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June 2009 - Issue 85
The Business Link
E-Future Bytes

Your Website Can Bring In Extra Cash

If you have invested a lot of money in your website, you may decide it is time to recover the upkeep costs.

Extra income sounds tempting, but you may be concerned that your users would not like seeing ads on your website. Be sure to remain trustworthy in the eyes of your customers by taking the following steps:

1. Be honest with your loyal clients and inform them about your plans
Invite your clients to assist by referring advertisers to you. If they have an opportunity to become involved and give direction, you reduce the risk of complaints or a breakdown in trust.

2. Sustain and respect your core activities
a) If your business includes forums and blogs, be sure you don't place advertisements in places that make it difficult for members to read, write and interact.
b) Be sure any advertising your company handles complements your business and would be of interest to your clients.

3. Quality versus quantity
Always go for quality. Develop multiple streams of income such as banners, pay-per-click, and premium membership features. Remember not to bombard your valued clients with in-your-face ads, pop-ups and cloaked advertising as they will be a turn-off.

Be sure to analyze the results of your efforts regularly. Monitor both the flow of income and how well the new revenue generation is perceived by your loyal clients.

For more information, visit our E-Business web pages or call 1 800 272-9675 to speak with a Business Officer.


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Resource Feature

Writing for Your Business

Whatever your business writing needs are, our library collection can help. We will be happy to supply you with information wherever you are in Alberta.

As you can see from the sample list below, we have materials on writing for several different purposes.

* Business Letters Kit (CD ROM)

* Business Style Handbook: An A-to-Z Guide…

* Everything Grant Writing Book

* Perfect Phrases for Business Letters

* Power Sales Writing

* Writing a Human Resources Manual

* Writing Effective Policies and Procedures

* Fat-free Writing: Business Writing for the Information Age

* Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing

* Powerful Proposals

For professional writers, we have information about starting various types of businesses from freelance writing to self-publishing.

For more information on these books and other business materials, contact The Business Link Library at 1 800 272-9675.


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Latest from the Link


The Value of Volunteers

The Business Link knows the true value of volunteers. We couldn't possibly offer the high calibre of training opportunities, season after season, without the expertise and generosity of our volunteer presenters. The valuable professional advice available through our Guest Advisor Program would not be possible without the efforts and goodwill of our many volunteer management consultants, lawyers, accountants, financial reps and human resources experts. As we conclude our Spring 2009 season for training and guest advisors, we would like to express our appreciation to all our volunteers for helping us to support Alberta's small business community.

Whether it's for your community, for your family, for your business, or just for yourself, why not consider devoting some of your time to a volunteer activity? It could broaden your outlook, give you personal satisfaction, and potentially provide business leads depending upon the type of volunteer work. You may also consider engaging volunteers to help out in some way in your own business. Be sure that a volunteer opportunity is viewed as a win-win situation, i.e. both the volunteer and the organization gain from the experience.

Young Entrepreneur Awards

You're a successful entrepreneur
You're between 19 and 35
Get recognized!

Apply today for the Young Entrepreneur Awards (YEA), presented by the Business Development Bank of Canada!

The YEA winners will benefit from:
- nationwide media visibility
- unparalleled opportunities for networking with other entrepreneurs
- valuable media relations training
- many skills development opportunities

For more information on the YEA and the eligibility criteria, or to download the nomination form, visit www.bdc.ca/yea.

Deadline: June 24, 2009

2009 Young Entrepreneur Awards and Small Business Week partners:
- Export Development Canada (presenter of the Export Excellence Award)
- Deloitte (presenter of the Corporate Social Responsibility Award)
- Borden, Ladner, Gervais
- Maclean's

CIPO Introduces New Fee Payment Practices on June 8, 2009

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is improving its business processes to prepare for the adoption of new technologies that support e-business. Currently, CIPO receives upwards of 800,000 paper documents by mail and facsimile annually.

In an effort to improve the process for fee payments sent by mail, facsimile or hand-delivery, CIPO is introducing a new Fee Payment Form as well as two Practice Notices, effective as of June 8, 2009. Read more on the new fee payment practices.





