There are many reasons that consumers love their favourite stores and brands. The quality of your products or services ranks high on that list. Equally important is the overall service experience, which can make or break your customer relationships.
Think Ritz Carlton, Starbucks, Costco, Amazon and Porsche. These companies are incredibly successful because of the customer service culture they foster. Legendary customer and employee practices are so renowned at Ritz Carlton that the company has its own leadership centre to teach executives around the world about driving cultural transformation. Starbucks will customize your drink exactly as you want it, Costco has the best return policy in retail and Amazon will immediately send a replacement for a lost package with no questions asked or fault implied.
Then there’s Porsche, which is synonymous with excellence, power, luxury and quality. This applies both to the high standards of its vehicles and the service experience that builds unwavering loyalty among its clientele.
Spring is here and that means music fans are gearing up for another festival season – from Coachella, Hangout Fest, Sasquatch! and Governors Ball to Bonnaroo, Warped Tour, Lollapalooza and more.
With the biggest names in music ready to rock hundreds of thousands of consumers in all corners of the country, the coming months are just the ticket for your retail business to benefit from trending events. Here are four tips to put your business in the spotlight.
After starting her professional career as a teacher, Maria Palumbo knew that being in a classroom was not her true calling. Instead, she wanted to learn the art of hairstyling and spend her days inspiring people to feel their very best. Today, that’s exactly what Maria is doing as the owner and head stylist at Specchio Hair in Toronto’s east end.
“I love what I do because it gives me a creative outlet,” says Maria. “I love doing creative things, that’s just my personality. It’s also highly social…and it allows me to meet a variety of different people and really enjoy those kinds of relationships that you build over the years.”
Maria has been building relationships for two decades now. During that time, she has attracted a large, loyal clientele of women and men ranging from approximately 35 to 60 years of age.
Today, I’m excited to share some news that will enable Dream Payments to grow and better serve the needs of our business customers, partner financial institutions, and third party application providers.
As announced today, we have successfully raised a $10-million investment round (“Series A”) to propel the growth of our business. In doing so, we welcome new investors to the Dream Payments family, including FairVentures Inc, the innovation investing arm of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, which led the financing round.
Connecticut Innovations (CI), a prominent venture capital investor based in Connecticut, also participated in our financing and is our very first U.S.-based VC partner. Real Ventures and a prominent group of strategic and angel investors were also key participants in the financing.
Many entrepreneurs encounter growing pains when they are starting a business. But for one British Columbia couple, pain was the very reason they started their business. Today, they’re not only sleeping better but helping others do so as well.
Alan and Barbara Poulton are the founders of Kuseno Comfort Products of Langley, BC. Their story began in 2012, a time when Barbara was waking up with terrible headaches and neck pain. The pain was so bad that she was throwing up, had blurred vision and sensitivity to light.
“Her doctor would prescribe pills for the pain but it wasn’t getting to the root of the cause,” says Alan. He also suggested Barbara might want to change her pillow, so she tried that many times without success. Desperate for relief for his wife, Alan continued to do more research. That’s when he came across buckwheat hulls – the hard, outer shells that house the seeds of buckwheat grain.
Smartphones are one of the most important tools for a business owner. There’s an app for just about everything an entrepreneur needs to succeed.
Over 50% of successful small business owners are regularly using up to five different mobile apps to keep their organizations running according to a study by Intuit Canada. And, there’s no question that mobile apps are a virtual gold mine for small and medium-sized businesses that want to improve efficiency and extend their productivity or reach.
As of January 2017, the App Store alone has more than 2.2 million apps for the iPhone and iPad. There are also millions of apps available for Android, Blackberry and Windows users.
When it comes to business taxes, the early bird gets the worm. Leaving things to the last minute will not help you minimize your tax liabilities and may even result in you paying more tax than required.
Here are 10 tips to help you get organized, stay on top of things and keep both you and your accountant smiling:
How are you making out with your New Year's resolutions? Are you exercising more, losing weight or enjoying each day to the fullest? If you're like many of us, your personal resolutions may have turned into illusions or, better put, well-intentioned plans that got moved to the backburner after a few weeks. Research shows that while 41% make traditional New Year's resolutions, just over 9% are successful at keeping them.
