vt_vector_maps-canada-03-resized

Four ways the new internal trade deal bodes well for Canadian business

By Emilie Poitevin

Red tape within your own province can be hard enough to deal with, but dealing with numerous regulations and rules from other provinces can seem like a daunting task for even the most seasoned entrepreneur.

For many businesses, expanding into the province next door is a logical step towards eventually expanding into international markets, yet barriers such as costs and red tape scare many businesses away.

The original Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) was signed by all provinces and territories over 20 years ago, meaning that it was outdated and didn’t reflect the realities of today’s business environment. This past August, trade ministers from all provinces and territories met to work out a new, modernized deal that should help small businesses across Canada expand into new markets. This new deal is projected be in place by July 2017, just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday!

Here are four potential changes that are good news for your business:

  1. The “negative list approach”: This basically means that all goods and services are included in the agreement, unless a province specifically asks for an item to be excluded (and they have to justify why it should be removed from the list). This makes it much simpler for businesses to understand what can and can’t be traded.
  2. Beer and alcohol will be included: Small brewers rejoice! While you shouldn’t expect these products to flow freely between borders, it is a step in the right direction. This part of the deal could take a bit longer for the provinces to agree upon, since liberalizing this market remains a contentious issue for many of them.
  3. Working group or tribunal to address regulations: If you’ve already tried to do business in another province, you already know how much red tape is involved. This tribunal will work to reduce what is one of the biggest barriers to internal trade.
  4. Enhanced dispute resolution: If and when a problem arises, businesses want to ensure that it’s solved and won’t happen again. A better dispute resolution system with bigger monetary penalties will go a long way to ensuring that this new trade agreement is followed.

If you have any questions, My StartUp and CFIB members can always call a CFIB Business Counsellor at 1-888-234-2232 for help at no charge.

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emilie-poitevinEmilie Poitevin is a Policy Analyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Based in Ottawa, she helps to develop and coordinate legislative, research and communications activities for legislative and policy issues affecting CFIB members. Outside the office, you can find her discovering new local businesses in her Hintonburg/Chinatown neighbourhood, sipping on some craft beers, or taking a spin class at her local studio. Follow Emilie on LinkedIn and Twitter @Emilie_Poitevin.


world-featured

Protecting your investment when selling internationally

This final installment in MSU’s three-part series ( part one, part two) on exporting to international markets delves into the importance of protecting your investment and knowing where to turn for assistance. It reviews financial solutions to obtain working capital, post bonds, and obtain credit insurance, along with a host of trade services offered by Export Development Canada and Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service.

Make sure this transaction won’t jeopardize your financial situation

  • Do I have the cash to deliver on the order? Cash flow can be a bigger challenge for export orders than for domestic ones, both because the order may be larger and because it may take longer to get paid due to longer delivery times and extended payment terms. EDC’s financial solutions can help you get more working capital from your bank or post bonds and guarantees without tying up your working capital.
  • What if my client doesn’t pay me? Ensuring you get paid is tougher when you have greater physical and cultural distance from your client. Plus, when you’re in different countries it is more complicated to verify if your client is credible and creditworthy, or to pursue them if they are late on their payment. The two steps you can take to minimize your risks are to use good credit management practices and get credit insurance so that you don’t suffer a huge loss in the event that your client doesn’t pay you.

Reach out to those who can help – that’s what they’re for!

Whether or not you’re planning to sell internationally in the near future, you never know when an export opportunity might come your way. We hope we’ve armed you with the tips and resources you need so that, when the opportunity comes, you know what you need to do to successfully complete your first export order.

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tanita-kouzevTanita Kouzev is a Senior Associate on EDC’s Advisory Services team. Her job is to connect Canadian companies with experts and resources on trade-related issues like country intelligence, market entry strategies, export/import compliance, and any other topic they might need advice on.


ship-featured

Doing business in another country: getting started

In our previous installment of this three-part series from Export Development Canada, we touched on capacity and how to ensure you are equipped to meet the demand placed on your business from a new international customer. In this next blog in the series, we’ll review some of the practical nuts and bolts of doing business in a different country: regulations, tariffs, intellectual property (IP), and contracts.

Understand what you need to do differently in order to sell to that country

Each country has its own set of regulatory requirements and standards. Getting the documentation you need or modifying your product and/or packaging to comply with these regulations takes time and money, so factor that in when you’re quoting a price or agreeing to a delivery date.

