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StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Starting Business in Canada? Basic Tips to Follow

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleWhether you are a Canadian or a new immigrant you might want to start your own company and be your own boss.

Statistics Canada showed in 2010 that 5.3% of immigrants started a business after living in Canada for a few years. At the same time, only 4.8% of Canadian citizens owned a private company in 2010. So, everything is in your own hands and all you have to do is to keep in mind the following information.

There are a lot of important things to consider about how to start a business in Canada. In this article, you will find the basic tips from financing and marketing to business planning in Canada.

Build Your Credit Score

If you are new to Canada, you may not have a credit history that banks can rely on to lend you the money for your startup.

There are several fast ways to build up your credit score. One of them is to build up your borrowing potential by signing up for a credit card. Make sure you use it with responsibility and in six months your credit score will slowly start to develop. Later on, you will be able to use it in order to finance your startup.

Pay attention to your credit score even after you’ve been approved for a loan as this is when problems may happen if you fail to repay the loan on time and in full.

Some lenders may approve your application for Canada loans for bad credit customers but it is not guaranteed that you will get the required amount and terms. Such loans are typically issued as personal cash advances rather than business financing options. Although, it may be enough to cover some small current business expenses.

Understand Canadian Culture

If you want your business to be successful in any country, you have to embrace its culture and understand local customers, what they like to purchase and how.

The best way to get immersed in a new culture is to join volunteer organizations and get involved in business associations or any other place where you can easily mix with people who know this country better and have lived here for a longer time.

After you’ve successfully built your local network, you may develop your business and make connections elsewhere.

Make Your Personal and Business Banking Accounts Separate

This piece of advice may seem obvious, yet so many business owners make the same mistake and start their own company not just out of a basement or an old garage, but also out of their personal bank account. Set up a separate business bank account that won’t mix with your personal one.

Also, make sure you have enough money to cover your personal expenses for at least six months while your company is getting started.

It always takes some time before the business becomes profitable so it’s always beneficial to have a good baseline. Even if you don’t have that money at the moment, you can start saving or find a job.

The website of the Government of Canada performs a useful page called Preparing to Work, which provides with additional information on how to land a job in Canada, tips on how to improve your English/French or get your credentials assessed. More than that, familiarize yourself with laws you will be required to follow as an entrepreneur, maybe even consult a business attorney if necessary.

Give your startup a fighting chance by creating a solid foundation with these basic for starting a business in Canada.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Quote

Leadership Inspirations – Socially Responsible Leader Branding

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Quote
 
“Transforming a brand into a socially responsible leader doesn’t happen overnight by simply writing new marketing and advertising strategies. It takes effort to identify a vision that your customers will find will find credible and aligned with their values.”

Simon Mainwaring
Social Media Expert and Advertising Creative Director for Mashable

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

How A Business Can Benefit From an Online Presence

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales ArticleThe internet allows companies of all sizes in all industries to reach new customers, connect with new suppliers, and increase recognition. So, even some more niche businesses could benefit greatly from online advertising.

It’s time for conventional companies to look beyond traditional marketing tactics, such as newspaper ads and flyers, and start focusing on online marketing campaigns. Here are three businesses that can benefit from moving online.

1. Recycling Company

Many businesses wanting to flourish and grow must start adopting modern technologies and marketing tactics. For example, there are new technologies on the market that are simplifying tasks, which can increase onsite productivity. This can apply to the recycling trade.

An online presence can, however, be beneficial to any business, as it allows them to reach a larger audience. It can also personalize a business, which can prove you provide a valuable service to the community. Professional blogs and web content can also add value to your produce, which will make people more likely to turn to your shipping business. Also, use the internet to improve your operations by researching into the most appropriate equipment, regardless of the goods you are recycling. For example, you could take your pick from reputable suppliers online, as you could buy high-quality, affordable cardboard baling wire from Baling Wire Direct.

2. Real Estate Agents

No longer are people looking through a real estate’s windows to find their dream property. Nowadays, house hunters or property sellers want to find or promote a listing online. This allows prospective buyers to easily browse through multiple properties, so they can make an informed decision and choose their new home at their own pace. If you want to compete with more forward-thinking real estate agents, you must develop a website and social media profiles, or you’ll be forced to watch potential customers turn to your competitors.

3. Retail

The rise of e-commerce has posed a serious threat to bricks and mortar stores. Unfortunately, even the most established stores are not safe without an online presence, as more and more people are choosing to shop online. If you’re a retailer without an online store, you may lose out on sales and can witness a drop in loyal custom, as consumers will choose to shop with a more flexible, helpful, and forward-thinking brand.

