Tag: Top

Top 5 Small Business Tools #business #models


#small business tools

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Top 5 Small Business Tools

Being your own boss can mean being your own marketing department, public relations team or sales squad you name it, small business owners often end up handling it themselves, at least at some point. With so many hats to wear, you need to make every second count.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there that can streamline tasks, boost productivity and, in sum, save lots of time and money. Since I travel frequently, I ve built up a list of favorites that help me prioritize when I m short on time and that get me where I need to go as quickly as possible. Most of these services are free, and all of them do a fantastic job addressing the everyday challenges that small business owners face. What s not to love?

Buffer — Social media made easy

This user-friendly social media management tool helps me distribute content across major channels Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. with minimum hassle. It lets me schedule posts in advance, selecting prime times to optimize my reach, which is especially helpful when I m away from my computer or traveling. And it allows me to leverage analytics to improve my engagement rates, as well as add clean visual elements, perfectly formatted for each different channel, through its intuitive Pablo tool.

You can use Buffer as a browser extension or handle your social media on the go through the mobile app for iOS and Android. It s free for individuals, but Buffer offers upgraded packages starting at $10 a month to cover multiple profiles, teams and agencies. Sleeker and easier for beginners than tools like Hootsuite, Buffer simplifies the management aspect so you ve got more time to hone your message.

Outlook — Smarter inbox, smarter email

I don t spend enough time on email, said no small business owner ever. Managing and organizing an email inbox can be one of the biggest time wasters entrepreneurs face. That s why I use Microsoft Outlook to either delete, respond, drag to, task or process all mail. Never keep email in your inbox. It creates unnecessary stress and leaves you always feeling behind. Most people use folders, but that s highly inefficient. Processing mail immediately helps me prioritize and label every email that comes my way. This eliminates the need for folders (and trying to determine which one an email should be assigned to), by allowing me to label each email with one or many categories of my choosing. This makes them simple to find when the time comes.

OnStar — Your car as your ally

Since many newer cars include a free trial of OnStar, people already know about many features it offers: a turn-by-turn navigation system, a mobile hotspot, a diagnostics system, and services such as emergency response, stolen vehicle and roadside assistance. When I m on the road, OnStar is my go-to. I rely on its excellent AtYourService tool, which comes at no extra cost with my Guidance Plan. With a press of OnStar s blue button, I can connect to a live adviser for assistance in looking up destination addresses, finding nearby gas stations, making restaurant reservations and even booking hotel rooms. There s a mobile app as well.

Waze — Savvy navigation

There s nothing more frustrating than wasting time in a traffic jam especially here in the Seattle area. Enter Waze . a community-based navigation app that issues turn-by-turn voice directions and provides road alerts before you get stuck in a back-up. When you enter a new destination and leave the app open on your phone, it contributes passively to traffic data, but app users can also actively share information, pointing out cheap prices at gas stations, reporting accidents and editing maps to update local road data. Available free for iOS, Android and Windows Phones, this handy app saves me time, gas money and headaches.

TripIt — Taming your travel itinerary

Gone are the days of shuffling through reams of printed travel reservations or even searching through multiple emails, for that matter. TripIt consolidates confirmations for flights, hotels, car rentals and restaurant bookings into an easy-to-digest master itinerary that I synchronize with my calendar or share selectively with colleagues or family. The free app allows me to access all my info on most of my devices, even offline.

For $49 annually, you can upgrade TripIt to receive real-time travel alerts, alternative flight route information, notifications for potential seat upgrades and frequent-flyer point tracking. TripIt also offers group packages to coordinate itineraries for whole teams, with master calendars and expense tracking.

Saving time for what really matters

These tools leverage technology so that you don t lose time that s critical to your business success. You can turn your car into your office, and you can use the spare minutes you spend waiting in line for coffee or to board a plane to knock out key communications. The more effectively you work, and the more time you save, the more you can concentrate on the aspects of your business (and life) that are near and dear to your heart. For me, that s what it all boils down to.


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Canada s Top Small & Medium Employers (2016) #women #business #grants


#small companies

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About the Competition


PolyCello employees inspecting equipment and product quality in the company’s blown film extrusion lines

Background

Now entering its 4 th year, Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers is an editorial competition that recognizes the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that offer the nation’s best workplaces and forward-thinking human resources policies. Canada’s SME sector is tremendously important to the nation and is responsible for:

  • over half of the nation’s gross domestic product;
  • almost 90% of the private-sector labour force; and
  • over three-quarters of the new jobs created in the past decade.