  • What are the customs requirements for my destination country? You may have to pay customs duties or taxes when your products enter the foreign market. If it’s a country with which we have a free trade agreement, you may have to prove your products are made in Canada in order to benefit from preferential tariff treatment. Even if your importer is taking care of customs (which is usually the case – learn about Incoterms), you should still be aware of any potential costs or delays, and you’ll likely have to help out your customer by providing necessary documentation.  Global Affairs Canada has a helpful landing page for tariff information by country.
  • How about regulatory requirements? Depending on the type of product you’re selling, you may have to get an export permit (e.g. if you’re selling to the defense sector), apply for standard certification (such as the CE Mark in Europe, which is necessary for 25 product categories), or get food safety or phytosanitary certificates from the Canadian government. Do your homework on these early, since it can take time to comply with all requirements – for the most complex and tightly regulated products (think medical devices or organic food products), it could even take years.
  • How do I protect my IP? Just because your trademark, copyright, or patent is registered in Canada doesn’t mean you’re protected abroad. In most cases you need to protect your IP by working with the relevant government body in each country you’re selling to. If your product or service’s value is heavily dependent on the IP you’ve put into it, you cannot afford to skip this step. Some of these processes can be long, but it’s worth the effort to protect yourself from IP theft. In some cases it is better to turn down an order rather than go into the market with your IP unprotected.
  • What about packaging and translation needs? Each country has different labeling and packaging requirements, so you will have to do your research on these to ensure your products comply. Whether you’re providing a product or a service, hiring a translator or interpreter will be necessary in cases where you need to provide your services, your labels, software or instruction manuals in the language of your customer.
  • Can I use the same contract I use with my Canadian clients?  Short answer: NO! One of the most complex aspects of exporting is understanding legal implications, whether it’s investigating differences in consumer protection laws or knowing which country’s court you’ll go to in case of a dispute (which you hope won’t happen, but you ALWAYS need to account for in your contract). Speaking to a lawyer is advisable, but to get started, read about The ABCs of International Trade Contracts.

Sometimes your foreign client will be willing to work with you to help you navigate these elements, but chances are you’ll have to do most of your own homework.

If your client is in the US or the EU, these two guides provide an excellent starting point to answer the above questions: Exporting to the United States and Exporting to the EU.

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tanita-kouzevTanita Kouzev is a Senior Associate on EDC’s Advisory Services team. Her job is to connect Canadian companies with experts and resources on trade-related issues like country intelligence, market entry strategies, export/import compliance, and any other topic they might need advice on.


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Tips to help you fulfill your first international order

MSU is pleased to bring you a three-part instructional series of blogs about exporting to international markets. For those businesses looking for new markets, the insight provided by Export Development Canada is simply indispensable, covering everything from labelling to financing to insurance and copyright.

In this first of three installments, you’ll learn how to assess and boost your production goals to meet an order and also how to navigate the in-country visa and tax implications of exporting.

I just got my first international order! Now what?

When you’re running a young business, getting your first few orders is always exciting – even more so when they come from a foreign customer. Oftentimes your first export opportunity will come unexpectedly. You could be exhibiting at a local trade show and an American distributor asks if they can order two truckloads of your organic jams. Or maybe your “Software as a Service” website just came online and a company in Singapore e-mails you asking for a one-month free trial. Suddenly you have an opportunity abroad! That’s amazing!

Now what?

Ensuring you can successfully deliver on a new order can be stressful enough when your start-up is strapped for time and cash, but it can be even more daunting when you throw a foreign country into the mix. It’s true that exporting is different from selling in Canada, and it comes with its own set of challenges. But you don’t need to panic! There are scores of resources and organizations out there to help you navigate the export journey, and EDC can help you along the way.

Here’s a checklist of things to consider when that surprise export order comes along – and also the resources to help you navigate these issues.

