7 tips for an environmentally-friendly small business

By Samantha Garner | August 20, 2016

environmentally-friendly small businessWe all want to do our part to help the environment, and many of us have ideas that we implement in our personal lives. But did you know that you can go green in your small business, too? Here are seven tips for running a green small business.

  1. Use biodegradable cleaning products with fewer harsh ingredients.
  2. Encourage employees to carpool, ride their bikes, or take public transportation to work.
  3. If it makes sense for your business, consider letting employees telecommute, or hold meetings via Skype or GoToMeeting rather than in-person.
  4. Recycle old batteries, computers and electronics. Visit EPRA’s website to find drop-off locations in your province. You can also drop off your recyclable electronics at stores such as Best Buy.
  5. Investigate governmental incentives, funding, and rebates to going green.
  6. Consider taking your marketing online as often as you can, rather than printing out brochures, flyers, or newsletters.
  7. Ask your employees if they have any ideas for energy or waste reduction, or any other good ideas for going green. Your employees might have great suggestions to improve the processes and equipment they deal with every day.

Want more ideas? Check out our 16 ways to go green in your small business.


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GST and HST for small businesses

By Samantha Garner | August 13, 2016

operating_expensesDoes your small business need to charge GST/HST?

Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Harmonized Sales Tax (integrated provincial taxes with the GST, also called HST) must be collected if your business’ yearly revenue is greater than $30,000. If that applies to your small business, you must charge customers or clients GST/HST on your taxable goods and services.

GST/HST exceptions and exemptions

For charities, non-profit agencies and universities, the GST/HST rules are a bit different – it’s charged if revenues exceed $50,000. Generally speaking, financial services are exempt for GST/HST purposes. Other exemptions include taxi and limousine operators. Make sure you double-check the GST/HST requirements for your specific business.

Province-specific tax requirements

In all provinces except for Alberta, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut, you may also need to collect and submit retail sales tax (also called Provincial Sales Tax — PST — or social services tax). Research your province’s tax requirements to find out whether or not your products or services mean you have to charge additional tax. Check registration procedures too.

For more about GST and HST, check out our blog post: Tip of the Month: Small Business and GST.


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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | August 6, 2016

We hope you enjoy these four inspiring small business blog posts and articles we read and liked recently! Did you read something you wanted to share? Let us know in the comments!


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Take entrepreneurial inspiration from these two family businesses

By Samantha Garner | July 30, 2016

entrepreneurial-inspiration-family-businessIn our last post, we shared the story of Ganong, a Canadian family business that’s been around since 1873. Want more family business inspiration? Read on to learn more about Zildjian and GV Showshoes.


One of the longest running family firms in North America is Zildjian. It was founded in 1623 (that’s right – 1623) in Istanbul, Turkey by an alchemist named Avedis I, who discovered an extremely musical metal alloy. He used this alloy to create powerful, durable cymbals. Sultan Osman II named him “Zildjian,” Armenian for “cymbal smith.”

In 1929, company ownership is transfered to Avedis III, already living in the US. He began establishing ties with hot, rising jazz drummers. His son Armand (1921–2002) created the company’s modern factory.

His other son Robert, amidst conflict with his brother, split from the company and started his own cymbal business, “Sabian.”

Today, Armand’s daughters Craigie (CEO) and Debbie (VP Human Resources) are Zildjian’s first female leaders in its long history.

GV Snowshoes

GV Snowshoes, established in 1959 and whose factory and head office are located in the Huron Wendat Reserve in Quebec, is the only manufacturer in the world which uses new snowshoe technologies along with the various wooden models, in the ancestral traditional spirit.

GV Snowshoes is one of the most important manufacturers of snowshoes in North America and the only designer-manufacturer to produce all types of snowshoes available in the market today.

For over 50 years GV Snowshoes has maintained a tradition of excellence in the production and servicing of snowshoe products.

GV operates three manufacturing plants totalling 60,000 square feet, and exports its products around the world. It is a proud supplier of snowshoes to the Canadian military.


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Entrepreneurial Inspiration – Ganong, a Canadian family business with a long history

By Samantha Garner | July 23, 2016

Note: This article was originally published on January 11, 2014. We’ve re-published it with updated information. Enjoy!

ganong-family-businessAs we love reminding entrepreneurs, approximately 80% of Canada’s businesses are family businesses. And they’re not all small business, either. Take, for instance, the Ganong family, founders of Canada’s oldest candy company.

Ganong was started in 1873 by brothers James and Gilbert Ganong in St. Stephen, NB. Together, they opened a grocery business which grew to include a bakery and confectionery. They even tried selling oysters, and manufacturing their own brand of soap. But it was their chocolate that became the most sought-after aspect of their business, and Ganong as we know it was born.

One reason Ganong is still around, in our opinion, is their long history of innovation. Some of the newfangled inventions pioneered by the company include:

  • Wrapped chocolate bars (initially invented to bring along on fishing trips)
  • The first Canadian lollipop
  • North America’s first chocolate nut bar
  • Heart-shaped chocolate boxes (first introduced at Christmastime)
  • Pureed fruit as a candy ingredient

Giving the market new and innovative solutions to their needs is just one aspect of the company’s success. They have also maintained the family tradition through the generations. Members of the Ganong family are still involved in the highest levels of the family business – in roles such as President and CEO, VP Sales and Development, and Executive Vice Chair.

By the way, the business is still headquartered in St. Stephen – at the appropriate address of One Chocolate Drive!


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