small business market testing

Six questions to help you understand your business’ industry

Every small business owner is part of a wider industry, and is affected by that industry to some degree. To help you determine the health of your industry, do some research to answer the following six industry health questions:

  1. Is the industry growing?
  2. Where are the opportunities in the industry?
  3. Who are the key players in the industry?
  4. Are there young, successful businesses in the industry?
  5. What are the typical financial results for businesses in this industry?
  6. How is new technology being used in the industry?

You can search for secondary data sources using your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. Your NAICs code classifies companies to collect, analyze and publish statistics, and to provide collective industry definitions across Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Finding your NAICS code

Visit Statistics Canada’s website to find your NAICS code and figure out which sector, subsector, industry group and industry your business falls under. Here, you can either browse through industries or search for example activities that these businesses perform.

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Quick exercises you can do at your desk

Do you spend most of your workday sitting in a chair looking at a computer? If so, you may notice strains and muscle soreness after not very long. However, there are a few ways you can combat these issues without having to spend your lunch break running a 5k. Here are some quick exercises you can do at your desk.

The benefits of 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. According to Mercer, absenteeism costs employers over $16 billion per year, and nearly half of Canadian employees want more focus on health and wellness

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?

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Why is your target market so important?

What’s your target market? Why does it matter? GoForth’s President Dr Leslie McGeough has this to say on the topic:

My own business advisor … once told me the field is full of white rabbits. Pick the white rabbit you can catch and go after that one. In other words, there are opportunities and potential targets everywhere. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “Everyone will buy my product!” Focus, focus, focus.

Read Dr McGeough’s advice on target marketing here, and enjoy!

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small business negotiation

How can you identify a franchise scam?

There are all kinds of franchise opportunities available, and some seem to promise instant wealth with almost zero effort. Franchises do have a high rate of success compared to other types of small businesses, but that doesn’t mean they’re a direct path to riches.

How do you spot a franchise scam?

An entrepreneur recently asked one of our GoForth Expert section of our website how to identify the warning signs of franchise fraud. Our GoForth Expert Samir Dandekar had these tips to avoid franchise scams:

Firstly, you can choose to work only with a franchisor who is a member of the Canadian Franchise Association.

Additionally, you can look out for these warning signs of a franchise scam:

  • Slick salesperson trying to pitch a fast sale
  • Pressure for franchisees to sign gag orders
  • Insistence on cash transactions only
  • Exaggerated earnings
  • Promising a proven business model or proprietary technology that doesn’t exist
  • Promising training that never materializes
  • Forcing franchisees to spend money on so-called improvements
  • Failure to provide disclosure

As always, do your research. Be thorough, double-check everything, and seek the advice of trusted colleagues or professional advisors. And listen to your instincts!

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