Canada Day Long Weekend – Small Business Marketing Musts

Canada 150 is an Amazing Opportunity To Create Awareness and Interest in Your Business

Canada Day is a great opportunity to connect with your patriotic spirit. It’s a chance for people to come together, unite and celebrate all that makes Canada extraordinary. It’s also a way for your businesses to serve clients and give them a reason to participate in special promotions. Often, businesses fail to connect with their audiences on a personal level, and hence, fail to get to know their potential prospects as human beings. Canada Day is the perfect way to build such relationships.  However, you must have the right approach. Otherwise, you may not get any visibility, or even worse, receive a negative response.

 

Do Something Creative

Automatically you’ll catch people’s attention with a creative design, idea or story.  Whether it’s an email, postcard or an image on social media you’re sure to establish a more personal connection. Be sure to include a greeting that’s relevant to the Canada Day spirit!

 

Go That Extra Mile

Instead of trying to push sales or sell your products/services, present your prospects and clients with something that is of value to them. Whether it is a prize, a gift, food or some sort of gift card or coupon the act of giving will go a long way!

 

Host an Event

There’s no better way to establish relationships than meeting in person. This will require time and planning on your part, and involve an early invitation. Again, relevancy is key! BBQ’s are perfect because the provide a comfortable setting to make introductions and initiate relationships.

 

Always Plan Ahead of Time

When you plan your campaigns in advance, you’re being proactive, instead of reactive. This way, you’ve integrated your Canada Day message within your campaigns. When you visualize your campaign calendar, it becomes much easier to plan for it. Not only is this helpful with saving you time, but the end recipient has a much more remarkable experience with your marketing.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

Things to Watch for In a Small Business Loan

 

A reliable way to get some extra capital for your business is a small business loan. Whether it’s for covering your startup costs, or it’s to fuel a new initiative, getting a small business loan is both exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s important to pay attention to the type of loan you’re getting into, if you aren’t careful, you could end up with something that’s almost impossible to pay back.

 

Interest Rates

Obviously, you want the lowest interest rate possible, but the interest rate you get will depend on a few factors. Your credit history and the terms of the loan you’re seeking to get are the main ones. If you want a lower interest rate, you may have to sacrifice some other preferences to compensate for it.

 

Terms of the Loan

If you’re thinking long-term, or if you don’t have an existing stream of revenue to help you with the monthly payments, you might consider the longest term possible, ranging many years into the future. However, do be aware that paying off your loan early can result in a prepayment penalty – so remember to pay attention to that in the conditions of the loan.

 

Expansion

If you’re looking to invest in expansion, you may me tempted to get the most amount of money you qualify for; after all, having access to more capital gives you more flexibility, and will save you time if you need to borrow more down the road. Always start by outlining the fundamental costs that you’ll need to cover for your business. Don’t just guess, do your research, talk to your peers and calculate your best guess for what these needs will cost you.

 

Financial Institution

Of course, you’ll want to go with the provider that can offer your business the best deal, but the working relationship you’ll have with the loan provider also matters. If you already have a history with one institution, it may increase your likelihood of getting a better deal with them in the future, so be sure to take that into consideration when deciding your line of credit, loans, and checking accounts.

 

After these steps, you should start meeting with different lenders in your area and see what they have to offer. Just remember to read the fine print carefully, and only move forward when you’re confident about the long-term benefits of your decision.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

 

Grenfell Tower Fire: Do You Have a Fire Safety Plan?

Make Sure You Have an Emergency Response Plan 

 

A deadly overnight fire raced through a 24-storey apartment building in London last Wednesday. While details regarding the cause of the fire are beginning to come in, it is an unfortunate reminder that a fire can break out anywhere, at any time with no warning signs.

 

When it comes to your small business, it is important to remember that it is also susceptible to fires and numerous potential hazards. Whether it is an overloaded circuit, over used and deteriorating electrical cords, heat producing equipment or electrical appliances left plugged in at the end of the day, there are a host of factors that can cause a fire in the workplace. The first step in protecting your employees from injury, and your small business from property loss, is to ensure an emergency response plan is in place.

