5 Ways Retail Stores Can Become More Profitable.

Having a retail store is not easy especially in Vancouver. With increased property taxes hurting small businesses combined with the increase in online shopping, retailers need to stay savvy to survive the challenges they face.

Most people shy away from knowing their numbers but given that we are bookkeepers (aka number nerds) we get a first-hand picture of the numbers and they clearly show what works and what doesn’t work.

Here are our top 5 tips for making your retail store more profitable.

1. Invest In A FANTASTIC POS Machine

We aren’t just saying this because we love numbers. Investing in a great system such as Lightspeed  will allow you to monitor and understand your cost of goods sold (COGS) so you can discover what’s selling and what isn’t selling,

Additionally, you want to pick a good software that links directly to Quickbooks so you can save yourself a time and money when organizing your bookkeeping.

2. Become Focused With Your Advertising

Not everything in your store is going to be popular and sell. By having a strong POS system you can determine what your customers want and what they don’t want. Dedicate more shelf space to your top selling items and discontinue slow-moving inventory. Don’t be afraid to raise the price on your popular items, just make sure you stay competitive while doing so.

This is going to lead to my next point.

3. Limit discounts!

Discounts take from your profits so be smart about what you discount. Social media is filled with people promoting discounts and giveaways. Sometimes they make sense but you need to be strategic about your promotions. Over-promoting discounts and discounting items too regularly can teach people to wait until you have a sale to come in and purchase.

Put a promotions schedule in place and stick to it. Use it to move items that aren’t selling and show customer appreciation for your popular items. Bundling items can also be a good method to provide value without robbing yourself. But unless you are a major retailer or a have money to burn resist storewide sales and not having a strong promotions plan in place.

4. Know Your Numbers

“But mooommmmmmm I hate math” Too bad dear it’s for your own good!!! You NEED to know and understand your fixed vs variable costs so that you can make sure your profit margins are correct and enough to cover the cost of operating your business. Additionally, knowing this numbers will allow you to create a monthly cash flow budget to ensure that you have enough $$ to purchase inventory. It will also allow you to make savvy decisions when it comes to your vendors such as asking for bulk discounts and reducing the number of vendors you have.

If this all seems a bit much then hire a bookkeeper. If you are trying to cut costs then wash your own windows. Don’t skimp out on good bookkeeping and accounting. It could mean the difference between success and failure.  


5. Be Smart With Your Employees

Who you hire could make or break you. If you don’t have great staff customers won’t come back. Spend the time finding the right people and then invest in educating them on how to SELL if they don’t already come with the knowledge.

Also, remember that at the end of the day you are the boss and if you don’t run a tight ship everyone is out of a job. So only schedule employees when you need them. Create a schedule that works for you and your store with the top sellers getting the most hours.

Know your store’s conversion rate (how many customers enter the store compared to how many that buy things) then determine how you can improve the numbers. If you determine it’s a staff-related issue then address it immediately.

Running a retail business is never easy. Gone are the days when a storefront was enough and rent was low. Juggling online business as well as your store is challenging but if done well can also be very rewarding and set you up for a bright future.

If you need help understanding your numbers contact us today!

Xtreme-EffeX: Extremely creative and innovative design with impact

personal income tax vancouver, income tax services vancouver, xtreme-effex, Xtreme-Effex Vancouver, income tax company vancouver, how to file income tax in vancouver, file income tax vancouver, business tax services vancouver, business tax return tax preparation vancouver, tax preparation company Vancouver, tax preparation services vancouver bc, e tax filing income tax return vancouver, T1 General 2016, T1 General 2016 Vancouver, tax slips, income tax slips, tax information, T4, T5, T3, missing tax slips, late tax filing, tax deadline, debt, tax debt, pay CRA, paying the CRA, tax filing options, Homeroom E-return, tax appointment, dropping off taxes, health, wellness, tax installments, installment payments, tax instalments, professional bookkeepers vancouver, professional bookkeeper, vancouver bookkeeper

As part of our Client of the Month series, we look at Xtreme-EffeX, top custom ironworks and fabrication biz with swag!

