Corpcentre's Blog

October 20, 2009

Will Anti-Spam Legislation Put Spam Back In The Can?

Filed under: canada economy,email,spam,technology and business — corpcentre @ 4:55 pm

If you have a computer with internet access, you receive SPAM. All that unwanted “junk mail” that clutters up you e-mail inbox is SPAM. The advertisements, the pleas, pledges and proposals, the prize notices – all this constitutes SPAM. Canada ranks as one of the leading countries for origination of SPAM. Current proposed legislation in Parliament has targeted SPAM but the business community has targeted the legislation.

The Electronic Commerce Protection Act, otherwise known as Bill C-27, will require a marketer to obtain implied or explicit consent from the consumer before sending them an e-mail. The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA), representing 800 of the nation’s largest corporations, is lobbying MPs to change the proposed bill. The CMA is proposing that consumers should have to opt out of receiving commercial e-mail messages.

Supporters of the bill in Ottawa fear that an opt-out condition will water down the legislation and render it fairly useless. A similar action took place last year in legislation for telemarketing rules. Altering the bill caused it to have too many exceptions to make it practical to consumers.

The vast amount of SPAM that travels through the internet in Canada today undermines confidence in the internet as a platform for personal and business use. SPAM is considered by many to be an invasion of personal space and consumers are tired of being bombarded by advertisements that do not interest them but merely clutter up their e-mail.

While the business community has a strong vested interest in protecting this advertising option, MPs from both sides of the political arena are uniting to support this bill to protect consumers’ rights. Ottawa wants to send a clear message that Canada will no longer be an international haven for SPAM.
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September 10, 2009

Strengthening Your Business Using Advisory Boards

A small business or start-up that is approaching a major change – expanding into a new market; launching a new product line; breaking into a foreign market – may decide that it needs help or coaching before taking on this business challenge. For many such companies, the best tool is the establishment of an advisory board. While there are no set rules about setting up such a body, it generally is comprised of seasoned, experienced professionals from outside the business. A well-balanced, effective board can become an indispensable tool to help strengthen a business professionally and help it advance its goals.

As the purpose of the board is to be advisory, not operational, its members should be appropriate to the task at hand. If your goal is expansion of the business, the board members should be able to provide you with business leads and contacts. A business seeking to strengthen its executive team should recruit board members who can serve as mentors to the top staff and provide business skills. When financial contacts are your need, recruit business people from the financial world.

Of course, only you can evaluate the effectiveness of an advisory board. You must establish clear objectives and delineate the benchmarks that the board should reach. Also, be prepared to compensate board members fairly. These are professional people whose time has value to it. It is well advised that you seek the majority of your advisors from within your own personal contacts. After all, this is your company and complete strangers may be professionally appropriate but can you work with them?

Finally, don’t get carried away with establishing a board with many members. Keep the number manageable so that the board will become a workable group. Quality, not quantity, is what counts.

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September 8, 2009

Cyber-Shopping Anyone?

In a country that is so highly attached to Internet access and the latest high-tech gadgetry, Canadians are slow to adopt the trend of cyber-shopping – shopping online. Online sales have certainly been growing at a steady pace – a 61% rise in three years – but they still lag behind online sales in the United States.

Analysts attribute Canadian reluctance to become cyber-shoppers to several factors. High shipping costs in Canada have caused a large number of shoppers to abandon their online purchase before completing the transaction. Additionally, when it comes to security, Canadians are far more sensitive than most other nations around the world. Simply put, many Canadians have an abiding fear of credit card fraud and are skeptical about revealing their credit card details online.

On the other hand, the rise of specialty brands online is winning over Canadian reluctance. The allure of securing hard-to-get brands or one-of-a-kind items has been a boon for many online retailers.

Some of the nation’s larger retail outlets use their websites primarily for marketing and rely upon their sites to attract buyers to their stores. This has allowed a market to open up for smaller retailers whose “primary store” is located on the Internet.

Consumers still expect top service wherever they buy. For online stores, this translates into speedy and affordable delivery as well as reliable customer service. Moreover, online stores must market their sites in a variety of ways if they are to be noticed.

The variables of the economy affect the online stores as much as traditional shopping outlets. When consumers are in a spending mood, they are more likely to shop for items online that may be frivolous or unnecessary. However, when belt tightening begins, online retailers have to rapidly shift their focus to marketing items that are more affordable.

With annual sales in excess of $15 billion, and growing, cyber-sales seem to have carved out a niche with the Canadian consumer.

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July 9, 2009

Nonprofits: A Growth Sector in Canada: Part I

Digitizing, IT Solutions

Though we might not think of nonprofits being on the up and up, they actually are now. Statistics Canada claims that in 2007 the total for charitable donations has gone up by 33% in five years to $8.6 billion. Despite the recession, the factors that drive donations, such as the richest sector getting richer and the population’s aging, continue to go in the same direction. Those at the top income levels can still afford to increase their giving and do so. The top Canadian donors are now in their 60s and the amount of people in that age range are expected to expand by 50% between 2006 and 2016. The general population is only predicted to increase by 8% over the same period.

However, most of the donations arrive in the old fashioned ways. Artez Interactive, a company specializing in online fundraising and technology estimates that only 3% of US$500 billion in donations were made online. “There are huge opportunities in helping charities move to digital systems,” says Artez CEO Philip King.

Another issue that came to the fore following the 2004 tsunami was that despite a large amount of donations, how can the funds be distributed quickly to those in need? British companies have begun working on this type of technology but North America has not yet made inroads. This could be a great opportunity for a company that can find better ways to get money out to the relevant organizations easily and with the proper security in place.

Stay tuned for Part II in this series.

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