 

Not sure where to start or what to include in your small business’ emergency response plan? Click Here or on the image below to download a basic version of an emergency response outline.

 

Emergency Response Plan Outline

Emergency-Response-Plan--Link

 

It’s important to modify and fill in the document to reflect your business and how it is conducted. As some industries may face more risks than others, there are additional sections that may need to be added to your small business’ emergency response plan.

 

In addition to your emergency response plan, the items below should also be completed/indicated and reviewed on a regular basis:

  • Exit locations are clearly marked
  • Emergency procedures should be posted on each floor
  • Review emergency procedures on a regular basis with all employees
  • Conduct fire drills on a regular basis with all employees

 

Keep in mind that all aspects of your emergency planning should take into account the type of business you run and the nature of your workplace/worksite. For example, assembly area procedures will differ between a contracting business that works on different job sites, versus a retail business where the location is constant.

As the owner/employer you should be ensuring that a properly tailored emergency response plan is in place and up to date, whether it is run by you or an appointed member of management.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation. 

Business Website Checklist

A checklist to help you build a terrific business website

 

The greatest part about being online, it that it technically never closes. With that being said, it’s definitely worth your while to build a website for your small business. If your customer can’t find what they came for or your site is too complex to navigate, you’ve just lost a customer.

 

FAQ

Your frequently asked questions page should be the one-stop shop for any potential questions. Most websites will have an FAQ section, but will often fail to provide a detailed and complete set of answers. Your goal is to get your customer’s questions answered as quickly as possible. The more detailed your FAQ section is, the less work you’ll create for your customer service department.

 

Clear Description of Product and Service Offerings

This may seem like a no-brainer. The truth is, many websites fail to provide a clear description of their products or services offered. They often focus too much on the marketing and sales jargon which may actually turn away prospective buyers. Listing out your products and services clearly will also help boost your overall SEO as well.

 

Meet the Team or About Us Page

People like to do business with people. By providing an ‘About Us’ page that will give your potential customers insight on the faces behind the business and what your purpose is. Your ‘About Us’ page should have the following:

  • How the business was formed and what guides your business philosophy.
  • What your business provides based on your customer’s needs.
  • How your business differentiates from your competition and how you plan to tackle your specific niche.
  • Who are your core team members and include a brief background.

Optimized Payments

If your small business website also serves as an online store, then it’s important that you provide your customers an optimized payment experience. Look to integrate with a payments platform that best fits your small business needs. Payment fees and pricing will vary quite a bit across providers, solely because each business has different payment needs.

Think about what’s required to attract and retain your customers. For starters, implement these four essential items if you haven’t done so already.  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Startup Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these mistakes to ensure success for your start-up!

While entrepreneurs focus on the expected and worthwhile rewards of starting a new company, not as many are aware of some potential pitfalls to avoid along the way. When you become aware of what mistakes to avoid, it will help boost the chances that your new business will succeed.

 

Don’t Choose a Partner with Nothing Different to Offer

When creating a start-up, sometimes you can’t just pick your best friend who you have everything in common with. It carries a number of important advantages and it’s critical that your partner brings something different to the start-up from your skill set.  As you build new business parent relationships, make sure each partner you bring on brings his or her own unique offering. This will allow you to combine all skill sets into one plan of action that increases your company’s revenue and growth.

 

Lack of a Marketing Strategy

Everything is constantly changing, that is even more true when it comes to marketing tools and strategies. You can’t just have the right marketing strategy; you must also know how to deliver it effectively in today’s technology-based world.  You always want to deliver an impactful message.

 

It’s Not Just About the Money

A hefty paycheck can motivate anyone. But your work should be more than just for the paycheck. If you sincerely enjoy the work you perform through your start-up, you’ll care that much more about seeing it succeed.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Of course, there are mistakes you should always avoid, but being afraid of making any mistakes at all can hurt your company more than help it. You may never achieve your goals if you’re too afraid to take any steps toward reaching them.  Always analyze major decisions, but don’t over analyze.  Accept that there will be some risk involved in forming and growing a start-up.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

How to Get Cheap Office Space

Shared work-spaces are a terrific way to ensure your start-up is positioned for success!


