You need a reliable and trustworthy bridge to cross over a river. The same can be said about getting a mortgage loan.
Mortgage brokers are, in a similar sense, the bridge between you and the perfect personal loan for your specific situation.They make sure you are aware of and understand all the conditions of the loan and that you don’t miss any important detail that can come back and surprise you later. Just like a bridge, your mortgage broker gets you right through to where you would like to be.
We understand the importance of a good mortgage broker who doesn’t only get the job done, but who also makes sure you know exactly what’s happening and makes you and your financial health a priority.
Here at Zillidy, a Canadian company that offers business loans, we’re always there to support your financial and business ventures. We understand how time consuming it is to find the right broker and the ideal financing options, so if you’re not sure which mortgage broker to choose in Montreal, here are 5 of the top Montreal brokers who you can trust to guide you through an otherwise difficult financial process:
Multi-Prêts is one of the best-reviewed mortgage agencies on social media in Montreal. The professionals at the company are dedicated to saving you time and money off your mortgage loan. One of the most important factors that make Multi-Prêts a top broker in Montreal is that they are not affiliated with any lender — thus, the firm truly helps you select the best loan specifically for your situation without bias.
The company works with a wide range of lending institutions, over 15 of the most renowned and trusted financial leaders. Through the company’s high volume of transactions, you are guaranteed to secure an exclusive rate, lower than what traditional financial institutions can offer you.
2. Mortgage Architects
Jason Zucherman, the man behind Mortgage Architect, is a certified Quebec mortgage broker. He is also part of one of the biggest mortgage firms in Canada — Hypotheca Mortgage Brokers. His promise is to always provide you with the highest quality of assistance and guidance. His clients report a high level of satisfaction, which accounts for his wide success and his high place on this list.
Since Jason always receives rate changes and term modifications information in advance, you’re ensured to receive the best interest rate possible. Having spent the past 5 years in the real-estate and financing field, Jason is a professional with well-rounded expertise you can trust. He is always prepared to serve his customers and cater to their needs, meaning that with Mortgage Architects you’re sure to have a great experience while securing your mortgage.
3. Landmark Financial Group
At Landmark Financial Group, you’ re promised to receive detailed and well-explained information regarding the home financial transactions you might have in mind, along with a list of all your possible mortgage options. As one of the most trusted and knowledgeable Montreal mortgage brokers, the team at Landmark Financial Group provides a variety of mortgage services in addition to a mortgage calculator, which you can use on the company’s website.
Moreover, Landmark’s team can help you out with your mortgage application so that you don’t miss any required documents or pieces of information. And that’s in addition to guiding you through the application and post-application process so you feel secure and supported at all times. Thanks to the firm’s one-on-one service, professionalism, expert advice and great availability, the team indeed stays true to their slogan: this company, indeed, “serves you better.”
4. True North Mortgage
True North Mortgage has one of the most interactive approaches to the mortgage broker services. The firm, which has offices all across Canada, offers its services in person, online and over the phone. The company values of “honesty, purpose, loyalty and charity,” have led them to become one of the top mortgage brokers in Montreal.
Located within Montreal’s city center, True North Mortgages allows you to visit their office even without a set appointment. All of the company’s mortgage brokers are paid a set salary, guaranteeing that you will receive an honest and unbiased service catered to your needs. Discovering your best option and offering the lowest possible interest rate is True North Mortgage’s goal. The success of the Montreal team of qualified professionals is evident from the favorable reviews on the Good Mortgage Bad Mortgage platform.
5. North East Mortgages
Terry Kilakos and his team are some of the best known mortgage agents in Montreal. The team’s determination to guarantee the lowest interest rates and best conditions has secured North East Mortgages a huge number of satisfied customers. The firm’s working engagement with over 20 financial institutions is sure to both save you a lot of time and give you a variety of options.
Your mortgage options offered through North East Mortgages may include offers from conventional lenders, alternative financing and private lenders. You will then receive the needed guidance in order to secure the perfect option suiting your particular situation and needs. Terry Kilakos’ team has a great reputation, supported by their proven expertise and their numerous media appearances.
Have you used a mortgage broker in Montreal before? Share your experience and review in the comment section below!
One of the greatest advantages of the modern internet age is the ability to work from anywhere. Today, this is manifesting itself in the Digital Nomad movement.
The stars of this sweeping trend are mostly young technology professionals trying to combine work and travel into a unique lifestyle. They’re on a never-ending quest for the best internet, the most beautiful weather, and the lowest cost of living.
And digital nomad-ing is catching on as general trend, with many blogs and podcasts addressing the ‘how to’ aspect of the lifestyle. When winter comes, the search for a more pleasant climate can certainly resonate with the average Canadian tech worker, just as much as the rest of the world’s citizenry.
So, armed with a small business loan from Canada to cover the initial costs of getting set up, maybe it’s time you took off to experience a new way of living. There’s never been a better (or an easier) time to see the world.
Here are a few top destinations for today’s digital nomads:
Be a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai, Thailand
How exactly does a city come to be praised as a top digital nomad destination? For Chiang Mai, it’s by combining its status as the culture capital of northern Thailand with great weather, unbeatable prices, and excellent food. With an estimated monthly living cost of just 800 Canadian dollars, it’s not hard to see why 281 digital nomads have registered living there on the authoritative Nomad List blog.
Although, while the tropical climate may attract you, perhaps you’re worried about being in a place so unfamiliar? No worries, we’ve got you covered…
Be a Digital Nomad in Honolulu, Hawaii
Bringing together the convenience of living in the USA with the climate which Hawaii is justifiably famous for, Honolulu is becoming the USA’s most popular digital nomad destination. It may be pricey compared to Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe, but the lightning fast internet (30mbps) and stunning location more than make up for it. There’s even a budding co-working movement you can jump onto. Plus, you can’t really beat the satisfaction of telling everyone back home that you’re living and working in Hawaii.
