Start saving on Mastercard rates today!

Great news! CFIB members are now eligible to save on Mastercard transactions — 12.5% on Mastercard’s “Electronic” rate for Core card transactions, and as much as a 22% on some premium cards.

Why? Because you’re a CFIB member!

Now, CFIB members get the same rate with Mastercard as Canada’s largest merchants. We have used the bargaining power of our 109,000 member base, who collectively generate over $3 billion in Mastercard sales annually, to negotiate exclusive savings on the “interchange” rate charged by Mastercard to payment processors.

How do you get the deal?

If you’re a CFIB member with Chase Paymentech on CFIB pricing – do nothing! Chase Paymentech will automatically pass 100% of the applicable savings on to you.

All Other Payment Processors

The CFIB member special Mastercard rate is available to with many payment processors in Canada.

  • If you would like to explore your options and see how much you could save with CFIB preferred pricing from Chase Paymentech, call them directly at 1 888 317-9535 for a free, no-obligation analysis.

Or

  • Contact your payment processor and confirm that they will offer the CFIB special Mastercard rate. See the list of confirmed processors. You will need to provide them your CFIB member ID.

For more information, visit cfib.ca/mastercard or contact us at 1 888 234-2232 or cfib@cfib.ca

Not a member yet?

Join CFIB now via the appropriate link:

In business two years or less? Join CFIB’s MyStartup program.
In business longer than two years? Join CFIB.


Canada’s underground economy — are you contributing?

Have you ever paid someone to replace your kitchen counters in cash? Or, paid for a haircut in cash and didn’t notice whether or not GSH/HST had been applied? Or, hired someone “under the table” to conduct home renovations? Well, you might be contributing to a problem that costs the government billions in unpaid tax dollars each year. The underground economy (UE) is a serious problem, and for years, has been a consistent issue in Canada.

It may be tempting to pay for certain things in cash because we think that saving a few dollars here and there can’t hurt; however, we fail to see the larger impact of what happens when we do. The underground economy is a form of fraud and is considered an illegal economic activity. The Canada Revenue Agency, defines the underground economy as being any activity that is unreported or under-reported for tax and GST/HST purposes[1]

In June 2016, Statistics Canada released a report estimating the value of Canada’s underground economy to be $45.6 billion in 2013 — equivalent to 2.4 per cent of Canada’s GDP. The research also highlights that four sectors accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total estimated underground economy: residential construction, finance, insurance / real estate, and retail trade. Participation in the underground economy hurts all Canadians, including responsible citizens and businesses that pay the correct amount of tax.

So, here’s what you can do to help level the playing field for persons who pay their taxes:

  • As consumer: be sure to hire responsible businesses by asking questions and doing research. Any reputable business will abide by the rules and not accept under the table transactions. Get a written contract and copy of payment for your records. These will give you the protection you deserve and the peace of mind you need.
  • As business owner: report your income accurately with the CRA — taking short cuts when reporting your income could result in penalties, fines, and even jail time. The best way to ensure that you are reporting income accurately is to keep your sources of income organized and know what the CRA expects you to claim.

If someone offers to provide services to you for cash, or you suspect an individual or business has not reported all their income or GST/HST, you can contact the CRA through the Informant Leads Program

[1]http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/undergroundeconomy/

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Michelle Auger is Coordinator of the National Affairs team in Ottawa and has been with the CFIB since August 2015.  Michelle holds an Honors Baccalaureate in Social Sciences from the University of Ottawa and is fully bilingual. An avid runner and cross-country skier, Michelle spends much of her free time exploring the Gatineau Park.


Email marketing: Avoid the spam box with these do’s and don’ts

Every day scammers send 156 million phishing emails globally. Falling victim to one of these scams can cost you, or your business thousands of dollars. To help keep emails safe, hosts are building more and more sophisticated spam filters, which can save your bottom line, but also puts up a serious road block to your email marketing efforts.

All you may be trying to do is keep in touch with your clients, but little did you know that a few small errors might be sending your emails right into your customers’ spam folders.

Did you know, you have a “sender reputation” to protect? Certain factors will affect it, just like a credit score. Below are a few examples of do’s and don’ts to avoid a dwindling sender score and being tagged as a spammer.

The don’ts

1) Don’t forget to keep your list up to date

Email bouncebacks

A hard bounce is caused by an invalid, cancelled or non-existent email address. Bounce rates are one of the key factors Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) use to determine an email sender’s score. When you start sending too many emails that fall into spam, your reputation will dwindle, and your emails will automatically go to the spam box.

