April 16, 2013

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Canada’s Distinct Labor Policies: What Business Owners Should Now

Canada's Distinct Labor PoliciesThe labor laws in Canada are based on the principles of contract law, which is also observed in many other countries. These are policies that cover all types of agreements about the exchange of services, goods, properties and money. They also encompass legal requirements and issues, such as unfair dismissal, payment of damages and reasonable notice of termination. Working in a similar fashion to the United States, Canada’s laws maintain separate regulations for workers who are part of a union and those that aren’t.

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April 15, 2013

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Economy and Environment: An Analysis

Taking Care of the EnvironmentEnvironmental concerns are growing in importance. This is because they often involve elements that affect the health, well-being and economy of the local population. In most cases, the private sector lends a hand to help out the government by monitoring threats to the environment and helping out in advocacy programs and rehabilitation efforts. More government legislation is also being created in order to force companies to take a more pro-active and responsible attitude to the way that they deal with wast.

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September 13, 2014

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Getting Social Media for Business Right

Everywhere you look, it seems that the latest thing to follow and do is a social media campaign for a company’s products and services. It seems as if this was just newly discovered and that there are a lot of things to do – or undo – and it all seems so new, and so hard to do. The truth is, that social media marketing has been around for a while, or at least since before Facebook went global, and before Twitter became ubiquitous. It is not hard, it is just tedious and can even be downright boring for a busy small business owner. It is the same marketing, but more personal and farther-reaching. It can also tap new markets, and new ideas, and at the same time still depend on being a form of word of mouth. All that and a lot more, social media marketing can be done cheaply and on a budget. It can be a big failure, but it can be iterative where the previous failings serve as lessons for the next attempt.

When trying to find social media marketing companies in Toronto, bear in mind that your market is not limited to Toronto, and that these professionals can also market your products elsewhere. At the same time, it is also worth remembering that if you are not from Toronto, but would want to have a presence in the city, you can hire these professionals as they know the city better than you.

One of the simplest examples of a social media campaign can be instituted on a company website blog, and promoted on Facebook and Twitter. However, the real secret to success for any campaign is a continuing conversation. Whether it is likes, shares, or comments, the feedback gathered online can be used to convert and propagate a campaign, which in turn could lead to a sale.

Getting users to follow and give feedback is not easy. They have to be interested in a product or a service, and the value proposition. These have to be presented in a unique way which prompts for interaction. Getting the right people to interact with internet users is not an easy task, as countless campaign failures have shown.

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September 12, 2014

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Common Problems to Avoid in Starting a Business

Starting a business, whether big or small, is no trivial matter. At the least, you will need to invest time, money and effort; and there is no assurance of success. Business experts say that the first few years of business operations are crucial to its long-term success. This is supported by statistics indicating that one-fifth of businesses close within a year of commencing and one-half do the same within three years. Ominous as these figures may be, they are not meant to discourage the novice entrepreneur. Instead, they present a challenging reality that a startup business owner like you should anticipate.

Being able to overcome challenges is a must. Fortunately, commitment, diligence and hard work often lead to business success. Moreover, your chances of succeeding are greatly improved if some of the most common business mistakes are avoided.

Poor Market Knowledge. Sometimes, starting a business is comparable to going to a battle. Just as no soldier would ever go into a fight without the proper ammunition, you should not go into business without knowing about the market you are venturing into. Even if you have a sound business idea in mind, you still need to conduct research and assess how viable your concept is. This can be done by reading relevant literature, consulting experts and getting feedback from people.

Poor Financial Planning. It is not just lack of finances that can make a business fail; but how these finances are spent. Never start a business without properly planning how you are going to utilize your capital. This is absolutely essential if you intend to raise funds from investors or other sources, since a good financial and business plan will be one of the first requirements they will be looking for. A business plan does not need to be too complex but it should provide the blueprint of how you intend to make your business succeed. If you think formulating a business plan is beyond your capabilities, you can seek help from professionals.

