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The Leading Edge July 2014
Small Business Success
Taking Care of Business  

    Contents
In this Issue

Getting Started With LinkedIn

20 Things You Can to Increase Your Chances of Success

Simple Ways to Green Your Business

LinkedIn Small Business

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THE LEADING EDGE - Great video on 3D printing.


Small Business News:

Canada's Anti-Spam Law Will Derail Small Businesses - Anne Thornley-Brown, President, Executive Oasis International - Unfortunately, while CASL is unlikely to do much to stop career spammers who know how to game the system, it is likely to hurt legitimate businesses...especially small business owners. Read more...


Canada's small businesses playing catch-up in online retail - Armina Ligaya - E-commerce is growing steadily in Canada, and with fewer than half of this country's businesses running websites, there's still plenty of room for growth - if the barriers to entry can be overcome. Read more...


Canada's small business optimism reaches highest point in two years - Gordon Isfeld - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says its Business Barometer index rose for a second month, to a reading of 67.1 in May, a gain of 1.4 points from April's reading. Read more...


Dan Kelly (CFIB) on changes to TFWP for small business owners - On Friday, June 20th, the federal government announced massive changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Read more...

 
    Getting Started With LinkedIn
 
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If you aren't on LinkedIn, or haven't investigated it yet you really should check it out. In basic terms it is the business version of Facebook. It has over 300 million members in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. What LinkedIn does, and does well, is to connect businesspeople to each other and in turn, each other's connections. For instance I currently have 595 connections and through these connections I am linked to over 6 million professionals. What this means is that I can quite easily get myself introduced to anyone I am linked to through one of my connections.

LinkedIn gives you access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights in the world of business. So, if you are new to this medium, how do you get started and make yourself known? Here are 12 quick tips to get you going.

  • Sign up for LinkedIn, create a profile, and then search for businesspeople you know and ask them to be a connection.
  • Once you have some connections take a look at their connections and see who you know and ask them to be a connection. Every connection you get leads you to further connections. With a little effort you can have hundreds of connections in no time.
  • Now what you really want to happen is for people you don't know (potential clients perhaps) to start noticing you, so you need to widen your horizons in terms of connections.
  • Post regular updates to let your connections know what's happening in your life and business.
  • Join groups that relate to your industry and join the conversation. The more comments you post, and the more you contribute, the more people (and businesses) will take an interest in you.
  • Write articles about your industry, or market and post them for your network to read.
  • Create a business LinkedIn profile, or company page, to complement your personal business profile.
  • Add pages to your business profile that profile your management staff and encourage them to add posts, or put someone in charge of managing the business page.
  • Use the LinkedIn help center to see how you can make the most out of your membership - there are webinars, videos and a place to simply ask questions. You can even request a LinkedIn mentor.
  • Go back to your original profile and add to it. And, keep it up to date.
  • Endorse people and request that they endorse you.
  • Ask for recommendations and recommend some of your connections.

LinkedIn is an amazing vehicle for you to promote your business; the tips above will get you started but I encourage you to read more about LinkedIn and grow your knowledge as you grow your connections and your influence.

 
   
20 Things You Can to Increase Your Chances of Success Top

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This is the start of a series that will end up giving you 140 tips for success! Here are the first twenty to get you started.

Have a vision

Being clear about your vision is vital to the success of your business. How can you do this? Helen Keller said, "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision."

  • Imagine you have a magic wand and think about what you would like your business to be in 5-years time. Will it have employees? How many? Will it have offices, a warehouse, a manufacturing plant? Dream big, but with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • Set goals and objectives - break down the road to your business dream into smaller increments (goals) then consider what objectives you need to be able to reach those goals (objectives) - now break the objectives down into action points and create an action plan.
  • Be optimistic - if you can dream it you can do it!
  • Plan, prioritize and implement - every day! Keeping moving forward on those action plans - deliver on the objectives and meet your goals.
  • See and understand your market - make sure your product, or service, has a market now and into the future.

Be curious - where are the new opportunities?

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it made the entrepreneur!
  • Be an information junkie - the most successful entrepreneurs are those hungry for more knowledge - they devour news about trends, and business, and their industry.
  • Keep learning and constantly improve - being a success in small business means continually learning and being open to new ideas.
  • Network - all the time and discover what's going on in your city, with your competition and with your customers.

Success is an attitude

Attitude is the one thing that can make a difference in our lives everyday. But remember it goes both ways, think of the difference a positive attitude might have on your business and then consider how a negative one might impact your success.

