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    New year. New blog platform. Same look and usability.

    Hard to believe we’re soon approaching a full year of blogging. It’s been fun and we’ve been encouraged by your positive comments. Please keep them coming and let us know more about what’s of interest to you.

    Over the next couple of days we are making some changes to the administration platform. We have taken steps to try to ensure a seamless transition, but if there are any issues we hope you’ll let us know.

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    Many thanks to all our readers. Here’s to Creating Opportunities in 2011!

    A Perspective on Productivity

    Productivity growth. It fuels economic performance, makes nations wealthier, raises living standards and, lately, it’s been keeping federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney awake at night.

    i-c25cfb7c5297dc0c7d07148c1775f68e-mark_carney-blog.jpgCanada’s productivity growth declined in the latest recession, something that apparently hasn’t happened in thirty years. Generally measured as output per hour worked, Canadian productivity growth badly lags that of some other small rich countries as well as our main rival, the United States.

    Someone else who thinks a lot about productivity is our friend, Peter Follows, President of Carpedia International, an Oakville, Ontario based global consulting firm that helps companies improve their productivity and enhance their overall financial performance. Carpedia’s done work for big names like Heinz, Ritz Carlton, Manulife, as well as countless small to medium sized businesses.

    [read more >>]

    Celebrating great Canadian family businesses


    National Family Business Day is October 21st and all next week events are being organized to honour these important enterprises, which make up 80% of businesses and 50-60% of employment worldwide, according to the Journal of Family Business Strategy.

    We’re excited to be sponsoring an event with the GTA chapter of the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE) on TUESDAY OCTOBER 19th:  An Exclusive Evening of Cocktails and Conversation with Robin Lee, President, Lee Valley Tools.

    [read more >>]

    “The (Hot) IPO Market” or “Do Profits Matter?”


    With the apparent resurgence in the IPO market, it seemed timely to revisit my last blog What to know before you IPO and ask, “what’s changed?”

    After doing a little digging, it seemed to me there are several points worth making, which haven’t really been front and centre in the popular press. Namely:

    1. Yes, the IPO market has recovered from the depressed levels of past years, but it’s still at low levels;
    2. The markets appear to be primarily focused on revenues and less so on earnings;
    3. High valuation levels being accorded IPOs is at least one of the driving factors of this resurgence and there is a growing gap between valuation of revenues and profits that should provide a cautionary note for investors.

    [read more >>]

    A winemaker reminds us of the importance of passion

    What does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur?

    i-fd5edae6a7593e04e02c4059c90d2cce-tawes winery.jpgIt’s a question that one third of Canadians are contemplating apparently.

    That’s how many dream of running their own business according to a recent Angus Reid poll.

    What’s the appeal? The main reason, according to the survey, is so they’ll have greater control over their own destiny. Other reasons include not having to work for someone else, and being able to make more money than working on a salary.

    But what about passion?…

    [read more >>]

    The science of better selling



    i-27d3301bf70ef03ed1a629088ef49cba-brain.jpgTogether with 120 other entrepreneurs from CEO Global (a Toronto-based CEO coaching organization), I spent a morning two weeks ago listening to Christophe Morin, marketing guru and author of Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain

    The premise of the book – and the talk – was that we can use the latest brain research toredefine our sales messages and deliver them with more impact by better understanding how people make buying decisions.

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    Group RRSPs: Do you know your liability?

    I just finished reviewing the annual reports for a Group RRSP and Deferred Profit Sharing Plan (DPSP) on behalf of a client who has one in place for his employees. On paper everything seems just fine. The investment climate is improving and on average every employee seems to be doing much better this year than last. But once I got beyond the glossy graphs certain issues started to become apparent.

    Many employees hadn’t yet chosen an investment plan and were defaulting to the option chosen by their employer. A significant number of employees were withdrawing funds from their plans, presumably to supplement their current income. Most employees weren’t on track to meet their retirement savings goals. An education program for his employees wasn’t in place.

    That’s not good for employees – and it’s not good for employers, who have a liability they may not be aware of. In 2004, the Canadian Association of Pension Supervisory Authorities issued guidelines for Capital Accumulation Plans (CAP) which refers to “a tax assisted investment or savings plan that permits the members of the CAP to make investment decisions among two or more options”.

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