Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Probationary Periods: Are They Legal in Canada?

According to the monster.ca website, YES, probationary periods are legal. However, a formalized signed contract must indicate a time line and specifications regarding the extent of the period. Employers can legally fire, and without ’cause’, an employee if they fail to meet expectations while under that period of probation.

According to the monster.ca website, “In the absence of language asserting that the employer will rely on the probationary term, the courts treat the terminated employee like any other. An employee, who does not meet performance standards and is terminated without cause, is then entitled to severance determined by a court.” That being siad, it is always recommended that you, as a small business owner/entrepreneur, write a formal, yet simple, employee contract stating the details and outcome of a probation period.

For more details on this subject, read this great article on the Monster website: Are Probationary Periods Legal in Canada?

January 29, 2009 at 2:28 pm Leave a comment

Joys of small business

It’s hard for me to say that I can’t be biased regarding small business, because I work for and with small businesses everyday. But I truly see the hard work, devotion, and love that gets poured into many of the entrepreneurs I meet. Take today for example, I bought a homemade sandwich and coffee from a local sandwich place. The owner is always smiling and greets everyone that walks in the door. I, without hesitation, paid $2 for a $1.45 coffee and told them to keep the change. I NEVER do this for franchised businesses. Really, what’s the extra $0.55 to me anyway?

My point is, give a little extra to local places. Not only do they deserve it, they more than likely need it.

January 12, 2009 at 7:49 pm Leave a comment

Slowed Economy Buffered by Low Cost Social Marketing Tools

Are your small business fears growing as our economy declines? Yesterday, a leading economic organization officially declared the developed world in a state of recession. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says the 2009 outlook is grim, that the GDP is likely to decline 0.3 percent on average in its 30 member countries. So the question is, have you been denying that our economy has slowed? What have you done to ‘recession proof’ your business? Well, I sure hope that you haven’t stopped marketing as this is the best time to get the word out about your product or service. If you haven’t already integrated a Social Marketing strategy for your business, regardless of the state of the economy or the industry your in, there is no better time than today to start.

With the development of many low cost and free-to-use platforms, widgets, sites, blogs, and applications, it has become increasingly easier to afford online marketing. Here’s a list of 22 low-cost or no-cost tools compiled by Mashable with some great brand examples:

1. Blogs (Johnson & Johnson, Delta Air Lines)
2. Bookmarking/Tagging (Adobe, Kodak)
3. Brand monitoring (Dell, MINI)
4. Content aggregation (Alltop, EMC)
5. Crowdsourcing/Voting (Oracle, Starbucks)
6. Discussion boards and forums (IBM, Mountain Dew)
7. Events and meetups (Molson, Pampers)
8. Mashups (Fidelity Investments, Nike)
9. Microblogging (method, Whole Foods)
10. Online video (Eukanuba, Home Depot)
11. Organization and staffing (Ford, Pepsi)
12. Outreach programs (Nokia, Yum Brands)
13. Photosharing (Rubbermaid, UK Government)
14. Podcasting (Ericsson, McDonalds)
15. Presentation sharing (CapGemini, Daimler AG)
16. Public Relations – social media releases (Avon, Intel)
17. Ratings and reviews (Loblaws, TurboTax)
18. Social networks: applications, fan pages, groups, and personalities (British Airways, Saturn)19. Sponsorships (Coca-Cola, Whirlpool)
20. Virtual worlds (National Geographic, Toyota)
21. Widgets (Southwest Airlines, Target)
22. Wikis (Second Life, T-Mobile Sidekick)
*List
http://mashable.com/2008/11/07/social-media-marketing-plan/

November 14, 2008 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

Social Networking Overload

“Hot” business lingo that are succumbing to the mainstream:

– Web 2.0
– Social networking
– Social learning communities
– Social learning platforms
– Business blogging
– Twitter

CommSocial, “the first Web 2.0 network platform to fully leverage social networking’s unique power to create “social learning communities” that deliver unsurpassed and entirely predictable marketing and business results”, was recently released by Wi5Connect.

“Market research shows that more than 70 percent of people no longer trust marketing messages,” said Laurie Lohner, CEO of Wi5Connect. Hmmm, last time I checked ‘social networking’ was becoming a form of marketing. CommSocial, though, will give users the chance to obtain complete and actionable data on what customers expect of you, what they think of your company and your products, and will facilitate the environment that allows your best clients to interact with your prospects online. Pretty cool, but throw me a friggen bone here. Do the names Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon ring a bell? I guess I’ll have to wait and see how this platform really fully leverages social networking.

September 23, 2008 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

IS THERE A SECRET TO SMALL BIZ SUCCESS?

Seminar offers help to people starting small and thinking big

What makes one business idea soar while others crash? With 139,000 Canadian firms starting up last year alone, it’s a question any aspiring entrepreneur must answer.

“Most people dream about one day owning their own small business, but very few people know how to make it work,” comments Startup Expert Roger Pierce.

According to a recent report issued by Industry Canada, about 70 percent of small businesses that enter the marketplace survive for one full year; half survive for three years and approximately 25 percent are still operating after nine years.

Those statistics don’t surprise Roger Pierce, Co-founder of BizLaunch, “Too many start ups fail because new entrepreneurs don’t truly understand what it takes to succeed, or, worse, launch a business that does not hold their passion,” he comments.

Overcoming those challenges is the focus of a free seminar being offered on 18 dates this fall across Ontario and Quebec called ‘How to Create Your Million $ Idea’.

Pierce says the seminar reveals the secret ingredients of small business success, reviews hot business trends, lists the most popular startup categories and helps would-be entrepreneurs to find their true business passion.