Be a Digital Nomad in Sofia Bulgaria
With a low cost of living, internet speeds topping 32mbps, a burgeoning startup scene, good venture capital, and easy access to the rest of Europe, Sofia is quickly making a name for itself as a digital nomad destination. If hiking a 7,520 foot peak in the morning before getting down to business in a hip and a modern co-working space sounds perfect to you, Sofia should be a real contender for your next digital nomad destination.
Be a Digital Nomad in Kigali, Rwanda
You could be forgiven for not giving Rwanda’s bustling capital much of a thought when considering locations for your next home base. But, after recovering from a genocide in the 1990s, Kigali seems to be under a spell of new initiatives and innovations. With its low cost of living and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, the city is fast becoming a model for the rest of Africa. There’s even a new tech innovation hub ready to bring you together with the country’s best and brightest. Check out one digital nomad’s blog Living in Kigali for insider tips and inspiration.
Be a Digital Nomad in Prague, Czech Republic
With its blend of the historic and the modern, Prague is an excellent choice for any nomad looking for old world European charm without breaking the bank. Monthly living costs can be under 1,200 Canadian dollars, while internet speeds often top a blisteringly fast 40mbps. But if you want to take it slow, or give yourself some time to come up with your next great startup idea, the winding cobblestone streets of the old city are always just a step away. Once you’re ready to put your idea into action, there are great co-working spaces and accelerators ready for you to jump into.
Be a Digital Nomad in Penang, Malaysia
If you’re looking for affordable prices in combination with old-world European flair, Penang and its historic Georgetown quarter (a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2008) may be the perfect Southeast Asian digital nomad destination for you. Full of great places to work and relax, Penang offers a more hip and stress-free alternative to the hustle and bustle of Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lampur. Just be sure to prepare for hot weather and slower-than-average internet speeds.
Be a Digital Nomad in A Coruña, Spain
Unexpectedly affordable by Western European standards, this city perched on the Northwestern coast of Spain is earning its status as a digital nomad hub. A Coruña is a little-known city boasting great surfing, top-notch seafood, and good internet speeds. It’s not surprising that travelers have found it easy to fall in love with. And if you’re in need of some inspiration for your next big idea, a visit to Spain’s National Museum of Science and Technology might just do the trick.
How to Get Started on Your Adventure
While being a digital nomad may not be right for everyone — maybe you’ll discover you rather like being grounded — it’s undoubtedly a fantastic way to see the world, learn more about yourself, and make a living in the process. We’re living in an age of increasing travel and technology use, so why not take advantage? In the meantime, check out some tips for inspiration and let your imagination start running.
If you’re a digital nomad, or perhaps are considering it but have some reservations, let us know about it in the comments.
In Part 2 of our interview with Sal Virani, we discuss the 5+ companies he’s founded, how to define success, and how to avoid getting bogged down in startup dogma and recipes, plus much more.
If you missed it, check out the first part of our interview here to learn more about this Canadian-born startup mentor, how he got started, and why he calls himself an “entreprenerd…”
Zillidy: What was your first startup?
Sal: Depends what you call “first.” When I was a teenager I ran BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems), a precursor of the internet, and I had a computer store with 6 employees. But my first real business was Hotelicom, in Canada. It provided guest based IT services to the hotel industry, and it’s still going strong today. That was actually more than 10 years ago. I’ve also done online scuba gear e-commerce, an e-mail service provider right before gmail, then a bunch of failed hotel related businesses in Europe.
Zillidy: You’ve built 5 startups. How did they do and what did you learn?
Sal: With Hotelicom, in the early days between me and my cofounder, I was seen as the smart one and he was seen as the sales guy. One lesson there was that I did everything by the book, I followed best practices to the letter. He, on the other hand, was willing to jump on an opportunity, which didn’t fit the strategy. But the actual direction of the company ended up being one of the strategies he took up. I was too focused on being “right” according to startup hype and business best practices at the time.
I was too focused on being “right” according to startup hype and business best practices… Tweet this!
With Divetank, my scuba e-commerce play, there were two big lessons. One was being really sensitive to the feelings of the buyer. That led to so many opportunities to maximize conversion rates. There were all these techniques we developed to give us a stratospheric rise in terms of sales. People worried about the wetsuit fitting or getting a deal, these mindsets ended up being critical. But we didn’t end up focusing enough on inventory and that killed us in spite of our outstanding sales. In that case it was a myopia in terms of what we were good at instead of stepping back and looking at the business as a whole.
With Geekmail the biggest lesson was to choose your co-founders very wisely. Do your due diligence. Even if you think you know them, ask. Talk to people who’ve worked with them before and you’ll learn things, which may dissuade you, and rightfully so. It’s one of the biggest decisions in a business. It’s one of the most permanent decisions you can make. Tread lightly.
Choose your co-founders very wisely… It’s one of the most permanent decisions you can make. Tweet this!
I tried to launch Hotelicom in London with Corneroffice, but the biggest lesson there is that most market research and competitive analysis doesn’t prove real demand. So, in that case, after doing research on the hotel industry in the UK, it seemed that in terms of business centers and wifi option the UK was tracking almost exactly 3 years behind Canada.
But the business failed in spite of that market gap. The main reason was that in the UK hotels have so many different issues to deal with, which have nothing to do with IT. Older buildings, higher turnover, language issues, etc. Therefore, the managers are usually much busier.
Most market research is supply-based, rather than demand-based. A gap in supply is not the same as unmet demand, which is what really matters. You have to understand what everyday life is like for your customer, and assess whether what you’re offering is so great that they’ll actually make time for it. The thing to look for is that they’re making time already — in some way — to find themselves a better alternative. Without that, even if you offer something they say they want and which is superior, it might not get you anywhere. That cost me most of my money.
Market research and competitive analysis doesn’t prove real demand
Aroundthecorner failed because it was far too complex. The advantage of simple businesses is that there are only so many factors to get right to make the business work. The more factors you have, the more chances there are that one aspect can kill the business. In that case it was a 3 sided model.
