It’s not unusual for small business owners to put full trust in their staff, assuming that staff will always be honest, organized, and efficient and let you do your thing. Truth is that most small business owners are also managers. And while as manager your job isn’t to babysit, you have to foster an environment designed to help your staff succeed. Not everyone is a self-starter and a wicked problem solver and diligent about tracking their hours, but they may be aces at their core role which is why it’s up to you as manager to make sure your expectations for the job are clear, and achievable. Whether you’re already in the thick of it or are still in the planning stages, here are some things to know about your additional role as Manager.
Even if your staff is paid a salary they still have to track lieu time, and vacation time. If they’re paid hourly, they have to track all of their time. An Excel spreadsheet works fine, but look into online tools to make it simple for everyone to enter their hours, and for you to view. And you need to view them at least every month! If an employee is taking longer than intended on a project they may need help and are embarrassed to ask.
If you don’t have an assigned project manager for each job request, then you are the project manager. In this case it’s also up to you to ensure that each moving part of the project is operating on an appropriate timeline and meeting your company’s baseline for output. That means checking in with your staff on progress and performing quality control at various times.
Over time you’re compiling information in order to provide a solid performance review for your staff. You can grab a free template online but make sure you customize it to suit the goals of each role. When you conduct your performance review remember that it’s not a lecture, it’s a time to make sure that your impression of the job your staff is doing lines up with theirs and, if not, this i a time to strategize ways to improve performance and communication.
You likely already knew that you are responsible for hiring and firing, but also be informed that additionally you’re responsible for handling harassment complaints, illegal actions, leaves of absence, sick days, and benefits.
Leading a Healthy Work Environment:
The staff follow your lead, which means if you’re behaving negatively, they may follow suit or adopt a fearful outlook. When you work to lead positively and encourage respectful, open communication, you’re more likely to lead a positive and dynamic team of staff. This may seem obvious but as business owners it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the entire business as a whole that you may not realize you’re frustration is leaking out in other areas of your job. And you know that team you’re managing? Talk to them! You’ve got a diverse range of expertise at your tips, problem solve with them as part of your strong leadership strategy.
Want some in-depth advice on your managerial set-up? The Waterloo Region Small Business Centre can connect you with a consultant or mentor. Take a look at their Programs (https://www.waterlooregionsmallbusiness.com/Programs.htm) to find out more.
Jelly Triangle (https://jellytriangle.com/) is your one-stop-shop for all of your small business digital marketing needs, from social media strategies and blogging to a shiny new website. Contact us at 519-624-8888 to book your commitment-free consultation.
Brianna Theurer at 11:50 AM
Employing Young Talent Incentive
Monday, January 29, 2018
Employing Young Talent Incentive
Effective January 1, 2018, Ontario’s new Employing Young Talent Incentive (EYTI) is being offered to small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) who hire and retain youth 15 to 29 years old through Employment Service, and to all employers hiring through Youth Job Connection.
How it works:
As an employer, you benefit from hiring a young person. Through the Employing Young Talent Incentive, you will receive incentives of $1,000 to $2,000 as follows:
For Employment Service (ES)-assisted youth clients matched with a small business (less than 100 employees) between January 1, 2018 and March 31, 2018, the employer will be receive a $1,000 retention payment at three months followed by a $1,000 retention payment at six months. For ES-assisted youth clients matched with a small business after April 1, 2018, the employer will receive $1,000 upon hiring, followed by an additional $1,000 retention payment at six months in the job.
For the Youth Job Connection (YJC) program, effective January 1, 2018 a retention payment of $1,000 will be payable to employers after 3 months, with a further $1,000 payable to employers after 6 months as an incentive to small and large businesses to retain youth typically left out of the workforce.
To be eligible to receive the EYTI benefit for hiring a young person, you must:
prove you are licensed to operate in Ontario
comply with workplace, human rights and labour legislation
have workplace safety and liability insurance
offer job opportunities taking place in Ontario
What is the Employment Service program?
Employment Service is one service in the suite of services and programs known as Employment Ontario. It is delivered by a network of third-party service providers. Find your nearest provider.
It provides all job seekers including youth in Ontario with access to all the employment services and supports they need in one location, so they can find and keep a job, apply for training and plan a career that’s right for them.
In 2016-17 there were 69,477 employment services assisted youth clients (29 and under) served through employment services.