Know your capacity to deliver on the request

  • Can I make that many widgets? Canada’s market is relatively small, especially when you think of our neighbours to the south with a market 10 times the size of Canada’s. If you’re getting an export order, chances are it’ll be larger than your typical local order. Before agreeing to ship 100,000 units when your orders are usually 1,000, carefully crunch your numbers to make sure you can actually produce the required quantity with the employees and equipment that you have. EDC can help you beef up your capacity before fulfilling the order, but if it’s a time-sensitive one, you’ll need to work with what you’ve already got.
  • Can I deliver on time and at a reasonable cost? Exporting usually involves longer travel times and wait times, as well as higher shipping expenses. Before agreeing to a tight delivery date – and before promising the same price as what you offer your clients down the street – make sure to understand how long it will take and how much it will cost to ship to the customer at the quality they expect. You may even be pressured to deliver faster than you normally would. In a recent interview with clothing retailer Frank + Oak, owner Ethan Song stressed the fact that US customers have higher expectations for fast shipping compared to their Canadian counterparts.
  • Can I send my employees abroad to provide installation or after-sales service? Whether you’re selling a service or selling a product that needs after-sales support, you may have to consider visa requirements for the country in which your customer is located . You may also have to look into tax implications for the payment that you receive while providing services abroad. Can you get the paperwork together on time and does your profit margin allow for the increased costs of traveling to your client?

If you see yourself answering “no” to any of those questions, or if you see that your profit margin is getting really tight after factoring in these additional costs, you may want to reconsider saying “yes” to the request. Whether it’s reducing the order size, renegotiating the delivery date, or even turning down the order, you may find yourself in a situation where it’s wiser to step back rather than sell at a loss or exhaust your resources trying to fulfill the order.

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tanita-kouzevTanita Kouzev is a Senior Associate on EDC’s Advisory Services team. Her job is to connect Canadian companies with experts and resources on trade-related issues like country intelligence, market entry strategies, export/import compliance, and any other topic they might need advice on.


hiring

Recruit for results: why entrepreneurs need to hire the right talent, not the right friends or family

By Hugh Latif

Entrepreneurs face a major challenge when they are ready to hire their first employee(s). These days, many recruit online and become quickly discouraged when faced with dozens (sometimes hundreds!) of applicants. All are unknown, and each one represents a long process of interviewing, checking references, and then training.

Finding someone who “fits your culture” is the new catchphrase, so you may be thinking to yourself, “Who could be better suited than a close friend or family member?” It just seems so much easier — and safer — to hire someone you know. If they don’t exactly have the skills you need, all you have to do is help them along, right?

Wrong. In too many instances, entrepreneurs who hire friends and/or family end up with good people, but not necessarily the right talent. They overlook the skills and experience that are required for the specific business, thinking that this gap can be addressed along the way. But what follows is a lot of “gymnastics” as the business owner, already neck-deep in the demands of a growing enterprise, has to continually step in and fill the gaps, flip-flopping from crisis to crisis.

Avoid the costly mistake of a wrong hire

At the core of every successful company is a team of talented and qualified people. This is your chance to do it right. Keep in mind that wrong hires cost businesses in North America millions of dollars each year in terms of lost time, retraining costs, down time, and general disruption. Harvard Business Review points out that as much as 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. It’s a mistake an entrepreneur cannot afford to make.

The first step is to write down exactly what you want the new hire to do (the job description), and then describe — for the purpose of fit — their profiles in terms of character and personality (the applicant profile). Then you recruit to fill the position, knowing exactly what you’re looking for in terms of both skills and fit.

Once you do this, the chance that a friend or family member will fit the bill is unlikely. For larger organizations, it might work because there can be more time and budget available to train the person; plus you don’t have to be the one supervising their work. But in a smaller, owner-run company, a wrong hire is going to cost you time, money, and possibly a friendship or relationship.

Tips for recruiting

There are good checklists available for how to recruit the right talent (e.g., Tips to Improve Your Recruitment and Hiring Decisions produced by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses [CFIB]).

One of my tips, as recommended in my new book Maverick Leadership, focuses on the need for the right fit with your team. Before you make a final decision, introduce the applicant to some of the team members they will work with. This gives both sides a taste of what to expect, and if successful, is the first step to team building. Remember to listen to your team members after the interview.

As a “maverick leader,” my focus has always been on the fundamentals — practical advice that often seems so obvious that it’s hard to believe the answer is that straightforward. But the truth is, organizations don’t run themselves, or at least run themselves well. Starting with the right human talent (which usually means not your family or friends) is one of the most important steps you’ll take.

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hughlatifHugh Latif has over 40 years of experience in management consulting and general management. Since 1996, his consulting practice has successfully completed over 350 assignments. Previously, he held senior executive positions with the Dun & Bradstreet – A.C. Nielsen Group in Canada, Italy, Brazil and France. He specializes in strategic planning, sales and marketing, succession planning, advisory board governance and business turn-arounds. In his book, Maverick Leadership, Hugh shares his insights about the fundamentals of leadership and business success.

