Category Archives: Established & Growing Businesses

Make Money & Make A Difference

Make Money & Make a Difference is all about how you can do both in your organization! It’s a good business move to do so, because 60% of customers want to support companies with a sense of corporate social responsibility. How can you lose?

If you need more convincing, this webinar examines even more of the business advantages to operating as a social enterprise, including:

  • Improved public perception
  • Direct recognition for your efforts
  • Increased sales
  • More opportunities for partnerships
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Opportunities to team build
  • Increased opportunities to network Statistics show that almost all small business owners want to give back to their communities – over 99%.

There are many ways that companies can be social enterprises…check out these businesses that are making a difference.

Hungry Heart Cafe – “Hungry Heart Café is much more than a great place for food. We help vulnerable adults access careers in the food service industry so that they can achieve independence and realize their dreams.”

Virgin Unite Foundation – “non-profit foundation…to unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world.”

Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie Week – “Your full $1 goes to over 500 charities and organizations in communities across Canada ”

Making a difference feels good. It can make things a little more complicated for a small business, yes, but the webinar addresses these issues. You’ll learn about how to take a social idea and make it a social enterprise:

  • Start with the problem to find the solution
  • Validate your idea
  • Marketing your idea
  • Developing your team
  • Determining your financing options

Does the idea of social innovation and social enterprise appeal to you?

How to Give a Great Sales Presentation, Small Business-Style

Our live webinar series is motoring through summer, with the fast-paced and information-packed “How to Give a Great Sales Presentation, Small Business-Style!” This webinar focuses on 4 key areas of giving a presentation: Audience, Content, “The Nerves”, and Was It Good?

The Audience: Tailor Your Presentation’s Message for Different Groups You need to know who your audience is and what they care about so that you can present information to them that’s relevant and useful. If you don’t know about your audience and what’s relevant and useful for them…find out! You can learn this information by:

  • Attending the event yourself (if possible)
  • Asking the organizers about the people who will be attending and what they’re likely to want to hear about.
  • Showing up early talk to people prior to your presentation about why they’ve come and what they’d like to hear from you. A sales presentation should signal to your audience that you understand their core values and that your own core values align with theirs.

If you can’t connect with your audience on that emotional level, your audience is unlikely to buy from you. Remember – sales are emotional!

The Content: The Importance of the Beginning and the End. When you’re planning presentation content, pay special attention to the beginning and the end – they serve important functions! The beginning should contain the ” hook” that catches peoples’ interest.

A good hook has several characteristics:

  • It is very clear and simple
  • It has some sort of number or return on investment (investment being time spent watching the presentation.) 
  • It draws people in by asking a question or telling a story. Your hook may be your only chance to get peoples’ attention, so be sure it’s effective!

The end of your presentation is a chance to invite the audience to take a concrete, reasonable next step – nothing too big, but something that indicates their interest in what you have to offer.

  • Pick up your business card on the way out
  • Schedule a phone call or coffee date with you to chat about their needs
  • Stay after for a few moments to see a quick demo of your software or website.

Pro tip: You should never have to say “Thank you” to indicate that your presentation is over. It should be clear to the audience!  

The Content: Benefits versus Features

It’s natural to want to tell your audience all about the features that make your product or service is the best on the market. Instead, tell your audience why it *matters* that your product can do what it does, and why it’s important that a job be done just the way that your company can do it for them. Convince them to hire you by telling them the benefits of doing so!

Consider how you might use the following as you present benefits:

  •  Emotional words to further capitalize on the power of talking about benefit.
  • Vocal intonation and body movements to break up the conversation
  • Moments that “pop!” to emphasize points that you want your audience to remember.

You want to make an emotional appeal with your presentation because (say it with me!) sales are emotional!

