Meet the Newest Member of the Saad Law Team

Saad Law is pleased to introduce the newest member of its team, Vani Selvarajah. Specializing in corporate and commercial law, Vani provides legal counsel to clients in a number of different capacities including corporate acquisitions and divestitures, corporate formation and structuring, partnerships and joint ventures, financing transactions and commercial real estate transactions.

Who is Vani Selvarajah?

Vani comes from years of wide ranged experience in general law, refugee and immigration law, and corporate and commercial law. Articling for the well-known Barbara Jackman at Jackman, Nazami & Associates, working at GA Law for Gary Anandasangaree, now a member of Canadian Parliament, and acting as a representative for Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada at the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, Vani brings a wealth of expertise to the Saad Law firm.

In just two short weeks, Vani has already become an integral member of Saad Law’s tightly knit team. Most appreciated for her strong will, her approachable and friendly demeanour, her meticulous attention to detail, and her ability to break down and simplify complex matters on any given file, Vani has hit the ground running and is eager to engage new clients.

Get in Touch with Vani Regarding Any Corporate or Commercial Matter

Should the need arise, please feel free to reach out to Vani at Saad Law. She can be reached directly via phone at 905.301.4448 ext. 105 or via email at vani.selvarajah@dev6.nerdclients.com/saad.


How to Best Structure Your Real Estate Investments for the Long Term

Have you chosen to invest in real estate as a means through which to accumulate wealth in the long term? If so, part of that long-term plan likely includes considerations of your estate – in other words, how you plan to look after your family when you’re gone.

Is Your Estate Organized in Your Favour or the Government’s?

Take a minute to ask yourself:

  • What will happen to my estate when I’m gone?
  • How much of my hard earned money and accumulated wealth will be directly passed on to my family and beneficiaries?
  • Have I structured my estate in the best way possible?
  • To what degree will my estate be taxed upon my passing?

What You May Not Know

Depending on where the property is located, you are subject to pay certain taxes upon your death. For example, if you took advantage of the lucrative buyers’ market in Florida in the last few years, then your investment or vacation property may be subject to hefty taxes when you die. If you own the property under your personal name, your beneficiaries must pay tax on your investment, thus diminishing the amount of money they’re left with when you’re gone.

There’s a Smarter Way to Structure Your Real Estate Investment

When it comes to buying foreign real estate, either below the border or overseas, consider a corporate rather than a personal structure. Instead of owning property under your personal name, buy it under a corporation.

Why? Because a corporation is its own entity. This means that in the event of your death, the corporation survives – it doesn’t end with you. Your company – and your property – can go to your spouse, your children or any other chosen beneficiary without paying taxes. Since your corporation never dies, 100% of your investment remains protected.

The Importance of Planning Now

Even if you own property under your personal name today, consider transferring it under a corporation. The fee to do so is nominal and yet it will benefit your beneficiaries tremendously in the long run. But of course, planning today is essential. Make sure you have your estate in order while you still have the ability to make critical changes to your family’s advantage in the future.

Get the Professional Guidance You Need to Do It Right

Consider consulting a legal advisor to help you organize your investments and structure your estate to your greatest benefit today and that of your beneficiaries in the future. It’s worth it to take the time to work with someone who can help you make the most of the lifetime earnings, savings and investments that will survive you.


It’s Time to Reevaluate Your Business Practices

Have you taken a recent look at your internal business procedures and daily operations? Are the processes in place the same processes you implemented years ago when you started your business or have you evolved with the changes in your industry? Do you know with absolute certainty that your current practices are compliant with all rules, regulations and laws governing your trade? When’s the last time you checked?

Why a Reevaluation is in Order

As new technologies hit the market, as products and services advance and as industry standards change with the times, it’s your responsibility to stay up to date. Make a commitment to reevaluate your current business practices. Not only can this help to identify discrepancies and recognize areas of non-compliance or questionable legality, but it can also ensure that your present procedures are netting optimal results. For example, could your daily production output be better? Are you hitting marketing targets? Is customer service up to par? Are your advertising efforts paying off?

