Small business

November 01, 2021

New Zealand moves to three days a week mail service

Times are changing with postal services around the world thanks to people's reliance on smartphones and email.

New Zealand recently agreed to cut its mail delivery to three days a week in urban areas and five days a week in rural areas, since they're more reliant on mail, by 2015. Normally, mail is delivered six days a week.

The New Zealand Post fought for the change since it currently barely breaks even. If the normal delivery schedule continue, the service would be put it in the red, according to the Telegraph.

During the last 10 years, the amount of mail sent has dropped by a quarter and it's expected to continue rapidly dropping. The nation continues to lose another eight per cent each year, the communications minister told the Telegraph.

Anyone looking for daily mail deliveries can sign up for a premium courier-type service, but it will be interesting to see how businesses and newspapers adjust to this change.

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October 15, 2021

Are roadside "take what you want and pay what you owe" stands doomed?

For some time now, Cropthorne Farm on B.C.’s Lower Mainland has sold eggs on the honour system. They load up a cooler with about eight dozen eggs and put it at the end of their driveway with a sign reading “$5” and a jar filled with some change in to get things rolling.

Whether it's corn or apples, honour boxes like this remain a point of pride and practicality for a number of small farmers across the country who think their time is better spent tending crops than manning a roadside stand -- and who firmly believe that most people are honest.

And it would seem that many are. Despite the hundreds of vehicles that rush by, nobody has ever stolen a single egg, lifted the cash or even shortchanged owner, farm owner Lydia Ryall says.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the norm.

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The CRA will tax money raised through crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has become a legitimate avenue for entrepreneurs and artists to raise money for their unique ideas or projects, but anyone crowdfunding needs to know that the CRA can tax you on the money raised.

If a person received money for their business or project, such as a movie, and they receive the completed product or a promotional item, but not equity or a cut of the profits, then that's considered to be business income. But whether those crowdfunding expenses are deductible or not depends on whether they follow the Income Tax Act.

There continues to be debate in Canada about the pros and cons of crowdfunding, but the latest statistics by research firm Massolution show that $2.7 billion was raised worldwide for more than one million campaigns in 2012.

Meanwhile, both the Ontario and Saskatchewan governments are looking into equity crowdfunding, which would let startups and small businesses attract potential investors through crowdfunding.

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October 02, 2021

The only companies that will matter in the future

Bruce Poon Tip with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Bruce Poon Tip, founder, G Adventures, tells what he thinks it takes for someone to be a successful entrepreneur:

In my book, Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business (a New York Times and Globe & Mail bestseller and available now at all book retailers and at, I write about the importance of community, culture and karma in business and challenge entrepreneurs and companies to look at how they are doing business through a different lens. It is possible to be profitable and purposeful in business today. The only companies and brands that will matter in the future are those that make people’s lives better. 

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July 25, 2021

Men and women do business differently

Men and women both have a passion for business. But how they do it is altogether different.

A new survey shows clear differences in the motivations and characteristics of men and women business owners, and how they got to where they are.

For instance the study, conducted by Pollara for BMO Bank of Montreal, finds that male business owners (65 per cent) are more likely than their female counterparts (56 per cent) to have acquired their role by starting their own business.

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May 14, 2021

Now's the time to boost CPP payroll deductions: report

The federal government is currently considering increasing CPP and QPP benefits, which would mean a significant premium hike for working Canadians and even more serious impacts for the economy.

But small business owners in particular are concerned about the costs associated with any expansion of benefits, according to Canadian Federation of Independent Business president Dan Kelly.

Earlier this month, CFIB issued an update of its Forced Savings report, examining the so-called 10-10-10 proposal for CPP/QPP expansion.

This plan would hike CPP benefits by 10 percentage points from 25% to 35% of maximum pensionable earnings (MPE), raise the MPE by $10,000 from today’s $51,100 to $61,100, and implement all of this within 10 years.

Trouble is, this double-whammy payroll tax hike could mean that many Canadians see their take home pay drop each year on January 1 for 10 straight years, Kelly maintains.

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April 30, 2021

Canadian businesses looking to hire new grads

Now that school is out for college and university students, the race is on to find a job.

Even though employment fell by 55,000 full-time jobs in March, it is up by 203,000 over last year.

But even better news is that almost half of Canadian businesses plan on hiring students or recent graduates this year, according to a new report by BMO Bank of Montreal.

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March 26, 2021

Canada Revenue Agency turns up the heat on cash businesses

The Canadian tax system relies upon self-assessment, which means, essentially, that you’re trusted to be honest in your reporting, maintain good books, and hang on to the records needed to support your claim. And most people do just that.

Every year though, the CRA highlights certain areas in search of unreported income like cash-intensive businesses, such as restaurants, for instance.

Recently, CRA has taken to double-checking reported company revenues by indirect means, such as extrapolating total sales based on tip income declared by wait staff.

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March 19, 2022

Canadian franchises have the right stuff

What do franchises like Pizza Nova, M&M Meat Shops, Cora and Coffee Culture have in common?

They all have the ingredients to be financially successful.

In Canada, one out of every five dollars spent ends up in the cash register of a franchise operation.

That's more than $100 billion each year, proving savvy marketing, solid fiscal planning and some calculated risks are helping franchises prosper north of the 49th parallel.

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March 13, 2022

Canadians on a penny roll

What do you plan on doing with all your hard-earned pennies during the great Canadian penny phase out?

It seems like my change purse -- which was usually overflowing with pennies -- is becoming void of one-cent pieces.

I seem to be taking out my debit card a little more than usual -- especially if the store is rounding up and I will be short-changed so to speak.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...