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The 10 most popular small business stories of the year

As high-tech startups like Uber and Airbnb dominated headlines, it was a simple (albeit unconventional), business near St. John's, Newfoundland, that won over Report on Small Business readers this year.

1. East Coast entrepreneur runs business out of 130-year-old lighthouse

Jill Curran is the owner and founder of Lighthouse Picnics, a business that specializes in gourmet lunches, sourced from local suppliers along the coast. Meals are prepared, packed in baskets and brought to people perched on the cliffs taking in the views. Real full story.

For the 100 years previous, the lighthouse was staffed by families who lived in the two-family dwelling, including Ms. Curran’s ancestors

2. Long-life laptop battery the tech industry doesn’t want you to have

Fed up with the dwindling battery life of his BlackBerry Bold 9000, Carleton University chemistry student Tim Sherstyuk (now founder of Gbatteries Energy Inc.) took a straightforward problem to his electrical engineer dad, Nick: Could the two of them come up with the technology to make a standard lithium-ion battery last longer? Read full story.

3. New anti-spam law ‘a big deal’ for small businesses

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is a tough new law meant to crack down on unwanted e-mail and texts, and it will apply to companies and organizations worldwide. Businesses selling or promoting products or services will need to prove they have consent to reach out to new, existing and potential customers using electronic messages, a list that includes tweets. Read full story.

4. Get the most out of LinkedIn with these 10 tips

LinkedIn offers plenty of great tools for small and medium-sized businesses to connect with current customers and find new customers as well. In fact, LinkedIn can help your business look bigger, extend your marketing efforts and drive growth for your business. Read full story.

5. I'll never fall for an online shopping scam ever again

Globe columnist Tony Wilson recounts the time he was nearly duped by the Canada Goose Scam and offers advice to online shoppers. One of the most popular is the Canada Goose Coat Scam, which caught me flat-faced last year and which I wrote about in Dec. 2013. In short, I thought I’d found a fabulous deal on one of those ads that pops up on Facebook. A Canada Goose Expedition Parka, regularly $700 on sale for $287. Read column here.

Top Mobile

  1. East Coast entrepreneur runs business out of 130-year-old lighthouse
  2. You’re not WestJet, so stop trying to be like WestJet
  3. I'll never fall for an online shopping scam ever again
  4. Long-life laptop battery the tech industry doesn’t want you to have
  5. Canada's 10 most remarkable small businesses


I discovered later that the Canada Goose Fake Coat Scam is famous despite the excellent job (the real) Canada Goose does to alert consumers to counterfeit products.
Tony Wilson

6. Trouble brews as coffee pods invade the office

It started with a little white lie. Claudio David, founder of Office Coffee Solutions, was in his late teens and had already amassed a tiny empire of gumball dispensers and pop machines in laundromats, schools and barbershops throughout Toronto. Read full story.

7. How do you compete with $80 an hour?

In a high-tech world where a factory shutdown can cost up to $5,000 a minute, Rick Gibbs and his staff of technicians at Neutron Factory Works Inc. keep B.C. manufacturers running. Read full story.

8. The five types of clients you should drop immediately

Over the past 20 years, sales expert Colleen Francis has encountered only five kinds of people she knows to disqualify as prospects forever. Read full column.

  1. The shopper
  2. The snail
  3. The hide and seeker
  4. The stacked deck
  5. The criminal

9. Cyclist wants you to try the drink that made him healthy again

Originally concocted in a kitchen blender, Rumble was designed by Paul Underhill, who was born with cystic fibrosis and underwent a double lung transplant in 2011, to bring himself back to health. Read full story.

10. Photos: Fantasy games and bathing suits top crowdfunding list

Kickstarter and Indiegogo, two of the most popular donation-based crowdfunding sites in the country, give creative people the opportunity to fund their projects via online donations or pre-purchasing of products or experiences. Each month, The Report on Small Business will provide a snapshot of the top 10 Canadian entrepreneurial crowdfunding campaigns of the moment. Read story here.

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