Our 2016 winners were announced in a special magazine published in The Globe and Mail on March 29, 2016. Read the press release issued the same day, announcing this year’s winners.

Selection Process

Employers are evaluated by the editors of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers using the same eight criteria as our national competition :

  • (1) Physical Workplace;
  • (2) Work Atmosphere & Social;
  • (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits;
  • (4) Vacation & Time Off;
  • (5) Employee Communications;
  • (6) Performance Management;
  • (7) Training & Skills Development; and
  • (8) Community Involvement.

To determine eligibility, the Top 100 editors adopted the SME definition used by Statistics Canada, limiting the competition to private-sector commercial organizations with under 500 employees.


Fusion Learning employees looked back to the past for fashion inspiration during the summer conference

Editorial Partner

The Globe and Mail is our editorial partner on the Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers competition. Each year, the competition winners are announced in a special magazine published nationally in The Globe and Mail. Our editors’ detailed reasons for selection are published on our job search engine, Eluta.ca click an employer’s name below to read why each of this year’s winners was chosen. Publishing detailed Reasons for Selection is an important feature of our competition: it provides transparency in the selection of winners and “raises the bar” so that other employers can discover and adopt initiatives that work well at other SMEs.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered a “Small or Medium Enterprise”, your company must: (a) have less than 500 employees worldwide, including employees at any affiliated companies; and (b) be a commercial, for-profit enterprise, i.e. non-profit organizations don’t meet the definition.

2017 Competition

Applications for our 2017 competition will be available early in 2016. Our 2017 winners will be announced in a special magazine in The Globe and Mail early in 2017. To receive an application for next year’s competition, employers should join our mailing list:

Editorial Conference

To learn more about the competition, we invite you to join us at the Top Employer Summit. our annual editorial conference on the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. This event lets you discover the latest best practices from winners, meet competition organizers and editors, and hear inspiring stories from world-class speakers – all presented in a commercial-free format. The conference is Canada’s largest annual event for senior-level HR professionals.

Scalar Decisions employees at the company’s 10th anniversary party

The Little Engines of Growth

There are big differences working for Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers

Jason Leung knows the difference between working for a big corporation and for a Small and Medium Employer. Really, it gets down to that little word “big”.

Leung used to work in sales, based in Vancouver, for one of the world’s largest soft-drink companies. Now he works in a smaller city for a much smaller company that makes food for small and medium sized friendly creatures.

Petcurean Pet Nutrition, which produces premium pet food in Chilliwack, B.C. is a fast growing company in a fast growing category. It has operations in many of the same countries around the world that the soft-drink company does. But it still has only 64 global employees.

Talk to Leung, who is now an Export Manager, about the workplace culture. “At my old company, it was almost a competition among employees about who was working the longest, who was working the hardest, who was doing the most out there. It was just show off, show off, show off. But here they really promote work-life balance. It feels like family.”

Then there is the challenge of getting something done. “Here, no door is closed, no one says, that’s not my department, don’t talk to me,” says Leung. “At my old company, I’d see it all the time. You’ve got to go through the ranks, talk to your senior manager, the senior manager talks to another person who talks to the person you really need. Here, I just walk into the general manager’s office myself.”

Millions of Canadians share Leung’s kind of workplace environment, although their company may not have made the list of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers. Some 90 per cent of the private-sector labour force is employed by a SME (commonly pronounced Smee, like Captain Hook’s sidekick). SMEs are credited with creating over 75 per cent of new jobs in Canada in the past decade.

And this little engine of growth often works on quite different principles from the big locomotives. Leung’s account of the contrasts he found between a soft-drink giant and a pet food SME is echoed 3,200 kilometres away in a tech company in the Waterloo region. “Generally people who come to us from large organizations are very familiar with structure and going through channels,” says Dan Latendre, Founder and CEO of Igloo Software, which employs just over 90 people in Kitchener, Ont. “Whereas here, we’re all about agility and innovation if that’s a great idea, why aren’t we acting on it?”

Latendre believes in a “flat”, non-hierarchical style of organization that can be surprising to people who come from big companies. “They’re very aware of chain of command,” he says. “Here it’s, hey, we’ve formed a project team, let’s get this project done. You may have me, as CEO, in the project along with other people. But we all work for the project manager, and we all have tasks to get done. Which kind of blows people’s minds, that they’re working directly with the CEO.”

