Best Hashtags for your Business

A hashtag is a word or phrase that comes after a hash mark or a pound sign (#) used on social media to group messages related to a specific topic. Hashtags started and are more commonly used on Twitter, but many other social media platforms use them to allow users to find messages related to specific topics.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr and Vine are some of the other social media platforms that use hashtags. Using a hashtag is an easy way to attract your target audience on busy, cluttered social media sites.

Here are a few tactics to find the best hashtags to target your audience.

Use Twitter Search

Although hashtags are used on other social media platforms, Twitter is where it started and you will find an extensive collection of hashtags. This is a great way to find key words that are relevant to your content. The key is to find hashtags that are popular and relevant to your business. The more popular, the better the chance your target audience will come across it.

Create your own Branded Hashtag

Another option is to create your own hashtag for you business to use repeatedly to promote your brand. The best hashtags in this situation are unique and relate directly to your brand.

See What’s Trending

If you go into the ‘trends’ column on Twitter, there is a collection of popular trending hashtags. This list is tailored to you based on who you follow on Twitter. Check out this column regularly to see what hashtags may be relevant to your business.

Take them for a Test Drive

Once you have a list of potential hashtags, it’s time to put them to the test. A common best practice is not to use more than three hashtags per post. Share your content including your hashtags and see which hashtag words best.



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How to Project a Professional Image with a Home Business

Working from home may seem like the perfect career solution, but it can be challenging to make your business’ online presence professional while you’re working from home in your pajamas.

Here are a few ways to make your business look like a million dollar company.

Make your business look bigger than it is.

Home business’ hold less credibility than a traditional brick and mortar establishment. Having a professional website, mail box and phone line will help make your business image look better to potential customers.

Separate your business from your home.

It is important to get a separate office phone number and make your online contact form look just as professional as a major enterprise’s – including your ‘office hours’.

Focus on SEO content.

Content is key to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The more your content follows SEO best practices, the higher your website will rank on search engines like Google or Yahoo.

Improve your website experience.

You could have the best product or service on the market, but if your website is confusing to navigate through or lacks information, potential customers will be less likely to buy from your business.

Make social media count.

Your content on social media should be relevant and increase your traffic and sales. Most social media sites offer free analytics, to help you track your likes, comment, follows, and views.

Use high-quality photos.

When you showcase your product or service on your blog, website or social media pages, make sure they are high-quality photos. Low-quality photos could scare away potential customers.

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Should You Register for HST

Starting a business involves planning, gathering legal documents and making key financial decisions. Amongst these financial considerations, you will want to establish whether or not you will want to register for HST. The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) replaced the existing provincial sales taxes and the federal goods and service tax in Ontario on July 1st, 2010. HST is applied at a rate of 13%, consisting of the 5% federal portion and an 8% provincial portion. In order to charge sales tax on your product or service, you will need to register for HST.

Legally, businesses that have $30,000 or less in annual worldwide taxable sales are not required to register and collect tax. You can, however, register voluntarily. You may wish to consider doing so for several reasons. First, by registering for HST you will be able to recover all outgoing business expenses. The HST paid when purchasing materials, equipment or supplies for your business can be recovered. Without registering for HST, you also run the risk of jeopardizing the trust of your repeat clients who won’t appreciate the jolt in pricing when you hit the $30,000 mark. Your clients may also only trust to work with businesses that are already registered for HST for formality reasons.

If you decide to register for HST voluntarily, remember that you must charge, collect and remit HST on your sales or taxable goods and services.

You will have to register for HST when you no longer qualify as a small supplier because your total worldwide taxable supplies of goods and services exceed the small supplier limit of $30,000 in a year. If you choose not to register immediately for HST, always track the amount of sales you will be generating. You will be responsible for any additional sales exceeding $30,000 annually. Legally while it is technically the responsibility of your clients to pay out the additional HST costs, the likelihood of them agreeing to pay the outstanding costs will be slim. You may also sacrifice their trust in your business.

You can register for HST by the following methods:

  1. Internet:
  2. Telephone : 1-800-959-5525

To register for HST you will need a Business Number, which can be collected at the same time at Canada Revenue Agency. Once registered, the Canada Revenue Agency will send you a letter confirming your BN, the accounts registered and a summer of the information you have provided.

For HST and Payroll general inquiries, call Revenue Canada’s Tax Services Office at 1-800-959-5525.

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Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed

Are you getting the benefits from all the tax deductions you could be writing off against your business income?

Here are some tax deductions many small business owners overlook.

Home Business Tax Deductions

Most business owners are aware of Home Business Tax Deduction but aren’t aware of the extent of tax deductions they can claim by operating a home-based business. Your business may be eligible to claim a range of deductions from a portion of your interest on your mortgage through to a portion of the cost of your cleaning supplies.

Scientific Research & Experimental Development Tax Credits

You don’t have to operate a big business to tax credits for Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED). A benefit of the SR&ED tax credit program is that it is refundable, even if your business doesn’t make any profit.

Allowable Reserves as an Income Tax Deduction

The Canada Revenue Agency will allow you to deduct an amount for a reserve, contingent account, or a sinking fund as long as the amount is reasonable and the Income Tax Act allows it. However, the amount you place in reserve has to be returned to your income the following year.

