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Man between two arrows pointing opposite directions

 

The biggest downfall of many small businesses is something that married couples often aren’t properly prepared for: divorce. Divorce is stressful enough on its own, without having to worry about a shared business on top of it.

 

Therefore, couples who manage businesses should have a plan in place in case divorce ever occurs, and if you’re already going through this process and don’t know where to start, consider the tips below.

 

1. Seriously consider a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement

If your business is already in the picture before you’re planning on getting married, investigate a pre-nuptial agreement. If you’re married already, consider a post-nuptial agreement to work out the details of what would happen to your business should you divorce. Consulting a lawyer and having this information clearly laid out in case of a separation is a smart safety net to have.

 

Written agreements signed by yourself, and spouse can help you both avoid unnecessary added struggles and ensure that each party has some secure financial protection in relation to your business should you decide to ever separate.

 

It may seem like an awkward or unneeded conversation to bring up (discussing divorce while you’re married is never comfortable or romantic), but it’s a wise move to make when nothing in the future is ever completely certain–and you don’t want your business to suffer because you didn’t draw up a proper plan that works for both of you.

 

2. Seek legal advice

When in doubt, seek legal advice. Even a free consultation with a family lawyer can help point you in the right direction with the steps you need to take to ensure the health of your business is maintained and prioritized while you’re going through the process of divorcing your partner.

 

3. Transfer business assets into a living trust

Another option to protect your small business during a divorce is to transfer your business assets into a living trust. Creating a living trust essentially places ownership of your business to a third-party trustee, while you can still maintain control and earn money from it. However, if your divorce your spouse, the business cannot be divided because you don’t own it. Always pursue legal assistance when considering a living trust to make sure the process is done correctly.

 

4. Location matters

The city or province where your business is located may have different regulations surrounding asset division during divorces than the region you file your divorce. Therefore, it’s important to understand how your business ownership, assets, and income would be interpreted by a judge in your area to properly protect it. 

 

5. Understand the difference between separate and marital property

Another factor to consider in your marriage and in the event of a divorce, is the difference between separate and marital property. Although it varies depending on where you’re located, separate property is generally including property that is owned before marriage, inheritance received by one partner, or gifts received by one partner from a third party.

 

However, separate property like a small business that was owned before the married occurred, can easily become marital property if there is no strict management and careful protection in place before the wedding. When property is mixed–like a joint bank account for example–it will almost certainly become marital property.

 

Conclusion:

The dissolution of a marriage is a challenging process. Emotions will be raw, and your personal life will be in turmoil so it’s necessary to have a secure plan in place that works for you and your partner when you share and own a small business. It’s far better to plan for a situation that may never happen than to struggle without a proper course of action when you’re forced to deal with it unprepared.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Person using a laptop and computer devices with colour palettes around it

 

Colour is one of the most important visual elements to consider when designing your website. Each colour is associated with a different meaning and can elicit various feelings and memories depending on the person. However, most people make snap judgements about products based on colour alone, which is why so much consideration should be placed on the task of choosing the right palette.

 

Therefore, it’s necessary to seriously think about the colours you want to use when thinking about the look of your website, as they can have a direct influence on the people who engage with your business’ online presence.

 

REM’s in-house designers and our marketing team are available to help discuss different colour options for your business website. In the meantime, check out the tips below for the most effective ways to use colour on your website and understand colour symbolism and connotations before you speak with them.

 

1. Warm colours

Warm colours are yellow, orange, and red. These colours are associated with energy, passion, positivity, enthusiasm, pleasure, and interest, to name a few. Be mindful of how you use these colours, as they can appear harsh and over-stimulating if they’re used too extensively.

 

2. Cool colours

Cool colours are blue, green, and purple. These colours have a calming effect on viewers, which is why they’re so commonly chosen for websites. Be wary about overusing them, as they can appear cold and impersonal if incorporated incorrectly.

 

3. Neutrals

Neutrals include white, black, grey, and brown and are popular choices for design. If used correctly, neutrals balance out more overpowering colours and can be incredibly elegant and chic.

 

4. Include an accent colour

When planning out the basic colour layout of your website, apply the very effective 60-30-10 ratio. When broken down, this means the main hue is applied to 60% of the website, the secondary is applied to 30%, and the remaining 10% applies to an accent colour that heavily contrasts the other two colours. The accent colour should be utilized as emphasis for the most important site materials and content.

 

5. Don’t go overboard

One of the worst things you can do is go overboard with your colour choices. Don’t feel the need to clutter your website with an overabundance of different colours, hues and tones. Less is more in this instance, and you don’t want to visually overwhelm the users on your site with too many conflicting and overlapping colours being used at once.

