Thursday, August 21st10.4°C
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Guest Columnist

I didn't know that!

I am an experienced teacher and homemaker that has tried and true ideas to use in your home and yard. We will begin with cleaning ideas that will make your home spotless quickly using non-toxic cleaners, giving you free time for other enjoyable activities in the beautiful Okanagan.

We will start with the kitchen and and then proceed to the bathroom.

 

Kitchen:

For the microwave, bring a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda to a boil.  It will eliminate any cooking odour and make it easy to wipe off any food particles.

For your regular oven, you can wet a pumice stone and it will clean your oven faster than any oven cleaner and there is no waiting.

To clean any glass and mirrors use a coffee filter bought at a dollar store. Voila! No streaks or lint and the price is right!

If you have water marks on a wooden table, smear a little mayo on the spot, leave it for a few hours and wipe clean.

Bread is not just for eating! Remove crust from day old bread and use it to scour grubby finger marks from painted walls.

Use a black tea solution to produce a wonderful shine on hardwood floors.  Steep 3 tea bags in a litre of boiling water for 15 minutes, then pour into a bucket and damp mop.  Rinsing is not necessary.

 

Bathroom:

Make a thick paste with oatmeal (instant is fine, but sugar free) and apply with a soft cloth or sponge.  Rinse to get a shiny clean tub.

If you have any vinyl items or tile flooring dip a clean cloth into plain lemon juice and rub into the stain.

To clean the shower, keep a spray bottle with vinegar handy and as you get out of the tub spray the walls and glass and wipe down. The film will be removed and the vinegar odour will evaporate in an hour.

 

Everything you need to make these natural cleaners is in your cupboard and not only will your home be clean and fresh but also less toxic.

 

 

Arlene Pilgrim is an adult educator with experience in various areas assisting people with personal and life skills. She has provided individuals with information on how to find a job, save time, save money and save energy for the past 16 years.  



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Small business financing

Small business ownership is not for the faint of heart. The odds are forever not in your favour to succeed, which is why finding the right financing for a small business can be a daunting task. The information contained in this article is to help with the financing portion of your small business, but don’t forget that marketing, public relations, and branding are also incredibly important. In fact, considering that nearly all small businesses fail, and you can expect to go up to 5 or even 8 years before turning a profit, I would suggest that you do your homework. Every small business owner I have ever worked with believed they were somehow smarter or better prepared for the market than everyone else, and therefore they would instantly be profitable. .. that my friends, has yet to happen.
 

Firstly, it is much easier to borrow money against an existing business versus starting your own business. In my experience, Scotia Bank and Bank of Montreal tend to be the two major banks who will consider small businesses most often. And when they do, they tend to look at the financial health of the applicant as a whole. They want you to have significant net worth, excellent credit, a sizeable down payment (30% minimum), and be entering into a low-risk industry. So, let's be clear - businesses that fail most often are coffee shops and tanning salons. Why, you might ask? Because despite what you may have heard, there is very little profit in coffee and tanning. 

Another excellent source of business financing is the Business Development Bank of Canada. The BDC’s purpose is to finance businesses; their account managers will work with you to come up with a realistic business plan, projected profits and estimated costs. They can put you on a payment plan that works with your business and often allow you an interest-only period to get you on your feet. They will loan up to a 2:1 ratio of their funds to yours, provided you can give them a personal guarantee. They will check in with you on an annual basis and offer some business counselling and networking events. Hats off to the BDC - we need them! The only issue I have really had with the BDC is that I have yet to meet a BDC account manager that has actually owned a business. 

Another thing to consider is that you will also need to have access to additional funds as you may find yourself putting more money into the business over the first couple years. I would suggest that you go to your bank and get a line of credit prior to starting your business.

 

For more information on small business financing, and other useful information call, text or email - [email protected] or 250.575.5478

 

 

Billie Aaltonen graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in Economics and a Business Minor in 2003. After spending 7 years working in various corporate credit roles in Calgary’s oil and gas industry, she moved to Kelowna along with her husband and two young children. Billie is now a Senior Lending Advisor with Mortgage Architects Okanagan and also owns a few small businesses. She is an avid investor & entrepreneur at heart!