In a simple business you sell something and get paid. You can make a two sided model with customers and sellers. In this case it was a 3 way advertising play with hotels giving me space to sell to advertisers and the guests being advertised to. I needed to get all of those right at the same time.
In retrospect it was too complex. It was great on paper, I was winning prizes for startup pitches, but the business was too complex. I equate this to when you let a 3-year-old make a sandwich. They have lots of great ideas, and put everything on it. And that makes a disgusting sandwich that even they don’t like. Entrepreneurs are the same. We often turn a lot of good ideas into a bad idea.
Zillidy: What did those experiences teach you about how startups should (and shouldn’t) use debt?
Since I’m talking with you guys at Zillidy, I want to emphasize a big life lesson for me here. At this stage, using debt to finance my business was a huge mistake. I thought that my experience and the fact that I could find credit was a good enough reason to double-down on Corner Office and Around The Corner. In retrospect, that was a bad combination of overconfidence, arrogance, and optimism, which prevented me from seeing what the evidence was saying: “you gave it a shot, and nobody cares.”
I used debt to buy myself time to get the business right. That was a bad move, because it truly cost me time, too. That money was used to spend more time on a bad business idea, and then, I had to spend more time after that to pay the debt off.
My rule of thumb now is that debt isn’t for early-stage risk, it’s a financial instrument for specific issues for established businesses. I’ll only use debt when I have reliable, paying customers, and where there’s a temporary cashflow issue to cross to get to a healthy, debt-free position again.
In retrospect it was too complex. It was great on paper, I was winning prizes for startup pitches, but the business was too complex.
For example, with Founder Centric, we’re growing quickly, but some of our bigger government projects pay months later. We might choose debt to grow our team to deliver, knowing we’ll be paid this year, and knowing that at the end of the year, we won’t need debt to sustain or grow anymore.
The big lesson learned from that experience was “go be helpful.” There’s a lot to be said for being helpful, doing the right thing, and seeing how you can get paid later. This can tell you where your business is because you’ll get people reacting to you and you can see where the interest lies. This is how Leancamp developed.
There’s a lot to be said for being helpful, doing the right thing, and seeing how you can get paid later.
I was eager to get Leancamp done to get back to Aroundthecorner but everyone was really interested in another Leancamp and nobody was interested in Aroundthecorner. Leancamp just started because I felt obligated to make it happen because I realized I was in a unique position to draw communities together. If I didn’t do it who would?
Then Foundercentric is still going and is finally a financial success. To some degree it only exists because I did the right thing with Leancamp, which I never actually profited from. But with Foundercentric, one of the things, which slowed us down, is that we keep treating it like it’s a startup, but it’s a service business. In a sense we like startups more, so we treat our service business that way. It’s like a lady dressing her dog up like a child, it’s kind of fun but sad when you see it from the outside. Thus, that’s how we see Foundercentric, we want to see it as a startup but it’s a service business.
Zillidy: How do you define success for a startup?
Sal: Depends on the founders, I define success for the founder first. It all comes out of that. I’m particularly adverse to people adopting other people’s recipes for success. The startup world is full of hype developed from investor’s definitions of success and not founder’s definitions. This leads to focus on things like acquisitions.
There’s an interesting phenomenon where the terms ‘acquisition’ and ‘exit’ have been conflated, almost unnoticeably. Exit used to refer to the point, at which the person who initially invested the capital gets it back. But now it’s starting to refer to an acquisition. That completely distracts from one of the best cases for a startup, because when it gets acquired usually most of the work or product of the startup is shut down.
I define success for the founder first.
Then what happens is the startups, which develop into business in their own right, so even in Canada there are a bunch of Hungarian startups, Prezi, log-me-in, etc. But all of those have effectively grown through private equity to be totally independent. Then, you have the whole world of bootstrap startups, which grow to tens of millions in profit but remain private. And all of these are definitions of success, which are ignored by focusing on acquisitions.
Zillidy: What’s your recipe for startup success?
Sal: I don’t believe in recipes. There are no recipes. Being somebody who was a very early champion of the leanstartup movement, I’m quite opposed to people who use that term to articulate some checklist or four step process. There are a lot of four step processes where the fourth is profit. Even after all this time few startups can claim those recipes as the source of their success.
I don’t believe in recipes [for startup success]. There are no recipes. Tweet this!
Leanstarup is great, but only as a set of principles. Inexperienced founders look for recipes, they want to protect their idea because they’re at a stage where they don’t have a lot of ideas. However, they gain confidence from someone who gives them a recipe. But if you look at people with experience, nobody puts value on ideas. The expression is that startups don’t starve, they drown.
You have too many ideas. Startups don’t get confidence from a recipe, but from evidence. Thus, I’d reframe the question “what skills are necessary for a founder to be successful.” What I’ve seen from teaching leanstartup to thousands of startups and working accelerators and university programs is that as much information as you can collect and be experimental, everyone slows down when it comes to decision making. Experienced founders are more comfortable making decisions in uncertain conditions. In fact, I’ve been collecting an e-book of what I call “decision hacks,” or prompts to dislodge you from inaction.
In a sense we like startups more so we treat our service business that way. It’s like a lady dressing her dog up like a child, it’s kind of fun but sad when you see it from the outside.
Zillidy: What are the most ridiculous and common reasons for business’ failure you’ve experienced or witnessed?
Sal: The biggest one is founders disagreeing. From what I’ve seen, in accelerators you’re in a pressurized environment where you have to increase your valuation 2 or 3 times in a few months and I’ve seen teams explode under the pressure. But that’s not the worst. The worst is actually death by paper cut. It’s the tacit disagreements where the founders think they’re agreeing but they’re not and it only comes to light later.
Something I learned from Luxor in San Francisco is the handshake rule. If one person makes the decisions, nobody needs to agree. If two people need to agree, you need two handshakes, for four people – six, and on and on. The number of handshakes you need, increases exponentially. So, the more people involved, the more chances there are for tacit disagreement, and the slower you make decisions.
