By Samantha Garner | September 24, 2016
The chance to pitch your small business to a potential investor is exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s a big step towards your small business’ success, and you may be wondering what you need to bring along. Do you bring a laptop to show off your website? Three dozen business cards? No business cards?
Our GoForth Expert Rob Campbell has some advice on what marketing materials you should have on hand when pitching to an investor.
Breathe, relax, and good luck!
By Samantha Garner | September 17, 2016
Finding financing, researching your target market, and setting a price point are the kinds of things people usually think about when they start the journey into entrepreneurship. However, it’s also a wise idea to plan for emergencies such as power outages or floods. These emergencies may be isolated, but they can deal your small business a major blow if you don’t have a plan in place to keep the business running, or to recover afterwards.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency has compiled a great list of six strategies you can implement in your small business to help you be more prepared for the unexpected. Though the statistics are American, they are sobering. For example:
Between 2003 and 2012, roughly 679 power outages, each affecting at least 50,000 customers, occurred due to weather events, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The number of outages caused by severe weather is expected to rise as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, blizzards, floods and other extreme weather events.
Does your small business have a disaster preparedness plan?
By Samantha Garner | September 11, 2016
We hope you’ve had a great week in your small business. Why not take a break and read some inspiring stories from entrepreneurs just like you? Here are some small business blog posts we liked this week:
- Tech firms tap underused talent: workers over 30 at the Globe and Mail
- 6 Entrepreneurship Lessons From Family Businesses at the New York Times
- Moveable Type: Flying Books, Toronto’s smallest and most portable bookseller, nesting soon near you at National Post
- What Nobody Told Me About Becoming an Entrepreneur at LinkedIn
By Samantha Garner | September 3, 2016
If you’re running your small business from home, you may be able to make home-based business tax deductions. To qualify, your home must be the principal place of your business (that means more than 50% of your income-producing activities are performed there), or your home office must be exclusively used for your business, and used regularly for meetings with clients, customers or patients.
Self-employed individuals can make many deductions, but employees and commissioned sales employees can also make deductions.
To find your business-use-of-home deduction, calculate how much of your home you use for business. If you have a home office, it’s usually possible to take the area of your work space and divide it by the total area of your home.
A portion of household expenses that relate to your business directly — things like phone, utilities, internet and cleaning materials — can also be deducted. House insurance, property taxes, or rent may also be claimed.
If you operate a part-time business out of your home, expenses must be adjusted accordingly by calculating the hours the work space is used per day, divided by 24 hours. This provides a calculated portion of your total home expenses.
For more information, including what in-the-home expenses you can and cannot deduct, check out CRA’s guidelines for work-space-in-the-home expenses.
By Samantha Garner | August 27, 2016
When you start your small business, you may soon discover you need help. After all, you can’t do everything, nor are you expected to! Gathering a team of experts – your founding team – around you will help you to create a strong foundation for success.
A founding team comprises the colleagues and/or partners who will help get your small business up and running. These people may be more important than you think. It’s been said that investors would rather invest in a first-rate team with a second-rate idea, than of a second-rate team with a first-rate idea.
So, what makes a good founding team for your small business? Look for the following qualities when assembling your founding team:
This is a key factor in a successful founding team. After all, how great will you look if the person in charge of your financials can’t explain to investors the logic behind your projected sales figures? Understand what skills you’re after, and look for people with enough experience to give your small business the best chance of success.
The right people doing the right things in the right way is crucial for small business success. Look for people who are bright, driven, and are able to eloquently express what they do for your business. And as the founder, it’s wise to know when to listen to those around you and take their advice – let their know-how work for you!
The personalities of the people involved in a small business do play a role in garnering investor interest. But what about you? Do you enjoy working with your founding team? If not, that could have serious ramifications for the health of your business. You’re going to be working very closely with these people for the next little while, so make sure to reduce the risk of major personality clashes. Do everyone a favour and make sure you all share similar goals and values.
The right amount of people
Your small business may not need a sales person in the founding team, while others might need two. Different businesses and different industries demand different things. Evaluate what your small business needs right at the beginning, and determine how many people can fill these roles.
Each member of your founding team should be so passionate about your small business that they’re excited to talk about how great it is and how it will work. After all, that’s a huge chunk of pitching to investors, isn’t it? Look for people who take your small business idea as seriously as you do.
A great founding team is one vital component in the successful launch of a small business, so be sure to take your time, do your research, and trust your instincts!