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Transform your Business with these @TELUSBusiness Webinars (Sept to December)

Enterprise Features Built for Small Business

Join our webinar to learn how you can leverage the cloud to improve communications with customers and your team from a computer, mobile phone, or your desk. TELUS Business Connect™ is a fully integrated mobile and office communications system designed to help make sure you never miss a call. Learn how it can help improve connectivity, productivity and customer relationships.

Preview of Business Connect here.

Webinar Highlights

  • Why small businesses are moving to cloud
  • How cloud technology is creating opportunities for business
  • How Business Connect can help you focus on the customer

Available Dates:

  • September 13, 2016
  • October 11, 2016
  • November 15, 2016
  • December 13, 2016

Webinar presented by:

  • Tristan Retelsdorf, Manager – Product Marketing at TELUS
  • Rupinder Sandhu, Carrier Sales Engineer – East at RingCentral

REGISTER NOW


Did you know that Women in Biz Members Save with TELUS Business?

Get $200 off the price of any smart phone on a two year term with TELUS. To redeem please email Maninder.Chauhan@telus.com   or call  (416) 937-9182.

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Pick a Winner for the 2016 Small Business Challenge #smallbizchallenge

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The 6th annual Small Business Challenge officially closed on May 31st, and we’re proud to reveal 2016’s five lucky finalists. This year, over 3,400 businesses entered the Small Business Challenge for a chance to win a $100,000 business grant to overcome their biggest business challenge, $2,000 in new TELUS technology, a $10,000 donation to a charity of their choice, plus national coverage for their business in The Globe and Mail. The judging panel spent weeks reviewing every single application, and debating who would be this year’s finalists. There are so many remarkable small businesses in Canada that the selection process becomes more challenging every year.

However, after much deliberation, we reached a decision. This year’s Small Business Challenge finalists are:

Charmed Playhouses Inc.

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Charmed Playhouses Inc. creates luxury, handmade playhouses from solid cedar. After getting noticed by Global News, the Lethbridge-based company began growing quicker than they ever imagined, as more customers fell for their charming products.

The first thing we noticed about this playful business—after the luxury, handmade playhouses, of course—was their dedication to giving back. They’ve already built a playhouse for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and if they win, they hope to build even more. They’re also extremely customer-focused, and have made a big impact on the carpentry trade, hiring 16 full-time carpenters and cabinet makers. Best of all, they put smiles on kids’ faces.

If they won, they hope to use the $100,000 to update their equipment, purchase inventory, and dream up innovative ideas for future growth, such as environmental uses for scrap wood.

 

Cake & Loaf Bakery Ltd.

 

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Cake & Loaf Bakery Ltd. is a neighbourhood bakery based in Hamilton, Ontario. They create baked goods from scratch using local ingredients, and are focused on becoming a cornerstone of their community.

One thing that stood out to the judges was Cake & Loaf Bakery Ltd.’s customer focus. They have a strong desire to offer personalized services as they grow, which is why they want to use part of their $100,000 grant to purchase a company-wide Customer Relationship Management tool to better meet their customers’ needs. Their commitment to making a meaningful impact on their community also caught our eye. Aside from paying their employees above the national minimum wage (a real accomplishment for a food service business), they also give directly to charities by donating gift baskets to fundraisers, and directly participating in fundraisers for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Food4Kids and more.

If they won, Cake & Loaf Bakery Ltd. hopes to also use the money to renovate their storefront to showcase more local food and crafts, and to add much needed seating so the community can stay to enjoy their sweet treats.

Autom River Inc. (The Greenlid)

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Autom River Inc. is the inventor of The Greenlid, the world’s first compostable compost bin. Made in Canada from recycled cardboard, it’s designed to eliminate the mess and smell from composting. Just fill The Greenlid, and compost the entire container. This is the ideal solution for a condo owner who wants to compost but doesn’t have a lot of waste, and eliminates the need to carry down a small handful of compost to the ground floor every day.
Autom River Inc.’s commitment to the environment made them stand out to our judges. In just 16 months, the Brockville-based business has expanded into several major national retailers—including Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, and Loblaws—and are well on their way to creating a healthier planet.

They hope to use the $100,000 business grant to develop a range of sizes for their compostable containers to enter into new markets. The grant would also allow them to invest more heavily in innovation using their patented technology, rather than using capital to purchase equipment.

DateNight Babysitting Inc.

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DateNight Babysitting Inc. is a membership-based business that serves to connect parents with experienced, local babysitters. The Toronto-based service, which recently expanded into Ottawa, also has a passion for connecting young adults with well-paying, flexible, and part-time work that fits their busy schedules.

While DateNight Babysitting Inc. is working hard to expand into new cities all across Canada, the judges noticed that they have not lost sight of their amazing customer service principles, which includes giving away free memberships to parents in need. While a technology company at heart, DateNight Babysitting Inc. has always kept their customers top of mind.

With the $100,000 grand prize, DateNight Babysitting Inc. hopes to expand to more cities using targeted advertising, hiring two new mangers to nurture these new regions, and focus in on forming national partnerships with like-minded children focused businesses.

