Best Companies to Work for in BC – takes #2!

Last night, BCBusiness Magazine hosted a gala dinner to announce their picks for the 2009 Best Companies to Work for in BC, and placed 2nd for companies with under 100 employees!

The criteria for the Best Companies to Work for in BC is an organizational-wide employee survey measuring satisfaction in key areas, including leadership, work culture, and employee engagement. The data is compiled by BCBusiness Magazine and MindField Group to determine the winner.

“We are very pleased to be named the second Best Company to Work for in BC,” said Dean Gagnon, our Chief Evangelist and President. “One of the goals in our Painted Picture is to make the best, most fun and healthiest workplace in the world. This extraordinary achievement is a direct result of the tremendous efforts from our entire team.”

In the words of BCBusiness Magazine:

“There’s a fine line between work and play at, and staff and management wouldn’t have it any other way. The decade-old website builder’s bright and airy Gastown office is filled with whimsical touches motivating the mostly 20- and 30-somethings clicking away in casual open-concept pods. For added incentive, there’s the six-foot MVP trophy, the Wheel of Fortune laden with possible prizes and the candy jar stuffed with lottery-style tickets…”

Read more:

Here are a few photos from the event!

Huge congrats to all the other Best Companies, both in the under 100 and over 100 employee categories! Keep up the good work!

What Cyber Monday Is and Why You and Your Online Shopping Cart Will Love It

In our last blog post about boosting holiday sales, we mentioned Black Friday, which is historically the kick-off to the holiday shopping season and is associated mostly with brick-and-mortar stores. But have you heard of Cyber Monday?

2009-11-24-cybermonCyber Monday is the Monday following Black Friday and the original idea behind it is that all the shoppers who started their shopping on Friday would continue filling their online shopping cart at work on the following Monday.

Although Cyber Monday hasn’t yet been proven to be the busiest online shopping day, the number of sales does seem to be increasing each year and it’s definitely a great opportunity for online retailers and their small business web stores.

What can you expect out of this upcoming Cyber Monday?

Although there are no guarantees, it’s likely that you will see a jump in website traffic on November 30. The word about Cyber Monday and potential deals is spreading and your customers might be on the hunt for them.

What should you do for Cyber Monday?

Since your visitors might be looking for bargains, why not meet their expectations? Try giving them a “one day only” special, like free shipping, 20% off, or a gift with purchase. They’re already in the mood to spend and may just need an extra little push.

Looking for other great ways to help increase your holiday sales? Check out our last post – Black Friday: How to Boost Holiday Sales for Small Business.

Black Friday: How to Boost Holiday Sales for Small Business

2009-11-20-blkfribagIt’s coming, and fast. Black Friday is one of the biggest days for retailers, particularly in the United States. It’s the Friday after US Thanksgiving and is recognized as the beginning of the traditional holiday shopping season – this year it falls on November 27.

We recently polled our customers, and 61% expressed that Christmas is an important sales period for them. So, as an online shopkeeper, are you ready to take advantage of the upcoming sales rush? Here are a few suggestions for making the most out of the holiday season:

1.    Create a Sense of Urgency
The great thing about the festive season is that there is a finite date where things need to be purchased and sent by. A gentle reminder of that will encourage your customers to get their orders in, instead of waiting to do it later. You can even make your own website countdown timer to remind your customers when items need to be shipped by – we like the free one at Widgetbox (

2.    Suggest Additional Products
Bigger orders mean more money, and a great way to get bigger orders is by suggesting additional products to the customers that are already shopping on your site. Try showcasing and linking to additional complimentary products on each of your catalog pages.
TIP: The website builder includes the “Recommend Product” feature – find it under ‘Edit Store’ > ‘Products’ > ‘Recommend Products’.

3.    Offer Free Shipping
One thing that still makes a lot of people hesitate to buy online is the cost of shipping. So, if it’s feasible for your business and isn’t going to eat into your bottom line too much, try offering your customers free shipping for a limited time. Not only will it help reduce their hesitation to buy online, but the limited time offer will also give them a sense of urgency and persuade them to buy now.

4.    Send a Holiday Newsletter
Do you already have a mailing list of existing customers? Reach out to them! Send them an email newsletter telling them about any sales or new products. You may even want to offer a special discount that’s only available to newsletter recipients, inviting them to come shop at your store.
TIP: A great way to provide a special offer to your newsletter customers is by giving them a special discount code that they can enter into the shopping cart on your website. If you’re using, you can make your own website discount codes through the website builder. Just go to ‘Edit Store’ > ‘Discount Codes’.

Do you have more great ideas for boosting your sales over the holidays? Let us know on Twitter! @CityMax

BREAKING NEWS: Congratulations to the 2009 Global Student Entrepreneur Award Winner Milun Tesovic

We just received exciting news from Chief Evangelist and President Dean Gagnon that Milun Tesovic, 24-year old founder of metroLeap Media, was named the winner of the 2009 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) in Kansas City, Missouri capping Global Entrepreneurship Week!

Dean Gagnon, Chief Evangelist and President made the trip down and was one of the awards judges who selected Tesovic as the winner. He explained how Milun blew away the field: “From his initial concept to becoming a real player in the business, Milun’s small business has skyrocketed in just 3 years to become a global leader. His website company reminds me of our own efforts at – a maturity and vision that left us awestruck and showed that entrepreneurs can succeed at any age.”