Have You Been in Business So Long that Your Practices Are Out of Date?

It’s easy to continue doing what you’ve always done because you’re successful, you’re busy and the thought of changing anything is far too daunting. Plus, everything seems to be running just fine. So why should you reevaluate your business practices?

Particularly where technology plays a role (which is everywhere today in one form or another), a continuous reevaluation of your practices is essential to your long-term success as a company. Things change fast and if you’re not constantly evolving with the market around you, it won’t be long before your shortfalls catch up with you.

How Does Your Business Measure Up to Today’s Legal Standards?

Many would say that, over the years, the corporate justice system has only become more stringent and the repercussions of breaking the law only greater. In other words, turning a blind eye or assuming you won’t get caught just because you never have before, are poor solutions.

Are you up to date with the latest laws? Are you confident that your “old school” business practices abide by these laws? If there have been legislative changes, are you comfortable with the fact that your practices may not be compliant any longer? Are you aware of the consequences? Do you have a legal advisor on your team who you can rely on for the most up-to-date information?

Giving Your Business Constant Attention

The mark of a good business owner is knowing that a successful business shouldn’t look exactly what it looked like years ago. Business ownership isn’t a stagnant accomplishment. It’s a living, breathing, changing process…one that must be revisited, reconsidered and reevaluated on an ongoing basis.


Doing Business in the Grey is Really Just a Form of Risk Management

The colour grey isn’t as cut and dry as black or white, but rather falls somewhere between the two. Using these three colours to define the legalities of business practices, we might say that white represents legal, straight-arrow, by-the-book practices and black represents illegal, unscrupulous and deceptive business practices. And grey? Well, that falls somewhere in the middle. It represents practices that are not illegal but not entirely legal either.

Operating in the Grey Has its Benefits – But Also its Risks

If you’re like most business owners, you only consider “grey” practices if they offer some form of significant benefit to you and your company. Of course, there’s always a flipside. What are the risks associated with grey business practices? Is your company capable of handling the ramifications if it comes to this? Do the expected benefits outweigh the risks?

Managing Risk in Your Business

If we really drill down to the crux of the matter, risk management is a part of every company no matter what the nature of the business or the industry. Depending on what you do, your business may face strategic, compliance, financial, operational, environmental, political, or health and safety risks. Upon acknowledgement of the types of risks your business faces, you may decide to exercise certain measures to minimize those risks such as insurance, protection systems, policy implementations and legislative enactments.

Grey business practices can be viewed as merely another form of risk management. Whether these practices relate to particular forms of taxation, excessive expense write-offs or unrecorded cash deals, you’ll need to evaluate the level of risk they pose to your company.

What’s Worth the Risk and What Isn’t?

This is a question only you can answer. Here are a few things to consider as you evaluate the risk versus the reward:

  • What is the nature of the business practice?
  • Does it fall way into the grey or only slightly?
  • Historically, is this a practice that has resulted in other companies dealing with significant legal repercussions?
  • Is this a practice that rarely receives legal attention or has it been the focus of recent investigations?
  • Is there a way to minimize the risk associated with this business practice?
  • Is your company able to comfortably handle the worst-case scenario?
  • What are the risks and what are the rewards? Does one far outweigh the other?

Consult a Professional

Talk to your trusted legal advisor. Gain some much-needed insight from a professional in the field and someone who even may have had direct experience with such matters in the past. This might just make those tough business decisions a little easier.


Are You Comfortable with Your Business Practices?

When it comes to the legal side of your business, are you willing to bend the rules? Are you an entrepreneur that plays every single move by the book? Or do you calculate your risk and make certain business decisions that may be considered crossing the line?

Right, Wrong or Somewhere in Between?

In business, the decisions we make and the processes we employ are not always cut and dry. Maybe we fudge a few of our corporate expenses so we pay a little less tax at the end of the year. Or perhaps we engage in aggressive billing exercises within our medical practice. Or maybe we accept the occasional cash deal that never goes on the books.