If you’re company is just getting started, you know there are a lot of costs.  One of the most significant costs is commercial office space.  Aside from the space itself, there are often furniture, utility and general maintenance costs related to a commercial workspace which your business may not be ready to support.  As a result co-working office spaces are a growing trend which many start-ups are embracing.

Co-working office spaces are a relatively new concept meant to ensure innovative and collaborative workspaces, without the prohibitive costs many entrepreneurs face when searching for commercial office space. More and more freelancers and small businesses are transitioning out of the isolated home office environment towards collaborative workspaces geared to raise their business to a higher level.

In the Greater Toronto Area, examples of this sort of a space include Acme Works, WorkHaus, and IQ Office Suites.  Each of them affords access to terrific workspaces at very affordable prices.  In the Calgary Area Commons Calgary,  Work Nicer, and The Collective 12 are highly rated options for co-working office spaces. If you’re operating in the Vancouver area L’Atelier Vancouver is a 5 star rated establishment for setting up your business.  Alternate options are HiVe and The Network Hub.

Co-working office spaces serve as a hub of activity dedicated to independents at a fraction of the cost of a standard office space. Often, spaces may be rented by the hour, month, or any interval in-between. Such spaces provide a real alternative to buying or renting office space on your own. Furthermore, as a member of the co-working office space you gain access to various amenities such as conference rooms, reception service, shared fax, kitchen and beverages such as tea or coffee to fuel your team.

While you may be keen to establish your team and your company culture in your own space, the co-working office space is a great way to save a significant amount on rent which you can then use to rapidly grow your business and succeed!

 

Avoid Pitfalls of Working From Home

Local coffee shops or shared offices make great work-spaces too!

You started your own business. You started it because you had a passion for what you were doing and a belief that you would be more successful on your own rather than working for someone else. But that was a few years ago. Or maybe it was a couple of months ago. Either way, your passion, your excitement and your energy is slowly waning, and the warm weather is only making it worse. How do you get it back?

 

Well, if you’ve been working from home this entire time, it may be time to get out. At least a few times a week. If you’re running a home office and the warmer weather is making you feel a little stifled, below are four reasons why you may want to co-work – either from your local coffee shop or at a more formal co-working space.

 

Boost Productivity: No, it’s not in your head. People are more productive when they work in a coffee shop, they provide no “work hours” pressure, just enough distractions and to a lot of people, work doesn’t seem like work when you’re out of the office. When you’re working in a public space, there’s the (needed) pressure of looking like you’re doing something. At home, you can watch TV or spend time on Facebook. But when surrounded by other productive people, you become more productive as well.

 

Get New Ideas: When you force yourself out of your home, you expose yourself to new ideas. Meeting new people, seeing new things, having new experiences. All of this will affect your view of the market, your company and how you relate to other people. Changing your environment is a good way to free up your mental bottleneck and start seeing things in a new light.

 

Build a Social Network: Whether you’re a one-person shop or even a three-four-person shop, it can sometimes be hard to build social ties you need to effectively grow your business. Working in a co-working space, whether formal or informal, can make this process easier by naturally putting you around people who can help you when needed. You build your network by placing yourself around qualified people and learning how others work.

 

Find a Balance: Some small business owners do a great job at setting realistic hours and expectations for themselves. However, some aren’t so good at this and end up working on their SMB for 12 hours straight, 7 days a week, and begin to think that’s a “normal” routine. It’s not. It’s also not healthy – to you or your business. Getting out and working in a co-working environment can give you the physical separation between work and home that so many business owners lack –  to the detriment of your health, personal relationships, and, yes, even the success of your business.

 

So get out and recharge yourself! Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Earth Day 2017

This Saturday is the 47th Anniversary of Earth Day, and to celebrate we want to take a look at the business of sustainability. How sustainable is your small business, energy wise? Commercial buildings generally use up a lot of energy.  As a small business owner you can take several measures to make your building or office more energy efficient.

 

All the “going green chatter” can sometimes feel like an incessantly beating drum.   The truth of the matter however is that the economy starts with small businesses, and this is also true for energy consumption. So, in honor of Earth Day, here are some ways your small business can conserve more energy.

