Make It Business Magazine | Inspiring Small Business & Entreprenuers To Think Big
From Idea to Open Write Ahead Vancouver Workshop

BUSINESS PLANNING FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS: FROM IDEA TO OPEN IN RECORD TIME

Written By Andrea
Posted in

Working on your business plan? Confused about where to start – or how to finish? Writing a business plan is about much more than filling in a template. To do it well and get that business loan, you need to see your business objectively and understand how to make the best decisions for your new company. Every part of your business affects all the other parts, and business planning rarely happens in a linear fashion – so why are you trying to write your business plan that way?

We’ll show you how to write a business plan – and offer you free support and resources for your business.

Join us January 14, 2014 for an evening of learning and inspiration, where we’ll help you learn to think like a business owner and answer the tough questions about your business – so you can confidently write your business plan and use it to get the financing you need to start or grow your business. We’ll cover five big topics that you need to know inside and out to be able to write a business plan to wow the banks. The topics are:

  • The Customers
  • The Industry
  • The People
  • The Money
  • The Format

 

When you understand these five elements and how they fit together, you’ll be well prepared to write your own business plan and save thousands on consulting fees.

We’ll show you how to tackle the task of writing a business plan and make it easy to understand, simple to complete, and ready for the banks to evaluate. During the workshop, we’ll explain all of the essential elements of a business plan and why they need to be there, as well as get you started on some exercises to help you write your plan. By the time you leave, you’ll have a great start on your business plan and be that much closer to launching your dream company.

What You Get When You Register

Once you register, you’ll be added to our email list and you’ll immediately receive your copy of How to Write a Business Plan to Secure Financing and Launch Your Entrepreneurial Journey (a $97 value). Before the workshop we’ll be sending you a little “homework” – just a few questions to help us make sure we’re giving you the information you really need to launch and grow your business.
Your workshop fees include:

  • 3 hours of instruction and activities to help you write your business plan
  • An e-copy of How to Write a Business Plan to Secure Financing and Launch Your Entrepreneurial Journey
  • 30 days of unlimited email access to a Write Ahead consultant to ask any questions you want
  • Free actionable checklists for business launch and growth
  • A subscription to our business resource email list
  • Light dinner and refreshments

 

You’ll leave the workshop with a list of things you can do right away to get your business from ‘idea’ to ‘open’.

Register today to take the next step to becoming the entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be!

Network & Socialize Holiday Extravaganza

Written By makeitbusiness
Posted in

Join eWomenNetwork for our annual holiday party where you will get to enjoy the season in style while networking, shopping and having fun! This luncheon event features two rounds of Accelerated Networking to kick start the fun. From there, guests will enjoy a christmas luncheon, inspiration that will prepare you for the holiday season and and some of the best holiday vendor tables in Vancouver!

If you have any questions, please contact:

Felicia Lee
Managing Director
FeliciaLee@eWomenNetwork.com
(778) 986-1138

Pre-register online to take advantage of early bird discount at:

https://events.ewomennetwork.com/event/details.php?eid=18748

BCIT School of Buiness – Process/Value Stream Mapping

Written By makeitbusiness
Posted in

This module explains the differences between value and process mapping by identifying typical operating wastes and how these degrade value to the customer. Participants will be provided examples of how to lessen each of these wastes, identify process constraints through mapping, develop process improvements and create solutions-based mapping.

For more information contact:
Christina Hagberg
604-412-7675
christina_hagberg@bcit.ca

Coffee, Conversations & Connections

Written By makeitbusiness
Posted in

These morning events are designed to connect you with smart, savvy women and start your day off right!

This Month’s topic of Discussion: “Planning for 2014″

Tell us your thoughts, share your knowledge and learn from other women’s experiences over a freshly brewed cup of coffee (or tea!)*

Bring business cards so we’ll know who you are, and pen & paper to jot down those ‘AHA!’ moments. (shorthand anyone?)

