Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

This Site has Moved to SonOfFiveRivers.com

Click Here to Vist NEW Site: www.SonOfFiveRivers.com

I’ve been blogging for several months now and I’m glad to have recieved the feedback I have.  I’ve enjoyed the experince and for that reason I’ve decided to take blogging to another level.  I’ll be self hosting my blog and that means you’ll see a lot more creativity in the design, functionality and layout of the new blog.

Check it out: www.SONofFIVErivers.com

Cheers

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January 22, 2010 Posted by | 1, A Thought, Ads, Agriculture, Art, Blogging, Books, Brochure, Business, Business Cards, Business Development, Business Model, Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Computer Networking, Construction, Creativity, Data Recovery, Definitions, Earth, Economics, Education, Electric Cars, Email, Entrepreneurship, Family, Finance, Geothermal, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, Human Resources, Information Technology (I.T.), Inspiration, Investment, LEED, Life, Marketing, Micro Credit, Not for Profit, Open Source, Packaging, PDA's, Philanthropy, Photography, Politics, Power Piont, Products, Project Management, Quotes, Sales, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Services, Social Enterprise, Social Media, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Taxes, Venture Capital, Videos, War, Waste, Water, Website | Leave a comment

10 Questions Businesses Should Never Stop Asking

Here are the 10 questions businesses should have asked when starting and they are the very questions that any business owner should continue to ask, year in and year out:

 

What is our purpose for existing?

Who is our target customer? and why?

Why does anyone need what we’re selling?

If there is a need, is it enough to support a profitable business?

What are our competitors up to?

Can you reduce expenses–without harming the product?

Do the company have the right leadership?

Do we have the right employees?

How will we continue to drive revenue?

How are your employees holding up?

Please add any suggestions:

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Business Model, Human Resources, Marketing | | Leave a comment

How to Prepare Your Business for H1N1 Flu

A month ago the Canadain Government put aside $750’000 to help support Small Businesses across the country prepare for H1N1.

The H1N1 flu pandemic (a.k.a. swine flu) could be even worse than the flu pandemic of 1918. Or it could be the Y2K of 2009, just a bunch of hype. Or it could have a strike and ferocity somewhere in between.

As of this writing, the Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that 34,000 to 138,000 Canadians will be hospitalized, another 2-5 million will be treated as outpatients, and as many as 58,000 may die.

A scientific advisory panel sent a report to the White House saying it was possible that anywhere from 30 percent to half the American population could catch what doctors call “2009 H1N1” and that it was also possible there could be between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths (Associated Press).

For businesses, absentee rates are predicted to skyrocket. The International Centre for Infectious Diseases warns of absentee rates hitting 20 percent or more, adding that “cumulatively, a quarter or more of your workforce could be out for as many as three to four months” – with, of course, all the other businesses you rely on facing the same massive absentee rates.

Whether it gets this bad or not, it’s obviously best if your business has a business continuity plan in place to deal with the effects of the expected H1N1 virus upsurge.

Don’t have time to work through a detailed plan for dealing with an H1N1 flu pandemic right now? Just follow the nine steps below and you’ll have a basic business continuity plan to keep your business up and running through the H1N1 flu pandemic crisis.

Business Continuity Plan for Dealing With an H1N1 Flu Pandemic

1) Educate yourself and your employees about swine flu, both the symptoms and possible business consequences. Here’s an information sheet on H1N1 flu virus from Fightflu.ca. You will also find a great deal of information about H1N1 flu in these H1N1 Swine Flu FAQs from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

2) Encourage employees to get H1N1 flu vaccinations when they become available. If your business is large enough, you might even have a flu clinic at your business site. (Note that it is unlikely that the seasonal flu shot will provide protection against H1N1 flu virus (Fightflu.ca).

3) Create ways of teleworking for your business. This will make it easier to encourage employees to stay home when they’re ill. “…if one person comes into work sick then cases could quickly multiply to take out a third of the workforce”, said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer (Pandemic plan help offered to businesses, CBCNews.ca).

Employees who are experiencing H1N1 flu symptoms but still feel up to contributing might be able to telework instead.

It will also make it easier to make allowances for employees who need time off work to care for sick children or parents.

Note to businesses in Calgary and area: Calgary Economic Development has a WorkSHIFT program to foster teleworking that you may be able to participate in.

4) If possible, prepare an isolation area in your place of business in case an employee becomes ill on the job and can’t leave right away.

5) Determine which of your business operations/services are critical and create a deployment plan for other employees to cover these areas if possible.