If one person makes the decisions, nobody needs to agree. If two people need to agree, you need two handshakes, for four people – six, and more and more. The number of handshakes you need increases exponentially.
Check in next month for the third and final part of this interview in which Sal will discuss the Canadian startup scene and the fast-changing world of alternative financing. Also, don’t forget to check out Part 1 of ” Zillidy’s Interview with Sal Virani: Canadian Born Startup Mentor,” in case you missed it.
In the meantime, let us know in the comments — what do you think about Sal’s views on startup success and one-fits-all formulas?
For many business owners, now’s one of the best times of the year — the end of the fiscal year!
Who are we kidding? All of the tasks you need to complete in order to submit the report on time and the huge avalanche of numbers might drive even the most prepared business owners crazy. Before you “close your financial books” for this 12-month season, you need to be prepared for all the challenges which might get thrown your way.
So without further ado, here are 4 tips on how to avoid going mad at the end of the fiscal year and produce a financial statement you will be proud of:
Tip #1. Worried you don’t know what you’re doing? Ask an accountant!
The end of the fiscal year can be an extremely stressful time, especially for those who have never faced it before or haven’t found a way to manage their workflow. Due to the fact that the fiscal year financial statement is extremely detail-driven you are in a position where you’re obliged to produce something by law, but you might have no idea where to start or what to do exactly.
Even though researching online might provide pinpoints and guidance, you’re better off receiving advice from a professional. If you can’t afford to hire an accountant to do the work for you, you could set up a meeting and receive the needed guidance to complete the financial report by yourself. If you have any specific questions or problems that you need to solve, start building a business relationship with an accountant and you are sure to receive accurate and straightforward advice and guidance.
Tip #2. Numbers don’t add up? Check out loan options for small businesses.
You’ve made all the calculations over and over again, but the numbers still don’t add up? It might as well be that an invoice went missing and you can’t substitute it. It’s extremely important to not panic and to consider all of your options closely. Even though it might be tempting to change the numbers and lie, we would advise otherwise. Such problems can easily be overcome by substituting the missing amount of money.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, companies which offer small business loans against collateral are a perfect option because of the accessibility and the terms they offer to small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups. Zillidy, for example, offers business loans in Canada against personal possessions which include watches and precious metals. You get the capital you need quickly, without having to deal with the tedious process of long application forms or slow evaluation periods, which are characteristic of bank loans.
Tip #3. Left things until the very last possible moment? Schedule your time by the minute!
Most businesses set the end of their fiscal year during the first three months of the new year, i.e., the dreaded after-holiday period. Since procrastination is a flaw even famous entrepreneurs might be battling to overcome, it’s unsurprising if some businesses leave their financial calculations until the last minute. If you’re guilty, you’re likely to be experiencing stress and anxiety knowing there’s not much time left, but lots to do. Of course, there’s always something to be done and in this case our advice is to act now!
Beware of anything that might stop you from finishing your tasks on time. Create a daily, if not hourly, schedule for yourself and stick to it! Make sure you design your routine minding unexpected meetings or business opportunities, and aim to finish earlier rather than on time. Scheduling and listing your tasks can help you focus and limits the risk of you accidentally missing some important detail. Furthermore, the best entrepreneurs keep a daily routine to get as much of their goals done as possible. It’s important to also reward yourself for a job well done once you’ve completed your financial statement on time!
Tip #4. Do you lack the will to deal with the fiscal year end? Motivate yourself to push through!
We understand that it’s difficult to deal with tasks that might not be part of your expertise. As de-motivating as it might be, you need to pull through no matter what the difficulties. Owning a startup or a small business comes with a variety of issues and dealing with your own finances and statements is possibly one of the major difficulties. Until you’re able to spare the resources to hire an accountant, you have to do your best and motivate yourself to do it well.
Whether it’s the motivation to get the report out of the way or the feeling of achievement once you do, focus on the positive and clear your head to find the solutions to your difficulties. Find suitable music and snacks that nourish and stimulate you, and you will surely be done in no time. Asking your colleagues for help and discussing matters with them is another great way to motivate yourself to continue the work and bounce off positive vibes!
What are your most trusted strategies when it comes to dealing with the fiscal year end? Share your tips with us in the comment section below!
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most romantic of them all? Well, it could be you! St. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and you have the chance to surprise your loved one with the most romantic of experiences and a gift they won’t be able to resist. We associate this loving time of year with a nice bottle of wine, a fancy restaurant dinner, and a diamond or two (or at least that’s what the rom-com movies have set us to hope for).
For all who can’t help but follow this romantic rule, who might pop the special question or who just want to appreciate their loved one, a piece of jewellery is the ideal gift for St. Valentine’s! Check out five of the top jewellery stores in Montreal, where you’re guaranteed to find an amazing, sparkling gift:
1. GrisGris Factory
The man behind GrisGris Factory jewellery stores in Montreal is designer Barry Richards, made famous by his handmade precious metal “charms.” He takes his creations to the next level by bringing his inspirations — nature and architecture — to life in the form of golden, silver and platinum jewellery for both men and women. These unique valuables are the perfect gift for St. Valentine’s Day because of the meaning naturally instilled in each piece, which brings a modern twist to good-luck charms made from a variety of organic materials and beautiful precious stones.
2. Kaufmann de Suisse
The designers at Kaufmann de Suisse promise that they will make the love of your life feel “the way only an individually handcrafted piece can…and that’s special.” Designing pieces of jewellery influenced by the art nouveau tradition, the company is one of the most reputable firms in Montreal. Furthermore, since 1954, founder Emil Kaufmann has won five of the most prestigious jewellery awards, the Diamonds International Awards for excellence in craftsmanship and artistry! His tradition is now followed by a second generation of Kaufmanns who set new standards while following their predecessor’s excellent example. The company’s services include not only creating original masterpieces, but also remodeling existing ones. That makes them the perfect jeweller for those who might want to upgrade their family antiques before giving them to their special someone.
