Thursday, 19 January 2012

Midweek Update: Guest blogging, Starting a business, thoughts on SOPA, etc.

Greetings everyone.  It's been a busy week this week, and I have a lot of news to share.  Also some valuable insights if you are thinking about starting your own business in downtown Montreal.  Things to consider if you want to rent commercial space or form a corporation.  I also have a thought to share about the controversial SOPA bill that's in all the news, as well as some interesting tidbits from home.  But before all that, I have guest blogging news!

Guest blogging

This week, not only did I host my first guest blogger, but I was also invited to write guest articles for two other blogs.  How exciting!

Basically it happened because a company posted a comment on an article I wrote. I contacted them, and we got to talking and now I'm writing an article on two other blogs.  I'll let you know when the articles are published.

A new seminar: Because I'm not busy enough, apparently.

Tuesday I signed up at the very last minute for a series of seminars on how to start a small business.  I did this through Youth Employment Services (YES).  I have been getting a lot of theory and big business type stuff in my MBA classes, so I was hoping for some details for when the rubber meets the road. And that is what I got. Yay!

The people

I found the group a bit awkward at first. Maybe I come off a little strong, or maybe everyone was feeling extra reserved.  It felt like everyone was afraid I'd steal their ideas.  I was like "Hello!  My name's Nathan! So what's your business idea?"  And they were like.  "muhgg..."

Maybe they'll warm up to me next week. Or maybe they'll read this...  Hmm....

The speakers

The speakers themselves were great.  We had Luciano D'Iorio, President of Terramont Real Estate Services Inc. talking about how to find retail or office space, how to negotiate a lease, what clauses to be sure are in the lease, and other really valuable points, such as:
  • If you run a business from your home you can still have a professional business image by using business executive centers and virtual offices. 
  • Retail space on Ste-Catherine and Peel goes $200-$250/sq.ft./year
  • Retail space in a shopping mall goes $100-$150/sq.ft./year
  • Office space in place Ville Marie will be about $45/sq.ft./year
  • Loft space will be about $15/sq.ft/year
  • The lease will be about 40 pages long and very much in favour of the landlord, but everything is negotiable.
  • Points you might want to be in your lease include:
    • Making sure there are no fees for moving in or out
    • Having the lease conditional on receiving an occupancy permit from the city
    • Exclusivity clause: If you have a coffee shop, this says Tim Horton's can't move in next door
    • Renewal clause: If the lease is up you can renew without your landlord jacking up the price
    • Expansion clause: If you need more space, you can take the spot next door too.
And above all, get everything in writing.

After that we had a lawyer, Paul Dery-Goldberg, the YES Montreal Legal Information Officer give a talk about how to structure businesses. I had heard a lot about the basics of how to structure a business before but he also gave a lot of interesting points. He, as a lawyer, was very much in favour of structuring your business as a corporation instead of a sole proprietorship or partnership, because of the protection it offers.
  • Apparently it costs about $1000 to incorporate if a lawyer is involved for a basic setup.  
  • If you have lawyers reviewing a few other issues like shareholder agreements, it'll be between $1000- $5000 to get your corporation set up.
  • He's a big fan of having a "shotgun clause" in the shareholder agreement.  That means if you and your partner really disagree and cannot reconcile, you can make an offer, X. Your partner can then accept X dollars to be bought out, or can buy you out for X dollars, his choice.  This is good because it prevents a lot of legal hassle and protects against low-balling.  The downside is that if one partner is richer than the other and wants the whole company, they can invoke the clause at any time just to kick the other out.
Anyway.  That was my adventure in Entrepreneurship this week.  I have a class on Tuesday for the next 3 weeks.

Thoughts on SOPA

SOPA is bad and the USA should feel bad.

Other news

Gummy bears

We put a gummy bear in water because we heard it would grow if you did that. It is true. Here is the proof 

  The gummy bear on the right is our created monstrosity

So I've already started on my plans to create an army of superbears to do my bidding!  The only issue is that with pure water all the sugar leaks out and they taste gross.  That and they're food items and not real bears.

English Conversation Meetup group

This week Sherri started a Meetup group where people can come and practice their English conversational skills. She had everyone there solving little minute mysteries, and chatting with each other.

I guess she hit upon a real need in Montreal, because it was a smash success. She had 25 people come to the first meeting this year, and 4 or 5 people asked if she was a professional teacher or if she was going to open an English school. That's my girl! I'm proud of her!

Have a great rest of the week everyone!


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