Whatever it might be, these decisions are yours to make.

Just make sure you’re aware of the risks and consequences associated with each of them.

Evaluating Your Comfort Zone

The worst thing you can do is take advice from a fellow business owner or be convinced of making certain “questionable” decisions just because everyone else seems to be doing it. This is not a good enough reason to engage in a practice that makes you uncomfortable. The best way – the only way – to decide what’s best for you and your business is to do your due diligence upfront:

  1. Understand the practice you’re engaging in from a legal perspective.
  2. Research the possible repercussions of your actions.
  3. Measure the risk against the reward.
  4. Ask yourself, “Is it worth it and am I comfortable with what I’m doing?”

Get Professional Advice

You don’t have to make difficult legal and business decisions on your own. Sometimes the guidance and recommendations that come from an outside, impartial party can help you analyze your decisions more closely and adopt a different perspective. A seasoned legal advisor can offer invaluable insight on the likely risks, rewards and consequences of your actions, and may even be able to tie your situation into past experiences to give you an idea of what you can expect if things don’t go your way.

And then, ultimately, the decision will be yours to make.


Restoring Respect in How People Do Business

The Third Blog in a Series of 3: How You Treat Your Partners, Advisors, Associates and Colleagues

 

In this final blog of our Restoring Respect series, we’re going to talk about the people that oftendon’t get the focus of your time: your partners, advisors, associates and colleagues. They’re incredibly important because they give you advice, provide you with guidance and make critical recommendations for your business.

Before you continue, have a read through the first two blogs in this series:

How You Treat Your Staff
How You Treat Your Customers

You’re short on time – but so are they!

If you’re like most business owners, you probably find yourself wishing there were many more hours in a day. It’s easy to let these feelings of urgency dictate how you deal with the people you’ve hired to help you (your advisors) or the people you find yourself working with on a daily basis (your partners, associates and colleagues). Since they’re not your paying customers you may feel pressured to speed up meetings, to answer emails in the midst of conversations or to arrive unprepared hoping they’ll pick up the slack since you’re “too busy”.

Remember that these are the people who help you run your business successfully. Their time is just as valuable as yours and it’s important you show them the respect they deserve before you find yourself without a team to rely on.

Work collaboratively, not individually.

Whether you’re meeting with an advisor or discussing company changes with a partner, always take a “we” – not an “I” – approach. As a rule, collaborations result in far better outcomes than one-sided communications. It’s like the old saying goes, “Two brains are better than one”. Even if you are the “superior” in a particular situation, there’s no need to make it seem or feel that way. It’s already known. So think of the end goal and make more of a collaborative effort. Work together in order to achieve common objectives. Once others know that their thoughts and opinions are valued, you might be surprised to see how much effort goes into the tasks you assign.

Keep an open mind.

Remember that your advisors are experts you’ve hired to assist you. Your partners are people you’ve chosen to run your business with you. Your associates and colleagues are people who’ve been selected by you to assist in some aspect.

These people are here for a reason. Their expertise, experience and individual perspectives differ from yours. And that’s a good thing! You want diversity in your business so you can make decisions based on multiple inputs, not just your own. So keep an open mind. Listen and seriously consider what they have to say. Think of them not just as people you’ve hired, but as a team members you value.

Respect is a delicate thing. It isn’t difficult to show but it can work wonders for your relationships with staff members, customers, advisors, partners, associates and colleagues.


Restoring Respect in How People Do Business

The Second Blog in a Series of Three: How You Treat Your Customers
Last week we talked about How You Treat Your Staff. But now, what about your customers? Where do they fit on the respect graph?

What does good customer service mean to you? Maybe it’s a friendly and accommodating representative who helps you find what you’re looking for. Or perhaps it’s the fast email response you get from your legal advisor when you have an important question that needs answering. Or maybe it’s the human being who answers the phone to help you instead of the automated computer voice that never seems to direct you to right department.

