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Finding the Best Payment Solution for Your Business

Written By Marilyn Wilson, Senior Manager, Small Business Banking, Coast Capital Savings

Payment Solutions - tips from Coast Capital Savings

When it comes to payment, convenience is king. From tap and Apple Pay, to Amazon’s pilot of a cashier-less grocery story, it seems like new, alternative payments are growing faster than the pumpkin spice craze. It’s crucial that your business can keep up, not just to have the latest shiny technology, but because your customers will expect it.

Here are five payment solutions to keep your small business on top:

Give the people what they want – more options!

We’re living in a dizzying world of choice, but when it comes to accommodating your customers’ desires for flexibility and convenience, more options is key. Choose a payment solutions provider that accepts a wide range of payment methods – from credit and debit cards, to gift cards and loyalty programs, to currency conversion for foreign customers. If your customer can’t easily pay for the product or service you’re providing, they’ll head to your competition.

Rest assured, you’re secured

Just like you lock your front door, put a lock on cardholder data. Safeguard your customers from fraud. If you lose your clients’ confidential information, you stand to lose a lot more than just your loyal customers.

Choose a provider that has an integrated solution for customer data and payment information, and make sure they comply with the global information security standard – the Payment Card Industry Data Security (PCI DSS). It’ll put the tricksters out of business (and keep them out of your business), lower your risk of liability, and enhance your reputation as a safe place to do business.

Don’t like surprises? Know the rates and fees

There’s no getting around it – payment providers will charge a fee for every transaction your business fulfills. Some will charge you a flat rate, regardless of transaction size. Others will charge a percentage amount of each transaction. And if you’re using point of sale (POS) terminals, or offering certain payment services to your customers, like recurring billing, you might have to budget a bit more. As the old adage goes, you need to spend money to make money. Assessing if the payoff outweighs the payout will help determine what fee structure and services will best suit your business. Continue reading Finding the Best Payment Solution for Your Business

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Small Biz Insurance Myths & How to Be Prepared

As the first direct-to-customer small business insurance company in Canada, TruShield understands the risks and challenges of starting, running and growing your small business, with areas of expertise in Home-Based, Professional, Retail Contractors & Businesses, Services Shops, and Skilled Trades insurance.

We at Mompreneurs® are so thankful to be partnered with a company that understands small business owners, and offers great support and advice to ensure that we are successful in our endeavours! Did you know? All Mompreneur members can call or check in for a quick and competitive quote!

TruShield has put together some helpful information, to guide you on whether your small business should have insurance in place, and some of the myths to be aware of when it comes to protecting yourself and your business…

TruShield Insurance for Small Businesses in Canada

Continue reading Small Biz Insurance Myths & How to Be Prepared

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Five Gift Ideas for Your Clients

Written by Karen Bivand

cuhristimas gift giving for clients

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your key clients.  Whether you go for a classic or something more unique will depend on both your client and on your relationship.  Here are five gift ideas that’ll show your clients how much you appreciate their business:

Wine

It’s a classic because people love it.  Don’t get too fancy, just find something that most people will enjoy.

Tea or Coffee

You could either pick up a gift card to a favourite coffee shop or a basket filled with goodies.  Pair it with a mug and it’s sure to be a hit! Continue reading Five Gift Ideas for Your Clients

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How to Increase Your Email Signups

By Erik Wong via GoDaddy

call to action help and advice from Erik Wong via Godaddy Canada

Action! It’s an exhilarating and flexible word. It can mean so many different things and apply to so many different people and professions. You might not realize it, but “action” is one of the most important words that someone with an online presence can use.

Whether you are a blogger, an eCommerce store owner, maintain a mailing list, or a social community, action is the name of the game for you! More specifically, a call-to-action (CTA) is what you need to be paying attention to. So, what the heck is a CTA and why does it matter?

Put simply, it’s a method to encourage your target audience to do something specific. If you want to grow a mailing list, your CTA is to have viewers subscribe. If you run a store, your CTA is to have someone place an order. CTAs are as variable as the word “action” itself, and can come in almost as many different forms. They are adaptable and flexible.

With a little creativity, you can create an applicable CTA to serve almost any purpose. In this article, we are going to review three of the most powerful calls-to-action to increase traffic and signups to your website, regardless of what your site is for. Fortunately, I know a specialist who really knows their stuff.

Meet V.I.C.: an expert in all manners of persuasion. V.I.C. can help you convince your viewers to create an account or subscribe to an RSS feed. V.I.C. finds new and exciting ways to engage your audience and encourage them to participate.