What is the Youth Job Connection program?
Youth Job Connection is one service in the suite of services and programs known as Employment Ontario. It is delivered by a network of third-party service providers. Find your nearest provider.
The Youth Job Connection program services youth aged 15 to 29 who are traditionally left out of the workforce by providing more intensive supports beyond job search and placement opportunities. Supports for this program include:
Paid pre-employment training to promote job-readiness;
Job matching and paid job placements, with placement supports for participants and hiring incentives for employers;
Mentorship services; and
Education and work transitions supports.
As of March 31, 2017, over 22,000 youth have participated in the Youth Job Connection program since the program launched on October 1, 2015.
Questions and Answers:
1. How is the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development supporting small businesses ?
MAESD will support these new initiatives by using the existing Employment Ontario delivery network to provide employers with incentives to hire and retain youth. These incentives will be delivered as part of the Employment Service and the Youth Job Connection programs, and will take effect in January 2018. Eligible employers will receive payments starting in the spring of 2018.
2. How much will employers receive through this incentive?
Employers will receive a maximum of $2,000 to hire and retain youth (who are not benefiting from a current incentive) as follows:
For Employment Service (ES) assisted service youth clients matched with a small business (less than 100 employees):
between January 1, 2018 and March 31, 2018, a $1,000 retention payment at 3 months followed by a $1,000 retention payment at 6 months
after April 1, 2018, $1,000 upon hiring followed by an additional $1,000 retention payment at 6 months in the job.
These payments would be for employers who are not benefiting from a current incentive through ES.
For the Youth Job Connection (YJC) program a retention payment of $1,000 would be payable after 3 months with a further $1,000 payable after 6 months to incentivize small and large employers to retain multi-barriered (homelessness, lack of labour market experience, low levels of education etc.) youth for placements made after January 1, 2018.
This retention payment would be in addition to existing employer incentives eligible under YJC.
3. For the Employment Service Component, why are employers receiving a retention incentive of $1,000 after three months if they hire between January 1 and March 31, 2018, and a hiring incentive of $1,000 upon hiring after April 1, 2018. Why aren’t employers paid upon hiring between January 1 and March 31?
The ministry is officially launching these employer incentives in April 2018, at the start of the ministry’s fiscal year. Since the minimum wage increase takes effect in January 2018, and to support small employers, the ministry is allowing eligible employers who hired youth from January to March to also receive the incentive.
Although employers may be eligible as of January 2018, payments will not be issued until April 2018. Employers who hired youth between January and March and retained them will receive their first payment beginning April (the 3 month incentive).
4. How do we define a “small business”?
A small business for the purposes of the incentive delivered under ES is a business with less than 100 employees.
The incentive delivered under YJC is not limited to small businesses.
5. What size of employer will be eligible for the youth transitional wage incentive?
To be eligible for the incentive under the Employment Service program, the employer must have fewer than 100 employees.
Eligibility for the incentive under the Youth Job Connection program is not based on employer size, so all sizes of employers would be eligible for the incentive regardless of the number of employees.
6. How are “youth” defined for the ES component of the incentive?
Youth are defined as any individual between the ages of 15 and 29 years old.
7. When will the new guidelines be shared?
The new ES and YJC guidelines will be shared in January 2018 and the ministry has been training its service providers.
8. How will this affect the delivery of ES and YJC?
The delivery of ES and YJC will not be affected. The programs’ networks are being utilized as they have the current infrastructure and capacity to deliver this new employer incentive. Service providers will have some additional responsibilities in terms of follow-ups and payments, and will therefore receive 15% of their total incentive budget in incremental administrative funding to support delivery.
9. When will employers be eligible to receive these new incentives?
Employers will be eligible for these incentives beginning January 1, 2018. Payments will start as of April 2018.
10. What other incentives are available for employers?
Employers are eligible for various incentives and supports under the Employment Ontario umbrella, including:
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant: provides an opportunity for employers to invest in their workforce, with help from the government. The Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers who wish to purchase training for their employees.
Employment Service: offers employers who operate a business in Ontario assistance to attract and recruit the employees with the skills they need. The program also offers financial incentives for employers to provide on-the-job training for participants in job placements, including youth.
