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How Running a Marathon Can Help You Run Your Business

To mark the countdown to this year's PEI Marathon (of which MRSB is always a firm supporter), runner and business owner Chris Matters tells us how putting his running shoes on has helped him as an entrepreneur.

Running out of excuses as to why you haven’t been exercising? Believe me, as the owner of a busy consultancy I understand each and every limitation and barrier that stands between you and the treadmill, the Pilates mat or the bike. But also believe me when I say that once you manage to break down your reasons not to put on the gear and break a sweat, you’ll find more and more reasons why you should have been doing so all along.

One similarity between exercise of any kind and managing a business is simply that they are both hard. No one starts up a business, immediately gains a loyal client base, keeps doing the same thing for 20 years and winds up a millionaire (Ok, Mark Zuckerberg might prove us wrong). By the same token, you don’t put on your first pair of running shoes or yoga pants, experience no muscle soreness and lose ten pounds in the first week. Both being an entrepreneur and being fit require patience, persistence and long-term goal setting. If you find yourself highly structured at work but less-than-motivated during your off hours, starting up a fitness routine might be just the thing to structure your downtime and add some lift to your day.

                                  

It’s no secret that regular exercise battles stress - and usually wins. Being a business owner often involves more sleepless nights, intense interactions and generally higher stakes than other types of work, and balancing all of this with family and other obligations keeps the stress ball right on rolling. I’m not suggesting you make things even harder on yourself by forcing a fitness regime into an already-packed schedule. Rather, start with a small goal like running a short leg as part of your corporate relay team or complete a six week aerobics class. Chances are that, just as in business, the act of starting something – anything – will spur you toward further action.

Feel like you don’t have the extra funds right now to join the gym? Unlike many other types of exercise running is cheap, accessible and can be mastered by almost anyone. Someone who weighs 132 pounds burns an average of 300 calories for every 30 minutes of running at a speed of 10 minutes per mile. Once you’re running regularly, your body loses fat and builds up lean muscle tissue. And have you heard of the ‘runner’s high’? It’s a feeling of elation and positive energy that often comes during or after your run. This is because running releases endorphins, which boost your mood and reduce pain sensations. 

Before I began running in 2005 I was 60 pounds over my ideal weight and travelling enough that regular exercise sometimes seemed like a pipe dream. But I kept at it, signing up for the Deltaware 5k run and the PEI Marathon in 2006. Within two years I had significantly increased my time and lost 62 pounds. And if you think I must have some secret formula or was somehow more prepared for the sport than the average Joe, think again! It was simply my motivation to keep going and the support of my family that kept me reaching for my goals.

Running, not just marathons but as a weekly activity, really has helped me achieve success as the owner of Llink. My days feel more focused and functional as I make time either in the morning or at lunchtime to run. It clears away any negativity and gives me energy to deal with new challenges day-to-day. I now look forward to trekking to new parts of the globe for business, partly because I wonder what the running conditions will be like and try to map out interesting routes. And to top it off, I look and feel better at 41 than I did when I was 30.

When it comes down to it, no one can tell you to get fit, and no one can motivate you to keep at it unless you motivate yourself. But for me, the benefits are loud and clear, and I look forward to setting (and hopefully breaking) another personal record during this year’s MRSB Marathon. Good luck!

 

Seminar notes: The Canadian Payroll Association

MRSB Bookkeeper Linda Hicken recently had the opportunity to participate in a web seminar offered by The Canadian Payroll Association on documenting payroll policies and procedures. Here she shares some of the insights gained during the seminar.

Payroll is an essential component of most businesses, and is often the largest expense of a corporation. Your payroll department can consist of an entire team, or just one payroll administrator. Lack of good communication flow to and from the payroll department can cause inefficiency, decreased employee morale and increase the risk of non-compliance with the legislation of various government bodies.

To ensure successful communication, it is beneficial for every company to create their own Policy & Procedures Manual that covers all payroll issues and outlines the procedures involved in carrying out these rules consistently. First, research should be done to identify the needs of the company, the departments involved and who should be part of the team that will write your manual. Writing styles can vary, but it should be in simple language. Some topics to include in your payroll manual:

  • Hiring process
  • Submission of hours
  • Vacation pay policies
  • Bonuses
  • Mandatory deductions

 

Once your team has compiled the material and written a draft, approval by upper management is vital as this enforces your policies once they are in effect. When your final document is complete, ensure that it is available to all employees, either printed or in digital form. Be prepared to answer questions and review the policy with staff. You may want to have each employee sign a form stating that they have read and understood the manual.

Your payroll policy and procedure manual should be reviewed periodically and updated in the event of changes in your organization or in government legislation.  There is a time commitment involved in producing your manual, and you should consider it an investment. Your company will benefit from the results.  

New Video from DFK International

MRSB Group is proud to be a member of DFK International, a global association of independent accounting firms and business advisors. This new, animated video shows how DFK's member firms can work together to provide an outstanding experience for clients in all regions and sectors. 

 

Turning employees into ambassadors for your brand

Contributed by Lucy Gotell, Marketing Officer

At the beginning of 2014 we decided to try something new. Our social media efforts were heating up and the MRSB Marketing Committee wanted to find a way to encourage the entire team to get involved. That is, we knew the potential power of having individual staff members talk up our brand online, and we wanted to make sure we provided the support and incentives needed to make this happen.

So, in January we announced our very first Brand Ambassador Contest. The prize categories would be fun and fairly easy to pursue:

The Unbeatable Brand Ambassador would be the person whose social media presence was consistent, included more than one platform (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook were eligible) and would engage and inform his or her audience. Overall, this person would be revved up about social media and the company, adding value to MRSB's own efforts.

Second prize would go to our Best Resident Tweeter - someone who understands the power of Twitter and knows how to use it to gain positive attention for the business, as well as how to build an engaging persona on the platform.

Our Social Butterfly prize would go to someone whose content was consistently picked up and shared by others. They would have a natural knack for engaging friends and strangers alike, creating buzz around his or her topics of choice.

Sounds fun, right? We thought so, and just this month we awarded not three but FOUR prizes (two staff were equally deserving in the Social Butterfly category) to the excitement of the recipients. First prize was an iPad Mini and went to bookkeeper Linda Hicken, second was a $150 gift card for Futureshop and went to accounting technician Darlene Eldershaw, and the third was a $100 gift card to a popular local restaurant. Business development officer Stacey Evans and accounting technician Bev MacLaren were our third prize winners.

Because our contest went so well, and because we figure there might be others out there who want to know the best way of bolstering social media involvement within their own organization, we've created a handy infographic that provides some quick tips. We hope your efforts are rewarded as well as ours have been.

                              

If you would like more information about this initiative feel free to email MRSB's marketing officer.

 

 

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