This is especially hard to do for small businesses, but think of the worst case scenario; how would you keep your business going if you and all your employees were sick with swine flu? If you’re a solo operator, do you at least have a person available who can man the phone and reschedule what’s necessary? If you’re a small retailer, do you have friends or relatives that could pinch hit in a crisis?

6) Step up office hygiene practices.

Ensure that staff is talked to about the importance of proper hand washing and that hand washing signs and instructions are up in all restrooms and staffrooms. (Here’s how to properly wash your hands according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.)

Place hand sanitizers (either wall units or bottles) in strategic places and encourage people to use them.

Make sure all office equipment is cleaned and sanitized regularly, especially shared equipment such as keyboards and phones.

7) Develop a communication plan, such as a call tree and a schedule of communications to make sure that all your employees can be contacted in case of a major event such as your business having to close unexpectedly. Make sure key customers and suppliers are also included in your fan out list.

8) Decide what to do if your regular supplies are cut off. Suppliers and transportation companies could be shut down if the H1N1 flu pandemic causes high rates of absenteeism. How will your business be able to continue operating if this happens? Are there alternate suppliers and/or transporters that could fill in? Will you just delay order fulfillment? If so, for how long?

9. Check out local programs and resources. Your city or town may have programs or resources dedicated to helping businesses deal with the H1N1 flu pandemic. For instance, the city of Ottawa offers an Are You Ready program which provides information on emergency preparedness while the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce has partnered with a local nursing organization to help businesses facilitate the administration of flu vaccines to employees.

More Details on Planning for an H1N1 Flu Pandemic

Want to prepare a more detailed business continuity plan for dealing with the H1N1 virus? With the support of the Public Health Agency of Canada, The International Centre for Infectious Diseases has developed a Pandemic Influenza Planning Tool Kit for Business and Employers to help small and medium-sized businesses prepare for the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. It includes detailed checklists for managing every aspect of your business before, during and after the H1N1 flu pandemic hits.

The American federal government also offers a collection of resources to help businesses plan for an H1N1 flu pandemic at Flu.gov.

September 9, 2009 Posted by | Business, Human Resources | Leave a comment

Links to Jobs in Sustainability on the West Coast (Vancouver)

This is going to be a post that I plan on updating when I come across a good link.  So please submit any website links you have come across as well.

http://www.walkingthetalk.bc.ca/resources/jobs-volunteer (Vancouver)

September 8, 2009 Posted by | Education, Human Resources, Sustainability | | Leave a comment

Online Resources for Small Business

Trendtracking

Government Resources

Entrepreneur Advocates, Blogs and Magazines

Entrepreneur Resources for Women

Entrepreneur Resources for Specific Groups

Entrepreneur Resources for Youth

September 5, 2009 Posted by | A Thought, Business, Business Development, Business Model, Economics, Education, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Grants, Human Resources, Marketing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Aid for Small Business

Any organization should have an Occupational Health & Safety Committee.  By law in BC I belive you have to have an organization that has 20 people when you have to intiate one.  But it’s just smart practice to develop on asap.  It could be just as simple as being an agenda item on a monthly meeting.

http://www2.worksafebc.com/Topics/FirstAid/RegulationAndGuidelines.asp?ReportID=33601

Here’s what you’ll have  to look forward to when you do a basic course.

Standard Level First Aid

Designed to meet industry, business and government requirements, Standard level first aid is a modular course for those who want to learn more first aid skills.

The Standard level first aid course is built on the same core and elective lessons as the Emergency level course. The course includes core and elective lessons as well as a written exam.

Lessons that make up the Standard and Emergency level courses are outlined below.

Lesson Menu

Both the Standard First Aid and Emergency First Aid courses include five core lessons (four hours).

Emergency Scene Management

  1. Shock, Unconsciousness and Fainting
  2. Choking (Adult)
  3. Cardiovascular Emergencies and One-Rescuer CPR (Adult casualty)
  4. Severe Bleeding

There are 18 elective lessons. The Emergency course includes approximately 1.5 hours* of electives, while the Standard course includes about 7.5 hours.*

Medical Conditions (Diabetes, Convulsions, Asthma, Allergies)

  1. Child Resuscitation
  2. Infant Resuscitation
  3. Two-Rescuer CPR
  4. Automated External Defibrillation
  5. Secondary Survey
  6. Bone and Joint Injuries
  7. Head/Spinal and Pelvic Injuries
  8. Chest Injuries
  9. Wound Care
  10. Multiple Casualty Management
  11. Rescue Carries
  12. Eye Injuries
  13. Burns
  14. Poisons, Bites and Stings
  15. Heat and Cold Illness and Injuries
  16. Emergency Childbirth and Miscarriage
  17. Artificial Respiration Regards,

