Importance of a Business Plan Recap

This past week we had a Lunch N Learn on the purpose of a business plan and why it’s important. We were able to have a brief walk through on what is necessary in creating one but also discuss with others their individual needs for their business. Here is an overview on our lunch n learn:

 

  • A business plan is a plan of action that is start to finish. There are short term goals and long term goals that must be attainable.
  • Why are you going into business? There must always be a purpose to your start; Whether it is wanting to be your own boss or make a dramatic change.
  • Know the growth you want to see. Do you want to run a one man show? Do you see yourself having a number of employees? These are some questions you need to ask to prepare yourself for your startup.
  • Document everything! This will help ensure you don’t lose sight of your plans. Your business plan isn’t something you should complete and toss into your file cabinet. It needs to be looked at and discussed so you can keep your business on track.
  • Ensure you have a realistic budget. Research what is may cost to get your business going. How long can you go without breaking even or not having a paycheck? How much is your equipment going to cost?
  • Lastly know your competition. Is the market flooded with your specific business? What is the going rate in your area for your type of business?

 

Join us May 14th at the Stony Plain Chamber of Commerce where we talk about the importance of policy. Doors open at 7:30am with the program starting at 8:00am.

Part IV

Here we are on Part IV of our segment on what different banks have to offer for small businesses. Today we are looking into The Bank of Montreal. BMO is a well known bank that has a wide variety of different accounts depending on where your business is at.

 

Accounts

 

Business Start No monthly fee No minimum balance Unlimited electronic transactions 2 Interac E transfers Unlimited Moneris transactions
Business Builder 1 $6.00 per month No minimum balance 7 transactions per month 2 Interac E transfers Unlimited Moneris transactions
Business Builder 2 $45.00 per month No minimum balance 70 transactions per month 2 Interac E transfers Unlimited Moneris transactions
Business Builder 3 $80.00 per month $35,000 minimum balance to waive fee 120 transactions per month 2 Interac E transfers Unlimited Moneris transactions
Business Builder 4 $120.00 per month $80,000 minimum balance to waive fee 160 transactions per month 2 Interac E transfers Unlimited Moneris transactions
eBusiness Plan No monthly fee No minimum balance Unlimited electronic transactions 2 Interac E transfers Unlimited Moneris transactions

BMO has a variety of loans and line of credits depending on what your business is needing. If you are looking for a larger sum of money, then a loan is the way to go. They have a range of terms and payment options to give you the flexibility to choose what is best. There are fixed rate loans which can lock in your interest rate so you don’t need to worry about the fluctuation. They also have variable rate loans where you can choose your amortization but also switch to a fixed rate if wanted.

BMO has a few options for their Line of Credits as well.

  • Small business line of credit where you pay interest only on what you take out and you have the freedom to borrow what you need when you need it.
  • Small business homeowner line of credit which uses your home as collateral. There is an option of paying interest only.
  • Small business homeowner Readiline which uses the equity in your home to reduce your cost to borrow. This can combine your line of credit with your mortgage.

Credit Cards and Fees

 

BMO Rewards Business Mastercard $120.00 Annual Fee 14.99% interest on purchases 22.99% interest on cash advances Earn BMO rewards points
BMO Airmiles Rewards Business Mastercard $120.00 Annual Fee 19.99% interest on purchases 22.99% interest on cash advances Earn Airmiles
BMO Cashback Business Mastercard No Annual Fee 19.99% interest on purchases 22.99% interest on cash advances Earn cash back
BMO Airmiles No Fee Business Mastercard No Annual Fee 19.99% interest on purchases 22.99% interest on cash advances Earn Airmiles

 

Not only does BMO have numerous types of accounts/credits and loans but they also offer a number of services for the small business owners. Through their online account whether you are on the computer or using their app, you can manage all your money coming in and going out. You can manage your receivables for example with a desktop cheque scanner. BMO also offers Moneris Merchant Services so you can get payments on the go. Of course it is important to remember that each business and individual is different. Accounts and loans can have a range in difference so it is important to speak with the bank to discuss your specific needs and requirements.

Part III

We are now on part 3 of our 7 part series on banks and what they offer small businesses. Today we are looking at ATB Financial. Right from the beginning of researching this bank there is enormous amounts of information and guidance that they offer on their webpage alone. They have everything from the regular business banking/loans to templates on building a business plan and resources.

 

Fees and Accounts

ATB has two different categories when it comes to business accounts. There are accounts for business startups and accounts for business growth. ATB offers low rates for people who are just starting their business. If your business has started in 2019 you can be eligible for free banking for the year. It seems this is a limited time offer and would need to be discussed on an individual basis with the bank to see if you qualify. The offer itself is very appealing as it applies to each plan they have. They also have a Go 5 Business Banking plan which is $5.00/ month which includes 5 debit/credit transactions. Anything over is a cost of $1.50 including e-transfer. Of course they have their online banking which is free to access.