But what about all those good intentions for your business? While thinking about your personal resolutions, it’s possible to overlook the positive things that you can do professionally. Whatever the case, whether you’re on a calendar year or have a different end to your fiscal year, writing down specific business goals is critical. Just like you needed a solid business plan before you launched, you need to set identifiable targets along the way.
Toronto painter Tony Taylor is a successful artist and entrepreneur who has a flair for turning the ridiculous into the sublime.
An art college graduate who worked in a studio before branching out on his own, he portrays political and corporate leaders as animals rather than people. This “reflects a truer sense of their character,” Tony says, adding that he has focused on this type of work for several years now. “I did a few, then from 2010 and on I committed to the theme. I thought there is enough I can work with and stick with – I wanted to make images that are relevant to the current times and it developed naturally that way.”
When Jérôme Gagnon-Voyer and his partner, Gelaine Santiago, used their IT and marketing skills to design and launch an information website (ChooseSocial) to tell the stories of social enterprise initiatives in the Philippines, they had no idea that their good deed would lead to a good business.
“We created the website to tell people the story of social enterprises in the Philippines,” said Jérôme. “The website turned out to be very popular and gathered a lot of attention.”
Rural poverty is rampant in the Philippines so many families are using their talents as skilled craftsmen and artisans to support themselves and others. They produce everything from handcrafted wood carvings to exquisite jewelry which, in the past, has been sold primarily to tourists. But increasingly, the products are in demand in North America where socially conscious people find they can have an impact in the under-developed world by choosing to buy gifts for more than their aesthetic value.
After a decade working as a hair stylist in various salons around Toronto, Paul Syme felt unable to grow as an artist. He didn’t want to return to his previous career in marketing, so he decided to do a makeover – on his career.
Fast forward 10 years and Paul is a highly successful business owner, leasing his own chair at Hey Red, a trendy salon tucked in amongst the bakeries, antique stores, chocolate shops, grocery markets and restaurants of Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village.
Being both self-employed and self-directed allows Paul to do his own thing and try new things. No surprise then that his favourite projects are makeovers or, as he calls them, “complete transformations.”
Selling at live events is a significant source of revenue for many entrepreneurs, artisans and makers. Whether you exhibit at annual events like the One of a Kind Show & Sale and Etsy Made in Canada or at holiday markets, craft shows, festivals, church bazaars, conferences, trade shows or flea markets, you want to do everything you can to drive traffic to your booth.
We spoke with successful vendors and customers from some of the busiest shows, including the Christmas edition of the One of a Kind Show & Sale, to learn what it takes for consumers to go from browsing to buying.
Every time you interact with a customer there is a chance to grow your business. The most successful entrepreneurs recognize this, but they also know that businesses are built on so much more than sales.
Selling is important – and one of the easiest ways to increase your revenue is to sell more to your existing customers. Ever been asked if you want to upsize your drink? Make it a combo? Most of us have.
Yet, at the same time, an authentic attitude and great customer service contributes equally to your bottom line.
Here are seven tips to help you increase your sales and satisfy your customers.
While Black Friday may have begun as a celebration of American post-Thanksgiving consumerism, Canadians are just as eager to gobble up the savings. Annual surveys repeatedly show more than half the population will take advantage of the event by spending billions of dollars in one spectacular, often frenzied, 24-hour shopping spree.
But with so many retailers and business owners now jumping onto the Black Friday bandwagon, consumers have more to choose from than ever before. And, it will take some advance planning to get shoppers through your doors. Here are six ways to increase your Black Friday sales:
What business owner doesn’t want to see large numbers of people queueing up to buy their goods? While long lineups may seem like a good thing, once a customer has decided to buy something, they don’t want to wait to pay for it.
According to an article in the New York Times, research has shown that when people wait in line, no matter how long it is, it always seems longer. Amazingly, people overestimate how long they’ve waited by approximately 36%!
When faced with a long line, it’s no secret that some time-stretched shoppers will simply shelve their intended purchase. Unfortunately, many won’t come back another day when it’s less busy – so any delay between a purchase decision and paying for that purchase gives customers an opportunity to go elsewhere or compare prices online. They may even place an order with an online retail outlet instead, where there is no such thing as a checkout line...
Home improvement shows on HGTV, DIY and other networks make design look easy. From the comfort of our couch, we watch glamorous professionals transform properties in less than 60 minutes.
But reality TV is far from reality. On top of training and natural talent, designing a space and becoming a successful designer is also a lot of hard work.