3. Château D’Ivoire
Located in the heart of Montreal on De La Montagne Street, Château D’Ivoire started producing its famous jewellery and timepieces back in 1978. The store, which was expanded and renovated 10 years ago, offers its own jewellery collection in addition to pieces from internationally popular brands and watches from some of the most reputable watchmakers. The latter is one of the reasons behind Château D’Ivoire’s popularity, drawing watch aficionados from all over the province of Quebec. Ready to pop the big question on St. Valentine’s Day? The experts at this store will help you select the perfect ring as the ultimate symbol of your unconditional love.
4. Lou Goldberg Jeweller
This family-owned jewellery store offers anything you might be looking for — rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. Lou Goldberg Jeweller’s key to success is the assiduity with which they design their pieces; always providing jewellery at the highest quality for the best price possible. What’s more, this strategy seems to be working brilliantly, since the business has been operating successfully for over 60 years. If you’d like to get your Valentine’s Day gift from a jeweller you know you can trust, follow in the footsteps of generations of Montrealers and head out to Lou Goldberg.
5. Argent Tonic
The bright and blinding flair of Argent Tonic’s design pieces is what draws many fans and dedicated shoppers into Aaron Maya’s store. This designer’s praised for finding the perfect metal for the perfect stone; he brings his creations to life with his unique spin on traditional processes and technologies of jellewery creation! Not only will the designs captivate the man or woman of your dreams, but the store’s atmosphere and sophistication will put a spell over your own senses. Maya is continuously trying to surpass industry standards and develop new processes, so you’re sure to find a unique jewellery piece that will surprise your loved onе and help you win their heart.
A piece of jewellery is not only a promise and a symbol of appreciation, but also a long-term investment with special value. Companies such as Zillidy use jewellery as collateral for asset-based lending. You can use those valuables to qualify for a loan to expand your company and afford more breathtaking and bigger jewellery for your loved ones as your capital grows!
Have you ever bought jewellery in Montreal? Recommend it or share your experience in the comment section below!
An entrepreneur is almighty, or so most entrepreneurs think about themselves. It’s mostly true due to the fact that starting a company and growing it from nothing takes talent, determination and a wide set of skills. However, you can’t do it alone. Operating startups and small businesses not only requires amazing teamwork from your close-knit crew, but also working with freelancers and external companies. It’s vital to manage your money wisely, so hiring a knowledgeable accountant or accounting company and working closely with them is an important action to consider. Managing your money in the best way possible at the onset of your venture, will help you save money in the long run!
You might be thinking, “But how will I save money if I don’t have enough capital right now to hire an accountant?” If you’re looking for extra funds, you’d like to invest in an accountant, Zillidy offers the perfect solution. The Canadian business loans company offers loans against personal possessions and can help you out in affording the best financial support.
Once you’ve figured out the financing, it’s time to choose your future accountant. Check out 5 of the top accountants in Calgary who will assure you get the most out of your money and business:
1. Swift Accounting and Business Solutions Ltd.
Swift Accounting and Business Solutions Ltd has a dedicated team of accountants ready to support your business and help you make the right financial decisions. The company specializes in offering accounting services to small businesses in industries ranging from automotive dealerships to real-estate and many others. The friendly and timely approach to business at Swift Accounting and Business Solutions Ltd. is evident from their customers’ feedback, making this firm one of the top performers in Calgary.
2.Small Business Tax Solutions Canada Inc.
Just like their name suggests, Small Business Tax Solutions Canada Inc consists of a qualified team of experts who provide fast and accurate accounting solutions for small businesses in Calgary. Their motto — “Never Pay Tax Unnecessarily” — is a suggestion to the in-depth consulting the company is well known for. Small Business Tax Solutions Canada Inc.’s specialty lies in the tax accounting and reporting field. Their approach to small businesses finances pays off and their customers are happy to brag about the money they managed to save.
3.John Gillani, Certified Management Accountant & Tax Consultant
Following the three rules John Gillani and his team have set for themselves — professionalism, responsiveness, and quality — has helped the firm become one of the top accounting companies in Calgary. The services this qualified team offers range from Small Business Accounting and Cash Flow Management to Strategic Business Planning and Tax Services, among others. The company’s aim to “advise clients on the best course of action and not just provide options,” is one of the main reasons behind their success.
4. Elliott & Company, CMAs (Shajani LLP Professional Accountants)
Elliott & Company,CMAs part of Shajani LLP Professional Accountants is well known for the holistic approach to accounting they take. The company serves a large number of businesses around Canada, but has made a lasting reputation in Calgary. The firm caters to the interests of both individuals and business clients of any size and provides financial guidance for starting a business, utilizing it and getting as much out of taxes as possible, among other great services. This self-motivated team’s professionalism, confidence, and personal humility have guaranteed them a place within the top accountancy firms in Calgary.
5. A1 Accounting and Business Solutions Inc.
The accountants at A1 Accounting and Business Solutions Inc. realize that “your financial stability is your future, so it is best to secure it the best way you can.” That’s why they seek to offer a wide range of services including small business accounting, Canadian tax preparation, business accounting, and others. The company is among the top Calgary accounting agencies, and their commitment to great service is clearly seen from the positive testimonials their clients continuously leave.
Have you ever used an accounting company in Calgary before? Share your experience in the comment section below.
Sal Virani is a Vancouver born serial entrepreneur. We sat down to talk with him about growing up in Canada, his history with startups, and his business philosophy. In this first part of the interview, he discusses why you should always focus on giving value in your work, why it’s easier to teach a local entrepreneurship rather than teaching an entrepreneur about the specific needs of a small local community, and much, much more…
Zillidy: Describe yourself, your background, and your education.