To survive in the modern marketplace, you could offer an e-commerce website with a fully-optimized checkout, and informative customer service and contact information. It will allow customers to shop at any time of the day, rather than being limited to opening hours at a physical store. So, an online presence could help you to generate money 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Conclusion

There is absolutely no reason why traditional businesses should avoid moving online. By launching a website, creating social media profiles, developing content marketing strategies, and utilizing pay per click advertising (PPC), you can connect with people not only within your local community, but across the globe. It could help you to become a leader in your industry and generate a great return on your investment.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

How Your Smartphone Can Help Your Business Grow

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
 
Just a few years ago – certainly within living memory for most people in business today – there were no smartphones. There were no tablets either, or any other kind of mobile device except, perhaps, for standard cell phones that did nothing except make and receive calls, and perhaps send and receive text messages. However, technology has advanced hugely, and now a smartphone or tablet can actually enhance our businesses in many positive ways, giving customers more choice and adding more profit to the bottom line of your company. Smartphones used to be just for fun, but today they are an essential business tool; here are some of the reasons why that is.

Keep Track Of Your Expenses

Running a business can cost a lot of money, and if you aren’t keeping track of your expenses, it can cost you even more than it should. If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you can download one of a number of apps that means you can keep all of your outgoings in one place. You may be able to upload images of receipts and organize them in a cloud-based system, for example. This makes getting your taxes done a lot quicker and easier than dropping into your accountant with a bag full of crumpled receipts.

These apps are also useful for budgeting as they will be able to tell you – once you have pre-determined the limits – when you are spending too much. This way you can re-assess your budget or your spending before it becomes a problem and you could potentially prevent a serious issue from occurring.

Present To Your Customers

Sometimes a business owner will need to make presentations. This could be to gain a big, new corporate client, or perhaps to explain a product to end users. Carrying a lot of equipment to your meeting and wondering how to set it all up can make your company look more amateur than it really is, but taking a tablet (or even a smartphone) that is easy to set up and, thanks to intuitive apps, easy to create presentations on can make a big difference. This can show your clients just how professional you really are.

If you have the right apps, you can even make a presentation on the move, so that if you find you are coming face to face with someone who needs to know more about your business, with a few taps you can create something not only informative but personalized too.

Spread Your Message

Our smartphones go everywhere with us, and many people feel lost if they happen to leave the house without their mobile device, even if they don’t intend to use it. Since our smartphones are going to be everywhere with us, it makes sense to use them as some advertising space too. Order a personalized iPhone case from new startup Indkly with your logo and website on the back, and every time you use your phone, you will be letting people know more about you.

Be Responsive

A responsive business is a successful one a lot of the time, which is why it pays to answer phone calls, emails, and reply to comments on social media as quickly as you can. You may not always be in the office in front of a computer, however, especially if your business is a mobile one. Therefore, you can use a smartphone or tablet to keep on top of customer questions and answer them much more quickly than if you had to wait to get back to the office. By that time, especially if you have a full day ahead of you, the customer who had the question may well have found another company who answered them more quickly and therefore secured the sale.

Take Orders

A mobile device can be used to take customer orders, and you may well have seen it happen already. It is becoming more and more standard to see waiting staff using mobile devices to take their customers’ orders and send it directly to the kitchen. This speeds up the entire process and gives customers a much better experience. Tapping the order into a smart device leaves less room for error than writing it down, or even simply remembering what was said, plus the servers can engage more with their customers which makes for a more pleasant experience all around.

Order taking devices don’t have to be limited to restaurants and bars. With the right equipment, they can be used in almost any sales situation. You can have an app designed for your business that means you can process orders there and then, rather than having to go back to the office or asking your clients to fill in long-winded paperwork. As a bonus, this means that less paper will be printed and used, which can benefit your business as well as the environment.

Accept Payment

What if, as well as taking orders from your clients, you could even process their payments should that be necessary? There are many apps that allow you to do this, and the money will appear in your bank account straight away. This means you can take credit and debit cards without the need for a special merchant machine, and that means you don’t have to turn away prospective buyers who don’t have cash on them – they can still pay you. If you give each of your salespeople a tablet that is designed to take payments, they can make more sales because they won’t have to go back later to process the payment.

Obtain Signatures

In some industries, particularly in sectors such as real estate, the signing of the contract can take a long time, delaying all the other parts of the transaction. However, with a tablet or smartphone, the contract can be signed immediately through the app, meaning that everything can be speeded up and become a lot more efficient. You will get paid more quickly, and your customer will have a better experience because their order will be processed speedily.

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership Article

Strong Leadership Is the Foundation of Any Successful Business Strategy

StrategyDriven Management and Leadership ArticleWhile your company may have a think tank of brilliant strategists devising new inroads into your market, what you will soon learn is that any strategy is doomed to fail if it isn’t executed as brilliantly as it was conceived. It is at the point of execution that most strategies begin to fall apart, and a huge part of the problem is a lack of strong leadership. If you have sat by while strategy after strategy failed to hit the mark, perhaps you failed to recognize the importance of leadership training.