Just ask Jena Nasser, who has spent the past six years building her design business and her reputation in the competitive Toronto market. Her firm O F B L V C K (pronounced “of black”), which she runs together with partner Payal Bhakta, offers a full-service experience, covering everything from design and logistics through to delivery of furniture and overseeing the concept as it comes to life.
Jena’s first major project was a funky, street-style Indian restaurant on Yonge Street, but O F B L V C K ’s main focus today is the condo market in downtown Toronto. Most of the firm’s clients are bachelors who want a masculine space and vibe.
Running your own business takes an incredible amount of dedication and determination. From the planning stages through to your strategic launch and beyond, you’re investing sweat equity and financial resources to make your dreams a reality.
But are you taking the right steps to protect yourself and the future success of your business?
By speaking with entrepreneurs and insurance experts, we’ve uncovered eight things that every small business owner needs to know about insurance. Whether you’re an artist, consultant, restaurant or retail shop owner, pet sitter, designer, contractor, hairstylist or in any other line of work, this knowledge will help you roll with the punches and survive in unpredictable situations.
Services are at the heart of any hair salon or spa. Happy clients come back again and again for your expert cut, styling and colour or to get a great facial, waxing, manicure and pedicure.
But mention retail and many stylists and estheticians immediately think, “I’m not a salesperson!”
Perhaps it’s the way we think about retail products and present recommendations to clients that is in dire need of a makeover?
Here are six tips to increase retail revenue while maintaining the trust of your clients:
There are many things to love about running a small business!
Some entrepreneurs dive in full time. Others start around their work commitments so they can pursue a beloved hobby and share their talents with the world.
Artisans who create and sell handmade wares or curate vintage collections are found in both of these groups.
And, you’ll find many of these business owners on Etsy, a popular e-commerce marketplace that allows sellers of handmade and vintage goods to connect with buyers around the globe.
The kids are back in school and pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks. Yes, that means Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season are almost here!
Many consumers across the country will start their shopping early and the Etsy: Made in Canada pop-up markets are a great place to start. All 38 shows from coast to coast are organized by local Etsy Teams – groups of business owners who connect to support each other, socialize and sell.
Fans of handmade and vintage goods will find just about anything their hearts desire at the Made in Canada events. Everything is created and curated by Etsy sellers – from beauty products, fashion accessories and fine art to graphic design and paper goods, jewelry and ceramics.
The next generation of fintech start-ups and innovators are providing customer-centric solutions that are easy to use and affordable. The payments space, where banks are highly regulated and businesses have limited technology options available, remains highly underserved. One Toronto-based fintech company took notice of the opportunity.
Dream Payments has designed a secure cloud-based infrastructure that enables banks and leading merchant acquirers to provide businesses of all sizes with unique mobile point of sale (POS) solutions, and they've launched a version of their mobile POS service across Canada in partnership with TD Bank and TELUS.
Each summer, Markham sees the coming together of dazzling cultural performances, culinary artists, iconic celebrities, dignitaries, sports fans, artisans and food connoisseurs at Taste of Asia, which is organized by the City of Markham, F.C.C.M, and APMC. It’s an exciting, high-energy event that has been celebrating harmony, cuisine and culture for the past thirteen years, filling the streets with two days of non-stop multicultural performances for families and friends.
Dream Payments unveiled that they are partnering with Intuit Canada last week as a keynote announcement at Payments Canada’s Payments Panorama. "Dream and Intuit have partnered to put time and money back into the hands of businesses across Canada,” shared Christian Ali, Chief Marketing Officer of Dream Payments. "By bringing together Dream’s innovative mobile point of sale solution, and Intuit’s powerful cloud accounting platform, Dream and Intuit are simplifying the most complex aspects of running a small business: payment processing and accounting. For the first time businesses will be able to accept Interac® debit as well as credit card payments and have the transactions automatically flow into QuickBooks Online.”
Whether you need to power a salesforce that's on the go, or to provide your customers with the ability to checkout on the spot, making it easier for your customers to pay will help you to grow your business!
Dream now supports Staff Users allowing you to provide each member of your team with their own card reader, or even share multiple devices. This multi-user feature allows business owners to easily create Supervisor and Employee accounts for staff with predefined levels of access, giving you more options and more control.