For more practical advice for general managers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs, Hugh Latif has put his wisdom from 40+ years of business experience together in Maverick Leadership, now available in Canada and the USA. Click here to learn more!


e-series

Get your 30% CFIB discount and Grow Your Business at E-Series Toronto 2016

Get your 30% CFIB discount and Grow Your Business at E-Series Toronto 2016

CFIB is a proud sponsor of the E-Series Toronto 2016. E-Series Toronto is an educational + mentorship program for women entrepreneurs in the GTA and across Ontario who need targeted support to take their business to the next level. The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs is bringing this tried-and-true program to Toronto on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

This full-day, immersive educational program, which is often described as a “mini MBA,” provides classroom-style sessions on business topics such as capital raising, corporate + employment law, marketing + branding and more. Each participant will also be matched with a Mentor for 12 months of 1:1 support to ensure they have the insight and feedback they need.

They are featuring an exceptional group of entrepreneurs + leaders to teach the program, including:

 

brooksJudy Brooks
Entrepreneur + FWE Board Member

 

dehartJohn DeHart
Co-Founder, Nurse Next Door Home Care Services

kottMarla Kott
CEO, Imprint Plus + Member of the W100
ramsdenKelsey Ramsden
Twice named Canada’s #1 Female Entrepreneur by PROFIT W100
williamsRossann Williams
President,
Starbucks Canada

Targeted for Businesses from Start-Up to $1M+ in revenues.

E-Series Toronto will run three classes simultaneously, so no matter what your size of business, you’ll be placed in a class of women entrepreneurs at a similar stage in business.

The application deadline is October 1 and spots are limited, so apply today.  The program cost is $500 (no tax), and for CFIB Members we are pleased to offer an exclusive 30% discount, to $350 total. To enjoy these savings, simply indicate that you are a CFIB member on question 11 in the application form.

The program includes:

  • Full day of education
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 12 months of continued support with a Mentor.

Click here to see full program details and to apply.

Grants Available!

A limited number of grants are available to provide partial subsidization of tuition, travel expenses (outside the GTA), or both. Applying for a grant is as easy as completing a couple additional application questions at the end.

Learn More About E-Series | A Tried-and-Tested Program

ramsay3E-Series 2016 grad Ashley Ramsay (Co-Founder + Producer of Yeti Farm Creative, the second largest female-run animation studio in BC with revenues $1M+) had this to say about her E-Series experience:

“My company was in an incredible growth curve and pivotal point and I left E-Series with key takeaways that I applied in the eye of the storm. In hindsight, I don’t know what I would have done at that time without it.

Had I not [done E-Series], I’m sure I would still be wandering around grasping for certain key pillars that I obtained during a few short (but jam packed) days at E-Series. It’s a critical experience for you as you grow your business and align yourself for pivotal growth phases.”

Hear what others have had to say about E-Series in this testimonial video:

Meet some of our E-Series alumni:

Lara Kozan (Co-Founder, YYoga + Nectar Juicery)
Lori Joyce and Heather White (Co-Founders, Original Cupcakes + Stars of  W Network’s ‘The Cupcake Girls’)
Andrea Scott (Co-Founder, skoah, with 17 locations in Canada + US)

apply-nowThe program cost is $500 (no tax),  $350 for CFIB members,  To enjoy your member discount, simply indicate that you are a CFIB member on question 11 in the application form.

 


team

Assembling your team of advisers: one size does not fit all!

By Hugh Latif

A lawyer, accountant, and banker walked into a new business. No, this isn’t the start of a joke. It’s what should really happen when you set up your company. You need to recruit a team of outside advisers for your business, which in most instances includes at least the three listed above. The team should be recruited before you need them, not in the middle of a crisis.

Consider the story of Jerry. When he first set up his business, Jerry had an opportunity to lease a great space at a reasonable rate. He had to put together the deal quickly so he hired a lawyer in the strip mall across the street. After he settled into his new business, Jerry forgot all about needing a lawyer until he was faced with a client threatening a lawsuit. That’s when he found out that his “lawyer” specialized in real estate, not litigation.

Jerry had to scramble once again. This time, the stakes were much higher than negotiating a lease!

Selecting the right-fit lawyer

This kind of scenario can be avoided by setting up your team ahead of time. The days of a lawyer who practices general law are long gone. Select a lawyer, and perhaps a law firm, with specialty areas where you are most likely to do business. For instance, if you are doing work outside the country, you’ll want someone with foreign taxation experience. If you are developing proprietary intellectual property, consider someone with trademark and patent expertise.

