Second time’s the harm when it comes to lockdowns

It’s not the headlines that kill, it’s the many burdens caused by lockdowns that render small businesses unprofitable

Second time’s the harm when it comes to lockdownsAcross Canada, as COVID-19 cases surge, there’s talk of locking down again or of tightening second lockdowns. Of course, we haven’t even settled whether lockdowns were the proper solution in the first place, given the enormous collateral damage in unemployment, bankruptcies, and the physical and mental health of millions, amid a virus that overwhelmingly targets…

Hammer home business success with the right tools

Without the right tools, people and plans, your business will suffer. You’re going to have to work harder and that will affect your bottom line

Hammer home business success with the right toolsIt was almost the final straw. I was laying on the ground after falling off the roof of the house and the carpenter, John, was standing over me yelling. He was mad because his sawhorses had been broken in half because of my stupidity, while I was just wondering if I had broken anything in…

In desperate times, business owners must shift strategies

Leaders who make quick, smart decisions in times of difficulty and follow through are significantly more successful than owners who waffle

In desperate times, business owners must shift strategiesIt was an especially nice Irish day, which means it wasn’t raining. Emily, Isabel and Aisling had just been dropped off by their uncle at a train station in the middle of the country. The girls proceeded to the ticket counter, where they realized they were 10 euros short of what they needed to get…

Feds reject Fintech help to SMEs during Covid-19 crisis

Trudeau government siding wth traditional banking over the interests of small companies looking to survive the pandemic

Feds reject Fintech help to SMEs during Covid-19 crisisBy Paz Gómez Research associate Frontier Centre for Public Policy The Liberal government has blocked financial technology (fintech) companies from distributing aid to businesses affected by the pandemic. In the age of cryptocurrencies and investment services like Robinhood, the government clings to banks and relics such as cheques by mail. PayPal, Wave and the Canadian…

Fill those profit holes before they sink your business

Unless you’re a careful operator, you may find yourself among the 60 per cent of businesses where the owners receive very little money at the end of the day

Fill those profit holes before they sink your businessIt was serious business! My brothers and I were neck deep in it. We were digging to China when we were interrupted by the call by our mother for dinner. Digging holes is something boys do. We dug holes for forts, holes for adventures and holes in search of gold. My son at the age of three dug…

In times of crisis, we need to give more

Seven in 10 charities report lower revenues. As a whole, the sector has had to lay off 84,000 full- and part-time staff in Canada

In times of crisis, we need to give moreThe pandemic hasn’t been all bad for us. For some Canadians, it’s actually meant a bit of a financial boon. That’s not to say there haven’t been massive job losses and income losses. It’s just that the losses have happened unequally. The poorest and the youngest took the worst hit. When think-tank Cardus analyzed the…

Success begets success in crowdfunding, study shows

But if entrepreneurs can’t follow in the footsteps of blockbuster ideas, they should aim to come in behind campaigns that nearly reached their goals

Success begets success in crowdfunding, study showsEntrepreneurs looking to raise money on crowdfunding sites are better off following in the footsteps of ideas that fell just short of their fundraising goals than coming in behind projects that enjoyed modest success, according to a study that proposes the role of the entrepreneur might be to grow the pie for all and not…

Getting an investor to move from “not now” to “yes”

Investing is a process and not a speed dating event. If you develop relationships with investors, you’ve got a much better shot of closing the deal

Getting an investor to move from “not now” to “yes”Getting a “no” from any prospective investor can be hard to take. At first glance, it’s insulting. You’ve poured heart and soul into an idea and after 10 minutes of pitching, the investor doesn’t want to hear more. For the entrepreneur who wears the success or failure of his company as a reflection of their…

Capital gains tax hike would cripple investment

Increasing the federal tax would be anti-investment, anti-entrepreneurship, anti-innovation and anti-green

Capital gains tax hike would cripple investmentBy Niels Veldhuis and Jake Fuss The Fraser Institute At a time when the country faces momentous economic challenges, it’s hard to think of a more damaging policy than a capital gains tax hike. Yet rumours persist that prior to the COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn, that’s exactly what the federal government planned to do.…

Talk to your venture capitalist before you crash and burn

Open communication with your VC can help you, your company and your longer-term prospect of later support

Talk to your venture capitalist before you crash and burnEverything is positive when a new venture begins. There is a rush of excitement, people are fully committed, hours are long and creativity is cranked to its peak. The traction, media attention or buzz will soon bring you to the notice of venture capitalists. Cash comes in and everyone is pumped up. The founders are…

What does the future hold for Canada’s airline industry?

