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I thought I would do a blog post on the motherland. I am a proud Canadian who loves his hockey, Cadbury chocolate bars and health care. I have had the opportunity to be an entrepreneur in both the USA and Canada and have found things to rave about from both experiences. Today I find myself in the USA, specifically in Utah and have to say there is an incredible entrepreneurial spirit that is supported and celebrated here in Utah. It makes doing what I do more enjoyable.

moving your businessmoving your business to the USA

If you are thinking of taking your business from the USA to Canada or from Canada to the USA I thought I would offer a few pointers from personal experience.

Taxes – not all states are created equal in the USA, Delaware and Nevada are both done have an income tax BUT Delaware does charge fees based on your assets or your shares outstanding which in some cases can be beyond what you would have paid. Not all province/state are created equal either. If you are going to set up a corporation in Canada, be aware there are some very competitive laws for small business earning under 200k/year that keep your taxes lower than in the USA. I am not a tax accountant, but that is the prevailing message I get from the professional I use. In Canada be prepared to keep track of both provincial sales taxes as well as federal sales tax – GST. Definitely a pain in the butt but I believe that is the definition of taxes isn’t it?

People – For the most part Canadians and Americans think the same, if you are from out East in the USA you are much closer culturally to the east coast of Canada than to Texas. The border of Canada and the USA really should have been divided East West instead of North and South. It would have collected a closer mind set in each country. One thing that I will say that is universal in Canada is Hockey and health care, not to mention beer. If you have ever watched Bob and Doug McKenzie you may be slightly off your typical Canadian, but not too far.

Relationship – The relationship between Canada and the USA is the closest and most extensive in the world. This includes bilateral trades which sum up to $1.5 billion a day in goods, as well as hundreds of thousands crossing the shared border every day. Canada and the USA work closely together on federal and local levels, whether it is about law enforcement, protecting the environment, or fighting terrorism. The USA is Canada’s largest foreign investor and Canada is the USA’s fifth largest investor. They rely on one another for manufacturing, financing, mining, and other services.

Traveling – When traveling back and forth from Canada to the USA, you must have proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate with a photo ID, a valid passport or visa – that is by ground and air. For more information on what is prohibited when crossing the border, click here.

If you have any questions about taking your business from the USA to Canada or from Canada to the USA, please leave me a comment and I will get back to you.

Entrepreneurship = Freedom

Posted by admin under Freedom

Entrepreneurship can be a ball and chain, it never leaves you no matter where you go, but it can also give you a lot of freedom. Now with smart phones being as advanced as they are you can get into your network and access all your files right from the dock of your summer home on the lake. When I was visiting with a fellow entrepreneur about this we laughed about how connected we are with our businesses and actually kind of like it.

Passion for your business comes out in everything you do, you live your brand, it is part of you and your DNA and it makes life more enjoyable. Years ago when I worked in a more “corporate” environment, weekends were looked forward to, now I often look forward to the weekdays. Strange I know, I think I may be sick but for now I love it.

So why are people so interested in entrepreneurship? It is not only the freedom, but it is also acknowledged as the key driving force for the incredible growth of capitalism. As risk increases so does reward. You make your future, you make your schedule, you create the opportunities, and you feel fulfilled. That is the foundation to entrepreneurship.

What makes you tick? Is there something that you find yourself dreaming about while at the office? Whatever your dreams are, pursue it, life is too short and you will always wonder what would have happened if you did.

Click here for more information on entrepreneurship.

Would you donate half your fortune to charity? Msnbc.com wrote an article about Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, America’s two richest people, who are embarking on a campaign to persuade their super-rich peers to give half their fortunes to charity in a move that could change the face of philanthropy.

The effort, if successful, could funnel a colossal amount of money into nonprofit groups. If the individuals on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans pledged half their net worth to charity, it would amount to $600 billion, Fortune magazine says.

The campaign began just over a year ago, when Gates and Buffett — who represent a combined net worth of $90 billion, according to Forbes — invited several billionaires to a secret dinner meeting in New York.

Melinda Gates insisted that both husbands and wives be invited. Her reasoning, according to Fortune: “Even if he’s the one that made the money, she’s going to be a real gatekeeper. And she’s got to go along with any philanthropic plan, because it affects her and it affects their kids.”

Billionaire pledge

The principals eventually settled on a goal of 50 percent of net worth, though Buffett himself is pledging 99 percent. They set up a website, The Giving Pledge, about the effort. Read Warren Buffett’s Philanthropic Pledge.