Imagine this: A beautiful four-story staircase with glass landings. You’re at the top floor, awestruck, as you glance down at the transparent tier and see the basement at the bottom of the house.

Xtreme-EffeX,  Custom Design and Fabrication, has been making projects like this a reality for residential and commercial properties in Vancouver and throughout North America since 2007.  In fact, they designed and built the swanky residential glass staircase mentioned in the first paragraph.

The brainchild of Ryan Ramsdale, Owner/ General Manager, who built Xtreme-EffeX out of his garage, has evolved into a flourishing retail and fabrication hub that connects businesses, homeowners and developers to the most cutting-edge design trends and products.




Photo: Ryan Ramsdale admits he does not have too many photos of himself. It is evident that his focus has always been on his family and business.


With Xtreme-EffeX inventive design-build process, the in-house design team creates unique, functional and durable products that FIT.

Their motto? “Customize rather than compromise. Because custom fits!”

It’s design with impact. With passion, precision and hands-on approach, it’s high-end work that exceeds expectations, going above and beyond with their out-of-the-box approach to realize your vision no matter how seemingly far-fetched or impossible.

Surely, it is no surprise the 10-year-old business has a five-star presence in the industry with access to the best products and materials on the market and the most skilled fabricators.

Whether it’s your outdoor living space that needs sprucing up or you are looking for a special installation project, or security solutions, Xtreme-EffeX is there to save the day, and make it a lot more awesome!

With no signs of slowing down, you’ve probably seen their eye-grabbing work at upscale restaurants, lottery show homes, and designer retail stores.

As part of our “Client of the Month” series, we caught up with Ramsdale on everything from life as a business owner to advice for new startups:


What motivated you to start your own business?

“The experience I gained through the industry and the drive to want to continually create custom products that my team and I can be proud of.”

What do you enjoy most about being a business owner?

“Through hard work, the freedom and ability to create a schedule that benefits me, and especially my family.”


What’s your favourite part about the fabrication industry?

“The ability to take raw materials and create functional items, using different processes and practices, to achieve what most people don’t see as possible.”


What’s your #1 motivator?

“My #1 motivator would definitely be my family. Working hard and developing a business that allows me the time to be there for and with my family.”


Describe your ‘a-ha’ moment

“Being able to confidently rely on my team to carry out the tasks that I would typically feel to be my responsibility. Releasing the control and being pleased with the results.”


What’s your vision for the business?

“To have self-sufficient business with a dedicated team of motivated fabricators and designers that consistently exceed the expectations of our customers and clients in every aspect.”


What advice do you have for other people who would like to start their own business?

“‘With dedication to your dream, you can spend a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.'”

Anonymous quote


How do you achieve a work/ life balance?

“With the technology of today, it makes it very difficult to be able to turn work ‘off’. But it’s planning for tomorrow, today, then actually turning work OFF and enjoying what it is that we work so hard for.”


Who could benefit from your services?

“Home builders, home owners, architects, developers, or anyone with a design idea or concept that needs to be brought to life through our design/build process.”


Find Xtreme-EffeX online here and check out all the neat things they do on the daily to make living and work spaces way cooler!


Fix and flip: Three things you need to know about house-flipping in Vancouver

house flipping vancouver

I see a  beautiful, white 10-bedroom villa, with a long, spacious veranda that leads to a vineyard, overlooking a flowery hillside. The birds are playing in the field, chirping my favourite tune, with crops that are gently swaying in the warm summer breeze. Life is awesome. 

They say, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”  When it comes to flipping houses, it comes down to this:

  1. Have a vision
  2. Be brave
  3. Sell for profit

What the flip?

It’s when you see that junky house or an apartment and envision something different in that space, be it new, shiny tile floors and a fresh coat of paint, or a complete and utter gutting of the space.

So you buy it, spice it up, and sell it for profit. Flipping easy, right?

Suddenly, that run-down house becomes a mansion and that dude refreshing himself with a cold beer in front of it turns into a swimming pool. At least in your imagination they do, for now…..

