Staying productive in the summer months

By Samantha Garner | June 22, 2019

small business summer productivity

It’s summer, which means you’re likely paying more attention to your barbecue and beach plans than many other things in your daily life. It’s understandable – it’s hard to concentrate on the everyday demands of entrepreneurship when the sun is shining. To help you stay on top of things and enjoy your off time guilt-free, here are some tips to help keep your small business productive during the summer months.

  • Set an example. As a good manager, you know that your employees look up to you and take their behaviour cues from you. Make sure you and your management are at work and actually working right along with your team.
  • Loosen expectations a little. We’re not suggesting you turn a blind eye to summer slacking, but don’t forget that happy employees are loyal end productive employees. Find ways to let your team enjoy vacations and summer weather while still meeting their work responsibilities. You can also find ways to get outside as often as you can, such as holding your meetings outdoors or taking the team for Friday lunch on the patio.
  • Take advantage of productivity tools. There’s probably an app or website that can help you stay on the ball and reduce time spent not relaxing in the sun. Check out some tools to help entrepreneurs stay productive.
  • Use downtime wisely. If all your clients are on holidays, why not tackle that filing you’ve been putting off? Summer slowness can be a great time to handle behind-the-scenes tasks that get pushed aside in busier times.
  • Encourage employee development. Your team can take advantage of downtime too, with professional development projects or training. Summer can be a great time for your business to invest in the skills and satisfaction of your employees.
  • Don’t deny yourself some summer fun. It’s important for the boss to be happy and productive too, especially if you’re a sole proprietor doing all the work (but keep point #1 in mind!).

Do you have any tips for staying focused in the summer? Let us know in the comments!

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Entrepreneurial inspiration from Sheryl Sandberg

By Samantha Garner | June 15, 2019

In 2016, Facebook COO and Founder Sheryl Sandberg gave a commencement speech at the University of California at Berkeley. She spoke of perseverance in life, and we thought that several of her sentiments could easily apply to small business, too. Enjoy these words of wisdom!

sheryl sandberg business quote

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Understanding cash flow in a small business

By Samantha Garner | June 8, 2019

Why is it important to understand flows of cash as they move through your small business? Even if you don’t think you have a head for numbers, not keeping an eye on your cash needs is one of the quickest routes to business failure. Here are some key things for every small business owner to keep in mind about cash flow.

The difference between sales and cash

When you sell a product or service to a customer, you are entering into an exchange with that customer. The customer pays you or your business for this exchange — a sale has been made.

However, in any business transaction there can be a timing issue. You may not get payment for your product or service right away. This creates a cash crisis, when a business is caught without sufficient cash in the bank to pay bills, salaries, loan payments, and other important things. So even though you’ve made a sale, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cash.

For example, you might have an outstanding invoice in your consulting business, and the client keeps promising you the cheque is in the mail. What if one day overdue becomes three weeks overdue? Can you pay yourself this month? Can you pay your employee salaries? (PS There are industry statistics from Statistics Canada and Dun and Bradstreet that tell you the average time it takes in your industry for customers to pay you.)

In the other direction, your business might owe another business, like a supplier, for inventory.

Both accounts receivable and accounts payable will impact your cash flow planning.

What is cash flow?

As it sounds, the flow of cash through the business during a period of time. Cash is your most important resource and you must keep a close eye on it, particularly during the start-up stage. Conducting a cash flow analysis is an important step in determining the overall feasibility of your business idea. The examples we gave above illustrate the importance of timing cash flows — proper cash management would enable you to have reserves to cover cash shortfalls.

Did we mention the average time to profitability for Canadian businesses is between three and four years? Yup. Three and half years is the average length of time it takes to establish a business, and for that business to have enough sales to cover its expenses. Yikes.

Want to learn more? Check out GoForth Institute’s online small business training.

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Download GoForth Institute’s free small business resources

By Samantha Garner | June 1, 2019

free canadian small business resources

At GoForth Institute, we take pride in staying on top of the latest developments. In 2018, we refreshed our course content in response to sea changes in business and in society. We’ve also updated our comprehensive Entrepreneur Library, featuring a wide variety of articles on topics from customer experience, to finding the break-even point, to social entrepreneurship, to Lean Start-up – and more!

Comprehensive free small business resources for Canadians

Check out our updated Entrepreneur Library today – and while you’re at it, enjoy our other free small business resources: Getting Started Guides, checklists, business calculators, essential links, and templates!

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | May 25, 2019

Small Business Founding Team

From fragrance to farming, here are some of the small business blog posts and articles we’ve enjoyed lately. Do you have any you’d like to share?

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