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  • Deal breakers | Small Biz Advisor
    example you may not have an HR manager but realize you have a bunch of personnel headaches you have yet to deal with While you may not be able to correct the issue before the sale letting the prospective owner know the problem in advance can turn it into an opportunity perhaps the acquirer has a fully integrated HR department that could pick up the slack Regardless trying to hide the issue raises suspicions 5 Litigation If your company s being sued or you are pursuing a suit against another entity and either lawsuit could materially impact your business there isn t much chance you ll be able to sell until everything s sorted 6 Environmental Red Flags If there s any environmental contamination on your business property the chance of selling is greatly diminished You must complete environmental testing and if necessary remediation before a deal can be done For minor cleanup issues a Phase 1 environmental audit which inspects and reviews past uses of the land and disclosure of the problem is probably enough However many deals have broken down over these concerns 7 Personal Expenses Normalizations is the polite term used to reference expenses that won t recur under new ownership It s often a euphemism for personal expenses put through a business to minimize taxes such as salaried spouses and children who provide little or no services to the company Normalizations come in many forms I once asked an owner of a consumer products business about the marine equipment item on the income statement Turns out it was expenses related to a yacht he used for corporate entertaining not something that generally passes muster with Revenue Canada as an eligible business expense Someone who plans to sell a company in the next year or two should

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/advisor-for-business/deal-breakers-3063?Print (2016-04-26)
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  • Learn from the best: Mentees and mentors benefit from successful relationships | Small Biz Advisor
    t afraid to raise issues We can be blunt and straight with each other and there are no hurt feelings she says It s just This is what happened this is how I feel this is how I want it solved It may take a while but the right mentor is worth their weight in gold As Williams says about Dupuis She has absolutely changed my life Mentoring takes many forms John Nicola the founder of Vancouver based Nicola Wealth Management prefers an ad hoc approach in which aspiring advisors and business owners meet him for coffee to discuss their ideas and business models He s happy to serve as a sounding board Sometimes they re trying to build an organization like we have and I m always happy to chat about what we ve done and how to run a company he says While he s often asked to be a mentor he says at this stage of his career it would be hard for him to commit the time to a more formal process mentees need to articulate their objectives then discuss and gree on parameters Nicola also brings a coaching element to his advice something that is becoming more popular Coaching involves tapping into the hidden talents of the mentee so they can come up with their own solutions to certain situations While a mentor brings specific knowledge and experience coaching considers what the mentee brings to the table says Eileen Chadnick the principal of Toronto based Big Cheese Coaching Rather than telling the mentee what to do and how it s done coaching mentors ask What are your ideas They get the mentee to access his or her own resourcefulness The mentee may not know the answers but the mentor will encourage them to find their way through Others like Dupuis and TRG Group Benefits Greg Pallone prefer to focus their energies on mentoring their own staff Besides paying it forward they believe it s an investment in grooming their firm s future generation of leaders It s about building a company that will sustain me leaving it says Dupuis While retirement is not in my vocabulary right now it is nice to know that the company I ve built will continue to grow Pallone s Vancouver based firm had five advisors when it started in 1997 Today it has expanded to 14 benefits and pension advisors all of whom were mentored through the same organic growth process It works like this First before new people are hired at TRG an organizational psychologist interviews them to ensure that they ll fit into the company culture In essence everyone at TRG must fully embrace the idea of being interdependent while developing their practice within TRG We look for an entrepreneurial spirit someone who wants to develop an autonomous business within our brand and will take that risk says Pallone who is TRG s managing director Not everyone is inclined to be that independent Once the candidates get

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/your-business/learn-from-the-best-mentees-and-mentors-benefit-from-successful-relationships-2642?Print (2016-04-26)
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  • Advisor for business Employ your spouse to save tax | Small Biz Advisor
    you 5 BEST PRACTICES FOR BUILDING A PLATFORM How to get a group retirement plan investment lineup right HEALTHY WORKFORCE HEALTHY COMPANY Wellness programs can offer a significant return on investment and much more AGE MATTERS Customize employee education to different demographic groups CULTIVATING HEALTH AND WEALTH Stokes Seeds implemented group benefits to stay competitive and successful tools and resources Build your knowledge with CE credits available at advisors standardlife

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/microsite/advisor-for-business/ (2016-04-26)
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  • FIVE best practices for building a platform: Help your clients choose and manage their ideal investment lineup | Small Biz Advisor
    a new plan up to 75 of the members will choose to invest in the low touch option A successful à la carte approach makes sure each asset class is represented by investments that provide a diversity of investment styles without overwhelming employees with too much choice On the managed side Sands says the choice is often between target date lifecycle funds and asset allocation funds and one may be preferred over the other based on all of the above know your client factors 3 Review demographics regularly Providers offer reports that allow advisors to analyze age and asset distribution Sands suggests reviewing these at least once a year to better target education and communication to specific employee groups Typically you would have a different strategy for generation Y than the baby boomers she says For demographer David Foot s take on this refer to Age matters 4 Leverage your provider s governance process Providers often follow a rigorous governance process that helps make sure fund managers do what they say they re going to do Standard Life for example has a three step governance process for all plan sponsors regardless of size Nick Iarocci who heads the investment program team at Standard Life in Montreal and his team manage the Quality Choice Investment Program At the fund level their focus is on understanding exactly what the fund managers do and how they do it then monitoring to ensure that they stay true to their process and philosophy At the portfolio construction level they develop and back test investment solutions that are well built and optimized for efficiency striving to achieve the maximum amount of return per unit of risk At the overall platform level governance is about making sure plan lineups always have the best ingredients Here s how