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“While the Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires, the idea takes its inspiration from efforts in the past and at present that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. We are inspired by the example set by millions of Americans who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.”

The giving pledge focuses for now on American billionaires, but the effort may eventually extend worldwide. The money from the participating billionaires isn’t being collected or distributed; rather, the pledge is a commitment to give.

I love what Buffet is doing. 99% of his wealth is being given to charity. Five Star Painting has committed a portion of its earnings to charity through the Five Star C.A.R.E.S Program and Habitat for Humanity. Personally giving time is a big part of our culture.

Summer Dress Code

Posted by admin under Dress Code

During the summer, the dress code in the workplace becomes lackadaisical because everyone has their own idea of what’s appropriate. If you look around, you probably know some people who really take liberties with their wardrobe.

For example, Five Star Painting’s very own Conrad has a unique taste that only a few can understand. Conrad is a man of efficiency, which means that all clothes must be worn until there are literally only a few threads left. By doing this he maximizes his utility of any garment by spreading the cost of it across as many decades as possible. In addition to this, he loves hot climates, so of course the more holes the better as he tries to reduce carbon gas emissions through reducing the need for air conditioning. Lastly, Conrad loves to show a little skin so flip flops, shorts, and shirts that are barely holding on are a staple in his attire.

Here are some guidelines that work for many workplaces. Possibly nine of the 10 tips apply to your company. Still, the bottom line is that you should put some thought into what you wear, because your wardrobe affects your professional reputation.

Dress_Codes

Here are 10 summer-attire taboos:

1. Flip-flops
Professional or dressy sandals are acceptable in many workplaces, and you know better than anyone if you work in such a place. Flip-flops and other recreational footwear are rarely acceptable for the same reason blowing a bubble with gum in a meeting is inappropriate: You look out of place and inconsiderate to your audience. Plus, that annoying sound of the flip-flop slapping against your heel will not make you any friends.

2. Bathing suits in any form
This tip might sound obvious, and hopefully it is. However, in case it’s not, remember that sprucing up your bathing suit with a nice shirt, a belt, shorts or any other accessory will not fool anyone. If you’re going straight to the pool after work, just change your clothes in the bathroom or a private office when the day is over.

3. Sunglasses indoors
Yes, the sunlight is blinding when you walk outside or drive to work, but sunglasses don’t belong indoors. People can’t tell if you’re paying attention to them when your eyes are hidden behind dark lenses, and everyone will wonder if your pupils were just dilated.

4. Shorts
Shorts automatically take the professional image down a notch, which could be a good thing for some places. For example, if you walk into a store that sells surfboards and wetsuits, you want to be greeted by someone in shorts and a tee, not a suit and briefcase. In most workplaces, however, shorts detract from a professional demeanor. Even nice shorts that are more suited for a day the country club than an afternoon painting your kitchen aren’t as pulled together as a pair of pants.

5. Tank tops
Regardless of the season, you should be wary of showing too much skin. In the summer, tank tops are prevalent in many wardrobes, and you might be tempted to sport one to work. Don’t. From an aesthetic standpoint, tanks make people think of a six-pack of beer, not of a six-figure salary. A professional look should lean more toward the latter.

Another issue that exists in some organizations is the idea that no one, male or female, should have bare arms. Remember when Michelle Obama took flak for her sleeveless blouses? As with many of these tips, use your best judgment. Unless your occupation involves some form of labor where sleeves affect your work, you should keep your upper arms covered.

6. Apparel that smells like or carries remnants of the beach
Who doesn’t love the beach? The sun, the waves lapping against the shore, the sand between your toes. If you need to bring a starfish home as a vacation souvenir, by all means, do it. Just don’t wear your beach clothes to the office — especially if they have that aroma of fresh ocean life or are leaving a trail of sand behind you. If, by some chance, your beach wardrobe is suitable for your workplace, at least have the good sense to run it through the washer once or twice.

7. Funny shirts or shirts from your vacation destination
Your “I’m Not as Think as You Drunk I Am” shirt might make your best friends laugh, but your boss, colleagues and customers or clients will disagree. Clothing shouldn’t announce itself, so steer clear of humor. And shirts bearing the name of your last vacation destination (“Mexico!” or “Missouri: The Show Me State”) will probably make your overworked colleagues begrudge your time off.

8. Not being prepared
Even if you’re allowed to be casual during the summer, have a backup outfit or piece of clothing to dress up your attire. If you’re in jeans and a plain T-shirt and your biggest client calls a last-minute meeting, it wouldn’t hurt to have a least a blazer or nicer shirt on hand. Being prepared is never a bad thing.