To some people, notes Richard Yerema, Managing Editor for Mediacorp Canada, which compiled the SME list, working for a small company means trade-offs a more family style atmosphere and more agility, perhaps, but fewer benefits than at a big outfit. But the 100 companies on this 2016 SME list are proof that sometimes you can have it all. Benefits are often competitive with those of much larger firms.

Take Petcurean. Its Human Resources Manager, Cari McClelland, joined a year ago and found a benefit plan that included prescription drugs, a maternity leave top-up, long-term disability and, after staff asked for it, vision care.

“For a company our size to carry that extensive a benefit package is not the norm,” says McClelland, an experienced HR professional. “I’ve been amazed at the willingness of our leadership to say, ‘let’s look at it if we can do it, we’ll do it’.”

Yet many such benefits are becoming the norm at Canada’s Top SMEs. Yerema says that nearly half of the employers on this year’s list provide some form of maternity leave top-up the additional payment that brings a new mother’s Employment Insurance benefit closer to her original salary for a certain number of weeks. “That is quite an accomplishment,” says Yerema. “Ten years ago, even many large companies weren’t offering it.”

At Igloo, too, Latendre offers benefits that his staff say are equivalent to those of large tech companies they’ve worked at, such as BlackBerry. They also get stock options, offering the promise that the company’s success will benefit every employee.

And that may be another part of the attraction of the Small and Medium Employer. Along with the friendly atmosphere, the quick decision-making and the pot-luck get-togethers, there’s the idea that this small upstart might one day become the most successful software company or pet food company in the world. “SMEs capture the imagination for a lot of people,” notes Yerema. “What would it have been like to be the fifth person hired at Google?”

By Berton Woodward
From the official announcement magazine for Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers, published on March 29, 2016 in The Globe and Mail.

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10 top government grants for start-ups #registering #a #business


#start up business grants

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10 top government grants for start-ups

Government grants are notoriously hard to snare for start-up businesses and can involve completing a mountain of time-sapping paperwork in the application process.

However, it appears the system isn’t always as stringent as it should be. A damning report tabled in the Victorian Parliament last week showed that 50% of all businesses awarded grants had failed to properly meet the criteria .

Before you rush off your application in the belief that it’s open season on grants, it’s worth remembering that countless more start-ups are still rejected for grants than are accepted.

To help you navigate the complex web of grants, we have partnered with Victoria’s Small Business Festival to hold an instructive, free webinar, no matter where your business is located. You can sign up to the webinar by clicking here .

But it’s also worth getting a good handle on what grants are out there for start-ups. The most obvious candidate for new ventures is Commercialisation Australia. which offers matched funding up to $2 million for proof of concept, early-stage commercialisation, skills and management support.

But there are others that you may not be quite so familiar with. We’ve picked out 10 of the best, but maybe little-known, grants available to small businesses.

For information on each grant, click on the tabs below:

1. Enterprise Connect

An offshoot of the federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, Enterprise Connect is perhaps best known for the free business review it performs for entrepreneurs.

But the network also oversees several start-up focused programs that have cash attached.

The Researchers in Business Grant provides 50% of salary costs, to a maximum of $50,000, for university researchers to work on new idea within a business for between two and 12 months.

There’s also the Tailored Advisory Service Grant, which stumps up half the cash needed, up to $20,000, to engage a consultant to make improvements in your business.


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Top Music Business Schools – Music Business Degrees, Colleges & Programs #small #business #startup

#music business degree

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FIND A PROGRAM TO LAUNCH YOUR DREAM CAREER. WHICH AREA ARE YOU INTERESTED IN?

Looking for the perfect music career?

music business Degrees

Not everyone who works in the music industry is a musician or a vocalist. In fact, without the many people who handle the business side of the industry, many performers would never succeed in their chosen career. People who attend music business school manage the financial, legal and logistical aspects of the industry, which makes it possible for artists to concentrate on the creative aspects of their career. The demanding music business is highly competitive, and requires as much time, effort and dedication as crafting a career as a performer.

The curriculum of a music business degree blends musical knowledge with business acumen. Students may learn just as much about accounting and entrepreneurship as they do about music theory and harmony. It is precisely this type of unique blend of subject matter that makes it possible for students to succeed in the modern music industry. The highly competitive nature of this field makes earning an appropriate degree absolutely indispensable. Some colleges are offering music business degree programs on campus, but with increasing demand for flexibility, an increasing number of these schools are providing students with the chance to earn a music business degree online.