NEW! $20 at the door for all Walk-ins who are not pre-registered

Complimentary Private underground parking accessible west of the entrance.
Doors open & Registration: 8:30am
Meeting: 9:00 – 10:30 am
*Coffee/Tea & Fruit/pastries served

Masterful Networking

Masterful Networking: the Heart of Business Development

Written By Michela Quilici
Posted in Articles, Sales & Systems

Cultivating relationships is at the heart and soul of everything we do, in business and in life; in business we refer to it as networking. But essentially, networking is simply about the exchange of information in order to build relationships. We all grapple with stumbling blocks in our business, and networking can be one of them for many of us. Especially when we invest our time and money on different business development activities, and we don’t see the results we expect. There are a “hundred and one” business building tools and techniques. Some work better than others, but most, if not all, forget the fundamentals. Before a market will buy from you they must know you, like you and trust you.

Networking is one technique that allows you to gain visibility in the watering holes that your niche market hangs out, so that people can get to know you, and you can get to know others. Cultivating a relationship is about building rapport and connection with another person; it needs to go both ways in order to be successful.

Networking is a skill to be refined and mastered, so that you can reap the reward of your efforts over time. Here are some tips for masterful networking:

1. Listen more. Talk Less. Take a genuine interest in others. Be inquisitive and ask questions that enable you to really get to know the person you are talking to. Be interested, not interesting.

2. Give first. Share always. Look for ways to help and support others. Be the giver, not the taker. Your actions speak louder than words. Always show up with a giving mind-set.

3. Be you. Speak from the heart. Let your guard down and be your authentic self. Speak from the heart about why you are so passionate about the work that you do, and you will attract people who resonate with you and your message.

4. Know your why. Be clear. Be clear about what you do, why it matters and why people should care. The better you are at articulating your message with clarity, the easier it will be to connect with the right people.

5. Check your attitude. Be open. Don’t be judgmental. Remove all expectations and approach people with an open heart, an open mind and to the infinite possibilities that your encounter awaits.

Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Make a commitment to purposefully build your business by mastering the art of cultivating relationships, one day at a time.

Innovation Insights Tour – Learning Session

Written By makeitbusiness
Posted in

Join us onsite to view best practices with Corvus Energy’s Distributed Manufacturing System.

Corvus Energy’s operational model has been designed to allow the company to effectively manage the rapid growth that the company faces by establishing manufacturing facilities close to it’s customers. This enables the company to reduce lead times and inventory as well as introducing new sources of capital into the business and binding Corvus even closer to our key partners.

The manufacturing system has been custom engineered to improve product quality by simplifying employee training, incorporating error-proofing and safety measures in manufacturing, and tracking and controlling all build and performance information.
Based on lean principles, the manufacturing system is designed to be quickly and easily installed in virtually any location throughout the world with a minimal footprint.

Non CME Members Ticket Price Is $115 ea.

Networking On A Budget

Networking on a budget

Written By Simeen Gaidhar-Bhanji
Posted in Articles, Sales & Systems

“You need to spend money to make money” or do you? Networking is an essential lifeline to a business but the question that I get asked most is how much of the bottom line should go towards it.

Networking can be a very cost effective method of obtaining clients however it requires time and commitment. Time is money!

I am a strong believer in networking as it has helped me to build my firm. I have used many methods depending on how much I was willing to spend at the time. A new start up company may not have as much money to allocate to getting new business as a large company with endless resources and all businesses are different so each should have a unique approach.

Throwing money at networking does not guarantee results but not spending enough will not give you the leads you need. It is a balancing act and important to determine your customer acquisition cost.

Your Customer Acquisition cost is an analysis of how much it cost you to get a particular client. More importantly, did you covered your cost to get this client with their order?”

If for example you spend $1,000 and you get 10 clients, it cost you $100 to get each client. If the client spent $100+ at your business, you have covered the cost of the acquisition. If not, then you have lost money on this transaction and need to reconsider your approach.

I am constantly trying new ideas for networking but also keep track of how much I spend and how much business I got from each activity. Networking is an important tool but the cost and time tracking, in my opinion, is more important. You don’t have to kill your bottom line to network.

Social media platforms such as facebook and twitter are excellent and free networking tools. This does no damage to your bottom line and has a very far reach. I found that once I created a facebook account for the firm, clients naturally signed on.

