Business Website vs Facebook Page

Having a website and/or Facebook page are an important part of building your brand, but do you need both? Here are a few points to take into consideration to determine whether a website or Facebook page will help you reach your target audience better.

Control

Having a website gives you complete control over your entire media brand, whereas with a Facebook page, there is a lack of control and you’re dealing with a third-party website.

Design

Your website can be designed to match your branding, making changes at your own discretion, whereas you can make minor changes and add your logo to a Facebook page, however you’re still at the mercy of Facebook’s look.

Information

Your audience has to make an effort to visit your website, whereas with a Facebook page, you’re taking your information directly to where your audience spends their time to connect with others.

Updates

With multiple website platforms to choose from, not every website operates the same making it more challenging to update your website. Facebook makes it easy to post information, photos or videos and reach your audience quicker.

Revenue

You can sell ad space on your website, setting your own rates and managing the ad to generate revenue, whereas those opportunities are non-existent with a Facebook page.

Statistics

Your website statistics are not on display for your viewers, whereas your fans or visitors can see how many likes your Facebook page has.

Contests

Contests will drive people to your website and can be monitored with your website analytics. Contests on Facebook will build your fan base and generate a buzz as your contest link gets passed around to users.

 User Comments

You have the option to allow user comments on your website. If you do allow comments, it’s important to monitor them and develop a policy for how to deal with them. You still have to keep an eye out for visitors that could cause trouble, but Facebook has an easy system to block comments and users.

Interaction

Your website has limited opportunities to interact with your audience, while Facebook has multiple opportunities to interact and communicate with your audience.

 

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Habits to Increase Your Productivity

Here are a few tips to improve your productivity levels.

  • Arrive early, stay later

Get to your most important task right away to save yourself some extra hours. Arriving early and staying late could make all the difference.

  • Plan each day the night before

Taking 15 minutes to make a to-do list and prioritize it will give you a head start on your day. Prioritizing tasks by importance is a reminder to push you forward with achieving big goals.

  • Leave the office for lunch

Getting out of your work environment for lunch can ease stress levels, refresh your creativity and help you re-focus. It’s a chance to clear your head and think about how the rest of your day should go.

  • Minimize distractions

Distractions are everywhere. Working at a computer, there is temptation to check social media and surf the internet. Set boundaries and abide by them. Minimizing distractions will increase productivity.

  • Keep your goals in sight

Keep a list of your goals where you will see them throughout the day to keep you focused and motivated to accomplish them.

  • Always try to beat the person you were yesterday

Keep track of your accomplishments, daily victories will transform your business. Be in competition with yourself.

Everyone wants to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the work day. Break the bad habits that are taking up your valuable time. Higher productivity levels will help you accomplish your goals and lead you to a more successful business.

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Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Business

Some financial mistakes are minor and can be corrected on the fly, but some can easily burn the house down, so to speak. It’s a big reason why the majority of startups fail during their first few years of business. A cash flow that suddenly dries up, a huge unexpected expense, or a rapidly accumulating amount of debt have all been known to bring even the most promising new businesses to their knees.

Here are some of the biggest financial mistakes new business owners tend to make and how to avoid them.

Not Separating Business and Personal Bank Accounts

Although having one account may seem more convent, commit yourself to creating separate bank and credit card accounts for your business before you start to collect revenue. Doing this at the beginning will make it much easier to do the accounting for your business, plan for tax time and budget for unpredictable expenses that may lie ahead.

Having separate accounts will also allow a more accurate picture of your business’ financial health by preventing overlap between what you personally earn & spend and what the business is generating & costing on a monthly basis. This will also better shield you from damaging your credit if your business were to take a nosedive.

Making Big Purchases for your Business

When you start a new business, it’s understandable to want the best equipment, a fancy website and office. However, if you’re itching to make major purchases during the startup phase of your business, think these decisions over carefully. Some expenses will be mandatory depending on the type of business you’re starting, but you need to ask yourself if the expense is going to help you generate more revenue in the short-term.

Other expenses that aren’t essential to the growth of your company offer very little value to your bottom line. Make do with what you already have. Grow your business first and accumulate a higher level of disposable cash before spending on the “nice-to-haves.”

Making Big Personal Purchases

During the first year of business, there are a lot of unknown variables and unexpected learning opportunities that will come your way. The reality is that you’re going to hit roadblocks, you’re going to have failures and some of these may come with a big price tag on them.

If you purchase a car, home or any other large personal purchases and your business has something unexpected come up, you won’t be able to pay yourself next month. You can’t be strapped down with a huge amount of personal expenses. Be as minimal as possible in your business and personal life while growing your new business.

Not Saving for Slow Times and Emergencies

There is no shortage of people telling you to keep a stash of savings at hand for unexpected expenses. Call it saving for a rainy day, but there will be times when something happens and covering the cost with your credit card is a short-sighted solution that will only create more problems down the line. Most financial planners advise entrepreneurs to keep at least three months worth of expenses in an emergency fund for both their business and their personal expenses.

