In my "What motivated you to take the plunge and devote yourself to your own business full-time?" poll, the answer "losing my full-time/part-time job" is the most popular answer. (Vote in the poll if you'd like - it's still open.)
Having "been there and done that" as they say, I appreciate what a difficult transition that can be. Working for someone else is just completely different than working for yourself.
One of the problems I noticed immediately is that I suddenly had to be paying attention to all sorts of things that other people used to look after for me - from getting the money I was owed
through coming up with my own retirement plan
Eventually I learned that if I was going to be successfully self-employed, I was going to have to think and act differently. I had to develop what I call an "entrepreneurial mindset". 6 Traits You Need to Move From Being an Employee to Being Self-Employed explains what I mean.
What do you think are the most important characteristics of an entrepreneur? Add your opinion here.
More on Being an Entrepreneur
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I've had quite a few emails from small business people wondering what sales taxes they should be charging when they invoice people in provinces other than their own.
Do you charge the customer HST, (Harmonized Sales Tax), for instance, when you're operating your business in Ontario and the customer is in Alberta?
And what about PST (Provincial Sales Tax)? Do you have to charge and collect that from customers in other provinces?
The basic rule is that if you are selling goods or services out of province, you charge the GST/HST and/or PST rate based on where the goods are being shipped to unless there is some rule or exception that says you would not.
So in the example above of a business in Ontario shipping to a customer in Alberta, the Ontario business would charge the Alberta customer only the GST because Alberta has neither HST nor PST.
My article, Charging Provincial Sales Taxes on Online Sales explains in detail which taxes you need to charge when you ship goods to other provinces or territories and what the current HST and PST rates are in each province.
(Note that online businesses in Canada must follow the same rules as offline businesses in Canada, so the information in this article applies to bricks-and-mortar businesses with no online presence as well.)
Learn More on HST
And, of course, the Canada Revenue Agency has lots of information on HST and is ready to assist you. Visit their GST/ HST hub page or phone them at 1-800-959-5525 (TTY 1-800-665-0354).
Learn More About PST
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Positive word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools going. So why just sit back and hope that it happens?
Take a proactive stance instead and use these 10 Ways to Grow Positive Word of Mouth to increase your customer base.
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SWOT analysis is one of the most popular business planning tools, probably because it's so accessible and so versatile.
Besides using it as the basis for your small business's annual planning, you can also use it to start a marketing action plan, as a way to vet a business idea if you're thinking of starting a business, or even as a personal planning tool.
Here's how to do SWOT analysis for your business and an example of SWOT analysis you can use as a model.
Read More About Business Planning
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