 

The second category they have is for businesses that have been around longer. Flex Fit Business Banking is a featured account that is broken down into tiers. The account starts at $19.00/month which gives you 25 debit/credit transactions. If you go over it is a charge of $1.00 per transaction till you hit the next tier so you don’t have to worry about huge costs. The next account is geared towards businesses that do 4 or more transactions per day. This is their Unlimited Business Banking account. There is a flat fee of $60.00/month and this also includes unlimited interact e-transfers.

 

Another category they offer is a Business Savings Account. If you have finances left over it may be wise to move money into a savings account to earn interest. There is no monthly fee and it is free to receive E transfers but a cost of $1.50 to send. As we know interest rates can fluctuate but currently you earn  0.20% under $24,999 and 0.35% over $25,000.

 

Loans/Credit

ATB has a number of loans depending on what you are needing for your business. It is important to note that acquiring a loan is on an individual basis. First off they have an Alberta BusinessCard.  This card has low personalized interest rate and a payment of 3% of your balance. There is an annual fee of $65/year for a limit up to $50,000 and $130/year for limits over. Each additional card is $35.00 and it is set up with Apple Pay which is a pretty neat feature as its moving forward with technology advances. Secondly is their Business Term Loan which can be used for multiple reasons. They have fixed and variable rates with flexible payment options. This type of loan can have varying terms up to 20 years and you can be given up to 100% financing. Thirdly they have an Operating Line of Credit. This has variable interest rates depending on the amount you use with flexible repayment options.

 

Overall ATB Financial seems to be a comparable bank in terms of what they can offer for small businesses. Their online platform is highly informative and gives a great idea on what they service. There are many other options such as Point of Sale which has fees vary depending on what you need. They even offer a Government Tax Payment and Filing Service where you can pay and file online. There are numerous options and avenues that ATB can go down based on your individual business. Talking to the bank directly will give you the information tailored to your needs.  

Part II

Business Banking Part II of our seven part series we are going to take a look at the Royal Bank of Canada. RBC is another larger bank that offers many variations when it comes to small business banking. It is important to note that many loans, credit cards etc are on an individual basis. Speaking with the branch will give you the exact information you need for your specific business and needs.

 

Fees and accounts

  • No monthly fee online account: This account is great for a business that uses online banking for the majority of their transactions. There is no fee and no minimum balance requirement and allows for unlimited electronic debits and credits.
  • Low monthly fee operating account: If your business has a lower amount of transactions or is a more seasonal business, then this account may be worth looking into. For a cost of $6.00 per month you can get up to 8 transactions with it then turning into a pay as you go rate.
  • Fixed Fee Operating Accounts: There are many variables when it comes to this kind of account. The rates are as low as $20.00 per month and go up to $75.00 per month depending on the amount of money moving through your business. What is great about this type of account is you can change between plans for when your business is busy compared to slower times.

 

Credit Cards and Loans

  • RBC has a number of different types of business credit cards to choose from. Depending on what you are looking for and if your business earnings are under 3 million per year you could choose from the following.
    • Avion Visa Infinite Business: Annual fee of $175.00 with an interest rate of 19.99%. Each additional card has a cost of $75.00 up to 9 cards. It is also partnered with their rewards program to accumulate points.
    • Visa Business Platinum Avion: Annual fee of $120.00 with an interest rate of 19.99%. Each additional card has a cost of $50.00. This card is also a rewards card.
    • Business Cash Back Mastercard: There is no annual fee and an interest rate of 19.99%. You can only have one additional card attached and you earn 2% cash back within the first 3 months where there after you receive a 1% cash back.
    • Visa Business Card: Annual fee of $12.00 with an interest rate of 19.99%. Each additional card has a cost of $12.00. This card is ideal for keeping business and personal expenses separate.
    • Visa Creditline for Small Businesses: There is no annual fee and an interest rate anywhere from 2.9% to 11.9.

RBC has so many different options when it comes to small business loans. There are numerous types depending on your business. This gives you the ability to have a loan that is financially in line with what you need. It is important to remember each person and company is different meaning loan approvals are on an individual basis.

 

RBC also offers a large online platform. Everything can be done online, from your everyday expenses and transactions, to monitoring activity. Not only can you run the majority of your business banking online, they have an app that allows you to deposit cheques via your mobile phone. Overall RBC has so much to offer in regards to small businesses including advice from their online platform regarding small business and even a group benefits package to offer your employees.