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-retirement/five-best-practices-for-building-a-platform-2643?Print (2016-04-26)
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  • Age matters: A demographic perspective on employee education | Small Biz Advisor
    demographic related stages each of which requires separate messaging The first group is the 20 somethings who think they re invincible and that they ll never need retirement savings They think they re not going to die he says It s really hard to get people to contribute at that age Many are buried under a mountain of student debt while some may be thinking about buying a home You can open the discussion by talking about loan repayment but don t write off saving even for distant goals such as retirement Also keep in mind that it s important to use examples to which the younger demographic can relate So when the subject of retirement comes up get them to think about how their parents and grandparents saved for their golden years Also use examples from popular culture I talk about sports and fashion says Foot With the next demographic which falls between ages 30 and 50 ideas around saving can be presented more forcefully but shouldn t be the first topic of conversation The main priority for this group is still debt management most are trying to pay down big mortgages however it s critical to continue to talk about saving especially to the 40 somethings who should now have some disposable income The key is to centre the discussion around family and the language and messaging should focus on issues parents face today At this stage it s about protecting the family and protecting yourself says Foot So it s important to explain how investing in a group retirement plan can help the whole family As people reach age 50 and older saving should be top of mind While many older people still have debt Foot says that in general it s in the last 10 years

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/age-matters-a-demographic-perspective-on-employee-education-2645?Print (2016-04-26)
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  • Healthy workforce, healthy company: Wellness programs show ROI | Small Biz Advisor
    promotion programs can start small for little cost and then grow Easy first steps may be serving fresh fruit instead of doughnuts at meetings adding flexible work options and encouraging people to bypass the elevator by making sure stairs in the building are accessible In addition employers should take advantage of no cost resources available from underutilized employee assistance programs and credible third parties such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation We also have an abundant selection of free content available to plan sponsors and their members on our online health and wellness centre says Pfeiffer While individual programs can help foster a wellness culture Pfeiffer believes there are good reasons for businesses to implement a corporate strategy A more systematic approach can help employers focus their limited resources on what their workforce really needs leading to real cost savings and sustained behaviour change he says Provided that there have been eight or more claims over one year advisors can begin by suggesting that employers conduct a health benefit diagnostic analysis of several years of group insurance plan data including the cost of drug plans paramedical benefits and both short and long term disability This will identify trends such as a high incidence of diabetes or mental health claims that can form part of a needs analysis The next logical step for advisors is to encourage employers to consider offering a workforce health risk assessment HRA Standard Life offers employers an online HRA Employees get personalized test results and can access a health and drug library and Canadian medical resources through a web portal For an additional cost employees can contact a health coach and review their results over the phone the coach can help them set and attain personal health goals Meanwhile employers with more than 10 participants have

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/group-benefits/healthy-workforce-healthy-company-wellness-programs-show-roi-2644?Print (2016-04-26)
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  • Reaching for the Top | Small Biz Advisor
    familiar with it s important to listen and learn then you can participate says Perera Just don t exclude yourself I know a number of strong women in leadership roles and women in senior positions who have made it easier for me because there s someone to model after Don t take no for an answer For Brookhouse perseverance has been an important key to success Eight years into her career as a financial advisor she can say I don t worry about what other advisors are thinking about me do they accept me or how am I doing compared to them You don t necessarily get asked to go and play poker but that s okay That doesn t bother me now because I m more comfortable with myself and I don t feel I need to prove anything to anybody about myself That self assurance has come with time and with repeatedly putting herself out there A lot of women have a fear of success says Brookhouse One of the biggest barriers I faced was to get out of my own way and not be afraid to ask for the business She adds Just because they didn t say yes today doesn t mean they won t say yes tomorrow or think of you when the time comes It s important not to get disappointed You just have to keep doing it You can also accept a yes on your own terms Higginson started out working for a major insurer Ten years in working in a primarily male sales force selling to primarily male brokers she had earned her stripes She was a top performer rewarded with trips and prizes Then the company reorganized and she was let go It came as a shock She vowed that she would never let others decide she wasn t needed again and moved to the brokerage side of the business Scott Porteous the president of Renfrew s life and benefits division at the time offered Higginson a position as a marketing service assistant She made a counter offer I said that I would work for him on an administrative basis but in every spare moment I would be working toward building my own business and client base and that I didn t expect to be working for him for more than a year she recalls After a year our relationship started to evolve and eventually it became a partnership Identify good role models Porteous became a mentor to Higginson and Perera believes that it s vital to have more experienced people guide you in this business especially other women I know a number of strong women in leadership roles and women in senior positions who have made it easier for me because there s someone to model after she says If you re challenged with a difficult situation ask for help Many women in the industry may have experienced something similar and I think it s great if we can support

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/your-business/reaching-for-the-top-2638?Print (2016-04-26)
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  • Tips from the SME trenches – Fall 2013 | Small Biz Advisor
    and owners must use smart strategies to stay competitive Share these two articles adapted from the third edition of Advisor for Business magazine so clients can learn which retirement savings messages resonate with employees at different ages and how an Ontario based seed supplier uses group benefits to cultivate healthy and wealthy employees It s never a bad time to save for retirement Demographer David Foot suggests strategies to engage

    Original URL path: http://www.smallbizadvisor.ca/advisor-for-business/tips-from-the-sme-trenches-fall-2013-2683?Print (2016-04-26)
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