By Samantha Garner | November 30, 2013
According to a recent TechVibes article, Montreal startup Lufa Farms has been successfully growing their rooftop farming business in that city. In 2011, Lufa Farms built the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse. Now, it grows fruits and vegetables and sells the produce to subscribed customers around town.
From the article:
The company is profitable, says its business development associate James Rathmell. He says the company is proving that their “triple bottom line” business model – a model that involves being environmentally and socially responsible as well as profitable – is commercially viable.
At GoForth, we love ideas like this. Recently, Popular Mechanics made a whopping 110 science and tech predictions for the next 110 years. One prediction is the introduction of vertical “farmscrapers” growing pesticide-free crops year-round. By the year 2050, there will be nine billion people in the world, seven out of 10 of them in urban areas. We feel that this heightened need for fresh, local food will alter the traditional view and operations of agricultural businesses. Farmscrapers – and rooftop greenhouse businesses like Lufa Farms – will have to lead the way in discovering innovative and sustainable ways to feed all those hungry urbanites.
What do you think? Do you know of any other inventive and forward-thinking agricultural businesses?
By Samantha Garner | November 23, 2013
From efficient habits to business lawsuits to the truth about PR, here are some of the recent small business blog posts we enjoyed. What about you?
- 8 Things Really Efficient People Do at Inc.
- Are Your Employees Connected to a Common Good? at Fast Company
- Starbucks Loses “Charbucks” Case Against a Small Family Business at Small Business Trends
- Demystifying Public Relations for Small Business at Small Business BC
- Top 7 Tips to Create the Perfect Holiday Promotion at Huffington Post
By Samantha Garner | November 16, 2013
As we discussed last week, understanding the difference between sales and cash can make or break a small business. It’s important to get a handle on this difference and the ever-important cash flow.
What is cash flow?
As the name suggests, cash flow is the flow of cash through your small business during a period of time. Cash is your most important resource and you must keep a close eye on it, especially during start-up.
Conducting a cash flow analysis is an important step in determining the overall feasibility of your business idea. Last week we talked about cash crises that could arise if you’re waiting for a payment from a sale – for example, if you’re a freelance graphic designer waiting a couple of weeks for last month’s invoices to be paid by your clients. Proper cash management will mean you have enough cash saved up in case of a shortfall.
A cash flow statement is a tool that helps small business owners “time” cash in-flows and out-flows. “Knowing ahead of time” is the basic premise behind managing cash flows. Cash flow statements list sources and uses of cash over time, usually month to month, so that business owners can analyze and anticipate those times when cash might be tight. Lack of proper cash flow management is another factor associated with small business failure.
By Samantha Garner | November 9, 2013
Not keeping an eye on your cash needs is one of the quickest routes to business failure. So how can you improve your chances of small business success? Start by getting to know the relationship between sales and cash.
Just what is the difference between sales and cash?
Your flower shop has sold a bouquet of daisies to a customer, or your roofing business has just replaced some damaged shingles on a customer’s roof. You’ve sold your product or service to your customer, thereby entering into an exchange with that customer. The customer pays you or your business for this exchange, usually in the form of a cash, debit card, or credit card payment. A sale has been made.
Sounds simple, right? The reality is different. In any business transaction there can be a timing issue. You may not get the customer’s payment for the product or service – in other words, the cash – immediately, resulting in a cash crisis. A cash crisis happens when a business is lacking sufficient cash in the bank to pay bills, salaries, loan payments and so on. So even though you’ve made a sale, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cash.
As you can see, the difference between a sale and cash in hand can easily spell success for a small business, or something that’s quite the opposite. Next week we’ll show you how to manage your cash flow in order to ensure you’re never caught unawares when it comes to your cash.
By Samantha Garner | November 2, 2013
How well do you know your industry sector? It’s important to analyze the industry in which your business will operate. For example, if you’re starting a hairstyling business, you’re a member of the services industry. If you’re starting a tiling business, you’re a member of the construction industry. Having a good understanding of how an industry works, who the big players are, and who the major suppliers are can help you find strategic partners, venture capital and customers.
Where to start industry analysis
To start your industry analysis, we recommend searching for secondary data sources using your NAICS code. Also known as the North American Industry Classification System, NAICS is used to classify companies, to collect, analyze and publish statistics, and to provide collective industry definitions across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
Finding your NAICS code
To find which NAICS code matches your company’s industry, visit Statistics Canada’s website to determine which sector, subsector, industry group and industry your business falls under. Here, you can either browse through industries or search for example activities that your business performs.
Here are the two-digit NAICS codes for sectors of the Canadian economy.
- NAICS 11 – Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
- NAICS 21 – Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction
- NAICS 22 – Utilities
- NAICS 23 – Construction
- NAICS 31-33 – Manufacturing
- Manufacturing sub-sectors
- NAICS 41 – Wholesale Trade
- NAICS 44-45 – Retail Trade
- NAICS 48-49 – Transportation and Warehousing
- NAICS 51 – Information and Cultural Industries
- NAICS 52 – Finance and Insurance
- NAICS 53 – Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
- NAICS 54 – Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
- NAICS 55 – Management of Companies and Enterprises
- NAICS 56 – Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services
- NAICS 61 – Educational Services
- NAICS 62 – Health Care and Social Assistance
- NAICS 71 – Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
- NAICS 72 – Accommodation and Food Services
- NAICS 81 – Other Services (except Public Administration)
- NAICS 91 – Public Administration
Researching your industry using your NAICS code will help you find data about your industry’s past and current growth; expected growth in the next three to five years; key players; trends impacting the health of the industry and other unique aspects. So get to know your code!