What makes a great business leader?

What are the qualities of a strong business leader? As the providers of Canada’s leading small business training, we know that good leadership is one of the keys to a successful business.

Here are some of the key qualities of a good small business leader.

A good small business leader has – and shares – a strong vision

A strong small business leader has a strong vision, both at the start of a business and during its lifecycle. As a small business owner, you’re responsible for setting the direction of your growth, and providing stability even when things are hectic. If your business has employees, sharing your vision with them gives them pride in where they work and demonstrates that you’re a leader who knows their stuff.

A good small business leader leads by example

Which do you think is more inspiring: arriving late to a meeting and interrupting people when they talk, or showing up on time and encouraging productive, two-way discussions? As the leader in your small business, inspire others through your actions, not just your words. Great small business leaders also have strong ethical standards and expect their employees to meet these standards as well. Show that you embody the principles, vision, and values that you have created for the business.

A good small business leader empowers their team

Great small business leaders know that good ideas can come from anyone, and value everyone’s input and unique personality. Encourage your employees to approach you with concerns or ideas, and really listen to them. Delegate tasks to your team members, and invest in business training courses to help them build their skills. By trusting your team to do their best, you’ll show them that they work for someone who has their best interests at heart.

A good strong small business leader is stable under pressure

Being an entrepreneur means wearing many hats, which can mean more stress. The responsibilities of entrepreneurship are real, but a strong small business leader must be able to deal with issues without flying off the handle. Need help managing stress? BDC has some stress management tips specifically for leaders.

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What accounting records do you need to keep?

most important accounting records canada

In Canada, entrepreneurs must keep accurate financial records of all activities for their company for six years.

Along with your financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow forecast), you must keep records for all the individual accounts that make up those statements.

What are the most important accounting records to keep?

In Canada, the major accounting records that you must accurately keep are:

  • Accounts Receivable: Who owes you money, how much do they owe, and for how long have they owed you?
  • Accounts Payable: Who do you owe money to, how much, and for how long?
  • Inventory: How much inventory did you buy, when did you buy, and how much did you pay? How you account for your inventory will affect your cost of goods sold.
  • GST/HST and Provincial Sales Tax: All businesses with an income over $30,000 per year are required to collect and submit on behalf of the federal government a goods and services tax (GST) and, depending where your business operates, provincial sales tax (PST) or harmonized sales tax (HST).
  • Payroll: Total salaries paid to employees, payroll taxes and deductions.
  • Fixed Assets: What you bought, how much you paid, and when you bought, along with depreciation amounts.
  • Cash: Cash inflows and outflows should be recorded to maintain proper control of cash.
  • Other Records: Including insurance, leases, investments.

Looking for a software solution? Ask your accountant for their advice on which program would be best for you and your business. However, keep in mind that outside accounting advice is still important to small business success. Accountants see loads of businesses in different industries and can help you understand and manage the financial health of your company. They also remove some of your own stress by making sure important financial details aren’t overlooked. Win-win!

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Why is a business model important for a business?

small business model

You’ve come up with a great small business idea and are ready to start a small business. You’re ready.

But, are you really?

Before you start your small business, you must create a business model.

A business model is a blueprint for small business success

Building a business is a lot like building a house. And who can build a house without blueprints? Creating a small business model means planning your business’ fundamentals. It helps you put make a realistic evaluation of the potential success of your business idea. A business model helps you to figure out things like:

  • Your business concept – what problem are you solving for whom
  • How you will create customer value
  • How your product or service will get to customers
  • How your business will stay competitive
  • All revenue and costs you can anticipate

How to create a business model

A proper business model takes time. You need the strongest foundation possible to increase your odds of small business success. Consider all possible areas of concern. There are many variables involved in entrepreneurship. For example, how exactly will your product make its way to your customers? What is the true value of the solution that your product or service offers? Is there even a market for what you’re offering?

Make sure your business model is thorough and covers all the bases. Once you have a business model that proves you have a viable business on your hands, you’re ready to write a more comprehensive business plan.

Taking your time creating your business model will ensure you don’t underestimate – or overestimate – anything. Proper planning takes time and effort, but you’ll see the return on that investment when your great business idea has become the great, successful small business you envisioned.

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

travel small business

Here are some recent interesting blog posts and articles from the world of entrepreneurship and small business. Have you read anything you’d like to share lately?


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Five sources of small business ideas

5 sources of small business ideas

Sometimes it can seem like the next great small business idea can come out of nowhere. But in reality, there are five common sources of small business ideas. If you’re considering entrepreneurship, look to these five places for some potential business ideas.

Business idea source #1: You!

About 60% of new business ideas come from our own experiences, whether it’s life or work. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you thought something could be done more efficiently, more quickly, or in a different way, you may be able to find business inspiration there. Think of past jobs you’ve had – was there one thing that always bugged you about a process, or one way you always wished a service would be delivered differently? And in your personal life, what encounters have you had with other businesses or brands that made you think, “Hmm, what if they did/sold this instead?” Is there a hobby you’ve always thought you could sustain as a long-term, money-making endeavour?

Business idea source #2: Others

As we showed in the previous business idea source, existing customers often have new product ideas or ideas for improvement. Get feedback from customers who are active in industries that interest you. Their experiences and ideas may really help your business.

Don’t overlook people you work with, either! McDonald’s products like the Filet-o-Fish, the Big Mac, Egg McMuffin and Hot Apple Pie were each created in light of ideas from company operators.

Business idea source #3: Organizations

Business ideas can be found within all levels of government, non-profit laboratories and associations. Your public library can help you find the government departments relevant to your business ideas. Organizations can help out in building on your idea, too.

Business idea source #4: Literature

No, we don’t mean Moby Dick. We mean literature as in books, textbooks, research journals, trade magazines, patent registries, databases and the internet. Reading business blogs, websites, and magazines might stimulate your creative thinking, too.

Business idea source #5: Serendipity

Anyone can happen across a new product or service idea seemingly at random. Being in the right place at the right time was the turning point in the careers of many entrepreneurs. We’re not saying you should try forcing this serendipity – rather, stay open-minded and curious, and willing to consider ideas wherever they may come from.

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