Sal: I’ve founded five startups: a few in Canada and a few in the UK. I’ve got an odd startup story. Most people start off with failure and learn to succeed later, I had the opposite. Some small early successes made it hard for me to fail later – which cost me a lot of time and money. I took myself too seriously. Realizing my mistakes, I ended up creating two organizations to help the European startup scene, Leancamp and Founder Centric. I went to Simon Fraser University for computer science and dropped out. I ended up teaching MSc (Science Masters degree programs) at University College London, ironically. I’m also technical: I’m a programmer, a developer, but was also the director of digital media for a major marketing agency in North America.
Zillidy: So you’ve done a lot over the years. What inspired you to create your biggest current project, Founder Centric?
Sal: At some point I started to get invitations to teach myself. But I was doing Leancamp and at the time saw myself as an event organizer and not an expert. We were bringing experts together. What I didn’t realize was that I was the only person in Europe, or maybe the world, who was actively in front of all the experts in the Lean Startup, business model, and user experience design.
People like Jon Bradford, who now runs Tech Stars London but was well respected even back then, and John Spindler, who’s highly-trusted by European universities, asked me to teach some workshops. It was an opportunity to help even though I didn’t see how I was really going to be helpful. This is another example of misinterpreting what the market is telling you. Because, in retrospect, I know I can deliver an incredible amount of value because I actively care about learning what works and doesn’t for entrepreneurs, by learning from a wide range of entrepreneurs themselves. I have a really high standard for what makes startup education valuable, which has allowed me to create a training business, and ultimately an education design business. Back then, I didn’t see that in myself, they did. Luckily for me, I was willing to give it a go and try to help them.
Most people in the startup education space are keen to define themselves around a process. But we know processes don’t work in a lot of contexts, so it’s important to be able to really dig in with founders who have a diverse range of experiences. Then, we can design responsive educational projects, which adapt to rapidly changing goals of startups. It’s not a cookie cutter model.
Naturally, at the beginning, I was just willing to help. I thought Leancamp was just the right thing to do – I never tried to get paid there. One of the biggest tricks I’ve learned is that customers see value you often don’t see. It’s not just about trying to see through your customers’ eyes, but recognising when your own self-perception interferes with that.
“One of the biggest tricks I’ve learned is that customers see value you often don’t see.” Tweet this!
Zillidy: What has been your favorite collaboration and why?
Sal: There’ve been so many.
My partnerships in Founder Centric all started through smaller collaborations. Rob and I used to trade notes on teaching. Devin and I did a weekend project together, called custdevcards.com. It was all good times. We still love digging in together.
Another collaboration I really liked was Mentor Impact. That was actually an idea, which came from an accelerator client called Emerge Education. They wanted me to interview all of the exceptional startup mentors around world, and then turn that into a workshop for their mentors. It was a lot of fun, because I got to talk to founders about their best mentoring experiences. I then talked to those mentors to see how they approached mentoring, and how they tried to be valuable for startups. I shared that with other startup mentors in a bunch of workshops in London, which were designed to flush out their best techniques, too. The whole thing improved iteratively. It became a fun loop, because the more I ran the workshops for mentors, the better the material became. Then, I worked with Rob to write it up as an ebook.
Currently, I’m deeply enjoying working with the Royal Academy of Engineering on their Africa Prize Project. My role there is to design a program that helps the 10 finalists, the best engineers they’ve found across Africa, to launch a business from the technology they’ve created. There are some amazing technological opportunities there: security, clean water, education, etc. Stuff the world needs. The engineers are so much fun, they’re all unique characters. Each one of my interactions leaves me smiling. But also, Africa is a very different place to do business. Founders get stuck in really different places. I have to figure out , which African entrepreneurs have the experience they need, and what educational techniques work best in different African cultures – then, design education around all that. It’s super challenging, but rewarding.
Zillidy: What else are you working on now?
Sal: I’m running Village Accelerator, which is an attempt to build open, freely distributable entrepreneur education to founders who come from some of the poorest communities in the world. The idea being that it’s actually easier to teach somebody tech entrepreneurship than it is for a foreign tech entrepreneur to learn the needs of these communities. I’m working in Roma communities in Bulgaria now, with a view to opening the material to overlooked parts of the world, not just Africa, but the Carribean and South-East Asia. We forget that these are truly investable markets — growing and with a thirst for technology and improvement.
Also, the Immersion program within Founder Centric gives university students a way to truly get a sense of what it’s like to be in a startup, of the good and the bad, and the skills to become a founder, if that’s what they want. It gives alternatives to university students when big companies are trying to recruit them. We’ve been running this program for a year with Oxford, and we’re looking at career services with other universities as well.
I’m also consulting a bit on startup ecosystem design. Now that governments have seen the value of startups, there’s a gap to be addressed in terms of what they fund and how, and how it truly translates to long term economic growth. That’s taken me to The European Commission, the UK, Estonia, the Balkans, and Africa.
“It’s easier to learn tech entrepreneurship than it is to learn the needs of small poor communities.” Tweet this!
Zillidy: Why do you call yourself an entreprenerd?
Sal: I think it was once hurled at me as a cheeky insult — but I liked it so decided to keep it. When I started Leancamp, I would really nerd out on all of these ways to be an entrepreneur. I was super interested in all the different perspectives on what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to do it. Now it’s less about the process and more about the war stories — going directly to founders who are there on the front lines. I nerd out on it — I really just love exploring, learning and synthesizing it all. For some people, it’s comics or cars. For me, it’s tech businesses. I’m like any other kind of nerd, I’m just really into it.
Check back for Part 2 of our interview with Sal, which will be coming out in the next few weeks. There, Sal will go into more detail on what he thinks about “recipes” for startup success and he’ll share his own histories of successes and failures. In the meantime, leave us your thoughts in the comments.
What better way is there to begin a new year or a new business venture than with a strong dose of inspiration? Motivational speeches and quotes from successful entrepreneurs can inspire us to achieve our goals and never give up in the face of overwhelming odds. Even if you feel like you’re lacking the motivation to keep fighting for your business, you’re sure to find a quote that you can put on a sticky note, attach to your monitor, and look at during hard times.