Apprenticeship Employer Signing Bonus: A $2,000 Apprenticeship Employer Signing Bonus (AESB) is available to employers who hire, register, and train an apprentice as part of their participation in Job Matching, Placement and Incentives.
Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (GAGE): is a grant for employers who hire (sponsor) and train apprentices in 130 eligible trades. Eligible employers will receive an automatic payment as their apprentice completes each level of training and when they achieve their Certificate of Apprenticeship or Certificate of Qualification. The amount of support increases for eligible employers as the apprentice reaches completion milestones.
For further information, please contact Employment Ontario, at:
Brianna Theurer at 12:24 PM
Guest Post: Social Media Marketing Missing the Mark? Filter Bubbles & Echo Chambers Might Be Why
Friday, January 26, 2018
Social Media Marketing Missing the Mark? Filter Bubbles & Echo Chambers Might Be Why
As a marketing company with a passion for online everything, we’re well aware that what we see online is a direct reflection of how we use the internet. It’s no coincidence that the ads we see are from businesses whose websites we visited 2 weeks ago, and that the headlines in our social media feeds are related to the accounts we follow. But are you aware of it? Understand how plugins for advertising and newsfeeds on social media platforms and websites work and gain knowledge that will ultimately help you devise a smarter marketing strategy. We’re talking about Filter Bubbles and Echo Chambers.
Filter Bubble: The internet works through mathematical equations telling computers what to do in the background. You see the pretty face, but there’s a brain back there. While AI isn’t quite ready for world domination, the engineers behind the AI sure are smart and have come up with a lot of ways to make your online experience enjoyable. When you log on to social media platforms like Facebook or search online for help, you want to see posts and advertisements relevant to you. The brains of the internet work automatically to generate content for your viewing pleasure based on your online habits. It’s called a Filter Bubble. You see what you want to see. It’s SO beautiful! The problem with the filter bubble is that you run the risk of missing out on a well-rounded education. You may miss the launch of a new product or medical success, you won’t get the full story on any political conversation, and if your customers don’t “like” your posts somewhat regularly, they aren’t going to see you either.
Echo Chambers: You’re clicking right along unknowingly in your filter bubble, seeing only things you choose to see, when all of a sudden you’re directed to content from additional sources that backup everything you think, like, and want to know more about. Huzzah! You’re so smart! You are winning at life! Sorry to burst your filter bubble, but the experience you’re celebrating is an echo chamber: the brains behind the internet have picked up on your likes and dislikes and are showing you advertising and sponsored content that further supports everything you love. Once again, your risk missing out on the full story of, well, everything! If your customers “like” items online that aren’t singing the same tune as your company’s social media content, they’re going to miss you, too.
How do you break into the cycle of your customers’ online habits? Resilience! Remind customers in store that you use social media channels and give them reasons to follow you: announce customer appreciation days, provide coupon codes, educate customers about your products and your industry at large, make them laugh, be relatable, and support the community. Provide content that is true, interesting, and entertaining. Your goal with social media marketing is to elicit a response – a comment, a like, a share – to get your content into their filter bubbles and echo chambers.
What innovation really means for traditional small business in Waterloo Region
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Written by Mistie Brown
One of the most important things the DISC program is doing for participating small businesses is finding and executing opportunities for innovation outside of their existing operations.
Only 13% of Canadian firms are actually aware of changing technologies and promoting cultures of innovation.
After speaking with over 160 local small business owners in Waterloo Region through community consultations, we know that many entrepreneurs often focus their energy solely on the everyday operations of their.....
Over three hundred applicants, with fifty of the strongest competitors and a short list of fifteen businesses… it’s hard to believe the time has come, but class is now in session.
I walked into Proof Kitchen and Lounge in Kitchener with feelings of excitement and gratitude. As one of the lucky 30 students selected for the March cohort of the Digital Innovation and Skills Certificate Program, I felt a rush being in the same room as so many talented and driven individuals. Being accepted into the DISC Program was not an easy feat, but I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities that lay ahead.
Last week was our first in-class session and it was everything I could have hoped for. We kicked off the evening with a casual meet and greet over appetizers. This was a creative approach that allowed students to mingle and discuss each other’s background and interests. I was fascinated by the diverse skills ranging from art and science, to public relations and entrepreneurship.