Let me break it down:

  • V — Variable design
  • I — Incentives
  • C — Community

See, clear as mud! Let’s go step-by-step and see what V.I.C. has to offer. Continue reading How to Increase Your Email Signups

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Business Mailboxes – Thinking Big for Your SMB

Written by Grace Moores

mailboxes at The UPS Store for small business owners and female entrepreneurs

This September brought lots of change for us as a family, including my son switching schools and starting middle school. Another year older means more responsibility; he now has his own key and lets himself into the house while I’m picking up his sister in Grade 4.

Though I have been running my home-based business for several years, I registered and opened a private mailbox for my business only 6 months ago, and I’m so glad I did. Yes, it was a small inconvenience to redirect my mail over to a new address, but it has given me such peace of mind during all the changes we have been experiencing in our home dynamic.

Having all of my business mail now go to a mailbox means I don’t always have to be home. Delivery people are not knocking on my door when my son is home alone either.  Of course, we have taught him not to open the door to strangers, and reviewed all the things he can and can’t do when he’s home alone, but knowing my business isn’t exposing him to unnecessary risk is such a relief. On top of it all, I’m not missing deliveries, which means there’s less for me to worry about, all the while making my business look bigger than it actually is.

Some amazing discoveries I’ve found since having a business mailbox: Continue reading Business Mailboxes – Thinking Big for Your SMB

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How To Lock Away Your Fear of Public Speaking

Written by Lisa van Reeuwyk

public speaking tips

Do you love public speaking? Do you aspire to stand in the spotlight and let your light shine brightly or does it send you into a cold sweat running for the lavatory in a state of panic? For some of us, a speech in front of a room full of our peers is an opportunity to connect, inspire and teach.

Recently I was invited to my 10 year old daughter’s classroom, where my introverted, big-hearted daughter took on the challenge of public speaking by embracing her love of the animal kingdom, and she impressed me with her dedication to her 4 minute speech written all by herself to educate her class on bears — in French; hand-crafted on cue cards; and memorized.

Now let’s rewind a few months earlier…

Somewhere on her way to school, my daughter took a big gulp of performance anxiety with a self-doubt chaser. Rather than proudly sharing her speech with her class, as she stood before them she broke down into tears, unable to get past the first word.

Can you relate? Has the adult version of you ever choked up or froze in the face of judgement?

Likely you didn’t break down into tears, but there may or may not have been a margarita and some emotional eating and some retail therapy behind-the-scenes. Success looks different for all of us.

When invited to present at a conference or lead a workshop my heart sings, “Ooh… YES! What an honour and blessing to speak to a room full of smart, talented interesting people and foster innovation, creativity and growth… YES!!!!!”

Most people who meet me as an adult are more than a little surprised to learn about my paralyzing shyness as a child. The 42 year old version of me talks to people everywhere I go, especially now that I market non-toxic shampoo that re-grows hair (crazy I know!).

Yet, the 10 year old version of Lisa broke into tears and ran away on the playground when a well-intentioned child said the unimaginable and horrific word, “Hi!” to me. A panic attack, not public speaking, would have been the only option for me.

What is this huge truth about public speaking?

Continue reading How To Lock Away Your Fear of Public Speaking

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Why Should Your Business Expand to Another Country?

Ever wondered what it would take to expand your company reach into other countries around the world?

Thanks to our partners at UPS Canada, now you can print off these handy resources to help you learn exactly what opportunities are available and why you should explore expanding to countries like Germany, Mexico, China, and the U.S.!

Click the images below to view the full resource and download or print! Continue reading Why Should Your Business Expand to Another Country?

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5 Myths to Debunk That Will Help you go Back to Work and Still Breastfeed

Expert advice from the team at The Womb (World of My Baby)

breastfeeding myths to debunk for women and mompreneurs going back to work

It would be so nice if we could continue to stay home with our little ones, but for most of us, going back to work is a reality. For many mothers in Canada, we are lucky to have one year of maternity leave before returning to work. But some need to go back sooner, and for those who do get the full year, they would like to continue their breastfeeding relationship. Many ask, “Do I need to wean just because I’m going back to work?”

The answer is no. It is hard enough to be separated from your baby, so being able to breastfeed when you are together benefits both of you emotionally and physically.

Here are my top 5 myths about breastfeeding and going back to work after the one-year maternity leave.

1. I need to stop breastfeeding when I go back to work.
Absolutely not! Yes, it may be a bit challenging at first to juggle getting back into the swing of things with working and continuing to breastfeed, but it is just an adjustment. Going back to work is an adjustment in itself anyway. The benefit of continuing to breastfeed, is that you can still renew that closeness and one-on-one time with your baby when you are home – which makes the adjustment of going back to work easier for both of you.

A side bonus is that many children who will go to a daycare setting when mom returns back to work, will come in contact with new and unexpected viruses and germs. When you breastfeed, you pass on valuable antibodies to your baby through your breastmilk. So, although it is inevitable that your little one may get sick, they will most likely recover sooner or not get as ill if you continue to breastfeed.

