We’re always looking for helpful resources to share with you, our Futurpreneurs, so we were excited to hear about bizsmarts.ca, a new tool being offered by Meridian and the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop of useful content that will help you as an entrepreneur, this is the tool for you.
We sat down with Geordan Robertson, Director of Small Business at Meridian, who was a key part of developing bizsmarts.ca, to learn all about the benefits of this new tool.
What exactly is bizsmarts.ca?
It’s a free online tool that helps new and aspiring business owners to start, run and grow businesses. It features resources like articles, videos, templates and key links that help people manage important aspects of their businesses, covering key topics like operations, accounting and tax.
That sounds great! What inspired Meridian to create this tool?
As a credit union, Meridian supports a lot of small, local businesses, so we know that successful businesses are at the heart of our communities. They create jobs and serve others in meaningful ways. Successful businesses make our communities strong, and we want to see even more of them. That being said, we didn’t create the tool alone. We teamed up with members of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) and other partners, including Futurpreneur Canada, to create bizsmarts.ca.
How did you go about creating a tool that would speak to the needs of entrepreneurs?
We conducted a research study and several focus groups and what we kept hearing from the entrepreneurs we surveyed is that they started their businesses because they’re passionate about what they do, not necessarily about the “business side”. They needed to learn key skills like accounting and reporting, but a lot of the information on these topics was confusing, hard to find, unreliable or not applicable to Canadian businesses. We created bizsmarts.ca to give entrepreneurs a place to go where they could access relevant information easily.
What kind of information can business owners find in the tool?
The content in the tool is sorted by business phase. You can find tailored information for starting a business, running a business or growing a business by selecting one of three options on the homepage.
For example, for aspiring business owners who haven’t yet launched a business, or for those who have very recently launched, you would visit the “Get your business started” section. This section covers topics such as choosing the right business structure, writing a business plan, costs associated with starting up and registering for a GST/HST number.
Those who are already up and running and need more operational information would select “Run your business like a pro”. In this section, people can learn about running a business smoothly with topics like cash flow management, payroll, tax credits and measuring performance.
Finally, those who are looking to grow their businesses can benefit from visiting “Take your business further”. This section will teach you about hiring a strong team, entering new markets (such as the U.S.) and succession planning if you’re considering leaving or selling your business.
What’s in store for bizsmarts.ca in the future?
The site will be continually updated with new content to keep the information fresh and relevant for entrepreneurs. We also encourage users to send us feedback through our online form to help us provide the information business owners need most.
Written By: Kristin Knapp, Content Copywriter, Futurpreneur Canada