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# The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Small Business for Canadians

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## by Larry Easto

 The complete idiot’s guide to small business for Canadians

Foreword
You have a dream. It’s a vision of the future that gives you a warm glow of contentment.
Close your eyes and you can see it now: there you are, running your own business. No
one is barking deadlines at you, or dishing out orders. You are in charge. You have created
your own small company, with dozens of smiling customers handing you large sums of
money, just for doing something you love to do.
Happiness, prestige, and financial wellbeing are yours.

Now wake up! The cold hard light of day is shining and something ugly is staring you in
the face. Running a successful small business is not easy.
If it was, most wouldn’t fail the way they do.

The sad fact is, the people who may buy your goods or services don’t make decisions
based on whether or not it will help you achieve your goals. They want value at the
right price—and are likely to have little to no appreciation of the charm of buying from
someone who just started their own business.

Dreams do come true, though—and Larry Easto knows how. In this thorough and practical
guide, he blows away the clouds and lays out a foundation on which a solid business can
be built. He starts by helping you to set realistic expectations, and includes a questionnaire
by which to evaluate your own entrepreneurial instincts. Then he takes you step by step
through the process of designing, building and running your company.

You’ll meet Nancy and her computer assistance service, Lorne and his home-video production
company, as well as a variety of other small entrepreneurs who are grappling with the same
kinds of decisions you may face. There are loads of examples here from which to learn.
And most importantly, to my mind, Mr. Easto doesn’t mince words about the difficult
issues that the would-be businessperson must resolve. Going into business with family
members can be a headache. Partnerships are tricky. Friends who invest in your business
expect to get their money back even if your business fails. It’s up to you to find ways to
beat your competition, find new customers, get financing, and hire the right people.

Fortunately, the details of how to handle these issues are laid out, chapter by chapter.
How I wish some of the entrepreneurs we’ve featured on Venture had read this book before
they started out! The business program I host on CBC Television has covered hundreds
of start-ups over the years, some of which were incredibly successful, some of which
crumbled and collapsed. What factors produce success? Those who invest the time and
effort in researching the marketplace and planning their business definitely improve
their chances. (Every now and then a complete dreamer lucks out with a fabulous idea
and makes it big, even while being completely unprepared,
but those cases are rare—plus, do you really want to gamble with your life savings?)
So do your homework. Take this book, add your business idea and make it happen. Being
able to put ‘President and CEO’ after your name doesn’t have to be only a dream!
DIANNE BUCKNER, host of CBC’s Venture

Introduction
Small business is booming.
According to Statistics Canada, there are approximately two million Canadian businesses
that employ fewer than twenty people. Collectively, these businesses contribute more
than \$50 billion to the economy.

Not surprisingly, organizations from public, private, and not-for-profit sectors are all
eager to support small business. Governments at all levels provide a wealth of advice and
information (but no money) for business startups and new businesses. This support is
offered in the interest of keeping the economy growing. Private sector organizations—
businesses ranging from IBM to your neighbourhood home-based bookkeeper—provide
free advice and information in the hope that small business owners will reciprocate this
kindness by purchasing their goods and services. Not-for-profit organizations—such as
educational institutions and charities—provide information and training as part of their
educational mandate and also to generate some much-needed revenue.
Clearly, there is no shortage of advice and information for actual or potential owners of
small businesses. This being the case, why bother writing this book?

Why This Book?
Although there is a wealth of support available for small businesses, most of it is
information driven. It usually takes the form of loads of standard dry information
presented in print, electronic form, or in personal presentations. In many cases, it’s like
receiving a load of topsoil for your new garden. Like the topsoil before a new gardener,
information is dumped in front of the potential or new business owner. Just because it’s
available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the wannabe gardener or business owner
knows what to do with it.

Instead of simply adding more information to the pile, this book is intended to help
you learn the skills that you need to succeed in your own business. And these skills are
based on what owners of small businesses actually do, not modified versions of practices
followed by big business organizations.