The Nerves: No Big Deal

Everyone gets a little nervous about speaking in front of groups – don’t worry, there are ways to work through it! Use these techniques when your nerves start to get the better of you:

  • Be sure that you’ve practiced enough before the presentation – most people need to practice between 7 and 20 times. 
  • Show up first and be in the room as everyone arrives, and even talk to people a bit if that’s possible, so you can feel in control of the room and the audience can see you feeling confident and ready. 
  • Just before you start, exhale and force all the air out of your diaphragm and allow it to refill (the opposite of taking a deep breath, which may cause you to hyperventilate.) Then go in and own it! You’ve got this!

Was It Good? How You Can Tell

You don’t need a lot of training or a fancy post-presentation audience questionnaire to evaluate how your presentation went. There are standard indicators of audience interest and engagement that you can monitor even as you’re presenting:

  • People interrupt you to ask question as you’re presenting – Questions about implementation and logistics are an especially strong sign of interest. 
  • Body language – Engaged people will lean in, maintain eye contact, nod and smile (although body language in a business-to-business sales presentation can be trickier.
  • People take action (even small ones) after the presentation – Even if it’s just someone taking a business card from your display table, congratulate yourself – you caught the person’s interest!

Now you need to follow up and move them along your sales funnel! We have lots of information about presentations on our website, and all our resources are available to small business owners on a pay-what-you-can basis! Sign up for an account and check us out!

Thinking About Alternate Revenue Streams for Your Small Business

There are lots of reasons why you’d want to develop more revenue streams for your small business. Diversification and because your customers are asking for more services and products is just the beginning.  But you don’t want to do everything, so choose your revenue streams is super important.

Things you need to consider in order more revenue streams: 1) Your core competencies 2) Adjacencies to those competencies 3) Your existing customers 4) New customers 5) Standard types of alternative revenue streams

How to decide what your core competency is? This is your bread & butter! Your competitive advantage, what you are known for! This is something that you should be better than everyone at. And it is probably the reason why you went into business.

Now you have to figure out what a logical adjacency might be. These are new revenue streams that are strategically aligned to your core competency and that steer what you offer in a defined direction. Some different ways to pivot when you do adjacencies is if they are a new product or service for your existing customers or if you are doing the same product or service for a new target market. Both are a natural step in growing your revenue streams strategically.

Strategies that are for developing revenue streams that focus on the existing customer include increasing the average sale from a customer, increasing the frequency that people use your business, offering something new that they also need, or developing more effective retention strategies. Keeping a customer is worth even more than finding a new one!

There are lots of different ideas of revenue streams to consider. New products, services, intellectual property, events, memberships, intermediaries, programs, residual income, the sharing economy, government contracts and grants, or even crowdfunding. You can do one or more of them, blend them, have fun! Watch the video to hear more about all of this.

The Advantages of Joining a Credit Union

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a credit union and a bank? Are you curious about why you might choose one over the other?

Keith Taylor of DUCA Financial Services can tell you – and he does. You’ll learn about:

  • What DUCA is and how a credit union is different from a bank
  • The different programs that DUCA can offer as a credit union including the Profit-Sharing Program and Profits with Purpose.  There is also a Community Hero Mortgage with a profit donation program with in.
  • What B-Corp certification is and why DUCA works to maintain it including ensuring that they are paying all employees a living wage (including benefits) and were the first to do so.
  • What DUCA offers businesses from no or low-fee business banking and all of the other account options.
  • Plus there is business lending with lines of credit, loans and mortgages  just like you would expect from a bank. But the added advantage for small business owners is the relationship that they have including having a designated Small Business Advisor for all business members.
  • The DUCA Impact Lab – what if banking’s primary focus was on solving problems and creating opportunities for everyone and not on simply making a profit? 

Writing a Business Plan to Get What You Want!

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail – that’s why writing a solid business plan is the best first step you can take toward making your dream of owning a successful small business a reality.