9. Anything see-through
Another tip that should go without saying, but just in case: Skin and undergarments should not be seen through the fabric you’re wearing. Lightweight linen that’s breezy and comfortable on the beach is inappropriate at work, not to mention uncomfortable for your co-workers.

10. Testing the limits
If your employer gives you wiggle room with the dress code by using words such as “appropriate” and “reasonable” to describe acceptable attire, use your brain. A ketchup-stained T-shirt, scandalously short shorts and dilapidated tennis shoes are acceptable in your personal life, but not at work. And you know that. So don’t ruin summer wardrobes for everyone.

10 taboos provided by Anthony Balderrama: Writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com

For more information on opening up a Five Star Painting franchise, click here. For a painting FREE estimate, call 1-866-965-STAR.

Entrepreneurship

Posted by admin under Entrepreneurship

I have been teaching a class on entrepreneurial business planning now and have just finished up the course at the local University. As part of this course we brought in guest speakers from various backgrounds – entrepreneurs, managers, venture capitalists. Each of them had a great story to tell in the classroom about business philosophy, bootstrapping, big hairy audacious goals (I learned the BHAG concept in this class) and how to raise money. Probably the biggest take away from this class had nothing to do with business and everything do to with lifestyle.

For a short few years I put my time in a big office tower wearing suits all day and keeping busy with regular meetings with executives and people way smarter than me. As my father would say, the modern day coal mine. I punched in and punched out every day, missed a few holidays to get that report out on time and work hard to bring honor and glory to my employer and maybe even get a raise or bonus at the end of the year. The paycheck would arrive like clockwork and I felt warm in the corporate security blanket. During these years I learned that I was not made for Corporate America, but rather made to make corporations. This is what I believe drives franchising today and what has brought into an industry that I have come to love.

Say good bye to regular paychecks and say hello to a new life. As risk increases so does reward. You make your future, you make your schedule, you create the opportunities, you feel fulfilled. That is the foundation to entrepreneurship. What franchising does for the foundation of entrepreneurship is provide a few recipes for success, and improved probabilities for success.

I have regular calls with our owners and the most rewarding aspect of what I do is to hear people talk about what their business means to them, how it has helped them achieve their goals and in many cases those goals are not always monetary but time, freedom, sense of control.

There has been some debate over whether franchising is in fact entrepreneurial, and I have read a few articles and blogs on this subject. A quick read on the words definition should shed some light on the subject:

“Entrepreneurship is the act of being an entrepreneur which is a French word meaning “one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods”. This may result in new organizations or may be part of revitalizing mature organizations in response to a perceived opportunity. The most obvious form of entrepreneurship is that of starting new businesses.”

entrepreneurship

We have had a lot of different buyers in our business from Kung Fu teachers, to Police Officers, to Actuaries and MBA students, all of them have started a business and many of them have brought to our business innovation, finance and business acumen. In my opinion, the title “Entrepreneur” belongs to our franchisees and fortunately the title is gaining the attention it deserves to be among the more noble professions in America.

If you have considered opening up a franchise, please feel free to learn more about Five Star Painting Franchise or give us a call at 1-866-965-STAR.

Interested in franchising? Well today is your lucky day. Five Star Painting focuses on franchising as a means to increase growth. Franchising represents one of the largest economic drivers in the Unites States today, representing nearly nine percent of gross domestic product. The franchise model attracts entrepreneurs from all walks of life looking to take advantage of Five Star’s years of experience in the painting industry. It is widely accepted that most small businesses fail in the first three years, the franchise model has been shown to increase the likelihood of success. This success is partly due to the combined buying power and brain power of entrepreneurs under one brand.

The painting industry is estimated at nearly $100 billion annually, is it one of the oldest and largest industries in America. It is not difficult to understand why; with ever changing trends, homeowners and business owners are regularly changing the interior and exterior paint colors of their homes and businesses. The result is a stable and growing industry.

If interested in learning more about opening up a Five Star Painting franchise in your area, click here.

I am across this article which proves a great point. By using “because“, you drastically boost your odds of getting what you want. You can bother people all you want with your best words; but to really influence people, they want the real reasons why you want what you want. Unfortunately, they will see right through you if you’re lying. So why does the word “because” work.

Here are some business examples to get you on the right path:

  • “I want to meet with you because I feel I can boost your sales.”
  • “I want to interview you because I admire your passion for your business.”
  • “I want to negotiate the price further because my business’s sales have hit a quarterly slump.”
  • “I want you to finish the work by tomorrow because I’ll need to pitch it to the Boss.”

