2017 tax tips for Canadian small businesses

Tax season is upon us, and many small businesses owners around Canada are busy getting their financial ducks in a row. At GoForth, we know tax time can be stressful or confusing, so we’ve compiled some tax-related blog posts that will hopefully shed some light on this topic for you.

And check out Quickbooks’ post: 2017 Small Business Tax Calendar: Dates You Need to Know

Happy filing!

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Tip of the Month: Hiring Your First Employee

Your small business is growing and you’re finding yourself with more work than time – great conditions to warrant hiring your very first employee! So, now, how do you do that?

Firstly, this might seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you really do need an employee. As with every business decision, we encourage you to sit down and write out a plan. What will this person do? How often? For how long? Can you afford to pay someone? Can this person actually be kept busy and fulfilled?

Once you’ve decided that hiring an employee for your small business is definitely the way to go, here are some next steps:

  • Open a payroll account with Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Ensure you follow all governmental Human Resources Regulations.
  • Identify job requirements and prepare the job description for your first employee.
  • Use application forms for applicants and be sure you know what you can and cannot ask.
  • Begin to interview your chosen candidates (we recommend you set yourself a limit of interviews).
  • Check all references provided.
  • If this position requires any kind of testing, this can be undertaken at this point.
  • Once you’ve selected your ideal candidate, prepare an offer of employment letter.

Check out GoForth Institute’s How-To Guide for Hiring a First Employee for a step-by-step, more detailed document you can download for free to reference whenever you like.

Hiring your small business’ first employee is a very serious consideration, but it’s also infinitely rewarding and even fun. Enjoy!

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Tip of the Month: Following Local Signage Laws

Creating signage for your small business is always a lot of fun. You get to play with new designs and layouts that best communicate what your business is all about. However, before the fun really starts, you need to make sure you’re not stepping on any toes in the bylaw office!

Following local signage laws for small business is critical. Some types of signs may not be approved for use in your community and can result in hefty fines. There are also provincial signage laws to consider – for example, when it comes to business signage that appears by a highway.

Visit our website to download GoForth Institute’s free, step-by-step Guide to Signage Permits and Licenses. Getting all the forms you need is easy and only takes a minute – leaving you more time to daydream about your beautiful new signage!

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Tip of the Month: Creating a Perfect Pitch

In keeping with the theme of our last post, we’ve added a new How-To Guide to our new, expanded website. Titled “How To Create a Perfect Pitch,” it’s designed for entrepreneurs who need help creating a pitch for their small business. Even if you’ve made a pitch before, the guide can still help you tweak and fine-tune your approach. We know that small business pitches are never a walk in the park, so use our guide to make the process easier and more clear.

Creating a pitch for your small business begins with a business concept. After all, you can’t confidently talk about your business unless you know it inside and out, right? The foundation of a great pitch is an understanding of the following concepts:

  • Who will buy?
  • Value proposition and the compelling story;
  • Definition of your product or service; and
  • The distribution channel.

Once you have these four concepts clear in your mind (and on paper), you can then put them all together to form your business concept – the foundation for your perfect pitch!

Read more about the elements of a business concept and your business’ perfect pitch in our How-To Guide.

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Tip of the Month: Working from Home

It sounds like the holy grail of employment options. Whether you’re working from home one or two days a week or self-employed with a home based business, working from the house sounds appealing for most people. Think about it. There’s no commute, you’ll save time and gas money, you don’t need to get dressed up, you can get the laundry done – what’s not to love?

Check out a few tips about working from home to help you decide if it works for you, and make the most of it.

Set some office hours. Just like you show up for work at the same time every day and leave at the same time every day, plan to do this when you work from home. Of course one of the bonuses of working from home is that these office hours are more flexible, but if you don’t plan to work, it won’t get done.

Likewise if you don’t plan an end time, you may keep working until you have everything done. The catch for most entrepreneurs is that the to-do list will keep on growing. Making time for family, friends and creative pursuits is important for yourself, which makes it important for your business too.

Leave your personal life in the living room and your work life in the office space. Keeping your work life and personal life separate is tricky when you work from home. Setting some physical boundaries for different activities can help.

Think about communication. How will you communicate for your business?  Email, telephone and online communication like Skype can make it possible for you to work nearly anywhere, but there is no substitute for face to face communication. Make a point to get out of your house and talk to people for work whenever you can. This will help you avoid pouncing on your significant other when they come home from work in an effort to connect with a live human being. Trust me – they’ll appreciate it if you take a walk over to the coffee shop and chat up the barista sometime before the end of the work day!

Setting up a strategy to manage your tasks, time, and communication will help you with a smooth transition into working from home, along with boosting your productivity. Like anything in business, plan for success!

Have you got any tips for working from home? We’d love to hear them!

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