Exporting resources for small business

boxcarsMany businesses, both new and established, look to increase revenues by exporting product to foreign markets.  Exporting for most businesses is an expansion of an existing enterprise, and developing a sound export marketing plan is vital for success.

A solid understanding of the rules and regulations in Canada and in your target market is crucial; businesses engaging in international trade need to be mindful of the rules that apply from start to finish. Although laws apply in Canada, depending on the goods or services—including inspection certificates, export control permits, mandatory reporting of exports and export record-keeping standards—it is also important to note that there will be local laws in your target market that will also apply to you. Standards in markets outside of Canada can include: language requirements on packaging, ensuring licensing is up-to-date for professional services and obtaining obligatory visas for moving individuals in and out of your target country.

The online resources listed below provide a good starting point to evaluate how ready you are and what is required to move forward.

The following step-by-step guides provide detailed tips about exporting:

Before attempting to sell to foreign markets, be sure to review the export processes from start to finish, avoiding problems and potential penalties.

One of the goals of the Centre is to empower small and medium-sized enterprises and provide the right tools to achieve success.  For more information about resources, services, business events and seminars, contact us by dialing 311, 1-866-442-5866, online at www.halton.ca/smallbusiness, by email at smallbusiness@halton.ca or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville. You can also follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook.

 

 

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A Successful 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW)

global-entrepreneurship-weekThis month, the Halton Region Small Business Centre celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week – an event that is celebrated through local, national and global activities.

To commemorate this week, the Halton Region Small Business Centre hosted a series of free events to support the local community in inspiring people to discover and strengthen their entrepreneurship skills.

Speed Networking Session

On Tuesday, November 15, we hosted a Business 2 Business speed networking session. It gave participants an opportunity to connect with others that they might not normally connect with, at an open networking session.

Lunch and Learn: LinkedIn Branding

On Wednesday, November 16, we hosted a Lunch and Learn on Branding through LinkedIn, at the Milton Education Village Innovation Centre. The speaker presented tactics on how to brand your business using LinkedIn.

Futurpreneur at Sheridan College

During the week, Futurpreneur provided an information session and set up a table at Sheridan College to share information about youth programs and starting a business.

Closing on a High Note

On Friday, November 18, we concluded the GEW celebration with speakers from various programs, success stories from local entrepreneurs and enjoyed a guest performance by a magician named Rosemary Reid.

For more information on all the services offered by the Halton Region Small Business Centre, please visit haltonsmallbusiness.ca

 

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Introducing the Halton Region Data Centre and Economic Development #DataInsights Blog Feature Series

data-centreGood business decisions require good data.  But, finding and interpreting the right data can be a challenging and time consuming exercise.   That’s why we are excited to announce the launch of the new and improved Halton Region Data Centre along with regular Economic Development #DataInsights feature blogs.

You can check out the new and improved Halton Region Data Centre here.  We’ve consolidated the most up to date information into one place and organized it to make it easy to find what you’re looking for.  We’ve got you covered with everything from demographics, quality of life, and transportation information to industry data, employment, and real estate and development statistics along with business costs.

And, the best part – if you can’t find what you’re looking for – contact us, and we’ll see what we can do!

Starting this fall, each #DataInsights feature blog will dive into a different piece of data and draw out the story it tells about Halton as one of the best places to do business within not only the Greater Toronto Area, but all of Canada.  For the most part, the data really does back that up!

If there are particular issues or topics you’re interested in, send us a note and we’ll consider them for future #DataInsights features.  We look forward to your feedback to help us make these features as interesting and useful as possible to both existing Halton businesses and those businesses just beginning to contemplate locating in Canada.

Contact us at ecdev@halton.ca and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay in touch and up to date on latest economic development reports and statistics.

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The Halton Region Small Business Centre Celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week

global-entrepreneurship-weekGlobal Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) runs November 14 – 20, 2016.  This week inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities to help them explore their potential as entrepreneurs and innovators. Halton Region Small Business Centre is hosting a series of free events throughout the week to support the local community in exploring and strengthening their entrepreneurship skills.

On Tuesday, November 15, in the South Auditorium at the Halton Regional Centre, we will be hosting a Business to Business Speed Networking event. The event will provide participants an opportunity to connect with others that they may not normally connect with during an open networking event. Sarah Pick, from Futurpreneur Canada, will be presenting our monthly Futurpreneur Canada Information Session to potential participants between 11a.m. – 12 p.m.

In the middle of the week, Wednesday, November 16, at the Milton Education Village Innovation Centre there will be a Lunch and Learn: Branding through LinkedIn workshop. A speaker from LinkedIn will present tactics on how to brand your business using LinkedIn. This workshop will run from 12 – 1:30 p.m., and a pizza lunch will be provided at no cost.