Mobile devices have now become our new best friend. As small business owners, your dependence on mobile devices is even greater than the average person. In addition to the typical uses, you rely on your mobile devices also for getting work done on the go, managing your business and even processing payments. Since you use mobile devices for everything, they have both a high financial and emotional value and therefore losing them, or the information on it, can be a serious hassle and risk to your business.
The growing popularity and reliance on mobile devices has led cybercriminals to see them as a new frontier for attack. Be it an Apple or an Android mobile device, hackers are now increasingly targeting these for making quick financial gains. While one may be more liked by hackers than the other, it is important to note here that the basic security threats are common across both mobile platforms.
As a business owner, you've invested a huge chunk of your time, money, and energy to make your business work. You really don’t want to risk losing it simply because you, or your employees, failed to use basic security measures to protect your mobile device.
Product Catalog features that make your life easier
We're always trying to make running your business easier so you can spend time doing the other things that matter most. Check out some of the latest product catalog features in the Dream mobile app below.
Managing your product catalog within the Dream mobile app is simple. Changes to your catalog will automatically update across all your devices. Simply enter the product details into the catalog once, and you can access it within the Dream app on all your other smartphones and tablet devices.
When a change is made to your catalog, a notification will display within the Dream app on your other devices as soon as they happen, keeping all your information up-to-date.
Products and services can now be grouped into categories for a quick and easy way to find and select your products during a purchase. You can add any categories that make sense for your business, no matter what your business is.
Toronto mobile point-of-sale developers Dream Payments unveiled their EMV MPOS business solution at Retail’s Big Show in New York recently.
With the new EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa) chip-and-pin requirements coming online in the United States, retailers big and small are scrambling to comply, with mixed results.
As opposed to building a financial services brand from scratch and taking on the big financial institutions (FIs) from a start-up perspective, Dream Payments has partnered with a Canadian banking partner and TELUS, for distribution of its physical product through TELUS retail outlets, and is looking to partner with other large American financial institutions to scale their offerings North America-wide, much as they have already done in Canada.
Dream Payments to Showcase Next Generation EMV and Contactless Mobile Point of Sale Solutions at NRF 2016
Dream Payments and Bluebird Will Unveil New EMV Mobile Point of Sale ("MPOS") Solutions and Retail Innovations for Businesses of All Sizes
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - January 15, 2016) - Dream Payments ("Dream") a leading provider of MPOS solutions, today announced it will be unveiling new EMV MPOS business solutions at Retail's BIG Show 2016 convention, January 17-19, 2016 in New York City. Dream provides mobile point-of-sale applications and payment acceptance solutions that allow merchants to manage their businesses conveniently and from anywhere their business goes.
Following its successful launch of the first and only EMV Chip & PIN solution available off-the shelf in Canada, Dream in partnership with Bluebird, will be unveiling its powerful lineup of MPOS applications and devices aimed at mobile retailers and merchants.
Fintech is quickly changing how we spend and invest our money
"We're on the cusp of a dynamic shift that no one has ever seen before," Adam Nanjee told a packed hall at the World Money Show conference in Toronto on October 30th, 2015. Nanjee is the Head of Financial Technology (Fintech) at MaRS Discovery District, and he wasn't overstating the changes business owners and consumers are set to witness, from banking and payment technologies to financing, to shopping in virtual reality. Here are six ways fintech will change how you spend and invest your money in 2016.
Ready to make a little Christmas holiday magic at the till? For makers, entrepreneur-artisans and savvy business people, the holiday shopping season is the only shopping season that matters. The consumer extravaganza Black Friday is just days away and promises to be as big as ever. Big retailers are already gearing up for the consumer frenzy – and it’s not too late for the crafty business owner to get in on the good times, whether you’re considering a stand-alone pop up shop or an add-on kiosk for an established shop.
Santa isn’t just going to hand over a business plan for you to take advantage, so it’s time for you to get ready.
Your smartphone has become the most critical tool for running your business.
Of course these pocket-sized computers are ideal for staying in touch with clients, customers and colleagues, but downloadable apps can also help boost your productivity, remain competitive, and increase sales.
Dream Payments is hoping to disrupt fintech disruptors. It offers a cloud-based platform that allows merchants to sell anywhere using mobile devices. Merchants can accept debit and credit cards and provide customers with digital receipts. The company believes it can help big banks and retailers adapt to a quickly changing retail landscape.