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Model, Human Resources | , , | 1 Comment

Resources for Small Business

I’ve compiled some resources for people wanting to start a business in Canada. British Columbia seems to be leading the way when it comes to small business as they make up 98% of the Business Sector and employ almost 50% of the people who live in the Province.   The list below focuses on Business in BC, if your looking for other provinces I suggest you google these words; “Small Business & Economic Deveopment Ontario” (or whatever province your looking for)

Statistics related to small business are available at:

Statistics related to small business

553 Superior St.

Box 9410 Stn Prov Govt

Victoria, B.C. V8W 9V1

Telephone: 250 387-0327

Internet: www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca

Information on provincial government programs and services can be found at:

Ministry of Small Business and Revenue, Small Business Branch

Box 9805 Stn Prov Govt

Victoria, B.C. V8W 9W1

Telephone: 250 387-4699

Internet: www.sbr.gov.bc.ca

Information on federal government programs and services can be found at:

Western Economic Diversification Canada

Suite 700 – 333 Seymour St.

Vancouver, B.C. V6B 5G9

Telephone: 604 666-6256

Toll Free: 1 888 338-9378

Internet: www.wd.gc.ca

The Government of Canada’s main site for business information

Canada Business

1 888 576-4444

www.canadabusiness.gc.ca

Online tool to help quickly and easily identify permit and licensing requirements for business activities

BizPaL Business Permits and Licences

bizpal@gov.bc.ca

http://www.bcbizpal.ca

Business counselling and assistance for new and existing businesses in rural British Columbia.

Community Futures Development Corporation of British Columbia

1 604 685 2332

www.communityfutures.ca/provincial/bc/

e-business information resources for small and medium-sized businesses

eBC eBusiness Connection

1 604 775-7532

www.e-bc.ca

Online business registration and change of business address

Online business registration and change of business address

1 877 822-6727

www.bcbusinessregistry.ca

Province-wide access to government services including key government transactions for business

Service BC

1 800 663-7867 (Enquiry BC) to be transferred to the

nearest Service BC Contact Centre

www.servicebc.gov.bc.ca

Comprehensive business information and business planning resources for starting and growing a business in British Columbia

Small Business BC

1 800 667-2272

www.smallbusinessbc.ca

Business information counselling and skills training for women entrepreneurs

Women’s Enterprise Centre

1 800 643-7014

www.womensenterprise.ca

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Grants, Human Resources, Investment, Marketing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Business ER Hotline


Business BC Launches “Business ER Hotline”:

Economic Climate a Hot Topic for Small Business Sector

Vancouver – Small Business BC (SBBC) has launched the “Business ER (Emergency) Hotline” providing BC’s small businesses with the solutions and business strategies to deal with the current economic conditions.

The Business ER Hotline, 1-800-667-2272, will enable SBBC to quickly address and respond to crisis-related business issues.

In addition to a 1-800 number, clients can ask questions and access information via email, or they can go to the Business ER Hotline website, www.smallbusinessbc.ca/businessER, or visit the SBBC Vancouver office in person, 601 West Cordova Street.

SBBC Consulting CEO, George Hunter, explains the reason for launching the Business ER Hotline: “Our staff has noted a significant increase in questions relating to changes in the economy.  For example, people want to know what kind of training programs are available for upgrading skills, or, which sectors are showing promise for new business opportunities, such as BC’s healthcare sector.  There are many people newly out of work who are now exploring the idea of starting a business.”

SBBC also reports an increase in questions regarding financing options and business strategies for tougher economic times such as how to cut expenses and build revenue, as well as a significant number of inquiries regarding labour standards.

“The Business ER Hotline offers a direct way to get timely information out to business owners and their employees as well,” says Hunter, “The small business community is important to our economy and SBBC is pleased to be able to provide a link to current information and provide support as small business owners navigate a changing economic landscape.”

Hunter encourages small business owners to contact SBBC via the Business ER Hotline, or go to their website, www.smallbusinessbc.ca, to find out more about the comprehensive services SBBC offers, such as financing options and sources, government acts and regulations, one-on-one business counseling, market research and consultation, business planning services, business seminars, e-business information and an education and resource centre

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Ads, Blogging, Brochure, Business, Business Development, Business Model, Creativity, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Human Resources, Investment, Marketing, Micro Credit, Packaging, Products, Sales, Services, Venture Capital | , , , | Leave a comment

ROWE, or Results-Only Work Environment

ROWE, or Results-Only Work Environment, (also known as Results Oriented Work Environment), is a management strategy created by CultureRx and adopted by Best Buy.[1] In this model, employees are paid for results (output) rather than the number hours worked. The goal is to keep workers who deliver results while firing those who are not productive.