Here’s the bare bones of house/ apartment-flipping:

  1. Find cheap land/ apartment. Without a good deal, there will be no margin for profit once the renovations are complete and all the other fees are paid out.
  2. Don’t spend more than 40-50K. If you are flipping an apartment that is 500-800 square feet, you should not be spending more than 40-50K on the renovation before you sell or you won’t be able to sell it for a high enough price and you might lose money.
  3. Rent it, don’t sweat it. House-flipping is less popular in Vancouver than apartment-flipping. Developers and homeowners can usually make more money just buying and holding the land for 6-12 months or more while renting the house, and making a significant profit of the appreciation of the land.

Tip: Like anyone engaged in the intricate art of renoing, you will need a cool bookkeeper to manage your expenses, file your GST return and make sure your taxes are filed properly.

That’s where we come in.
We can definitely connect you with some kick-ass professionals in the industry, or just take on your books!
Happy house-flipping!





Avoid procrastination, after reading this


Even The Number Cruncher, Allysia Lewis gets occasionally sidetracked by the internet……

Virtually everyone is prone to procrastination. A new Donald Trump meme can induce low-brow fun and hysteria even for the most focused cat person ….and put that important tax preparation on the back burner.

The Lady in Charge Teya was interviewed by the CBC about the topic of procrastination. This was fitting for two reasons:

A lot of people procrastinate about organizing their bookkeeping and taxes (even when the tax deadline April 30, 2016 is peeking like a creepy clown behind a wall). As a the owner of a bookkeeping company Teya’s job is to help business owners become more organized and meet their CRA submission deadlines.

As perpetual procasters, we have found that Teya has an impeccable ability to avoid distractions (such as social media) and get things done. (If we could nominate her for the “least likely to procrastinate” award, we would.)

You can get there, too–we all can! Stick to the following five tips to really increase your productivity.

1. Outsource

Starting a new business can be quite costly so it is common for business owners to take on the initial roll of “everything to everyone” in order to keep costs low.

Although this isn’t a bad way to start, as time goes on and the business grows this workload can begin to become unbearable. This is where the procrastination starts.

According to an article by Phyllis Lokki in the New York Times the larger your workload the more likely you are to become overwhelmed and start procrastinating.

This is why outsourcing certain tasks is really important. It allows you to reduce your workload, free up some of your time and focus on your strengths.

For example: Teya has outsourced writing this blog to me because she is so busy making sure your taxes are filed on time 🙂

2. Lists, lists, lists and more lists

Write everything down and prioritize your important tasks. It is easy to use small tasks as a method of procrastination because they give a false sense of productivity.

Think about the revenue each task will bring you and then prioritize accordingly.

For example: Vacuuming your bedroom floor, although necessary, will bring $0 to your business so it should be last of your list. Completing work for your client will bring in revenue so it should be a priority (you can then use this income to outsource your vacuuming)

3.Limit your social media usage

This is easier said than done, especially when social media is so prominent in most people lives.

Time your usage. Create a social media plan that allows you to fit your daily social media into 20 minutes per day and stick to it OR outsource your social media management to an employee or to a firm.

It is very easy to get caught in a social media vortex. All it takes is for you click on a one link and before you know it 2 hours have passed.

4. Make sure you take breaks

Breaks allow you to refresh your mind. There are several studies that reveal taking a break to eat your lunch or to go for a walk actually increases your productivity.

So stop eating at your desk and enjoy some fresh air.

5. Only check your emails twice a day

Emails are often a procrastinators drug of choice. Don’t get me wrong they are important. However,  it is easy to fall into the trap of checking them 300 times a day.

You need to limit the time you spend with your emails so that you can focus on other important tasks.

Most people are happy/ pleasantly surprised by a same day turnaround. So even if you only respond to emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon that is usually all you need to ensure positive feedback from your customers.

A great tip suggested by Timothy Ferriss author of The 4 Hour Work Week is to set up an email response that lets your clients know exactly when and on what day you check and respond to your emails so you can manage their expectations.