  • Do you think of what you do as a job or a business? This difference is huge - you can grow a business, but if you're self-employed then you can only sell your time once.
  • Can your business exist without you? If it can then you have a business, if it can't you're self-employed.
  • Systemize your business. If you want to turn your self-employment into a business then you need to put systems in place so that if you go on vacation, or become sick then the ‘business' goes on regardless.
  • Keep the end in mind from the beginning - true entrepreneurs know where they are going, they see the road ahead clearly.
  • Believe in what you are doing and what you are selling - keep motivated. Successful businesspeople have faith in themselves, their business, their product, or service, and the people who work for them.
  • Look for what is working and what is not. Never be blind to what is going on in your business, continually look at how you can do things better.
  • Remember random events can derail you, so have some contingency plans in place for the more obvious random acts such as fire, flood, earthquake, key personnel leaving etc.
  • Forming an alliance with the right people creates power in numbers. Network with allies and competitors in your industry and marketplace and form formal, or informal partnerships that benefit all parties.

Knowledge is power

The more information you have about every aspect of your business the more prepared you will be to tackle any problems that might appear.

  • Consider all the problems you might face before they become a reality. Earlier we encouraged you to have a vision - dream big; now think about all the things that might go wrong and make a list of them.
  • Plan ahead for tough times - carry out a risk analysis using the list you created above, and consider what you might put into place to mitigate these negative influences on your business.
  • Handle tough times aggressively when they hit your business. Do not go into denial when things get a little tough - don't try to wait it out - take action immediately.
  • Re-visit your business plan once every few months and update it regularly - a business plan is a dynamic document which you only really learn from when you are writing it, not when it's stuck on a shelf.

Next time we'll look at tips to help with financial issues and a whole lot more.

 
   
Simple Ways to Green Your Business Top
 

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This month sees the start of a series of articles on making your business more environmentally sustainable. In this article we take a look at lighting; in future we will discuss heating and cooling, office equipment and supplies, refrigeration, waste and recycling, food and health, and conservation culture.

Turn of Lights

This is a simple strategy that's good for the planet and will reduce your utility bills; encourage staff to turn of lights when they are not needed, or when there is no one in the room.

Make the most of natural light

Artificial light is never as good as natural light so find ways to make better use of what natural light you have coming into your workplace. Perhaps changing your blinds, or the layout of offices/work stations/desks might improve access to nature's light source.

Match light levels to needs

Ceiling lights illuminate the entire room; try bringing light to specific areas where it is needed. Task and desk lamps can be used effectively and provided better light for most purposes. If you need a broader scope of light try to switch on one or two banks of overhead lights, rather than illuminating the whole room. If you can fit dimmers or sensors this can also save energy and money.

Get a lighting assessment

Having a professional lighting assessment carried out by a government certified energy auditor is the way to go if you are serious about saving energy. There are also lighting assessment contractors that work through lighting companies but unlike government certified professionals they may well have a sales agenda. Both however are likely to give you good advice. If your operation is large then this can certainly help reduce your annual costs.

Upgrading

A drug store chain in BC, with 24 stores, carried out an audit and subsequently upgraded its lighting saving over $72,000 a year in energy bills. As mentioned above, an assessment can identify areas of inefficiency and help you find ways to reduce energy consumption. Experts say that replacing an entire lighting system with energy efficient products can reduce your energy bill by 40 per cent.

Incandescent bulbs

We all know that these old bulbs are being phased out, but there are still plenty around in offices, warehouse and other workplaces. The new, ‘green' products replacing them can use one-tenth the amount of energy, so simply replacing them will go a long way to ‘greening' your business.

Use timers or photocells outdoors

Many businesses use outdoor lights as part of their security systems, but they account for a large chunk of your overall lighting costs - especially as they are often left on all day. Changing them to work on timers, or automatically having them turn on at dusk, and off at dawn, can save money and make your company more sustainable.

Use LEDs for exit signs

If your exit lights are not already using LED technology then you need to make the change immediately. Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations require that all new internally lighted exit signs consume no more than five watts per word (Exit or Sortie). LED lamps require a fraction of the energy the old technology used.

Switch to LED holiday lights

Most businesses get into the holiday spirit and put on a good display for their customers, but it's time to replace any of your old festive lights that are not using LED lights. Reduce the energy cost, and still bring smiles to children's faces - now there's a win-win!

Based on information form BC Hydro's website (www.bchydro.com)

 
   
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Beaver River Community Futures Development Corporation
PO Box 2678, 106 1st Street East, Meadow Lake, SK, S9X1Z6
Phone: 306-236-4422 | Fax: 306-236-5818
beaverriver@sasktel.net | www.beaverriver.ca


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