Category Archives for "Small Business"

Renovating the Office? Here are Five Things to Think About

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Is your small business office getting tired? It may be a time for a change. Maybe you need to create space for new employees, or maybe it just needs an update look. Perhaps you’re just getting started and want your office to reflect your vision. Here are five things to consider before hitting the sledge.

The Strength of the New Design

While blending in and being part of the neighbourhood can be good, but not for your office. Your clients need to be able to find you, so make it as easy as pie. Your design should be readily distinguishable, matching your current branding, so people know it right away. For a lot of businesses, that seems to epitomize a large sign. That can be okay in some circumstances, however, you should be afraid to experiment.

There is still value into fitting into the neighbourhood and surrounding area. If you stick out like a sore thumb, you seem too out of place and that you don’t really belong. While it can be a headache to not clash with fitting in and standing out, it may be worth thinking about that.

Energy Efficiency

Today being energy efficient is a big thing, and can work in your favour business wise. You’re just starting out, so you may not have tons of capital, so if you can save on utilities, then great, and energy consumption is a good place to begin.

It isn’t just the wiring you need to check. If you’re in a colder clime, then ensuring the insulation is sufficient can save you on the heating costs. Upgrading your windows is a good way to keep the heat in and your costs down. Check into your local utilities energy credits or rebates for upgrading your home/office to become more energy efficient.

Focus on the Most Important Change

More than likely, you won’t be able to afford all the changes you wish to make, and that’s okay. You need to focus your resources on the most important areas first. Is there anything your new office just can’t do without?

Analyze your office space. Do you really need to improve it? Will it do for now. Or does it affect company productivity? Is it bleak and putting off to customers? Check your budget, and see where improvements would give you the biggest bang.

The People Affected

You’re not alone in your business, nor is the space just for your workforce. You have to think about your customers and your neighbours. While you may think painting the building yellow is a great idea, that may annoy your neighbours, which could affect deals down the road, and there could be legal considerations (bylaws are the first thing that comes to mind).

You need to have a chat with those involved. Are there any changes your employees may want? They would know what would work for them productivity wise. Of course, you need to go over the renovation plans with them, and how you’re going to deal with any disruptions. Consult your lawyers and see what laws you need to review. You also want to warn your neighbours about any disruptions that the renovation may cause.

Costs

Renovations don’t come cheap, and cutting corners is never a good idea. The old cliché holds true ‘you get what you pay for’, and a well-designed office will pay for itself eventually. Your bookkeeper or accountant should be able to help you develop a budget to get what you want, and keep those costs under control.

Are you doing the work yourself? If you find you need some piece of equipment, rent it instead of buying it as you probably won’t use it again. Check in your network for a dependable contractor, and maybe you can work out a deal for reduced costs such as promising future work or referring them to others.

Your office renovations can be a thrilling affair for your small business, however, it should be mildly. Rushing into a renovation and without care, could make the office worse than it was before. Take your time. This is your office you’re creating, so ensure it changes into what fits your vision and needs.


Before You Rent Out That Mortgage Helper, here are Some Tips

By Randall Orser | Small Business

You’ve been able to buy that new home you want, and it came with an income suite, which can be financially fruitful. To be a good property manager, you should manage your rental as you would a business, which means you need to be an able planner and keep good records (especially for the taxman). For a first-time landlord, renting out your house to an outsider can be quite the challenge. The following four items are something you should know before renting out that mortgage helper.

Keep Your Property Presentable

You must keep up the property in a tidy manner, no one wants to rent a messy place. You may also get a higher rent if you maintain the property, and keep it looking nice. Your renters will feel more confidence that you are a professional landlord when the residence is maintained. If something is in need of repair, fix it, clean up the floors and walls and keep up the landscaping; this makes your rental much more attractive to potential tenants.

Rental properties will need periodic repairs. If you’re not handy yourself, it is a good idea to find a local handyman you can rely on when needed. Your job as a landlord will be much easier if you can find reliable professionals you can call on when needed. Yes, it’s going to cost you money to maintain the property, however, it could cost you more in lost tenants. Plus, you get to write off minor repairs off the rental income.

