Category Archives: Uncategorized

Creating A Small Business That Lasts

Small businesses are a critical part of the Canadian economy, accounting for 97.9% of all firms in the country and creating 87.7% of all the new jobs. But it’s volatile and risky to start a small business. During the height of the financial crisis, 86% of small businesses failed, and in 2013, more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) went out of business than started.

But these odds don’t stop thousands of Canadians from realizing their dreams of being their own boss. So how can you set yourself up for success to beat the odds and create a small business that lasts?

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A Quick Guide To Becoming A Franchise Owner

So you want to be a franchise owner? Many have found great success opening a franchise or several franchises so if you’re considering taking the plunge, we want to help with this quick guide to becoming a franchise owner.

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Pros And Cons Of Buying A Franchise

This month we’re taking a closer look at franchising as a way to start your own business. For many, it’s the easiest start to being their own boss. But like every opportunity, there pros and cons. So let’s look at the good and the bad to buying a franchise.

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Top 5 Things To Know Before Starting A Franchise

Franchising has been called one of the best business models ever invented and has allowed millions of Canadians to be their own boss. This month, we’re taking a closer look at what it takes to be a successful franchise owner so if you’re considering joining the ranks of the franchisee, be sure to follow our blog this month. This week, we’re looking at what you need to know before starting a franchise.

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10 Tips & Tools to Start a Small Business (Without Breaking the Bank)


Starting a business is no easy undertaking. It requires plenty of planning, as well as resources like money and staff (unless you’ll be running it as a solopreneur). Get off on the right foot with these tips that are either free or affordable.

1. Start with a Plan
When you think of a business plan, do you automatically think of a giant document full of boring information? It doesn’t have to be. Even a 1-2 page business and marketing plan can help you set your ideas on paper and get organized about how you want to run your business. In it, outline what products or services you’ll sell, who will buy them, and how you’ll find new customers.

More Resources
Writing an Effective Business Plan: Introduction (Canada One)
Sample business plans and templates (Canada Business Network)
Business Owners Toolbox

2. Launch Your Marketing Before You Open
Putting off your marketing until you open your business only gives you more work to do later. Instead, set up social media profiles now and start following people that fit your target demographic. Start writing blog content for your business blog so when people start reading it, there’s plenty to keep them on your site. And having a website ahead of time is essential; this is your business’ front door, and how people will find your brand. Get your website designed (and know that this can take longer than projected, so starting early is a good idea) so that it’s ready to go.

More Resources
WordPress (to set up a blog)
Hootsuite (to manage your social media)
MailChimp (to set up email marketing)

3. Look For Low-Cost Small Business Resources
When you’re running your own business, you need all the tools and resources you can get to make the job easier. Having accounting software helps you keep your finances straight. Connecting to other business owners can provide you with great advice that will help you succeed. But doesn’t all this come with a high price tag? You’d be surprised how many free resources there are for entrepreneurs. Whether you’re looking for some mentoring, business advice, or tools to help you set up a website or manage your finances, there are tools and resources to help.

More Resources
Mastercard Business Owner Toolbox (30 day free trial of accounting, data backup, and website builder software)
Canada One (business articles, events, and business directory)
Small Business BC (articles, seminars, and expert advice)

4. Get High-Quality Images for Your Site and Blog
Images are going to be a part of your marketing strategy, and for good reason: people love them. A tweet can get 150% more retweets if it has an image. Using visual content can enhance emails, blog posts, and social media. But stock photos can be expensive! Below, find some affordable (or even free) places to source your images.

More Resources
Creative Commons
5. Get Set Up to Accept Credit Cards
Think you’ll be a cash-only business? Think again. A shocking two out of five consumers carry $20 or less, which means if you don’t accept credit cards, you’ll miss out on serious sales opportunity. On the other hand, accepting credit cards isn’t the expensive hassle you think it is. There are many companies that offer card swipers you can affix to your mobile phone or tablet, eliminating the need for a chunky card processing machine. And their fees are reasonable, too. You pay on average about 2.75% per transaction; a small price to pay to boost revenue.

More Resources
Your local bank

6. Get Your Business Licences in Order
Your business will likely need one or more business licences or permits, so get those squared away before starting your business to ensure that you’re compliant with local and regional business laws. You may need to file them at the city, province, or national level.

More Resources
Permits and Licences (Canada Business Network)
Business Number (BN) Registration (Canada Revenue Agency)

7. Find Your Finances
Do you have a plan for how you’ll fund your business? There’s no way to know when you’ll start turning a profit, so it’s a good idea to have money in the bank for those startup and ongoing expenses, including your salary. You’ve got a few options for your financing, including your own savings, a second mortgage on your home, a loan from friends or family, a small business loan, venture capital, or crowdfunding.

More Resources
10 Tips to Make Startup Funding Work for You
14 Creative Financing Methods for Startups
Top 5 Crowdfunding Sites in Canada

8. Get Your Banking Ready
Once you start making money and paying expenses in your business, you’ll want to have a separate bank account from your personal accounts. This will help you have an easier time of filing your taxes, and it makes it simpler to keep an eye on what your business is bringing in. Open a business bank account now so that you’re ready to roll. Also, having an account gives you somewhere to put that funding you got in #7! Once you have your bank account set up, invest in accounting software so you can keep track of income and expenses, as well as send invoices to clients.

More Resources
Sage One (accounting software)
Xpenditure (expense management)
How Much Will You Sell? Projecting Revenue for your Startup

9. Choose the Right Business Structure
By default, you will operate your business as a sole proprietorship (or a partnership, if you have a partner) when you launch if you choose no other business structure. There are other structures to consider that can provide tax and other benefits, so do some research to figure out which is the best fit for your business.

More Resources
Canada Revenue Agency (information on different business structures)
Corporation, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship?
How to Choose the Right Business Structures

10. Set Goals
Here’s a totally free — and necessary — task for starting your business. Reflect on what you want to accomplish at different intervals. Set goals for six months, a year, three years, et cetera. For each business goal, make a list of to-dos that will help you achieve them. But don’t just put away this document and forget about it. Put each task on your calendar to ensure you complete it, moving you closer toward each of your goals.

More Resources
4 Simple Goal Setting Ideas For 2015
The Science of Setting Goals
10 Business Goal Setting Tips: How to Set and Achieve Career Goals

Each of these tips is essential for starting your business off successfully. Take care of as many as possible before you launch so you’ll have less to do once you do.

4 Ways to Harvest Results For Better Marketing in October

Marketers always say, if you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing. If you’re following our 12 month plan to better marketing, then you may have spent June testing various strategies and tools. But even if you follow your own plan to better marketing, now is a great time to set aside a few hours to analyze some results and come up with ways to improve.

Google Analytics is arguably the most effective way for small businesses to gather information about the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. But this can also be a mystery as to what all that data means? So what should your small business be looking for? Let’s look at four key metrics that will give you basic insights as to the performance of your marketing efforts.

4 Ways to Harvest Results For Better Marketing in Octo Continue reading

4 Must-Do Tips to Succeed with Local SEO

When it comes to SEO, every effort you make can bring you additional customers. When you’re a local business, that SEO is even more important. But you’ve got to take a different approach from someone who is marketing to the entire nation.


Here are four tips that will ensure you rise to the top of local searches.

1. Use City Keywords

If you’re a Vancouver-based bakery, make sure you’re using “Vancouver” in every keyword phrase you use on your website. It’s not enough to say you’re a Canadian bakery. When people search for “Vancouver bakery,” they want to find you. Continue reading