I have also tried to recognize the reality that most successful small businesses are unique:
They reflect the individual personalities of their respective owners. In practice, this
means that the book is relatively free of “shoulds” and “oughts.” There are no directives
telling you that you should follow a specific formula for developing your business plan,
or that you ought to set up your financial forecasts to meet the exacting standards of the
auditor general. In running your own business, you inevitably modify generally accepted
business principles to meet your own needs and wants. That same approach is part of
the philosophy behind the book.

Regardless of your interest in small business, I hope this book is as helpful as I intended
it to be. Read, use, and enjoy!

How to Use This Book
The book is a comprehensive reference for all small businesses, regardless of size or
maturity. It is divided into five parts, each of which deals with a separate stage in the life
of your business, from pre-startup to windup.

Part 1, “Before You Start,” helps you to look at personal considerations involved with
running a business, such as your own entrepreneurial attitude and the possible involvement
of your family. It also helps you decide what you will sell in your business and
whether it’s best for you to start from scratch or buy an existing business or franchise.
Part 2, “On Your Mark,” will get you ready to go once you have decided to run your
own business. It will help you identify what you need to get into business: the material
items, plans, money, and know-how necessary for success.

Part 3, “Growing Your Business,” tells you everything that you will need to know
about marketing your goods and services. Whether you are just starting your business or
are looking for more business for your existing small business, this part will help you
attract and retain customers.

Part 4, “Expanding Your Business,” is your guide to adding resources to increase
your ability to serve customers. And hiring more staff is not always the best way to
expand your business. You can make referrals, subcontract work, enter into joint
ventures, or merge your business with another one.

Part 5, “Keeping Your Business Going or Selling It,” recognizes two realities of
running a business. First, it takes energy and good health to continue to operate a
business. And second, there comes a time when the owner must get out of the business.
This material will help you keep your business going; or, once you have decided it is
time to leave, help you to extricate yourself from your business.

Thinking of Running a Business?
Skim the book from start to finish. If, after you have reviewed the contents, you get
excited enough about the prospect of running your own business to take the plunge,
reread Parts 1, 2, and 3. This time, read the material carefully, answering all of the
questions as thoroughly as you can. Once you have completed your business and
marketing plans, put the book aside to concentrate on implementing your plans. Keep
the book handy as a reference as you develop your business.

If, however, after skimming the material you decide that running your own business is
not really right for you, put the book aside and get on with your life as an employee.
The good news is that your interest in running your own business has only cost you the
purchase price of this book and the time you spent reading it. You will not have lost any
money trying to get a business going, only to find out that that approach to earning a
living is not right for you.

Like to Expand Your Existing Business?
All businesses, whether new or old, need more business. Part III, “Growing Your
Business,” will help you develop more business. Because marketing is so important to
small businesses, this is the biggest part, containing nine chapters. Although especially
useful for newer businesses, these marketing chapters offer help to all businesses,
regardless of how big or how old they are.
And to make sure that you can handle the avalanche of new work that will come from
your marketing activities, take a look at Part 4. This will help you to start thinking about
how you can expand your business.
When you have so many customers that you need help looking after them, check out
Part 4. This part offers five alternative approaches to expanding your business. And you
thought your only option was to hire staff!

Having Trouble Keeping Your Business Going?
Maybe you no longer have the energy or the interest to keep your business going. Or
maybe cash flow problems are driving you crazy. Or perhaps the time has come for you
to get out of your business. Part 5 will help, whether the problem is personal energy and
motivation or cash flow difficulties, or if it is just the right time to cash in your chips
and move on.

As a comprehensive reference, this book will help all small business owners, from
pre-startup through growth and expansion to sale or windup.

Although intended primarily for small business owners, this book will also be useful to
everyone who knows anybody who runs a small business. Whether you are a family
member, employee, customer, supplier, or simply an interested observer, you can use
this book to help you understand the growing small business phenomenon. Who
knows? Once you understand what they do, there is no telling how you can help small
business owners.