Before choosing a music business school, it’s important to ensure that it has received the appropriate accreditation. Institutions that have received the National Association of Schools of Music accreditation are a good choice. Additionally, prospective students should look for schools that have earned the approval of an educational organization that has received official recognition from the federal Department of Education. Accreditation by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, or ACICS, or another regional accrediting body demonstrates that a college offers an academically rigorous program with well-qualified faculty members.

Associate’s Degree in Music Business

This two year degree option provides students with an opportunity to explore how business and creativity intersect. This music business degree is suitable for students who are performers and for those who have no musical experience. Curricula are typically designed to provide students with the basics of business and marketing along with exposure to music theory and concepts. Most programs also require the completion of general education credits. Usually, several electives related to the major are selected by the student, with these electives supporting the student’s chosen specialization. Common concentration areas include production of music, music marketing and disc jockey techniques, among others.

Prerequisites for entering an associate’s degree program typically include earning a high school diploma or GED. Many institutions require students to fill out a basic application form before being accepted. Once in the program, students can expect to enroll in courses like:

  • Accounting Principles
  • Introduction to Music Theory
  • Introduction to Business
  • Music Industry Entrepreneurship
  • Recording and Mass Media in the Music Business
  • Studio Music Recording
  • Computers and Technology in the Music Industry
  • Music Production
  • Introduction to Marketing

A number of career possibilities may open up for someone who holds this degree. Among them are:

  • Disc Jockey
  • Session Musician
  • Music Marketing Assistant
  • Assistant Manager for Artists
  • Promoter
  • Broadcast Production

Bachelor of Science: Music Business

With four years of intensive study and training, people who hold a bachelor’s degree are ready to hit the ground running in the music industry. This type of music business degree provides the student with a more complete overview of the industry as a whole, and allows more time for the student to develop particular areas of interest. Accordingly, students will get to select many electives that support their area of specialization while also gaining a broad based general education that will serve them well in their career.

Basic prerequisites for entering a music business degree program include a high school diploma, SAT scores and an application form. Depending upon the school, other materials, like an essay, may be required for admission. After enrollment, the student will find that a wide variety of classes are available to them. Among them are:

  • Introduction to Music Business
  • Introduction to Music Marketing
  • Trends and Strategies for the Music Business
  • Aural Skills
  • Music Theory
  • Principles of Business Management
  • Business Law
  • Introduction to Recording Studios
  • Music Publishing
  • Intellectual Property and Copyrights
  • Recording Techniques
  • Launching an Entrepreneurial Music Business
  • Introduction to Songwriting

Much of the curriculum depends upon the student’s particular areas of interest, which allows individuals to craft a degree program that is particularly well suited to enable them to enter one of these careers:

  • Business Manager for Artists
  • Record Label Executive
  • Entertainment Attorney
  • Recording Engineer
  • Music Editor
  • Publisher
  • Promoter
  • Public Relations Executive
  • Recording Artist

Masters in Music Business

Students wanting to acquire advanced business knowledge that is firmly rooted in an artistic atmosphere may choose to pursue a Masters in Music Business. The curriculum at most universities uncovers the structure of the modern music industry so that students may understand it completely and be better prepared to deal with its ever changing environment. Whether students decide to study on campus or online, they may have to complete an internship and an in-depth research project in order to graduate.

Prerequisites to enter one of these competitive programs typically include an undergraduate degree and a satisfactory score on the GRE. Letters of recommendation, work experience and essays or interviews may also be required. Approximately two years of full time study are usually needed to complete all degree requirements.

In most programs, students complete music business courses like:

  • Principles of the Music Business
  • Emerging Music Markets
  • The Music Industry and the Law
  • Concert Management
  • Artist Management

They may also take business courses such as:

  • Management and Leadership
  • Financial Accounting
  • Business Ethics
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Business Law

Earning a Masters in Music Business degree is an excellent way for motivated students to really kick start their career. They will build industry contacts while also adding valuable experience to their resume. When they complete the degree, they may be qualified to hold positions like:

  • Owner of a record label
  • Top supervisor at a talent management firm
  • Managing executive at a publishing company
  • Music business teacher in a variety of academic settings
  • Concert Promoter

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Top 100 Business Blogs and Their Most Popular Articles #business #link


#business blogs

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Top 100 Business Blogs and Their Most Popular Articles

Home » Ecommerce Resources » Top 100 Business Blogs and Their Most Popular Articles

After researching for more than two weeks, it s finally done! Here are the best 100 business blogs about ecommerce, SEO, conversions and marketing, and the most popular articles from each one. It s a comprehensive list of tremendous resources, so please make sure you bookmark it for later reference if you don t have 48h straight to binge it right now. Also, please consider to tweet or share it on Facebook if you think it s a valuable resource.

