TAG: Business

Apple Beware

Bad Apple by hbkmano on DeviantArt

“Please send me that screenshot, I want to beat the snow”.

I’ve come to a small coffee shop ten minutes from home to connect and wait for confirmation of legitimacy almost as clandestine as “proof of life”. A gray market seller of an Apple laptop is making the aforementioned computer available, sealed in the box for hundreds of dollars under Apple’s retail cost. I get the image, it shows the serial number, it shows the warranty is active, and it’s enough for me to start the 3-hour trek through rush hour, a looming snowstorm and uncertainty. 

Having Growth Mindset for Smaller-Sized IT Consultants

Pixabay - https://pixabay.com/en/sapling-plant-growing-seedling-154734/

In business, I’ve heard it said that we must “Grow or die” (by who, I wonder?). This is one of the more pervasive business myths I see so many in those that run IT consulting companies supporting the SME space. They think that for the business to succeed, it needs to expand the revenue base and hire on a bunch of employees. Yes, this is one path, but there are many other well-worn paths to success in this business. Growth is important and achievable even if your a single person shop. How? By having a growth mindset.

Why I Think the Tim Hortons / Burger King Merger is a Bad Fit

Tim Hortons Fly Thru
Passing a recently renovated Tim Hortons, I came across a small bird feeder with “Fly Thru” written on it. This small inviting touch had me thinking about how different Burger King and Tim Hortons are. Talk of a merger between the two companies is at a massive high this week. While it remains to be seen if the two will actually get together, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about how these two companies might fit. If the companies’ operate separately, this may have all been me jabbering on. But, since that’s unlikely, I wanted to give my perspective on why this merger looks like a bad idea.

A Long List Of First-Time Entrepreneur and Business Owner Misconceptions


I am, as it turns out, surrounded by many who wish to woo the fickle mistress of business and good fortune. They want to work at something in a moral way, be empowered to make their own choices, and create a company (or more) that might actually be bigger than them. Generally, the immediate goal is to have the idea they start affirmed by either money or a customer base. That doesn’t come easy when many of the ideas you have are wrong. I recently came across a great list of first-time of misconceptions, and added a number of my own items too it.

Recurring Billing Sucks, or How Not to Treat Your Customers

Subscription Billing for DummiesAutomatic billing sucks.

Recurring or automatic billing is simply the process of automatically billing a customer on a regular interval. Sometimes it’s monthly, weekly and even yearly. Generally, companies on the Internet love this type of billing because they get to store a credit card and bank on a regular income stream. That looks good on the balance sheet. Where it doesn’t look good is for the customer, as many of the companies the I have encountered use repeat billing tactics to abuse the customer’s goodwill. I’m going to offer some serious sins companies make when billing automatically and suggest some ways to improve the process.

Businesses, STOP Buying Computers From Big Box Stores!

walmart_noRecently, we had the displeasure of, once again, assisting a client with a new Windows computer for his business. The scenario was an all too common one: A need is identified for a new or replacement device but the company can’t wait for Dell to ship the machine out. What happens next is why we at Calwell always recommend customers never purchase business desktop PCs from a big box store.

Now, there are always exceptions – so it’s important to acknowledge them. Apple computers will be the same no matter where purchased, and some big box companies do sell business-ready PCs. Our advice is simply a guide to save you disappointment. In this context, we consider Best Buy, Staples, Wal-Mart, Costco and Future Shop big box stores. Companies like Tigerdirect and MDG are more difficult to apply to this list, but may still apply.

Consulting: How Long Can You Keep Working?

Retirement-LaneRecently, I met a 70 year old former engineer, who by all accounts was in great shape for his age. I remember thinking I’d like to look that good at 70. He had been a mechanical engineer for more than forty years and recently left the industry he enjoyed to retire. These days, he tells me travel and leisure take up a good portion of his time. We struck up a conversation about length of work, working on what you love and why he left. This gave me great perspective on work, the future of the work we do, and how long I might continue to be an IT Guy in an industry filled with younger folks.

Consulting: Is The Customer Always Right?

Photo Credit

I run a small business. I handle customer service and I’m also a customer to other businesses. Often, the phrase “The customer is always right” is mentioned in passing or sort of in jest when someone talks of a customer/business disagreement. There is actually a history to this phrase that dates back to the early 20th century. But I wanted to talk about whether, as a consultant and a business owner, is it really true that the customer is always right?

Blogs Of The Past: Provincial Taxes And Computer Service In Ontario

You may not know this, but before I moved this blog to the Blogger service (in it’s current form), I wrote a number of articles that, after the switch, were archived. I’ve decided that it might be cool to bring back some of these and see if they are still relevant today. One such blog entry was created in the spring of 2003. Back then I was looking to understand the scenarios that PST (or called RST) was going to need to be charged on various services. Of course, with this year’s change to HST, most of this is depreciated, but still interesting. My notes are interspersed.

It’s HARD To Say I’m Self Employed!

Business-PlateThe question everyone always asks almost immediately when you first meet them is “What do you do?” or “Where do you work?”. After this, I often try to deflect the conversation to something else – or try to make a silly comment to the effect of “I’m Unemployed”. Sometimes, when I’m pressed, I will admit that I’m Self Employed or that I own my business. I have pondered this more than once though; why is it so hard to say I’m self-employed?