Banking Part l

Today we begin our segment on small business and banking. We are taking a look at TD Canada Trust and what they can provide individuals when starting up a business, needing a business loan, credit card etc. We had the privilege of meeting with Cheryl Cherneske who is an account manager with TD for small business banking where she was able to answer any questions we had on the topic. It is important to note that each individual and business is different with many variations. Setting up a meeting to go over your exact needs will give you the best plan.

 

Fees and accounts:

  • 5 total plans with no balance requirements. TD has no judgment.
Business plan A 19.00/month        20 Transactions

(1.25 each additional transaction)

50 Deposit Items

($0.22 each additional deposit)

$5,000 Cash Deposits

($2.50 per $1000 additional)

Fee rebate with balance of $20,000
Business plan B $39.00/month 60 Transactions

(1.25 each additional transaction)

50 Deposit Items

($0.22 each additional deposit)

$5,000 Cash Deposits

($2.50 per $1000 additional)

Fee rebate with balance of $35,000
Business plan C $72.00/month 120 Transactions

(1.25 each additional transaction)

50 Deposit Items

($0.22 each additional deposit)

$5,000 Cash Deposits

($2.50 per $1000 additional)

Fee rebate with balance of $45,000
TD Unlimited Business Plan $125.00/month Unlimited Transactions Unlimited Deposit Items $25,000 Cash Deposits Fee rebate with balance of $65,000
TD Basic Business Plan $5.00/month 5 Transactions

($1.25 after per transaction)

5 Deposits

($0.22 each for additional activity)

$2.50 per $1000

These accounts also allow receiving and sending EMT’s. There is a fee of $1.50 to send if you do not have the Unlimited Business Plan. They also offer self serve options where all of your banking can be done online. For example you can get a cheque scanner to reduce your trips to the bank. TD also only bills you monthly. This is important to note as it reduces costs and decreases your bookkeeping work.

Credit Cards and Loans

  • TD offers credit cards, lines of credit, and small business loans. They have three different types of credit card options
    • TD Business Travel Visa Card which costs $149 annually interest of 19.99%
    • TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card which costs $149 annually interest of 19.99%
    • TD Business Visa Credit Card which costs $50 annually interest of 19.99%

 

TD requires a personal guarantee and if the amount is over $10,000 it has to be notarized as it is a provincial law. If you are in need of business loan there are many variables meaning it is different for everyone based on business, situation, dollar amount etc. They always require a down payment of 25% which does not include GST. If the dollar value is below $50,000 they like to see cash flow projections, notice of assessments, and an idea of what you need the money for. If the dollar value is higher than $50,000 they require more information. There is also a government business loan available that requires a smaller down payment of 10% and a registration fee of 2% of your government loan.

 

TD also has a few other options that they can offer to small businesses such as insurance incase of death or disability which is important to think about when borrowing money. You don’t want others to feel the burden in case an accident occurs. Another great service they can offer is their Merchant POS Service. There are many variables to consider so they have a specialized team of people to assist in businesses that deal with using cards as a form of payment. TD is the only bank who owns their service so it isn’t hired out. TD will personally go out and install the point of sale device of your choice. Once you run the machine at the end of the day, the money is in your account the next morning.

 

Lastly TD offers a couple payroll options. They have a referral recommendation to have someone take care of your payroll needs, but they also have an electronic payroll. There are many variations but you can set up electronic funds that the bank will pay for you instead of you worrying about the task.

 

Overall TD Canada Trust services so many aspects of small business and have specialized personnel to guide you in the right direction when it comes to the financial aspects. Each business comes with its own needs and requirements so it’s important to remember to have your business plan ready. Special thanks to Cheryl Cherneske.  

Banking Session Intro

So you have your business idea and your ready to take charge and act on your dreams. You have it all planned out and now it’s time to ask yourself the hard question. Who are you going to bank with. There are so many different options when it comes to your business finances so it is important to do your research and explore what others have to offer. Over the next few weeks we are going to take a look at a number of different banks and see what they bring to the table. Join us April 1st for part 1. business-banking

(photo credit Alpha Stock Images – http://alphastockimages.com/)

Clutter

The day is just about done. You glance at the clock and it’s almost 5:00 pm where you have to rush out the door to get home for dinner and evening activities. Then you remember you need to quickly sign off on some very important documents but where are they? Searching frantically through your desk under the mounds of paperwork and miscellaneous items you start to feel the panic. They have been misplaced and becoming flustered, with papers flying to the floor you decide to fire off an email informing your client the forms will be late.

 

If this scenario is any bit relatable then you know your office space may be to cluttered and it’s time for a change. Having a work space that is untidy not only increases stress levels but it also decreases productivity. Why spend your time searching through piles of paper and miscellaneous items when you can have a clutter free work space with a designated spot for everything. Doing so also removes distractions. Giving yourself this clean area will create a domino effect.

 

Less distraction → increased productivity → lowered stress levels→ increase in mood

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