Your Business Toolkit

Having a Post-Pandemic Store Front

Have Online Options 

  • Wix and Shopify offer "do-it-yourself" tools to run online stores and blogs - Shopify is offering free trial programs right now!
  • OSiM Interactive in Harriston is a Google Business partner and can help you navigate terms like SEO, brand value, and UX design
  • LaunchitMinto can provide social media assistance

Decorate you Store Front 

  • Check out in-town stores for window markers or make your own signs with chalkboard paint
  • Switch up displays often! If costumers can't come in to browse, at least they can window shop and purchase online!
  • Team up with your neighbours for cohesive designs! Our friends in Arthur all teamed up to paint rainbows down their main street! 
  • Here's example of a boutique in downtown Elora as well

Know Your regulations 

Having an Online Space

Have a Website 

Create Citations 

  • Citations are mentions of your business in online directories
  • We run the local directory through our membership program
  • WhiteSpark is an Albertan program that can help you locate and manage citations
  • Other common citations are Google and Facebook businesses. Sometimes they are auto-created due to your address so make sure you claim yours to keep it accurate!

Use Social Media 

  • Have business pages for common social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest
  • Your demographic may be more on Facebook so that's where you're the most active, but having a few posts on other sites creates additional, authentic links to your business which boots SEO

Use Google search Console

  • Google Search Console is a free tool ran through Google that monitors and maintains your site's search presence
  • Not only does it track your websites traffic, it can also troubleshoot indexing problems, spam issues, and mobility usage

Having a workable Space 

In An Office 

  • Have the space where you meet with clients the most easy to get to so they aren't overwhelmed or confused when entering
  • Things like photocopiers and printers should not be where noise is irritating
  • Use connected technology! Tools like Asana, Microsoft Teams, and Google Suite offer tasking tools and a way for employees to communicate no matter where they are
  • Having separate spaces for work and storage and having work areas with natural light promote a healthier workspace

At Home

  • Pick somewhere with less traffic and a window
  • Add some plant life -even if its fake
  • Declutter weekly - home offices have a habit of becoming a dumping ground for extra stuff but this can become distracting
  • Invest in some light exercise gear. We know you don't want to, but when you're feeling stiff, unmotivated, or tired some light weight-lifting or 10-minute yoga does wonders!
  • Here's an example from a community member 

In a Retail Space 

  • Optimize PoS areas; multiple employees will be using this space for multiple activities. Having equipment that twists, turns, and is easily adjustable is so helpful in these situations!
  • Set up displays that lead customers in a certain direction to help in-store traffic
  • Refresh displays often and try to cross-merchandise them
  • Find other ways to appeal to the senses such as air fresheners, candles, or light music

Having Branded Merchandise 

But why? 

  • Brand merchandise develops an authentic brand identity
  • Branded items create an emotional connection with consumers and employees
  • Can have simple options such as business or rack cards, or more extravagant options for events like t-shirts

Simple Options 

  • Business cards and rack cards are simple merchandise options that can be easily designed, printed and displayed. You can have them on your business service counter, and community spaces such as LaunchIt, or public bulletin boards.
  • Branded name tags for employees also increase brand recognition by helping customers put names and face to logos
  • Innovative is Minto's very own commercial printer!

Advanced Options 

  • Clothing like t-shirts, hoodies, and hats; as well as home wares such as mugs or pens are larger ticket items that can be used as gifts to new clients or handed out at events your business is invited to or sponsors
  • Laser Magic, Raynbow Signs, W.C Smith Wholesale, and Norsco Sports all do custom printing on items like these

Having A Spot in Minto 

Us + LaunchIt 

  • By having a membership with us, you save money with our great affinity programs! You can also make money by working with us to develop B2B relationships and networking
  • We work closely with LaunchIt as well; A place where you can get expert advice through their advisor programs and rent work spaces until you have your own!


  • PitchIt! is an annual business plan competition run by the Town of Minto, LaunchIt, and the yearly sponsors
  • Perfect for anyone looking to open, purchase, expand, or relocate their business to Minto!
  • Prizes can be customized to fit winners needs!
  • 2020 is underway - but keep your eyes peeled for 2021!