ROWE in practice means “each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want as long as the work gets done.”[2] Employees control their own calendars, and are not required to be in the office if they can complete their tasks elsewhere.

ROWE seems to have some connection with The 4 Hour Work Week.

Pros:

  • Flexible work hours
  • High employee satisfaction
  • Emphasis on bottom line results

Cons:

  • Output measurement is harder for some jobs (overhead, administration)
  • Management can be challenging
  • Some people have a harder time working with people without face-to-face interaction
  • Can be destructive for individuals that don’t have the discipline to hold themselves accountable for what they should work on.
  • Increased litigation between employer insurance and personal insurance companies due to an unclear definition of “on the job.”
  • Increased litigation between business and clients/consumers when information is stolen.
  • Proprietary information is more vulnerable to competitors.
  • Can be used by upper management to determine which jobs are best suited for outsourcing to third world countries.
  • Increased possibility of serious or life-threatening injury to managers or employees because of the lack of regulations.
  • Can be used to transition from full-time positions to part-time positions without benefits.

August 29, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Model, Human Resources | Leave a comment

Lights without Light Pollution

I consider my self an amateur astronomer,  so I was pleseantly surprised when I read this in a newsletter from my local electricty supplier, BC Hydro.  (and Yes I’m susbscribed to the online newsletters of my Gas & Electricty suppliers, doesn’t it just make sense?)  Enjoy the article & some pictures I found:

Light Polution

Light Polution STreet Lights

Astronomers big on Power Smart’s battle against light pollution

Rob Klovance
bchydro.com

Detail of a photo of the Pelican Nebula taken by John McDonald through a telescope at Astronomy Hill near Victoria in 2007. (W.J. McDonald photo)

It took a trip to Saltspring Island for amateur astronomer John McDonald’s grandkids from Vancouver to see the milky way for the first time. But for McDonald, it’s the story of a group of visiting Tokyo schoolkids that hammers home the allure of the elusive dark sky.

“These kids were staying at a fairly dark place up island,” says McDonald, a retiree who lives in Victoria. “Someone took them out at night to show them the milky way… and they couldn’t’ get them to go back in.

“These kids had never seen a star except the sun.”

McDonald and other B.C. star-gazers couldn’t be happier to hear that BC Hydro Power Smart has launched a campaign to fight light pollution that includes rebates on flat lens streetlight products. To them, the need is significant and the timing is perfect – the United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy, an initiative that coincides with the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s use of the telescope.

It’s not just about dark skies

And if you’re thinking that an astronomer’s battle against light pollution is just a tad self-serving, think again. Before we start talking about the stars, McDonald has already dealt with a laundry list of light pollution costs – wasted energy, wasted money, dangerous glare for drivers and detrimental effects on wildlife, including birds and fish.

“I think most of us are very keenly aware of the fact we’re using up energy, and that there’s a cost to it,” says McDonald, fresh off a trip to Costa Rica in which he shot a mind-blowing time-lapse video of the sky throughout the night. “And the amount of energy that is wasted in lighting up the bottoms of clouds and sending light off into space to do nothing is a considerable expense. It’s billions of dollars in North America.”

Our ‘addiction’  to light

Most of us think that the brighter the outdoor lighting, the better. McDonald thinks that attitude is a byproduct of growing up in an age here in B.C. where “hydro power has been basically a free service”. He speaks of us being addicted to light while largely ignoring the costs of that addiction.

In 1996, at the request of the US Congress, the National Institute of Justice conducted a landmark assessment of crime and violence in the United States. The study found little research to support the idea of “brighter-is-safer”, and even suggested that in some circumstances poorly designed illumination might actually increase personal vulnerability.

“There’s nothing worse than having somebody with motion security lighting,” says another astronomer, Paul Greenhalgh of Abbotsford. “To me it’s not security at all, it’s illumination. The day that a streetlight walks into court and testifies that this guy did what he did – that he stole that car – is the day I’ll eat my telescope.”

A billion bucks in wasted energy

Inefficient and excessive night lighting causes significant loss of energy globally. In North America, the energy wasted in illuminating the sky is estimated at a billion dollars. Good, clean outdoor lighting improves visibility, safety, and a sense of security, while minimizing energy use, operating costs, and ugly, dazzling glare.