Thanks to all who participated and to our great presenters for a fabulous Spring training season. We recorded our highest seasonal participation ever - 3,100 attendees! Stay tuned for the announcement of our Fall schedule of sessions that will offer you a whole range of quick-to-use, quick-to-learn business topics to help you in your day-to-day operations.

June Networking Event

Note new start time: 2:00 p.m.

The Business Link's Monthly Networking Event will be held in Edmonton and Calgary on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Meet prospective clients and trade business cards and information with other entrepreneurs.

To join us for this event, you can drop into either office.

Calgary:
250-639 5 Avenue SW
Edmonton:
100-10237 104 Street NW

For more information about this FREE event, contact Jean-Jacques Mitakaro in Edmonton at jean-jacques.mitakaro@canadabusiness.ab.ca or Alvaro Carvajal in Calgary at alvaro.carvajal@canadabusiness.ab.ca.

 


Around Alberta


Local Business Incubators Connect

A Regional Alliance partnership among three local business incubators, TEC Edmonton, novaNAIT and the Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI), was formed in 2007 to use a collaborative approach in addressing the needs of early-stage companies. This year, the Alliance welcomes two new members: the Edmonton Research Park and the National Institute for Nanotechnology. Together, these five incubators are poised to increase regional business incubation efficiency by leveraging each other's expertise, services and programs. To read more about this collaboration, click here.


Conference for Business Incubators and Economic Developers

Are you interested in business incubator management practices, how business incubation can offset the economic downturn, and creative incubator marketing techniques? If you are, attend the 18th Annual Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI) Conference. Hosted this year in Edmonton, September 13 to 15, do not miss this chance to take part in advancing our business incubation industry. For more information, visit their website.


Upcoming Agri-Food Events (outside Alberta)

International Potato Processing & Storage Convention 2009
June 23-25, 2009 - Delta Prince Edward Hotel, Charlottetown, PEI
www.potatoconvention.com

2009 Berry Health Benefits Symposium
June 22-23, 2009 - Monterey, CA
www.berryhealth.org/index.html

NAFDMA Advanced Learning Retreat
Huber's Orchard and Winery
July 12 - 15, 2009
Starlight, Indiana, U.S.A.

Visiting and learning 'in season' from farm direct peers is an amazing opportunity. Join the Huber family operation and learn from their farm market, family farm park, winery and restaurant experiences. Assess the most current business and economic indicators for the season and expand industry networks. For information, visit www.nafdma.com.

 


Trade Tidbits

 

New Requirements for Entering the United States

Notice from the Canada Border Services Agency re the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

As of June 1, 2009, Canadian citizens will be required to present a valid passport, a NEXUS card, a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card or an enhanced driver's licence/enhanced identification card when entering the United States by land or water.

Canadian citizens flying to, through or from the United States must present a valid passport to confirm citizenship and identity. A NEXUS card is also acceptable when used at a kiosk at designated Canadian airports and at all U.S. Airports when returning to Canada.

Avoid Business Travel Nightmares

With a slow down in the local economy, many small businesses are pushed to look elsewhere for business. Enter the world of international business, where from a financial perspective, a sale is a sale. But if you are dealing with other countries, there are a number of issues you need to consider.

One of those issues - immigration - can become a human resources nightmare if steps are not taken to ensure proper visas and permits are obtained for any employees visiting that new market.

So where can you go for help? Ultimately, immigration policy and procedures are set by each specific country, and the best source of information is the department responsible for immigration in each country.

For a listing of all foreign representatives in Canada, you can visit Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Also, services such as VisaHQ provide useful information on specific countries and their various requirements for entry.

So whatever you do, make sure you get the right visa when visiting a country for any business purpose. There is nothing worse than not being allowed to return to a country where you have someone ready to give you money for your product!

 



Business Feature

Steps to Marketing Success

Most entrepreneurs don't start their businesses as marketers but once you're open for business, you're a marketer. "Every business is actually in the marketing business," claims John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing. "The failure to realize this is why many small businesses fail," continues John. "You simply can't afford to be 'no good' at marketing if you plan to stick around and grow your business."

An authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach and owner of Strategies for Success, Cidnee Stephens promotes these Seven Steps to Marketing Success.

Narrow Your Focus. Change your marketing strategy from "anybody who" to "somebody who". Define your target audience. Who's your "ideal" customer? Which ones are your most profitable?

Find and Communicate Your Core Difference. Identify your hook. What do your customers love about your product? Connect the dots between your product and your customer's needs.

Build the Know, Like and Trust Factors. Consumers taste and touch a product up to 27 times before buying. "TRY-sumers" have replaced consumers. So sample, sample, sample. Selling is quick but marketing takes time.

Create Marketing Materials That Educate. Create a "marketing kit" of materials that are flexible, and can be changed easily. Don't print large quantities at one time. Today's brochure is your website, keep it updated.

Lead Generation Trio. Generate leads three ways: Advertise - creates awareness and develops leads. Referral Marketing System - generates referrals through strategic alliances and partnerships. Public Relations - is a very powerful 'lead' generator. Develop local media contacts and use them.

Automate and Dominate. Increase sales, go 'online.' A website gives you credibility. Include a 'Refer Us' link. Find a student in your community to develop your website, take a course, or hire a company to do it for you. A website doesn't have to cost a lot of money.

Live By The Calendar. Marketing is your #1 client, so put it in your calendar. Whatever part of the day works for you, set a schedule and stick to it.

For more information, visit Cidnee's website at http://www.strategiesforsuccess.ca.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development's Local Market Expansion Initiative explores new market opportunities for producers, improves market access and enhances profitability at the farm gate. For more information, call a New Venture Specialist at the Ag Info Centre, toll free at 310-FARM (3276) or visit www.agriculture.alberta.ca/localmarkets.

This article is brought to you by the federal and provincial governments.


Alberta Canada



Business Feature

Growing Pains

Typically, an extended period of successful operations for a new business signals the conclusion of the start-up phase. This transition from start-up is important because a decision on the course of the venture must be made at this time.

Generally, the entrepreneur or owner will need to decide whether to maintain operations or grow the business. Not all entrepreneurs desire to grow their businesses - they are content with continuing to offer their current level of services.

Many entrepreneurs do wish to expand their businesses. This can be achieved by purchasing assets, hiring more staff, franchising, or pursuing other expansion-related activities.

It is vital to have a plan in place when you decide to expand your business in order to maximize your chances for success.

A few key questions you may want to ask yourself before you decide to grow your business include:

- Is this really what I want to do? Why?
- Can I maintain operations while expanding my business at the same time?
- Is there a growing need or market for my product or service?
- Can my business model remain profitable or will it have to change?
- Do I have the necessary skills to do this?
- Have I identified a team of professionals to assist me? (e.g. employees, accountants, human resource professionals, lawyers)
- How am I going to handle marketing, operations, and financials?

For more information on growing your business, contact a Business Officer at 1 800 272-9675.




Labour Market Projections

This issue of Future Watch focuses on the labour market in Alberta. Sources of information are Finance & Enterprise, Employment & Immigration, HR Sector Councils, Statistics Canada and Major Banks.

As with any future projections, unexpected developments may change the course of events.

According to the latest employment projections from the Alberta government, the following industries are expected to remain steady or experience some growth in employment in the long term as shown below.

Goods Producing Industries

Agriculture - steady, no increases over 0.5% in terms of changes.

Forestry - 2008-09 a dip in demand but a marginal steady change in the range of 0.5% on average.

Oil, Gas Extraction and Mining - somewhat better growth in the area of 2.5% for 2010-12 in Extraction. Less in Mining and related Support Activities.

Construction - less demand in 2009-12 with 2011 showing below average outlook.

Manufacturing - little change in the Wood Products in 2009 but growth in 2010-11.
As for other manufacturing sub-sectors, generally slight increases are expected.

Wholesale - a peak in 2009 but lessening thereafter decreasing to 0.7% by 2012.

Retail - similar to wholesale trade sector.

Service Producing Industries

Transportation - slight increase in 2011 but on average roughly 2.0 % growth.

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Leasing - strong gain in 2011 with a slight decrease in 2012.


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