OK, let s get the party started:

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How to design a business card: 10 top tips #business #continuity


#designing business cards

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Creative Bloq

How to design a business card: 10 top tips

A well-designed business card lends legitimacy to your business, and can make you stand out from the crowd of competitors. Check out our top tips on how to make a lasting impression.

Although we re working in paperless offices more and more, the humble business card is still a mainstay of business. If you haven t got a card you can give out to prospective clients or collaborators, you re missing out on a key marketing opportunity.

Not all business cards are created equal, however. We live in a world where the average small business can design their own cards and order them from well-known online printers for under 20. These cards tend to be of an inferior weight, and typically use twee clipart to relate themselves to the business being advertised.

What this means is that there are a lot of poorly designed business cards out there! This is both a challenge and an opportunity: to stand out you need to create a design that looks fantastic, and helps you differentiate yourself. If you can make it tactile and feel pleasant in the hand, you ll be well on your way. Create an effective card and you can elevate your business above your competitors before the prospect has ever seen your website!

So, with all that in mind we ve brought together 10 of our top tips for creating effective, innovative business cards .

01. Use good design principles

It might seem obvious but it s worth reiterating that a business card is a piece of printed material like any other. Because of this, the basic principles of paper-based design apply to business cards:

  • keep all your key copy at least 5mm from the trim edge
  • work at 300dpi for best image reproduction
  • ensure you maintain a minimum size for your typography to maintain legibility
  • design in CMYK unless you re working exclusively with spot colours

Many designers also find it helps to use a grid to lay out their cards, as this can help you to achieve the right hierarchy of information as well as ensure your alignment is sound.

02. Get creative within the constraints

There are a couple ‘standard’ sizes for business cards, depending upon where you are in the world. One typical example is 55x85mm, although you’ll see many other sizes quoted on the web. Working within this tiny canvas you can still get creative with the space: start by considering the key information you want to include, which will typically be a name, phone number and email address, then work your design around presenting this information in a creative way.

03. Avoid common pitfalls

There are some common pitfalls to designing business cards that it helps to be aware of. The first and most obvious is to ensure you provide a bleed as specified by your printer. This is commonly 3mm, but can be 5mm so check! Just as important is to avoid using a straightforward border around the entire of the card, as this will show up any misalignment in the trim if the card isn’t perfectly cut.

04. Use special finishes

This example features a UV spot to highlight fret positions, on the reverse of a guitar tutor s business card

An instant way to add impact to your business card, and make it stand out from the crowd, is to use a special finish. Special finishes include the likes of foil blocking, spot-UV and metallic inks, and can add significant cost to your print. What they offer, however, is the opportunity to make your card more tactile, visually impressive and memorable.

Different printers offer different options for finishes, so speak to them to find out what they can do for you, and don t be afraid to go to a specialist if your usual printer only offers straight four-colour print.

05. Cut into your card

This card, designed by Phil Jones, Ryan Coleman and Jeff McCullough for Yoga One, shows how some creative thinking with die-cuts can result in a fun and memorable card

A great way to make your card unique is to use a die-cut process to remove elements from the card stock, leaving a void. You can either use a die to change the shape of your card (by rounding the corners, for example), or you can cut shapes out of the centre.

Dies are expensive to create the first time, although increasingly printers are offering laser-cut options that make it economical to create a die-cut look on shorter print-runs. There are some amazingly creative examples on the web, and when combined with creasing you can use the process to create architectural features in your card design. Also, don’t overlook letterpress as an option.

06. Use unusual materials

This card is constructed from a printed circuit board, and works as a USB device. When plugged in, it provides additional information about the owner

Most business cards are printed on card stock. This is the most cost-effective option for printing your cards. If you re willing to get a little more creative, you can print onto all sorts of different materials including transparent plastics, metals, wood and even slate.

Here dog treats have been used as a business card material, allowing the card to serve two purposes simultaneously

Keep in mind that cards need to be portable, and easy to file away in a pocket or briefcase, but get creative with your choice of stock material and you’ll instantly stand out from everyday business cards.

