Category Archive for: ‘Small Business’

Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut!


Two dictionary definitions of a rut are: 1) A long deep track made by the repeated passage of wheels on vehicles, 2) A habit or pattern of behaviour that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change. Over the last few years I have chatted with many older farmers or business owners who seem to be stuck in …

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Are Small Businesses Confused With Employee Benefit Rules?


  When your business hires individuals and pays them salary, bonuses or commissions and provides employee benefits, you become an employer and assume specific responsibilities. Today’s complex tax rules impact employee benefits such as group health and dental insurance, group term life insurance, training expenses, motor vehicle allowances, gifts and awards. These are the most common employment benefits offered today …

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Is Your Small Business on the Right Side of the Law?

small business

There’s much more to setting up a small business than meets the eye. From permits to laws that govern employees, to making sure the company’s accounts are in order, to acquiring new shares and assets, to ensuring a secure succession and estate plan are in place, legal liabilities loom at every stage. Businesses are often started on a shoestring budget …

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Health Tips for Small Businesses

Business Insurance

Having been involved as a partner in a farm equipment dealership in Grande Prairie for 11 years, I am very aware of the issues and pitfalls that small businesses are exposed to. And having a business partner killed in a plane crash made me a strong advocate of having a shareholders agreement. Essentially a will for a business, shareholders agreements …

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You can be lucky – it just takes Hard Work and Perseverance!

Wheat 4

People often tell me that I must have been lucky to get to where I’m at in life, to which I reply “Yes I’ve been lucky, and I find that the smarter and harder I work, the luckier I get!” Yes I am lucky, in that I chose to move to Canada from England when I was 22, to have …

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Small Business Contingency Plan

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Sometimes we as financial advisors have to ask tough hypothetical questions to reveal deficiencies in a small businesses contingency plan. A recent bank survey found that more than one-third of Alberta small business owners don’t have any contingency plans. This is especially fresh on the minds of many as a result of last year’s severe weather in southern Alberta. The …

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Keeping Good Employees In A Competitive Labour Market

Girl Behind Til1

The latest Canadian jobs report shows that over 90% of new jobs created last year were in Alberta. Fueled primarily by the oil-patch, our low unemployment rate has produced a major challenge for farmers and small business owners when finding and keeping good employees. Fortunately, not everyone wants to work in the oil-patch with the long hours and time away …

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Understanding a Holding Company

Downtown Business

If you’re currently incorporated, operate more than one type of business or farm, there may be important benefits to understanding a holding company (Holdco) model.  Let’s consider a typical case where setting up a Holdco makes sense. Husband and wife Richard and Sarah, farm together as an informal partnership, and are equal partners in their incorporated oilfield business. The oilfield …

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The Right Business Structure

People With Advisor2

According to statistics, There are almost 100,000 small businesses startups every year, and Companies with fewer than 100 employees make up 98% of all businesses in Canada These numbers are evident of a strong entrepreneurial spirit in Canada, but they don’t reflect the confusion that many business owners have when it come to establishing the right business structure for their …

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Is Business Overhead Expense Insurance Your Missing Coverage?

Old Business

  Entrepreneurs understand that life insurance can help cover both current and future financial risks to our family, business partners, bankers or others who may have a financial interest in our business, should we pass away prematurely.  Most also know that disability coverage is designed to replace our lost income earning ability if we can’t work because of sickness or …

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When Business Partners Need a Shareholders Agreement, Part 2

Buy Sell Agreement1

As I discussed last week (Shareholders Agreement, Part 1), having a properly structured shareholders agreement provides a company with a road map should the partnership relationship fail or a partner leave the company due to retirement, death, or illness.  Here are some typical strategies. Pre-emptive rights to share offerings:  The right for shareholders to maintain their ownership percentage by acquiring …

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When Business Partners Need a Shareholders Agreement, Part 1


Planning is essential to the success of any business.  Many owners have well-written plans for operating their businesses, but very few have an effective plan to deal with issues that may arise between shareholders.  It’s essential that businesses with multiple shareholders have properly structured shareholders agreements in place to protect everyone’s interests. A shareholders agreement is a business contract that …

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Attracting and Retaining Employees Through Savings Plans

Open Sign

A recent survey of Canadian workers by pension consulting firm Towers Watson found that economic uncertainty is fueling fears among workers that they won’t have adequate income in retirement.  This has made employee savings plans increasingly valued by employees of small businesses, as well as an increasingly important benefit that employers can use to attract and retain good long-term workers. …

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Helping Farm Families & Small Business Owners

Team Work

How small businesses benefit from professional advisors Looking back on some 42 years of observations from both sides of the fence as a farm equipment dealer and financial advisor has shown me how professional advisors fit into the picture.  It has also taught me a range of skills for helping farm families and small business owners with their succession, sale, …

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Traps and Opportunities for Contract Oilfield Operators

Oil Patch1

Proposed changes to the taxation of Personal Service Businesses (PSB) by the Federal Government may affect contract operators and those hiring them in oil and gas industries. These changes will have a significant impact on any contract service being provided that was deemed to be a PSB after October 31st 2011, presenting traps and opportunities for contract oilfield operators. Income …

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