Always Get it in Writing

That old adage is never truer than when being a landlord. You need to have a tenancy agreement, though there is no standard agreement you must use. You can look at one of those online law documents services and grab one from there, or chat with a lawyer that specializes in rentals. If you decide to just create your own, it is advisable to have a lawyer check it over for its legality.

You should include the following details in any tenancy agreement:

· Start and end date of the rental term

· Security deposit amount

· Monthly rental amount

· The date of the month the rent is due

· Acceptable methods of payment

o How rent should be paid

· If you are allowing direct payments into your bank account, you need to note on the form your bank details.

· The number of keys your giving the tenant

· Who’s responsible for utilities and maintenance

· Any additional fees and disclosures

Depending on your particular circumstances, you may want to incorporate other terms you deem appropriate.

Some other forms to include:

· Pre-tenancy application form

· Security deposit receipt form

It may be a good idea to contact a property law specialist to help create the tenancy agreement to your particular needs. The lawyer will be over legal disclosure requirements and explain how insurance can curb your liability.

Acquiring Great Tenants

The beginning of a successful landlord-tenant relationship is to get the right tenants. To find financially suitable applicants for your property seek the help of a credit check agency. After that, there are tools that can help you locate good tenants. Look for a local property investment association, as this can be a great resource for networking with other landlords. You’ll be able to get tips, and share yours, that you and they have learned over the years.

The Taxman Cometh

You need to include rental income on your tax return, using form T776 Statement of Real Estate Rentals. You must keep accurate records of your rental income and expenses each year. These records help you figure out your net profit for the year. The tax you pay will depend on the net income from the rental; any losses will be deducted from your other income and if you have no other income will be carried forward to the next year. Whether a long-term or short-term rental, most rental receipts are considered income for tax purposes.

If your mortgage helper is for a parent, grandparent, or sibling, they are considered a ‘related person’. You may still have to report the income as rental income, however, if you’re renting below fair market value, you won’t be able to write-off any losses, and will have to report the income differently.

Airbnb is a big thing now, and you need to realize if you’re doing this regularly, then you need to claim it as rental income. You get the same expenses as if it was a long-term rental, plus you can write off bedding and towels that you use exclusively for this rental, and if you supply soap, etc. too. If you supply meals, then the income may be considered business income and not rental income.

Your mortgage helper can definitely help pay for the mortgage and make your dream home more affordable. With experience, managing the rental side does get easier. Finding a good property manager, lawyer and tax preparer can help you manage the details.

Tune-up Your Business with These Growth Hacks

By Randall Orser | Small Business

If you’re not growing then you’re dying, whether or not your business is online or on ground. The term ‘adapt or die’ has never been more prevalent than it has now. Doing the same things year over year in the hopes of being profitable won’t happen; you need to take decisive actions to grow your revenue. Your competition grows at an ever-increasing rate, so now is the time to get more aggressive in growing your company. If you want your year to be the best yet, your top focus needs to be on growth. The ten tips below used in your growth strategy will help your revenues soar.

Networking

You can start networking more, looking at those groups that could likely send you some business. Look for those groups that have members that match your ideal client, or have access to that ideal client. What other industries are connected to your business? You may find clients there, or really good referral sources. The more people you can expose your business to the better, however, make sure it’s the right ones.

Marketing Tools

What marketing tools are working now? Facebook or Twitter may be working now, however, you may want to look at other customer engagement ideas such as live streaming or audio broadcasts. Where is your audience now? That is probably where you should be. There’s many different ways to connect with customers, and you need to be willing to try what resonates with them.

Inventory Collection

Is your inventory getting stale? Do you have items that rarely sell? May be time to get rid of that old inventory. What are the trends happening in your market sector? What could you incorporate into your inventory? Look at finding global suppliers to explore new products, or modifying the ones you already sell.

SEO

What’s your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy? Do you have one? Could be time to revisit now. SEO is a lot different than just a couple of years ago, however, you should be looking at it. Figure out if there’s any new keywords you should be using, develop a blogging strategy using those keywords. If you’re on YouTube, then you need an SEO plan for that too. Look at your competitors, and see what keywords they’re using. SEO is an ongoing process, so make this the year you focus on ranking higher on Google; maybe look at Bing too.