Following appetizers, we moved across Erb Street to Shopify's office. Orientation kicked off with an introduction of program details and expectations. I was impressed by the organization of the entire leadership team. Jeff Mitchell, DISC Program Coordinator, quickly assigned students into teams of six before introducing us to our coaches. Trish Gray from Stryve Digital Marketing is leading my student team and I value her passion, and determination to make our capstone project experience meaningful and successful.
My team was assigned Eco-Cafe; an extraordinary small business roasting coffee St Jacobs with overflowing amounts of potential and opportunity. I had the opportunity to speak with owner Ed Denyer during an information session in mid-February. He spoke very passionately about his involvement in organic fair trade coffee. I am excited to work with him because his personality is larger than life!
The first project we worked on was establishing our core values as a marketing/e-commerce agency. Five teams of 6 students were each given post-it notes and markers to create a list of values that would steer the integrity of our team and its work. My team decided on the name DarWin (based around the thesis of evolution). In this exercise, we determined that our values will:
be radically transparent,
and purpose driven.
We came to the conclusion that complacency is not an option.
As a team of multi-talented individuals, I look forward to the many personal and professional opportunities for growth that this program has to offer.
Oh, and one more thing... my first impression was this program is going to be intense, but so worthwhile!
We have been pulled into the lives of young professionals and small business owners in the Kitchener-Waterloo region to create progress of varying kinds: to develop digital skills that are aligned with emerging industry needs on the one hand, while creating sustained digital growth, and offering an influx of talent, on the other. Functionally speaking, these are the jobs we’ve been hired to do. However, as we discussed in our first session, the progress we’re hired to create for customers is more nuanced and layered than surface level functionality. As we kicked things off last week we focused equally on our students’ desires to build confidence in their skill sets, and their pursuit of meaning in employment opportunities beyond the program - our social and emotional jobs to be done.
Armed with an understanding of customer discovery best practices and methodologies, DISC students left the Shopify Plus offices with a clear purpose: to build a critical customer persona for their small business client. Catalyzing digital growth for these small businesses begins with this fundamentally human foundation.
A remarkable energy sparked in our first collision of local small business and talented young professionals. Individually fueled by the pursuit of growth and equipped with the initiative to make change a reality, we are well on our way to our destination: progress.
As someone who entered the Digital Innovation Skills Certificate (DISC) program with a background in communications and an insatiable appetite for learning, I was super pumped to meet up with my teammates and begin a thrilling journey into the constantly evolving world of digital.
Off to a Great Start!
Our evening kicked off with a meet and greet dinner at Proof Kitchen and Lounge before all the participants and the program team headed out to our first in-class session at Shopify, one of Canada's leading tech companies with one of the coolest office spaces in the region. It was nice to chat with people with unique skill-sets, from very diverse backgrounds like journalism, business, sociology and music. In addition, I began to get a good sense of the team dynamics, program expectations and deliverables.
Our first in-class session opened with several team building exercises that gave us all an opportunity to brainstorm cool agency names with our respective teams, develop value statements and learn about the small businesses that we'll all be working with for the duration of the DISC program. It was an activity filled first day with lots more to follow in the coming weeks!
What We’ll be Learning
Throughout this 11-Week graduate certificate program, we're going to be diving deep into the world of e-commerce, digital marketing and project management. From the first in-class session, I've seen that the program is going to be an interesting mix of theory and hands-on work sessions that will allow for experiential learning, critical thinking and strategic problem solving as the teams work through each module. It's been designed in such a way that we're all going to be able to learn in-class and online too. Oh, another neat thing about it is the fact that we're going to be constantly exposed to valuable industry-specific insights from experts that live and breathe these core concepts every day!
In a Nutshell
Overall, I’ve had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the first session. Following 5 straight hours of mingling, brainstorming and learning, I can say with absolute certainty that this promises to be a fully engaging experience. I’m also convinced that many of the program’s participants will share the same sentiments. We’re just getting warmed up, cheers to an amazing 11 weeks!
Student Experience: DISC begins with first ever cohort
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Written by Jared Hippe
It began with a toast to the first 30 students selected and just like that we were into the first cohort of the Digital Innovation Skills Certificate. A few appetizers and a little mingling at Proof Restaurant broke the ice for the new program. It was a great way to start meet before we headed over to Shopify’s office space in the old Seagram’s Distillery.