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Contents at a Glance
Part 1: Before You Start
So You Want to Run Your Own Business?
Many of us would rather earn a living by working for ourselves
than by working for someone else. If you would like to pursue the
self-employed option, think about what you will be getting into.
Is it really the right thing for you?
The Family That Works Together Sometimes Works
Some small businesses are really extensions of the family. As a
result, family things like computers and furniture, money, and
even people are used for business and family purposes. This
arrangement can work well for suitable families.
What Can You Sell?
Like it or not, when you run a business you have to sell something
to someone. From the almost limitless number of choices
available, what can you sell?
Do You Start from Scratch...or Buy a Business?
Starting your own business from scratch is not your only option.
If you have the money, you can buy an existing business or even
buy the know-how.
Keeping It Legal
Warning! Running your own business can be dangerous to your
legal well being. Maybe you need a lawyer to help protect you.
Part 2: On Your Mark 53
Preparation for Your Business
Setting up a business is like setting up a new home: You get to
buy all sorts of neat things. And the best part is that some or all
of these purchases are tax deductible!
Plan to Succeed
If you build it they will come...maybe! But first you have to plan
what you are going to build and how you are going to build it.
Where Will the Money Come From?
It takes money to make money. Don’t count on winning a lottery
to start your business. Where will you get the money to buy all
the neat things you think you need to start your business?
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Small Business for Canadians
Making Sense of Financial Statements
Think of your financial statements as storybooks using numbers
instead of words. If you don’t know how to read them, you won’t
know if your story has a happy ending.
Don’t Take Risks—Manage Them!
Life can be risky, but running a business need not be. You can
manage some risks, and for others...there might be insurance.
Part 3: Growing Your Business 107
Marketing Is More Than Advertising and Selling
Forget the slick television advertising campaigns. Marketing is
whatever you do to get more business for your business.
Plan to Market
Even if you do have a better mousetrap, don’t count on the world
beating a path to your door. You can’t just sit back and wait for
things to happen—you have to make things happen. In marketing,
good things don’t happen to those who wait.
What Do Your Customers Need and Want from You?
Try as you may, you simply cannot run a business without
customers. So don’t ignore them. Get to know them as well as
possible and treat them so well that they will want to keep
coming back to you.
How to Distinguish Your Business from the Competition
You are unique. There is no one else in the world just like you. So
why should your business be like anyone else’s? Make your business
as unique as you are. It’s the best way of distinguishing
yourself from the competition.
Quality Service: Your Best Competitive Advantage
Regardless of the specifics of what your customers say they are
looking for, they all demand quality service. As long as you provide
better quality service than the competition, your customers will
keep coming back.
Ensuring Your Customers Are Happy
Happy customers are good for business. Not only are they likely to
return, they might even tell others how much they like you. How
much do your customers like you? Ask them; you might be surprised.
How to Promote Your Business...Your Way
So how do you tell the world about your better mousetrap? There
are many ways of doing it. But make sure that your message
is not lost among the thousands of others competing for your
customers’ attention.
Wired Marketing...Using the Internet
The Internet is not an orderly arrangement of information as we
have been told. It is more like a vast poorly indexed swamp of
information, some of which can be quite helpful. Regardless of
what you call it, using the Internet for marketing can be useful.
But don’t even think of going there without having considered
carefully what you want to do.
How to Obtain More Business for Your Business
Forget about those unfortunates who are not yet customers of
yours. Concentrate on those wise people who have seen the light
and chosen to do business with you. They can help you generate
more business for your business. Maybe they can even help those
poor lost souls who are not yet clients see the light and choose to
do business with you.
Part 4: Expanding Your Business 197
Referrals Are Win-Win-Win Scenarios
You can’t do it all, but you can do a lot. Especially with a little
help from your friends. Don’t try to do more if you know you
can’t. Refer the work to others—everyone wins!
You Can Accomplish More by Subcontracting
Some Work to Others
If you like control—and what business owner doesn’t?—you will
love subcontracting. Somebody else does the work and you get to
supervise and, what’s even better, get paid for it.
Hiring an Employee—The Traditional First Expansion Step
Hiring an employee can give you more than an extra pair of
hands. Between the added hassle of government regulations, your
employee’s wrongful acts, and who knows what else, having one
or more employee can add big-time stress to your business life.
A Joint Venture Is Like Living Common Law
How would you like to join forces with a compatible business to
be able to offer more to your customers? Try a joint venture—it is
like trying out a merger before making a commitment.
A Merger Is a Marriage of Two Businesses
The fastest way to expand your business to offer more to your
customers is to take over another business. Merger is one business
strategy that can work as well for small businesses as it
does for big businesses.
Part 5: Keeping Your Business Going or Selling It 245
Keep Fit for a Healthy Business
What would happen to your business if you suddenly suffered
but survived a serious heart attack? Heart attacks and many
other health problems can be prevented. Don’t allow your own
poor health to jeopardize the well being of your business.
To Survive, Your Business Needs Cash Flow
If you look after the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.
How well are you managing your pennies? Are there
enough of them coming in to make up for those that escape?
There had better be!
Transform Your Business to Cope with a
Changing World
Death and taxes used to be the only two things that were
inevitable. Now, change is also inevitable. Just because some
changes are beyond your control, it doesn’t mean that you idly
stand by and let them happen. You can always do something.
You’ll Need a Plan to Get Out of Your Business
All good things come to an end—even running your own business.
Your challenge is to get out of your business while at the same
time keeping as much of your sanity and money as possible.
Appendix A: Glossary of Terms
Appendix B: Government Information and Contacts:
Registration and Employment Standards Requirements
Appendix C: Canadian Books for Small Business
Index