Holiday Marketing

What’s your holiday marketing strategy for this year? Are you planning one? You should be planning well before the actual holiday; don’t think about your Valentine’s marketing at the beginning of February. Your Summer sales push should be created well before the hot weather starts. Believe it or not, but your Christmas marketing strategies should be started in July or August. Commit to becoming a masterful marketer this year by developing your seasonal strategies well ahead.

Beat Your Sales Each Month

Pledge to beat your prior month’s sales every month. What contributed to that growth? Whatever that was, do everything you can to beat those sales figures. That could be anything from boosting your presence on social media, to growing your blogging, to commenting on blogs related to your market, or being helpful on forums where your ideal client resides.

Email Marketing

What are you doing for email marketing now? It’s probably time to increase those efforts. Shoot to grow your subscriber list by at least ten percent each month. If you have an email newsletter, promote that more, add curated content to boost engagement rates, and enhance your visuals with video and custom brand marketing images. Have your existing subscribers share your email newsletter with their social networks for increased enrollment of new subscribers.

Client Acquisition Strategy

Where does your ideal client hang out online? Wherever that is, that’s where you should be building a presence. Where does your client go to network or hang out? Look at offline occasions to connect with your ideal client, and ensure to actively engage at events where those ideal clients are. Sales don’t happen by magic; a client acquisition strategy can make it seem so though.

Feedback

Feedback is very important from your customers, and one way is to offer an anonymous survey. What do they like about your business? What do they think you can do better? Are the most common questions to ask. Your customers may just surprise you with their insightful comments, and you could uncover some great business-building ideas too. Of course, you’d better be ready for some brutal honesty.

Multiple Streams of Income

How many streams of income do you have now? Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have 5 to 7 of them. Rather than depending on your existing income streams, maybe offer a course on Udemy, sell your products, or new products, on Gumroad or Amazon. You have a good chance of increasing your profits continuously, if you are agreeable to getting creative in your approach to revenue generation.

Business growth is a constant battle, and takes careful planning. Those sales aren’t going to magically appear no matter how much you wish. If you want a better balance sheet when 2018 rolls around, you need to be proactive. The above ten tips should be incorporated into your growth initiative to ensure your business grows bigger, and the profits increase.

Speed Up Your Entrepreneurial Adventure 

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Your mindset is important when being an entrepreneur, and you should be working on it regularly. Want to enjoy long-term success as an entrepreneur? You’ll need to look at learning as something you want to do not just something you have to do; that goes for your thought processes too. Assimilate the following growth tips into your daily routine, and improve the quality of your entrepreneurship journey.

Your Thoughts Affect the Journey

The actions you take on your entrepreneurial journal are definitely affected by your thinking. Negative thoughts, such as you’ll never achieve your dream, will affect your actions and cause you to fail. Welcome the many learning opportunities that come your way, and let your recently discovered positive attitude push you towards your dreams. Though sometimes a problem is just a problem and it just needs to be solved.

Who You are Matters

The kind of entrepreneur you’ll become hinges on who you are as a person, it will have a powerful impression. Deal with others in a trustworthy and honest manner, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the same. Surround yourself with principled people, and you’ll build a better business with a strong moral foundation. Figure out and focus on your core values, and incorporate those into your business, and how they can work with your passion.

Ten Year Overnight Sensation

A successful business doesn’t happen overnight, and can take years; hence the expression, ‘the ten-year overnight sensation’. You could struggle for years before even seeing a return on your time investment. Your time investment must be seen as the building blocks for creating a brighter future. Look at your entrepreneurial struggles as an investment in your future, and your mindset changes. Those tough times are now opportunities to grow.

Don’t Judge

You shouldn’t judge your competitors for having success you haven’t obtained yet. Instead, look to them for ideas of what works and what doesn’t in the business your building. Approach your competitors like research subjects and do thorough research on everything from their networking skills to their digital marketing strategies. Understanding how your competitors became successful, the better equipped you are to fuel your fire.

Your business-building adventure will be much more enjoyable if you remember these tips for entrepreneurs. Always be working on increasing your knowledge, and find those motivational tips that work for you. Keep going and pursue your passion even in those tough times. Don’t give up you’ll be happier in the end, and have respect for yourself for following your dreams.

Thinking of Giving up on Your Entrepreneurial Dreams? 

