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The Magic of ‘Mom and Pop’ Shops

Everyone loves the family business.  There’s something romantic about mom, dad and the kids working together to create a company that is as unique as they are.  Customers like family businesses because they tend to be friendlier and they treat you like a real person.  If you have a family business, are you making the most of your competitive advantage?


There is competition and in-fighting amongst employees in all businesses, but in family businesses, everyone understands that the well-being of the family and the success of the business trump everything else.  This loyalty motivates everyone to put their self-interest aside and do what’s best for the company.


When you create a family business, you are building something that is greater than yourself.  Perhaps you inherited the company from your parents, or you might be working hard to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren.  Your investment in your work goes far beyond a regular job.  This level of commitment causes owners of family businesses to put their heart and soul into their company, which contributes to its success.


The level of trust that we have with the members of our family is completely different than it is with anyone else.  Our family are the only people lucky enough to see us without our make-up.  We tell them exactly how we feel and exactly what we think.   This openness ensures that problems are dealt with swiftly and that everyone’s point of view is heard.


Often family-owned companies reflect the values of their owners.  The line between the business and the family that owns it can be impossible to distinguish.  Business owners have a sense of pride when their company actually stands for something.  Many family businesses are strong supporters of their community and customers choose the business because its values resonate with them.


Working together as a family is a rewarding experience and the strength of these relationships benefit both the family and the business.  Family businesses have a long-term orientation that many companies lack.  The family is invested in the business for the long haul, during good times and bad.

Never underestimate these ‘mom and pop shops’; the family business is the oldest type of business and these companies make an important contribution to our economy.



(Written by: Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘artur84’ via


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Effective Multi-Tasking for Mompreneurs

By: Barbara Viteri, CEO of “Viteri Style Management”


Many working mothers will admit that after having children they became better multi-taskers. I’m one of them. We all get the same 24 hours in a day and we all understand the word “balance” is as hard to achieve as our goal weight. But what is fascinating is how being a working mother trains you to be more efficient and effective with your time.

When I started my first company over two years ago, I was more sleep deprived than when I had my first child. My daughter was a wide awake baby ready to party all night and sleep soundly all day. She was close to being an only child as sleep was more important than sex at that time. Thankfully she did learn to sleep well as we did it all over again when our son arrived. No explanation needed on why we didn’t have a 3rd. This is when I had my other baby, my company.

There is much talk about how technology and increase life disruptions have us not functioning optimally when multi-tasking, but I don’t agree entirely. Yes driving a car and texting is multi-tasking, but is idiotic and extremely dangerous.

“I’ve learned to embrace effective multi-tasking

by defining what it means

and being proud with what gets accomplished.”

We are hard on ourselves when every item on that to-do list is not crossed off. We stress to manage both our personal and professional lives by trying to multi-task and not seeing great results. But if you can define effective multi-tasking that is achievable to you, you will learn to celebrate those accomplishments. Here are a few of mine:

Exercising with my children: I made a conscious effort to get healthier before my 40th birthday. Finding time to squeeze in a Zumba class is impossible, but exercising with my kids was not. I enjoy walking or bike riding with them. We even go to indoor parks with monkey bars and trampolines that adults can take advance of. This is effective multi-tasking for me.

I run my entire business from the palm of my hands: I’m a huge proponent of technology and innovation. I like that we have the capabilities of running our businesses remotely from any mobile device and location. Photo shoots and filming days are long. Having my company operate cloud base lets me run my entire business virtually from my cell phone. If you ever see photos of me with my tablet or phone, best believe I was conducting business at the same time.

Bringing back lunch meetings: I can’t believe the “Business Lunch” is not considered effective multi-tasking these days. I enjoy having meetings with clients and business partners over a great meal. It forces you to be present in that moment and builds stronger relationships. The rule is to leave your phones on the table for the duration of the lunch which seems to speed things up. Whoever picks up their phone first before the agreed upon lunch meeting time, will have to pay the bill. It works! Some of my best lunch meetings have yet to exceed an hour.

