Although you may be familiar with the expression, “many hands make light work,” as a small business owner, this may not be your reality. From client meetings to processing orders or managing inventory, it’s likely you – or a small team handling it all. Thankfully, as new software and technology arises, there is a silver lining for business owners and freelancers. For this year’s Small Business Month, we’ve put together a list of resources that can help lighten your workload.
Yes, Adobe Creative Suite is the GOAT. But each product within the Suite functions best with experience, training, and knowledge. Those unfamiliar with, or just starting out in graphic design or content creation may feel overwhelmed. Canva is a design tool that provides professional templates for social media posts, videos, presentations, posters, logos, and more. Whether starting with a blank canvas or using a pre-designed template, Canva is a great tool for you and your team. Although Canva is free to use, they do offer Pro and Teams plans with premium features, such as stock and increased cloud storage.
Ever wonder what ‘builds’ your competitor? BuiltWith shares an holistic profile of your competitors, providing you with crucial lead-generation tools, sales intelligence, and market-share analysis. Many small businesses use BuiltWith to generate lists of clients who are relevant to their business. BuiltWith is free for individual site lookups (forever); however, they offer plans starting at $295 per month with enhanced features to help scale your business.
The proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child,” rings true for business. A business is like a child. It requires attention, time, and effort and has costs. So, when raising your ‘child,’ learn the ropes from and alongside others. Monday Girl Social Club is a private network for professional women looking to advance and grow their careers. A monthly membership fee of $16.50 gives you exclusive access to tools, network connections, mentorship, and insider secrets to help you succeed in your career.
Are acronyms like SEO & SERP just mumbo jumbo to you? Without an SEO specialist on the team, website optimization may feel like a daunting task. Thankfully, tools like Spyfu “take the guesswork out of SEO” by providing access to trending pages, backlink strategies, and ranking history. This digital marketer toolbox is great for providing intelligence on SEO and PPC without a massive price tag. Starting at $39/month, your business can “get unlimited access to all the SpyFu data you want.”
The title of this entrepreneurial crash course says it all. Many have paved the way yet few are open to sharing their path to success. Co-founders Hyla and Adrien of 437, a multi-million dollar swimwear line, have created a course highlighting their successful journey. As shared in their trailer, when Hyla and Adrien started out in the industry, they wished there was somewhere they could go to find out “what the heck to do.” For $396, you can learn the most important facets of creating a business. Whether it’s influencers or manufacturers, you can learn through Hyla and Adrien’s successes (and mistakes) to find out how TF to start your business.
You may know Shopify, but do you know Shopify Collabs? This dual-ended tool connects creators with brands (and brands with creators). Content creators can apply to work with like-minded brands that match their vibe. Once accepted, creators share their favourite products across platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram. On the brand side of things, Shopify Collabs provides businesses with the opportunity to work with creators to promote their brands/products while reaching new audiences. With influencer databases, gift and commission tracking, brands can easily manage the performance of their affiliate program with easy-to-understand analytics.
The bad news – starting a business can be a costly endeavour. The good news – grants, loans, and scholarships exist. Between the government, banks, and specialized institutions there are various grants, loans, and scholarships worth investigating. Below is a list of a few resources dedicated to Small Businesses in Canada:
- Government of Canada: Start-up Visa Program
- Government of Canada: Business Benefits Finder
- Government of Canada: Indigenous Community Business Fund
- Government of Canada: Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
- Government of Canada: Canada Digital Adoption Program
- Government of Canada: Tourism Relief Fund
- Government of Canada: Digital Skills for Youth Program
- Venture For Canada: Hire An Intern
- Government of Canada: Youth Employment and Skills Program
- RBC Future Launch Scholarship
- DIVERSEcity Immigrant Entrepreneur Grants
- RBC Black Entrepreneur Program
- StartUp Here Toronto Funding
- Ontario’s Small Business Relief Grant
- Ontario’s Entrepreneurship funds and resources for people under 30
- BC Canada Digital Adoption Program
- BC Workplace Accessibility Grant
- Granted Consulting
- Indigenous Business Grant 2022-2023
- Alberta Small Business Resources
- Alberta Indigenous Supports
- Alberta: Capital and Financing Supports for Entrepreneurs
Small Business Month is a yearly recognition of small entrepreneurship. This annual celebration has been around for 43 years and was started by the BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) as a space for entrepreneurs, or soon-to-be entrepreneurs, to explore opportunities, tackle challenges, and find support. Whether it’s a bank, a grant, an app, a program or a membership, there are many tools and resources you’ll want to know about at any stage of your small business that can help you along the way.