Re-engage inactive or infrequently active subscribers

Inactivity will affect your spam rating as well. Keep track of your inactive (inactive means that emails are being received but not opened) and infrequently active subscribers, and develop re-engagement campaigns for contacts who have stopped engaging with your messages.

2) Don’t buy or rent an email list

Even though buying or renting a list is not illegal, it’s definitely not part of ethical practices. Sure, email list providers will say that the people on their lists have opted-in to receiving email correspondence, but that doesn’t mean they agreed to receive your correspondence. You have no idea how many times these email addresses have been used, and if they are even still active. Which means that you might get a few hard bounces. Not to mention maybe even getting complaints which also affects your score. And it goes even further, not only will this affect your deliverability score, if you are reported, you could be fined a significant amount of money. To give you a better idea, since the law has taken affect, one company in particular has been fined a little over a million dollars.

As a Canadian business owner it’s your responsibility to know if you are operating within the parameters of the Canadian Anti-Spam law (CASL). If you are using a U.S. based email marketing platform you could be at risk of not being in compliance with the law, because the Canadian, and American anti-spam laws have different rules.

The main difference is that the American Anti-Spam law has adopted an opt-out model, while Canada has adopted an opt-in model. Under an opt-out model, businesses can send promotional emails unless the recipient states otherwise, or “opts out” of receiving them with the famous unsubscribe link.

Under an opt-in model, which is what we have here in Canada, the recipient must affirmatively give the business permission to send promotions, newsletters etc.  Yes the opt-in model makes it a little harder to build a mailing list, but it’s not impossible.  With the right tools, and the right information you will still be able to build a nice quality mailing list.

 3) Don’t scrape websites for email addresses

Scraping websites for email addresses is the equivalent of a telemarketer making a cold call. And we all know how much people LOVE those. Don’t email people you haven’t connected with through either an enquiry, or at a networking event. Your time would be better invested on building a list of people that will actually be happy to hear from you. Think quality, not quantity.

4) Don’t overlook the importance of the subject line

Don’t use all caps anywhere in your email or subject line

IT’S NOT NICE TO YELL AT PEOPLE! Using all caps in your subject line may seem spammer-like, because they frequently use them. It may get a negative reaction. Using catchy, polished  language may get a better reaction.

Don’t use exclamation points!!!!!

Exclamation points make your subject line and/or email look unprofessional and spammy, and can dilute the message.

Don’t use spam trigger words

One of easiest ways to avoid being tagged as a spammer is by carefully crafting your subject line. A good rule of thumb is this: If it sounds too salesy, it’s probably a spam trigger word. Think “free, guarantee, no obligation, etc.” (google spam trigger words for more examples).

Instead of using trigger words, be creative in describing what the email actually contains. Think something informative and fun. Something that will entice your readers to want to read what’s inside.

5) Don’t use weird fonts, too many images and broken links

Font

Don’t use red, invisible or irregular fonts. Same goes for using invisible text, such as a white font on top of a white background. These are common tricks spammers use, so it will be an instant red flag for spam filters.

Don’t use too many images

Using one large image as your entire email, or too many images in general, tends to end up in recipients’ spam folders. The text to image ratio should be higher.

Double check your links
Be weary of broken links. If your email contains broken links it may also be a spam trigger.

The DO’s

 1) Do use double opt-in

The double opt-in is when new subscribers receive a follow-up email with a confirmation link ensuring that the email address actually belongs to them. When using double opt-in, your email lists will be naturally be more qualified, which will make them more engaged. Furthermore you’ll be able to provide proof of consent which is required by the CASL.

2) Do ask your subscribers to add you to their address book

Spam filters are more aggressive than ever, sometimes even emails people want in their inbox still end up in spam. When subscribers add you to their address book, spam filters will back off.

3) Do include a clear unsubscribe link and a physical mailing address in your email footer

Allowing people to unsubscribe is important for the compliance of the CASL. Also it’s great for list hygiene because, again, anyone receiving your emails should actually want to receive them. Not doing this may get you reported.

4) Do offer both an HTML and a plain text version of your emails

Plain text emails are simply emails without the formatting, images and colors. Cyberimpact allows you to easily create plain-text versions within the email editor. Most spammers don’t take the time to do this so it will make your email look more legit. Plus it will increase your delivery rate because believe not, not everyone has the technology to receive those fancy images on their devices.

