Our small business blog contains information which you should find helpful in running your business. If you have a suggestion for a topic, contact us and if we publish the topic on our blog - you'll get a gift card!

Recon work in business is necessary. If you don’t know what your competition is doing, if you don’t know where trends are heading, your business is going to fall behind and eventually out of play. But when you take a look around and see all of the bright, shiny, pro-quality videos posted by the competition you may start to stress.

Everyone in business needs help, from the mega-corporations to us SMBs. The difference is that mega-corporations can add someone to the team permanently, or spend ten grand on a consultant, whereas the SMBs tend to require the DIY approach.

It’s quite normal for small businesses to rely on email as their primary form of communication. When you’re working with a team of 5 – or 1 – you can’t spare the time to have someone sit beside a phone all day. Email is convenient and provides an instant paper trail. We love it! Having been a part of our daily lives for well over 20 years, and thanks to our smartphones we’re almost never without it, you’d think that everyone would have email communication down to an art form. Alas! But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Do your customers browse online but shop in store? Or do they browse in-store and shop online?

Yes. Yes, they do.

Networking has a bad rap, but we’re here to clear up the misconception. Business cannot survive on enthusiasm and guts alone; there truly is value in the adage, it’s all in who you know. You need to be in contact with people who have the right skills or connections to help you develop your business from all angles, including product and service development, marketing, technical support, finances, and customer service. The business community is stronger as a whole, and competition is healthy because it pushes us to focus on making advances in our field. It’s a relief to have connections you can call on when you’re in a jam, or just need to sit down over lunch and problem solve with a like-minded colleague. But we’ve all been caught in networking situations that were a huge waste of time.

Launching your online store is such a thrill! Everything you’ve been working towards for months, possibly years, is paying off – and soon will pay you back, directly. You’ve poured over financials, studied your field, conducted some solid noise on social media, and…wait. You did do all of that, right? Read on about some of the most common e-commerce mistakes that business owners make so that you don’t have to.

Despite the surge in DIY website and graphic design, there’s nothing quite like the peace of mind that comes with hiring a pro. All of a sudden *POOF* your problems regarding time and quality disappear and you’re able to focus on business and leave the details to someone else. Which is why you become dismayed and frustrated when you’re inbox is filled with emails from your designer, and your timeline gets stretched out because you’ve still got details to deal with. What gives?

Fellow entrepreneurs, did you know that there may be some members of your team who care as passionately about the success of your business as you do? It’s true. They’re known as intrepreneurs because they work with the same work ethic you do, except they’re happy to let you be the boss.

Website designers are plentiful, which makes sense in an economic landscape that relies on online marketing and sales. As the client, at best you know enough about website design to engage in detailed conversation with your designer about the elements and plugins your website needs. At worst you just figure your business needs a website in order to thrive. Be confident that the website designer you hire comes equipped with high-quality design skills and integrity. Here are the top traits you want to ensure your designer has during your consultation.

Wouldn’t it be great to finish your workday with a sense of accomplishment instead of feeling run down? It’s easy to look back on a day filled with meetings and a growing To Do list and consider it wasted time, and that, fellow entrepreneurs, is a good way to hate your job. You’re the owner/operator – you should LOVE your job! Of everyone involved in your company, you have the power to make work something to look forward to every morning. Here’s what you can do to make that Monday morning feeling one of joy.

But don’t panic!

As you may recall, people found out that Facebook advertising included a mega breach of trust, and said people (a.k.a all of us), got mad. Rightfully so. In a move to regain trust of the average Facebook user, your Facebook advertising process has been seriously altered over the last several months.

According to the latest statistics, in 2013 there were 78,430 small businesses brought to life, and 83,240 closed. That’s left the country less 4,810 small businesses. We don’t have the statistics for the years since, but we do have some thoughts on why small businesses tend to fail, and what entrepreneurs can do about it.

The second most common complaint we hear about website design is about time:

“The last time we did a website redesign it took more than 6 months!”
“I need the website to launch on X date. How can you guarantee we’ll make that?”
“Our last website designer was slow to communicate. I can’t afford that kind of time.”

Sound familiar?

The short of it is that your brand is the identity of your company. The long of it, branding, is what inspires loyalty in your customers, thus, the longevity of your business. Here’s how.

Have you been told that your website needs a redesign? Or maybe you’re looking for an excuse to bring it up at the next team meeting?

You know that feeling when you’ve created a new piece of marketing for social media or your newsletter, and something about it just isn’t quite right? Graphic designers can help! Not only can they create impactful images, they are also layout masters. Send them that file you’re gnawing your nails off about and in short order, they’ll send back magic. Thinking about hiring a graphic designer? Here’s what you should know.

Beam potential customers straight to the bottom of your sales funnel with landing pages! That’s right, we said pages, as in plural, because why stop at one when you can have it all? Sure, you’ve got your website’s homepage set up like a landing page, but did you know you can also harness the powers of the online search by setting up landing pages specific to your individual services? The concept works because it makes you easier than ever to find, and cuts down on the customer’s embark on a quest to find what they’re looking for. Yeah, we’re for real!

The signs of summer marketing are everywhere, beckoning customers in from the street for a spontaneous summer sale. And you should get into that game! Summer is a traditional time to hit a sales slump, what with all of your customers spending their hard-earned money on family vacations, which is why a good sale is deliciously enticing. Summer shoppers are looking for wedding gifts, inexpensive rewards and treats, nostalgia, and fun. Once you’ve set up the details of your deal, you need spread word, and since you don’t have to do battle with ice storms and snow piles, outdoor temporary signage is worth working into your budget.

Hosting a customer appreciation barbecue? Talk about personalized customer experience! No really, let’s talk about it. You’ve heard all about social media marketing, and while it’s a big task, old-fashioned social marketing is worth all the effort. One of the easiest ways to score a face-to-face meeting with your clients is to throw a customer appreciation barbecue. 

Mail call! You may recall that one of the hot topics of Canada’s most recent federal election was door-to-door mail delivery. Despite the increasing number of businesses going paperless, your customers are still invigorated by snail mail.

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