Good customer service can mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people. Those all-important elements that contribute to good customer service are often specific to each business. Even though every company is different, one thing is for certain: we all have customers – be they corporations, end consumers, groups or individuals. And without these customers, our businesses cannot succeed.

Good customer service is about creating value for your customers.

This should be your primary goal. When you’re evaluating a new product, hiring a new staff member, or considering the implementation of a new service, ask yourself…

“Will this change add value in the eyes of my customers?”

If you’re always thinking about your customers, then you’re instinctively treating them with respect, you’re catering to their needs and you’re constantly finding ways to make them happier. And what can you respect in return? Repeat business, loyalty, direct referrals and long-term growth. If your customers are happy, there’s no reason why they’d ever consider going somewhere else.

Is it a lost art?

With constantly evolving technologies, digital solutions and web based platforms, companies often make the decision to replace people with systems. It saves on costs and makes the business more efficient. Or does it?

Although technology has certainly made our lives easier in more ways than we can count, this isn’talways a good move. If the automated phone system can’t seem to answer people’s questions, or if the customer would really like to have a delivery person come to their door rather than a drone, well then you may just be causing undue frustrations. And frustrated customers tend to look elsewhere to get what they need…

In many ways, we’re losing the human connection when it comes to business. In some cases, this may suit our customers just fine, but in others it may be taking our business in the wrong direction.

Be the refreshing exception, not the aggravating norm.

What other companies lack in customer service, you can make up for in your business. Think of this as the ultimate opportunity to shine in your line of work. And when you make new changes and implementations, always go back to the critical question: Am I creating value for my customers?

If your competitors have poor response times, highly automated services and a shortage of personality in their frontline personnel, do the opposite! Use impressive customer service as your competitive advantage.

Treat your customers with the ultimate respect and see how they respond. It may just be the key to sustainable business in your company.

Keep an eye out for our third and final blog in this series next week: How You Treat Your Advisors, Partners, Associates and Colleagues.


Restoring Respect in How People Do Business

The First Blog in a Series of 3: How You Treat Your Staff

In business, it’s easy to get wrapped up in sales, revenues and profits. Although these are critical components in every successful company, sometimes a predominant focus in these areas causes business owners to lose sight of their behaviour and personal conduct in positions of authority. But maintaining respect is key – particularly among people you work with every day.

Employees and Respect: It’s a Double-Edged Sword

Respect is not a one-way street. In order to establish a healthy working relationship, not only must you show respect to your staff members but they must also show respect to you. And the latter is dependent on the former. As a business owner, it’s up to you to set the stage and create a precedent.

Your Business is Only As Good As the People Who Run It

Department managers, cashiers, sales representative, inventory stockers, receptionists – whatever the position, it’s the person behind the title who makes the role. Employees who feel respected and appreciated will have a greater investment in the companies they work for, leading to an improved attitude and better performance. On the other hand, employees who sense that they are undervalued, tend to feel less empowered and lack the willingness to put in the effort necessary to achieve great results in their roles.

Why a Team is Better Than a Hierarchy

A team approach carries with it a tremendous amount of power because it enables collaboration, free-flowing ideas and conversations and autonomy from all members. Employees who know they’re part of a team, understand that their every move contributes to the final outcome.

In a hierarchical arrangement, every level in the hierarchy is disconnected from every other. Those lower in the hierarchy – even though they may very well be the ones who deal with your customers directly on a daily basis – rarely feel invested in the goals and objectives of the company. Although they may have much to offer, the motivation to give their “all” carries with it no reward, and therefore, no incentive.

Lead from Beside, Not in Front

Do you think of yourself as far superior to your staff members? In your daily business activities, do you make it clear that you’re the “boss” and they’re your “employees”? This style of leadership does not foster a team approach and rather segregates you from the people you’re depending on to achieve specific goals and objectives. Instead, try taking a few steps back. Stand beside your employees. Show them respect, encourage open conversation, let them know that what they do and what they say matters.

