You can’t draw blood from a stone. I like this metaphor because it is relevant to my business. I have cut costs in every possible corner: I now use Canada Post instead of FedEx for all customer shipments; I personally tag & package the product rather than paying someone else to do this work; I’ve eliminated product catalogues (relying totally on my web site instead); and, I no longer attend international trade shows. But my costs keep increasing. I am paying more in taxes (thanks to the HST – Harmonized Sales Tax); fabric costs have gone up; accounting & other professional fees have increased, and booth fees for marketplace events have escalated. Normally a business would raise its prices under the circumstances but I am hesitant to do so given the current economy. Why am I raising this issue now? It’s because the federal government is considering usage based billing on the Internet. In other words, instead of paying a flat monthly rate, everyone’s invoices would reflect the number of minutes spent on the Internet and this could become very expensive! I spend a lot of time on the Internet (for example, Facebook, Twitter and my blog site) because the social media is a great way to promote my business. In fact, connecting with customers via the social media network is a MUST for businesses today. If my costs related to this service went up dramatically, I would have to curtail my use. Normally, this is a reasonable situation: you only get what you pay for. However, in this case, it isn’t costing the service providers more for the increased use by its customers. The infrastructure/network is already in place so why would we allow the service providers to gouge us? Isn’t the goal to help strengthen the ability of small businesses within Canada to grow, thereby, stimulating the economy? Higher costs would hurt the entrepreneurial sector where every dollar counts. It’s been said that small businesses are the greatest growth potential for the Canadian economy. So let’s not cut off that growth by over charging them! I really like the following quote by a small business owner based in Fort McMurray, Alberta: “Everybody thinks the roads are paved with gold here but the fact is that businesses are facing huge hurdles right now”. Source: Globe and Mail February 10, 2011 Please help support the initiative to prevent a shift in the way in which we are all charged for Internet use. There are already over 400,000 Canadians who have signed this petition. You can add your name too. Here’s the link: http://openmedia.ca/meter Thank you for your support and I hope to chat with you on the social media sites sometime soon!
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