Here are some dating examples to get what you want:

  • “I want to date you because I feel we have a lot of things in common.”
  • “I want you to pay for dinner because I have no money.”
  • “I want you to drive because I can’t afford gas.”

Target your words for the results that you want. Clear communication requires clarity within yourself before you can be clear with anyone else. Remember to use the word “because” next time you really want something.

Five Star Painting takes its business very seriously. Our commitment to Five Star quality and customer service is the cornerstone of our business. Innovation in delivering on our commitment is encouraged, to the point of creating a training facility for painters to assure their skills are up to our standards. We also like to have fun so when someone suggested we try painting a room with a paintball gun we chuckled, and then decided to video tape it. We hope you send in some suggestions on how to “properly“ paint a room. We will be filming the best ideas and posting them on our website for your entertainment. Click here to submit your suggestion.

P90X

Posted by admin under P90X

When was the last time you heard a guy brag about doing aerobics at home from a VHS tape or DVD? What percentage of women consume this stuff versus men?

Somehow P90X has managed to break into a market that has never been touched. By changing the name and the branding to an extreme workout, they have taken what is mostly aerobics and now have a ton of not only men purchasing it, but women as well. I am doing the workout, and so far have learned that not only am I out of shape, but that not all workout videos include spandex which is of course a plus.

The secret behind the P90X system is its advanced training technique, which accelerates the results process by constantly introducing new moves and routines so your body never plateaus, and you never get bored! Whether you want to get lean, bulk up, or just plain get ripped, there’s an endless variety of ways to mix and match the routines to keep you motivated. It is geared for anyone no matter their gender or level of fitness. The total cost to me beyond the discs – about $100 was another $200 in gear and weights for both myself and my wife to get going.

P90X is comprised of 12 different workout routines, a three phase eating and nutrition plan, and a supplement system. So far, I have felt an increase in energy and sense of accomplishment each time I survive the 60 minute workout. For those of you thinking of trying the program get ready to have a whole new respect for Yoga. The change-up in the workout is definitely unique and gives you a taste for a lot of ways to keeping in shape.

Nexus One by Google

Posted by admin under Nexus One

I am not a hater. For about one year I have watched my friends and family one by one buy an iPhone, which is definitely one of the coolest phones out there, but I held on to my blackberry as tightly as I could refusing to make the switch. I find this somewhat interesting, as I have always been more on the early adopter phase kind of guy in the product life cycle than a laggard.

I held out that if I could just wait a little while longer, the technology would be better, more apps would be available and so on. Truth be told, I just wanted to wait for my contract to expire with Sprint. When the Nexus One was announced I reached the tipping point. I gave in, ate the contract cancellation charge and bought the Nexus One.

Nexus

After having owned it for about one month here are the top five things I love about it and the top five things I hate about it.

Love

  1. The number one thing has got to be the voice integration in everything that the nexus does. And the voice recognition technology continues to surprise me at its ability to get what I am saying right the first time.
  2. I love widgets. LinkedIn, Facebook, Pandora, Twitter, Google Calendar all sit on my screen fully functional and up to date.
  3. Combining my Facebook contacts with my address book is pretty cool. Its nice to see faces in there without having to take pictures of everyone
  4. Speed. I am a speed demon, and I love how fast the device surfs the web, opens applications and runs in general. It is faster in most cases than my laptop.
  5. Google Voice Integration. It is easy to use and switch on and off
  6. Screen resolution is amazing! (I know I said five things, but I can’t help but add one more)

Hate

  1. I can’t stand having to charge my phone in the middle of the day. I don’t know what someone hasn’t figured this out yet, but if they can put a man on the moon, why can’t they get a cell phone to last a few days. By the way, this is something I loved about my Blackberry, I could go 2 days with no charge on my pearl, but the Nexus needs to be plugged in often. Could be that I am a heavy user, but isn’t that who they should be making these phones for
  2. Crashes. My Nexus One has crashed on my several times. I have been told that it is due to the open source philosophy and apps I am downloading, but if the iPhone can do it then so should the nexus
  3. T-Mobile data speeds sucks. It says I have 3G but it feels like dial up. Fortunately I use the phone a lot at home, or the office to surf, but when traveling it gets really annoying.
  4. I can’t open the battery case up easily. I know this sounds stupid, but when you call tech support and they ask for the EIN number I sat there for about two minutes trying to get it open
  5. The nexus ones use the micro SD card. Cool idea, it would be nice to have a 32G card installed at purchase instead of the standard 4GB and then upgrade. It seems inefficient.
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