A Special Interest Supplement - Monday, March 19, 2001
How small firms pilot national services
Fast growth required computer system with good reporting systems for management, scaleability and expansion through the addition of specialized programs
This is a story about the technology of businesses that are built on schedules. It's about two firms in two very different industries that share a common information-processing paradigm.
SMEs need to keep eye on economy
In Ottawa, Washington and the newspapers, you can sense the jitters.The high-tech sector has been a madhouse, the stock market a pogo stick and our protracted prosperity apparently based on overvaluation and wishful thinking. Are we going on bread rations soon?
E-commerce companies should stay focused on more ROI
There's been a shakeout, a fallout and a devaluation all over the dot-com universe, but Gary Meehan refuses to give up his core beliefs: There is a New Economy. The Internet will deliver it. And it begins now.
How a kitchen company became successful without a store
Kitchen appliances have been the territory of pitchmen since the days of tinsmiths schlepping their covered wagons of pots and pans on the expanding frontiers of Canada and the United States. Today, the peddlers are gone from the roads, though they continue to appear on television -- just ask any insomniac who can channel-surf from amazing stick-free pots to rotary ovens to miracle cleaning kits.
Optimism abounds despite markets
Small businesses thriving across Canada
It is not news that the U.S. economy is wobbling beyond a so-called hard landing, when growth in gross domestic product falls below 1 per cent into recession -- where there are two or more quarters of zero growth or contraction.
Where SMEs can find a break
How to take advantage of a detailed tax-planning strategy Small businesses get numerous breaks in paying their taxes. The knack in getting those breaks, though, lies in careful attention to detail.
Some costs are invisible until a customer is lost
It can be vital to have a viable customer-relationship management system
Duplicate effort wastes a lot of time in business. For example, customers who want answers to questions may have to pick their way from shipping to a manufacturing plant to sales and even to management.
How to decide whether to rescue or dissolve
Given sufficient warning, firms can be nursed back to health
When firms can't pay their bills, some shut their doors; others have them closed in insolvency proceedings.Brian Denega, senior vice-president of Ernst £ Young in Toronto, says the main causes of insolvency are consolidation or rationalization of industry. That leads, as he says, ''to weaker players being eaten up. The economics of the industry shift and small firms that are not efficient enough have to be wound up.''
How to cut costs
The current business downturn is being termed by economists variously as a ''hard landing'' or a ''recession.'' What is sure is that, in the present return to the realities of paying bills and repairing balance sheets, public shareholders, private owners and even creditors are going to be watching carefully for ways that businesses can cut costs while not harming sales.
Capitalizing small firms takes finesse
The market for fresh equity financing, or initial public offerings (IPOs), is in suspended animation.In the past 12 months, huge technology firms' stock prices have crumbled. Shares in Internet-hardware maker Cisco Systems Inc. have been down 67 per cent, and Yahoo! Inc. stock's been down 88 per cent. Tech investors are getting out of the market and, when they go back in, they will see these abandoned stocks as bargains screaming to be snatched up.
How small businesses can protect assets
Three of four Canadian small businesses have not taken adequate steps to protect their personal assets from creditors in case of financial problems, according to a recent survey by Toronto-based Mackenzie Financial Corp.