By Samantha Garner | June 27, 2015
Do you spend most of your workday sitting in a chair looking at a computer? If so, you may notice you don’t feel so great at the end of the day. The good news is, you don’t need to run a 5k on your lunch hour in order to stay healthy!
Why should I worry about exercise at work?
Aside from the everyday benefits of lowering high blood pressure, managing weight, and preventing a variety of health problems, exercise improves mood and reduces stress. For you and your business, this is important. Absenteeism due to stress has gone up 316% since 1995. And according to a 2011 study, absenteeism resulted in a loss for Canadian businesses of $16.6 billion.
Try these four exercises from the comfort of your own workstation – it can go miles in relieving the stress that entrepreneurship can bring, and that can only benefit you and your small business. (Note: Please check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.)
1) Shoulder shrug
Relieve your tense neck and shoulders with this simple exercise. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears, hold for a few seconds, and slowly lower your shoulders back down. Repeat two to three times.
2) Forearm and wrist stretch
All those who spend their days typing will love this one. Sit with your elbows out and your palms pressed together in front of your chest. Slowly move your wrists down towards your desk until you feel a gentle stretch. Repeat three to five times.
3) Lower back stretch
This stretch can be done from your chair, but if your chair has wheels, make sure you don’t go zooming backwards! Slide forward a bit in your seat and grip the back of one of your thighs. Slowly lift this leg toward you, while keeping your back straight and stationary. Stretch as far as is comfortable for a few seconds, then slowly release and repeat with the other leg.
4) Ankle and calf stretch
Invigorate your tired ankles and calves. Sitting in your chair, lift one leg straight out in front of you, and point your toes up and down. Repeat with the other leg.
What are your favourite ways to sneak exercise in to your workday?
By Samantha Garner | June 20, 2015
Understanding the difference between a self-employed contractors and an employee might sound like a no-brainer, but there’s a very good reason to make the distinction: The CRA has strict guidelines that distinguish employees from contractors.
What does this mean for you? Payroll and deduction requirements are different depending on whether you’re dealing with a contractor or an employee.
Here are the main differences between a self-employed contractor and an employee
- Works independently, without supervision. Sets his or her own schedule and rates. Is free to turn down work without penalty, and is not bound by any form of loyalty to the payer.
- Provides own workplace, tools, and equipment and is responsible for their maintenance and insurance costs.
- May hire subcontractors to perform the work in question, and is responsible for paying and supervising them. Payer has no say in whom the worker hires.
- Worker markets him or her services and performs a substantial amount of work from own workspace. As an independent contractor, receives no benefits or protection from the payer.
- Is contractually obligated to complete the specific work he or she is hired for – financial implications may otherwise result.
- May receive a profit or loss from the work performed.
- Is compensated by a flat or hourly fee per project and incurs expenses.
- Works under the supervision of the payer, who directs, scrutinizes, and approves the work. Work performed is determined by the payer. Payer controls and determines the method and amount of payment.
- Payer supplies and owns workplace, tools, and equipment and is responsible for their maintenance and insurance costs. If worker supplies tools and equipment, payer reimburses him or her.
- May not hire others to perform assigned tasks.
- Is hired by the payer on an ongoing basis and not responsible for operating costs. Receives benefits and protection from the payer.
- Is not financially liable if the work is not completed.
- Does not receive a profit or loss from the work performed.
- Is compensated by a salary or ongoing hourly fee. Does not incur expenses.
By Samantha Garner | June 13, 2015
As we discussed last week, primary market research involves getting data straight from its source.
This differs from secondary market research, which involves relying on research conducted by someone else, like other businesses or governmental agencies.
Here are some examples of secondary market research sources
- Census data collected by the government
- Other population demographics collected by municipal, provincial or federal government agencies
- Reports issued by research institutions
- News reports
- Academic journals
- Magazines and newspapers
- Financial statements and reports
- Legal documents
- Universities, colleges, and technical institutions
- Business directories
- Professional associations or unions (including business associations)
- Records and reference materials located in public or private libraries
- Demographics and market research compiled by businesses and media outlets about their clients or audience
For further reading, check out our blog post about when to use secondary market research.
By Samantha Garner | June 6, 2015
Market research is a good way to understand the viability of your product or service idea by assessing factors like market size, demand, and pricing. There are two types of market research: primary and secondary.
Primary market research
Primary market research is research that you do yourself, or hire someone to do on behalf of the company. You go right to the source of the information or opinion. This differs from secondary market research, which involves using research that’s already been done by an outside party unconnected to your company.
There are four main types of primary market research: focus groups, interviews, observation, and surveys.
Which form of primary market research is the best?
Deciding on the best form of primary market research for you depends on what you’re looking for and who you’re speaking to. Of course, you can combine different forms of primary market research, but keep the following in mind:
- Focus groups: Can be fairly time-consuming and expensive (and participants are often compensated), but are good for delving into in-depth issues such as a future product launch or a brand rehaul. Keep the focus group on the small side if you plan on having a very deep discussion.
- Interviews: Similar to focus groups, but one-on-one. Interviews are a good way to get information that people might not feel comfortable sharing in a group situation. Here, too, interviews may be time-consuming and involve a financial cost to you. Participants are often compensated.
- Observation: Whether you’re observing the buying habits of customers with your competition or reading reviews of your product online, observation can be a good, inexpensive way to get real-time information. However, it’s best to use observation as a starting point for future research – since observation is done without interacting with the customers, you can’t get reliable information about why they do what they do.
- Surveys: Whether you use telephone, emailed, or in-person questionnaires depends on what your customers expect from your business. In any case, make sure your surveys are as short as possible, easy to understand, and to-the-point. Don’t get fancy here! And make sure you conduct or send your surveys to a wide enough amount of people – some won’t respond, so it’s important that you get enough info from the people who do.
By Samantha Garner | May 30, 2015
Are you a tech entrepreneur who has a great idea for an app? Get thee to Montreal in September for the MasterCard Masters of Code competition!
According to their website:
Enter Masters of Code Competition, by MasterCard. In this intense series of hackathons we have one goal: traverse the globe to find the BEST in-class Coders! We aim to encourage innovation among enterprise as well as independent Coders.
Winners from each region will be flown out for the final Master of Code hackathon where the winning team will be recognized as the first ever Masters of Code, ceremoniously given their MC Jackets, $100,000 and eternal fame and glory.
If that sounds like you or your small business, visit their website for more information – and good luck!