 

6. Think about your target audience

Really delve into your primary target audience, as this can help you narrow down your top colour choices. If your market is mainly women, studies have shown that they prefer blue, green, and purple. Men prefer blue, black, and, green. Blue seems to be a universally liked colour, so when in doubt, try to lean towards using blue. Lighter shades are typically associated with health and wellness, relaxation, and travel.

 

7. Consider the contrast of the background and text colours

Think about the colour of the background and the colour of the font you’re using and whether they will work well together visually. Colour combinations with enough contrast so the content is clearly visible and distinguishable on the page are important to consider for website visitors with visual impairments.

 

8. When in doubt, use a colour chooser tool

Colour scheme generators can be incredibly useful tools that can help you create a palette that’s professional and unique to your website. Play around with different colour wheels and try out various combinations to see what works best.

 

Conclusion:

Deciding on just the right colour scheme is so important for the efficacy of your website. Make sure you’re considering the symbolism and connotations of different colours, and you play around with combinations that are best suited for your target audience.

 

When you’re ready to go forward with an amazing business website design, contact your REM sales rep to get the process started.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

REM website in a computer monitor in an office environment

 

Building an effective business website takes time and effort, and there are multiple factors to consider in the process. It’s an overwhelming and daunting ordeal to make a website when so much of the health of your business is tied to its success.

 

Read the tips below to find out how you can work with REM to build the best business website possible. Creating a great website will help establish your brand, cultivate conversations, and generate leads.

 

1. Customize your theme

You want your website to stand out and be a unique reflection of your brand, which is why customizing your website’s theme is key or else it will blend in with the countless other websites that all look the same. Personalize your site and look through customized designs that will be the best reflection of your business’ image and content.

 

All REM websites are custom designed by our talented web designers. We can guarantee that your site design isn’t just a template that is downloaded and then re-sold to hundreds of companies online. And because the design is custom, we can do almost anything you like for the look and feel of the site, including changing the layout.

 

2. Make your site mobile responsive

It’s critical that your website operates well on mobile devices, considering the average adult spends at least 5 hours per day on their phone and is how the majority conduct their online shopping. Mobile optimization for your website is important.

 

Offering a positive user experience for potential customers will encourage them to stay on your site. If text is difficult to read or the mobile site is hard to navigate, prepare for users to abandon your site altogether in favour of a competitor.

 

All REM sites come mobile-friendly with responsive designs that change so that they display in the best possible way on any device.

 

3. Prioritize readability

Users should have no difficulties reading the content on your site, which means you should be thinking about your website’s design and how easy it is to read.

 

Keep font sizes consistent, choose fonts that are known and prioritized for their overall readability, and always opt for contrasting colours. Background images should never drown out or overshadow your text. Readability should always be your number one priority.

 

Speak with our marketing team if you would like help with having your content written. We do the research on your target audience and write content that converts visitors into paying customers.

 

4. Make it easy to find and navigate

Your website should be simple to understand and easy to navigate. Don’t overwhelm users with unnecessary elements. Less is more. Stick to the basics in your navigation bar and keep your navigation standard.

 

5. Keep your pages tidy

Your site should not be cluttered with an overabundance of information and detail. Text and graphics should be tastefully balanced so that pages look clean and are simple to use. Don’t feel the need to add any “filler” info like a Twitter feed social widget, for example. Prioritize the data your audience will truly care about and cut out the rest.

 

6. Keep information accurate and accessible

No one likes to spend an unnecessary amount of time searching for information that they need. On top of that, they especially don’t like finding info that’s out of date or inaccurate.

 

As simple as it may seem, try to keep your most basic and important information (like contact details, store hours, etc.) readily visible and accessible to users on your website and make sure that it’s regularly updated.

 

7. Go easy on the pop-ups

One pop-up can serve as a helpful reminder about joining your company’s mailing list, following your social media accounts, signing up for an upcoming event or offering a discount. Multiple pop-ups can be jarring, disruptive, and turn someone off from staying on your website completely. Use pop-ups sparingly and save them for the most important information you want users to see when they go onto your website.

 

8. Ensure your website is responsive

The staggering majority of people will quickly leave a website if it is loading too slowly, and the loading time on a webpage directly affects the purchasing decisions of most people as well. It’s necessary to prioritize website responsiveness.

 

Test your website to make sure it runs smoothly, all software is up-to-date, and you’re using the proper website host for your needs and demands.