Table of Contents
Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvi
Part 1: Before You Start 1
1 So You Want to Run Your Own Business?
You Need to Earn a Living . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
There Are Also Personal Reasons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Are You Playing Business? The Business-Hobbyist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
The Problem with Business-Hobbyists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
A Part-Time Business and a Full-Time Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
How Entrepreneurial Are You Anyway? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Entrepreneurial Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
2 The Family That Works Together Sometimes Works
Family Money Becomes a Business Asset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
The Cash Flow Roller Coaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
What You Give to Your Business Takes from Your Family . . . . . . . 15
Can I Please Use the Computer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Do Family Members Belong in Your Business? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Family Members as Employees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Family Members as Owners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Divide and Manage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Ownership Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Management Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Family Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3 What Can You Sell?
Selling Your Own Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Advantages of Selling Your Own Product . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Disadvantages of Selling Your Own Product. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Selling Items That Other People Produce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Advantages of Selling Items Produced by Others. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Disadvantages of Selling Items Produced by Others . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Supplying Intangibles: Be a Service Provider. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Advantages of Being a Service Provider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Disadvantages of Being a Service Provider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Families and Individuals Need Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
And So Do Businesses and Other Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Who Will Buy Yours Goods or Services? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Small Businesses Are Service Businesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Some Goods and Services Are Suitable for Both Types of Customers . 30
What Business Should You Start? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
4 Do You Start from Scratch...Or Buy a Business?
Starting from Scratch...Doing It Your Way . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Getting Free and Low-Cost Information and Advice . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
You Might Need Some Professional Advice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Your Biggest Risk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Ready for a Daunting Challenge? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
What About the Uncertainties? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Hey, I Want That One...Buying an Active Business . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
What’s Good About Buying a Business? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
What’s Bad About Buying a Business? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
What About Buying a Franchise? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
The Good News About Franchises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
And The Bad News About Buying a Franchise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
5 Keeping It Legal
New Relationships Mean New Responsibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Protect Your Personal Assets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
What’s the Right Business Format for You?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Sole Proprietorship. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Partnership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Incorporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Choosing Your Lawyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Part 2: On Your Mark 53
6 Preparation for Your Business
Make Sure That You Will Have Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Planning Your Business. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Business Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Setting Up Your Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Furniture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Telecommunications Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
Answering Machines and Answering Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Computers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Fax Machines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Photocopiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Multifunction Machines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Specialized Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
Office Supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
Do You Need a Motor Vehicle? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
What About Licences, Permits, Tax Registrations, Etc.? . . . . . . . . . 64
7 Plan to Succeed
Why Plan? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
Creating Your Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
What Results Do You Hope to Achieve? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Who Will Your Customers Be? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Who Are Your Competitors? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
How Much Will You Charge? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
On the Financial Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
What Else Do You Need? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Use Your Plan—Don’t Archive It! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
8 Where Will the Money Come From?
Start With Your Own Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
How Much Do They Really Love You?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Can You Lend Me a Few Dollars? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Term Loan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
Demand Loan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
Line of Credit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Who Wants to Invest in My Business? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Where Else Can I Get Financial Help? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Government Funding. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Leasing Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
9 Making Sense of Financial Statements
