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This is the last Report on Small Business newsletter for the year. Thanks for reading - the newsletter will return in January. -Sarah Efron, Globe and Mail Small Business Editor

Tor Krueger has big plans for Udder Way Artisan Cheese Co., which sells handmade goat cheese in Stoney Creek, Ont.

But crushing hydro bills are hurting the artisan cheese maker's plans to modernize his facility so he can get federal certification and sell his cheeses across the country.

"After payroll, hydro is consistently one of my top three operating expenses," Mr. Krueger said.

Hydro One charges him upward of $2,000 a month, and "I don't have any equipment in here that I would say is drawing a lot of power." Full story.

Why don't Canadian schools and universities teach sales?

Sales. Sales rep. Salesman. We've all heard these terms, sometimes uttered with a slightly contemptuous tone. Sales can be a dirty word for Canadians, often evoking the image of a seedy used car salesman lying to an unwitting customer to get a problem-laden vehicle off the lot. To attract people to the profession, many companies have removed the word completely from sales titles, referring to the sales role as "business development representative" or "account manager." Full story.

Flush with cash, Chinese investors are wooing Canadian startups

More Chinese investors are viewing Canada's tech sector as an overlooked opportunity. After all, places such as Toronto and Waterloo, Ont., have many of the things Silicon Valley has going for it – high-quality universities, top-ranked accelerators, IP protection – but far fewer other investors to compete with. Full story.

Three things every business should do for a smooth succession

Tony Maiorino, VP of RBC Wealth Management Services, says a transition plan, business plan and a financial plan are important areas for entrepreneurs to focus on in order to have a good succession plan. Watch the video.

How do I know if the money I'm spending on marketing is worth it?

Probably the most important part of starting a marketing initiative is knowing what you are trying to achieve. As simple as that sounds it is difficult for most of us. Metrics like followers, likes, time on site are possible examples. Some of the common reasons may be to generate brand awareness, generating sales leads, attracting people to your websites, identifying your most lucrative target market and so forth. Full story.

More small business news from around the web

Halifax entrepreneur turns to mental health research for success

A study into how entrepreneurship affects mental health has revealed high rates of anxiety and depression, partly because of entrepreneurs' tendency to invest too much of their own identities in the success of their companies. Full story

Starbucks co-founder: 'We thought we'd have a couple of stores'

We did what all smart entrepreneurs do – research. My attitude is that all ideas are good ideas until you find out why they're not, and in this case we never found a roadblock. Then as we researched, something magical happened. We discovered a fellow in San Francisco named Alfred Peet, and he had something we didn't have – an enormous background in sourcing coffee and tea in Indonesia. Full story.

Women's startups resort more often to personal assets for financing: Study

Women who own businesses struggle more with getting financing than small company owners in general, according to a survey by researchers at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet Corp. Full story.

Five proven employee perks you should copy

People may queue up for the foosball table or office slide at the beginning, but eventually "cool" perks lose their appeal. Smart business owners don't just copy the latest engagement trend—they offer incentives that staff actually value. Full story.

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