Depending on the issue, be prepared to bring in a specialist. A good lawyer isn’t afraid to say, “That’s not my area of expertise, but let me refer you to someone I trust.”  If you are dealing with a large firm, specializing may be available under one roof. A mid-size firm is often best for balancing reasonable rates with good service and access to specialization.

Picking an accountant

The same goes for your accountant – you need to have your accountant in place ahead of tax season, not mid-April! Ideally, your accountant is with you at the beginning in order to advise on setting up your books and accounting system.

Like lawyers, accountants vary by the size of firm they come from and their areas of specialization. A service-based business, for example, has different accounting needs from a business that exports products or sells retail. There is another distinction that I’ve found: some accountants are good at looking at past and present procedures; others are “future accountants” because they are more strategic in their thinking. They’ll help you find the best way to position yourself for the future. Try and get an accountant who can do both!

Selecting your banker

The third external adviser you should bring in is your banker. Canadian banks may seem to be all the same, but they are not. Some have a greater reach into the US; others, a greater international presence. My recommendation is that you work with two banks so you are less vulnerable to changes in the bank’s vision and direction.

Other advisers on your team may be a coach, mentor, and/or a consultant. These advisers question, listen, and challenge you as you develop your skills and grow your team. Look for experience, a proven track record, and adherence to high ethical and professional standards. Remember, you don’t have to implement their advice or recommendations, but their knowledge and the different perspectives they provide for sound decision-making can be invaluable.

Making the decision

Once you’ve found a few suitable candidates, how do you pick the right one?right-advisor

  • Speak first to their clients. Ask directly, “Would you hire this person again?”
  • Check their reputation through professional associations.
  • Set up an information meeting to get to know them. Like hiring staff, you are looking for the right qualifications as well as the right chemistry.

Finally, once you have your team in place, make effective use of them. Keep them updated on your corporate progress and future plans, and nurture a strong, healthy relationship. You’ll want to meet with your accountant and banker at least twice a year.

As a maverick leader, I compare these external advisors to the turbo power in an engine. Power on demand. Surround yourself with those who are experienced, trustworthy, and committed to your success. You don’t need them all the time, but when there’s trouble afoot, or a major decision to be made, the right power has to be there!

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hughlatifHugh Latif has over 40 years of experience in management consulting and general management. Since 1996, his consulting practice has successfully completed over 350 assignments. Previously, he held senior executive positions with the Dun & Bradstreet – A.C. Nielsen Group in Canada, Italy, Brazil and France. He specializes in strategic planning, sales and marketing, succession planning, advisory board governance and business turn-arounds. In his book, Maverick Leadership, Hugh shares his insights about the fundamentals of leadership and business success.

 For more practical advice for general managers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs, Hugh Latif has put his wisdom from 40+ years of business experience together in Maverick Leadership, now available in Canada and the USA. Click here to learn more!


A toolkit to widen your export horizons

Deciding to start a business might not be the most difficult decision you’ll ever make.

Finding the right resources that can provide answers to your questions, on the other hand, can be a challenge, especially when conducting business that requires import/export of your products.

The good news? The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has been working on improving the cross-border trading experiences for Canada’s small firms for many years now, and the legwork has paid off in the form of a new resource specifically for small- and medium-sized Canadian businesses.

Recently, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) launched the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Toolkit. The Toolkit was created as a direct result of CFIB’s advocacy work, ensuing that the information is tailored to small business traders.  The Toolkit is now available on CBSA’s website.

Topics you will find:

  • Importing
  • Exporting
  • Government resources
  • Contact information

Earlier this year, CFIB released a report called “Beyond the Big Border”, which addressed some of the issues our members face importing from and exporting to the US.

Here are some suggestions for an improved cross-border trading experience:

  • Consider a freight consolidator to reduce the number of shipments (lower fees and shipping costs).
  • Speak with Customs in advance and take the time to write down the contact’s name and the advice provided.
  • Factor in all of your shipping charges, duties, handling fees, taxes and exchange rates into your product before you order.
  • If you are only importing small amounts and you are not located far from a border, consider getting your own importer’s license

Make a decision to join CFIB’s My StartUp program with a six-month free membership. Learn how we can help your startup by signing up for My StartUp today!


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Free Webinar – Creating a Successful Small Business Website 101: Approach and Execution

Did you know that 88% of Canadians will research online before making a purchase at your place of business? Furthermore, 80% of Canadians’ searches are for local purchases.