Hiring Wrong People. The people you hire will contribute much to the development of your business; hence, be sure to employ people whose skills you can optimize for success. Finding employees with the right abilities can be challenging, particularly if the business you are starting needs skilled labor and your staff requirements are many. In this case, an apprenticeship program would be advantageous, since it can help ensure that the employees you take in are properly trained. For instance, if you are planning to go into clothes manufacturing, you can partner with an educational institution that offers vocational sewing courses. You can help provide the needed tools of the trade like sewing and embroidery machines. Sites such as http://www.threadworkartisan.com/ reviewing best embroidery machine; and http://www.threadworkartisan.com/what-is-the-best-sewing-machine-for-beginners/ featuring best sewing machine for beginners, can help you choose the equipment for the program. After completion, you can recruit the best apprentices to work for you.

Not Paying Attention to Competitors. Unless you are offering a product or service that is highly unique, business competition is something that you have to contend with. Even if starting a business is taking up a lot of your time, you still have to take into consideration what your competitors are doing. If they are offering more value to a similar product you are offering, customers would go to them instead of coming to you; and you end up losing revenues. There are many ways to gather information about competitors, such as advertisements, news, trade fairs, customers, marketing literature and even the internet. Whatever information you obtain should be incorporated into your business strategies. This way, you will always stay ahead of the competition.

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September 12, 2014

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Improving Cash Flow in Your Business

cash flowCash is to business as blood is to your body. Without cash, your business would be non-existent. The more cash you have, the more opportunities you will have for profit and expand your business. Financial management is more than just collecting payments for products and services, and keeping the profits. In the same way that revenues are coming in, you would have to deal with cash outlays to pay suppliers, hired workers and other expenses. Thus, it is essential to manage cash flow wisely, to ensure that you will have enough cash on hand when it is time to make payments.

In terms of business operations, proper cash flow management involves collecting receivables from customers in the least amount of time while delaying payables as much as possible. Obviously, this should be done strategically to maintain good business relationships with both clients and suppliers.

Before you make that first step in improving your business’ cash flow, you need to make a realistic assessment of your financial standing. To do this, you need to determine the cash on hand as well as receivables, together with the expected dates when they will be received. Similarly, you also need to make projections on the payments you have to make, which can include rental, salaries, taxes, utilities, supplies and debt payment, among others. Conducting these projections will provide you with a clear picture of your business’ financial status and alert you of potential problems in the future.

Another way of improving cash flow is by increasing revenues. You can offer discounts for large purchases or have certain items in your inventory on sale. Obviously, you need not do this on a weekly basis. Pick the right occasions to carry out sales promotions, which might depend on special events or certain market trends. As a business owner, it is essential to be updated on matters pertaining to the economy or the latest business developments. Fortunately, such information can be easily accessed on the internet, on sites such as http://www.theneeds.com/news, a US news website.

Are there old inventory items or pieces of equipment just sitting on the store shelves or in storage? You can sell these at discounted prices. Getting rid of these items might clear up some space in your workplace, which you can sublet to earn additional income.

You can also implement specific strategies to facilitate customer payments. Send invoices promptly and make use of the different methods available today to make it more convenient for clients to pay you. These include payments made via bank transfers, debit and credit cards, or cheques.

Even if your revenues are coming in, you still have to manage your payables wisely for a healthy cash flow. There are ways to remain current in your payments while making use of funds for a longer duration. Take advantage of payment terms made available to you by suppliers. If you are given thirty days to settle your account, do not pay it off in twenty. When a certain account is due on a certain date, use electronic fund transfer to pay on the said date to remain current. When payment delays are inevitable, communicate with your suppliers and let them know of your situation.

Running a business is not an easy matter and being in the red can make it more difficult. However, by being diligent in keeping track of payables and receivables, your business can operate more smoothly.

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September 9, 2014

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Getting Help in Finding the Right Contractor

Contractors are very helpful when it comes to making your house look really good. There are a lot of contractors out there, but not all of them are of the same quality when it comes to the results of their work. Therefore, it is your responsibility to find the right person for the job. Make sure that you really look at all possible choices and screen them so you can come up with a beautiful house in the end.

Doing the Search by Yourself or Not

It is easy to search for the right contractor now especially since there are a lot of available resources online. You can just look up some names online and call them. If you have come up with an agreement, you can seal the deal. You may ask some questions or talk about the rate of their services. Though the steps are pretty clear, the problem is that you don’t really know whether they are that good or not as you have no background in this field either. Therefore, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of screening potential contractors yourself, you can just hire a company to do the job.

