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Can a business centre replace a virtual assistant?

With your social media activities and administrative tasks, it’s hard to focus on the most important aspect of your business – serving your customers. So how can you devote your energy to that service without dropping the ball on your other chores? By hiring virtual assistants to take on those tasks that keep you away from your core responsibilities. As we mentioned in a previous blog “Virtual Office or Virtual Assistant?” the terms virtual office and a virtual assistant are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are differences. The term virtual assistant (VA for short), refers to a person who is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative assistance to clients remotely. The term virtual assistant can also refer to software that ...

Canadian small business tax tips

Tax season is upon us and we all know that tax time can be stressful for most – but especially for small business owners who have limited time to spend on preparing their tax returns. Having a plan and being informed can help to alleviate some of the pressures of doing your business taxes. So what can you do throughout the year that will help make tax season easier? Here are some suggestions: Keep up with your record keeping. Not to sound like “Captain Obvious,” but keeping records of all your expenditures throughout the year will add up. It can be as simple as putting all your loose receipts in a shoe box. But it will much easier at the end of the tax year if you had a system to sort and organize your receipts sorted by month or type of expense and placed in an accordion-type ...

Business tips inspired by Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran is the real estate contributor for NBC’s TODAY Show where she regularly comments on trends in the real estate market. But most people know her as one of the sharks on ABC’s reality hit show Shark Tank. If you really want to question her business knowledge, consider that she turned a $1,000 loan and parlayed that loan into a $5 billion real estate business. Then in 2001, she sold that business for $66 million. This shows that she knows a little about building a business. Here are some of her best tips for small-business owners from an article on the Forbes website (followed by our comments): “Don’t be afraid to make big mistakes. All the best things that happened in my business happened on the heels of failure. Don’t be afraid to fail; it’s proof that you are me...

How to promote a networking event

Whether you’re planning a charity event, business networking cocktail hour, reception or educational conference, getting the word out about your meeting can be a big challenge. To adequately promote an event, planners need to target potential attendees using a variety of media. While your networking events may not need its own website, people need one place to check for information about what’s coming up next, or how they register to attend the event. You can use anything from a Facebook group to a Meetup group or even your own website. Whatever you choose, you need to make it a priority and keep it updated. Without a high level of consistency, your past or future attendees won’t be able to keep up or let their own networks know about your events. You want to make it easy for y...

The differences between a mail-forwarding service and a P.O. Box

P.O. Boxes are usually offered by either the Post Office or a “CMRA” which stands for Commercial Mail Receiving Agency. It all depends on the services t\offered by the Post Office or CMRA that you are working with. A mail-forwarding service is typically offered by an office business centre that rents office space to small businesses and also offers virtual office solutions. The first real differences between a mail forwarding service and a P.O. box is that a mail forwarding service provider offers you a real street address. This is ideal, especially if you are a running a small business that needs a more professional image than a conventional P.O. Box number. Another factor is that a P.O. Box cannot accept packages for you, especially when they are being delivered by a third-party courier ...

Choosing the right meeting room for an important session

Where you meet a small business client or supplier can be just as important as the topic or the reason for the meeting. It is your job to find the ideal type of space and the best location for your meeting. If you, like many other small businesses, do not have your own on-site meeting room or boardroom, you need to find the ideal meeting room for rent. You need to choose a rental meeting room that will complement the professionalism and the agenda of your meeting. Location, location, location. When you are planning an important meeting, your choice of location will set the mood. Location is not just about a physical location and a prestigious address, but also about professionalism. You do not want to ask a prospective client to have a meeting in an out-of-the-way place or the back of a co...

How to find and rent downtown Toronto office space within your budget

Finding and renting a downtown Toronto office space that is within your budget is not as difficult as you think. Just follow some simple steps. Step 1: Estimate your budget This step may sound like a no-brainer, but some people skip this step and end up with office space that they eventually find out that it is beyond their budget. By establishing your budget, you will save yourself a great deal of time during your search. Part of establishing your budget is deciding if you are looking for raw office space that will require you to purchase office furniture and equipment, or if you want to rent a serviced office space that comes with office furniture. Step 2: Figure out how much space you need Do you need a small 500-square-foot office or do you need 5,000 square feet of space? Calculating ...

Stop thinking of drones as toys and start thinking of them as business opportunities

Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), have exploded in popularity in the past few years, especially with millennials and YouTube film makers. I am not talking about the drones that are flown by the military and drop bombs, but the ones that many people refer to as “toys.” The so-called toys are proving themselves to being a major asset to business and the economy, especially the high-end drones that are very effective tools. Yes, it is true that many drones are being purchased by hobbyists, but many of those hobbyists that are now finding ways of making money with their drones. Lets talk about a few business ideas that you can start with a drone. 1 Aerial photography. More and more thousand-dollar drones are being used to replace expensive, million-dollar helic...

Time-management tips for making outgoing business phone calls

In our previous blog Time management tips for inbound business phone calls, we shared some techniques for saving time and money on telephone calls that you might not be expecting. But what about those calls that you need to make and not waste time while making them? Managing your outgoing business calls is just as important and managing your incoming calls; it just takes some different techniques. It is too easy to find yourself wasting time making calls to clients, suppliers and associates – especially when you have multiple numbers to reach them at and just as many voice mails that you need to leave to get a hold of them. This is further complicated when you do not have the right number when you are away from your office. 1. Keep your contacts centralized and available where ever you are...

Time-management tips for inbound business phone calls

Do you know how to handle incoming telephone calls so that they do no waste your valuable time? It is a fact that Inbound telephone calls can consume a great deal of time and eat into your productivity level by taking you away from tasks that are more profitable. There are ways of cutting down the time you lose speaking on the phone, without being curt or rude to the person calling you. 1. Have your calls answered and possibly screened by a live professional receptionist. Let her or him route the calls to the right person, department or extension. For some calls, such as those from salespeople looking to sell your business a product or service, those calls can be sent to a voice-mail extension to be reviewed later. You can even have an extension with outgoing messages for general questions...