Tag Archives: small business

15 Most Profitable Small-Business Industries

“While a number of small businesses flop in their first year, a safe way to help your new venture be a success is by tapping into the right industry.

From accounting to legal services to real estate — there are certain industries that tend to see higher profits than others. By analyzing net profit margins of privately held companies over the past 12 months, financial information company Sageworks sought to uncover exactly which industries are the most profitable.

For the second year in a row, accounting and tax services takes the cake for the most profitable industry. Real estate, legal services and management of companies and enterprises follows closely behind, also landing on the top of the list for most profitable types of small businesses.

“Many of the top performers are service industries in which certifications and education requirements are barriers to entry,” Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman said in a press release.”

Read the full post here.

How to Dominate Local Markets

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Small Business Saturday
(Nov. 26, 2016) is an American shopping holiday that aims to promote shopping at local businesses. Last year, it generated $16.2 billion in spending for small businesses which was a 14 percent increase from 2014. While it’s great to use Small Business Saturday as a way to increase sales, most small businesses need more consistency throughout the year to survive in the increasingly competitive marketplace. Fortunately, there are several ways small businesses can better position themselves to compete in the local market.

1. Small business tips online.
According to a study from Bazaarvoice, roughly 39 percent of in-store shoppers research a product online before buying at a physical location. This means that your small business must have an online presence in order to compete locally. How can your small business improve its online presence?

Read the full post here.

Filing Taxes as a Small Business Owner

How you file your taxes as a small business owner depends on whether you’re a sole proprietor, a partnership or incorporated. You have to submit the right forms to the Canada Revenue Agency and use the appropriate tax rates. Declaring all your business income and deducting your allowable expenses helps you file your taxes correctly.

Filing Taxes and Business Structure
When you operate a business by yourself and are not incorporated, you are a sole proprietor. The profit you make is added to your income on your personal income tax form, but financial information has to be filed on form T2125. In addition, Quebec residents have to file the same information on Form TP-80-V. If you run an unincorporated business together with someone else, you operate a partnership and have to complete the sections on partnerships on the same forms.

If you incorporate, your corporation is a separate entity and pays its own taxes. You file your corporate tax information on Form T2 and pay any taxes due independently of your personal taxes. While your personal income tax year corresponds to the calendar year, you can choose your corporate tax year to start whenever you want.

Advantages and Disadvantages
One advantage of incorporation is that the corporate tax rate for small businesses is lower than the personal tax rate if your income is in the high income tax brackets. On the other hand, the corporate tax form can be more complicated, requiring financial statements and a balance sheet. For sole proprietors and partnerships, you can deduct your losses from other income but the losses from a corporation stay within the company.

Heather Lowe runs an agency for professional actors in Montreal. She used to operate as a sole proprietorship but is now incorporated. “When the business was small and didn’t make much money, it made sense to keep things simple,” she says. “We lost money for a couple of years, and I was able to deduct the losses against my income as a teacher.” Incorporated since 2008, her numbered company now files corporate income taxes.

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6 Tips on How to Build a Strong Business

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You dream of quitting your 9 to 5 job and be your own boss but are you really ready for the ride? Let’s be clear: Ambition is an important component of becoming an entrepreneur but it’s not enough. Here are 6 elements that make the backbone of a successful business.

1. Starting with a business plan

You must write a clear statement of your vision and mission. This is going to be the roadmap that will guide you at every stage of building a strong business. Once your business plan is ready it will help evaluate any future opportunities as well as in committing to a particular course of action. By eliminating some options and choosing others, you are effectively narrowing the key activities of your enterprise. The plan will also help with such crucial elements as cash flow and asset management, investment opportunities and even an exit strategy.

2. Identifying your customers

You may hire a marketing research consultant who can guide you on identifying who your customers are and what their needs will be. With this information handy, you can create a more effective launch for your products and services. Studying customer needs will also result in high rates of customer satisfaction.

3. Studying your competition

Your competitors are you best friends. To begin with, you can learn from their mistakes by taking note of what went wrong for them and avoid those missteps yourself. Secondly, you can learn what works for them and let your business get inspired from that. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.