 

HVAC Maintenance: When was the last time you thought about your HVAC system? Often small business owners neglect their ventilation and air-conditioning, not noticing the system is in dire need of a tune-up or replacement. Sometimes energy savings can be made with something as simple as changing an air filter or moving a piece of furniture blocking a vent.

 

Lighting: While most people realize any light not in use should be turned off, in practice this often gets forgotten.  In 2017 there are so many options to help ranging from smart bulbs to motion sensors to timers.  While such products use to be costly, they have significantly dropped in price and in time, tend to pay dividends in the savings.

 

No More Paper: Businesses in 2017, need to be as paperless as possible. Not only does it conserve precious natural resources, it saves money and digital records are far easier to keep track of.

 

Office Equipment: This may sound trivial and unnecessary, but this is actually an area where a business can suffer the most when it comes to energy conservation. You should always make sure that your building is constantly turning off machines when they are not in use. Just enable the machine to automatically switch to sleep mode or have employees turn monitors off manually.

 

Hopefully you take these tips on energy conservation to heart, and help in preserving the natural beauty of our planet.  Happy Earth Day to all!  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Lessons from the Easter Bunny

Easter is just around the corner, but small businesses all over the country are hard at work making sure their customers are happy. Happy customers are the keystone of success for many businesses. Poor customer service can quickly bite you where it hurts most: your profits. The Easter Bunny has several valuable lessons about customer service that small businesses may benefit from learning.

 

Hiding “Goods” Isn’t Always Good

The Easter Bunny sneaks in and hides Easter eggs all over houses, yards, parks and other areas. While this might make for some good treasure-hunting fun, your customers will not appreciate going on a hunt to get answers about your business. You can’t hide your answers as a business. Having a well-developed knowledge base is a good start. With quality content from which to draw, your customers may be able to trust that you understand your business and can provide them with the goods and services they desire.

 

Visiting in the Night Limits Availability

Have you ever caught a glimpse of the Easter Bunny? Probably not. He only seems to visit in the middle of the night, much like Santa Claus, he’s not around when you’re awake. As a business, it’s important to be available when your customers are. If most of your business happens at night, then you need to be available at night. If your customers are working from 9-5, that’s when you need to be available.

 

A Mysterious Myth

We all know the Easter Bunny sneaks around, leaves candies and hides eggs. What else? He’s mysterious and, according to some people, a myth. This is intriguing for a figure that leaves candy for children, but no one appreciates such mysteriousness in business. People want to speak to people. Mystery makes many customers and clients feel uncomfortable. Don’t tiptoe around; be real and upfront with your customers.

 

Everyone Loves the Easter Bunny

Who doesn’t love the Easter Bunny? We’re not saying you should give out baskets of chocolates and hide eggs everywhere but going above and beyond for your customers is likely to bring you the same type of love and loyalty.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Communication Mistakes

 

Are You Making Communication Mistakes?

Communication with your customers is the key factor in determining whether they will have a positive buying experience and if they’ll come back to purchase again. Technology is a tremendous competitive weapon that small businesses can leverage.  Unfortunately, there are many common mistakes among small businesses.  Here’s how you can address a few of them:

 

Phone Communication System

Don’t get stuck with old PBX switches or just using cell phones for company business. By getting a central business number and an automated receptionist with an auto attendant menu, customers will become more comfortable with your credibility and more likely to conduct business with you.

 

Call Data

Analytics are critical for small businesses to understand their customers. By knowing who is calling, how often, and how long they are on the line, you can get significant insights into what is working and what is not working.

 

Team Collaboration

One of the most important things in a company’s productivity is how easily your team can collaborate even when they are not physically in the same place. Having a system where all your team members can collaborate on documents in a secured environment facilitates the exchange of ideas and increases efficiency.

 

Social Media Management

Being able to easily manage a company’s social media presence needs to have a strategy and process to it. Customers need to be responded to on social media, as it’s a huge form of customer and business relationship building. Instead of being only reactive on social media, content can be scheduled strategically weeks in advance using various online tools.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

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