Young Professionals 

  • The Northern Wellington Young Professional Network is an initiative started to provide networking, resources, and training for professionals between the ages of 20-40
  • Getting involved means working with great people from the towns of Minto, Mapleton, and Wellington North!

Woman in Business 

  • The Woman of Wellington Saugeen Area (WOWSA) is group that empowers, inspires, and connect women in business.
  • They facilitate low-cost networking events, workshops, and seminars
  • Find them at

And More...

  • There are so many ways to get involved in the Minto Community we couldn't possibly list them all in a single post!
  • has a business tab where you can find more resources, development and investment information, and contacts for economic and other development officials
  • You can also connect with the Harriston Rising, All Aboard Palmerston, and Clifford Connects teams to learn about and help with downtown engagement
  • Click the images to check out each town 

Hiring Process PT1: Finding Employees

The Importance 

  • So, you've started a business, but you can't do it alone! The recruitment process can be strenuous, especially for new entrepreneurs, so we'll be covering the steps over the next couple weeks!
  • The first step is to attract talent, find the workers, get the word out there!
  • This is the easiest step since most workers will come to you - but there are somethings you should know!


  • Hiring students is a great way to get your business involved in the community and can develop a life-long working relationship with a young professional!
  • We know hiring students can be a bit of a gamble, but you can dip your toes in by getting in contact with Norwell District Secondary School and asking to be a part of their co-op program - you'll be partnered with an unpaid student looking for experience!
  • Another way to work with students is to apply to the Canada Summers Job Grant - a program that will provide you with funding to pay a student worker over the summer! Below is Alexis, she's been our summer student for a few years now! She's also a freelance writer (even wrote all of our toolkits!) and you can click her image to get in contact about any of her services! 


  • Having diversity in your work force gives your company a competitive edge and maximizes problem viewpoints
  • But diversity can be hard to achieve - especially in small communities
  • Workplace diversity starts with your hiring practices - when creating ads, try to use images with multi-cultural models
  • Diversity isn't just ethnicities -  those with physical or mental disabilities are also at a hiring disadvantage. Make sure your ad clearly states you're excepting applications from all types of people, and then follow through with it! Stay tuned for a toolkit talking about working those with mental disabilities! 

Getting the word out

  • Did you know Minto has it's own job and housing portal? You can post your listing to to target community members and newcomers!
  • You can reach out the Second Chance Employment located in Guelph and Fergus and/or Partners in Employment in Listowel to let them know about your position and they can refer applicants to you
  • Most recruitment is now done online. Write a compelling ad for, Google Jobs, on your website, and social media!

Ad Writing Tips 

  • Use keywords in the title - if you only want part-time make sure part-time is in the title for better SEO
  • Give brief company summary
  • Be clear and concise! List requirements for applicants, what tasks the job requires, and realistic benefits
  • Be authentic - you don't need to say you're looking for hard-workers or team-players, it's obvious! But you do need to say how much training you can provide or if you strictly want experienced workers, an expected wage/salary, etc. 

Hiring Process PT2: Hiring Evaluations


  • If you provided a form to applicants consider how timely it was returned, how detailed it is (and how detailed it actually needs to be), and if the applicant asked any questions!
  • Questions don't have to be a bad thing - you want workers who are willing to admit when they need help!
  • If the application is in the form of a resume and cover letter, look for how engaging the letter is. A good letter will have similarities to job posting because the applicant read it thoroughly - but make sure the applicant isn't just coping and pasting to hit all the key words!


  • Look for related experiences. This doesn't necessarily have to be from previous jobs, if you're hiring young adults or students you can find similar experiences through volunteer work or schooling.
  • Key words and transferable skills should be on an applicants resume - but you should know what these are before starting the hiring process! Key terms such as IT communication, creativity or innovation, or management-skills should be written down and kept in mind while looking through applicants!
  • A little bit of personality in a resume such as font or colours can be good insight into the personality of a potential recruit!
  • You might prefer accepting Curriculum Vitaes instead! CVs are a visual or written timeline of someone's life education/work 









  • On top of the questions you need to ask to asses an applicants availability and ability to work also consider:
  • Motivational Questions: What's your ideal work day? Do you want to become a leader in this career?
  • Emotional Intelligence Questions: How do you go about picking out birthday gifts for your friends?
  • Situational or Behavioural Questions: If you were our CEO, what would you do? What are your favourite websites, magazines, or resources for this industry?


