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Are You Starting a New Business in Alberta? This is where you need to start.

Are You Starting a New Business in Alberta? This is where you need to start.

Updated: January 18, 2013

Visit my Calgary Marketing website for more on the marketing services that I provide.

According to Industry Canada (2007), 30% of small businesses fail in the first year and 50% fail after three years. The number one reason for a business to fail within that time is poor accounting. But to leave it at “poor accounting” would simply mean if you have a good bookkeeper, then the future will be smooth sailing. The truth is, poor accounting really means a business owner’s lack of awareness of cash flow. Understanding cash flow is as much a marketing issue as it is an accounting issue.

Consider the following checklist for a business start-up.

Business Start Up Checklist

    1. Have you developed your business plan to include:
      • Identification of market for your product or services
      • Amount and source of financing required
      • Determination of management and key personnel
      • Location of premises and facilities
      • Preparation of projected financial statements
      • Preparation of budgets with realistic margins and contingencies
      • Legal form of your business
    2. Have you discussed your business plans with a financial institution to obtain adequate financing?
    3. Have customers been researched?
    4. Have suppliers been contacted to establish pricing and terms of credit?
    5. If a proper location has been determined, have you reviewed your offer to purchase or agreement to lease with a lawyer prior to signing?
    6. Have your financial budgets and projected start-up costs been developed or amended based upon new information?
    7. Have you applied for a Business Number in order to remit GST, Employee Payroll Taxes and Corporate Taxes?
    8. Have you registered with the Workers Safety Insurance Board?
    9. If providing taxable goods or services, have you obtained a Retail Sales Tax Permit for each province you will be doing business in?
    10. Have you implemented an adequate accounting and record keeping system with the help of your accountant?
    11. Have you obtained adequate liability and business insurance?
    12. Have you established a year-end date for the business?
    13. Have you registered with any applicable government licensing body that regulates your industry?
    14. Have you developed marketing strategies on how best to promote your business?

In the above list, points 1, 3, 4, 5 are marketing issues. And point 2 (discussing your business plan with a financial institution) will have that point’s success hinging on your marketing skills. Therefore, the first five steps of starting a new business have everything to do with marketing. This article and every other article in my blog are part of an ongoing process to better inform new and established business owners on how to succeed.

I often find that people are not aware of what it is that a marketer does. Visit my website to better understand marketing and be sure to click the Customer Relationship Management link. One reason for this is the number of sales people who pose as advertising consultants. See this Sales Zombies blog post regarding sales people. A marketer, at least a good marketer, will do everything from logo design, web design, finding customers for you (which is called sales channel development) and in this process you can find markets that you never thought possible to obtain. A good marketer will do financial calculations to tell you the cost of acquiring a new customer and the life-time value of a new customer; they will help you develop your brand which, most people do not realize, has more to do with good customer service than it does the logo you choose for your business.

The importance of a good marketer often goes unnoticed because for every good marketer there are 20 sales people intercepting a new business owner and since time is so limited for the business owner, letting that sales person make the decisions for you just seems to be the easy thing to do.

What follows are a few tips on what most sales people will never tell you.

Facebook and Google Advertising

This article isn’t so much about Facebook advertising than it is about the many marketing options that very few people will ever tell you about.

Lethbridge FAcebook Advertising

Lethbridge Facebook Advertising

Above is a screen shot from the Facebook Ad Manager page. Facebook advertising can be the most effective form of advertising in Calgary or Lethbridge [January 18, 2013 Update: Search Engine Optimization and Google Ad Words are Now Much Better than Facebook. But, if you are trying to promote something within Facebook such as an even or Page then Facebook ads should prove better]. I have an article below regarding a local TV station selling “Internet impressions.” If the same method is used then Facebook advertising costs about 95% less than the Internet advertising that the local TV station was selling.

Secrets of Print Advertising

Another untold secret is related to print advertising and flyers. I’ll give two examples one for business cards and one for flyers.

[ January 18, 2013 Update: Though I still prefer Vancouver printing companies over any other in Canada I have sent a few jobs to Vista Print (the online printing company) and have been very happy. ]

Business cards can be printed in four ways: a home laser printer, a professional laser printer such as a xerox, a digital press, and an off set press. My advice is to always go for the off set press. 2,500 professionally printed (the best possible quality with full colour on both sides) cards will cost under $200. You’ll hear a lot of quotes and salesmanship related to the cost of “plates.” Plate costs are a thing of the past. If a printer says the plates make getting 2,500 cards printed for under $200 impossible, simply ask them to run the job “gang press.”

No printer wants you to know about “gang press” jobs.

Here is a price list for print work. The listed prices are accurate as of August 17, 2009 but do not include design /art work costs.

Print Costs for Business Cards to Full Page

Another secret is in flyer production…. well, this article is getting quite long so I’ll save this for another time.

The last thing I want to mention is that everything discussed so far is not even 0.01% of what marketing covers. Marketing is also the financial aspect of how much a customer is worth over his or her life, the physical location of your business, the perception (in the minds of) customers have about your business… the list never seems to end.

If you have any questions, feel free to email or call me (403) 991-8863.

Visit my website at for more on the marketing services that I provide.

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  1. I just started a new business.Cleaning and Moving Services in Calgary. I was wondering whether you can help me figure out a one year Cash flow Statement for my feasibility study. a sample could do.Your blog is very informative. Will contact you for fiers as soon as my request for funding is accepted.
    Call me anytime though.403-585-6958.Lovely work and help those that need you Sir.

    Thanks again


  2. Excellent post. Thanks.

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