By Randall Orser | Small Business

You had a lightbulb moment, came up with a great idea, figured out your target market and thought entrepreneurship was the right path. You’ve been following your passion; however, you’ve started questioning that choice and even question being an entrepreneur. Staying motivated as an entrepreneur is difficult as success is usually not immediate, and acclaim empty. Are you ready to call it quits as an entrepreneur? Well, here are five reasons not to give up on that dream. You may even begin to believe your dream is worth following, and it’s much too early to give up now.

Opportunity Hunter

You can definitely improve your entrepreneur progress by becoming an opportunity hunter. Don’t get overwhelmed by your business problems, instead look at them for the opportunities that could be there. Prepare your brain to centre on looking for the opportunities others miss; your business will grow by leaps and bounds.

“Look at Me Now” Attitude

You may be on an emotional low right now, and thinking of shuttering your entrepreneurial dream, however, wouldn’t you rather show your doubters just how wrong they were. Make the naysayers in your life feel bad as you’re the owner of a successful business. Embrace a “look at me now” attitude and push aside your troublesome doubts.

Change is Good

Your chances of success as an entrepreneur when you’re feeling down can suffer. Changes in your daily behavior that keep moving you forward. Apathy is the most destructive belief to your entrepreneurial prosperity. Modify your marketing strategy. Switch to a new social media platform you’ve not used before to make connections. Grow your personal brand as an entrepreneur by upping your visual marketing efforts. Mixing up the status quo can refresh your motivation and push to achieve your entrepreneurial dreams.

Leap of Faith

Remember that for you to achieve your business goals frequently requires a leap of faith towards your future. Picture yourself standing at the front of a zip-line that goes across a deep mountainous gorge, and your entrepreneurial goals await you at the other end of that zip-line. Trust yourself and your capacity to work hard towards your passion. Take a deep breath, trust your safety-net, and take that leap towards fulfilling your dreams.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Entrepreneurs today believe out-hustling their competition and working harder than anyone on their team is needed. That is not always true. Working smarter than the competition is the answer, not harder. How do you work smarter and not harder as an entrepreneur? You can start by taking care of yourself and refresh your energy stores. Take that day off and indulge yourself with some peace and quiet. Go to a deserted beach, or a long walk or hike on an isolated trail. Do whatever it takes to loosen up and replenish your spirit. You’ll become a getter entrepreneur when your emotional batteries aren’t running on empty.

When you feel your enthusiasm waning, think about these five reasons to carry on. Think about why you became an entrepreneur in the first place, focus on that and salvage your passion. Entrepreneurship takes work; however, the benefits are worth pushing past that declining motivation. Your dreams are worth pursuing!

Can I Turn My Holiday Trip into a Write-off? 

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Summer is the time when many people take holidays with family and friends. For business people, there’s always that question, ‘can I write this trip off?’ The answer, as it is with any tax question, is ‘depends’. There are factors to consider before you may be able to write that trip off. Is it truly a legitimate business trip? Does it just happen to coincide with a family trip? Who’s going on the trip? Are your staff going too?

Is It Truly a Legitimate Business Trip?

This is the question. Are you taking that trip to France to seek potential business or see a new supplier? Or, is it really your anniversary present to your spouse? If the trip is business, and you just coordinated it to work with your anniversary, that’s okay. As long as the main purpose of the trip is business, you can write off most of the trip.

How much can you write off? For travel expenses, you can deduct air travel, accommodations, car rentals and its gas, taxis or public transit fares, food (only 50% or 100% if you’re getting reimbursed from a client), and entertainment you take a client to, such as concert/theatre tickets or sporting events. For such expenses, you cannot use the portion that would be for your spouse or children, unless your spouse or your children work for your company.

Does your business trip include days where you’re not conducting any business? If yes, then you can only write off the days where you’re conducting business; it doesn’t have to be a full day of business though, as long as it’s more than 2 hours that’s business. Your spouse should be attending these meetings too, or conducting her how business meetings; it’s a stretch but the spouses of all those you’re meeting with your wife could be considered business.

For example, you go on a trip to Europe to conduct business, taking your spouse and children along; your spouse works with you in the business, not the children. The trip lasts 18 days, and of that time you can determine that 8 days were actually for business, the other 10 days were personal. You have to take your travel expenses and claim 8/18th of those expenses. The amounts presented here were converted into Canadian dollars.