  • References can be tricky, especially if you're hiring a young worker with minimal job experience. Additionally, there are no legal obligations for firms to provide references so many are moving away from it to save time and money. Due to this shift in the working market, you're hiring process does not benefit from highly relying on reference checks.
  • Firms still providing references often try to speak of former employees in the best possible light to minimize conflict risks. You can ease the process by asking positive-led questions such as: Would you rehire _____? How long did _______ take to complete training? Did ______ complete any major accomplishments while with you or receive any promotions/raises?

Hiring Process PT3: Onboarding


  • Pre-boarding happens before the new recruits first day
  • Sending an email or message to your new employee helps keep the engaged with your company and provide critical info, like a first day and time reminder, important documents to bring, and what to expect
  • You can also send a message to current employees to let them know of the new hire, their start date, and a bit of background like work experience
  • Ensure you have everything needed for the new employee before their first day such as tech, office space, nametags, etc

First Week 

  • Make sure to provide a tour of the work spaces, safety routes, and introductions to other team members as quick as possible!
  • Training doesn't need to be completed in a week, but any necessary workshops or seminars should be scheduled with the first week so the employee knows what they need to get done and can start to feel comfortable in their new job
  • Make sure the new employee has access to all needed programs like shift schedules, the company website/email, and has a profile on your business page if applicable

1-3 WEEKS 

  • Ask for feedback on the provided training and on boarding processes. Try to get one good thing and one "bad" thing or something that could be improved upon
  • By the third month, your employee should be getting into the rhythm of independent work if not sooner, and should feel fully acclimated by the 6th month


  • Eduflow - An online tool that allows you to create learning experiences. Eduflow has a free version that allows one instructor to have 3 courses which would be perfect for small-firm on boarding!
  • Talmundo - Another online tool that specializes in on boarding processes. It's goal is to increase productivity, retention, and engagement.
  • Click Boarding - Click Boarding provides onboarding templates, or you can create your own. It allows you to manage tasks and lists, complete forms online, and incorporate branded content!

Business Planning 


Paper Planning 

  • Dailygreatness Business Planner - An hourly layout planner with specific pages for your business budget, goals, and appointments
  • Erin Condren - Highly customizable planners with different spreads, styles and covers
  • Passion Planner - A planner style that focuses on big visions instead of daily tasks
  • Ink + Volt - Simple, sophisticated design with a focus on goal-setting and achieving
  • Bullet Journaling - ultimate customization possibilities. Our summer student recommends 'Caitlin's Corner' on Youtube for some how-to and inspo videos


Digital Planning 

  • todoist - A powerful listing tool that features project and tag systems
  • Trello - A highly collaborative workflow tracker
  • Asana - A business planner that can be used by all team members
  • GSuite / Microsoft Suite - Using a combination of the notes apps, calendar apps, and document and spreadsheet creators these Suites can be worth the investment
  • Airtable - A powerful database styled planning tool that are summer student swears by!

Holidays for Retailers 

After hours shopping 

  • Book small parties of shoppers (3-5) to come in after regular hours!
  • These shoppers will enjoy having the store to themselves to shop and you'll be able to be more attentive to their needs
  • You can serve wine, cheese, crackers, or other drinks and snacks as well to boost atmosphere
  • Offer small discounts to shoppers for booking an after hours party or play small games, such as spin-the-wheel, for them to win discounts

Live Events Online 

  • You can also host live streams on Facebook and Instagram showing off items for sale
  • Make sure to promote the time and place a few days before hand or stick to a regular schedule for lives to maximize attendance
  • You can also incorporate games like trivia to make streams more interesting
  • Alternatively, you can run a Facebook group where you post items for sale that consumers can join and comment on - Jess from The Perfect Piece in Harriston has found lots of success with her Facebook group