 

Brutus Beverages Inc.

 

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Brutus Beverages Inc. is the mastermind behind Walter Craft Caesar Mix, an all-natural premium Caesar mix. Crafted in small batches right here in Canada, Walter Craft Caesar Mix is a healthier alternative to other brands on the market, and is made using only the best ingredients—including real clam juice from the North Atlantic.

What the judges first noticed about this Vancouver-based company is its dedication to “Canadian-made and owned.” They regularly partner with other Canadian artisanal products, building the strength of the made-in-Canada specialty foods sector. Their participation in Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program also means that their clam juice comes from a sustainable fishery.

If they won, the $100,000 grant would be allocated to grocery listing fees, which they hope will free up funds to focus on creating new partnerships with local suppliers to ensure they reach their goal of domestically sourcing all ingredients by 2017.

Congratulations to Charmed Playhouses Inc., Cake & Loaf Bakery Ltd., Autom River Inc., DateNight Babysitting Inc. and Brutus Beverages Inc. on winning this year’s $10,000 finalist category, and for getting one step closer to being named this year’s Small Business Challenge winner. On June 29th, all five of these businesses will pitch their business to the panel of judges, followed by public voting from June 29th to August 30th, with the $100,000 grand prize winner being selected in the fall.

 

Although it’s exciting to celebrate these five businesses, I also want to extend a big thank you to all those who entered the 2016 Small Business Challenge. Remember, there are still many other opportunities to win great prizes—the 10 regional winners, 3 most-promising start-ups, community investment award, and fifty honourable mentions winners will be awarded in the fall, so stay tuned!

Don’t forget to head over to telus.com/thechallenge before August 30th to vote for your favourite finalist. They just might be the $100,000 grand prize winner!

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3 scheduling apps to consider for Service Based Companies | @TELUS Advice

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Being a small business owner means you’re often filling the role of an entire team of employees. Whether it’s booking appointments, meeting with clients, or answering emails, it’s tough to manage everything while maintaining great customer service and keeping stress levels down. If you need a hand getting it all done without compromising on customer care, making a few simple tech upgrades can be a great place to start.

Here’s how 3 simple upgrades can help your business increase sales, while still having the best customer service in town:

 

Give customers the freedom to book online

I recently visited my hairstylist who moved to an online booking system, which I love. Now, I no longer need to schedule time in my day to call and make an appointment during their business hours. I simply visit her website, look at her schedule, and book an appointment. There’s no risk of calling the salon once it’s closed, or worse, calling and having nobody answer.

I asked my stylist what she thought of the new booking system, and she said it’s been fantastic for business—it has not only increased her sales, but she finds her clients are booking more frequently, too. And, because everything is stored in the cloud, she can manage her own schedule from anywhere. From approving appointments at home, to updating her schedule at demo shows, the online booking app makes day-to-day business much easier.

If you’re a service-based business, here are 3 scheduling apps to consider:


  • Salon Monster



    Salon Monster allows you to set up different services, the time each service takes, and the cost, so that customers can book appointments for the correct time frame. The app also sends out email or text reminders to your clients, and has different options for both a single business owner and a full team to utilize.


  • Front Desk



    Front Desk is an online scheduling system that lets you, your staff, and your clients easily manage your schedules, attendance, billing, and much more—all while on the go. Designed for any lesson-based service business such as music, art, or fitness, it helps reduce time spent on administrative chores so you can spend more time building customer relationships.


  • Open Table



    Open Table is a popular app that allows your customers to make online reservations. They simply select the time, the number of diners, and the app will let them know if there is a reservation available. It also allows them to find new, local restaurants and book a reservation immediately. You can also add the booking system right to your website, so customers can book there as well.

While my hair salon has made great strides towards improving their customer experience, there are several other technologies that any small businesses can use to make the customer experience even more convenient. Here are two more options to consider:

Accept debit and credit card payments anywhere

Once a haircut is complete, the customer may love their new look, but hate having to wait in line to pay. If their appointment ends at the same time as other clients, for example, the line at the front desk can be quite long. This not only sets your customer’s schedule back, but it sets yours back too, because the time you’ve allotted for each customer has now run over.

By using your tablet or smartphone with the Dream Payments mPOS unit and app, you can accept all forms of payments, including cash, debit or credit cards on the spot. Or, in this case, the salon chair. With the Dream Payments app, you also have the option to add in other products such as hair styling supplies, or even add in a discount if you’re offering a promotion to new clients.

With the Dream Payments Debit and Credit Card Reader and app, you can get to know your business better through detailed insights. Your personal dashboard allows you to view your transactions and best-selling products. This will help you know how to staff your business and prepare for busy periods. Making your client’s life easier and respecting their time in and out of the chair only adds to the customer experience.

 

 

Never miss a phone call, wherever you are

With older phone systems, you’re tied to the front desk, meaning a hairstylist may need to step away from a client in her salon chair to help out with managing the phones, while there’s a line-up of customers at the front desk waiting to pay and book appointments. This isn’t a great customer experience for the client in the chair, but if she misses that customer’s call, that frustrated client on the phone is going to call the competition for an appointment. To help manage all these aspects of customer service, you don’t have to hire more employees—you can simply upgrade your phone system to the cloud. 

