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Smashburger signage is displayed in the window a restaurant in Denver. (Matthew Staver/MATTHEW STAVER/BLOOMBERG)
Smashburger signage is displayed in the window a restaurant in Denver. (Matthew Staver/MATTHEW STAVER/BLOOMBERG)

Small Business Briefing

Forbes lists most promising firms -- top one is coming to Canada Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz

Most promising companies share several attributes

Lamenting that many company rankings are based on a single measure -- revenue, for instance -- Forbes offers up its list of America's most promising companies that share several attributes: They are privately held firms that it says have 'compelling business models, strong management teams, marquee customers, strategic partners and precious investment capital.'

Top of its list of the 100 most promising firms is Smashburger, a burger chain begun in 2007 that has grown to 143 corporate and franchised locations, and $54-million in revenues in 2011, with another 450 franchise agreements already in place, according to Forbes, which offers this closer look.

Smashburger coming to Canada

Denver-based Smashburger, which calls itself the U.S.'s fastest-growing 'fast casual better burger restaurant' chain, has just announced that it will make its first entrance into Canada.

The chain has signed two leases to open in Calgary next year, aiming to build to 10 to 15 units in Calgary and Edmonton and also spread to other provinces. The first two units will be company-owned, and it hopes franchisees will come on board for more.

“We are eager to introduce Smashburger’s better burger offering and our diverse menu of chicken sandwiches, fresh tossed salads and signatures sides to residents in Calgary and Edmonton. Canada is a very attractive market to us,” said company chairman and CEO Dave Prokupek in a release.

"In addition to our company locations here, we are in active discussions with potential franchise partners to further expand our presence with experienced operators in both Vancouver and Toronto.”

Small Business Saturday coming to Canada?

It may be inevitable: What they do down south eventually finds its way north.

Now some Canadian small business owners are pushing for the creation of a Small Business Saturday in this country. And the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has also already begun thinking about the possibility of such an initiative, according to this story in The Windsor Star.

Small Business Saturday was an American Express Co. initiative begun last year to promote shopping at small businesses. This was the second year it was held, wedged in between Black Friday and CyberMonday, the two big shopping days in the United States following U.S. Thanksgiving.

Dan Kelly, senior vice-president of legislative affairs for the CFIB, told the newspaper that the organization is already discussing such an initiative. "It's absolutely a good idea and a terrific way to promote small, independent businesses," Mr. Kelly told the Windsor Star, adding that whether it would be tied to Black Friday, as it is in the U.S., or timed and done differently in Canada was still under consideration.

One local retailer told the newspaper that she's already been urging area merchants to promote the idea and, with a year to plan, "perhaps there's a chance it can gain some momentum."

Five signs your business may be in trouble

When should you worry that things may not be going right in your small business? CBC's Diane Bruckner offers up five signs, and some advice on how to handle them.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

YCIF hosts speech by Teachers' CEO

Young Canadians in Finance is hosting a luncheon reception featuring a keynote speech by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan president and CEO Jim Leech. It's an opportunity to also mingle with other young professionals. The event takes place Dec. 9 in Ottawa. For more details, click here.

Intel seeks innovators

Intel Corp. is unveiling its "Intel Innovators," which it calls "a Facebook platform that encourages young entrepreneurs to share their business ideas for the chance to win up to $100,000 for the next three months."

The social platform is aimed at 18- to 24-year-old entrepreneurs to share their business ideas or startup plans, receive feedback and have a chance to win startup capital from Intel, with cash prizes also awarded. For more details, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Why Movember has come so far, so fast

By taking a positive approach, letting go of its brand and using social media to accelerate, the mustachioed movement to raise funds for prostate cancer research created a passionate group of supporters who feel real ownership of the cause, writes Mia Pearson in her column.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

The rough guide to opening franchises internationally

Jumping from the United States into Canada holds some risks, but overseas expansion of a franchised business is " all the riskier when your international location, or locations, are thousands of kilometres from head office, operate under a different legal system, and customers and staff work in a different language. And there will often be different cultural norms to deal with," wrote Tony Wilson in a column in August, 2010, offering some advice: He is, after all, a franchise lawyer.

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