12 Days of Giveaways 

  • Haha, get it? It's like the 12 Days of Christmas!
  • Post daily giveaways throughout November or December on social media that encourage people to like, comment on, and share your page
  • You can either do this yourself and giveaway 12 items, or can team up with other retailers and cross promote each other! This is a great way to network, build business relationships and sales, and stay #locallyloyalminto

Online Gift Guides and Catalougues 

  • We've said it before and we're going to keep saying it until everyone does it - your businesses needs a website!
  • You can create catalouge sections with all your Christmas deals on your online store and promote them across your social media
  • You can also uses applications like Canva, Photoshop, or blogging tools to create gift guides for consumers
  • Once again, you can team up with other retailers to cross promote products

Holidays for Restaurants 

Meal Kits 

  • Got an iconic recipe? You can put together the ingredients into boxes or baskets with recipe cards to sell to patrons
  • These can make great gifts - especially for students who aren't the best cookers
  • Innovative in Harriston is a reliable printing source for recipe cards

Gift Card Sales 

  • Is your restaurant on social media? If not, it definitely should be! LaunchIt Minto can help with account set up if you're needing it!
  • Record a festive-themed video of the staff wishing people various holidays, talk about holiday promotions, record yourselves decorating, or have staff wear festive hats and sweaters
  • Short, well-done videos can sometimes be more engaging than photos, and if you're entertaining enough patrons will share the content around

Incentive-Ize your 'Nice List' 

  • Every restaurant has it's regulars - who are yours?
  • To spread holiday cheer, build brand loyalty, and reward those customers who you see the most you can create a little gift for them and give it to them when they come in closer to the holidays
  • You can do just little holiday cards, small gift cards, or offering them a free dessert or drink next time their in!
  • Word travels fast and this goodwill will attract others!

Strategic Planning 

But What is it? 

  • Strategic Planning - an organizational management task that sets priorities and common goals as well as focusing resources towards wanted outcomes.
  • Strategic Plan - A document that communicates the firm's goals and missions, as well as steps needed for a achievement and how to know when these goals are met to the organization's employees and stakeholders.
  • Strategic Management - Comprehensive work tasks and processes that firm's use to ensure employees and resources are moving towards these like goals

Some Steps 

Some basic steps include:

  • Analysis - create an understanding of both the internal and external work environments
  • Strategy Formulation - Basic framework of organization's plan
  • Strategy Execution - plan is translated into more tasks and steps - like a highly competitive 'to-do list'
  • Evaluation and Refinement - Ongoing reports on the current plan and making changes as changes and new problems come forward

A Strategy Map 


  • A graphic that shows cause-and-effect reactions of strategic objectives/tasks
  • Great way to "simplify" or focus-in on a clear pathway
  • Easy tools like Mindly, Powepoint, Canva, or just plain pen and paper can be used to make these

Some Criteria 

  • Good strategic planning will makes fundamental decisions and clearly guides what an organization is, what it does and why, as well who its serving
  • Focuses on the future
  • Explains actions needed to make process and how to evaluate success
  • Or, when you know a goal is achieved

Social Media Planning

Click the images to be taken to the application! 



  • Canva is a online tool that's fairly popular around Minto!
  • It's main feature is design - it has pre-sized documents, templates, free-to-use photos, and multiple graphic elements
  • The free version is great for creating content, but the premium version offers a 'content calendar' feature; Here, you can schedule the content you created on Canva onto different social media platforms



  • Airtable is a pre-coded data base system that allows you to create bases from scratch or use their templates - One of these templates is a content planner!
  • You can upload the post files, tag them based on status, organize writers/creators and more! Airtables bases can be easily customized to suit your needs.



  • Hootsuite is an all-in-one social media tool!
  • Hootsuite schedules and publishes posts and advertisements, as well as tracking and monitoring engagement and analyzing your accounts' reach.
  • Compatible with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest!

In Person 

  • Creative Worth - Excellent brand strategist that give you insights your brand content and presence
  • OSiM Interactive - Professional content strategy development and campaign execution
  • LaunchIt Minto - Working with our Digital Mainstreet Service Sqaud Member, they can get your jump started on using specific tools to help your social media presence!