Of course there are problems no amount of inspiration can solve. This can be particularly true for those experiencing the difficulties of financing small business in Canada. There’s a thin line between startup success and startup failure and having a great idea is only the beginning. Canadian business loans provided by companies like Zillidy can solidify your success status. You can use the loans on offer to figure out how to escape a financial nightmare and achieve your dreams, all that against personal possessions, which you eventually get back. After securing your financial status, find the motivation to keep growing with these 17 inspirational entrepreneur quotes and soon enough your quote will be in there, too:
1. Define Your Company, Your Actions, and What You Want to Achieve:
If you don’t define yourself and proactively maintain your identity, someone else will do it for you. The idea that you can be invisible is a myth.
- Patrick Ambron, BrandYourself.com
An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.
- Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right
- Henry Ford, founder of Ford
Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.
- Mary Kay Ash, Mary Kay Cosmetics founder
2. Failure Is Not the End of the World, Keep Striving:
One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.”
- Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of Amazon.com
You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
– Walt Disney, founder of Disney
The very first company I started failed with a great bang. The second one failed a little bit less, but still failed. The third one, you know, proper failed, but it was kind of okay. I recovered quickly. Number four almost didn’t fail. It still didn’t really feel great, but it did okay. Number five was PayPal.
- Max Levchin, former CTO of PayPal
Running a start-up is like eating glass. You just start to like the taste of your own blood.
-Sean Parker, creater of Napster
Markets come and go. Good businesses don’t.
- Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Venture
3. Do What You’re Doing, but Better:
If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100% from day one, but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.
- Kevin Systrom, creater of Instagram
Watch, listen, and learn. You can’t know it all yourself. Anyone who thinks they do is destined for mediocrity.
- Donald Trump, chairman of The Trump Organization, the Trump Plaza Associates, LLC, and the Trump Atlantic City Associates
Don’t take too much advice. It’s just that most people who have a lot of advice to give—there are a few people who are exceptions, and they have a lot of data in front of them—most people generalize whatever they did and say that’s the strategy that made it work.
- Ben Silbermann, creater of Pinterest
Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.
- Sara Blakely, SPANX founder
Everyone should pull their finger out and start a business and to believe in themselves. There is nothing else to it. Anyone can make a £100m. But most people don’t go out and try. They just stand in the pub and complain.
- Duncan Bannatyne, entrepreneur, author and TV personality
So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.
- Caterina Fake, Flickr co-founder
I don’t have big ideas. I sometimes have small ideas, which seem to work out
- Matt Mullenweg, WordPress founder
Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.
- Oprah Winfrey, TV host and author
Which of these quotes are going on your office wall? Let us know in the comment section below!
2015 is at your doorstep and you’ve got to welcome it knowing where you’re headed! There’s a reason people like to start the year with a nice list. To-do lists are one of the top ways to focus, set goals, and inspire productivity and creativity. This is why, aside from the Christmas lists, you need to focus on your resolutions, both personal and professional. This is particularly true for entrepreneurs, for whom focus and goals can be the difference between success and failure. So here are the top 10 ultimate entrepreneur resolutions for getting your year started knowing exactly what you’re aiming for and where you’d like to be in 12 months!
1. Promote Your Business Regularly and Consistently
Creative ideas and good promotion are what captures the interest of your target audience. Make sure you explore the variety of ways to promote your business and don’t give up once you’ve managed to make an impact or even if you’ve failed. Embrace all channels and use cross-promotion regularly to build customer interest and keep it. Most importantly keep in mind some promotional opportunities are extremely cost-effective in case money is a big hurdle here.
2. Finance Your Expansion
Apart from sustaining your business, it’s highly important to consider whether you’re looking to hire more staff to take some pressure off yourself, acquire new technology, or offer new products and services in the coming year. One way to check off this New Year resolution quickly and effortlessly is with the business loans offered by Zillidy. Using personal assets as collateral is the perfect way to secure a loan which will cover the cost of your expansion.
3. Learn Something New
Self-development is something no one should ever neglect. Learning how to code or how to advertise your business better are just a few of the important skills you can master to take your startup to the next level. Depending on how you choose to learn — online tutorials, books, attending classes, or conferences — there are ways to combine learning with meeting new clients, getting customer insight, and networking.
4. Join or Organize a Networking Group
Building a strong portfolio of clients and businesses which can help you cross-promote should be one of your top priorities for 2015. Networking will not only give you a good market comparison but will provide enough feedback to help you refine your ideas and modify them until they’re bulletproof. Take the initiative and organize a networking group involving other local businesses and discuss how you can work together to make a positive impact on the area where you operate.
5. Drop the Dead Weight
It’s time to let go of anything that is not working. Just don’t make the mistake of confusing this with giving up! Letting go is about replacing the dead weight, whether it’s an idea that’s not working at the moment or an ineffective team member. You need to move forward by figuring out what’s working and what’s not going right within your startup. Whatever changes need to be made, make sure you learn from both the good and the bad!
6. Embrace the Digital — Use Apps Which Will Make Your Life Easier
Being a successful entrepreneur, you need to know how to be efficient. A lot of applications developed in the past years help save time and enhance productivity. Your smartphone can and should become your startup’s best friend! It will provide the needed support through all the operational procedures, connect you to social media and your clients, as well as save time, so you can prioritize better. Make sure you select the right apps for this. Even better, a lot of them are free.
7. Start Using Social Media More
Being the perfect medium to get feedback, advertise, promote, and network, Social Media is embraced by both large-scale companies and startups. For the past years social media has changed how we live in such a way that now more than ever you need to make sure you and your business are represented appropriately and actively. Harvest the benefits of social media. Because if your grandparents’re using it, you’ve got no excuses!