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Cyberimpact is a simple and efficient email marketing solution designed to help small business owners in Canada reach their full potential. Think of Cyberimpact as a partner who will help you achieve your business goals, while maintaining good email marketing practices Try it now, it’s free for CFIB members!


Crossing the Digital Divide: How Policy Makers Can Help Entrepreneurs Grow Online

Last Friday, I posed the question, are Gen X entrepreneurs missing the mark on social media? The stats I presented, based on CFIB’s latest research, Embracing technology in a digital age, appear to show that there certainly is a digital divide. Age of business, however is not the only factor. Larger rather than smaller firms seem to more eagerly embrace technologies that they believe will keep them competitive and agile.

Believe it or not, according to CFIB research, 34% of small business owners are still not using any kind of social media at all, and only 48% of those whose business has been running for 10 years or more view the ubiquitous technology as important to their operations.

While this might seem like a Gen Xer’s stubborn refusal to more fully engage with the digital world, there are some practical reasons for this apprehension. According to the survey, more established small businesses simply can’t prioritize social media on account of it being too time-consuming, too costly and too difficult to keep up with and fully understand.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas the Canadian Federation of Independent Business recommends policy makers think about implementing to help these older firms connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs:

  1. Make it easier to adopt digital technologies by encouraging the development of simple, cost effective, “off-the-shelf” digital tools for small businesses: CFIB already offers its members such services for web development (Bark Builder) and email marketing (CyberImpact) at discounted prices.
  2. Introduce a “Digital Technology Deduction”: Allow claims up to $100,000 per year spent on new equipment or technology, in the year of purchase.
  3. Reintroduce a 100 per cent Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) rate for technology purchases: This would spur new investments in new digital technologies and help drive innovation.
  4. Improve competitive options for high speed/wireless services: Require incumbents to provide competitors with wholesale access to Ethernet lines at fair prices, or allow foreign providers to access rural markets.
  5. Create an “innovations lens”: When implementing new regulations, policies and taxes, ensure these do not negatively impact a firm’s ability to innovate or adopt new technologies.
  6. Consider creating a website of digital tools to enhance digital literacy: Government could take the lead on creating a website that contains a database of tech guides and tools to develop digital skills that would help SMEs deal with daunting technology tasks quickly and easily.

By carrying through on some or all of these ideas, the government can help a generation of business owners who didn’t grow up with a smartphone in their hands, but are still a vibrant part of the entrepreneurial community, overcome their concerns and begin to see the massive benefits derived from creating an effective and indelible presence on social media.

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john-cropped

John Studd

With over 15 years of experience in communications, John has spent most of his career in Europe and Asia working with a long list of clients on a large number of projects. He particularly likes working on behalf of small- and medium-sized enterprises in his present role as Media Writer for the Canadian Federation Independent Business (CFIB). He’s also been a small business person himself, establishing a rather successful translation company in Prague that in its heyday employed three teams of translators.


The importance of small business accounting advice

We are now on our fifth edition of the multi-part series on the topic of tasks you should be adding to your “start up to do list”. In past weeks we have discussed starting your small business checklistorganizing your startup, are you sure you need to hire now?, and when do you need a lawyer?

Thank you for joining us on today’s topic: Accounting advice.

I’ve had a few experiences with a number of entrepreneurs that have trustingly replaced their accountants with a “manage yourself” software. While we will not discourage you from exploring this option, always remember that the live assistance of an expert can go a long way.

In the past, common concerns or complaints with software was related to upgrades, updates and even customer support. I have heard from a variety of entrepreneurs with questions such as: does the software calculate public holidays, does it identify when a holiday is coming up?  Does this software automatically update when there are changes in taxes or source deductions? And how can I manually change the percentage of tax?

Accounting advice helps you with:

  • Learning which business entity is best for you
  • How to get paid from your own business
  • Filing your taxes; with correct documentation and on time
  • Understanding what is considered a business expense
  • A Revenue Canada Audit

Understanding the health of your business is primarily your responsibility, the entrepreneur. Not to mention that the Canada Revenue Agency also holds you responsible for collecting and remitting GST/HST and payroll taxes. So it is in your best interest to understand how to do this properly, also to know what factors impact the growth of your business. A bonus is hiring an accountant that is familiar with your particular industry.

Our business resource department is here to help you navigate the complexities of running your business, however, we recognize that professional accounting advice is crucial for the survival of your business. The assistance of an accountant is very important especially because you wish to start your business on right track.

