Why be a trend-spotter?

By Samantha Garner | October 14, 2017

business trends

Trend-spotting — anticipating dynamic changes in our society, our economy, in technology and in our daily lives — can help your search for a unique business idea. What does the future hold for us? What are the key trends impacting our lives, our world and our plans for the future?

Two examples of business trends

Fashion blogs/influencers

The internet has changed the way many businesses operate – including fashion-related small businesses. Over the past few years, hundreds of fashion blogs and YouTube and Instagram accounts have popped up online. These blogs are focused on posting daily outfits and news from the fashion industry. It may seem like a cute hobby, but many designers are taking note.

Fashion bloggers have powerful influence over their readers – anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand people. Some of these influencers partner with designers, who offer them free or discounted product to style in an outfit and review on their blogs, YouTube, or Instagram. With the addition of affiliate links, the blogger can make some money too. This can be an effective and reasonably inexpensive way for lesser-known designers and fashion businesses to get their name out there, to a captive audience.

(One caveat – no matter your business, partnering with bloggers is no different than any other social media practice. For the greatest odds of success, keep it professional, non-spammy, and well-targeted.)

Rural business tech

Rural businesses need to pay attention to technological trends just as much as other businesses. Tourism is one industry where rural businesses operate, and tablets, smartphones and the internet are changing the way customers think.

On websites like Expedia and Yelp!, guests can shop for discounted rates and/or leave reviews about their experiences. And your business’ website is as important as ever. In fact, many customers also want mobile websites, and get frustrated by browsing a regular website that’s not optimized to work properly on their devices. Rural businesses have to adapt to these changes to stay competitive.

What business trends have you noticed in your industry? Are there opportunities for you to meet a need that’s only recently been identified?

Topics: Entrepreneurship News, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Ways to manage small business risk

By Samantha Garner | October 7, 2017

Risk is a fact of life, especially in entrepreneurship. At GoForth, we’ve created Canada’s leading online and mobile small business training to minimize an entrepreneur’s risk of failure. But there are some other ways you can minimize risk and uncertainty as an entrepreneur.

How entrepreneurs can manage risk and uncertainty

  • Learn creative ways to manage difficult times. No marketing budget? Try free avenues like social media and word-of-mouth.
  • Know your business inside and out so you can take more manageable risks.
  • Keep track of what’s happening in your business environment so you can be better prepared to anticipate conditions or react to uncertain times.
  • Change your perspective. Can an unpredictable business situation turn into innovation or a great new invention?
  • Don’t do anything on impulse. Sleep on it, plan it out on paper or speak with trusted advisors before jumping in.
  • Build a strong network of support that includes trusted professional contacts and loved ones.
  • Make time to relax and recharge. Trust us – a clear head is much better at evaluating risk!
  • Have a Plan B. And a Plan C too. Always have backup plans for a new product or service.

Topics: GoForth Institute Small Business Training, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | September 30, 2017

Happy first weekend of fall to all of you! If the weather is getting cooler where you are, take some time to pour yourself a cup of coffee and read some great small business articles we liked this week.

Enjoy!

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, GoForth Institute Small Business Training | No Comments »

Giving back as a small business

By Samantha Garner | September 23, 2017

small-business-volunteering

Many Canadian small businesses proudly weave charity and volunteer work into the fabric of their businesses. To them, being a business owner means also being part of a local community. They believe it’s important to give back to that community whenever possible.

Does that sound like a good idea to you? Here are some ways you can get your small business involved in giving back.

Find the right organizations

Charities and causes that you can relate to and believe in are the best ones for you to spend your time and money on. Look for organizations that align with your company’s brand pillars. Consider charitable investments that are most in line with your company values and beliefs and make them a part of your corporate culture.

Donate money

Depending on the level of commitment you’re comfortable with, there’s an option that’s right for your business. Some small businesses sponsor sports teams, a community event, or a community project. Others make financial contributions on an ongoing basis. Donations don’t have to break the bank, either – organizations such as Kiva offer loans for entrepreneurs in need, and lenders can contribute as little as $25.

Donate time

If you’d rather donate your time, focus on your company’s strengths. If you’re an accounting firm, for example, you might help single parents or underprivileged families with filing taxes. A freelance web designer can help maintain the website of their local food bank. You can also host events, offer skills training, or simply spend a Saturday afternoon volunteering along with your employees.

Need even more convincing? A recent study showed that 91% of millennials would switch brand allegiances to one that’s associated with a cause.

So, there you go – it’s a win-win!

Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

How to estimate small business sales

By Samantha Garner | September 16, 2017

business-customerEstimating sales is important, and helps you determine the overall achievability of your business idea. The better your sales forecast, the better able you’ll be to make those ever-important decisions about growth. Estimating sales lets organize market and financial data in a way that helps you determine what your profit might be.

One of the most important tasks of pre-venture planning is the sales forecast. It helps you ensure that your business is sustainable, so you can actually make a living as an entrepreneur.

Read more about the two methods for creating a sales forecast: the market share method and the daily capacity method.

Topics: GoForth Institute Small Business Training, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

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