Huge financial losses, massive layoffs and stringent safety protocols for the few remaining passengers sets a dark tone

What does the future hold for Canada’s airline industry?Many Canadians look forward to travelling when the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end (whenever that may be). Unfortunately, flying the friendly skies is quickly becoming far less friendly. Air Canada temporarily suspended all flights to the U.S. on April 26. Passengers are required to wear masks for the entirety of any trip, and flight…

Rise of shadow banking a victory for consumers

Hedge and private-equity funds, mortgage lenders, and money-market funds provide accessible sources of credit

Rise of shadow banking a victory for consumersBy Paz Gómez Research associate Frontier Centre for Public Policy Shadow banking is growing by leaps and bounds in Canada. It’s a C$1.5-trillion industry that expanded by 30 per cent between 2015 and 2017, according to a recent Bank of Canada report. The banking establishment fears a challenge to its power, but consumers benefit from greater…

Zombie firms a danger in post-COVID-19 economy

Government actions to reduce financial pressure on firms create dangerous conditions over the longer term

Zombie firms a danger in post-COVID-19 economyWe spend double the amount of time on our streaming platforms compared to last year, close to 45.4 billion minutes on Netflix alone in the first few weeks of March 2020. Movie titles such as 28 Weeks Later, Quarantine,  Carriers and I Am Legend have provided an escape from our quarantined hideouts. Unfortunately, such movies about a…

Discovery Lab helps science geeks break out of university labs

Discovery Lab assists spin-outs, start-ups, and companies find the support and expertise needed to launch, grow or rethink their plans

Discovery Lab helps science geeks break out of university labsThe day was like a Dragon’s Den for clinical scientists. Most of the nine presenters to a recent Discovery Lab advisory panel devoted decades to their investigations for the betterment of society. The forum for academics, start-ups, and entrepreneurs was co-founded by Michael Overduin and Cameron Smithers from the University of Alberta where 150 companies present…

The future of small business financing

The growth of small businesses is fundamental to prosperity but we can’t provide the sector the financing it needs by maintaining the status quo

The future of small business financingThe notions of commerce, currency, and credit are nothing new. For centuries, we've found ways to barter, borrow, and repay one another through the exchange of goods, services, or credit. Exchange aside, every form of currency has an assigned value agreed upon by the individuals or organizations participating in the transaction. Need a house or…

SkipTheDishes co-founder starts venture firm in Calgary

Harvest, a not-for-profit, aims to provide founders with disruptive ideas with world-class talent, funding and support

SkipTheDishes co-founder starts venture firm in CalgaryOne of the co-founders of the SkipTheDishes home food delivery service has launched a initiative called Harvest to help boost budding entrepreneurs.  Harvest, a not-for-profit, aims to provide founders with disruptive ideas with world-class talent, funding and support to turn their ideas into globally competitive companies. The company will leverage infrastructure that built SkipTheDishes as…

BDC gives entrepreneurs both financing and advice

The Business Development Bank has extended its presence in Alberta and added business centres in Calgary and Edmonton

BDC gives entrepreneurs both financing and adviceMichael Denham is President and CEO of BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) A lot of people don't really know what BDC is, can you explain what you do and your focus? Denham: BDC is Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs. For 75 years and counting, our sole purpose has been to support entrepreneurs in all industries…

Square eases card payment challenges for small business

Square eases card payment challenges for small businessKarisa Marra is a business expert at Square. She works with businesses of all sizes and types across Canada: from coffee shops to landscapers to restaurants. In her role, Karisa partners with business owners to help them overcome their challenges in running and growing their business. What is Square and what does it do? Marra:…

Business, personal insolvencies on the rise in Alberta

Across the country, the number of businesses that failed in the past 12 months was up 4.1% from a year earlier

Business, personal insolvencies on the rise in AlbertaThe slowing Canadian economy has resulted in the first year-to-year increase in business insolvencies in almost two decades, according to data released by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). In a news release, Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals (CAIRP), said business filings have increased by 9.9 per cent from a year…

