The big money isn't as much in winning customers as in keeping customers, writes Liz Tahir -
and the key to keeping customers is the level of customer service you provide.
In this article Liz presents ten customer service tips that will keep your customers coming back.
Learn More About Good Customer Service:
- Customer Service Guide for Small Businesses
- Give Your Small Business a Customer Service Makeover
- Customer Service Basics: How to Help a Customer
- The 5 Types of Customers
- A Customer Service Survey Sample for Your Small Business
- 4 Ways to Provide Excellent Customer Service That Outshines Your Competitors
- 5 Secrets of Good Customer Service
- 10 Customer Service Tips
- 8 Rules for Good Customer Service
Image (c) Siri Stafford / Getty Images
So if your income tax or your GST/HST returns aren't filed, it's time to make them the top priority.
(Yes, it's true that as a self-employed individual you have until June 15th to get your income tax filed but you still have to pay whatever income tax you owe by April 30th.)
(Note that if you want to use NETFILE to file your Canadian income tax you must have prepared your income tax with one of the commercial tax preparation software packages or Web applications certified for NETFILE.)
Read More About Canadian Income Tax
- Canadian Income Tax Due Dates
- How Long Does a Tax Refund Take?
- Canadian Income Tax and Your Small Business
- Business Expenses Index for Canadian Businesses
- The Rules for Meals and Entertainment Expenses on Canada Income Tax
- What Motor Vehicle Expenses Can You Claim on Income Tax in Canada?
- Canadian Income Tax FAQs for Small Businesses
- How to Complete the T1 Canadian Income Tax Form as a Business
- How to Calculate Capital Cost Allowance
- Guide to Income Tax for Canadian Corporations
- Investment Tax Credits for Canadian Small Businesses
- Top Canadian Tax Software Programs
Image (c) David Sacks / Getty Images
As someone thinking of starting a small business, starting a green business has two advantages over starting any other kind of business.
First, interest in being green and patronizing green businesses is growing so you will be starting a business targeting a growing market.
Second, starting a green business can be particularly satisfying as you get to make your own contribution to making the world a better place.
Here are what I think are the best green business ideas.
Explore More Business Ideas
- The Best Business Opportunities 2014
- Top 10 Home Business Opportunities
- 7 Inexpensive Business Ideas
- Business Ideas Based on Baby Boomer Trends
- The Best Green Business Ideas
- 18 Pet Business Ideas
- Best Small Business Ideas for Businesses That Will Prosper in Tough Times
- The 10 Best Small Business Ideas for Students
- 12 Wacky But Successful Business Ideas
Image (c ) Peter Dazeley / Getty Images
Think you may have missed something? Here's your round-up of the past week at About Small Business Canada so you can catch up with all the new articles and blog posts.
Posts & New Articles
Image (c) Susan Ward
It's Earth Day April 22nd!
Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson and Harvard University student Dennis Hayes celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970 and now more than 6 million Canadians join 500 million people in over 180 countries in staging events and projects to address local environmental issues, according to Earth Day Canada.
This year, Earth Day Canada is running a Act For the Planet campaign that offers daily challenges to make the world a greener place.
And on Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27st, the Toronto Zoo is hosting All Things Local for Earth Day , a great one to attend if you're in the area.
Your business can get in on the action too.
10 Easy Ways Your Business Can Go Green offers a list of simple but meaningful things you can do at your place of business all year long to make a difference.
One that my article doesn't mention but that's extremely popular is planting trees.
Besides being environmentally friendly, there's nothing like a beautiful tree for dressing up a property. Learn the right way to plant a tree with this article from About.com's Landscaping Guide David Beaulieu.
More Resources to Green Your Business and Your Life
- The Green Office Guide
- Green Procurement
- Is an Electric Vehicle Right for Your Business?
- 10 Ways to Save Money on Gas
- Where to Recycle Computers in Canada
- 3 Keys to Successful Green Marketing
- Sustainable Development for Small Businesses
- Five Ways to Help Save the Planet in 30 Minutes or Less (About.com Environmental Issues)
Image (c) Tristan Ferne
Administrative Professionals Day is April 23rd - although Administrative Professionals week runs from April 20st through the 26th.
Which means that time is getting short for finding a gift to show your appreciation to those staff who do so much for your business.