Not Creating a Clear Budget for your Business

If worst comes to worst, you may be able to run your business without a clear plan for the future, but you’ll have a very hard time succeeding without at least a rough budget to help guide what you can and cannot afford to spend each month. Your job is to steer your new business towards profitability, and you can only do that if you create a budget for operational, marketing and other expenses. Having a clear budget increases financial discipline and clarifies the roadmap to business growth.

Create a budget, track your expenses, save for emergencies and always think of expenses in terms of how they will generate revenue for your business.

 

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Getting Through the Slow Season

Most retailers would agree that January and February are the slowest months for business in the year. Here are a few tips to keep sales going during the slow season.

Post-Holiday Sale – The months after the Christmas holiday are the best times to sell excess product. It may surprise you, but there are many shoppers planning for the following year, looking to get deals on holiday products after the holidays. Having a post-holiday sale is a great way to earn a little extra after the holidays are over.

Perform an Audit – The off-season is the perfect time to start planning and get organized. It is a good time to get an accurate count on inventory, see what products are selling and when. It is also a good time to review processes, making improvements where they are needed and get staff up to date on training.

Pop-up Sales – A pop-up sale is not advertised prior to, like a regular sale, which will keep customers checking in for specials and discounts on a more regular basis. Having a pop-up sale once a month will increase foot traffic and it is a great way to get rid of excess inventory from the holidays.

Referral and Reward Programs – Referral programs are a great way to gain new customers and reward programs will encourage loyalty and boost sales. Offer a reward or discount on products to customers that refer your business to others.

Slow months don’t have to bring your business to a complete halt. Get creative with sales and take time to review and regroup for the busier months to come.

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Harmonized Sales Tax (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: cra-arc.gc.ca
  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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Starting a Business Under 30

More and more these days we see young people being entrepreneurial minded. Starting a business at a young age has many advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering starting a business in your 20’s.

You can substitute experience – Lack of experience may be your biggest weakness when you’re starting out. You won’t have as much experience as other people in your field and investors or potential partners may question if you can pull it off. But don’t get discouraged; consider learning from a mentor willing to share their expertise or even partnering with someone who has the experience you lack.

Your credit matters – In order to build credit for your business, you have to have your personal credit in good standings. Unfortunately, good credit isn’t something most 20 year olds have. If you have little to no credit, you will have to do some work before you start a business, especially if you need start-up funds.

Take more risks – In investing, in business and in life generally, young people favour risk-taking. You have fewer assets, meaning you can be more flexible and adaptable to challenges and surprises that may arise. Taking risks and failing is seen as inexperience and enthusiasm, rather than a reflection of your character and abilities. So take risks while you’re young!

You have plenty of time – Being a young entrepreneur, you generally have more positive energy, higher productivity levels and genuinely enjoy what you do. But with that being said, young people often act without thinking. So slow down and take the time to plan everything through. This will in turn lead to a better chance at long-term success.

Remember, there’s no perfect time to start a business, but the more prepared you are, the better your chance is to succeed.

Take advantage of resources available, such as the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre!

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How to Find a Profitable Business Idea

Many people like to brainstorm ideas, but don’t find an idea that they like enough to execute. All businesses, whether it is a service or product, online or offline, are a direct response to a problem. The purpose of a business is to solve a problem. If you are an entrepreneur, you have to change the way you look at the world and seek opportunities to serve people and be paid in return.

With that in mind, here are 4 ways to find a profitable business idea;

  1. Hobbies/Skills you are good at.

Everyone has something they are good at, the problem is most of us take our skills for granted. We don’t always appreciate the knowledge and ability we have that could be valued by someone else that doesn’t have those skills.

Often times people are more than happy to pay in order to get what they want quicker than they would trying to accomplish it on their own. So put the skills that you have developed through school, as an apprentice, as a hobby or a recreational activity to work.

  1. Things you’ve learned from work experience.

If you have ever had a job, that is proof that you have at least one skill or idea somebody is willing to pay money for. Skills you have learned at work are a great place to look when you are fishing for a profitable business idea. The skills you have acquired along the way are yours to use, at a price that you think is fair.

  1. Things people ask you for.

We lean on experts to help us figure things out, and if people are asking for your help, advice or insight in a particular area, there’s a good chance that others look at you as an expert or a go-to in their circle. So assess whether your expertise is something that could become profitable when these situations arise.

  1. Things you want to learn.

Find a skill or idea that you are a beginner in, but that you want to become better at. Gradually improve that skill set and find customers who are willing to pay you as you learn. What could be better than paying yourself to learn about something you are interested in? You don’t have to start as an expert but you can get there over time.

Like a lot of good things in life, it is hiding in plain view.

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