There are a lot of companies out there that can help you partner with the right contractor to get things done. In fact, you can check out Proven Contractor here if you want more details about this kind of service. This is a lot easier since you don’t have to screen the contractors one by one. Since the firm is focused on hiring the best contractors, you have an assurance that you will be given only the best. You can just negotiate with the price of choose from the packages available and you’re done. The contractor will arrive at your place soon and start the job.

A Secured Choice

When it comes to safety, you also have an assurance that everything is safe with a firm such as Proven Contractor. They have already run a background check of their contractors before hiring them. Besides, if they have done anything wrong
or below standards, you can always run after the firm that sent them to you. This is not like hiring someone whom you have just found randomly online. To begin with, you have no assurance that the said person can really do the job. You also have no assurance that the person will not invade your privacy or inflict harm. Take note that contractors will be invited inside your home as a part of the job.

Getting the Best Results

When you have finally hired the right contractor to do the job, all you have to do is to wait for the job to be over. You will then appreciate the results since the person you hired has tons of experiences in his bag and can totally transform the look of your home. Next time, if you need contractor services, you can just hire the same person or seek for help from the same firm to give you a good contractor.

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September 6, 2014

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Proper Delegation and Getting Things Done

Proper Delegation and Getting Things Done

One of the tenets of a good management is to delegate. This does not mean that if you have a task to do, you just send it out to anyone who’s available. Delegating is an art, and a fundamental skill to time-management. To do it properly you have to remember a few things:

  • Does it really need to be done? When you think about it, there are some tasks where you don’t need to do anything. You only need to ride it out. This takes a very high level of decision making, and some time to decide on it. Unfortunately, if you realize a mistake in this decision, there is almost no time to do the task.
  • Is it worth your time to do it? Specifically, is this something that you are qualified to do, and that you yourself should be doing? If it is something which you are not familiar with, or something that a subordinate can do better, then you should delegate.
  • Are your people trained to do it? It is useless to delegate something if the person who gets asked to do the job doesn’t know how to do it. When that happens, things might get worse. You would end up redoing the whole thing, and this would take a lot of more time to do.
  • Can it be done within the area? If it cannot be done within the office, or within the general area, you would need somebody familiar with the territory. This means finding somebody local to the area to do the job for you. It’s easy to find a Maui attorney, rather than going to Hawaii for an issue with law and regulations.
  • Does it really need to be done now? Some people do things immediately once they are given a task. Unfortunately, there are instances when circumstances would dictate deferring an action or decision until something else happens. If a task would depend on an external event, you should know about it. This would allow you to prioritize things and better manage your time and your resources.

These are some things that a manager or a business man learns after a few years on the job. For some, however, they just never learn, and end up never delegating properly.

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September 3, 2014

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Tim Horton’s Merging With Burger King, A Win-Win Situation

These days, there are less and less earth-shaking news. There’s Windows 8, gaining ground on the tablet market, and people are awaiting any news on how Microsoft will manage Nokia. The US recession has faded from memory, as they are now on the road to recovery. The latest good news, was that one about Tim Horton’s merging with Burger King.

A merger between these two giants would result in the third largest fastfood company in the world. Of course, something of this size would not be finalized without a lot of haggling, and some US government intervention. There are several reasons the merger makes sense. Burger King would be able to leap forward in the coffee business. They have been lagging behind McDonald’s in serving coffee. Burger King would also be able to get a leg up on the Canadian market. Supposedly, the biggest reason would be tax breaks due to an “inversion.”

From a competition viewpoint, the merger would make sense. For another, the merger would still leave both companies with their own corporate identities. This fixes some problems for both and will not have much of an impact on the Burger King’s tax situation. In this case, it’s just like a laser eye surgery with Lasik in Austin Texas. It is a quick fix with everyone benefiting.

Big business has always been positioning and competition. Getting the best advantage from any situatioin is hard to do. The positioning in this case wll allow Tim Horton’s to expand internationally, while Burger King can move confidently into the high competition, high profit coffee market. The burger wars escalated a while ago, it just became bigger with vague concepts of territory. Burger King already has a toe hold by partnering with Seattle’s Best. However, McDonald’s coffee houses are already an integral part of their store design.

