Small business optimism at three-year high, with $140B in spending to come in 2018: BDC study

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada are showing a renewed confidence in their future prospects, according to the Business Development of Canada’s (BDC) newly released study, Investment Intentions of Canadian Entrepreneurs: An Outlook for 2018.The cross-Canada report reveals that business optimism is at its highest point of the past three years. Overall, the upswing is attribu [...]

16 January 2018

Tax reform and Fed rate hikes not helping floundering greenback

The U.S. dollar has started off 2018 where it left off last year — on the decline — and if forecasts for the currency to soften further prove correct, that could make the Canadian dollar’s recent ascent to 80 cents U.S. seem rather insignificant by the end of the year.On Tuesday, the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) fell below 92 for the first time in more than three months, after dropping approximat [...]

09 January 2018

Top energy and mining picks to consider amid strong global growth

If you’re looking for an easy way to measure the health of the global economy, look no further than the fact that 75 per cent of OECD countries posted accelerating GDP growth in the third quarter. At the same time, no OECD country is experiencing a recession.That’s the second consecutive quarter this feat has been achieved, and the absence of a recession is something that hasn’t occurred sin [...]

09 January 2018

For investors, 2017 was the year everything went right, and that's enough to make anyone paranoid

Portfolio managers are a paranoid lot. When times are good, we worry about when it’s going to end. When times are bad, we worry that it’s never going to end.”Don Cranston, the C in CGOV Asset Management, told me this years ago. He could’ve been referencing 2017, which for me, was a year of discomfort. It just felt too good.After years of markets over-reacting to political and s [...]

21 December 2017

'I'm flesh and blood and I'm here to help you': Hunter Harrison's transformation model

After taking the reins as chief executive officer of Canadian National Railway Co. in 2003, E. Hunter Harrison — the legendary railroad leader who died last weekend due to severe complications from an illness — was determined to make sure his employees understood the high standards he expected of them.So he held a series of what were known as “Hunter Camps” — intimate three-day [...]

21 December 2017

How to Automate Your Small Business Marketing with These 4 Approaches

One of the biggest difficulties of running a small business is too many tasks for too few employees. Large organizations can afford separate sales and marketing departments and budgets; small companies cannot. Often, just one or two people are responsible for all sales and marketing tasks, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to complete all the necessary tasks. Without creative marke [...]

19 December 2017

What Are Facebook Messenger Ads and How Can Your Business Use Them?

Even with all our technology, we still prefer solutions that have a human touch. That’s why we use Siri on iPhone, voice assistants like Alexa or Google Home, and chatbots.  We like to feel like we are interacting with someone real. In turn, this sentiment has started to influence the way we shop.Voice assistants and chatbots are being used to shop more efficiently. For instance, [...]

19 December 2017

Five Ways to Position Your Organization for Sales and Marketing Success in 2018

Can you believe 2018 is right around the corner? It feels like the planning just ended for 2017. But now is the time for reflection on how those plans shook out, the successes that came from them, and the areas that could have been improved. For any large organization this time of year is going to be a blur of analyzing, projecting, planning, and executing. By the time the new year roll [...]

13 December 2017

Three Mad-Scientist Marketing Methods to Ignite Business Growth

If you were asked to define your next move to ignite revenue growth, would you suggest firing 60% of your clients? How about grinding iPhones in a kitchen blender? No? OK, how about deploying basketball-dunking sumo wrestlers? It might seem crazy, but those are all real-world tactics that have led to massive business growth for their respective organizations. In my book Rethink Your Mar [...]

13 December 2017

Why this energy fund manager isn't being cautious

It’s been a bumpy year for oil prices. After dipping to nearly US$42 per barrel in June, crude is now hovering near US$60, and is poised to end 2017 up about five per cent. Unfortunately, the Canadian energy sector has failed to keep pace, as the S&P/TSX Composite Energy Index has fallen more than 10 per cent, and many stocks are still down 40 to 50 per cent.There is no shortage of [...]

11 December 2017

Five reasons why 2017 has been such a blockbuster year for investors

For many investors, it has been a very good year. Of course, we will soon start to see a plethora of market ‘predictions’ for 2018, and we have promised our editor we will come up with one as well. But, before one can even try to predict the future, one needs to look at the past. With the help of Brandon Osten and his team at Venator Capital, as succinctly outlined in his recent Inve [...]

11 December 2017

The Importance of Cybersecurity in Your Small Business

Cybersecurity is a major concern for today’s small businesses. But that doesn’t mean that all small businesses have to approach cybersecurity in the same way. Small Business Trends caught up with Michael Kaisser of the National Cyber Security Alliance at Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City’s Times Square to discuss how small businesses can make sense of all the complicated cybersecur [...]

29 November 2017

UPS Adds Surcharge for Packages Set to Arrive the Week Before Christmas

UPS (NYSE:UPS) is adding an extra surcharge for packages shipped to homes between December 17 and 23 this year. The cost, which includes a 27-cent charge for ground packages, 81 cents for next-day air and 97 cents for two- or three-day delivery, could make a major impact on ecommerce retailers during the holiday season. Obviously, that period of time is exceptionally popular for online sh [...]

29 November 2017