If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely on the lookout for new customers on a fairly regular basis. After all, having a steady stream of interested parties who become paying clientele is the benchmark of a successful business. Whether you’re in a service industry, retail or otherwise, there are some tried and true methods for expanding and keeping your customer base evolving:

1. Know your audience. Knowledge is power, and knowing just whom you are targeting for business will put you one step ahead of your competitors. Before you set out to gain new clients ask yourself the following questions: Who is my ideal customer? What makes them tick? What can my business provide them that will make their lives better or more efficient? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a foothold in acquiring new clientele or customers... Read more



Top 10 Small Business Predictions for 2012December truly is the most wonderful time of the year for small business owners. Besides the spurt in shopping activity, it's the time when business pundits provide predictions for next year's trends.

I'm feeling pretty good about my track record in picking winners -- you can check out my 2011 predictions post. OK, maybe most businesses didn't splurge on IT this year, but there were definitely more IPOs, QR codes gained in popularity, and cloud-based software and services were huge.

What changes in the business climate are just over the horizon as 2011 winds down? The overall economy is expected to grow just 2 percent, but your local mileage may vary. I've sifted through stacks of forecaster pronouncements to find the best bets.

Here are my favorite predictions for 2012: Read more


When your focus is on the quality of your product or service, you might overlook the risks involved in setting prices. With prices set too low, you won't make enough money. If they're set too high, you could drive away the customers you need. The more information you have about your market, the better prepared you are to set prices that can lead to profit.

Which type of pricing best suits your needs? Read more


“Vivid Thinking” stands for Visual-Verbal Interdependent Thinking, which means talking less while drawing more. Vivid Thinking replaces the over-wordiness of small business communications with quick, simple, jargon-free visual messages.

1. Focus the form of our outbound messages

When our small business competes with a big business, we overcompensate with too many words. Finding the visual form of our message helps strip out everything but the essentials—which means ... Read more


Hiring requirements


When you hire a new employee, there are a few things you must do to comply with government requirements. You need to:

  • Ensure that your recruitment and interviewing practices are not discriminatory
  • Create an employee record with basic information on your employee
  • Verify your employee's social insurance number (SIN)
  • Have your employee complete certain tax forms for payroll purposes

In addition, while not currently required, the government is asking employers to participate in the Report on Hiring Program, by reporting new hires to help reduce employment insurance fraud.

These documents provide more information and guidance on those obligations. Read more