Don't tolerate weak links

When business is slow, weak sales reps can be more easily exposed. But if your company is doing well presently, you may have salespeople who appear to be stronger than they really are. No matter how well your team performs as a whole, it’s important to be able to find the team’s weak links to strengthen them. A few factors to consider when looking to decipher whether or not your sales force is full of weeds:

  1. They rely heavily on call-in business, or leads from marketing.
  2. They always have full pipelines and fail to actually close any of those deals.
  3. They spend more time calling current accounts than they do calling on new prospects.
  4. They need to offer discounts to close deals.
  5. They need to bring someone else from the sales team in on “big opportunities” to help close the sale.
  6. They view coaching as criticism.
  7. They continue to require coaching on the same sales issues again and again.
  8. They do a lot of networking and have very little to show for it.
  9. They rarely call on accounts your competitors have locked up.
  10. They always have an external reason why business didn’t close, rather than taking responsibility and looking to grow from failure.

 

Many companies fall into the bad habit of justifying poor results from bad sales reps, rather than doing something about it. Whether it’s the sunk cost already invested in them, or not wanting to go through the hiring process again, or believing they are the only ones who could “handle” the accounts they have, a lot of businesses make the mistake of holding onto weak reps.

Think of it this way: if you took away the book of business from one of your reps and dropped him or her in a new territory with little to no marketing would they succeed? If your answer is yes, you most likely don’t have challenges with any of these 10 factors. If not, though, the challenges above will ring true. And if so, it may be time to weed your garden and plant a stronger seed with better genetics. If you do this, your harvest will be plentiful on a consistent basis.

 

 

John Glennon is an authorized licensee of Sandler TrainingSM in the Interior of British Columbia.

John is an accomplished sales person and manager with over 17 years sales and sales management experience. Beginning in sales in 1990 as a sales representative, he progressed to territory manager, sales manager, division manager and national sales and marketing manager roles throughout his career.





The "strata-sphere"

With over 29,000 registered strata corporations and over 350,000 strata units in B.C., strata properties are a significant and increasing type of housing.

My name is Julia Krause, I live in Kelowna, and I’m a townhouse owner.  I’ve served on my strata council for about 15 years now, which has been a great learning experience not only as a homeowner, but also as a mortgage broker, which has been my job for just over 20 years. 

Experience has taught me that many buyers who purchase a condo or a townhouse often do so without taking time to read the information about the complex, which is always provided to a buyer by their realtor and/or lawyer.  Of course, every homebuyer gets buried in paperwork during the purchase and mortgage process  and granted, it’s not exactly riveting reading material.  But as you begin to learn more about the complex in which you now OWN… the phrase, “But I didn’t know that!” is not going to help you. 

Rather than ‘buyer beware’, I prefer to say ‘buyer be aware’.  By writing this column, I hope to provide some “I wish I had known that BEFORE I bought!” information for those considering buying a condo or townhouse, but also for those who already own a strata property, and perhaps don’t quite understand how it all works.

Let’s start with the terminology… 

In B.C., condominiums and townhouses are referred as strata properties.  Individual owners have title to their condo or townhouse plus a proportional share of the common property.  The common property belongs to all the owners, and all owners share the cost of maintaining it.

A strata corporation is made up of all the individual homeowners in a particular complex or building.  The B.C. Strata Property Act is the framework under which a strata corporation operates.  A strata corporation is required to make decisions using democratic principles (“majority rules”).  A strata council is a group of homeowners who volunteer their time to ensure that the building or complex is properly maintained, that rules (strata by-laws) are being followed, and that the finances (strata fees) are handled responsibly. 

Living in a strata property is not for everyone, and that’s OK.  We are all unique individuals.  For others though, it can be the perfect living situation.  Here are some important questions to ask yourself when you’re considering buying a condo or townhouse, which will give you an idea of the reality of strata living:

  • Can you live in a complex/community where you do not have total control over your own home?
  • Can you live in a complex/community where decisions are made democratically, and you may not always get your way?
  • Are you willing to be cooperative and help with the running of a complex/community?
  • Are you willing to share the cost of maintaining common areas that are for the use of all owners?

 

In future columns, I’ll get into more details about things like strata fees, by-laws, management companies, etc.

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

A townhouse owner since 1996, Julia Krause has served on her own strata council for 15 years.  There is more to owning and living in a strata property than meets the eye, and Julia’s hope is that the information in her column will help homebuyers make an educated, informed decision.  Also a licensed mortgage broker since 1996, Julia has written articles for industry publications, as well as training courses and educational material for mortgage professionals across Canada.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Mortgage Brokers Association of B.C. and the Okanagan Mortgage Lenders Association.  If you’re considering purchasing a townhouse or condominium, Julia is the mortgage broker for you.



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