50%, then your annual sales need to be $400,000.

    Make sure your plan is linked directly to how you’ll achieve what you want personally from the business, e.g. $100,000 and a six-week holiday.

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  • How to Survive a Recession

    At our hang-out this week we discussed How to Survive a Recession.  Outline below.

    How to Survive a Recession

    • The New Normal
      • We won’t return to “normal” for at least a year
      • Re-opening our economy will be a phased and slow process
      • Social Distancing will be the norm – now an employee health and safety issue and opens up huge legal issues if the public contract COVID-19 from your business
      • Large Gatherings will be banned for most of 2020

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  • Three classic business mistakes and how to avoid them

    Even the best entrepreneurs make mistakes. In fact most would advocate that you need to make a few mistakes to learn and grow. So it’s important not to let those missteps stop you from following your dream of running your own business.

    There are some common mistakes business owners make in running their company. Don’t feel bad if you fall into these traps—almost every small business owner does. Here’s our top three mistakes and how to avoid them.

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  • What to do during lock-down

    At a recent hang-out I interviewed Andrew Frank, founder of Lingo Luxe Bespoke on what he’s been doing while his business is on lock-down and he can’t do the things that he normally would do.

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