Air Travel (you and spouse) $2,150

Transportation charges $ 765

Hotel (you and spouse) $5,400

Total $6,165

Deductible portion 8/18 $2,740

Meals / Entertainment (50%) $1,230

Total Travel Expenses $3,970

We kept meals and entertainment separate as only the meals where you conduct business are allowed. And, some meals and entertainment may have happened on a non-business day as you took a client out to the theatre or dinner.

Working your business schedule around holiday time is not a bad idea, and if you travel a lot for business, it completely makes sense to have family holidays at the same time. If you’re going to Europe you may as well make the best of it.

Conquer These 5 ‘F’s for a Successful Business 

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Your path to success as a thriving entrepreneur will have downfalls, and you must be willing to conquer challenges and work through obstacles. You can’t let these challenges stop you from going after your entrepreneurial dreams, or else you’ll never forgive yourself for not having the conviction to conquer your trying experiences. The barriers on the way to entrepreneurial success are plentiful, and these 5 ‘F’s are the ones you need to beat.

Fear

Entrepreneurs need to be fearless in order to succeed. You’re a business builder and your means of growing your business needs to be bold. Do you have a fear of failure? Maybe it’s a fear of being outdone by a smarter, quicker competitor? Either way that fear will be the end of you, so don’t let fear rule your business moves. Face fear head-on, and you can go far in building your entrepreneurial dreams.

Fraudulent

You’ll probably go through what many call the ‘imposter syndrome’, which is basically a lack of confidence, and lots of entrepreneurs have felt fraudulent at one time or another in their daily business lives. You will need to triumph over your confidence issues, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. You could better your confidence level in areas lacking, hire people that can do the jobs where you’re weaker, get helpful tips from other entrepreneurs, and in the end just believe in yourself.

Free

This is a huge thing for the entrepreneur to overcome as you are starting out and trying to be successful is the predilection to give away your products or services for free. The freemium version of a product has taken off as too many entrepreneurs and startups believe they need that in order to gain traction. If you do only one thing to improve your chances of success, consider changing your attitude towards offering your products or services for free, and double-down on providing premium value instead.

Faltering

Your chance of long-term entrepreneurial success is much less when you falter in your business building efforts. If you allow roadblocks to hinder your growth or are fuzzy (another F!) in your approach to marketing and customer acquisition, your lapses can affect your success rate. You need to be unrelenting in your approach, take glitches in stride, and grow your company confidence and conviction.

Fatigue

Your career as an entrepreneur takes work, and is much easier to have a 9 to 5 job and a regular paycheque than it is to be self-employed. Entrepreneur ship can also be draining, mentally and emotionally. Your time as an entrepreneur is going to be pretty short-lived, if you let fatigue block you from following your passion. As in many aspects of your life, develop coping mechanisms and energy hacks in order for fatigue not to end your entrepreneurialism.

Your entrepreneurial adventure will be much more enjoyable if you aim at conquering these five ‘F’s. It’s not going to be simple, but the success you’ll enjoy will be worth all that effort. Have you thought of any ‘F’s you find challenging as an entrepreneur?

Pass These Five Entrepreneurial Lessons onto your Children 

By Randall Orser | Small Business

As many have come to realize, the middle class is disappearing. It seems that now you are either filthy rich or at poverty level. For financial independence, that long-time career as an employee is not feasible any more. You need to recognize this and teach your kids, from a young age, how to be an entrepreneur and not an employee. For your kids to succeed, they must learn the following business lessons.

Sales Abilities

Whether your child becomes a solopreneur or takes the startup path, they must know how to sell. You won’t get investors to invest if they can’t persuade them the business is viable investment, nor will they be able to persuade customers to pick them over the competition.

One of the major steps is advising them to have pride and faith in their products or services. They won’t be able to sell what they don’t believe in, and for many kids they need to be coached that what they produce will be good.

Target Growth, Not Avoidance

Failure is the biggest educational impediment that your child faces today. Kids are afraid of failure, as parents are drilling into them that failure is unacceptable. The entrepreneurial perspective needs failure as that is feedback, and it can guide you into working better. They need to look at failure as part of the process of entrepreneurship, and that avoiding it at all costs ends up limiting their options.