07. Make it useful

This business card designed by Emily Berry converts into a handy chair that can hold your phone upright on a desk

One of the problems with paper is that it s everywhere. Some people hold on to every bit of paper they receive, while others are far more ruthless and recycle at the first opportunity. To avoid the risk of being recycled, make your business card work as more than simply a calling card.

This card was designed by Jamie Wieck and includes a seed that sprouts after a few days of soaking

Some of the most memorable designs incorporate function as well as form. Examples include business card that act as a holder for hair clips or turn into a miniature armchair for your mobile.

08. Make your own

Breakfast Creatives cut up old cereal boxes to form their own, brand-relevant business card design. Credit: http://breakfastcreatives.co.uk

If you re feeling creative, why not make your own business cards? You can find letterpress kits on eBay at reasonable prices, allowing you to convert any card stock into your own business card with ease. This is a time-consuming but very satisfying way of expressing yourself in a card!

09. Recycle old cards

These cards were made by hand out of business cards, christmas cards and screenprints that went wrong. Credit: http://designbyif.co.uk

Old business cards, postcards or packaging can be repurposed and given a new life as your business card. Recycling is both environmentally sound and can allow you to express your creativity in new and exciting ways. There are some fantastic examples on the web to get your creative juices flowing. The process can be as simple as getting some stickers printed, or as complex as hand-illustrating over the top of each old card to suit the recipient.

10. Double-check your artwork

This tip applies to every bit of print work you do, but it s so crucial it s worth repeating. When sending your artwork off to the print shop, make sure you ve double-checked every single detail. There s nothing worse than getting back your cards and discovering you missed a typo in the email address or name. Check twice, print once is a a well learnt adage!

Liked this? Read these!

Have you got any tips for designing effective business cards? Let us know in the comments below.


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Canada s Top Small & Medium Employers (2016) #stock #market #info


#small companies

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About the Competition


PolyCello employees inspecting equipment and product quality in the company’s blown film extrusion lines

Background

Now entering its 4 th year, Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers is an editorial competition that recognizes the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that offer the nation’s best workplaces and forward-thinking human resources policies. Canada’s SME sector is tremendously important to the nation and is responsible for:

  • over half of the nation’s gross domestic product;
  • almost 90% of the private-sector labour force; and
  • over three-quarters of the new jobs created in the past decade.

Our 2016 winners were announced in a special magazine published in The Globe and Mail on March 29, 2016. Read the press release issued the same day, announcing this year’s winners.

Selection Process

Employers are evaluated by the editors of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers using the same eight criteria as our national competition :

  • (1) Physical Workplace;
  • (2) Work Atmosphere & Social;
  • (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits;
  • (4) Vacation & Time Off;
  • (5) Employee Communications;
  • (6) Performance Management;
  • (7) Training & Skills Development; and
  • (8) Community Involvement.

To determine eligibility, the Top 100 editors adopted the SME definition used by Statistics Canada, limiting the competition to private-sector commercial organizations with under 500 employees.


Fusion Learning employees looked back to the past for fashion inspiration during the summer conference

Editorial Partner

The Globe and Mail is our editorial partner on the Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers competition. Each year, the competition winners are announced in a special magazine published nationally in The Globe and Mail. Our editors’ detailed reasons for selection are published on our job search engine, Eluta.ca click an employer’s name below to read why each of this year’s winners was chosen. Publishing detailed Reasons for Selection is an important feature of our competition: it provides transparency in the selection of winners and “raises the bar” so that other employers can discover and adopt initiatives that work well at other SMEs.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered a “Small or Medium Enterprise”, your company must: (a) have less than 500 employees worldwide, including employees at any affiliated companies; and (b) be a commercial, for-profit enterprise, i.e. non-profit organizations don’t meet the definition.

2017 Competition

Applications for our 2017 competition will be available early in 2016. Our 2017 winners will be announced in a special magazine in The Globe and Mail early in 2017. To receive an application for next year’s competition, employers should join our mailing list:

Editorial Conference

To learn more about the competition, we invite you to join us at the Top Employer Summit. our annual editorial conference on the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. This event lets you discover the latest best practices from winners, meet competition organizers and editors, and hear inspiring stories from world-class speakers – all presented in a commercial-free format. The conference is Canada’s largest annual event for senior-level HR professionals.

Scalar Decisions employees at the company’s 10th anniversary party

The Little Engines of Growth

There are big differences working for Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers

Jason Leung knows the difference between working for a big corporation and for a Small and Medium Employer. Really, it gets down to that little word “big”.

