Profit Should Not be a Dirty Word for Social Entrepreneurs

Profit Should Not be a Dirty Word for Social Entrepreneurs

Originally published in the Globe and Mail.

As Richard Beaumont drove down the highway toward Herman Miller’s head office in Zeeland, Mich., in 2010, he felt equal parts excitement and fear.

If the meeting with the office furniture giant went well, it would likely change the trajectory of his own small business, Toronto-based Green Standards Ltd., a socially conscious company that helps divert old office furniture from the landfill.

“I was absolutely terrified on the way over because the stakes were so high. What that partnership would do for us was obviously monumental,” he says.

It turns out he needn’t have worried. After touring Herman Miller’s corporate headquarters, Mr. Beaumont, his company’s investor and two other team members presented the Green Standards concept to six or seven executive and sales management teams. Put simply, if they formed a partnership, Herman Miller customers – many of which are large Fortune 500 corporations – would pay to have their surplus office waste either donated, sold or recycled and, in return, could generate some great PR, measurable statistics and all.

They went for it.

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Strategic Location and Family-Friendly Atmosphere Brew Results

Strategic Location and Family-Friendly Atmosphere Brew Results

Originally published in the Globe and Mail.

Freshly crafted beer may be the star item on Yellow Dog Brewing’s product menu, but the Port Moody, B.C., microbrewery serves up much more than tasty ales.

With a prime spot right across from the city’s biggest park and a backyard that includes a patio and picnic area, Yellow Dog Brewing offers customers a great view to enjoy with their beverages.

“Right now we’re the only brewery in the Vancouver area that has a picnic area licence so people can come in, relax at one of our sitting areas and enjoy a glass of beer in a unique atmosphere,” says Melinda Coghill, who founded Yellow Dog Brewing with her husband, Mike. “People are flocking in because they want to sit and relax with a glass of craft beer and watch the train go by.”

Since it opened in the summer, Yellow Dog Brewing has been selling out of its ales week after week. Ms. Coghill says Yellow Dog brews close to 3,000 litres of beer weekly, and the company is usually down to its last keg before the next batch is ready.

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High-Tech Options Replace the Lowly Loyalty Punch Card

Originally published in the Globe and Mail.

For a while, the stamp card was the currency of customer rewards at Presotea Co. Ltd., a bubble tea retailer with 12 locations in the Greater Toronto Area. The system was simple: Card holders got an ink stamp for every bubble tea they bought and were rewarded with a free beverage after so many purchases.

But Presotea’s managers soon realized the stamp card system came with a host of problems and disadvantages. Earlier this year, the company switched to an electronic service that lets customers tap into the loyalty programs of multiple retailers using one digital card.

“It’s so much more efficient than the stamp card, which costs a lot of money for printing, stamps and ink, and we were finding that some staff were giving away stamped cards to their friends and family members,” says Ian Tan, Presotea’s sales and marketing manager.

“Also, we couldn’t really tell how well it was working because we had no way of tracking how many customers had the cards and how often they were coming back.”

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Effective Cash Management for Small Business — Live October 23, 2014

You may have heard the phrase "cash is king." In small business, cash is not king; cash is air. Without it, the business cannot survive. It is its very lifeblood.

For small businesses to grow and prosper, cash must be forecast, monitored, and ideally enhanced. Big business methodologies have some value in small business, but the priorities, tools, and most importantly, attitudes are quite different.

Cash management in small business is more important than profitability. The two are certainly inter-related; however, positive cash flow is often much more important than net income. This webcast will teach you how to allocate more of your time to work on strategies and tactics for improving cash flow.

Effective cash management requires more than financial expertise. You certainly need accounting knowledge, but you also have to think and act like an entrepreneur.

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AMA Management Featured in The Globe and Mail's Expert's Challenge Series

AMA Management Featured in The Globe and Mail's Expert's Challenge Series

The following article was originally published in The Globe and Mail on Wednesday, Feb. 05 2014, 5:00 AM EST.

To read the full version of this article, click here.

Long-life Laptop Battery the Tech Industry Doesn’t Want you to Have

Fed up with the dwindling battery life of his BlackBerry Bold 9000, Carleton University chemistry student Tim Sherstyuk took a straightforward problem to his electrical engineer dad, Nick: Could the two of them come up with the technology to make a standard lithium-ion battery last longer?

Lithium-ion batteries are the rechargeable life forces powering most portable consumer electronics. If you have a smartphone or laptop, there’s a good chance you’ve also dashed for a power outlet in a public space once your device reached its first birthday.

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Categories: Small Business
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