4. Not compromising on the big things
This is especially important for the people you hire. Be prepared to invest the time and energy to find the right fit for each role you have to fill. Don’t be afraid to network for this. Besides human resources, your website must look top notch and professional. Don’t let your customers go to competitors with better looking and more user-friendly websites. A good website will earn your business respect so invest in it.

5. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field

It’s what’s going to set you apart from your competition. This will require investing time and resources to study your field. Once you gain some knowledge, start a blog. Let your customers know that you’re the go-to person when it comes to this type of information. As time goes on and you’re confident in your knowledge of the topics, consider writing a book.

6. Finding a mentor

A mentor can be someone who is running a successful business of their own who can help you take the first steps towards building your business. There are experts who have gone through the ups and downs that you can learn from. Mentors also instill confidence when you most need it. Running a business can be daunting at times so you need someone to not only guide you but also inspire you to keep going.

Destination Branding- Tell your story.

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Destination Branding is how the consumer imagines and perceives a destination in their minds. It is not simply about creating a logo or slogan as done with tangible products. This is about appealing to and tantalising the consumer’s wildest imagination and promising them the perfect destination.

It is about telling a story….

It is about sun, sand, sea, romance and happy endings. It is the promise of a story that will sell the package. Storytelling gives brands an emotional appeal and it communicates the value of a brand. It also assists in giving the brand a personality. When we think of Destination Branding, we think of selling an emotion. To sum up, without stories destinations are not interesting. They don’t provide the consumer a means to escape into a dream world where they can act out different identities and perhaps be offered a chance of self-transformation.

To look at this topic from another perspective, one has to examine the impact that technology has had on this type of branding:

• People are using the internet more to give them information regarding tourism destinations. This is due to the dramatic increase in internet usage over the years.
• More and more people are choosing to browse popular tourism sights on their devices rather than popping into their local travel agency for a brochure.
• Due to the technology age we live in, tourism websites have to communicate their branding destinations very clearly.
• They should reflect all the branding components and communicate the destination’s brand identity to the potential visitor.
• The internet user is also more likely to pick sites that they are familiar with. Therefore, it is important to create a destination website that is among the traveller’s favourites as to ensure their repeat visits to that sight and perhaps secure a booking.
• Websites can be an essential component in moving a consumer’s mind from brand awareness to brand preference and finally to brand loyalty. These websites offer experiences and services to the consumer.
• The websites are not merely product based therefore they have to offer a pleasant first impression to the consumer.
• If the experience is impressive enough, the consumer will visit time and time again and eventually remain loyal.
• Another excellent addition to internet based destination research is that information regarding the area and other attractions is easily accessible to the consumer.
As we can see, technology has had a profound impact on Destination Branding and we can only imagine what is waiting for us in the future.

5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home

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Inc.com says “When you don’t have to wake up and go to an office every day, bad habits can form.” Have you experienced this? Check out their awesome post about how to stay productive while working from home.

Many of us are increasing given the flexibility to work from home. No matter if you are an employee or entrepreneur, the idea of working from our cozy homes is often the ultimate reward.

At first, you might feel like the kid who faked an illness to get out of class to play. But after a few weeks of working from home, bad habits can form. Avoid these five mistakes when working from home.

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Technology in the Workplace – The Ups and Downs

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Take a second to imagine what it must be like without all the devices we use to communicate with every day. Imagine your day with only a fixed telephone at your disposal. We can’t. Imagine when you were “out of the office” that is exactly what you are. Left in the dark until your sandwich has been eaten and you return to the office.

Has the onset of a massive technological avalanche affected our communication positively or negatively? Let’s examine some points:

Some of the positives might include:
• The ability to connect with anyone at any time around the world.
• We can now cross the language barrier with the invention of language apps.
• Communication is faster and more convenient than ever before.
• We can ask a question and receive an answer at the touch of a button. This minimizes time spent waiting which increases productivity.
• Communication and marketing is cheaper than ever before. Marketing your business on Social Media platforms is free. Text messages, chat services and emails are free or next to nothing.
• Group instant messaging chats enables members of a team to be on the same page at all times. Important ideas are shared instantly.
• Meetings are no longer confined to the boardroom. The boss can be closing a deal on the other side of the world and still chair a meeting via a video conference.

