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October 19th to 25th Is BDC Small Business Week

This week (October 19 to 25th, 2014) is BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) Small Business Week. The idea behind this series of events is to celebrate entrepreneurs, as well as Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises. This is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship that the Business Development Bank of Canada has been organizing for 35 years. Each year, around 10,000 business people come together at Small Business Week events across Canada to learn, network and socialize. These events are conferences, seminars, information sessions, luncheons and trade fairs. Your small business should find out about your local events and consider attending one, even if it is only to network with other small business owners. As part of Small Business Week, there is also a webinar hosted by EDC ...

Deciding if Offshore Outsourcing is Good for Your Small Business

Have you noticed in the past few years that many large North American call centres and IT departments that were outsourced to offshore companies are closing those operations? Yes, many large firms are still using offshore companies to fulfill certain roles and tasks, but deciding to use or not use offshore outsourcing does not always come down to saving money. The debate rages on about whether or not having call centres or help centres offshore is beneficial or potentially detrimental for business. Some industry leaders are choosing sides. Some large companies are returning the jobs to Canada and the USA for patriotic and PR purposes. These companies have have eliminated outsourcing operations because, for them, the costs to their business have outweighed the benefits. Many boutique offsho...

What is Your Tipping Policy?

Recently, I have read a few articles about small business owners making various rants and raves expressing their opinions about the tipping of their staff by customers. This brings up some questions as to why and what the whole tipping process involves. The acronym “TIPS” means “To Insure Prompt Service.” But to most small business owners the “TIPS” they are looking for is repeat business, not some extra change in the jar. The goal of a business owner is to keep customers happy and to keep them coming back as happy repeat customers who have benefited from the product or service you provide them with. I remember when I was young, my father told me that it was an insult to tip the owner of establishment because they knew they were making a profit from the ...

Overcoming Small Business Challenges

Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs – but maintaining one is sometimes an even larger challenge. Some of the challenges faced by small business owners are actually ones that every business has to face, but they can be easily solved. But there are other challenges that are faced continuously by small businesses and entrepreneurs. Business owner fatigue is often a cause for concern. With a small staff, many business owners simply work too many hours and do not take the time to rest and recharge. Even small businesses with a competent and dedicated staff will often prevent an owner from taking time off – because the owner feels that the business will encounter problems in his or her absence. It is common that when fatigue sets in, the weariness of the long hours ca...

Bring in the Experts to Save you Time and Money

One of the best lessons that any college or university business instructor ever told me was to surround myself with experts. Nobody can be an expert at everything. Any business owner who thinks he or she can be an expert in everything in their business is setting themselves up for problems. Sometimes “do-it-yourself” solutions can be more costly than hiring a real expert that is focused on just that one job. Hiring the right experts to do the right job is key to the success of a small business. When small businesses need legal or financial help, they hire lawyers and accountants because they know these professionals have studied in their respect fields extensively. Similarly, small business owners want to become the known experts in their field of business. When small businesse...

Know What you are Looking for in an Office Rental

Renting office space is considered one of the highest expenses that a small business will incur, so making the right choice and getting the right deal is very important. A small start-up cannot afford to make the wrong choice and sign up for a long-term agreement in the wrong space, with possible “hidden” costs involved. Don’t make an impulse decision when choosing office space; make it rational and choose the right space that works best for you and your company. Far too often this major financial decision is made with emotions without considering the long-term implications. Many small business owners forget that the space they are considering is going to be a place they will spend half, if not more, of their waking hours in. What looks great today may not suit your needs...

Changing Your Corporate Colours and Logo Without Changing Your Address

As many companies and professional sports teams are jumping on the re-branding bandwagon and updating their look, notice they are not changing their address or contact info. Your business address is important for current and future customers to know and remember. Having a prestigious address is important to any business, especially if you have had it for a long time. An established address shows stability to customers and to vendors. People want to know that a business is not constantly moving and changing where it is located – they want to see that a business is stable. If a customer looks for a contact address for a business, they give more attention to a business that has an address in an important building or at a prestigious location. When a potential customer sees that the business a...

Tips and Advice for flu Prevention at the Office

It is that time of year again to start thinking about flu prevention, and one of the best places to start is in your workplace. Unlike big business that can afford one or two people off sick, entrepreneurs and small business owners will tell you that they cannot afford to be sick with the flu and need to be well enough to run their business. We have compiled a list of measures that small business owners and entrepreneurs should seriously consider when trying to prevent catching the flu. Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent catching the flu. You should get into the habit of washing your hands with soap and water several times a day, especially if you come into contact with things like elevator buttons, doors, photocopy machines and other surfaces that many other people a...

Tips for Entrepreneurs on Finding new Customers

One question that is on the mind of entrepreneurs is often “where do I find new customers?” To some small business owners, this question keeps them awake at night. They may feel that they had a great business idea, but where are the clients who are supposed to be flocking to their doors? Some entrepreneurs forget that the old saying of “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, did not mention that if nobody knows you built it, how do they know where to come knocking at your door? As an entrepreneur or new small business owner, to get the attention for your product or service, it is important for you to find new ways of getting that attention. Many forget that they need to be proactive and need to get out there an...

Don’t Just Learn Effective Communication Skills – Practise Them!

Communication is something that most of we do instinctively just like breathing, but that does not mean we always do it effectively. While it may seem easy and we believe that we are doing it correctly, some small business owners forget that communicating effectively actually takes quite a bit of finesse.