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Community Futures Beaver River

Box 2678, 106 - 1st Street East, Meadow Lake, SK - Phone: (306) 236-4422

Image Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Paul Austringr

August Newsletter 2016

  • December 14, 2016
  • Written by Beaver River Admin

The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business

10 Ways to Make a Small Business Look Bigger

Micro-enterprises are everywhere these days. Depending on what you sell, many businesses can easily be run from home. Spare rooms, bedrooms, and basements all double as corporate headquarters of small businesses - even some that are not so small.

For many small businesses there's no stigma to working from home, but it can often be a significant advantage to appear larger than you really are. The other thing is many home-based, or other small businesses, fall into the trap of being homely in the way they present themselves to their market. This may not be a problem if you are selling honey at local markets, or funky costume jewellery to local gift stores, but if you are in a b2b environment appearing more professional, business-like and larger might very well give your businesses the boost it needs.

Here are ten things you can do to give your small business a makeover, making it look not only larger but more professional.

Business cards - these are not an expensive item, but too often small business owners either print them themselves, or get them cheap from somewhere. Invest just a little more and get them professionally printed on good card stock. You'll be glad you did the very first time a prospect admires them.Your title - it's tempting to call yourself president, or owner, but one way to appear a larger company is to give yourself a title such as Marketing Manager, of VP Operations. Something that implies there are people above and below you.Email address - don't use or any other generic address. If you haven't already got a business URL get one so you can have your email address read Oh and create, or have created for you an email signature for the foot of all your outgoing emails.Website - they used to be expensive, now you can set up a professional looking website at a very low cost. It's time to retire the one you made yourself ten years ago that you know looks hokey. This time make your site responsive so it changes dynamically depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to view it. The vast majority of business websites are viewed on mobile devices.Social Media - this has been a boon to business when used correctly, but too often business owners don't make their personal sites private thus allowing clients to see them with their pants down - maybe not literally but often in less than professional situations, or making controversial statements. Remember, the world is watching.Use an invoicing service - this not only looks professional but will allow you to accept credit card, or PayPal payments.Promotional material - the days of designing and printing your own are long gone. The business world has become a whole lot more professional, don't let it leave you behind.Branding - if you haven't got a professional logo and a brand image to go with it, consider getting someone to help you brand your company. Companies with defined brands look larger.Virtual office/assistant - if you always answer your phone it's obvious that you're a one-person business. In today's hi-tech world you can have a service answer your phone and 'put people through to you' just as if it was your receptionist in the outer office.Online postal mailbox - if your postal address sounds unprofessional (47 Cotton Candy Lane perhaps) you might want to invest in having your mail sent to a service address. These are especially useful if you get a lot of mail. Depending on the level of service you require, they can scan and send you an image of your unopened mail allowing you to instruct them to keep it or trash it. They will also, under your instruction, open mail, scan it and send you an image or PDF so you can decide whether you need them to forward it to you. It's like having your own post room!

Just because you're a small business, your clients and prospects don't need to know it. Here's a bonus tip - promote yourself as an expert in your field. Let local, regional, and national newspapers know your credentials and that you'd be happy to comment on your industry should they ever be writing about it. This is awesome personal publicity and a great credibility builder. Or, write a book - even self-published books these days can help build credibility and make people think you're running an empire rather than working at your computer in your PJ's!

Which is the right business structure for you?

There's a lot written about the various ways you can legally set up a business. CRA has pages of information, accountant's websites offer plentiful advice but it can all be too much. We thought it was time to have a short and simple guide to this topic to give you the basics without having your eyes glaze over.

Here's a 90-second fake it till you make it guide!

Sole proprietorship

It's less of a business and more just you doing businessYou and the business are one legal entityThe business can be your name, or you can register a business nameIt's easy and inexpensive to set upIt's all your risk and legal responsibilityAll income is earned by you personally and you pay tax on it as an individualExpenses incurred by the proprietorship can be offset against business income to reduce taxIf the business does well financially it could put you into a higher tax bracket, which might make incorporating more attractive.


It's easy and inexpensive to set upIt's not an incorporationYou can have one or more partnersAgreement can be verbal or writtenYou'd be crazy to only have a verbal agreementThere are three forms of partnership: general; limited; and limited liabilityIf general each partner is liable for the unlimited debts and legal liabilities of the otherIt can be riskyYou pay tax on your share of the partnership's net income on an annual basisNo formality is required to form a partnership. It is automatically created at law whenever two or more persons are carrying on a business in common, with a view to profit.


Often the safest way to set up a business, especially with other people involvedMore expensive to set upRequires annual filing and some other reporting to governmentRequires a more comprehensive set of books than either of the other two structuresIt's own distinct entity - it can borrow money, own propertyYou, and others, invest in the business and get shares - you become a shareholderLimited legal liability - but you can still be personally sued depending on the circumstancesLimited financial liability - however, if you're a small company with few assets banks will require you personally guarantee any loans, lines of credit etc.Better option if you have partnersIf there is more than one shareholder, a shareholder agreement should be in placeYou can incorporate federally or provincially (check which is best for you)You are personally taxed on net profits taken out of the company. That is, if you loan the company funds and later take them back out you are not taxed on this withdrawalThe company pays anticipated corporate tax for the year in monthly or quarterly instalments (it has its own fiscal year)Can offer shareholders ways to reduce personal tax if the company is doing well financially

Having said all the above, deciding on the legal structure of your business is not something you should do without getting legal and accounting help, as every situation is unique. So, our first piece of advice is to read the following so you have a basic understanding of your options then go and see your lawyer and accountant and discuss which course of action is best for your business.

Coach's Corner - Looking at Habits for Success.

What habits work for you? What habits work against you? What habits are seen to be part of a successful person's day? Are there some common threads that seem to be contributing factors to their success?

One important habit that many successful people have is focus. "Putting First Things First" as Steven Covey wrote in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, is about having a focus. What is that over-arching goal you have for yourself, your career and your company? Keeping your focus is one of the key elements in achieving the success you desire.

Following focus, another key habit is to minimize distractions. Distractions and interruptions often derail you from what is important. What are you doing that keeps distractions or interruptions to a minimum? Sometimes it involves carving out some time for yourself by closing your door, turning off the phone, and letting people know that you do not want to be disturbed at certain times.

What are your intentions for the day or week? What do you wish to accomplish and why is it important? Planning your day and even your week ahead of time is another key habit worth pursuing. Taking the time to write down what you want to work on ahead of time allows you to focus on the important/urgent and important/not urgent things on your to do list. By writing down your intentions and following them, you are another step towards achieving your goals for success.

Often, having a morning routine is helpful in creating a successful life. What does your morning look like? What happens when things don't go according to your routine? How does it affect your day? By looking at your routines you can see what is working for you and what is not working. Are there patterns that you need to change for the day to be positive and productive?

What are your habits for better health and fitness? Taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally is important to your success. Often a person with improved health and fitness is less stressed or better able to handle stress. It is reported that getting into a habit of working out 3 - 4 times per week will greatly improve your health and outlook on life. If you take care of yourself, you are better able to take care of others in your personal and business life.

Finally, getting into a habit of reflection is as powerful as writing down your intentions. Taking the time each day, to look back on what was accomplished, what went well, and what you might have done differently, allows you to grow and learn on your way to achieving the success you envision. What would it look like for you to state your intentions prior to the day and then take a little time at the end of your day to reflect?

Habits are important in the lives of successful people. What habits do you need to incorporate in your life?

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching

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