Barbara Viteri, blog for multi-tasking mompreneurs, 'designerlebrity'
Barbara Viteri is a 38 year old, wife and mother of two children, Anabella and Leonardo (ages 9 and 6). Barbara is the CEO of Viteri Style Management, a consulting firm that provides practical business management solutions to interior designers and Viteri Style Productions, a digital content producing company for the interior design industry. She is also an executive producer, creator and developer for the brand, Designerlebrity™ which consists of interior design shows and events featured through online media. Adding to her already full plate is the development of her own talk show which is currently airing season 1 on The Design Network and two new show concepts in the works for 2015. It is no surprise to witness her honesty on social media. From the highs and lows of building her businesses to her failed attempts to cook for her family, she shares it all with a great sense of humor. Barbara relies on “Effective Multi-Tasking” to keep her crazy world in order.  
Connect with Barbara on Facebook, Twitter, or visit her website: courtesy of  ‘jesadaphorn’ via


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3 Quick Tips To A Fresh Start

Better Family Communication, De-Cluttering, and Cleaning Up!

Written by:  Elaine Tan Comeau, Founder of Easy Daysies, 2014 Mompreneur® Award of Excellence Winner

tips for a fresh start for entrepreneurs in 2015A new year is here and let’s kick start it with quick tips to improve a busy family’s home with easy strategies you can use right away to get your family to communicate better, and have a cleaner, more organized home! Try these quick and easy strategies that will make your house a breath of fresh air within a week!


1.  “The Busy Board”

When a family is busy and sometimes feels like no one knows where anyone is going and coming from or what is even for dinner, have a family centre where everyone can see what everyone is up to! Make a quick and easy “Family Tweet Board” (DIY white board where mom or dad starts it with a 140 character or less statement about the day and everyone else can walk by and comment) or pick up an Easy Daysies® “Peek At Our Family’s Week” board so that everyone in the house can quickly communicate to each other in a fun and easy way!  It is so important to keep communication open in a family and why not start it in now to set the tone for the rest of the year!


2.  “The Ten Minute Tidy”

Who doesn’t love a clean house?  Here is a fun strategy to get everyone up and cleaning each week to make it a tidy home all year long!  This is a great ten minute block to make a part of the family routine every Saturday morning for the whole entire year!  The strategy here is to do a little each week so that it does not pile up to be a big unbearable job.  a) Create an awesome ten minute dance music CD for the whole family to shake their booty to while cleaning, b) Create a fun personalized clean up bin for each family member with everything they need for their ten minute tidy, c) Choose a consistent time and day each week for this ten minute tidy to occur, best is Saturday Morning.  When something becomes a regular consistent routine it is easier to get kids to cooperate and do it regularly because they know it is going to happen and is expected of them, and when the whole family is doing it all at the same time, it is easier to be motivated to do it as well!  This is a great strategy in the classroom as well that I used to do!  We all looked forward to it!


3.  “Everything Has A Place” with E.H.A.P. Bins

Everything Has A Place!  Now is the perfect time of year to get organized and start decluttering that home of yours!  It is also a great time to start new habits! First, “In” and “Out” Bins.  These bins are to help sort and organize all the paper work that comes into the house, weather it is bills to pay or field trip notices and permission slips.  Empty those school bags as soon as they come home and put it in the “In” Bin! Same with the mail!  When they are signed or ready to be mailed, it goes in the “Out” bin!

Second, I love this one too.  Each closet should have a “laundry bin” and a “give away bin”!  So this makes it easy to immediately sort out and declutter right away those clothes that automatically get shoved back into the closet or drawer that we just can’t wear or don’t like any more.  Toys and books can go here too!  You will love this quick strategy all year long too!  When bins are full, it is time to drop off or call for Big Brothers or Salvation Army pick up or drop off bins!


Follow these three steps and enjoy the happy and decluttered home you always wanted!