Our members are able to contact their regional CFIB business counselor when they may not be sure if it is an accounting question. Rest assured, if we can help we will by providing you information, research or support.

So to set you on the right track, here is your weekly checklist. Remember to share your checklist with your social media entrepreneur community by using: #MyStartUp and #SmallBizChecklist

☐ Do you need to register for GST or HST? Click here for explanation.
☐ Have you hired an accountant to help you through the taxes of running a small business?
Check if there is someone local that can help: Shop Small Biz – your local business directory.
☐ Have you considered which banking service you will require? Also read our “How to get a better deal at bank
☐ Considering grants and financing?
☐ Considering using some of your revenue as donations?

If you have been in business less than two years, you qualify to sign up as a member through our My StartUp portal. If you have been in business for more than two years, please click here to obtain further information from our CFIB website on how you sign up today!

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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.


Are Gen X entrepreneurs missing the mark on social media?

We hear a lot about the generational divide when it comes to digital technologies. As it turns out, this digital divide is not just a feature of individual relationships anymore. The same gap can be seen in how young and old businesses relate to the public, and each other.

Like my millennial nieces and nephews rolling their eyes at their Gen-X uncle’s stubborn ignorance of the intricacies of Tinder dating, younger businesses are far more digitally-savvy than their older counterparts as well.

Whereas I’m a proud denizen of Gen-X slackerdom prone to dismissing earnest new applications ironically (yet still ready to adopt them if convenient), the younger members of my family see nothing strange in marketing themselves in multiple ways on various platforms, collecting ‘likes’ and mutual swipes as obsessively as I used to collect vinyl records. And while I am aware that there are a few hipsters out there who might be interested in my dusty old LP collection, I think it’s fair to say that my nieces and nephews could have found a market for those old albums long ago.

Young business, like those young men and women in my family, seem to have the edge when it comes to fully embracing digital technologies. But don’t take my word for it! This is but one of the take-aways from a new survey put out by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) that’s sure to light a spark in the minds of Canada’s budding young entrepreneurs.

According to the survey, Embracing technology in a digital age, businesses less than 5 years old are more likely to think of social media as integral to their start-up, with 72% thinking of it as an important part of their business model from the get go, whereas only 48% of firms that have been around for 10 years or more feel the same.

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This could partially be explained by the fact that younger firms are extremely focused on marketing their business and are more familiar with social media tools and their benefits, whereas older businesses may be more established and already have a strong client base, and therefore do not feel the need to publicize their activities quite as much.

Like the common refrain that the youth of today spend far too much time, money and mental energy on their phones checking Facebook, Twitter and the like, some of the barriers to digital adoption, according to older firms, is that they find these digital tools too time-consuming, too costly and (surprise, surprise – for us ‘old timers’ anyway) too difficult to understand.

figure8

Millennials view technology as a critical part of their life and work. They are constantly “on,” and connected. They tend to embrace new technologies for socializing and working, and adapt quickly. By contrast, Gen X’ers mainly use technology for purposes of convenience, such as online banking and shopping. This same disconnect regarding the purpose and use of new technologies can be applied to younger and older firms respectively.

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Not all differences can be chalked up to age though. One interesting item from the survey that goes beyond that particular divide is the type of social networking sites certain businesses use. Businesses that deal directly with consumers, such as retailers and those in hospitality or recreation, are much more likely to be using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Alternatively, businesses that primarily deal with other businesses, such as those in finance, insurance and professional services, are much more likely to use LinkedIn.

figure4

Size matters too. Larger companies of 50 employees or more make use of social media platforms like Twitter more than smaller businesses with less than five employees (see chart). This may be due to the fact that larger businesses have the capacity to hire younger, more linked in social media experts, if needed, to set up and manage these accounts compared to a smaller business that may find it difficult to access such resources and therefore may choose to focus on just one social media platform if they choose to engage in social media at all.

figure5

As the study reveals, 34% of respondents are not using social media at all, and while this figure has been trending downward for many years now, it shows that there’s still more that can be done to assist older, smaller firms in adopting the technologies that will keep them competitive, agile and safe from the collective eye-rolls of the younger crowd.

Join us Friday when we outline some of actions CFIB recommends policy makers take to help older, smaller firms connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs, such as providing simple, cost-effective, “off-the-shelf” digital tools for small business, creating a website of such tools to enhance digital literacy and introducing a “digital technology deduction” so a business can write-off their investment in the year of purchase.