We jumped into our teams and in true “Apprentice” style (thanks, Jeff!), we were tasked with coming up with team names and mission statements in under 15 minutes. Talk about a quick way to get to know new teammates and their styles.
A brief brainstorm session and our agency was born: “Beanstalk”, a collaborative team embodying growth that values getting things done, taking risks and pushing boundaries. We’re thrilled to be working with Dana Shortt Gourmet & Gifts, and having Jolene MacDonald (Partner, The Blondes), as our coach and mentor along the way. The next 11 weeks will reveal much about Dana’s business and it’s our job to take that knowledge and help position her for success.
In the coming weeks we’ll be conducting face-to-face interviews with customers, potential customers and even folks who may not know the first thing about gourmet foods. We will uncover the customer personas to better position our campaign for success. Otherwise, we’re just guessing.To prepare us we took a quick dive into the customer discovery process and personas. We need to know who is buying, why are they buying, and how do we find them? The simple answer: primary research.
We’re set to meet with our client this week and will be ready for interviews to get our first inside look of Dana’s business. We need her perspective of what success looks like to create a roadmap for a digital marketing strategy.
It’s only one day in and we know it’s going to be fast-paced, work-filled and slightly-stressful journey. But there will be fun too. We will get to know the business and its customers inside and out, all while learning in-demand skills and best practices in an emerging field. It’s a win-win scenario and I know my team is ready for the challenges ahead.
Don’t procrastinate! Prepare your 2016 taxes on time. Your filing deadline is June 15, 2017. However, if you have a balance owing for 2016, to avoid any penalties you have to pay it on or before April 30, 2017.
If you are self-employed and not incorporated, you must report your business income on your T1 General income tax return. Any money you make through your business is required to be claimed on your tax return. Your business expenses should also be included in the return, such as business startup costs, office expenses, marketing and advertising etc. It is a good idea to contact Canada Revenue Agency for a complete list of required forms or if you find yourself in need of some additional information on claiming business income and expenses.
Know your dates and forms
Filing deadline is June 15, 2017
Balance owing is April 30, 2017
Take advantage of the CRA Guide T4002 to help you calculate business or personal income
Keep separate records for all income sources
Support all records with original sales invoices, cash register tapes, receipts, fee statements and contracts
If you could write 25-year-old you a letter and fire it off in a time machine, what would it say? Consider those times at the start of your business when you sat at your desk in the dead of night worrying how you were going to make your dream job work while still paying your bills.
That younger you, the one freaking out alone in the dark, still exists. They might also be 25 and shiny, or they might be 45, laid off for the third time and ready to create their own job. They have the same hopes, dreams, worries, and stresses that you did about their new business venture, and they’d really appreciate the advice you would give 25-year-old you.
As a business mentor you, personally, volunteer your time to provide guidance to a new entrepreneur during some or all of the early years of their business. This commitment can be as little as 2 hours per month or every few months. If you sign up through a business help centre, such as the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, you can identify the amount of time you have for the project and be matched up with a mentee that is both eager to learn from you and who can help you grow. If you yearn to give back to the community and support the local economy, your time to shine is now. How benevolent do you feel today?
Acting as a mentor isn’t purely altruistic. To help someone improve their business can’t be the only reason you take time out your work day. That would be a poor business decision and you’re a successful entrepreneur who makes awesome business decisions. So, what’s in it for you as a mentor? The opportunity to grow your business.
Mind blown? Yes, we’re for real. If you take a peek around the web for advice on how to choose the best mentor, you’ll find lists that describe people who are open-minded, good listeners, honest, and who show interest in the mentee’s business goals. That’s a verbal illustration of someone who is as interested in learning from the mentorship as the mentee is. Here is your opportunity to talk to someone regularly who gets social media marketing either because they grew up with it or they spent their early business days monkeying around with it. Now is the time to find out how to integrate healthy staff practices into your existing work ecosystem from a generation that doesn’t accept burnout as the status quo. Bestow your knowledge of legalese, customer care, and vendor negotiations while in turn soaking up fresh ideas from someone who isn’t jaded.
Approach this relationship as a partnership and ditch the superiority. There is a lot for you to gain by finding out what your mentee has tried, failed, and succeeded at while you give them solicited advice. Find out what fuels their passion and let them inspire you to be a stronger entrepreneur yourself.
25-year-old you is waiting for that letter. What are you going to say?