The only drawback with these avenues is that you need to update and post often. People need to see your business repetitively in order to remember you. Although there is no monetary cost to this networking tool, there is the cost of your valuable time spent updating and posting. Again, it is very important to measure how much time you spent and how many new clients you got.

Another great and relatively less costly option is to attend networking events. There are many out there that are early in the morning or late at night that do not disrupt your business. For a cost of a breakfast and minimal membership dues, you meet with other business people who may require your services. Also, these businesses have their own network of people they can refer you to. Again, remember to measure time, cost and acquisition.

With networking events, you meet many people so keep track of those business cards, they are potentially your new customers. You may need to incur additional costs taking these new leads out for coffee or lunch.

When I started my firm, I went through my phone book and offered any of my existing contacts that wanted to hear about my business, a free lunch. By doing this I got my first customers and even more referrals from the people I saw.

Another cost effective method is some good old fashion door-knocking around your office. People like convenience and face-to-face interaction.

Networking can require a large time commitment so evaluate the results of the time you spent. For example, if going to a networking breakfast in the morning for an hour gets you one lead and going door knocking for 4 hours gets you one lead, it cost you more time to acquire the clients door knocking and you might want to revisit your approach.

Putting that into numbers, if an hour of your time is worth $100, it cost you $100 to get the client from the networking breakfast and $400 to get the client door knocking. You now need to determine what they will spend at your business to determine the success of each approach.

Finally did you know that any networking costs you incur are fully deductible for your taxes?

The above information is for informational purposes only and therefore prior to making any decisions, please contact your Accountant for advice.

Social Media For The Holidays

Social Media for the Holidays

Written By Tamara Brooks
Posted in Articles, PR & Social Media

Ok, the Christmas stuff has long ago hit the shelves at Costco and whilst I could hear even myself grumbling at the sight of it; it also means that the money-making season is upon us. I can see you now.. your doubtful head-tilt and questioning gaze that says “I equate Christmas with losing money, what with all the holidays and that whole gift-giving thinking”. Yep, it’s the time of year where people are more than happy to part with their hard earned dollar. Any business, retailer or not, should be gearing up to make the most out of Christmas spending sprees. This New Year, let’s make sure you’re cash flow positive and not negative!

So, what do we need to do to get ready for a social-media friendly Christmas? Firstly, we need to prepare kick-butt content. Secondly, we need a targeted action plan for spreading the word!

What do I mean by preparing content? Well, that means two things…

As an Etsy seller myself, I make sure that I create products geared towards Christmas. It might be something I have in stock already, or a service I currently offer; but what I need to do is re-position it to be “Christmafied”.

For example, if I’m a web designer; I might offer a

  • “Christmas E-tailer Web Site Tune-Up Special”

If I’m a wedding photographer, I might offer

  • “Wedding’s booked before Christmas are at our exclusive Pre-Christmas rates (expires 12/25/13).

The second part of the content equation is to prepare status updates (think Twitter & Facebook), videos, photographs (think Instagram & Pinterest), and blog posts to share this great Christmas promotion you’ve dreamed up.

A great way to do this is to create a deployment schedule. This is a spreadsheet that effectively communicates what things will be going to what channel on what date and time. It helps you see, at a glance, your overall messaging tone and frequency. It also prevents those days where you stare at the status-update box on Facebook thinking “What the heck should I write?

Now. Let’s get promoting! It’s a really great idea to repurpose content as well. Everyone seems to complain that social media is too much work but it can be easier when things are automated.

For example, jewellery designer Justine Brooks has her Instagram feeding her Tumblr feed and her Tumblr feed automatically updates her website’s blog. Look for tools that automate the services and channels you’re using. Places like https://zapier.com and https://ifttt.com/dashboard enable you to automate tasks between other online services (services like Facebook, Salesforce, Evernote, Twitter, Gmail and more).

Lastly, don’t forget scheduling dashboards such as local company, Hootsuite, for ensuring your message is sent out when you want via the channel you want. (http://www.hootsuite.com)

Make It Business Magazine Is back!

Back and Better Than Ever!

Written By makeitbusiness
Posted in MIB-Blog

The Make it Business Magazine is back and better than ever! Julia Vidakovic and Brian Timmins have been working with Victor Chew Wong on re-vitalizing the very popular small business magazine and we are happy to announce that everything is starting to fall into place.