If you don't already have something picked out to show your appreciation to those staff who do so much for your business, you'll appreciate these Administrative Professionals Week: Ideas for Showing Your Appreciation.
Looking for other gift suggestions? Top Gift Baskets for Administrative Professionals Day.
Image courtesy of PriceGrabber.com
Well of course you are!
Only a fool wouldn't feel at least a twinge of anxiety at the prospect of starting a new small business.
You're doing something new, something uncertain, something risky. Add the scare factor of shaky economic times and no one will blame you for doing a bit of quaking.
But don't let fear stop you from doing something you truly want to do. In the article just linked, you'll learn how to manage your fear by preparing to succeed and by changing your attitude to failure.
You can also manage your fear by mitigating the risk of starting a new business. Much of small business success is simply a matter of choosing the right business to start in the right place at the right time.
In uncertain economic times, it's more important than ever to Not Do What You Love and choose to start a small business that will meet people's needs, such as one of the small business ideas profiled in Best Small Business Ideas for Businesses That Will Prosper in Tough Times.
And the absolute best way to get over your fear of doing something? To plunge in and do it. Steps to Starting a Small Business in Canada will lead you through the process of getting your own small business up and running.
Image (c) Peter Dutton
Learn More About Starting a Small Business
- Thinking of Starting a Small Business?
- 6 Traits You Need to Be Self-Employed
- What Type of Business Should You Start?
- The Two Paths to Starting a Business
- Top 10 Tips for Starting a Business That Will Succeed
- How to Start a Home-Based Business
- 5 Resources You Need to Succeed
- 8 Things Every Startup Needs to Know
- The Steps to Starting a Business in Canada
- How to Put Off Your Excuses and Start Your Own Business
The ongoing fallout from Heartbleed is a real wakeup call. Many of us pay very little attention to the security of our data until something goes wrong - a practice that can be disastrous for small businesses.
Heartbleed is not a virus but a "serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet" (heartbleed.com).
But such vulnerabilities are only one way that your business data can be endangered. One of the more common scenarios is having a virus or malware infect your computer or network, damaging or destroying your data.
Read How Not to Become a Computer Virus Victim to learn how you and your employees can keep your valuable data safe.Learn More About Data Management:
- Basic Email Management
- 10 Tips for Organizing Computer Files
- How to Create a Document Management System
- 7 Ways to Make Record Management Easy
- How to Master Your Filing System
- Filing Tips for People Who Hate Filing
- 4 Tips for Filing Receipts
- The 6 Rules of Business Data Protection
- The 3 Steps to Successful Data Backup
Image (c) David Gould / Getty Images
Is this the way you feel because there seem to be so many people selling products and/or services online similar to the ones your small business offers - without having even half the overhead you have as a bricks-and-mortar business?
Then you'll want to read this article about 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Compete With Online Businesses so you can start fighting back.
More on Competing
- How to Do a Competitive Analysis
- 6 Ways to Find Out What Your Competition Is Up To
- What to Do When a Customer Praises a Competitor's Product
- Tips for Standing Out From the Competition
- 4 Ways To Provide Customer Service That Outshines Your Competitors
Image (c) Sean Ellis / Getty Images
What would you do if your most popular products were suddenly as popular as typewriters?
Or if most of your customers suddenly lost their jobs all at once?
Bad economic times aren't necessarily something that you see coming for a long time, like low grey clouds on the horizon. They can also be something that hits someplace like a tornado that no one saw coming.
And small businesses are much more vulnerable than bigger ones.
Read 7 Ways to Make Your Business Thrive in Tough Economic Times to learn how you can protect your small business.
Learn More About Good Business Management
- 7 Ways to Control Chaos in Your Small Business
- How to Be a Good Manager
- Business Planning Guide
- 7 Ways to Make Your Business Thrive in Tough Times
- Business Management Basics
- Give Your Small Business a Health Checkup
- 5 Ways to Protect Your Cash Flow
- How to Create an Advisory Board
- 5 Keys to Small Business Leadership
- 5 Lessons for Client Relationship Management
- How to Do SWOT Analysis for Your Business
- Quick-Start Business Planning
Image (c) Cultura Science/Jason Persoff/Stormdoctor/ Getty Images