Tesovic defeated 32 contestants from around the world to take the premier award for students that own and run a business while attending a college or university. His online property, metroLyrics, is currently the 3rd largest music website in the world. He continues to evolve the company’s flagship product, MetroLyrics with innovative lyrics applications and services that appeal to the sites 35 million unique monthly visitors, maintaining its position as the 3rd largest music website worldwide.

GSEA, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) program, has attracted top entrepreneurs from universities around the world since 1998. Hosted by the Kauffman Foundation, applicants are selected to compete against their peers by presenting their businesses to a panel of judges comprised of EO members, business luminaries and renowned national business journalists. As the 2009 winner, Tesovic will receive $150,000 in cash and prizes, including access to EO’s global network and thousands of dollars in donated business resources and services. Congratulations Milun on all your amazing work!

A Global Movement of Entrepeneurial People

2009-11-16-gew_nodate22This week, (November 16-22) countries across six continents will celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week together – an initiative “to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity.” Over seven days, the movement seeks to achieve four goals for young entrepreneurs: inspire, connect, mentor and engage.

As part of the week, the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards will be held in Kansas City, Missouri. Regional and national winners from around the world have qualified to vie for the title of top student owning and running a business while in school. Last year’s competition featured over 1,000 collegians from more than 300 universities in 11 countries, and over $150,000 in prizes. In 2009, the competition is even bigger – with our own Chief Evangelist and President Dean Gagnon on the exclusive panel of judges.

Great job to all of the entrants who have made it this far – we’re excited to see who will take home the top prize!

5 Simple Tips for Driving Traffic to Your Website

Whether you make a website using a website builder or create a web page from scratch, the next question you’ll typically ask yourself is “how do I get more people to my site?” Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to deal with the challenge of bringing in visitors and customers to your new business. Here are a few to get you started:

2009-11-13-drivetrafficSubmit to Search Engines
The first thing you want to do once you make your own website is tell the search engines the site exists. The “big 3” are Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, and each one has a page that lets you submit your URL directly to them.
Google –
Yahoo! –
Bing –

Use Your URL – Everywhere
Your URL ( is now just as important as your business name, so wherever your business name goes make sure your URL goes too. That means in your email signature, advertisements, letterhead, marketing pieces, shopping bags, business cards, etc.

Comment on Blogs
Chances are that if you create a web page, there’s someone out there who is blogging about a similar or related topic. Most bloggers allow comments on their posts and the comments get read by their visitors. Start contributing to the conversation with thoughtful or useful comments and make sure to include your name and URL in your signature.

Exchange Links
If there are other websites that compliment your own, without necessarily competing for business, contact them and see if they’d be willing to link to you. Not only will you then be visible to their visitors, but the link will also help your ranking with search engines.

Local Search
If your location has an impact on your business, for example as a dog walker in Seattle, make sure to include yourself in local searches. Google Local Business Center is free and all you need is a Google Account to create your listing. When people search for the right keywords, your business will come up beside a map on the search results page.

The New Blog: A Must-Read For Your Small Business

2009-11-13-newandfreshWe’re upgrading our blog! You’ve been asking us for more business advice, so we listened. The newly enhanced CityMaxBlog will be bring you more articles filled with direct advice on how to make more money in your online business. From marketing trends to public relations, check back often for a variety of helpful how-to pieces from our team and guest bloggers.

Remember, you can always let us know what you’d like to see more of, just send us a message on Twitter – @CityMax (

Growin’ for Movember!

2009-11-12-max_mustacheTom Selleck had one, Groucho Marx had one, and Mario & Luigi had a pair. Not sure what we’re talking about? The ever-manly Mustache!

Across the world, this month is making a transition – from November to Movember! People everywhere are growing mustaches and rounding up donations for prostate cancer research and a special fuzzy bunch from the team are joining the revolution.

Want to get in on the action or make a donation? Go to and search “”!

Small Business Contest Winner

It’s November and we’re wrapping up our Small Business Month competition. We received an overwhelming number of impressive entries, so picking a winner was a bit of a challenge!

We are very pleased to congratulate Wendy Lau of Blue Wonder Cloth ( as the winner of the $10,000 Extreme Small Business Makeover bundle!

About the Winner

2009-11-06-blue-wonderBlue Wonder Cloth has sold environmentally friendly cleaning products for over 15 years – before it was “in” to be green! Wendy has been selling products through her website for nine of those years and is one of’s first customers. She did so well that she bought out the business’ original owner almost five years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

Wendy’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Find a really good product. It must be something you really believe in, and it should fit the parameters of success – for example, is it easy to ship? Is it breakable? Whether you’re selling a service or a physical product, with the competition out there, you have to feel it’s going to be #1.”

Thank you to everyone that entered the contest – you have some fantastic stories and we can’t wait to learn more!

November Website of the Month

Rub and scrub your hands together for DC Body Lab (, November’s Website of the Month!

2009-11-3-dc-body-labThis California-based business has an exotic and luxurious collection of moisturizing body butters and hydrating scrubs to put your skin at ease. Their colorful, fruit-themed site design will leave your imagination running wild with dreams of raspberries, coconuts and honeysuckle.

With winter around the corner, DC Body Lab is an excellent starting point for anyone looking to build a great skin care regimen or fight off dry skin!

Congrats DC Body Lab!