In this recording of our “Writing a Business Plan to Get What You Want!” webinar you’ll learn about a Business Plan and its sections, including:

  1. The importance of deciding who the plan is for
  2. The Business Overview – Talking about The Opportunity and why what you offer is The Solution; defining the target market; describing the unique aspects of a business that give it a competitive advantage and how the business owner intends to keep that advantage
  3. Vision – Where the owner sees their company in 3 – 5 years, the ultimate goal for the business, and a description of the exit strategy
  4. What to include in the Marketing Research section – Industry trends, consumer trends, wider general trends (government, economic, technology) that may impact a product; a business’ main competitors and their potential impact.
  5. Sales Projections – How to calculate reasonable sales projections to include in a business plan
  6. Management Team – Why is the owner the best person to launch this business, given their support team and contacts?
  7. Marketing and Sales Strategy – The plan to get the word out about products given factors like prices, location, size of area to be covered, marketing budget, and projected sales
  8. Operations – Discussion of operational issues like processes and delivery; how processes will be tracked to ensure completion; who handles human resources issues like hiring, scheduling, etc., and how they will be handled. 
  9. Action Steps – The importance of showing the company’s goals for today, as well as its Short Term and Long Term goals.
  10. Financial Projections – Demonstration that the business is financially viable and sustainable over the long-term.
  11. Executive Summary – Written last, but first thing reader sees. Must entice reader to keep reading.

Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA) – What You Need To Know

Having a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is a smart move for any small business owner. You might need to share confidential information that you don’t want shared with many different business relationships that you have in place.

For example,
– Your employees might have access to company secrets, intellectual property, future strategic plans, customer pricing, and many other pieces of information that you don’t wish to have shared.
– Your business partners or investors where you are sharing financial information and your future plans.
– Your banker where you are sharing financial information including the debt and equity information.
– Your customers or suppliers who you are sharing information with on pricing, marketing tactics, and other information that allows you to be a good strategic partner with them.
– Anyone else that you share confidential information with that you don’t want to become public information.

If you want to have an NDA, you can learn more about them and download a template here: https://clausehound.com/

Thanks to Cobalt Lawyers (http://cobaltcounsel.com/) and ClauseHound (https://clausehound.com/). The information provided may not be relevant to your jurisdiction, this information is not a substitute for obtaining legal counsel, nor does it create a lawyer-client relationship with you, the reader.

How to Build Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships are critical to any small business’ success. Regardless of whether you are a small business or a small non profit, building relationships is critical.

Find out the basics of if you need to build a partnership, how to figure out who is the best to partner with, when you are ready to form the partnership, and how to maintain a healthy partnership.

Walking through these stages and ensuring that you keep focused on the last part – maintaining the healthy partnership.

Contact The Expert

The Small Business Solver Team
www.smallbusinesssolver.com
info@smallbusinesssolver.com

Succession Planning for Small Business

Succession planning is all about planning your exit strategy and maximizing the value that the small business owner receives for their effort (which often amounts to years and decades of work).

It also protects the small business owner, family, and the business from any risk.

Learn the process and your options in 20 minutes!

Contact the Expert
Mike Hook
mike@intrepidlaw.ca

SEO 2015 and Beyond

Search Engine Optimization keeps changing! Small business owners need to keep on top of this to make sure that their small business is found online.

There are some significant changes that happened in early 2015 that you should take note of right now!

Watch this less than 20 minute video to learn everything that you need to know now.

Contact the Expert
Allan Pollett
allanp73@gmail.com
www.allanpollett.com

Writing a Small Business Contract

Small business owners need to know how to protect themselves. A contract is not designed for when the two parties agree, but for any potential time when they don’t agree. That is the key!

In this 25 minute video we focus on sales and vendor contracts, but contract best practices in general. What are some of the clauses and what should be paid attention to? The specific clauses that we walk through are;

1. Parties of a contract
2. Description of the product or scope of services
3. Fees and charges
4. Tax responsibility
5. Rejection or acceptance of the product
6. Warranty period and exclusions
7. Payment terms, due date, interest rates
8. Customer promises
9. Vendor promises
10. Limitation of liability
11. Indemnities
12. Dispute resolution mechanism

Contact the Expert

If you have more questions and need more specifics, please contact Rajah Lehal directly!
rlehal@cobaltcounsel.com