As you can most likely tell, we have finished building our new home on the web and we are very excited to see it live! Our new website is chalked full of small business related articles, tips & tricks, business resources, small business events, and feature articles focusing on successful small businesses and their road(s) to success.

We have design and built our new website with the goal of making it easier than ever before to find the content you need to succeed in your small business venture. You can search by keyword, article category or by past issues making your task of finding what you need very easy.

Read Make It Business on the move with our mobile web app that we’re launching soon. Stay tuned and we’re so happy to have you back!

From ‘Idea’ to ‘Open’: How to Plan + Launch Your Dream

Written By makeitbusiness
Posted in

It’s time to stop dreaming and learn what steps you need to take to plan and launch the business you’ve always wanted to own. You can do it – and at this exciting event on November 27, we’ve collected a group of inspirational people and community resources to show you how.
It’s also the official launch party for Write Ahead’s new book, From Idea to Open: Planning Your Service Business By the Numbers. It’s the first in a series of books focused on helping you understand the money side of doing business – and it’s meant for new entrepreneurs who don’t yet know how to tackle this challenging but exciting task! Find out more here.
On November 27, join Write Ahead and close to 100 entrepreneurs from 5:30-8 pm for an evening of networking with the people and organizations that will get you from ‘idea’ to ‘open’ sooner.
Contact: Jessica Oman at info@writeahead.ca

Victor Chew Wong - Publisher and Editor

BC needs more capital to fund its future

Written By Victor Chew Wong
Posted in Financial Health, Issue 50 - Financing Your Dream

I recently attended a presentation by a colleague on the state of capital investment in BC’s high-tech sector. He gave a mixed review of the state of the sector. On the positive side, there are a lot of start-ups and small companies that are doing creative work; on the negative side, once they reach a certain size, the exit strategy is to sell.

There are 8,500 tech companies in BC with fewer than 50 employees and up to $10 million in revenue. To a start-up company, $10 million may seem like a lot of bucks – and if you can reach that sum, it makes sense to cash in. And that, according to my colleague, is a problem we Canadians are beset with: thinking small.

There are only 50 tech companies in BC with more than 100 employees. There is only one BC-based company with revenues of more than $1 billion: Telus. On a global scale, a billion-dollar company is considered mid-sized.

On the one hand, you can’t blame for someone for taking the chips off the table once you’ve surpassed the $10 million threshold. And there are several companies come to mind that have done just that.

Flickr, founded in Vancouver by Caterina Fake and Stuart Butterfield, sold to Yahoo for $35 million in 2005. Robeez’s Sandra Wilson sold her shoe company in 2006 for $30.5 million. And in 2007 Jack Gin sold his Extreme CCTV surveillance camera company to German giant Robert Bosch for $93 million.

Now don’t get me wrong, $30 million and $93 million are big sums of money, and I would probably cash out as well. But if BC is ever to be a high-tech hub, it needs one, and preferably, a number of anchor tenants – companies that are worth billions of dollars and serve as the river valleys in a healthy business ecosystem. BC also needs more capital to fund these companies.

There is one company that is worth keeping your eye on: Hootsuite. The owner of the Vancouver-based social media company, Ryan Holmes, is on record that he wants to grow it to a billion-dollar company. He has courageously declined all efforts so far to buy it out.

Hootsuite is said to have recently picked up a round of financing worth $20 million and those in the know have valued it at $200 million. Let’s hope Mr. Holmes sticks to his guns. All of BC will be better for it.

Victor Chew Wong, Publisher, Make It Business magazine

It Takes A Team To Reach Your Dream - RBC

It takes a team to reach your dream

Written By Noa Glouberman
Posted in Feature Articles, Issue 50 - Financing Your Dream

As a young boy in Montreal, David Newman opened his very first savings account at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) branch in the Van Horne Shopping Centre. By standing on his tiptoes and stretching his arm as high as he could, Newman was just able to hand the teller his first dollar.

It was the start of a long and productive relationship with RBC that would end up with Newman achieving phenomenal success, in his 50s, as a franchise owner.