Having a compelling, effective website is no longer a nice to have for entrepreneurs. It is now an essential tool in running your successful small business. Everyone is looking for the magic bullet solution – the tactical advantage that will act as a launch pad for your business and its bottom line.

There are numerous tools and strategies that businesses can implement on the web to contribute to that goal, but which ones do you choose, and are those individual tactics enough?

In this free webinar, Andrew VanderPloeg, VP Communications at Bark Communications, will share valuable strategies on how to strategically approach your site, and then within that strategy, employ effective tactics to win on the web.

This webinar is free but space is limited. Please sign up for your preferred date below today.

Creating a Successful Small Business Website 101: Approach and Execution
September 27, 2016 at 1pm EDT

Creating a Successful Small Business Website 101: Approach and Execution
September 28, 2016 at 1pm EDT

You do not need to be a web developer or designer to benefit from this webinar.


Fulfill your potential and embrace your inner entrepreneur

questionsStarting a business is all about answering questions. Although you may have answered all of the questions from our previous post, there will be many more. The ultimate goal is to narrow down your idea, and execute a plan to create the best product/service you can.

You may think your ideal situation is to ensure that your idea has never been done before, but I encourage you to modify this perspective: your idea should be the best version there is in the marketplace. Your competitor’s weaknesses are your future strengths, objectives, and goals.

Remember to stay true to your vision, mission and objectives and the direction of your life.

Every idea needs sharpening; no idea is perfect on its own.

Remember, we all have the potential to become an entrepreneur. Many of us are gifted and skilled enough to provide a service in the community that addresses these factors:

  • It does not require large start-up costs
  • Government regulations are relatively manageable
  • You can launch it beginning with your own network of family and friends

Most importantly, if you’re really great at what you do, obtaining referrals should be easy! Let’s take a look at a few examples.

  • Fitness trainer
  • Baker
  • Subject matter expert
  • Child care
  • Content writer
  • Cooking
  • Crocheting/quilting
  • Drawing
  • Graphic designer
  • Housekeeping
  • Jewelry making
  • Event planning
  • Musician
  • Photographer
  • Web designer

If you don’t see your particular skill in the list above, don’t sweat it. Go back to your notes from our previous brainstorming activity and find what inspires you every day, out of which you can create a service/product that is satisfactory to the needs of your future customers.

Always keep an open mind. “Eureka” moments can easily happen when you find yourself saying:

  • How I wish there was a….
  • This product/service could be better if it did…
  • If only someone would have thought about…

Those are moments that you can be innovative and think clearly about a potential business idea.

Things to consider if you’re called to do business today

You’ve just been called for your service and you feel overwhelmed as to where to start. Here is a checklist to keep you on track:

Estimates 

☐ Free estimate or consultation?
☐ Will you offer a discount?
☐ When will you submit your estimate?
☐ How soon will you hear back from your clients?

Planning  

Materials: Identify the materials you need and if you need to rent any equipment.
Time: What is your expected start date and end date (also note if it is weekday or weekend)?
People: Based on CRA rules, will you be able to hire a sub-contractor? Or can you hire employees on a temporary basis or permanently?  Read the guide employee vs. self-employed.
Monitoring: How will you ensure that you are providing quality service and reduce the risk of losing resources?

Guarantee 

Policy: Do you have a policy on customer satisfaction? Will you refund money for dissatisfied customers? How will you manage?
Insurance: What are you covered for in regards to commercial insurance? Will your employees require workers’ compensation? Or require a clearance certificate?

…and most importantly…

Customer Service

Contact person: Who will be accessible to your client? What times can they be reached? What is the expected communication time frame?
Follow up: Inform your client you will be sending a survey to assess the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Testimonials: Ask if you can use their testimony and, most importantly, if they can provide a referral.
Future maintenance schedule: Communicate a plan to ensure you maintain service throughout the year. Also, at what fee?

Lastly, remember:

  • Ensure you update your website with your client’s testimonial.
  • Ensure you obtained permission to contact them by email in future.
  • Ensure you appreciate your employees and pay them or the client according to what was agreed upon.

Keep those entrepreneurial dreams alive!

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CesarCesar Gomez-Garcia has been with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for six years. His current role at the CFIB is helping members with their questions on compliance. These questions can range from employment standards to health and safety, as well as complicated red tape situations that small businesses face. His passion is reading and writing about entrepreneurship. Learn more about Cesar via LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @josuegomezg.