Pierce is co-founder of BizLaunch, Canada’s largest small business training company. BizLaunch delivers informative how-to seminars for clients that include STAPLES Business Depot, Bell and the Government of Canada. BizLaunch will deliver over 300 how-to seminars in 2008 and has trained over 10,000 small business owners worldwide.

How to Create Your Million $ Idea will be presented by Roger Pierce in Mississauga, September 11, in Toronto, September 23 and on many more dates in 2008. Aspiring entrepreneurs may register for a seminar at www.BizLaunch.ca/bellseminars.

September 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

Techno-devil

We are living through the largest demographic change to ever happen, even larger than WWII. Gen Y’s are at the forefront of the business world today and are tomorrows tech wizards. Social Media is mainstream. It is what we are today and what we will become in the next 10 months. The computation capacity of a computer will soon over take that of the entire human race.

Are you scared? Where will we be in 20 months and 20 years from now?

The desktop computer, the laptop, the MP3 player are slowly becoming extinct. What effect will this have on our daily lives?

August 21, 2008 at 6:54 pm Leave a comment

Measure what Matters

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) help bridge the gap between your Web analytics data and your company objectives. But before you can start any form of research; you must define your company objectives and your online goals. KPI’s can be anything from increasing revenue and lead generation, to conversion rates and page views. It is important to measure what matters by keeping a focus on the research and data collection objectives.

Some interesting KPI stats:

• More than 70% of companies don’t deliver important Web data to executives.
• More than 80% of retailers don’t report Web data to merchandising staff.
• Only 53% of companies are sharing Web analytics data with their marketing groups.
• Only 32% of companies are distributing analytics data daily or weekly.
(JupiterResearch)

KPIs identify what to monitor, manage, and optimize so don’t hesitate to share web performance across all departments including marketing, sales, and even with key stakeholders.

August 13, 2008 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

Are you an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur, according to Webster’s, is one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. It is the combination of those three elements; management, organization, and risk, that enables one to run a business. But, entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily great managers or organizers. They are the creative thinking types that start businesses, hire people to manage them, and outsource work involving organization (typically assistants or equivalents).

So what makes an entrepreneur? Passion, determination, and persistence. Blah, blah, blah… We all know this is true. You need passion to follow our dream, determination to get a loan or funding, and persistence to keep making sales. And so if this is the case, then we are ALL entrepreneurs. Think corporately; some are passionate about their desk job because it pays the bills and provides occasional bonuses. They are determined to get a raise, and are persistent in showing up to work on time. Think small business type; workers are passionate about the company culture, determined to help grow the company, and persistent in contributing to sales objectives. Think the mother type; moms are passionate about their children, determined to help them succeed in life, and persistent in keeping them happy and healthy. Think the Olympic athlete type; they are passionate about their sport, determined to win the gold, and persistent in training their bodies to be the best in the world. Get my point?

August 12, 2008 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

Canada is a safe place for small business

Being an entrepreneur is a totally unique way of making a living. As an entrepreneur, you alone are responsible for your success or failure. You can enjoy rewards beyond your dreams or endure unexpected struggles. That being said, it is evident that many Canadians are taking advantage of those factors.

“Small businesses create jobs that corporations have increasingly been taking away,” comments Roger Pierce, Small Business Expert and Co-Founder of BizLaunch, “Recent cut backs in the manufacturing sector, especially, are leaving many in a helpless situation. Those same employees are starting their own businesses and contributing the Canadian economy”.

A recent report suggests that Canada’s job creation over the last decade is the best amongst the world’s seven largest industrial economies. Those being laid off often think about starting their own company and act on it. Last year alone over 179,000 new businesses were created in Canada. Of those, many employed between 1-5 employees. That’s at minimum 179,000 and up to 895,000 jobs created by small businesses alone.

Those statistics don’t surprise Pierce, “With more awareness of the small business growth we are seeing in Canada, many more companies are popping up. It is said that there is more job security and profits in running your own business. Being ones own boss also allows you to shape and develop a company culture to your liking.” Take Zappo, the world’s largest shoe store as an example. Potential employees are screened to make sure their values mesh with the Zappos 10 Core Values. If an interviewee does not have the same morals, than they would not be considered for the position.

There are many more available services for small business than there has ever been. With the help from governments, non-profits, and private companies, the state of small business has changed so dramatically in the past decade that it has become very easy to start a small business. Programs such as ScotiaBanks’ Starting Line fro Business, STAPLES BizLaunch in store seminars, Small Business Centre events, and free small business advice from government organizations, together have given entrepreneurs the access to the how-to advice they need.

To recieve great bizTips, sign up for bizLaunch’s monthly newsletter at www.bizlaunch.ca

August 7, 2008 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

Pay-for-performance: No longer for Sales people

Base plus commission is the typical form of compensation for sales people. It is widely used because it leads to higher sales. The more sales one makes, the more they earn. But this form of pay-for-performance should not be limited to sales employees. Everyone in the company, especially the marketing department should be compensated on a job well done. Yearly bonuses are good, but that merely reflects how well the company has done over the course of the year. Individual compensation for achieving certain objectives should also be a part of your small business culture.

Pay-for-performance is a key method to align employees’ objectives with your businesses objectives because it associates rewards to performance. Like a dog earning a treat for good behaviour, your employees should also be rewarded for achieving their goals.

“Most employees become more engaged and motivated by understanding how their daily activities help drive overall business health; this unquestionably results in both individual and company-wide success,” explains an article from Success Factors, People Performance Insider Series. The use of pay-for-performance ultimately leads to greater employee motivation, improved retention, and cost savings.

If you are looking into ways to help motivate employees and achieve overall company objectives, consider implementing a pay-for-performance system. It can certainly help with both short term and long term individual and company wide objectives.

July 31, 2008 at 1:54 pm Leave a comment

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