Top 3 ways to find Stocks

Musings on vacation

Musings on vacation


People often ask me where do I get my investment ideas. At first, I answered in the typical academic manner, “I dunno.” But I realized that perhaps I should be able to articulate my investment strategy so that I can help you develop yours. So here goes – my top 3 ways to find stocks:


  1. I am selfish. If I buy something and am passionate about it; I like to own the stock too. I mean why shouldn’t I profit from my own consumerism? And I know that the things I buy are environmentally, socially and well-governed companies if they have earned my consumer dollar… so it only makes sense to invest in them so my RRSP (401K) can profit as well.
  2. I listen. As a writer, I love to listen to people and hear what is important to them. It gives me an idea,  a new trend or a sell signal. For example, if someone says that a sector has been laying off to manage profitability, that means the company is looking for short-term answers to problems. That is not the kind of company that I want to stay invested in. BUT if I hear that a company is hiring or a sector is growing, that is a sign to check it out and to look for those that have growth potential.
  3. I look. Companies who are investing in affordable marketing and advertising are working to get the brand out there. The key is affordable. So when I see a company advertised and I like what I see from a corporate social responsibility perspective – I check out their SG&A.  SG&A is an acronym for Sales, General and Administrative expenses. This is a key management measurement that financial analysts use to determine how well a management team is performing. You can find this number on the Income Statement. If it is high percentage relative to its competition, you may want to avoid this company and look to  buy its competition’s stock.

So in summary, I guess I do know:

  • I buy what I use.
  • I listen for opportunities from real people.
  • and I check to make sure that the company is financially responsible.

How do you pick stocks?


yours in Corporate Social Responsibility

Cara MacMillan MBA

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Entrepreneurs – Go!

So you have the test results of your product or service from your first customer(s). You have tested your product or service in real life scenarios – not just following a piece of test instructions – no YOU thought about how your customer would use it. You included your customers in the prototype development and let them play. A quality issue to you is a personal affront.

Why because YOU are the business. This is YOUR passion and YOU believe.

Your Business

Your Business

So be proud and don’t rush. This is where entrepreneurs fail. They rush a product out the door without remembering that they are the brand. So take some time. Guarantee that the quality is there. Involve your customer in the creation, testing and implementation of your product or service into their business.

When you build it together, you get to walk in each others’ shoes and you will build a lifelong customer. So when the testing is complete – Go! Go make your product or service generally available. We call this GA. For some of you that may mean Georgia but for those of us in product/service development – the acronym means General Availability. This is the end of a project. The product is now handed over to operations.

One question that I keep being asked is, “Does this still apply for millennials?” YES. Millennials are a different target customer segment. They demand honesty. They have seen through all the advertising.  They have seen through all the marketing. They are not loyal to a brand for life. But they are loyal to their values. Sustainability, human rights, respect for the earth, abundance rather than greed, and enjoying the experience.

Build a relationship with your millennial customer and learn their values. You will find out that you are probably more the same than you thought!

Let your business, your products, your services be a representative of your values and you will have lifelong customers.

Give me your thoughts and experience in first product/service testing…

yours in Corporate Social Responsibility

Cara MacMillan MBA

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What is SRI?

So what is Socially Responsible Investing? So often people in the investment community say that is about feeling good and not about making money….WRONG.

The Millenials and Generation X are less focused on pure profit than social enterprise. The generations that are the leaders today and tomorrow get it. Listen to this previous radio show that I recorded on the merits of Socially Responsible Investing.



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Clean Urban Rivers

So often in the summer, we as Canadians think of heading to the cottage. And yet many of our cities are filled with waterways. There was a time when we were able to swim here in the city. When we could catch a fish and eat it.

Summer Sunday

Summer Sunday

I am not just reminiscing about the good old days. There are communities that have focused on cleaning up their waterways so that we can swim and fish and play right in our own backyards. There are communities where people have worked together with companies, real estate developers, municipalities and all levels of government to ensure clean water.

Interestingly it doesn’t take long. With restraint by people, nature can heal herself. I decided to try fishing in the urban core and I am proud to say that I did catch something: a discarded biodegradable dog poop bag.

It starts with each of us wanting a clean river. Then it takes each of us discussing what simple actions that we can take and others that we can stop to have a cleaner river. So here is my top ten:

  1. Do not throw dog poop bags in the river.
  2. Don’t use pesticides or fertilizers on your lawn – they flow via storm water to the rivers.
  3. Have no wake zones – wakes from fast boats erode the shoreline.
  4. Never use the storm sewers as a liquid garbage dump. Use the proper disposal systems.
  5. Volunteer on Clean Up our Rivers Day. (or start one if your community doesn’t have a day yet)
  6. Donate to charities who are working to clean up our rivers.
  7. Take a walk along the river and pick up the trash. You will be an example to others.
  8. Try non-motorized water sports.
  9. Support local craft breweries – they rely on clean local water and are champions of cleaning our rivers.
  10. Tell everyone that we should expect clean water in the urban centres. You will spark a change in attitude that will flow to more and more people and it will become reality.

enjoy today


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Entrepreneurs – on your mark!

So many Entrepreneurs do not take the time to plan success. We go with our gut instincts and though we can be very successful that way, to truly grow your beloved startup to the next phase, you do need some of the structure of the larger firms processes to ensure that you stay the course.

Compass Designed by Freepik

Compass Designed by Freepik


Think of it as your compass. That is what our project/product initiation process does for us. It keeps us going in the right direction.


So last Thursday, we covered strategic readiness. Here is a quick link back if you need to review. If not continue below as we talk about market ready – which is the second milestone.

Entrepreneurs: Plan your CSR!

We discussed how we as entrepreneurs need to ensure alignment our values, business strategy and corporate social responsibility with every new business opportunity. So the project passed and we assigned a team to create the plan. Here are the questions that we expect to have answered before we make any more investment. In other words, these are the questions that need to be adequately researched before we fund a project:

  1. Is there a market?
  2. Can we capture dominance (#1 or#2) in this market? – list how.
  3. Does it align with our brand? How?
  4. Have we done anything similar before to speed time to market?
  5. Do we have partners/suppliers/first customer so that we can hit the ground running?
  6. Are we passionate about the project/product?

Once we have the answers and research from focus groups, existing partners, suppliers and we are both confident and passionate, we are ready to say, on your mark let’s go! If the answers to these questions are …not really – then we say no.

Let’s go means:

  1. You have answered all the critical research questions and we are confident and passionate.
  2. We will assign a team leader to create the detailed plan and budget. We also expect a detailed outline or prototype to be created and accepted by your first customer before you come back for more.

Let’s say no means:

1.The product/project is shelved for the time being as we do not have a customer or we do not have the ability to make this #1 or #2 in market share.

2. It is not aligned with our brand, our values or our Corporate Social Responsibility.


Entrepreneurs – you can make difference and make money!

yours in Corporate Social Responsibility,

Cara MacMillan MBA



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