Investment Tax Credits

There are Investment Tax Credits that will allow you to subtract the cost of some types of property or some of the expenditures your business incurs. There are eligibility rules and regulations, but if your business qualifies you could get a real tax break.

Private Health Services Plan Premiums as Income Tax Deductions

If you insure yourself or any member of your family, you can deduct the Private Health Services Plan (PHSP) Premiums you pay, as long as you meet the following requirements; your net income is more than 50% of your total income for the year, your income from other sources is $10,000 or less for the year, and you are actively engaged in your business.

Hiring Your Spouse or Child Will Give you a Tax Deduction

The cost of an employee’s wages is a business expense. The same is true when you hire your spouse or child. The difference is that it also gives you a chance to do some income splitting. By employing them, you may be able to drop your net income to a lower tax bracket, netting a nice income tax deduction.

Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit

If your business is in the trades, you can get an Investment Tax Credit of up to
$2,000 for hiring an apprentice who is in the first two years of his or her apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit is a great way to get skilled help at a reduced rate.

These are just some of the many income tax deductions you may be eligible for. So before doing taxes for your small business, do your research to make sure you don’t miss out on some big tax deductions!


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Claiming your Home-Based Business Tax Deductions

If you run a home-based business, you want to deduct all the relevant home business expenses on your income tax return. However, you want to be sure your business qualifies for these deductions.

Here’s what you need to know;

Who can claim home business tax deductions?

You can only claim business-use-of-home expenses if your home is your principal place of business, or if you use your home to earn your business income on a regular basis. You can’t claim business-use-of-home expenses if you work from home on occasion.

How to claim home business tax deductions

If you meet the Canada Revenue Agency requirements, you’re ready to calculate your business-use-of-home expenses. Because you also live in your home, you will calculate a percentage of your home expenses. To calculate this percentage you would divide the space specifically used for business by the total area of your house.

For example, you have an office that is 20 by 20 feet and your house is 2,500 square feet. You would divide 400 by 2,500 giving you 16%, representing the percent of space used for business. Then you would apply this percentage to your allowable expenses.

You can deduct a portion of your household expenses that relate directly to your business such as; utilities, phone, and cleaning supplies. If you own your home, you can claim a portion of your house insurance, property tax, and mortgage interest (not mortgage payments). If you rent, you can claim a portion of your rent.

Once you’ve totalled your expenses for the fiscal year, you would divide that by your allowable portion of business-use-of-home expenses, or as used in the example; 16%.

Adjusting expenses for part-time use

If you are running a business part-time from your home, you would calculate how many hours you work in a day and divide that by 24 hours, then multiply the result by the business portion of your total home expenses.

If you run a home-based business and meet the requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency, you’ll want to be sure to claim the home business tax deductions on your income tax. It may not seem like much, but every deduction helps.




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Business Income Tax Return

Here’s what you need to know about completing and filing the T1 Canadian income tax return as a business.

Whether your business is a sole proprietorship or partnership, you use the same income tax return to file your business taxes that you use to file your personal income taxes in Canada – the T1 income tax form. If your business is a corporation, you have to file a T2 income tax return.

You are declaring all your income using this form, being income from a job and a business or income from more than one business.

You will need; your business number, social insurance number, a copy of the Canada Revenue Agency’s Business and Professional Income Guide, and all your business records.

Steps to fill out your T1 Canadian income tax form:

  1. Fill out the Identification section of the T1 income tax form.
  2. Figure out your total income to calculate your business income. To do this you will need to fill out a T2125: Statement of Business or Professional Activities form, which is included in your T1 income tax form package. A T2125 form must be filled out separately for each business.
  3. Use the appendix of the Business and Professional Income Guide to find your business’s industry code. Then fill out the identification section of the form.
  4. Use your business records to complete the Income and Expenses part of the Statement of Business or Professional Activities income tax form.
  5. Go to the Total Income section of your T1 income tax form. Near the end of the Total Income section titled “Self employment income” enter your gross and net business, professional, or commission income on the appropriate line.
  6. Back at the top of the Total Income section; enter all your other income on the appropriate lines. When you’ve finished working through this section, you’ll have calculated your Total Income, including your business income.
  7. Continue filling out the rest of the T1 income tax form.

After following these steps you will be done you business income tax return and it will be ready to be filed. Always be sure to double-check it before filing it to find any mistakes

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Using Google to Promote your Business: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Getting the word out about your website can be tough, especially if you are interested in being on the first page of Google. Search engine optimization can help business owners get their website on the first page on Google.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, involves the use of techniques and actions to effectively position your website to achieve a high-ranking on search engine return pages (SERPs).

If you want your business to be a contender with the big players, you should consider the following to get your website a top ranking on Google;

  • Keywords

Including keywords in your website content to coincide with search terms often used by potential customers interested in your business sector. Using keywords in your title page, and header will appeal to Google users to connect easier to your page. Keep in mind that using too many keywords can be a disadvantage, as you may be labeled a spammer by search engine “spiders”.

  • Links

Another way to improve you search engine optimization is to have as many quality links directed back to your page as possible. This can be done by linking all external social media back to your page and developing relationships with other credible businesses to link your websites to each others, also known as cross-promotion.

  • Content

Including relevant and up to date information is also very important for search engine optimization. An effective way to do this is to include a blog on your webpage with plenty of resources and content that viewers will find informative. Also including content about everyday operations will generate trust with your potential clients.

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