Salute to Small Business Month

As a small business owner, there are typically no performance reviews, no annual awards Open for businessor bonuses for a job well done – it is just you. You are the driving force behind your business and the sales team out in front of customers.  However, once a year there is a month where events and festivities celebrate the contributions that small business owners make to their community.  October is Salute to Small Business month.  Halton Region uses this opportunity to let local businesses know how much we value their contribution to our local economy, and to provide them with opportunities to achieve success.

According to the 2013 Halton Employment Survey Results, the vast majority of Halton’s businesses were micro- and small-businesses: 82.3% having fewer than 20 employees. Small business is truly at the heart of the economy in Halton Region.

Halton Region is also proud to support its newest entrepreneurs–youth who have started on the road to owning their own businesses by participating in the Summer Company program, Starter Company program and Futurpreneur Canada. These programs were developed by the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and Futurpreneur Canada and are delivered by the Halton Region Small Business Centre.

Halton Region Small Business Centre, which provides small business resources as part of the Ontario Government’s Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) network, marks this special month by offering unique learning and networking opportunities to business owners across Halton. Below is an exciting line-up of events for entrepreneurs both new and seasoned that are designed to support small business in every aspect of their operations.

Wednesday, October 8 ~ 6:30-8:30 pm
Starting a Small Business
Wednesday, October 15 ~ 8:00 am – 1:30 pm
G.R.O.W. Your Business: Getting Results Online Workshop
Wednesday, October 22 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Understanding Financial Basics
Wednesday, October 29 ~ 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Small Business Financing and Insurance
Tuesday, October 7 and 21 ~ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Futurpreneur Canada Info Session
Starter Company Info Session 

Mark the month on your calendar and join us and other entrepreneurs as we continue to grow the entrepreneurial spirit in Halton Region!

For more information about Halton Region’s Small Business Centre resources, services, business events and seminars, contact us by dialing 311, 1-866-442-5866, online at, by email at or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville. You can also follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook.

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G.R.O.W. Your Business – Getting Results Online Workshop

With the use of smartphones and tablets to access social media sites as well as specificBridgesToBetterBusiness October 2014
company websites, small business owners need to understand how to find and engage their clients online. Website strategies need to include SEO and mobile integration to better serve customers now and in the future.  Along with the top social media channels, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, what other social media channels are being used by consumers? Continue reading

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Changing Seasons spell changes for Business

September is here and the children have returned to school.  This serves as a reminder Cloudthat the season is changing and fall will soon be here.  It also reminds us that seasonality is something that can impact our business as well.

Changes in weather and season both pay a significant part in our daily work lives. Seasonality impacts everything in our lives from when our target customers may want our products and services and more importantly, when they may not want to engage with our business.  These seasonal fluctuations must be identified so that we can adjust our operations accordingly. If sales are declining, what actions are required to reduce expenses during this period? This continuous cash flow management is even more important to the business when looking at significant external changes. Continue reading

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Managing Your Time

For a busy entrepreneur, your time is your most valuable resource. There are only soTime Management - August 13 many hours in a day, and chances are you will not be able to accomplish everything that you want to. This makes time management one of the most important skills an entrepreneur can have. This can be especially important when running a smaller business with little or no support staff, forcing the owner to juggle multiple roles within the company. Here are some tips to help ensure that you and your business are as productive as possible. Continue reading

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Success through Cooperation

July 28Success through CooperationOne of the first decisions that any business owner has to make when starting a new business is choosing the business structure for their operation. The three most well-known business structures include the sole proprietorship, the partnership and the corporation.

While these are the most prevalent types of business structures, it is important to know that there is a 4th structure that operates the organization on communal and democratic principles:  the co-operative. A co-operative is an organization that is owned and controlled by its members. They are often formed when a group of individuals comes together to meet a common need, and they can be for profit or not-for-profit. Business decisions made by a co-op are made democratically, with one member receiving one vote.

There are several reasons why you may wish to create a co-op. Some of these may be:

  1. To provide a service that other forms of enterprise are not offering, or to provide it in a different way.
  2. To keep a community or business alive when a private model is no longer able to.
  3. To keep profits and control of the business locally, and to ensure that profits are re-invested in the company and shared with members.

Continue reading

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The Five W’s of Business

Before starting your own business, it’s important to take some time and reflect on what needs to be done to get a successful business off the ground. The planning stage is crucial, and will set the stage The Five W's of Businessfor how efficiently your company operates. In school, teachers often talk about the ‘Five Ws’ as a tool for information gathering, brainstorming and planning. If the planning of your business is still in its infancy, finding your ‘Five Ws’ can be a good way to understand the basics of how your business will operate.

Write down answers to the following questions. This will help you to formulate and conceptualize the foundations of your business.

Who is your target market? Knowing who your products are aimed towards can help you focus your business.

What are you selling? It is important to understand the details of the products you will market. What are you doing to distinguish your product from the competition?

Where will your business operate? For many companies, location is critical, and can make or break a business.

When do you plan to start? Creating deadlines and dates is crucial to keeping yourself on track. Don’t procrastinate!

Why do you want to start your own business? There are challenges associated with entrepreneurship and even a great business started for the wrong reasons might not be successful. Continue reading

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Running With the Big Dogs

When starting your business, one of the most important things you can do, and one that isFind your niche often overlooked, is to ensure that you have a way to distinguish yourself from your larger, pre-existing rivals. The business you are starting will likely have other players vying for market space, and most of them will be bigger than you. So how exactly does one stand out in a market filled with competition? Ultimately, distinguishing your start-up is something only you can do, but here are three tips to help point you in the right direction.

Do your research:

When starting your own businesses it is critical that you understand your competition. During the planning stages of your company it is important to invest in research to understand what other businesses exist, how they differ and how your company will fit in. Even a unique product can become lost in an oversaturated market.

There are many tools at the disposal of a modern entrepreneur to probe a market, many of which cost nothing but your time. The internet is an excellent start, and services such as those offered by small business centres can also provide support in the early stages of business planning. Before starting out, understand what customers want from you, and if there is space to bring in new customers.

Find your niche:

One of the first things you will want to do is to look critically at your business/business model and ask yourself how you are different. When competing against medium sized companies or even international giants, you may have difficulty going head-to-head with price and selection, so you will need to find other ways to attract your patrons. This can be as simple as offering a more comprehensive and personal customer experience or offering unique and branded products. Creating a unique experience or product and differentiating yourself is critical. Be sure to take this into account when planning your business.

Press your advantage:

Large monolithic companies have advantages such as buying power and market share, but they can also be slow to react due to their complex structures. Your speed is one of your greatest advantages, and the savvy entrepreneur can leverage that to react to trends before a large company can. On a more individual level, it should also allow you to meet your customer’s needs more efficiently. For an established small business, this is the kind of advantage that will allow you to fill a new niche before a large company can. Whether your company is just starting out, or you are established in the face of an encroaching multinational, remember that bigger isn’t always better!

Every new business starts as an idea. The trick to turning that into a successful business is refining that idea, and focusing on your strengths. Starting a business can be daunting, but it doesn’t always have to be. Call the Halton Region Small Business Centre to find out about the services we offer. Together, we can help turn your dream into reality.

Halton Small Business Centre

Phone: 905-825-6000 x7900



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