 

REM works very hard to make sure your servers are fast and secure. We also make sure your site design loads quickly and that important items on your site are loaded first. Speak with your REM sales rep to get the full details.

 

Conclusion:

The overall efficacy of your website can be the determining factor for a client when they’re deciding on whether they would like to learn more about your business or purchase your products. Prioritize your website’s design and ensure you’re looking for ways to make it faster and more reliable.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Illustration of a digital shield and lock on a dark blue background

 

According to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the Covid-19 pandemic presents an elevated level of risk for the cyber security of small businesses. Not only should you protect your website and email servers from attack, but you should also harden the security on your company devices.

 

Read the recommendations for the best cyber defense practices your business should be implementing below.

 

1. Enable security software

Your business should be protecting itself against malware–malicious software that is designed to infiltrate or damage computer systems. You should educate your staff about accessing non-work-related websites and content when on a company device, especially when they are working from home.

 

Your organization should enable secure anti-virus and anti-malware solutions and any software firewalls on all company devices that can access the Internet. These programs should also be configured to conduct automatic updates and regular scans and your IT admin should receive warnings if staff are disabling them.

 

2. Use strong multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication is a reliable and secure method of account or device login that requires more than just one verification that uses something you know (PIN or password) on something you have (a token), and something you are (a fingerprint). Whenever possible, multi-factor authentication should be used.

 

3. Improve your password use

More often than not, passwords are not strong enough to deter cyber threat actors. Organizations should be implementing cohesive guidelines around password creation and should instead opt for passphrases. A passphrase consists of a sequence of mixed words, numbers, and punctuation that contains at least 4 words and is a minimum of 15 characters in length.

 

4. Have an incident response plan

A cyber incident is defined as any unauthorized attempt, successful or otherwise, to gain access to, modify, delete, or destroy any computer network or system resource.

 

An incident response plan helps ensure that your business is properly prepared to detect, respond, and recover from a cyber-attack incident. An effective plan will limit any disruptions and reduce data loss. A written incident response plan should highlight an established set of guidelines that are in place so responders can be ready to carry out the tasks necessary to minimize damage and deal with the incident at hand.

 

The incident response plan should include contact information for every person involved in response activities, instructions for how to handle incidents, the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, and the actions that are required for mandatory incident reporting.

 

5. Secure websites

Your company’s websites should be secured using the Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS). ASVS proposes a standard list of security requirements and controls to implement during each phase of website development.

 

REM clients have their websites stored on highly secured servers with back-ups and redundancies to minimize any downtime. Your webhost should also do regular backups of your site and store those backups for at least a couple of days just like REM does. In case of an attack, being able to roll back to a clean version of the site can save you thousands of dollars in downtime and lost sales.

 

Your business should be investing in the proper tools for security requirements on all websites that are developed. If you are worried about the security of your website, speak to an REM business website sales rep today.

 

6. Provide employee training

Making sure your employees are properly educated about cyber security threats can help protect your business and minimize any potential risks. Effective employee training includes the implementation of unique passphrases, safe use of the internet and social media in the workplace and identifying any malicious emails. Companies should be investing in security training and should consider creating a cyber security training policy if they don’t already have one in place.

 

7. Back up and encrypt data

All essential business information should be backed up regularly to a secure and external location. As well, back-ups should be encrypted and restricted to individuals who are responsible for testing and restoring functions.

 

8. Secure portable media

There are risks involved with portable media. If sensitive information is lost or misplaced, your organization’s data that is stored on these devices can be potentially gone forever. Information stored on portable media should be encrypted to prevent any unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive data.

 

Conclusion:

All small businesses should be taking cyber security extremely seriously to be better prepared for any sort of attacks and to be able to spot, respond, and act as efficiently as possible in the face of any potential cyber threat.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Man holding a bucket full of cleaning supplies

 

Spring is just around the corner. The new season has a lot of opportunities for more growth, organization, fresh starts, improved mindsets, and better productivity.

 

Spring cleaning doesn’t need to only apply to your home. Giving your business a springtime refresh can be beneficial for a multitude of reasons.

 


 

Here are seven ways you can spring clean your small business.

 

1. Buff up your customer relations

You never want to let the customer relations side of your business fall to the back burner too much, but having more relaxed and complacent periods can happen when you’re particularly busy. Now it’s time to prioritize a thorough overhaul of your consumer operations.