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john-cropped

John Studd

With over 15 years of experience in communications, John has spent most of his career in Europe and Asia working with a long list of clients on a large number of projects. He particularly likes working on behalf of small- and medium-sized enterprises in his present role as Media Writer for the Canadian Federation Independent Business (CFIB). He’s also been a small business person himself, establishing a rather successful translation company in Prague that in its heyday employed three teams of translators.

 


CFIB members can now enjoy Mastercard’s BIG BUSINESS rates!

I am very proud to announce an agreement directly with Mastercard to allow CFIB members to benefit from special rates previously reserved for individual merchants with over $3 billion in transactions. This goes into effect starting April 3rd, 2017. This deal represents a 12.5% savings from Mastercard’s base “electronic” rate, and as much as 22% savings on some premium cards.  The result will be millions in collective savings exclusively for CFIB members, helping your bottom line.

If you are a CFIB member already on our plan with Chase Paymentech, the rate reduction will be automatic. If not, click on our CFIB Mastercard page to learn more, including how to access this important new benefit. Also, please let your fellow small and medium-sized business owners know that they can get these great rates too if they become a member of CFIB.  They can inquire about membership at cfib.ca/join or, if they have been in business for two years or less, they can check out CFIB’s My Startup program for new businesses.

After years of member action, research and media attention on the high cost of credit card fees, CFIB members have achieved many important victories. But we’ve never stopped in our advocacy for additional reductions. This is another great example of what can happen when thousands of independent business owners stand together.

Congratulations!

Dan Kelly, CFIB President

cfib-mc


Tips and tools to help manage your family business

Family Day is being observed this year on February 20, 2017 (February 13, 2017 for British Columbia). In honor of the countless family owned businesses across Canada, we wanted to provide our My Startup family with few tools to get your family business off the ground.

It is good business practice to create a code of conduct to ensure that everyone understands the expected behavior towards each other and customers.

A Code of Conduct is set of rules/norms that are established for family members/employees to comply with. It is expected that everyone would have a full commitment to conduct business in a professional and respectable manner and strive to create a trust-worthy authentic environment.

A Code of Conduct will support the dos/don’ts on how your company culture will unfold the business vision, mission and objectives. The Code of Culture speaks to:

  • Commitment and expectations of those considered to be managers
  • Commitment and expectations of employee behaviors
  • What is considered to be respectable and professional behavior
  • What unethical behaviors are not tolerated
  • Company Policies and Procedures

Family being the closest to us by relationship, setting professional boundaries can ensure that your communication is both respectable and effective, documentation is effective and avoids confusion.

Setting the right company culture from the start is a win-win situation for all individuals working at your business. Regardless of your size of business, it is a tool that sets the level of excellence you are expecting from all your staff.

As a CFIB member and a CFIB My Startup member, you have access to a Code of Conduct template by using your membership ID and password here.

Have you considered structuring your team using the RACI method?

Recently, in completing my Business Analysis program, I became familiar with a business tool I believe can help small business. It’s called the RACI matrix and it is a method to understand the different roles in a team and to ensure everyone is aware of their own responsibilities. Understanding the roles given to each individual will reduce any risk of incomplete work.

RACI is an acronym for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. In your next meeting with your family members, consider categorizing your family in the following categories and decide who is:

  • Responsible: Individual tasked to complete a task.
  • Accountable: One who ensures tasks are completed.
  • Consulted: A subject matter expert that is called for advice.
  • Informed: An individual that requires continual updates on progress.

While this matrix is a tool often used for projects and has elaborate methodology, having these assigned roles will maximize your chances at starting a successful venture.

Often times when you’re starting a family business, “the all hands on deck” approach may get confusing and that can lead to a loss of time, resources and duplicate work in some cases – even worse no work gets accomplished as no real accountability can be measured.

Each individual assigned to your business, needs to have clear, consistent, and achievable tasks.

Do you have a clear direction for your business?

After you have developed your team, consider the following: using the GRPI method to further understand if your team has all the necessary tools to complete the tasks you need for your business operations.

GRPI is an acronym for Goals, Roles, Processes, and Interpersonal and it’s used to assess the effectiveness of your team.

Goals: Have all goals been communicated clearly.
Roles: Using the RACI method, do you have clear roles assigned.
Interpersonal: How the team communicates with one another, especially with respect and trust.

The above factors are straight forward. For this reason let’s take some time to provide further details on Processes.