However, with positives come negatives. They might include:
• Employees may become distracted by constantly being on their devices.
• Technology can harm our communication skills to the point that we forget how to speak in public!
• Emoticons and shortened words such as “lol” and “c u l8ter” may have a negative impact on our written, formal communication.
• People forget how to read each other. Cues such as utterances and body language are forgotten. We also don’t make eye contact anymore. This hinders face to face communication in a big way.
• We no longer know how to deal with conflict. We simply send an email. It’s easier.
• Overall there is a lack of communication skills between employers and employees across the globe.

It is difficult to predict the future, but one thing is for certain. Technology is going to make it easier and easier for us to communicate. A good thing, right? Time will tell.

The Top 5 Trends for Small Businesses in 2016

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Own or work with a small business? Pay attention to these trends from Inc.com

No business sector is more diverse, inventive, and challenging than small business. Each year, millions of U.S. small businesses innovate with new ways of doing business using different technologies and approaches. In a sector that has to move faster, adapt quicker, and evolve more than any other, trends are already emerging for 2016. Here are my top 5 to watch out for:

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Small Business – Big Conscience

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If you think about it, most big businesses start as a small business. Logic tells us this. But how do you ensure that your small business delivers in a big way? How do you secure the loyalty of your customers that that will keep them coming back time and time again?

The answer is simple: Honesty and a big conscience. You need to nurture your business to reap the rewards. This may not make you rich quick, but you cannot beat consistent service at competitive prices. By doing this, you will gain the belief and trust of your valued customers. You cannot ask for more than this!

Another consideration, is always  remain courteous and polite. This may seem obvious but it is surprising what a smile and a kind word can do. You will be remembered as dishing out a positive experience which will again ensure returning customers.

Another point to consider is to try new things. Not everything is going to go your way all the time. Embrace new technology and opportunities. You may be very surprised by the results and wonder why you had never tried that before. Strive for those light bulb moments.

Make mistakes and learn from them. But be careful not to make the same mistake twice! Business success comes from falling down and getting up. Very few businesses receive immediate, overnight success. Perhaps it would be a good idea to find a mentor. An older and wiser business brain that could offer valued advice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

And lastly, go that proverbial extra mile. Why not? If you don’t, somebody else will. Nobody wants to echo those famous last words of ‘I should have done X’.

Be the first to do it!

Social Media and your Business

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It is hard to believe that a mere 10 years ago, we were only using the telephone, email and the fax machine for business communication. If we had a complaint or were dissatisfied with a service, we would send an email and hope for a response.  One-way,passive communicat
ion at its best.

Gone are those days, right? Right!

However, with the explosion of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin businesses large and small, have to be awake and on their toes like never before. Social Media has become the medium for instant, multidimensional communication with both positive and negative effect. A two way process at best.

Without exception, it has become the largest marketing tool used for growing and promoting businesses we have ever seen. Businesses can now get instant recognition at the touch of a button. Unfortunately this comes at a price of monumental proportion. Some time ago two employees at Domino’s Pizza performed an unsavoury prank that ended up on youtube. Needless to say, even after a public apology from their CEO, their brand is suffering severely.

Social Media has given the consumer a new sense of power, a magic wand if you will. Customer service has to be top priority like never before. The days of ignoring a complaint in the hope they will just go away are gone. They will not. Ever. Giving your customer a positive response within 24 hours is like gold. Customers and fellow competitors are watching. Their good feedback or ‘like’ is worth more than any big ad in a glossy magazine.

And if you are not a fan of Social Media and you are hoping all the hype will be over soon. Think again. It has changed the way we live, think, communicate, buy, sell, market and advertise. If your business in not featured on one of these platforms- it’s time.

Go on, take the plunge. But beware, Social Media never sleeps!