Starting a Business in Canada

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No nonsense information on small business.

Oct 25, 2011 - 2 minute read - Comments - marketing

Understanding Google Places For Business

Over the past week or so, I’ve had the need to search for businesses that sell products that I don’t purchase regularly. When looking for a place to purchase a product I’m not familiar with, I usually turn to Google to find business listings. I have a copy of the yellow pages but I don’t think I’ve opened it in over a year. I use the online version of the yellow pages rarely because their site is poorly designed and it takes too long to find what I want.

I don’t think I am alone in my search methods. People are going online more and more to find the products they want to purchase, even if they intend to make the purchase locally in a physical store. This makes the Google Places listing for your business very important.

Here are some listings for Chinese food restaurants.

Google Places For Business

The seven listings I’ve marked are Google Places for Business listings. Being in this list of seven is very important because if a potential customer sees a business that is nearby and offers what he or she wants, the search will end there. This person isn’t going to click to go deeper in the local results or look further down the page to find your listing.

The good news is that you can take ownership of your Google Places For Business listing. In my experience, most business owners haven’t done this and this means their business is poorly represented, if it is represented at all.

In a future blog post, I’ll explain how to take ownership of your Google Places For Business Listing.

Oct 24, 2011 - 2 minute read - Comments - business news

2011 Enterprize Canada Business Plan Competition

If you are an undergraduate student at one of Canada’s universities, you have the opportunity to enter the Enterprize Canada Business Plan Competition and to compete for the $15,000 first prize. Contest entrants will be given feedback on their business ideas and their business plans by the panel of preliminary judges. Past competitors will work with contest entrants to help them refine their pitches to the judges.

The competition is broken down into 4 rounds:

Qualifying Round (October 1 - December 3, 2011)

To enter this round, teams are required to submit a 5 page abstract of their business idea. The judges will choose 10 teams per region to move forward in the competition.

Regional Round

Teams will be required to submit a 15 page business plan. They will be required to travel to the host school in their region where they will present their plan to a panel of judges. The host schools are:

  • University of British Columbia - B.C. and Alberta participants
  • University of Guelph - Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan participants
  • Concordia University - Québec participants
  • Mt. Allison University - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, & Newfoundland and Labrador

Three teams from each of the regions will be selected to compete in the national competition.

Semi-Final And Final Rounds

These final two rounds of the competition will take place in Vancouver at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on February 10-12, 2012.

If you are an undergraduate student with an idea for a business, this is good opportunity to get help with your business idea. Winning the competition would not only get you the prize money, but an initial boost of publicity for your business.

Oct 21, 2011 - 1 minute read - Comments - business news

Telus Sponsors Elevator Pitch Contest On Facebook

Being able to tell someone what your business does in 30 seconds or less is an important skill. Getting a lot of information into this short message isn’t easy but if you can do a good job of it, you could win an iPhone 4, and iPad 2, and a $1,500 Amex gift card from Telus.

To enter, “Like” the Telus Facebook page and enter your business information along with your elevator pitch into the online form.

Anyone who owns or works for a company of 100 people or less can enter the contest. The winner will be chosen by a combination of public voting and a Telus judging panel.

The contest runs until October 31, 2011.

Oct 19, 2011 - 1 minute read - Comments - business news

Canadian Government Announces Permanent Funding For BizPal Program

There will be $3 million in annual funding for the BizPal program. The vision is to have more jurisdictions join the program, which provides a one-stop online service for access to information on permits and licenses that small business entrepreneurs need to start and operate their businesses.

Currently, there are 11 provinces and territories participating, with over 600 municipalities offering the service, which covers an estimated 57% of the Canadian population.

For more information, visit the BizPal website.

Oct 18, 2011 - 1 minute read - Comments - banking

BDC Allocates $200 Million To Help Entrepreneurs Invest In IT

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has allocated $200 million of loan funds to help entrepreneurs purchase new information and communications technology. The proceeds of the loans can be used to purchase hardware, software or consulting services including internet solutions.

BDC clients and non-clients including small or home based businesses are encouraged to apply. Those businesses applying for loans under $50,000 in total must apply online. Businesses looking for more than $50,000 under this initiative should call BDC customer service at 1 877 BDC BANX (232-2269).

Oct 13, 2011 - 2 minute read - Comments - business news

Take Off With Amex Contest

American Express is offering $10,000 and a social marketing consultation with the Managing Director of Facebook Canada to a lucky Canadian business.

You must be a resident of Canada (excluding Québec) and have authority to sign on behalf of your business to enter. To enter go to Amex’s Facebook page and click on the big green arrow in the graphic that says “Enter Here”. This will take you to a simple web form where you will fill out your basic contact information and write a 150 word statement that describes:

  • How the prize will elevate your business
  • A demonstration of entrepreneurial vision
  • An innovative and create approach to advance on the runway to success

The semi-finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges who will be using the following scoring criteria.

Criteria Weighting
Originality 40%
Is the Idea innovative and unique from other Entries as well as existing ideas in Canada?
Does the Idea demonstrate forward thinking and taking the next step?
An attainable and engaging growth initiative 40%
Is the vision realistic and practical?
Does the Idea provide a clear and concise vision of the concept?
Does the Entry clearly articulate how the Grand Prize will be used to further the Qualifying Business’ growth aspirations?
Brand affinity 20%
Is the Idea in line with Amex Canada Inc. brand values? For example:
* Does the Idea show entrepreneurial spirit?
* Does the Idea showcase how the Qualifying Business is realizing the potential for its business?
Total Score Maximum 100%

Keep these criteria in mind as you write the 150 word statement about your business. The better you demonstrate what you are looking for, the better chance you’ll have to make it to the final round where the winner will be selected from 5 finalists by public voting.

The contest closes for entries on Monday October 24, 2011 at 11:59:59 pm ET. You can view the official rules on the website.