Dedication and Loyalty

The more dedicated and loyal your staff:

  • The lower your rate of turnover
  • The higher your productivity
  • The better your company’s overall morale
  • The more pleasant the work environment
  • The lower your costs (related to HR, recruitment, hiring and firing)

You don’t have to be disrespectful to be successful. Value your staff members, take a fresh approach, welcome their ideas and input. And then evaluate the situation over time. Monitor changes and track results. In the long run, you’re bound to see improved working relationships, greater employee engagement and better overall results.

Respect is a powerful thing.

Use it.

Keep an eye out next week for the following blog in this series: How You Treat Your Customers.


Business Insurance…Do I Need It?

This is a question that crosses the mind of just about every business owner at some point in time. Ideally, it’s something you take into consideration at the start of your business, not after an unfortunate incident has already taken place.

There is no definite, one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are several types of business insurance to choose from and depending on the nature of your product or service, you may need one or all of them to make sure you’re appropriately protected throughout your day-to-day operations.

Liability Insurance

There are two types of liability insurance: general liability insurance and professional liability insurance.

General liability insurance provides protection in the event that you, your employees or your products cause (or are alleged to have caused) some form of injury or damage to a third party.Professional liability insurance is designed for professionals who provide a service to their clients such as doctors, lawyers, realtors or consultants. Types of professional liability insurance vary, and depending on your specific needs, can address issues such as malpractice or errors and omissions.

Property Insurance

Do you own the building where your business operates? Do you have personal property associated with your business such as computers, office supplies and equipment, or inventory? This is what property insurance is for. If there is a fire in your place of business, an act of vandalism or a robbery, you know you’re protected.

Commercial Auto Insurance

If you have company vehicles on the road, you need to make sure that those vehicles carrying employees, products and equipment are protected at all times from both damage and collisions. In cases where employees drive their own personal vehicles for business purposes, commercial auto insurance has different options to fit your needs.

Worker’s Compensation

Worker’s compensation provides wage replacements and medical benefits to employees injured on the job. In exchange, these employees cannot sue your organization for the incident that caused their injury. Depending on your business, industry and location, in some cases, Worker’s compensation is not a choice but a legal requirement.

Directors and Officers Insurance

At some point in time, a director or officer of your company may find him or herself in a legal situation as a direct result of their actions on the job. Directors and officers insurance protects your organization from lawsuit costs and damages, which may in turn, have a negative effect on your profitability and daily operations.

Data Breach

Does your company store sensitive or non-public information about employees or clients on computers and other devices? If so, you have a responsibility to protect that confidential information. If you’re without a data breach insurance policy and information is leaked, you’ll be left to handle the costs and losses on your own.

Life Insurance

Business life insurance provides protection to your business partner(s) and your family in the event of your death. It gives everyone peace of mind to know that proper compensation will be receivedpromptly in order to help your company deal with business proceedings and your family to deal with personal proceedings.

To learn more about business life insurance, read our previous article:http://blog.dev6.nerdclients.com/saad/post/81293147262/life-disability-business-insurance.

Business Interruption Insurance

Is there a possibility for disaster in your industry or geographic location? Consider business interruption insurance. This not only covers the physical damage to your business in the event of a disaster (which is also what property insurance does), but also the profits that would have been earned during the time that your facility is either closed or undergoing reconstruction.

Personal Umbrella Insurance

In addition to the current insurance policies you have in place, do you think you want supplemental coverage? Personal umbrella insurance acts as an extension to existing policies. Sometimes it can include different types of claims such as homeowner or auto insurance, and can only be used once your liability on other policies is exhausted.

Business insurance forces you to think about your company, products, services, employees, partners, and board of directors. Even more so, you need to think about all of the unlikely butpossible situations that can occur. Although it may be uncomfortable to consider such events, it’s important that you are protected. A corporate legal advisor can help you navigate through the options available and ultimately recommend which forms of insurance are necessary in your particular business situation.