Written by Elaine Tan Comeau, Winner: 2014 Mompreneur® Award of Excellence

Elaine Tan Comeau, Mompreneur of the Year 2014Elaine Tan Comeau is an enterprising mother of three young children, a wife, and a former elementary school teacher who has just been awarded the 2014 Canadian Mompreneur of the Year.  Recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Business, as well as an Award in Teaching Excellence.  She is the CEO and Founder of one of Dragons’ Den favorite pitches, Easy Daysies, which incited a bidding war among all five Dragons.  Her products are recommended by child psychologists, occupational therapists and physicians.  Easy  Daysies was also chosen by Ford Company as one the 2014 Dragons’ Den Driven For Success Companies that exemplified Ford’s Four Pillars of Success.   Elaine has been featured in the Financial Post, Maclean’s Magazine, Canadian Business Magazine, Huffington Post, to name a few, all wanting to know her story about being a mom entrepreneur. Her products have been featured on CBC, CTV, ABC, Breakfast Television, FOX32 News, KCAL-TV , WPIX, WISH-TV, XETV, and CBS.  Elaine has been published in Educational Psychology (Allyn & Bacon Canada, 2000, and Pearson 2015, VI ed.).  She has written and published several e-books (2013), and she continues to be a sought out speaker for webinars and speaking engagements on educational strategies for both educators and parents, as well as entrepreneurship. She is also a guest blogger for Staples Canada, Scholars Choice and Creative Teaching Press.  Elaine is also raved about in both Kevin O’Leary’s and Jim Treliving’s latest books.

(image courtesy of ‘Stuart Miles’ via
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Anaida Deti — Dental-X Smile Centres

Starting a business…

… it can be one of life’s most challenging – and rewarding – experiences. The uncertainty, the stress of long hours, the money questions…there are so many hurdles to be overcome. Now imagine going through all that in a new country where you don’t speak the language! That was the reality for Mompreneur® Member Anaida Deti. The CEO of Toronto’s Dental-X Smile Centre (and Registered Dental Hygienist) moved from Albania with little more than her dreams, and along with her husband, started a new life from scratch.

But the courage and dedication shown by Anaida – with the support of her family – should serve as inspiration for anyone with dreams of their own. We interviewed Anaida and spoke about the hard work required to build a business, the sacrifices needed to make it a success and what the future might hold for her and Dental-X Smile Centres.

Anaida Deti, Dental-X Smile Centres, Mompreneur Canada

How did you become an entrepreneur?
When my husband and I came to Canada 12 years ago with no English and $500.00 in our pocket, having my own office seemed a dream far from reality.

I think when you really want something, there is no such thing as impossible!

As the years passed, working very hard 6-7 days a week while going to school with my son being an infant, seemed even more impossible. Every day I felt that having my own office is what I wanted.  It took some hard work but my dream became reality in May 2013.

Continue reading Anaida Deti — Dental-X Smile Centres

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5 Ways to be Healthier in 2015

tips for mompreneurs to stay healthy in 2015What’s your New Year’s resolution?  If it is to have a healthier lifestyle then it’s time to take action.  No more putting your own needs on the back burner while you look after everyone else.  Here are five healthy habits you can start with today:


Choose something that inspires you.  Whether it’s yoga, salsa, or boot camp; if you’re into it, you’ll stick with it.

Eat better.

Take a cooking class, follow food blogs, and make yourself a meal plan.  Create healthy meals that taste amazing.  Just getting organized is a great start.


Check out mindful meditation online.  Make it a part of your routine and it’ll change your life.

Work less.

Spend more quality time with your family.  Your children and spouse will love you for it.

Sleep more.

Audit your sleep habits and make sure that you’re doing everything you can to get enough rest.

Happy New Year Mompreneurs!



(Written by: Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via


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5 Ways to Give Back to Your Community

givebackDuring the holiday season, we often think about how we can make a meaningful contribution to the community that has supported us throughout the year.  As a business owner, there are actually many different ways to help.

Here are five things you can do to get started:


Volunteer your services.

Is there any way that a charity or non-profit organization could make use of your services?  Work for free for a day to support an important cause.


Support schools.

Provide donations at school fundraisers, offer co-op positions, and do anything else that you can for children and youth.  They are our future.


Hold a fundraising event.

Put on an event to raise money for a cause that’s important to you.  Make it fun and tie it to your business if possible.  For example, if you sell clothes or accessories, you could host a fashion show.


Mentor young entrepreneurs.

Starting a new business can be extremely intimidating if you’ve never done it before.  Join the chamber of commerce and other business networking groups in your community and help people who are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur.


Donate unused stuff.

If you have extra stock or office equipment sitting around, why not give it away?  That way someone can actually use it and you will free up space.