Do you have strong leaders in key areas within your organization? If not, it’s time you invested in your key players to raise up a leadership team by department. This is where you can see the benefits of several leadership courses that will offer a bigger return on your investment than you can imagine. Don’t let another strategy fall by the wayside when it may only be a matter of giving your team leaders the training they need.

Great Managers Are Not Always Strong Leaders

One of the problems which many corporations encounter is in thinking that great managers are also strong leaders. Actually, the two are not always synonymous. A manager is able to deliver results but isn’t always going to offer any major breakthroughs other than an occasional new product line or finding a new market.

A great manager will also be effective at reducing production costs, but they aren’t necessarily strong leaders. Leaders, on the other hand, are able to drive strong performance at all levels of the operation and that is what fuels a strategy forward – performance. Bear in mind that great managers are not always strong leaders and every company should have a good assortment of both.

Leaders Are Needed at All Levels

Another key area which is often misunderstood is that leaders don’t reside only at the top of the corporate hierarchy. Strong leaders are needed at all levels of an operation because each level is a link in the chain. In fact, any company should have approximately 5 percent of their employees in leadership positions. These are the key players that will drive performance upwards and onwards to bring strategies to fruition.

This is why you are apt to hear so much emphasis being given to appointing team leaders. These are the key people who are able to motivate their teams. Why settle for team building exercises and events if they return to their posts without a strong leader to guide them ever forward? It makes more sense to budget some of that money towards professional leadership training courses once you’ve identified your employees with the potential to be strong leaders.

Who Are These Future Leaders and How Can You Identify Them?

A big part of the problem in trying to identify future leaders is that management tends to look at performance rather than potential. While past and current performance are, indeed, an important factor, there is much more to leadership potential than historical data. The first thing to be accomplished is to define specific roles your company needs leaders to fill. Then you can begin matching skills and personality traits to those roles.

Assessing leadership potential should always be focused on the future and whether the individuals you are rating have the ability to execute strategies within each predefined role during the assessment period. It is suggested that you use an assortment of personality assessments, questionnaires, and simulations which can help you replicate a variety of scenarios a leader might be confronted with on the job.

Coaching Skills Are a Top Priority

In her book, Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others, Cheryl Bachelder says that coaching is one of the most important competencies for today’s leaders. Since Millennials are looking to leaders who are able to coach them along to success, this is a skill which every leader should exhibit. As the CEO of American chain restaurant, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Bachelder found that today’s leaders are often looked to as mentors.

Is there anyone in your company not already in a leadership role that other employees seem to seek out for advice or help when needed? These are often the people with the inherent coaching skills who can benefit from leadership training. These are the ones you will surely want to assess going forward for leadership potential and will offer a high ROI on the cost of training them for their future roles as leaders.

In-House Talent Is Where Your Search Should Begin

Another of the major problems many companies face is employee retention. This is one area you should take the time to analyze. Sort through your HR records to find those employees who have been with the company for any length of time and exhibit a high level of loyalty in keeping with the company’s mission.

Not only is it cheaper and more cost effective to train in-house personnel for leadership positions, but they have already proven to be valuable company ‘lifers.’ These are the leaders who believe in what it is you are doing and are willing to bring others along with them. Leaders need to be loyal to the company’s goals.

Interview Anyone Who Has Worked Closely with Your Potentials

As you begin to identify those employees who you believe have the potential to be trained as leaders, it’s always a good idea to see what others say about them. This is the time when you speak with present and past team leaders, bosses, managers and directors who have had direct contact with your prospective leaders. Also, talk to their peers who have worked side-by-side with them over a period of time. You are looking for honest input from those who know them best.

Give Them an Opportunity to Expand

One of the ways in which many of the major corporations assess potential leaders is to give them the chance to prove themselves on the job. These possible leadership candidates are rotated through various departments and jobs within the company.

Not only can you see how quickly each person adapts to new roles and tasks, but you are also giving them a better background into the corporate machine. Few departments really understand what it is that a company does as a whole, and since they are only one cog in the wheel, it pays to show them other cogs in a well-oiled machine. This can be huge in driving them forward as future leaders.

Seeing Leadership Training as an Investment in Your Company’s Future

In the end, it is surprising just how many companies out there have all the talent they need to raise up a team of leaders from within their own walls yet fail to see it. Altogether too many seek outside talent who may be better educated but don’t have what it takes to step into leadership roles in line with the company’s vision.

Many of these new recruits will leave within the first few years while there are key people from within who could easily step into leadership roles with a series of leadership training courses. If you are seeking to grow your company beyond your current capabilities, you might look in the direction of investing in leaders from within. They are there. Isn’t it time you sought them out?