  • Go through those customer-lists. Look through the information you have about your clients. Are there addresses up-to-date? Have any of them moved, changed phone numbers or emails? Make note of when you last heard from specific customers and move forward with updating any information if you have access to the correct details.
  • Put out a satisfaction survey. You should always be looking for more opportunities to grow and improve your business, and what better way to do that than by receiving feedback from one of your most important sources? Take this chance to check in on them and see how happy they are with your services.

 

2. Tidy up your website

Take a critical and thorough look at your website. Any problems that you’ve made note of over the past year that have managed to fall through the cracks, address them head-on. It can be easier to push these issues to the back of your mind when there are more pressing matters and problems to focus on, but your website should take top priority. It is a reflection of who you are as a business and is likely the first impression most of your clients will have when choosing who to do their commerce with. Assess whether or not your website perfectly aligns with your brand, services, and mission. Perhaps you need to update your logo, colours or mission statement. Maybe your product list or contact information needs to be updated. There are likely ways that you could also improve your website’s accessibility for visiting users and expand the scope of what your site currently offers. So while you’re fixing those little issues, take advantage of this time to look for ways you can improve what you already have in the process.

 

Talk to REM about getting a thorough Website and SEO Audit to find out what needs to be fixed first.

 

3. Purge your email inbox

It’s incredibly easy to let emails pile up in your inbox and it can be a daunting task to tackle if you’ve been putting it off for awhile (we’ve all been there). This is your sign to set aside the time to sit down and do it. Although it can be time-consuming, it will be worth it when you’ve finally completed it. Go through your spam folder, delete old emails and organize important ones into specific folders. Unsubscribe from any unnecessary newsletters and generic emails. Look over your contact list, add names to emails, and update it accordingly. Do you want to change your email signature or your contact photo? Now is the time to do it. Any little task surrounding email organization should be prioritized and completed now. As tedious as it may seem, dedicating the proper focus to getting these smaller and often overlooked points on your to-do list done will benefit you in the long-run. 

 

4. De-clutter your desk

An organized desk can do wonders for your personal productivity, work mindset, and your overall mood. Your workspace is where you’re likely spending the majority of your time, whether you’re working at the office, at home, or between both. The desk where you tackle your daily tasks and projects can say a lot about you, and the state of its organization and cleanliness likely has an impact on your on your wellbeing and desire to work. So wipe off that keyboard, put out a plant or two, tidy up your loose files and papers, and remove any unnecessary clutter. Try to make your desk layout simple with few distractions, but it should have personal touches that make it desirable for you to sit down and work there. Whether that’s a few framed photos or some subtle desk decor, turn that space into your own and one you can be proud of.

 

5. Check-in with your employees

Employee satisfaction should always be a priority to make sure your business can run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Checking in with the people who help run and manage your business can provide you with different perspectives that you may not have considered before. You see operations from one side, they see it from another. Actively listen to any feedback, notes of improvement or concerns they may have.

 

6. Take a close look at your data

Pouring over your business’ data can be a very effective way to find gaps or weaker spots that are in need of improvement. Really knowing what’s behind your data and how to engage with it more critically and efficiently can be incredibly helpful for your small business. Keep tabs on what you’re selling, look at peak times and demographics for website users, get to know your clients and their buying habits with customer insights, and look into real-time updates on how your business is doing sale-by-sale.

 

7. Clean your office space

It’s very likely that the office you work in has not been held to the same standard of cleanliness and organization that was once there before the pandemic. Fluctuations with in-person work have probably resulted in some office tasks being shifted to the bottom of everyone’s to-do lists. Tackle the literal part of spring cleaning and bring your office the deep clean and de-clutter it needs. Toss out trash, go through any overlooked mess, vacuum, and sanitize surfaces and high-traffic areas. Similar to your personal desk, your office should be an inviting space for your employees to come to work in.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Food truck owner serving food to a customer

 

As the weather gradually gets warmer, the sun stays out longer, and the snow melts away to reveal another spring season, business-minded people are likely asking themselves one question: how can I make the most out of it? With a long and dreary winter behind us, people are itching to go outside, enjoy the nice weather, and soak up the sunshine. This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of potential seasonal business ventures and turn them into successful investments.

 


 

Here are some spring business ideas to get you inspired and started on the right track. REM can help design a professional, business website for your new company and help promote the business online.

 

1. Food trucks

Food trucks have seen a steady rise in popularity, especially over recent years. They’re incredibly convenient options for providing tasty food to customers wherever they happen to be in the moment: the beach, park, festival, concert, and even weddings. Whether you’re a professional chef or just starting to tap into your affinity for good food and quality cooking, operating your own food truck can be a very lucrative spring business option to jump into just before the start of summer.