There are three types of light pollution:

  • Light trespass, which occurs when light crosses property lines. Poor outdoor lighting shines onto neighbours’ properties and into bedroom windows, reducing privacy, hindering sleep, and giving the area an unattractive look.
  • Glare, which comes from an overly bright source of light compared to background lighting levels. Glare  is light that beams directly from a lamp into your eye. It serves no purpose and hampers the vision of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. If you can see the bright lamp from a distance, it’s a bad light. With a good light, you see lit ground instead of the dazzling lamp.
  • Sky glow, which spills upward from urbanized areas and blocks the view of the stars

If we were to think of lamps as taps and leaking light rays as drops of water, we would never tolerate it. But, we seldom think about the impact of light pollution.

Reducing light pollution has a variety of benefits, including energy savings and helping eliminate light exposure that disrupts sleep cycles, causes fatigue and strains the immune system.

What we can do to helpIllustration shows full cutoff streetlamp

Greenhalgh’s Fraser Valley Astronomers Society has successfully lobbied the City of Abbotsford to apply a new policy to streetlighting. All new streetlamps in the city will be fitted with full cutoff lighting, which all but eliminates light not central to the task of lighting the street. And all existing lamps will be retrofitted with full cutoffs as part of their ongoing maintainence cycle.

Power Smart is out to remind people that we all have the power to help reduce light pollution and save energy and money, both with the lighting choices we make at home and the choices we make at our businesses.

Here’s a short list of things we can do:

  • Assess your requirements. Ask yourself if the lighting is really needed. If so, determine what area has to be lit, how much illumination is needed, and when is the lighting required.
  • Adopt “part-night lighting” by turning off non-essential lights after midnight. You save energy and money.
  • Install timers or motion sensors to turn your security lighting on only when needed. You save energy and money.
  • Adjust your security and outdoor lights so that they do not trespass into your neighbours’ house. Casting light onto adjacent areas is a waste of energy
  • Direct light where it is needed. Use lights that shield the lamp and direct the light down rather than out and away.
  • Avoid glare. A luminaire that emits a concentrated beam of light offers better visibility than one that shines light in all directions. In certain cases, glare can compromise safety.
  • Choose the most efficient lamps. Certain types of lamps consume less energy than others with the same light output. Choose lamps with a high lamp efficacy such as CFLs.
  • Choose the right luminaire. Light directed towards the sky does not improve night vision.
  • Choose luminaires that have a flat lens and a shield that completely shades the upper surface of the lamp or are classified as cut off and full cutoff by IESNA (Illumination Engineering Society of North America). The lamps sit back further in these luminaires causing the light to be cast down rather than out to the side. Therefore light cannot escape above 90 degrees horizontal plane. You can even install the lights under balconies and eaves.

How BC Hydro is fighting light pollution

BC Hydro is doing its part to reduce light pollution and help its customers save energy and money. Some of BC Hydro’s initiatives that help customers reduce light pollution and save energy include:

  • In-store instant discounts on ENERGY STAR light fixtures and ENERGY STAR Specialty CFL lamps. These lamps use up to 75% less energy than regular incandescent lamps.
    Mail in rebates for the purchase of ENERGY STAR CFL lamps.
  • Funding for studies to determine how municipalities can use adaptive street lighting to reduce street lighting levels without impacting safety. This will help municipalities dim their street lights by up to 50% during low traffic periods.
  • Incentives for business customers to install lighting controls such as timers and occupancy sensors to turn of lights when lighting is not required.
  • Incentives for municipalities and businesses to install ornamental streetlights with high efficiency lamps with flat lenses. The fully-shielded flat-lens lamps do an equally good job of illuminating the road by directing the light to where it is needed without sending light up into the sky or out into your eyes. The ground and roadway will be well illuminated. And, because no light is wasted, a lower wattage lamp can be used to illuminate the desired area.
  • Technical and financial assistance to customers who plan to reduce their lighting energy consumption by re-designing their lighting and de-lamping to reduce over illumination.
  • Lighting design tools and financial incentives for developers and builders of new buildings.
  • Funding for energy managers who target energy efficiency measures at customers’ facilities.
  • Training and development opportunities on energy conservation for businesses and their employees.

Source: BC Hydro

Other Cool Links:

Our Vanishing Night (National Geographic article)

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Vancouver)

International Astronomy Day, HR MacMillan Space Centre, Vancouver

The Sky Tonight (Diagram of constellations in current evening sky, Vancouver)

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Art, Business, Business Development, Clean Energy, Community Economic Development (CED), Construction, Creativity, Earth, Education, Family, Geothermal, Government, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, Human Resources, Inspiration, LEED, Life, Philanthropy, Products, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment