Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | February 6, 2016

mompreneurWe hope you’re having a good weekend! If you have some downtime, why not make yourself a cup of something hot and relax with these blog posts and small business articles we enjoyed reading this week?

The question set Zuckerberg off on a long, corrective explanation that can double as a helpful look into how Facebook thinks about making money from its popular Internet services.

Great solopreneurs need to be great salespeople. Regardless of the type of business you run, most of what you do on a daily basis will involve influencing others. The better you are at this, the easier it will be to get more customers.

I’ve learned that even if your job involves adult themes, you shouldn’t shut your kids out and assume they can’t (or aren’t ready to) relate to the topic.

How do you design a home that someone living below the poverty line can afford, but that anyone would want—while also providing a living wage for the local construction team that builds it?

Let us know in the comments if you read anything good that your fellow entrepreneurs might like!


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

Dragons’ Den 2016 auditions are here

By Samantha Garner | February 1, 2016

Do you have a great small business idea you want to pitch on Dragons’ Den? Now’s your chance! Auditions for the show’s 11th season are starting this month, and will be in the following cities:

  • Feb. 6 – Toronto, Ontario
  • Feb.10 – Guelph, Ontario
  • Feb. 10 – Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Feb. 11 – Windsor, Ontario
  • Feb. 12 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Feb. 13 – London, Ontario
  • Feb. 13 – Vancouver, B.C.
  • Feb. 13 – Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Feb. 17 – Richmond, B.C.
  • Feb. 17 – Cranbrook, B.C.
  • Feb. 18 – Calgary, Alberta
  • Feb. 19 – Nanaimo, B.C.
  • Feb. 20 – Edmonton, Alberta
  • Feb. 20 – Sudbury, Ontario
  • Feb. 20 – Victoria, B.C.
  • Feb. 24 – Burlington, Ontario
  • Feb. 24 – Collingwood, Ontario
  • Feb. 25 – Prince Edward County, Ontario
  • Feb. 26 – Kingston, Ontario
  • Feb. 27 – Barrie, Ontario
  • Feb. 27 – Montreal, Quebec
  • Feb. 27 – Ottawa, Ontario
  • March 2 – Grand Prairie, Alberta
  • March 2 – Oshawa, Ontario
  • March 3 – Moncton, New Brunswick
  • March 4 – Abbotsford, B.C.
  • March 4 – Charlottetown, P.E.I.
  • March 5 – Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • March 5 – Hamilton, Ontario
  • March 5 – Vancouver, B.C.
  • March 9 – Waterloo, Ontario
  • March 10 – Kelowna, B.C.
  • March 12 – Calgary, Alberta
  • March 12 – Niagara, Ontario
  • March 18 – Quebec City, Quebec
  • March 19 – Montreal, Quebec
  • April 2 – Toronto, Ontario

For more information and to apply for an audition, visit the Dragons’ Den auditions page.

Good luck, and happy pitching!


Topics: Entrepreneurship News | No Comments »

Dr McGeough to speak at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs’ Leadership Day

By Samantha Garner | January 30, 2016

dr-leslie-mcgeoughGoForth President & CEO Dr Leslie McGeough is proud to be one of the expert speakers at Alberta Women Entrepreneurs’ Learn from Alberta’s Best Leadership Day Program.

This coming February 17th in Edmonton, AB, the day will consist of keynotes, panels, and workshops on “breaking through challenges and innovating change to achieve success.”

For more information and to register, please visit the Leadership Day website. We hope to see you there!


Topics: GoForth Institute News | No Comments »

How to manage a virtual office

By Samantha Garner | January 23, 2016

How to manage a virtual officeAre you thinking about reducing your costs and increasing your pool of potential employees by going virtual?

As we’ve discussed before, employees working remotely can be happier and more productive.

But what about you? How can you keep your virtual office running smoothly and efficiently?

How to manage a virtual office

  • Test the watersIf you’re transitioning from employees working in the office to employees working remotely, try it out first. Perhaps you can have everyone on a trial period, or rotate your employees’ remote schedules. You might find out there are kinks to work out, or maybe even that your office needs to put remote working on the back burner for now.
  • Set your expectations. Working remotely involves a lot of trust. Make sure your employees know what’s expected of them as far as scheduling, meetings, reporting back to you, deadlines, and outcomes. And let them know what they can expect from you, too. Will you always be available if they need help? How will they get in touch with you? How can they communicate with each other?
  • Trust in your team. A huge part of running a virtual office is trusting that your team is working, and delivering on time. You can’t stroll by and chat with them like in a traditional office. Of course, you should be monitoring their overall progress and how they get there, but don’t make checking their social media and constantly asking for updates a regular part of your day.
  • Hold regular meetings. With a virtual team, communication is more important than ever. For both your sake and the sake of your employees, hold meetings as often as makes sense. You can either have a big weekly check-in via Skype, one-on-one meetings as needed, or some combination of the two. Go over milestones, goals, deadlines, and any issues anyone’s been experiencing.
  • Be flexible and understanding. Employees working remotely are a like home-based entrepreneurs in some ways. While they may not be able to organize their schedules as freely as a home-based entrepreneur, they do have some of the same benefits of working from home. You may need to be a little flexible if an employee wants to schedule a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day, or understanding if you call and your employee’s out walking the dog. Of course, your employee should be taking the same considerations of his and her deadlines and schedule as in a traditional office.

Check out our blog post for more tips on managing a virtual workforce.

Do you have a virtual office? What tips and words of wisdom would you share?



Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

4 ways to improve your marketing “cold emails”

By Samantha Garner | January 16, 2016

marketing-email-tipsMarketing cold calls are becoming a thing of the past, and now many of us turn to email to develop new contacts or seek new partnerships. When done properly, the “cold email” can work wonders in our small business marketing. But, like the cold call, it can also hinder your efforts. Keep these four marketing email tips in mind before you hit Send:

1) Research the person or company you’re emailing

You’re a handbag designer who’s just found a fashion website that could be perfect to help you promote and review your products. Great! But before you do anything, make sure you’ve done your research. Who is the best person for you to email? What section of the website do you think your handbags would work best? Do any of your competitors appear on the site – and if so, how can you set yourself apart? Does this website even work with independent designers, or do they focus on bigger names?

2) Don’t start with “Dear sir”

Let’s be honest – it’s the 21st century. Approximately 46% of small-to-medium businesses in Canada have some degree of female ownership – and what about the other female employees who may be the ones reading your email? If you don’t know the name of the person to best address your email to, call the company and ask. Failing that, a generic greeting will do. But don’t irritate your potential partner or client before they even get to the content of your email.

3) Think about your subject line

Strike a balance between a spammy, too-good-to-be-true subject line and one that gives no information whatsoever. Remember that this is your first chance to grab the attention of someone who has a business of their own to run. Check out what our GoForth Expert and Fast Company have to say about effective “cold email” subject lines.

4) Keep it brief and to the point

Now’s not the time to tell the entire story of your small business – get your foot in the virtual door first. Depending on how “cold” this email is, your recipient might be wary. They might also just scan your email for key words. Keep your eye on the goal and don’t wander too far off track. And don’t bury your lede – ask the relevant question or make the relevant statement as soon as possible.

What about you? Do you have any email marketing tips that have worked for you?


Topics: Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

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