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5 Negotiation Tips

You’ve finally found that investor interested in helping your company raise growth capital. Now you need to get the exact deals and terms that you’re looking for. Strong negotiation skills are needed in every business venture and it is important to be able to compromise on the terms so that both parties are happy with the deal. Negotiation skills are acquired through time and practice. Here are five tips that will help you get started: 1. Give and Take: Make sure you know how to compromise. Both sides need to have certain needs met. 2. Be Willing to Walk Away: Go with your gut. Sometimes the deal will not go through – and that’s okay. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen, and sometimes you may need to go through multiple deals in order to get what you need and want. 3. Don’t Rush: Don’t ever rush when trying to complete a business deal. By rushing you may miss important details in contracts, or you may miss out on a better deal. That being said, sometimes waiting too long isn’t helpful either. Make sure to find the right balance. 4. Do Your Homework: Do all the research you possibly can on the investor(s) that are interested in your opportunity. Going into a business venture completely blind is never a good idea. Doing the proper research will eliminated future problems. 5. Listen: Make sure to listen to the other party. This is especially important in making sure that the deal you come to terms with is fair for both sides. Share...

Why is Canada Giving Less Seed Capital to Women, Innovators, and Start-ups?

Although there has been much debate on this topic, there is certainly a good argument to be made that suggests women, innovators and start-ups are being avoided, or at least treated unfairly, by Canadian suppliers of capital (i.e. banks, trust companies, etc…). Referring to the 2007 Survey on Financing Small and Medium Enterprises done by Statistics Canada, this financing gap argument is easily seen in the following segments: Businesses owned by women: Only 62% of businesses owned solely by women have their loan requests authorized. Compare this with businesses owned solely by men, which received authorizations on as many as 88% of their loan requests. Smaller Businesses: Businesses with between 1 and 4 employees had only 86% of their loan requests authorized, while businesses with 100 to 499 had as many as 97% of their loan requests authorized. Innovative Businesses: Businesses with R&D expenditures greater than 20% had only 79% of their loan requests authorized. Non-innovative businesses with no R&D expenditures had as many as 87% of their loan requests authorized. In this day and age, and especially in an economy that is in such need of a kick-start, it is staggering to think that we are still putting hurdles around the segments of the market that could very well lead us into our next growth phase. Entrepreneurs have enough of an upward battle as it is, let alone unfair treatment such as this. We’d love to hear from such entrepreneurs who have experienced these obstacles, to see if we can do something about it! Share...
Debt vs. Equity Finance

Debt vs. Equity Finance

In order to expand your business, it is important to understand the two main financing methods. Equity requires investors while debt, which is familiar to most people, is a temporary loan that needs to be paid back with interest. Equity financing involves bringing in investors who provide capital in exchange for a share of the business. This is the strategy that companies use on the popular TV shows, Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank. Unlike debt financing, you are not required to pay back the loan, even if the company does not make profits. Investors don’t require an immediate return on investment since investors are looking at the big picture of the company. Getting written a check may seem like the perfect solution, but this comes with major strings attached since you no longer retain the exclusive rights to the company. Therefore, you need to split the profits with the venture capitalists. Debt financing involves borrowing money from a financial institution or bank and usually requires good credit. Taking on debt scares many business owners because they fear that they will be unable to repay the debt along with the added on interest. With debt financing, full ownership of the company is still in your hands. Taking on debt can also help with future borrowing since it can build up credit if the payments are made in a timely manner. Unlike equity financing, debt must be repaid at some point. Cash flow is required otherwise the payments pile up and therefore make it harder to repay. If the debt-equity ratio is too high it will push away any future investors...
Thought Leadership: What Great Companies Know

Thought Leadership: What Great Companies Know

The best companies embrace a culture of innovation and creativity, always pushing forward with new ways to serve their clients, customers and employees. Balancing structured, tested approaches with forward thinking insights. Thought leadership can best be defined as industry leadership by way of applying innovative insights to that which has worked in the past. Leverage the old to make space for the new There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. These concepts are true. However, companies who do not evolve ultimately stagnate. Stagnation is death for any business. The best companies understand how to make use of innovation by building on a solid platform from the past. Industry leaders have keen insight into how to leverage the old to make space for the new. People: Your Greatest Asset Great companies know that their brand is created daily by those who work with and for its cause. Your people are the greatest strengths your company has. This applies to both your internal workforce and external customers and clients. People matter. Companies, who are considered thought leaders in their industry, making a real impact on their industry’s landscape, value their people first. Invest in “your people” wisely. Your customers, clients and those employees who promote your brand tirelessly are investments you cannot afford to neglect. Thought leadership achieves results because those companies thinking big are those companies looking forward. Tweet...
3 Tips on Small-Talk

3 Tips on Small-Talk

People often focus on more formal business skills, such as networking and building their elevator pitch; small talk just doesn’t seem to be a priority for most people. It may seem strange to focus on the art of small talk, but being good at small talk can be vital to your professional success. Regardless of your role in a company, you will most definitely – at some point – find yourself in a professional setting where you are forced to make conversation with someone you don’t know; it could be a senior manager, client, or even a co-worker. But how do you hold a conversation with someone you barely know, or someone you seemingly have nothing in common with? It’s always good to have a couple of go-to topics in your back pocket – that way, you’re never sitting there twiddling your thumbs, having to think of a topic of forced conversation. Here are some tips on making small talk like a pro:   Ask open-ended questions The key is to ask questions that are easy enough to answer so that the person won’t have to work too hard to engage in conversation, and also something that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” – which stops the conversation pretty quickly. Plus, if you’re the one asking questions, you’re letting the other person direct the conversation. This allows the dialogue to develop naturally, and puts less pressure on you having to find a new topic to keep the conversation going.   Share something about yourself One of the easiest conversation starters is making a small comment that...
3 Ways to Become an Industry Leader

3 Ways to Become an Industry Leader

Building a brand is best achieved by developing a good reputation in the your community for being an expert within your industry niche. It’s important to keep in mind that becoming a leader within an industry takes time and determination. To establish your brand as a leader in the public eye, you need to be consistent when promoting your brand image. Here are three tips you can use when seeking to build your brand as an industry leader:     Host Workshops   When a company takes on the challenge of hosting a workshop, it shows that their brand has expert knowledge on the subject that it can share with the community. When planning your workshop, be sure to brainstorm ways in which your brand’s image can be used to share your knowledge or products. Once you have that figured out, be sure to invite other industry leaders and media to ensure that your workshop increases gains public awareness.     Be active on Social Media   One of the best ways to build a brand image these days is through social media. By creating a brand profile, you can send up regular updates re: your brand’s activity and achievements to a wide audience with ease. When promoting your brand image on social media, be sure that every post represents your brand, is targeted to your desired audience, and (most importantly) include relevant information.     Participate in Speaking Engagements   Becoming an industry leader will require getting in front of the public and sharing what makes your brand unique. This is often done at public events (workshops) and...