Competition brings out benefits to the consumers. In most cases, the additional choices result in better products and services. In this case, there would also be better chances for future expansion for both companies. In addition, the Canadian government might benefit a lot from the taxes from these companies. Time will tell if the merger would continue, if it will work out fine, pan out or crash into flames.

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September 3, 2014

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Pros and Cons of VOIP Phone Systems to Businesses

With the popularity of the Internet, new technologies that make use of it are continuously growing. One of them is the VOIP or voice over Internet protocol system. Unlike traditional phone lines, VOIP uses the Internet to transmit calls. This is popular to many businesses in Orange County and other parts of the country. Orange County VOIP phone systems are intelligent tools that companies could use for communication. Like any other systems, it has its benefits and it also has drawbacks. It’s important to learn about its pros and cons so you could decide if this system is for you.

Benefits of VOIP Technology

VOIP lets you use your computer with headset to make and receive calls. A telephone that’s compatible with the system may also be connected so it’s like using a regular phone, except that the calls are transmitted online. This saves you money from phone bills, especially on long distance calls.

This is also helpful for those with work at home employees or people working from another location. Users could connect to the same VOIP system anywhere they are. In case of emergency and the business couldn’t operate from the main office for some reason, work may still be continued, especially for those who have Internet access at home or on their device.

It’s a flexible system that can easily adapt to business changes. Whether you add a few people or another department in your company, there’s no need for a time consuming set up or purchasing of additional equipment. It also offers more features than traditional phone lines, such as video calling and turning voice calls into e-mail messages.

Drawbacks of VOIP Technology

As mentioned, this system also has its drawbacks. First of all, it transmits calls on the Internet. If Internet or electricity is down, you will not be able to use it. Moreover, you may only communicate with those who are using the same software; although there are VOIP systems that allow making and receiving calls from regular numbers, but with extra fee. Also, since it runs on the Internet, there’s a possibility of virus attack or hacking, which could compromise your operation’s security.

Weigh the pros and cons of using VOIP system to determine if it’s the best option for your company.

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September 3, 2014

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Ensuring Security in Your Office

Ensuring the security of your office is important as this is where your business operates. It contains vital data and equipment that your company uses to serve customers. One of the things that you need to consider to make your office more secured is the installation of the locks. This includes the door locks, as well as the cabinet locks.

Door Lock Installation

The installation of the locks in your office plays a big role on its safety and security. High quality locks that are installed properly reduce the risk of burglary. If the locks are not correctly installed, not only that it may cause inconvenience, but it could also cause security risks as intruders would find them easier to open.

Repair should also be done immediately in case there’s of any problem on the locks. Again, having it fixed sooner lowers the chances of unauthorized access. There are locksmiths that offer emergency service, like those in Bromley, which you can call to attend to your needs. A 24/7 locksmith in Bromley will be there to help you anytime you need locksmith service. Other services that these professionals offer are lockout services, key change and duplication.

Choosing the Right Locksmith

Lock problems can happen anytime, which is why you should have the contact number of a reputable locksmith ready, so you have someone to call in case you need help with your locks and keys at the office. Do your research to make sure that you’re hiring the right locksmith. Depending on the city that you’re in, locksmiths may be required to get a license. If they are required, make sure that the one you hire is licensed. If license is not required, find one with certification from a known locksmith organization.

You may also ask recommendations from friends, family members and business colleagues. Reading reviews and feedbacks from trusted review sites like Yelp, would also give you a better idea on the quality of service provided.

Unexpected things could still happen even with professionals, which is why it’s also important that the locksmith you choose is insured and offers warranty of service.

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August 30, 2014

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Improving Customer Service

Regardless of the size and type of business you are operating, good customer service is essential to the success of your business. According to an educational website, customer services involves taking good care of clients’ needs by proving professional, helpful and quality assistance before, during and after the purchase of products and services. Undoubtedly, customers are your business’ most important assets since they are the ones bringing in the revenues. Without them, your business would not exist.

As a business owner, you obviously have a set of strategies to develop and prosper your business; and one of these strategies should include providing excellent care for your clientele. If your business employs several workers, you can emphasize customer service by making it part of your operating policies manual. Drafting this type of document can be quite a challenge but you can seek the help of professionals like the one featured on this site of a Minnesota corporate law firm. With such a manual on hand, good customer service will be standard practice for the business.