The legal matters many entrepreneurs avoid

Cutting corners on insurance and legal agreements is a risk that could undermine all your potential success

The legal matters many entrepreneurs avoidStarting, running and growing a small business involves a lot of “bootstrapping”: digging into your own resources, financial and otherwise, to get things done. But there are legal matters many entrepreneurs either make poor decisions about or avoid altogether. Insurance “If I had one thing that surprises me, it is the avoidance of insurance,” says…

You can – and must – get over the shame of business failure

Sharing our struggles with staff and family, and explaining the financial situation to suppliers may be humbling, but it relieves the weight of our shame

You can – and must – get over the shame of business failureWe all feel shame some time. Usually we feel this powerful emotion when we do something that doesn’t quite match up with our personal values. As a child, we might have felt shameful if we told a lie to our parents or were mean to a friend. As a teenager, we might have felt the…

How to fix toxic shareholder capitalism

Too many valuable assets never get identified, measured or capitalized on a company’s financial statement. Those include workforce and corporate reputation

How to fix toxic shareholder capitalismI remember it well: the CEO of the company stood before the cheery assembly of wide-eyed employees brandishing a newly-released report and declaring, “This is the start of our next great journey together, building a more sustainable company and a better, more sustainable, future.” I then followed the CEO and his team to their top…

Invisible assets missing link to creating successful tech industry

It is time for conventional banking institutions to enter the 21st century

Invisible assets missing link to creating successful tech industryI once chatted with a group of technology specialists and one of them asked an important question: “I know what intellectual property is, but what’s an intellectual asset?” It seemed to me that this is the most important concept in the modern world of tech, for (presently invisible) assets are the missing link in creating…

Tackling the great generational wealth transfer

Tackling the great generational wealth transferMeghan Meger is regional president (Prairies) of BMO Private Wealth. Within the next decade, North America will experience the biggest transfer of wealth in its history. How many Canadian business owners will be impacted by this? Meger: It truly is unlike anything we’ve seen before. We anticipate approximately five million Canadian business owners to transition…

Innovation is a lot like life, with all its ups and downs

Despite government hyperbole, small businesses know that innovation is difficult, costly and sometimes reveals unfortunate truths

Innovation is a lot like life, with all its ups and downsA handy term that invokes sweet dreams of big scores for small businesses everywhere is ‘innovation.’ Government officials, burdened with the otherwise boring work of economic development, are obsessed with it. Its mere mention, they think, virtually guarantees a contact high. Hey folks, their websites screech, roll up and read all about our “Superclusters Initiative,”…

Canada is squandering its intangible future

The digital economy is underpinned by a new class of non-physical assets. Why aren’t we investing in them?

Canada is squandering its intangible futureCanada is in danger of becoming a tenant nation, according to a recent Public Policy Forum report written by Sean Speer and Robert Asselin. Speer and Asselin describe a post-industrial Canada falling into a modern form of dependency where, although we generate world-class innovation, we lack essential infrastructure and/or skills to commercialize it. We’re simply…

BDC Capital investing in change-of-ownership transactions

BDC Capital has invested over $180 million in change-of-ownership transactions since December 2017

BDC Capital investing in change-of-ownership transactionsBDC Capital, the investment arm of BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada), has invested over $180 million in change-of-ownership transactions since December 2017 and is on track with its pledge to invest $900 million in such deals over five years. "Investing in business transitions is one of our core offerings," said Patrick Latour, Senior Vice…

Escaping from Technology Jail

Canada’s entrepreneurs cannot compete against global competition with one hand tied behind their backs

Escaping from Technology JailSome of my biggest battles in business have been with accountants. They seem to take great pleasure in playing Dr. No. No you can’t capitalize intangible assets, no you can’t use enterprise valuations, no you can’t, no you can’t, no you can’t! Until I met Joseph Batty, I had no idea that accountants were like…

What’s wrong with Canada’s tech sector?

Technology entrepreneurs are locked behind bars of asset ignorance

What’s wrong with Canada’s tech sector?Everybody has a story or two about an exciting new technology that was going to change the world; but was never heard from again. What happens to these great ideas? It’s all very puzzling. But, it does raise a serious question: what’s wrong with Canada’s tech sector? Is there a structural flaw? The short answer…