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.



2014 staff retreat - in photos

One of our annual highlights at MRSB Group is our staff retreat, which allots a full day of idea sharing, team building and initial planning for next year's business plan. This year was no exception as the team descended on Holland College (in the 'MRSB' room no less!) bright and early last Wednesday. 

The day's professional activities were rounded out with a stellar guest speech by CBC personality Bruce Rainnie and some fantastic prizes. Here are a few of our favourite photos from the 2014 Staff Retreat:

Maggie and Jaclyn share a laugh over breakfast

Bruce was kind enough to bring a few copies of his book as door prizes for staff

After lunch it was time to join our breakout groups and get the brainstorming started!

Each group had some great ideas for what to include in next year's business plan

Darlene was one of four winners in our first-ever MRSB Brand Ambassador Contest, which rewarded staff for spreading the word about MRSB Group via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

We ended the day with a fun elimination draw for some great prizes, including a trip for two to Montreal! Rob won third prize, then drew the final name...

Val was second prize winner - a night's stay at the Holman Grand Hotel and a gift card to Redwater Rustic Grille - meaning Matt won the trip for two!

It does take some time and effort, but implementing a staff retreat is one of the best ways of engaging your entire team, hearing each staff member's direct feedback and motivating everyone to set personal and professional goals for the coming year. We highly recommend it!

Contact HR Manager Kathryn Mills for best practices in implementing a successful staff retreat



What you can do as a business owner to proactively plan for retirement

Part 2: Cash Flow & Tax Minimization

In our second installment, Tax Advisor Mary Ann Donahoe covers the ins-and-outs of maximizing disposable income and minimizing taxes in your golden years.

In our first installment of this series we discussed one of the most important, and often difficult, aspects of retirement planning as a business owner: deciding who will take over your business and how the transition process will play out. Assuming you’ve put some thought into this area, another question that most small business owners have leading up to retirement is, ‘Will I have enough cash flow to maintain my current lifestyle?’ Well, planning is the key to ensuring the answer to this is a resounding ‘Yes’.

The first part of the retirement cash flow planning process is figuring out how much after-tax cash you will require to maintain your current lifestyle or your ideal retirement lifestyle. The second step is to determine how best to access the various sources of funds you have accumulated over your lifetime.

There are a number of possibilities in terms of retirement cash flow funds that you may have accumulated, including Canada Pension, Old Age Security, company pensions, RRSP’s, investment portfolios, real estate, savings or GIC’s, retirement insurance plans, or a holding company that holds your excess business funds.

Each situation is unique when reviewing your estate plan and determining the best options, depending on the mix of taxable and non-taxable investments, how liquid they are (how quickly you can get the cash), the timing of withdrawals and current and future tax implications to name a few. What we aim for at MRSB in meeting clients’ cash flow needs is an optimal mix of taxable and non-taxable investments, keeping in mind tax minimization and estate planning.  

To give you an example, below is a plan for a fictional couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Mr. Jones is 55 and Mrs. Jones is 53. They plan to retire in nine years but will start their Canada Pension when they each turn 60. Upon retiring they will sell their business for $400,000, will have a holding company worth about $350,000 and will also have a shareholder loan of $300,000. As you can see by examining the various columns below, this plan allows for a comfortable retirement income of about $100,000 per year after tax.

Each Comprehensive Review & Tax Planning (CRTP) plan is highly tailored to the individual and we work with clients to first determine your goals, then develop the steps to achieve them. So plan ahead and get started now to develop your retirement plan. It's never too early, and your 65 year-old self will thank you!