 

So, you’ve decided to open up your own food truck. You’re ready to gas up your new truck and flip on that griddle. Before you get ahead of yourself and channel that excitement into your new culinary craft, you’ll need to sort out vendor permits, licenses, and government sign-offs. This process takes time, so be sure to start it as soon as possible if you want to capitalize on the late spring-early summer customer crowds.

 

Now to the physical food truck. Along with the truck, you’ll also need the proper equipment to prepare, cook, and store food. You may want to investigate an equipment financing loan to do this. Consider looking into a business line of credit to finance the costs associated with stocking ingredients and other supplies that you’ll need to operate.

 

2. Landscaping and lawncare 

There is a huge market for homeowners who simply don’t have the time or ability to maintain their lawns and gardens. If you love the outdoors and won’t back down from some physical labour, this venture may be for you. 

 

Luckily, there isn’t a long list of requirements that are needed to start your own lawncare and landscaping business. Consider applying for a business credit card for larger purchases and determine whether you will be supplying the necessary equipment and supplies for your business or use what is offered on-hand by clients. 

 

Channel your green thumb into providing others with outdoor spaces they can be proud of. 

 

3. Microtasks 

If you’re tech-savvy and have knowledge about things like cryptocurrencies and blockchain, there are different ways you can make money online with minimal effort or investment. 

 

Microtasking involves earning money for doing short tasks such as completing surveys, online quizzes, digitising receipts and invoices or filling in entries on encyclopedia websites. Completing a multitude of these smaller tasks can result in a fairly lucrative business if you play your cards right. 

 

Many of these tasks will only pay in Bitcoin, which is why you need to have knowledge of this unique currency option before getting started with microtasking. If you’re able to start, microtasking is a great work from home business opportunity to tackle for the spring. 

 

4. Tutoring 

Spring signals a daunting time for many students who are going to be tasked with cramming for exams and working on end-of-term assignments, projects, and essays. Students who are looking to bump up their grades and improve their scholarly skills will be looking for tutors to help them.

 

Tutoring can be as simple as helping a group of neighbourhood children with their after-school homework or assisting college students with learning certain concepts or retaining pieces of knowledge before their finals. 

 

There’s little investment involved with tutoring, as the students who will come to you for help will have most or all their own supplies. Just put your school smarts to good use and find the subjects you’re most qualified to teach. 

 

5. Party planning 

Spring is a popular time for celebrations. Barbeques, outdoor birthday parties, weddings, wedding showers, baby showers, the list goes on. And although people love attending parties, many don’t enjoy the planning process that’s involved with them. 

 

If you have an eye for detail and a passion for putting on a good time, this side hustle is for you. Start with small-scale gatherings and work your way up. Make connections within your local community so you know where to get the best deals and quality for venues, decorations, catering, etc. After securing a few successful parties under your belt, word will start to spread about your business. 

 

6. Spring cleaning services 

Help tackle the yearly task many people dread: spring cleaning. Spring is often a time for a reset and refresh, and assisting people with cleaning their homes can be a successful and fulfilling side-hustle. Apart from taking care of your own supplies and transportation, the investment for cleaning services is fairly low. Take advantage of local ads, and if you’re able to secure some reliable clients early on in your travelling cleaning venture, you’re likely to receive positive reviews and word-of-mouth advertising that will help expand your client base. 

 

7. Pet sitting and dog walking 

If you like animals and enjoy their company, this side hustle is for you. Becoming a pet sitter or dog walker is straightforward and doesn’t require a lot of steps or too much investment. As we move into the spring months, people will be starting to plan family vacations and will need to find someone to make sure their pets who are left at home are properly taken care of. 

 

As you start out with your pet sitting business, you shouldn’t need more than a business credit card. You won’t need to purchase too many things (apart from some client approved treats if you want to spoil the pets you’re looking after) and you will likely be driving to and from these homes, so it makes sense to choose a card that earns you cash back on gas and other small business expenses. 

 

8. Pool cleaning 

Similar to landscaping and lawncare, people who have pools often don’t have the proper time to dedicate to cleaning and maintaining them consistently. This is where you come in. Look into the permit laws for your area so you can begin registering your business and get your permits in order before you begin. Make sure you invest in the right tools for the job and gain knowledge about how to provide the services properly and effectively.

 


 

Once you know which business you want to start, contact REM for help in getting it online. Every new business website needs a strong online presence to establish credibility and compete with others in their market. The earlier you involve REM in the process, the more we can help you get noticed!

 

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