Leung used to work in sales, based in Vancouver, for one of the world’s largest soft-drink companies. Now he works in a smaller city for a much smaller company that makes food for small and medium sized friendly creatures.

Petcurean Pet Nutrition, which produces premium pet food in Chilliwack, B.C. is a fast growing company in a fast growing category. It has operations in many of the same countries around the world that the soft-drink company does. But it still has only 64 global employees.

Talk to Leung, who is now an Export Manager, about the workplace culture. “At my old company, it was almost a competition among employees about who was working the longest, who was working the hardest, who was doing the most out there. It was just show off, show off, show off. But here they really promote work-life balance. It feels like family.”

Then there is the challenge of getting something done. “Here, no door is closed, no one says, that’s not my department, don’t talk to me,” says Leung. “At my old company, I’d see it all the time. You’ve got to go through the ranks, talk to your senior manager, the senior manager talks to another person who talks to the person you really need. Here, I just walk into the general manager’s office myself.”

Millions of Canadians share Leung’s kind of workplace environment, although their company may not have made the list of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers. Some 90 per cent of the private-sector labour force is employed by a SME (commonly pronounced Smee, like Captain Hook’s sidekick). SMEs are credited with creating over 75 per cent of new jobs in Canada in the past decade.

And this little engine of growth often works on quite different principles from the big locomotives. Leung’s account of the contrasts he found between a soft-drink giant and a pet food SME is echoed 3,200 kilometres away in a tech company in the Waterloo region. “Generally people who come to us from large organizations are very familiar with structure and going through channels,” says Dan Latendre, Founder and CEO of Igloo Software, which employs just over 90 people in Kitchener, Ont. “Whereas here, we’re all about agility and innovation if that’s a great idea, why aren’t we acting on it?”

Latendre believes in a “flat”, non-hierarchical style of organization that can be surprising to people who come from big companies. “They’re very aware of chain of command,” he says. “Here it’s, hey, we’ve formed a project team, let’s get this project done. You may have me, as CEO, in the project along with other people. But we all work for the project manager, and we all have tasks to get done. Which kind of blows people’s minds, that they’re working directly with the CEO.”

To some people, notes Richard Yerema, Managing Editor for Mediacorp Canada, which compiled the SME list, working for a small company means trade-offs a more family style atmosphere and more agility, perhaps, but fewer benefits than at a big outfit. But the 100 companies on this 2016 SME list are proof that sometimes you can have it all. Benefits are often competitive with those of much larger firms.

Take Petcurean. Its Human Resources Manager, Cari McClelland, joined a year ago and found a benefit plan that included prescription drugs, a maternity leave top-up, long-term disability and, after staff asked for it, vision care.

“For a company our size to carry that extensive a benefit package is not the norm,” says McClelland, an experienced HR professional. “I’ve been amazed at the willingness of our leadership to say, ‘let’s look at it if we can do it, we’ll do it’.”

Yet many such benefits are becoming the norm at Canada’s Top SMEs. Yerema says that nearly half of the employers on this year’s list provide some form of maternity leave top-up the additional payment that brings a new mother’s Employment Insurance benefit closer to her original salary for a certain number of weeks. “That is quite an accomplishment,” says Yerema. “Ten years ago, even many large companies weren’t offering it.”

At Igloo, too, Latendre offers benefits that his staff say are equivalent to those of large tech companies they’ve worked at, such as BlackBerry. They also get stock options, offering the promise that the company’s success will benefit every employee.

And that may be another part of the attraction of the Small and Medium Employer. Along with the friendly atmosphere, the quick decision-making and the pot-luck get-togethers, there’s the idea that this small upstart might one day become the most successful software company or pet food company in the world. “SMEs capture the imagination for a lot of people,” notes Yerema. “What would it have been like to be the fifth person hired at Google?”

By Berton Woodward
From the official announcement magazine for Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers, published on March 29, 2016 in The Globe and Mail.

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Top 10 best business desktop PCs (August 2016) #business #jets


#business computer

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TechRadar pro

Top 10 best business desktop PCs (August 2016)

Plus a handy buying guide

While workforces have become far more mobile, there is still a need for the traditional office desktop PC. It remains the most cost-effective computing device as it’s easily maintained and has the most powerful solutions available on the market.

Despite the drop in laptop prices and increase in mobile processor power, there are still distinct advantages to running desktop systems in an office environment, which is why the desktop remains the most popular form-factor for computer systems.

Speaking of form factors, the desktop PC has evolved significantly over the past three years beyond the monoliths that mid or mini-towers are.