8. Manage Time Better — Try to Fit More “Me and My Loved Ones” In
A regret many entrepreneurs have is getting completely immersed in the business side of life without leaving much time to rest, recharge, and enjoy life. Make sure this is the year you find how to balance the work load and leave enough time to share special moments with the people you love the most. Remind yourself to never take good people and things for granted.
9. Change the Way You See the World and Seek Inspiration
This will probably be one of the most abstract things on your list. Why would you want to change your mindset or seek inspiration? You’ve got more important things to do, right? Put simply, doing whatever makes you happy and inspires you is the perfect way to charge yourself with positive energy. Your newly found attitude will help you see your business with new eyes and find solutions to problems you might never have thought possible, plus being inspired is contagious; sooner or later you will sense the difference within your team, too!
10. Don’t Stray From Your Promises!
Whether you said you are going to spend some quality time with your closest friends or you told your kids you will attend their game or just play with them, make sure you keep your promises. A successful person performs well both in their personal and professional life.
Last but not least, once you make your personal resolution list, stick to it, consider it a promise to yourself to be successful in the coming year!
Which of these 10 entrepreneur resolutions will make your 2015 list? Let us know in the comment section below!
Entrepreneurship is the new black. And it’s not just the youngsters that are into it. Even if you are older, you can still make it as an entrepreneur.
In fact, senior entrepreneurs are doing so well, they more than doubled in numbers over the past two decades. In Canada alone, 136,000 people aged 55 and above claimed to be self employed in 2013, while in the 90’s that number was only about about 55,000. Entrepreneurship among seniors is so hip, a new term has recently emerged — seniorpreneur.
So whether you’re an actual senior, or you fall into the category of “Over 30,” you certainly have a few trump cards over young entrepreneurs — trump cards which will help your new business venture succeed.
What Are Seniorpreneurs’ Secret Weapons?
Young people often make the news with their entrepreneurial endeavors, but it’s older people starting new businesses that actually have the edge here. Even Forbes says it — the passion and commitment that we tend to associate with the entrepreneurial spirit of 20-somethings, are alive and kicking among seniors, too. And if you’re an older entrepreneur, you surely know — you might be even more passionate about business than your children.
Plus, as an older entrepreneur, you have the advantage of bringing a lifetime of learning, leadership, and expertise to the table, meaning you’re more likely to build a successful business. The skills acquired through decades of work are not to be underestimated. In fact, “Twice as many [successful business founders were] older than 50 as were younger than 25. And twice as many were older than 60 as were younger than 20,” as we learn from Venture Beat. Pair a remarkable enthusiasm and competitive spirit with a huge bank of knowledge gained over the years, and you have a sure recipe for success.
All these assets allow seniorpreneurs like you to make the right decisions when young entrepreneurs would normally rely on gut feeling alone.
Experience & Networking: Huge Investor Magnets
Working in a certain industry unavoidably leads to knowing the right people, who you can turn for support when growing your business. These connections will save you incredible amounts of time when starting your business, and might improve its chances of success.
Whether you’re looking for industry insights to find a great niche idea for your business, or you already have a great idea and just need an investor or two, networking is king. But while seniors have particularly good face-to-face connection skills, you’re naturally more likely to overlook the importance of having a social media presence. Don’t make that mistake — these social networks, typically saturated with young people, provide great opportunities to reach not only investors, but your future customers, too.
So even if you feel like a fish out of water, know that getting online is easy. There are many tools and people who can help you, and most importantly, you’re already one step ahead since your offline connections will help you grow quickly online.
Alternative Financing Options
While investors are a great way to fund your business, there are drawbacks to this approach. Even with well-built personal networks, it can take a lot of time to find the right people who’ll want to invest in your business. Also, convincing these people sometimes proves tougher than expected, especially for older entrepreneurs.
Alternative ways to bring extra funds to your business include loans and credit cards, but these options are far from perfect. They’re both heavily dependent on your credit score, which as a starting business is zero. Being refused a loan can be a very de-motivational experience to encounter, but it’s not the end of the world.
There are ways to finance your business without having to go through credit checks. If you have valuable personal assets such as watches or jewelry, you can put them to work by exchanging them for a loan here at Zillidy. We’re committed to helping entrepreneurs like you succeed by helping you get capital when you need it. There’s no lengthy loan application process and no need for personal guarantees, either. These loans are fully supported by the valuable asset that you have accumulated over the years. Once your business takes off and you repay the loan, you get your valuables back in pristine condition.
Senior Entrepreneurs That Have Made It
Although young entrepreneurs are those that often make the news, especially the ones that shake up the tech market, seniorpreneurs are seeing increasing media coverage. That’s only natural, since they’re building a growing base of success stories. They’re inspiration to us all and we’ve handpicked a few (mostly Canadian) entrepreneurs to share with you:
Karen Khan | Toronto, ON
Starting a medical thesis at the age of 66? Finishing it, graduating and starting your own practice a year later? Karen Khan has done it and now she enjoys a rewarding job that is nothing like her corporate position.
John Laing | Mission, B.C.
After a long career in marketing and sales, John Laing joined a small team to provide digital media services to small business and corporate clients across British Columbia. Although his motivation behind the business venture was financial, it’s not hard to see it runs deeper than that:
“It’s not a very lucrative business, but it doesn’t have to be […] It keeps us busy. It keeps us engaged in our community. It keeps us young.”
- John Laing
Carolyn Palliardi | Victoria, Australia
You know you’re doing something special when you start a natural skin care business at the age of 51. After a career as a beauty editor, Carolyn Palliardi started forging her own path. Not knowing about manufacturing and distribution, or marketing to hormonal teenage boys, didn’t stop her from successfully launching 808 Dude in 2011 and proving her skeptical financial adviser wrong.
A Lifetime of Opportunities
Just like many of the great people in history, for all of us, success may come later in life. Alfred Hitchcock directed his films after the age of 54 and Grandma Moses didn’t even begin to paint until she was 76. It’s never too late for success, so never be afraid to start something new.
Do you know of any other seniorpreneurs with inspirational stories? Let us know in the comments below.