TELUS Business Connect™ is a VoIP phone system that allows businesses to go beyond the basic landline or mobile phone services. It has a plethora of functionalities for greatly improving customer experience and increasing sales. With this cloud based phone service, you can have your calls sent to several different devices. If my hairstylist is busy cutting my hair, for example, or if the desk assistant is with another customer, another team member can take that call from her mobile phone in the lunch area. This also means that you can use a single phone number for your customers to reach you while you’re at any of your store locations, or while you’re at home or on the road—so there’s no need to give out two different phone numbers.

 

 

If you’re looking for ways to create the best customer experience possible, my recommendation is to start with your technology. With just a few minor tech upgrades, you could set your small business apart from the competition by providing customer service that goes above and beyond.


Did you know that WIBN Members Save with TELUS? 

Get $200 off the price of any smart phone on a two year term with TELUS. To redeem please email Maninder.Chauhan@telus.com   or  call  (416) 937-9182. ( Please note: For current WIBN Members Only – Membership will be verified)

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Imagine how your business could thrive with $100,000 from @TELUSBusiness | #smallbizchallenge

TELUS


 

The Small Business Challenge is back for its sixth straight year, shining a spotlight on Canada’s brightest entrepreneurs and the business challenges they face. The annual contest, sponsored by TELUS and The Globe and Mail, is an opportunity for Canadian small business owners to showcase their unique business ideas to a nationwide audience for a chance to win $100K, as well as other prizing to help take their business to the next level and get help overcoming the barriers standing in their way.

Detailed prizing includes:

  • Grand prize of $100,000 to help you overcome your business’s biggest challenge and $10,000 to donate to a charity of choice and a profile in The Globe and Mail
  • Four semi-finalists receive $10,000, a $2,000 technology prize pack and a profile in The Globe and Mail
  • 10 regional winners receive technology prize packs worth $1,500
  • Three most promising start-ups receive agency services worth $5,000, mentorship from Agency 59 and a profile in The Globe and Mail
  • 50 honourable mentions featured in The Globe and Mail
  • For the first time this year, one small business owner will receive $10,000 to donate to a charity of their choice through a Community Investment category
  • Extensive publicity in The Globe and Mail and on TELUS social media channels for all finalists

What’s your story? Enter now – we would love to hear it.

2015 Challenge Winner Donates $10,000 Cheque to Holland Bloorview


 

Check out a few posts on our blog, TELUS Talks Business:

Inside advice on entering the Small Business Challenge

When Andrew Shepherd sat down and applied for the Small Business Challenge Contest with his team of two, he never thought that his company Vancouver Island Salt Co., would be a semi-finalist, let alone the 2014 winner of the $100,000. Read about how the contest changed his business and Andrew’s inside advice on how he wrote his winning entry.


Best business advice: 10 regional Challenge winners weigh in

It takes a lot of talent, ingenuity, and hard work to launch a small business. Read about how these 2015 regional Challenge winners compete in the marketplace year after year.


Five semi-finalists pitch for $100,000 at 2015 Small Business Challenge event

After 6 months, more than 3,300 entries and countless hours of judging, these five very unique Canadian small businesses were chosen as semi-finalists. Take a look at what it was like for the finalists for their final pitch at the 2015 Small Business Challenge event.

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Accept Payments with @Dreampayments Debit and Credit Card Reader via @TelusBusiness

Dream in Store

Get paid anywhere1 your business takes you – with debit and credit with @TelusBusiness

Accept payments with the Dream Payments® Debit and Credit Card Reader, available at TELUS to suit your mobile business needs. Pair it with your iOS or Android™ smartphone2 for a complete mobile payments solution with no hidden costs or monthly fees. Designed for small business owners taking payments on the go.

Dream Payments Card Reader

  • Low cost, portable, Bluetooth®-paired terminal
  • Accept Interac® Debit cards, as well as Visa3 and MasterCard® credit cards
  • Compatible with chip and PIN, as well as Tap4 transactions

Smartphone Application

  • Robust product catalogue
  • Real-time reporting
  • Digital receipts via email or SMS
  • Secure connection for transactions5
  • Easy to set up and activate

Straight forward pricing6

Simply purchase the Dream Payments Debit and Credit Card Reader. No sign up, monthly or refund fees apply. After that, only pay per transaction:

  • $0.25 for Interac® debit cards
  • 2.75% for Visa and MasterCard credit cards

For example, on a $100 debit charge, $99.75 is deposited into your account in 1-2 business days7. On a $100 credit card charge, $97.25 goes into your account within 1-2 business days7.

Security and peace of mind

With strong transaction encryption, customer information is transmitted securely and efficiently5.

Ideal for businesses on the go

Dream Payments will work for anyone8 who needs to accept payments on the go, including:

  • Caterers
  • Charity Events
  • Electricians
  • Food trucks
  • Freelancers
  • Landscapers
  • Massage therapists
  • Photographers
  • Physiotherapists
  • Plumbers
  • Pop-up retail stores
  • Trade shows