“The truth is that RBC has, in many ways, played a big part in helping me pursue and achieve many of my personal and professional goals,” Newman says, reflecting on the past four decades, during which he married, relocated to Richmond, British Columbia, and raised two children.

“When I bought my first home I had my mortgage with RBC; then, when I made the decision to move clear across the country in 1992, RBC helped me do it seamlessly,” says the 57-year-old. “And, when it came time for me to open my own business – or, at least, start considering the possibility of venturing out on my own, turning to RBC for advice was natural.”

An entrepreneur at heart, Newman got his first taste of self-employment after obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University. With his parents, he ran a sewing and fabric shop. Later he shifted to the corporate world, managing a chain of Quebec-based department stores. Then Newman joined Rogers Video in Richmond as vice-president of Sales and Operations. Throughout, he found a natural instinct persisting: “to think independently and do things the way I thought they should be done, rather than what head office told me to do.”

In 2006, at the “ripe old age of 52,” Newman came to a fork in his career road. “I felt I’d worked too much and too long for other people, when what I really wanted was to do my own thing.”
Newman weighed his options. “I had three choices. I could buy an existing business with all of its alligators in the closet, and then try to deal with them. I could open my own business from scratch, which comes with its share of risks. Or, I could get into a franchise, where someone else has done the research and analysis to determine if there’s a market for whatever product or service you’re selling.
“I went with number three.”

He could have chosen the food-industry-franchise route, as many entrepreneurs do. But Newman was more interested in a business-to-business operation that would let him put his sales and marketing experience to good use. So, in 2007, he became the proud owner of a new Signarama franchise on Richmond’s No. 6 Road. In franchises worldwide, Signarama provides an array of indoor and outdoor signage options, including custom-made banners and posters, digital graphics and logos, vehicle graphics, building wraps, hand-crafted storefront signs, and more.

He’d found out about Signarama at a franchise show at the Vancouver Convention Centre. After looking at the company’s business model, and visiting its headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida, he had a good feeling about Signarama – the feeling of a right fit. “They have a good support system in place, and a family atmosphere, which is the type of environment I like. Plus, I knew I’d be able to work in Richmond, close to my home.”

To make the deal happen, however, Newman needed money. At the time, Signarama required an all-in working capital of about $220,000 for start-up. While Newman had the marketing and sales experience, and Signarama the smoothly working system, he knew he would need a robust team of advisors to help him with the financial roadmap. And RBC – with its integrated approach to small-business advice – was able to supply just that.

“At RBC we have a dedicated small-business team that helps entrepreneurs succeed,” says Sonya Reginato, sales manager, Small Business, South Vancouver/Richmond region.

“We know that starting and growing a business is an extremely complex endeavour. Our goal is to provide the resources – and be the financial advice team – on behalf of our small-business clients,” says Reginato, who leads a team of senior account managers for business and personal banking.

“We believe in an integrated approach to supporting small business. We assign a dedicated relationship manager to each small-business client. And these relationship managers have the entire RBC suite of solutions and experts at their fingertips to help their clients. At RBC, our senior account managers ensure that the integration of clients’ business and personal banking is maximized.”

Signarama, which had contacts at RBC, connected Newman with experts there to secure a federal-government-guaranteed loan of $140,000.

“I needed the loan to purchase the franchise,” Newman says. “I couldn’t afford all of the financing on my own.”

He explains that, although this type of loan can sometimes “cost a little bit more, you’re not on the hook for the whole thing, and that’s something that made sense to me.”

RBC Senior Account Manager, Business/Personal, Margaret Berkyto says the government-guaranteed loan Newman obtained is ideal for small businesses in the start-up phase. “The government guarantees it for a certain percentage. For clients like David who are just getting started, and don’t have a business financial track record, it’s a very attractive option.”

The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP) requires only a maximum 25-percent personal guarantee from the borrower. The government of Canada guarantees the remainder. That’s significantly less than a personal guarantee on a standard loan.

“We’ve found that many small business owners are not aware of this excellent government program available to support small business in Canada,” Berkyto says. “RBC has the capabilities and resources to help clients navigate the sometimes-daunting aspects of administering the loan. In the end, it helps start-up businesses because, under the program, the government of Canada makes it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lenders.”

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