Why You Need Financial Statements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Forward-Looking Statements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Sources and Uses of Funds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Forecasting Statements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Cash Flow Forecast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Historical Statements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Choosing an Accountant to Prepare And Interpret Your Statements . 92
10 Don’t Take Risks—Manage Them!
What Is Risk Management? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
So How Can You Manage Risks? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
What About Those Risks Beyond My Control? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
What’s Normal? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Property Insurance Is Good. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Life and Casualty Insurance Is Also Good . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Common Insurance Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Part 3: Growing Your Business 107
11 Marketing Is More Than Advertising and Selling
Approaches to Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
The Production Approach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
The Sales Approach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
The Marketing Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
What Marketing Does for You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
Everybody Seems to Be Doing It . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
How the Big Guys Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Why Marketing Is Different for Small Businesses . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
12 Plan to Market
Marketing in Your Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
Planning Your Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
The Steps to Successful Marketing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Identify a Need . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Identify the Customer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Outline Your Strategry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
Putting It All Together: Your Marketing Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
Sample Marketing Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Keeping It Current . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Do. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Don’t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
13 What Do Your Customers Need and Want from You?
You and Your Customers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Who Are Your Customers? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
List Existing Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
Identify Ideal Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Profile Ideal Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
What Do Your Customers Need? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
What Do Your Customers Expect? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Reliability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Responsiveness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Assurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Empathy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
What Customers Are Not Looking For. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
14 How to Distinguish Your Business from the Competition
Distinguishing Yourself . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
What’s Special About Your Service?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
What’s Special About Your Products? Your Service! . . . . . . . . . . 139
How Your Unique Features Become Benefits to Your Customers 140
Marketing Aspects of Your Business Assets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Your Network of Contacts Also Distinguishes You . . . . . . . . . . . 142
15 Quality Service: Your Best Competitive Advantage
How Quality Gives You the Competitive Edge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
The Four Basic Principles of Quality Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Deliver Quality Service Consistently . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Provide Appropriate Knowledge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Deliver What You Promise; Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver . 150
Add Value to Standard Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
The Five Basic Truths About Customer Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
16 Ensuring Your Customers Are Happy
How Did You Do? Measuring Customer Satisfaction. . . . . . . . . . 155
Informal Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
Formal Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Making a Good Thing Better. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162
17 How To Promote Your Business...Your Way
Who Should You Tell About Your Business? Why Tell Them? . . . 166
Making Personal Contacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Networking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Memberships in Clubs and Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Planned Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Speeches/Formal Presentations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Conducting Seminars and Workshops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
Print Communications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
Direct Mail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Writing for Publication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Public Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
What Approach Is Best for You? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
Communication Priorities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
18 Wired Marketing...Using the Internet
How an Internet Presence Is Like Traditional Marketing . . . . . . . 178
A Means to an End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
Requires Effective Management. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178
Integrate the Internet with Other Marketing Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
Provide Information About Your Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
Networking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
But It’s Also Different from Traditional Marketing Tools . . . . . . . 180
Global Reach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Multipurpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Provide Pictures, Sound, and Film Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Create 24-Hour-a-Day Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Open International Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Provide Up-to-Date Information Quickly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
How Can the Internet Help with Your Marketing Activities? . . . 181
Identify New Business Opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
Identify Customer Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
Distinguish Yourself and Your Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
Identify External Challenges. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
Develop More Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