You need to look at these fear acronyms (there are many more but these two are relevant to our post): Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Recover. Everyone makes mistakes, and scolding your kids when they do doesn’t help; just let them know everything will be okay and ask them what they learned because of the mistake. You need to guide them rather than just tell them what they ‘should’ learn; ask them leading questions and guide them toward the answer.

Independence and Autonomy

Successful entrepreneurs take initiative. There always times when waiting is the best call, however, in a lot of cases action is better than reaction. They need to push past the competition, which seems to just get more intense.

The next generation must have independence, autonomy, and initiative. Coddling and helicopter parenting over your kids all the time robs them of all three, which in the end costs them in the future when they want to create their own companies. You need to back off when they have projects to do; you can answer their questions, just don’t tell them what to do.

Fiscal Responsibility

Get your kids to comprehend that being an entrepreneur and running their own business can’t be done for free. There are many costs such as time and money. They need to get a handle on these costs or they won’t be able to handle running a startup.

For an entrepreneur, the important lessons are financial responsibility and literacy. That summer job or lemonade stand, as innocent as those may be, can teach them about income streams, savings, and profits.

Concentrate on Action

Paralysis by analysis is a phrase than can definitely take the beginning entrepreneur. Planning and theorizing are important, but great entrepreneurs are made from that. Entrepreneurs act on their ideas (and make mistakes) instead of worrying about the possibilities. Don’t get obsessed by checking all the angles, you eventually need to take action.

When your kid has an entrepreneurial idea, encourage them to consider carefully but not fearfully. You need to stress the obsessing over every little detail isn’t ideal, and there are many benefits for just doing it.

Entrepreneurial lessons may seem to be harsh, but they don’t have to be given in a strict manner. You’re teaching your kids to be independent, but that doesn’t mean you have to be cold. Being cold-hearted or mechanical may teach the wrong lessons. You should be warm and supportive. Your children will thank you, both for your kindness, and for showing them how to handle being an entrepreneur.

Is it Time to Outsource Your IT?

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Technology is very important to businesses today, and when it fails, it can be an utter disaster. You have two choices when it comes to your Information Technology (IT) operations. Do you hire someone in-house to install and maintain your servers, and train your staff on the latest software? Or, do you outsource it to an external IT expert? The choice of the latter has many reasons to pick and smart business owners recognize the value of outsourced IT.

The benefits of outsourcing your IT can be quite clear, however, some are not as clear. Here are ten benefits to outsourcing your IT.

Lower Costs

You can lower your overheads with outsourced IT, as you’re just renting the equipment or space on a server, and pay a monthly fee rather than having to outlay tons of money for in-house equipment. You end up paying only for what you need.

Enhanced Security

Data security is crucial for your small business, and managed service companies are experts at protecting your data safe. These IT providers can easily increase data security, and make expensive data breeches less plausible.

Decreased Training Costs

It can get quite costly keeping your IT staff up-to-date on the latest operating systems and other software, not to mention the constant updates out today. Outsourcing your IT can reduce or eliminate these costs lowering your overhead even more.

Hiring Issues are Gone

Most business owners are not techies, and you’re probably not either, so hiring an IT person can be difficult when you don’t understand what it is they do. These hiring challenges can be eliminated by outsourcing your IT.

Dependable Backups

You have so many things on your mind as a business owner that backing up your data may fall on that list way down. You may have a setup where your data is backed up automatically, however, are you checking those backups. Managed service companies ensure that backups are done regularly and that those backups are usable. You’ll definitely be pleased about this when something goes wrong.

Technical Abilities

You’re an expert in what you do and the niche you’re in, however, IT is probably not one of those. Through smart outsourcing of your IT to an expert, you can focus on what you do best, and not have to worry about your IT.

Better Budgeted Costs

You can better budget what you’re spending on your IT each month as you just pay a fee based on the infrastructure or services you bought. When you have in-house staff, that’s much harder to do, as when something breaks down, you’re responsible for paying for it.

Easier Scaling

With an in-house IT staff, it can be much harder to scale up, however, with outsourced IT can be as easy as letting them know what you want. Is your business in a growth phase? Then you’re perfect for outsourced IT.

Better Productivity

The goal of any business is to be productive and efficiently serve customers, and that’s much easier when you outsource your IT. If your goal is higher profits, as I’m sure it is, then better productivity and lower costs ensures those profits.