The GEW Celebration and Networking Event will take place on Friday, November 18, from 9 – 11a.m. in the South Auditorium, Halton Regional Centre. This event will feature speakers from various programs, success stories from local participants as well as guest performer and magician Rosemary Reid.

Please join us and register now for these free events.  To register, please contact vanessa.martin@halton.ca or call 905-825-6000, ext. 7154. Spaces are limited.  For more event details, please visit halton.ca/businesswomen or dial 311.

For more information on all the services offered by the Halton Region Small Business Centre, please visit our website haltonsmallbusiness.ca

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How Important Are Strategic Alliances?

handshake-30395601Strategic alliances are also known as partnerships.  When you form an alliance with another business it can be a verbal or written agreement.  What the agreement entails is usually the exchange of information about the other business and they do the same for you.  What you really are creating for both businesses is duel visibility.  The whole purpose of the alliance is to create opportunities that can increase and grow your business.  It is important to take your time when forming alliances because you are hopefully forming a long term relationship that is based on respect and trust.  When you are looking for an alliance it is important for you to find a business or organization that has common goals similar to yours.  A strategic alliance should never be taken lightly or for granted. Continue reading

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First three considerations when setting financial goals

Wearing glassesMaking the leap from employment to entrepreneurship is very exciting, but virtually all new business owners have serious questions about their ability to survive and thrive financially. The exercise of creating, analyzing and refining financial projections has a huge impact on the decision to launch a business. The biggest benefit is that positive financial projections can help prospective business owners to feel confident in their idea, and in turn allow them to move forward in their planning.

The following three factors should be considered in preparation for preparing a projection:

  1. Declaring how much money you deserve

When a prospective business owner is considering leaving traditional employment, they are likely walking away from a position with a wage or salary. They might also have ideas about how much they want to earn, or what they would earn as a general manager or CEO of a similar business. Defining a targeted income can help to create a mid-term or long-term goal that defines successes in the new business venture.

  1. Determining how much money you need

It might be obvious that a brand new business likely won’t produce the income defined above immediacy upon launching. Most entrepreneurial minded people are prepared to forego some financial security in exchange for the lifestyle and longer term earning potential of business ownership. This is why setting a short-term personal financial goal is also important. It would be very difficult to create a successful business if the new business owner struggling with basic financial security. Building a financial projection that at least covers the individual’s minimum needs is essential.

  1. Defining a typical unit of sale

Defining what the new business will sell might come easily, but thinking about that product or service as a typical unit, rather than thinking about dollars of revenue, can help with modeling the business’s financial performance. For example, determining that a restaurant’s typical lunch cover is $15 will be easier for creating financial projections than trying to determine the targeted total revenue for an entire month or day. It is easier to say that 100 customers need to buy lunch than it is to say the daily target is $1500. It is easier to relate the 100 customers to the required marketing or sales efforts.

These three factors create a foundation of information to be used in a more comprehensive financial projection. That projection then becomes the basis for sales goals and expense targets.

The consultants at the Halton Region Small Business Centre provide worksheets and advice to prospective business owners who are creating their financial projections and writing business plans. Appointments are free of charge and can be booked by calling Halton Region at 905-825-6000 x 7900.

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Protecting a business name

protecting-a-business-nameConsultants from the Halton Small Business Centre often meet with clients to determine what business structure would best suit their individual and business goals.  One item that often comes up is how a business name can be protected or secured There are two methods of protecting  a business name:

  • Incorporation – provincial and federal;
  • Trademarks – national and international.

Before reviewing how the two methods can protect a name, we need to clarify the issue of sole proprietorship and general partnership name protection.  Under these two types of business registration there, is no protection of the business name.  You are free to use the name you register; however, there is no exclusive use of this name.

If the name has been incorporated by another business, you do not want to register the name otherwise you could be faced with legal action in the form of a cease and desist letter from the other business ordering you to stop using their name.  To avoid duplicating another company’s name, business name searches are available here.

The first method to protect a business name is to incorporate the business, rather than register it as a sole proprietorship or general partnership.  Incorporation can be either a provincial or federal sarrangement.  If a business incorporates in a specific province, then the business name is protected in that particular jurisdiction.  If a business is incorporated federally, then the business name is protected nationally.  This gives the business exclusive use of that business name. Information on incorporation is available here.

The alternate method to protect a business name, or brand name, is to register a trademark.  This is a legal process that protects the business name, any scripting or logos and unique marks.  This process is administered and regulated through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.There are also International trademarks that can be applied to other countries, if expanded protection is necessary.

One of the goals of the Halton Small Business Centre is to empower small and medium-sized enterprises and provide the right tools to achieve success.  For more information about resources, services, business events and seminars, contact us by dialing 311, 1-866-442-5866, visit us online at www.halton.ca/smallbusiness, by email at smallbusiness@halton.ca or visit us at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville. You can also follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook.

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