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Weekly Business News Roundup

News Roundup for SME Businesses & Startups

Venue Rental: How to Choose Small Event Venues for Corporate Events & Seminars

Planning a small corporate or business to business event? Our marketing manager shares tips on how to find the perfect venue. Among the guidelines are: when choosing your venue, focus on the purpose and goals of the event over cost, as free space isn’t always the best choice. He also lists questions to consider when preparing to find your venue, and steps to take to ensure your choice of a venue meets your event’s purpose and goals.

4 Phrases That Can Hurt A Manager’s Credibility

Besides the obvious statements that undermine your credibility, such as “I’m only doing this because corporate is making me,” there are other common phrases that may seem harmless but can do damage to both you and your team. Here are four of these phrases (to which the author provides better alternatives):

  1. “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”: Often said to high performers with the good intention of praising them, many find it frustrating because they’re craving feedback that will help them grow in their careers.
  2. “Was That Clear?”: While it may seem like a reasonable question, it may not always give you an accurate picture of whether or not your team understands your instructions.
  3. “Failure Isn’t An Option”: Although it seem like it sets the bar high, it may actually encourage mediocrity if people are too afraid of making mistakes to take any constructive risks.
  4. “Don’t Bring Me Problems, Bring Me Solutions”: Usually intended to encourage problem solving, it can prevent employees from discussing important issues they simply don’t know how to solve and prevent you from being aware of where the team stands.

Plan Your Business Trip Effortlessly. Here Are 4 Ways How – and the Apps You Need to Know

There are many tools and techniques available to make your next (or first) business trip go smoothly. Four key ways and corresponding apps are: planning and preparation, employing route-planning tools such as Routeperfect, Roadtrippers and Tripit to create a travel itinerary; anticipating and tracking your expenses, with the help of mobile apps Mint and Expensify; managing your appointments with scheduling apps Calendly and Gigabook; and navigating a new city with offline GPS apps such as Sygic, Here or Maps.Me to save on data roaming charges associated with Google or Apple Maps.

Digifest Asks More from Our Future Cities

Toronto’s international three-day tech festival and startup event, Digifest, will be held from April 26th to the 28th at Corus Quay. This year’s theme is Hello Tomorrow: Our Creative Cities, which will highlight how cities around the globe use technology to meet the challenges facing the urban environment and look ahead 50 years to see advancements across a variety of industries. It also features speakers representing a number of international and local innovators, the IT’S A START Pitch Competition, as well as workshops, demos and exhibitions.

8 Up-and-Coming Businesses Capitalizing on a Forward-Thinking Business Model

“Software as a service” (SaaS) refers to the use of software to deliver a product to the end user, whether a business or individual, for which they pay on a recurring basis. It wasn’t too long ago when SaaS was largely unknown except to those familiar with the software industry, but as the SaaS business model has become wildly popular (adopted by the likes of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud), interest has spiked from investors, entrepreneurs and others interested about the intersection of business and technology, and has allowed many software startups to create a viable business plan from their software expertise.

Here are eight up-and-coming U.S. SaaS businesses to watch this year: Hypr, LaunchDarkly, InfoScout, Front, ShipHawk, BirdEye, Classy and Hireology.

Has Google Conquered Ambiguous Query Spaces?

Is “jaguar” the big cat, the operating system, the car, or the Jacksonville Jaguars football team? This is an example of an ambiguous query space. Our online marketing manager wrote this post to help business owners and managers who rely heavily on Google for leads or sales, and who have products or services with ambiguous query spaces, understand what’s behind the oftentimes significant changes in Google’s search results for their targeted terms – and how to correct setbacks in their rankings.

12 Things You Need to Know About Fear, and How You Can Be a Better Entrepreneur Because of It

A certain amount of fear in the form of healthy skepticism is needed both in life and business. The key is to not let fear paralyze us, thereby preventing us from identifying when it’s warranted vs. when taking action might be worth any potential risks involved. A 2017 Shopify survey found that fear was the second most common obstacle (after marketing knowledge) respondents cited as almost preventing their first sale. Here are 12 psychology-backed tips to help you understand your fears and maximize your chances for success, from how it can drive or limit you to how fear is an integral part of facing any new situation.

Top 5 Business Opportunities Entrepreneurs Should Not Overlook

Considering investing in a franchise? Before you pull the trigger, it’s worth your while to consider business opportunities like distributorships and license agreements as an alternative to franchising. While similar to franchises in that you would still buy into a system and purchase the products or services to be sold, you’d face significantly fewer operating expenses and startup costs, as well as minimal to no directives and oversight.

Five business opportunities to look into are: Sure Step, American Business Systems (ABS), Concrete Technology (CTi), ClaimTek, and Blue Coast Savings.

Rogers to test new 5G network in Toronto, Ottawa

Rogers Communications Inc. says it expects to test new high-speed 5G wireless networks in Toronto, Ottawa and other select cities over the next year. The company is working with Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson in a multi-year network plan. It is using the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, as a 5G test lab to assess how networks can manage thousands of connected devices and high peak data usage. The Centre’s dense concrete structure should prove a challenging environment for the testing of the 5G wireless signals.

Top 6 Mobile Accounting Apps for Small Business

If you’re always on the go like most small business owners, you may not always have the luxury of doing your financial work at the office. With the dozens of mobile accounting apps now available, the good news is that you don’t have to wait and hope to catch up later. The following come recommended by the author from a small business software review site: Zoho Books, FreshBooks Classic, QuickBooks Accounting, QuickBooks Self-Employed, FreeAgent (for UK businesses), and Xpenditure.

Who’s afraid of Amazon? Not this Canadian food retailer

In a sector that’s bracing for Amazon’s entry into the market, the Ottawa-based grocery chain Farm Boy intends to open 15 to 30 new stores in Toronto in the next five years before expanding beyond the Ontario Province – all without the benefit of e-commerce.

Defying the growing trend of online food order and delivery options embraced by big Canadian players like Loblaw, Costco and Walmart, Farm Boy CEO Jeff York believes his approach stands to tap into the 98 percent of brick-and-mortar shoppers who prefer to touch and see products before purchasing. That percentage is projected to dip to 88 percent in the next five years, but York isn’t worried despite detractors like Toronto retail consultant Bruce Winder, who believes Farm Boy’s strategy is “incredibly dangerous.”

These 5 Simple Tweaks Will Make Your Office More Productive

With the rise of telecommuting options and platforms like Slack, Google Hangouts and Facebook Workplace, 37 percent of the workforce chooses to work remotely at least part of the time, and report that they are happier and more productive as a result. So how do you design an office that fosters the same level of productivity?

Modify your office layout and culture are with these five simple tweaks: carve out spaces that work for everyone; make breaks a priority (however counterintuitive); implement a conference room scheduling system (and stick to it); optimize the office climate for comfort; and think outside the conference room.

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