HOW TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS
Small business banking (the right way)
Getting your banking set up right gives you peace of mind and saves you money. First off, set up separate bank accounts and credit cards for your personal and business banking. A good small business banker will fit you with the right accounts for you. Ask how you can save on bank fees.
Your business dream team
Lawyer: From incorporating your business to dissolving it, and everything in between, you want to work with a good lawyer to make sure you remain in good standing. A lawyer can also help you with an estate plan.
Banker: A good relationship with your banker goes a long way. Ask your banker about your credit score and how much interest you pay each year. We love our guy at ATB Financial – he is such a valuable resource.
Accountant: An accountant can help you with more than filing your taxes – let us help you with decision making. We love running numbers for real estate transactions and business valuations. We can create customized financial reports like cash flow statements and forecasts, and ratio and trend analyses. Ask about virtual bookkeeping as well.
Bookkeeper: Bookkeepers are great if you need help keeping your books up to date on a weekly or monthly basis. They can do payroll runs, pay invoices, collections and track all of your financial transactions. We do bookkeeping for clients that need their books done quarterly or annually. Check out our partners page if you need help with the day-to-day numbers.
Insurance Broker: A good insurance broker will keep you informed on the differences between quotes. See our partners page for our recommendations on brokers. As a business, you may need general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, vehicle insurance, life insurance, critical illness, long-term and short-term disability, health spending accounts and health benefit plans.
Managed IT Service Provider: You need someone to protect your data and keep your networks safe and secure (AKA cybersecurity). These guys help small businesses take care of external monitoring for malware, spyware, viruses, and do daily remote backups. Make them your best friends. (Proactis has been awesome for us.)
Small business marketing
When we started True North Accounting, we had a clear idea of who we wanted to work with: small and micro businesses, tradespeople, contractors, consultants and freelancers. As a new small business, our biggest challenge was to help our ideal customers find us. True North is all about helping small business owners brave the wilderness of going out on their own.
On an annual basis, we develop a holistic marketing plan to keep all our efforts on track. These include blog posts, newsletters, social posts, our website and paid search advertising.
Check out our tips for understanding your customer, developing a brand that resonates, and marketing to the people you want to reach.
Plan for the unexpected
Prepare for the unexpected by having a will, succession plan and estate plan. If you have a business partner, get a unanimous shareholder agreement. Save for retirement. Have a disaster recovery plan or a business interruption plan.
Having a grasp on the value of your business is important. There are the obvious reasons you should know the value of your business: if you’re looking to sell, looking for investors, estate planning, and for litigation and shareholder disputes.
Build your business to sell. Even if it’s not in your plans, understanding how your business will be valued will influence how you grow.
Making life easier as a small business owner
You’ve got a lot on your plate. Putting a few systems in place can help you stay on top of things.
We have a rainbow filing system that will make you love your home office again. Once you’re set up, you’ll always know where to put your personal tax documents, business receipts, home-related documents, medical receipts, and anything you get from the CRA.
Apps can also go a long way for your small business. Whatever your pain point, there’s probably an app for it! Here are our favourite apps. They’ll help you digitize your receipts, track your mileage, keep your team on task and secure your online accounts. See our Resources page for even more apps.