What Can You Not Do on the Internet? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
E-Business, E-Commerce, E-Eeeekk!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184
19 How to Obtain More Business for Your Business
The Basic Approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
What’s Good and Bad About These Approaches? . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
The Four-Step Sure-Fire Way to Obtain More Business . . . . . . . . 189
Identify Existing Customers for Existing Goods or Services . . . . . . 189
Identify Existing Customers for New Goods or Services . . . . . . . . . 192
Identify New Clients for Existing Goods or Services . . . . . . . . . . . 194
Identify New Clients for New Goods or Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196
Part 4: Expanding Your Business 197
20 Referrals are Win-Win-Win Scenarios
Continue to Help Your Customer...Make a Qualified Referral . . . 200
Qualifying Other Businesses and Your Customers. . . . . . . . . . . . 200
Making the Referral . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202
Your Customer Wins. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
Needs and Wants Are Met . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
Preferred Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
Reassurance That You Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
The Other Business Wins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
New Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
No Direct Marketing Effort. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Peer Recognition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
And You Win . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Expand Capacity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
Maintain Relationship with Existing Customers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Enhance Relationship with Other Businesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
Referral Fees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205
When Not to Make Referrals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206
Subcontracting Is a Well-Established Business Practice . . . . . . . . 208
Subcontracting Versus Referrals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
Advantages for Your Customers and for You. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210
Some Other Things to Consider About Subcontracting. . . . . . . . 210
Selecting a Subcontractor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 212
Contracting Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214
22 Hiring an Employee—The Traditional First Expansion Step
Before You Hire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
What Will the Employee Do? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
Recruiting the Best Employee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Responsibilities as an Employer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Sorry, It Just Didn’t Work Out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
Termination Without Notice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
Termination with Notice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
23 A Joint Venture Is Like Living Common Law
What Is a Joint Venture?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
What a Joint Venture Does for Its Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
Locating Venture Partners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230
Maintaining a Joint Venture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
Ending a Joint Venture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
One Party May Buy the Other Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
One or Both Parties May Sell to a Third Party . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
The Parties May Agree to Dissolve the Venture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
24 A Merger Is a Marriage of Two Businesses
What Is a Merger?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236
Purchase Another Business And Combine It with Yours . . . . . . . 236
Its Ability to Look After Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
An Established Customer Base . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Merge with Another Business, or 1 1 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Potential Merger Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
The Merger Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
Serving Your Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
What You Want . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
What Each Partner Brings to the Merger. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Part 5: Keeping Your Business Going or Selling It 245
25 Keep Fit for a Healthy Business
Merger Checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
If You Plan to Go the Distance, Look After Yourself . . . . . . . . . . 247
Exercise: Even a Little Helps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248
Eating Healthy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 248
You Deserve a Break . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Do You Love What You Are Doing? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251
If You Don’t Love What You Are Doing...Change Something . . . 252
26 To Survive, Your Business Needs Cash Flow
Manage Your Cash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Managing Cash Inflow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256
Managing Your Cash Outflows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
Need More Money?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
27 Transform Your Business to Cope with a Changing World
When Everything Around You Is Changing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
When You Initiate Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263
Watch Where You Want to Go, Not Where You’ve Been. . . . . . . 264
So Where Do You Want to Go?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
You Can’t Get There Alone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
Work with Your Customers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
Involve Employees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 268
28 You’ll Need a Plan to Get Out of Your Business
Planning an Exit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
Choosing Your Successors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
The Family Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
Employee Purchase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274
Sale to a Third Party . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
Winding Up Your Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Are You Ready to Start Your Own Business?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Are You Ready for More Business for Your Existing Business? . . . . 277
Are You Ready to Expand Your Business? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Are You Ready to Get Out of Your Business and Move On? . . . . . . 278
Appendices
A Glossary of Terms 279
B Government Information and Contacts: Registration
and Employment Standards Requirements 281
C Canadian Books for Small Business 297
Index 297
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