Give Yourself a Fighting Chance

As a small business owner, you can keep up with larger competitors by outsourcing your IT. Outsourcing has always been a great way to level the playing field, and outsourcing IT lets you win in this global world of ours.

Finding ways to do more with less is the way of the startup as well as the growing business. A great strategy to do more with less is for your business is to outsource your IT, it has ten great advantages as mentioned above.

What are the Advantages of Incorporating? 

By Randall Orser | Small Business

While there doesn’t seem to be statistics on how many small businesses are incorporated in Canada, in the US it’s something like 20%. As of June 2016, there were 1,143,630 small businesses in Canada (97.9% of all businesses are small businesses). In Canada, a small business is defined as businesses that have fewer than 100 paid employees. In Canada, when you incorporate, you can use Limited, Ltd., Incorporated, Inc., or Corporation after your company name. Why are small businesses choosing to incorporate their business at the start?

Legal Protection

With a sole proprietorship or partnership, you have unlimited liability, however, a corporation limits your liability to your investment in the company. The debts and other legal judgements against the company do not affect your personal assets.

You can also protect the name of your corporation, at least in the Province you’ve incorporated, or Canada if you do a Federal incorporation. Though if you have something good, it may be worth trademarking it.

Equity Investors

If you are a sole proprietorship, and family wish to invest, then you have to make them partners, which then dissolves the proprietorship, and creates a new entity. Otherwise, it’s just a loan that you pay back. For the corporation, you raise capital by selling shares, and you can have different share structures, such as non-voting or preferred shares where they get their investment back first.

Taxes

The corporate tax rate for small business, if it’s a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation, is 10.5% at the moment, and the provincial tax rates varies on your province. In BC as of January 2017, it’s 2.5% for a total rate of 13% on net income below $500,000. Over that amount it jumps to 11%, and a federally it’s 15% for a total of $26%.

The advantage to incorporation is you can play with your income. You can take all the net income out as wages, or divide it between wages and dividends, or leave some net income get taxed at 13% on that, and take some as salary and/or dividends. You need to keep in mind if you have a personal mortgage, the banks like to see a higher personal income. I have found the banks don’t like all dividends when it comes to income.

Continuity

The sole proprietorship dissolves once the owner dies, and the partnership may dissolve if there’s no agreement in place on the occurrence of a partner’s death, otherwise, it becomes a proprietorship or a new partnership. Corporations, on the other hand, continue until they are liquidated.

Ease of Ownership Transfer

As ownership in a corporation is through shares, this makes it much simpler to transfer said ownership. The purchase of shares allows the company to merge or be sold without having to start the business from scratch.

Legitimacy

To future investors or customers, having the suffix Limited, Incorporated, etc. after you name makes you seem more legitimate in their eyes. For some people, it just seems like your more invested in your business if you’re incorporated, especially to the banks.

Also, being incorporated allows foreign investors to invest in your company as there are not the limitations to invest like other forms.

There are Drawbacks to being Incorporated

Administrative Costs

Maintaining a corporation does have its additional costs over the sole proprietorship or partnership. Corporations have an annual filing fee with the province for provincial corporations and for federal corporations too. Federal incorporations may have two filings as they file federally as well as provincially depending in which province it operates. Of course, if you operate in more than one province, you have to register the corporation in each province, and then pay annual fees.

Also, many provinces work with the Canada Revenue Agency, and are informed when you incorporate, so you may be required to register for Workers’ Compensation depending on the province.

More Documentation

Since corporations are separate entities from the owners, there is increased documentation account setup, and filing demands, such as:

· Articles of Incorporation

· Bylaws

· Corporate Minutes

· Certificates of Good Standing

· Separate Bank Accounts

· Greater tax compliance

There are some requirements for corporations when they reach a certain revenue milestone or the number of shareholders that they need to register with the TSX. And, maybe the SEC in the US.

Double Taxation

The one advantage of incorporation is taxes; however, it can be a double-edge sword. The reason is that the corporation is taxed on its earnings, and the owners pay taxes on any earnings received from the corporation, such as dividends. Dividends though are taxed at a different rate than employment income.

When entrepreneurs consider starting a business, the corporation isn’t the first type of entity they think about. Corporations are a viable choice for a business startup, and have advantages over the other forms.

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