Dream Payments Launches Canada's First Off-The-Shelf EMV Payment Terminal That Accepts Interac Debit Card Payments
Dream Payments Introduces Canada's First and Only EMV Mobile Point of Sale Solution That is Sold in Retail Stores and Accepts INTERAC® Debit, Chip and PIN Credit Cards, and Contactless Payments
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 26, 2015) - Dream Payments, a Payments Cloud for Small Businesses, today announced the launch of the Dream Mobile Point of Sale ("MPOS") solution. Dream Payments ("Dream") has developed Canada's first and only EMV MPOS that is sold in retail stores and accepts INTERAC Debit, Chip and PIN credit cards, and contactless payments. Dream has also partnered with a leading mobile operator, TELUS, to distribute affordable, secure, MPOS solutions that help merchants sell in-store and on-the-go.
Big financial institutions are under attack as so-called “fintech” startups chip away at their business with low-cost alternatives. Toronto’s Dream Payments has a different approach: It’s aiming to help the established giants, not hurt them.
The startup, a dreamchild of veteran entrepreneur Greg Wolfond and backed by Montreal venture-capital firm Real Ventures, this week launches a mobile payment solution for retailers that is less costly than offerings from established players such as Moneris and Global Payments, and both safer and more comprehensive than disruptive alternatives such as Square or Stripe.
Far from upending established players, Dream has their stamp of approval: Telus is offering the device at about 70 stores across Canada, expanding to its full network of 800-plus stores in the new year;
Transforming payment acceptance for small businesses
Dream Payments partners with merchant acquirers, financial institutions, and mobile operators around the world to power payments for their small business customers
Visit us at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas and see why some of the world's largest largest retailers, payment processors, and merchant acquirers are partnering with Dream to launch MPOS solutions.
Cardware 2015: Visit the Dream Payments Booth #M1 in the Futures Lane.
Debated to be one of the 7 wonders of the world – Niagara Falls is where the payments industry will be flocking from June 16th to 17th. For issuers, acquirers, merchants, brands, regulators, solution providers & other stakeholders, Cardware 2015 is where key ...
On June 2nd and 3rd the Retail Council of Canada is coming to Toronto in a big way. The RCC Store2015 conference is bringing together not only the...
On May 12 & 13, FinovateSpring 2015 returns to San Jose to showcase the best, new innovations in fintech. This year’s selection process was the most competitive yet, and we’ve been chosen to present! As part of our Dream Payments network, we wanted you to be the first to know and hope you’ll join us!
Toronto-based Mobile Fintech Company secures funding to launch a next generation mobile payment platform that accepts contact and contactless debit and credit cards
TORONTO – March 26, 2015 – Dream Payments, a next generation mobile payment platform, today announced that it has raised $6.0 million in funding from Canada’s leading early stage fintech venture capital and private equity firms. Institutional investors included Blue Sky Capital, Real Ventures, and Rouge River Capital.
The Dream Payments platform powers merchant commerce and enables merchants of all sizes to use mobile point of sale (mPOS) terminals to accept all forms of payments including magstripe, EMV credit and debit cards, and Apple Pay. The Dream mobile point of sale terminal works with existing iOS or Android smartphones, tablets or integrates with traditional point of sale systems. The solution also provides merchants a comprehensive dashboard with in-depth sales and inventory reporting as well as actionable analytics and customer insights.
From March 31st until April 2nd you can find Dream Payments and some of our executives at Transact 2015 in San Francisco showcasing how we unite people with payments and technology to help transform the next generation of financial tech.
Whether you are attending the event or local to the Bay area – we would love to meet you and up date you on the latest mobile payment solution we are bringing to market.
Amongst the must see gadgets and the wild and wacky tech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this March, Dream Payments showcased our latest release of our mobile point of sale offering for merchants of all sizes.
End-to-end mobile payment solution accepts EMV contact and NFC contactless debit and credit cards
LAS VEGAS, NV - November 3, 2014 - Money20/20 - Recognizing that merchants of all sizes need secure, mobile, and affordable ways to accept EMV credit and debit cards, Dream Payments today announced that it is releasing the Dream Mobile Point of Sale in early 2015.
Dream Payments enables merchants of all sizes to accept payments anywhere, anytime, using mobile commerce solutions. Dream streamlines payment processing while improving the consumer experience. The low cost mobile point of sale device and supporting cloud-based commerce system provides the most cost effective, low risk and flexible end-to-end mobile payment solution available on the market today.