For an entrepreneur, giving back to your community is a win-win proposition.  It helps you build your company’s reputation and you get to demonstrate what your business stands for.  Let your heart lead the way and you can be proud to say that your company made a difference.

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5 Last Minute Holiday Preparations You Have to Do!

tips for entrepreneurs to tackle the holidaysThe holidays are upon us.  The question is, are you ready for them?  Most entrepreneurs spend mid-December just scrambling to get it all done.  Here’s a quick checklist to help you make sure that you’re well prepared:

Set your email and voice mail to ‘out of office’.

Let your customers know when and how they can reach you.

Pick up a few extra gifts for surprise visitors.

During the holiday season, you never know who might drop by.

Plan to take care of yourself.

Schedule a massage or a spa day with the girls.  Remember- it’s your holiday too!

Make a list of everything that HAS to be done before the holidays.

Limit the list to tasks that are absolutely necessary.

Grab a cup of eggnog.

Don’t let yourself miss out on the season, enjoy a break and make the most of it… work will always be there when you’re ready to get back to it…

Happy Holidays!


(Written by: Karen Bivand, photo courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via

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5 Ways to Use Facebook Effectively

How Facebook can Increase Your Sales for EntrepreneursMany small businesses aren’t using Facebook effectively.  They sporadically update pages.


Use a scheduling tool to schedule your posts.  You might not have ten minutes every day.  You might not be able to be online at the key times.  Have a scheduled time when you are actually live to answer questions.  See what time of day your posts receive the most interactions and try to post at that time.

Relevant Posts.

Don’t over post.  Make posts unique to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Mix videos and interesting articles.  Not too much self-promotion.  Doesn’t have to relate to your business if it relates to your audience.  Content they will care about.  They find engaging and interesting.  Funny images, interesting content and facts will make them feel connected to you.


Try to engage with your audience.  Ask them to post stuff on your wall.  It may not directly relate to your business but show that you’re aware of their interests and that you are trying to connect with them.  Let them give you feedback.  Ask them to weigh in.  When someone posts on your wall you want to get back to them quickly.  Maybe go mobile.

Use pics.

Photos drive engagement on Facebook.  Don’t need a fancy camera.  Find photos that will engage and that are funny or interesting.  Relevant images.


Measure analytics and Google Analytics and Facebook analytics.  See what response you get and adjust accordingly.



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Performance Metrics: Useful Tool or Dirty Word?

What are you keeping track of to ensure that your company is reaching its potential?  Performance metrics can be a powerful tool to help guide your decision making within your organization.  If you’ve never even thought about performance metrics, then now is the perfect time to try it out.  Here are some tips to help you get started:

Figure Out What to Measure.

When you’re setting up performance metrics, the most important decision that you have to make is what to measure.  If you are measuring the wrong thing, your metrics will only serve as a distraction and could possibly point you in the wrong direction.  Focus on what is key to your organization’s success.  You want to make sure that your organization’s performance is aligned with its mission, vision and goals.  Most performance metrics focus on best practices, efficiency and critical processes.  These metrics are most effective and most useful when you are measuring specific and quantifiable outputs.

Find a Process that Works for Your Company.

When developing the process that you will use to measure your organization’s performance, you need to find one that meets your specific needs.  For an evaluation strategy to be successful, it must take your industry, your organizational culture and your company’s readiness for measuring performance into consideration.  If you try to do too much too quickly, your efforts will be doomed to fail.

Talk to Your Employees.

To get their buy-in, it’s important that you involve your employees in the decision-making process right from the beginning.  Have a meeting with them and ask what they think should be measured.  When you come up with a process, ask them for their feedback.  Make sure that your employees understand that it is the processes, not their performance, that you are evaluating.

Revise and Refine.

After you get feedback from your employees, re-examine your evaluation process to determine whether or not any changes need to be made.  Are your performance metrics meeting your needs?  Is the data accurate?  Are you measuring the right things?  Remember that the way you measure your performance needs to evolve in order to keep up with your organization’s growth.

Since you’ve invested so much of your time, effort and money into your business, you want to make sure that you’re achieving your desired results.  By measuring certain aspects of your organization’s performance you can allocate your resources in a way that will allow you to meet your goals.


(Written by: Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘2nix’ via

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Five Gift Ideas for Your 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:


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