About ME

aboutHello, my name is Andrew Bernstein… I like to write :-)

In 2013 I decided to start this blog to share thoughts on a variety of topics. This blog offers me a way to keep my thoughts and meanderings organized, preserved and online for the world to see!

My background and often the topic of this blog, will revolve around being an entrepreneur and Canadian small business owner. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and have done many things to earn a buck in my lifetime. Business fascinates me… Having an idea, hoping and praying it will work, slaving away in the planning stages and then… Voilà SUCCESS!!! hopefully :-) It’s a great feeling when it works out.

I’m open to hear from you with your own thoughts and comments.

Happy reading!

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Harvard Dental… The Best!

dental-icon-hiJust wanted to give a shout out where a shout out is deserved! I chipped a tooth playing road hockey over the weekend. It was pretty brutal, and is not to be overly dramatic, but I was freaking out a little bit :-) My mother-in-law recommended Harvard Dental in Guelph.  Just wanted anybody looking for a dentist in Guelph know that they really take care of their clients. They got me in fast, got my rather visible tooth fixed  in a hurry, and I was hugely relieved.

You can reach them at 519-824-0810.

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Landlords – Does your Let Property have the Correct Insurance Cover?

insurance-iconLetting property can be a very lucrative venture but it comes with a lot of responsibility. When you’re letting property to tenants you’re responsible for a lot of things. Having good insurance is an absolute must for landlords. Risks come from many different places so trying to let property without having insurance in place is a recipe for disaster.

Types of Cover

  • Building Insurance – Building insurance is vital for any landlord. It will ensure that you’re covered for rebuild costs as well as any structural repairs that might need carrying out on your buildings.
  • Contents Insurance – If you let properties that are fully furnished then you should strongly consider getting contents insurance. Whilst some insurance policies include contents insurance, this will usually only cover basics and will not include cover for accidental damage.
  • Public Liability – Liability claims are something that every landlord must be wary of. If you keep your properties well maintained and are selective with your tenants then this goes a long way to avoiding liability claims but it’s still important to know that you’re covered if this happens.
  • Legal Expenses – If you do have to go to court to fight a claim then the legal expenses can be extremely high. This is why having them included in your policy is a very good idea.
  • Rent Guarantee – Due to the harsh economic climate, it’s an unfortunate fact that tenants are more likely to default on rent than ever before. Dealing with non-paying tenants can be a very trick situation. Having rent guarantee insurance at least gives you some protection if you find yourself in this situation. Your bills will be covered as well as any legal expenses that come with having a tenant evicted.
  • Unoccupied Property Insurance – If you have property that has been unoccupied for more than 30 days then you’ll need to get unoccupied property insurance to cover it. Some landlords wrongly believe that unoccupied property is not at as much risk. In fact the opposite is true, especially when it comes to risks such as burglary and vandalism.

Ways to Save Money

  • Secure Your Properties – Insurance providers are certainly going to take into account how much risk your properties are at from theft and vandalism. By making your properties secure you can greatly reduce these risks and therefore insurance providers will offer you a better price for your policy.
  • Be Selective with Tenants – This one is very important. Too many new landlords are naïve when it comes to selecting tenants. Whilst it’s important to find tenants for your property, it’s vital to be selective since problem tenants can cause all kinds of headaches.
  • Pay Annually – If you can pay for the policy upfront then you’re in an excellent position to negotiate a lower price with insurance providers.
  • Get Multiple Quotes – This one should be obvious. Getting quotes from different insurance providers enables you to compare and see which policy offers you the best value for money.

Getting Quotes Online

By far the best way of getting quotes for landlord insurance is to get them online (we use Multiquote Buy to Let). Since getting multiple quotes is one of the best ways to save money on landlord insurance it makes sense to do it in the easiest way possible. There are many insurance comparison sites online that allow you to get quotes from several different landlord insurance providers by filling in one form.

This is ideal as it saves you having to contact insurance providers separately, which is ideal if you’re short on time. When getting quotes online you also don’t have any pressure to take out a policy, you can simply look through the quotes you have and select the one that’s the best.

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A Good Design Propels Everything!

icon_request_proposal_squareI’m an entrepreneur at heart and have always wound up being friends with a lot of entrepreneurs… I guess similar people stick together :-) You meet people day-to-day that work for themselves and I have to say, there is a set of qualities in common among the people that will be long-term successes in this whole business of being self-employed. Lots of things like not being afraid to spend money to make money, being able to look past ones personal opinions and biases and  not project those biases onto their own customer base. There’s lots of these things, but one thing in particular that I notice is that successful entrepreneurs recognize that when it comes to presenting your image, it’s very important not to ‘skimp’. I have seen so many not so successful entrepreneurs rush through the branding phase of their business start up thinking they will readdress it later if things are going well. It’s sort of a dip your toes in the water with limited investment and limited risk attitude. The problem is, you are simply dooming yourself to failure right out of the gate. You create a crappy image for yourself and then plaster it all over your website, business cards flyers etc. and then spend good money advertising that brand! When you stop think about it, it’s totally crazy. Basically, it’s like saying:

I’m terrified this is going to fail, therefore I’m not going to invest heavily in it. I don’t really believe it’s going to succeed, so I will only invest as much as I’m comfortable losing.

And we are surprised things don’t work out more often :-)

This matters more so than anywhere these days with your website. A good website should be visually appealing, intuitive, present all the essential information and usually very little other information. Here some good examples of this:


We all take the big G for granted these days, but think about why they are such a big success. All the other search engines attempted to turn a profit plastering 1,000,001 adds and news feeds on their homepage, kind of like a tabloid. Google recognized that simplicity would attract loyal users and focused much more on simply making the best search engine they could.


This website is owned by a friend of mine, and they do a great job explaining what they do, the value of their service and why you should work with them. MOST importantly, they don’t say a whole lot more. Don’t think that visitors to your website will have a high attention span, it’s suicide. If you want to guarantee that your content will be read by a first-time visitor, go ahead and prattle on for 500 words.


An amazing e-commerce website. E-commerce websites are a big commitment as the website owner. There is an overwhelming amount of data to be managed. But, if you’re looking to be successful, you have to accept the challenge of making this data easily manageable, navigate-able and user-friendly.


This is a good example of presenting the core message only on primary pages understanding that the attention level of the new visitor will be very low, but presenting sub pages with more in-depth information for those who have had their interest peaked. For instance, if you go to the home page it says that he is a lawyer for the Toronto area, but you can drill down to pages specifically about drinking and driving, divorce etc.


This website is a great design.You get a sense that you’re dealing with a real professional individual. Websites too often attempt to hide behind ‘looking professional’ and trying to look like huge corporations. The fact of the matter is, people often times one to deal with a small company run by one person who is a true professional. I know if I was looking to get an invention patented, I would weigh would rather work with this guy then some large company where I get shuffled off to some third level employee.

What does everybody think? You have any examples of great websites or bad examples?



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