2. I will need to pump when you go back to work.
Many women have a love-hate relationship with their pump and many haven’t pumped for months. They often wonder “When will I find time in my day to pump? Where will I pump and where will I store the milk?” Of course, this is always an option and you can speak with your employer about setting up a room for you to pump and for you to store your milk (it’s their legal obligation to do so) but you don’t need to pump. Many mothers will simply hand express a bit while away if they feel too full and just breastfeed when they are with baby. Sure, the first few days when you go back to work may be tough and you may be a bit uncomfortable and leak a little. No problem, bring an extra shirt just in case, learn how to hand express and by the end of the week your body will adjust and you will be fine! Continue reading 5 Myths to Debunk That Will Help you go Back to Work and Still Breastfeed

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How to Boost Traffic at Your Trade Show Booth

Expert advice from the team at Entripy.com

Booking a booth at a trade show is just the beginning of your exhibitor experience. You’ve picked the right show with hundreds of attendees in your target demographic who are sure to love your product. Now comes the hard part. You have about four seconds to engage someone walking by your standard 10’x10’ booth. With so much to see at a tradeshow, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Here are our top tips for standing out from the crowd and drawing traffic to your trade show booth.

Use Social Media

Find out the event hashtag and invite people to visit your booth. But don’t just post: “come visit me at booth #x”. Give people a reason to want to visit you. What’s in it for them? You may want to offer an incentive, such as a free gift to the first 50 visitors or a product demo schedule. The event will often retweet or share your post, giving you even more exposure.

Dress to Stand Out

There’s a reason Entripy staff wear yellow t-shirts at our trade shows. Unless we’re attending a construction and safety trade show, we’re pretty well guaranteed that no one else will be wearing yellow, ensuring that we stand out on the trade show floor. Did you see those girls in the yellow shirts? How could you NOT? When getting custom t-shirts printed for your upcoming trade show, select a colour that will allow you to stand out, while still complementing your branding.

Provide an Experience

People aren’t coming to a trade show just to buy products and listen to sales pitches, they’re coming for a memorable experience, something they can Instagram about and tell their co-workers about on Monday morning. Providing interesting product demos or a fun contest gives people something memorable to talk about long after the event is over.  Continue reading How to Boost Traffic at Your Trade Show Booth

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10 Ways to Reduce your Tax Risk as an Entrepreneur

Written by Linda Spencer

“The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax”
~ Albert Einstein

tax risk for entrepreneurs

As a 20 year veteran of practicing Canadian corporate and personal tax, I have to agree – tax is complicated!  The basic principles are simple, but the interpretation and application of the ever-changing complex laws are not.  As one of my mentors in tax pointed out years ago – one could specialize in an area of tax for a lifetime and still not completely understand all the rules.

My intent here is to highlight the top 10 income tax risks faced by entrepreneurs (specifically from a Canadian tax perspective, but similar issues apply in other countries), to create awareness so that you may seek the appropriate guidance and advice from a qualified tax professional to ensure that you are appropriately managing those risks.

  1. Meet Deadlines
    Missing tax filing deadlines can be a costly mistake. In Canada, late-filing your income tax return when you owe will land you a 5% late-filing penalty (plus 1% per month filed late), along with late payment interest which is compounded daily. The penalties are doubled for repeat offenders. Be sure you are aware of your filing and payment deadlines. Personal income tax returns are due April 30 (June 15th for individuals with self-employment income, but your taxes are payable by April 30th). Corporate income tax returns are due 6 months after fiscal year-end, with balance of taxes due 2 months after year-end (3 months if you are a small business corporation).
  1. Document EVERYTHING!
    Lack of documentation remains the largest tax audit issue in Canada. Poor record keeping and lack of documentation can lead to missed and denied deductions, inefficient tax audits and costly tax assessments. For some small businesses, this could lead to business failure.
  1. Report All of Your Income
    Recently, I asked a friend about her business… she said she didn’t make enough to report it. Of course, I cautioned of the potential risks she was incurring as a result – YIKES! Tax authorities have made cracking down on unreported income a top priority. The underground economy in Canada is estimated to be about $42billion or 2.3% of GDP. At an income tax rate of 25%, that’s about $10billion of lost tax revenues. While the high rate of income tax along with a 13% sales tax rate in Ontario make cash transactions and “under-the-table” payments an attractive option, it should be noted that unreported income not only carries stiff penalties (up to 50% of the understatement of tax, as well as criminal charges for tax evasion), but can severely impact your reputation and your business.

Continue reading 10 Ways to Reduce your Tax Risk as an Entrepreneur