There are several reasons why providing excellent service to clients makes good business sense. Firstly, it will give your business an edge over your competitors. Secondly, it fosters loyalty among your clients who will likely buy from you again and again. Thirdly, having a reputation as a business with good customer encourages new customers to patronize your products.

One of the key aspects of customer service is communication. Many businesses send electronic mail to their clients on a regular basis but this may not be sufficient or too impersonal. Communicating with customers, to be effective, must be more engaging. This does not mean spending all working hours having one-on-one consultations with customers. However, you can make good use of various technologies like social media and chat sites to make business-client interaction more personal. Additionally, you can utilize these web-based tools to gather feedback from your customers. From the comments and opinions that you obtain, you can better assess the needs of your customers and improve your products and services accordingly.

Granting that your customer base is growing at a steady rate, do not be in such a hurry to expand your business at the expense of quality. Expanding businesses sometimes fall into the trap of neglecting their customers for the sake of profit and growth. Cheaply made goods, poorly made designs and materials, mediocre service, and rude and inefficient staff are indicators of a business that has overlooked good customer service.  The unfortunate result of this situation is loss of customer loyalty. For example, if you plan to acquire another business and need to hire additional office workers, instilling in them the principles of customer service is as important as the legal advice you acquired for your business purchase from experts like the Minnesota business lawyers found on this site. This will guarantee the consistency of customer service.

Even if your business is currently successful, never rest on your laurels; because customer service means constantly seeking ways to improve your product or service. Remember that the expectations of clients are never static and your competitors are always finding ways to meet these expectations. Thus, you need to be updated on trends and customer preferences while being creative and innovative.  

Certainly, customer service is not the only factor that will bring success to your business; but is it an important one and neglecting it can be devastating. Thus, in dealing with your clients, be sure that the service you provide is exemplary and beyond their expectations.

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August 23, 2014

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Medical Tourism – A Booming Industry

Holidays and surgery seem to go together hand in hand these days and much of that is to do with the rising cost of healthcare.  Medical tourism has turned into one of the most lucrative markets in the world, thanks mainly to the huge amounts of money that can be saved.

Cosmetic Travel

Many people who consider cosmetic surgery in Canada choose to travel to the USA because of the vast difference in cost. No single country has a monopoly on the cost of health care anymore, each one reaping some benefits of the latest craze. And, just because a treatment is cheap, that doesn’t necessarily equate to poor quality either.

Many people choose cosmetic surgery to make themselves feel and look better. Take Suzy*. She lost a lot of weight and dropped several dress sizes but, unfortunately, she was left with skin that didn’t fit either.

She couldn’t afford to undergo surgery here in Toronto because the costs were so high. So she opted to travel to the US for her procedure and set an appointment with a cosmetic surgeon in San Diego.

Not only did she get a professional job at a fraction of the cost, she also got to have a bit of a holiday while she was there.

A Face Lifting Experience

Facial surgery or procedures are another reason why many people choose medical tourism.  A facelift, dermal filler, even a Botox injection, can often be found cheaper in another country and you get to combine the procedure with a holiday while you are at it.

Lucy* was concerned about the wrinkles appearing on her face. She is only in her mid-thirties, doesn’t smoke, drinks little and exercises.  Needless to say, she felt she was looking old before her time and decided to give Botox a try.

Now, the cost of Botox in Canada is not that expensive but she chose to head to a clinic that offered Botox in San Antonio, so she could combine it with visiting family in the same area.  And, it was slightly cheaper in the USA as well.

The beauty of cosmetic tourism is that, provided it isn’t too complex a procedure, the patient can often enjoy a holiday at the same time. Not only that, recuperation can be done in luxury, compared to a hospital room or even your own home.

Many medical tourists report that their recuperation went much smoother because they were booked into luxury hotel suites with all the mod cons. And because they felt like they were on holiday – I guess the spirits are a little higher which tends to reduce recovery time!

Accounting for Cosmetic Surgery

We often get asked if cosmetic procedures can be accounted for on business tax returns. Unfortunately, unless they are a medical necessity and can be proved as being vital for the business, the answer is no.

Should you find that you do need surgery though you should keep all invoices and receipts, all medical records. Contact the Canada Revenue Agency and ask – you never know.*

* Names changed to protect identities

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