The range of available desktop systems is as wide and varied as business needs themselves, ranging from a few off-the-shelf units for an SMB to the deployment of thousands of basic desktop PCs and everything in between.

The types of desktop PCs

A recent development in the desktop PC world has been a modest diversification of the system case. The typical business PC comes in a mini-tower box, which is probably best sited under or next to your desk.

But if space is at a premium, a smaller case would be a better choice. Dell, for example, delivers its Optiplex models in mini tower, ‘thin’ desktop and ‘compact’ small form factor sizes, each model offering the same computing power but in a different case.

Three other formats that have grown in popularity are:

[1] All-in-one. otherwise known as AIO, which combine the monitor with the base unit. The move to power-efficient components, the falling price of LCD panels and the ubiquity of touch functionality make AIO an increasingly popular choice for businesses. The all-in-one PC essentially resembles a slightly larger than normal LCD display that contains the processor, hard drive and memory built-in to the screen casing. The end result is a very elegant, clutter-free desktop PC.

[2] Ultra-small form factors. otherwise known as net tops or mini PCs, which borrow a lot of their designs (and components) from laptops. They are essentially laptops without a screen, input peripherals and a battery.

[3] HDMI dongles which have been inspired by tablets and smartphones and often share parts with the latter. These are usually used for display signage or in niche markets. They are usually not powerful enough for most tasks but things are likely to improve by the end of 2016.

Top 10 best business desktop PCs in the UK

To help narrow down your search for the ideal system for your business, here are Techradar Pro’s top 10 business desktop PCs in no particular order.

1. Zoostorm 7260-3041

The cheapest desktop PC going

CPU: Intel Celeron 1037U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 500GB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 18 x 40 x 36cm


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Top Free Business Name Generators #stocks #to #watch


#business name generator

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Top 7 Free Business Name Generators

Updated August 29, 2016

There are a lot of steps to follow when it comes to starting a business. and each one is important for specific reasons. Choosing a business name can be one of the easiest parts of starting a business, or it can be one of the most difficult. If you fall into the second category and are struggling to identify the perfect business name, there is help available.

Here are seven business name generators that can help you brainstorm, think creatively and break through the mental block to find the best possible name for your business. Take your time and explore each one before you make your final decision. Run your potential names by business partners, colleagues, friends and family to get their input and follow these tips for naming your business to make the best decision possible.

To use this business name generator, you input a word or words, and it generates a list of possible business names. The tool will also identify which domain names are available for each possible business name. More

A random name generator that provides a steady feed of names that you can click on to see if the domain name is also available. You can specify the type of word you are looking for and the length, or put in your own word to use as a starting point. You can also control the speed of the name feed and pause the feed through controls on the page. More

This name generator allows you to enter specific criteria and generate a list of 24-816 possible names for each search. You can specify a root word, syllable, letter, the number of syllables desired, and if you d like to add rhymes, Latin or Greek roots and other words for variations. More

This tool will randomly generate new business names based upon keywords you identify. You can also select how the letters of your keywords shift in order to create variations. More

This online business naming tool that allows you to enter in a word, syllable or letters, choose the number of syllables and then find possible names for your business. More

This business name generator spits out random business names from a list of more than 7.2 million potential names. You can also sign up for a free account and post a topic in the forum on the site to get help from the Wordlab community.

Starting a business is complicated. We can help. Sign up for the Money newsletter and get tips and insights from our small business and entrepreneurship experts, delivered straight to your inbox. More


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UK entrepreneurs top 100: From Richard Branson to Edwina Dunn, these are the most

#top entrepreneurs

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UK entrepreneurs top 100: From Richard Branson to Edwina Dunn, these are the most influential business founders in the UK on social media

Richard Branson, Victoria Beckham and Brent Hoberman all made the cut (Source: Getty, Official LeWeb Photos on Flickr)

Emma Haslett, Harriet Green

Whether you re an aspiring entrepreneur or have spent years building a business, you could do worse than to hear the stories of those who ve been through it all before.

So we ve put together a list of the UK s best and brightest at building businesses to get you inspired – from those who are near the beginning of the process, to some of the UK s most experienced entrepreneurs.

Our entrepreneurs list is based on active users of Twitter and their Klout scores, which takes into account various metrics from Twitter, Facebook. Google Plus, LinkedIn. Instagram, Foursquare and Wikipedia.

This list is no longer being updated. It was last updated on Friday 15th July 2016.


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