Processes: What are the steps that need to be taken to complete tasks, projects, etc.

Your business requires constant goals and tasks, and accomplishing each to keep the business alive. A process can take shape in many different forms and can be communicated in the following methods:

  • Establishing a channel of communication (Email, Skype, Phone etc.)
  • Specific time for meetings (daily, weekly etc.)
  • Creating a procedure manual that has clear instructions
  • Identifying what resources are available for all staff
  • Everyone should be encouraged to provide feedback on improving any of the above

Just like the RACI methodology, the GRPI has further layers that can be researched online to help you with your startup.

These tools are used for projects, however your startup can be seen as a project – as you plan, review, and monitor and execute your plans for your product/services.

Do you have a specific tool/methodology that has helped your business? Tweet us at #MyStartUp

Remember, as a CFIB or My Startup member you have access to our EI Family blog, number of webinars to help you manage your startup and access to our Business Counsellors.

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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.


All I want for Christmas is a lemonade stand! At six years old, Mimi has a business plan.

Red Tape Awareness Week 2017  is wrapping up and, as in previous years, we celebrate by announcing the Golden Scissors award winners (awarded each year to a public servant or elected official who did the most to cut small business free from the tangled web of red tape restraining innovation, job creation and economic growth across this nation). On CFIB’s My Startup blog, however, we concentrating on another good news story!

We published a story on Wednesday about two young Ottawa-area girls who set up a lemonade stand beside the Rideau Canal only to be tangled up in government red tape. Now, our business counsellor extraordinaire, Cesar Gomez, will tell us about his niece’s foray into the business world via lemons and lemonade!

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cesar-lemonade-stand-resizedIt was a balmy October, day when the Gomezs got together to have our annual Thanksgiving dinner. After having an amazing meal, our conversation turned towards Christmas and what Santa might bring the children.

My six year old niece whispered into her mother’s ear what it was she wanted most: a lemonade stand.

It was a proud moment for me. I love the spirit of entrepreneurship and it warmed my hear to hear my six-year-old niece was already thinking of her first business..

A week later, I talked to my niece about her next steps Here’s how she broke it down for me:

  • She gave me exact details of what her business card should look like
  • What colours her logo and overall design should be
  • She set the price for the lemonade stand
  • She would get started by selling to family
  • She named grandma as her business partner, since she had tasted her lemonade before
  • loyalty-card-with-captionShe knew she wanted to have a loyalty program, in her words: “Just like some cafes that you get a stamp and every 4th coffee is free… I want my customers to have that as well.”
  • She made plans to have security cameras in the future to ensure her staff is safe; and,
  • We would launch her business on Christmas, at the family dinner

She thought she would get a side table, where she could promote and offer her lemonade. We surprised her by giving her a real lemonade stand. We also provided her with a branded apron, along with posters, business cards and cups.

It was another important business lesson: surround yourself with people that believe in you!

And the result?

Never underestimate a small idea. She made $34.00 in one night, thanks to some pretty impressed customers. It was hard not to be. The marketing was on point: excellent promotion, attractive posters and this a six year old with big vision and a big heart.

Where do we go from here?

“Next time lets have a basket of cookies for our customers,” said my niece already thinking ahead .

From a lemonade stand to a restaurant, from a farm to a factory. We can all be entrepreneurs.

All it takes is an idea and the drive to follow through. You can achieve only what you believe you can.

Happy New Year!

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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.


Government red tape trips up kids’ lemonade stand

There’s nothing like a cool, refreshing glass of lemonade to quench your thirst on a hot day.

And it can be a great lesson in learning the value of money, hard work and running a small business too. At least, that was the idea when two young Ottawa-area girls set up a lemonade stand beside the Rideau Canal this past summer. Simple, right?

Unfortunately, the young entrepreneurs were quickly introduced to something Canada’s small business owners are all too familiar with: red tape. A mere two hours – and an impressive $52 – after opening, a National Capital Commission (NCC) officer informed the girls and their father that the median they’d set up their stand on was NCC property and they would need a permit to do business there.

Thankfully, this red tape story had a happy ending, with the NCC issuing a special permit for the lemonade stand, on the condition that one day’s worth of proceeds be donated to charity.

Looking for ways to get the young people in your life interested and involved in entrepreneurship? Check out VuKids an online series of business skills and financial literacy courses for kids created by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in partnership with Vubiz and M is for Money author Teresa Cascioli.