The Globe’s most-read business and investing stories of 2023: Livable cities, Alberta’s pension plan, mortgage costs and more

High inflation. A complicated interest rate cycle. Alberta’s controversial pension plans. Netflix’s password sharing crackdown. Canada’s most livable cities. Rising mortgages payments. Recession fears. It’s safe to say that there has been no shortage of news this year.

In the final weekly digest of 2023, we’re taking a look back at The Globe’s most-read business and investing stories of the entire year. Get caught up on the biggest stories that resonated with readers on a variety of topics from housing, debt, critical minerals and more.

‘We’re barely making it’: Eight Canadian stories reveal the pain of soaring mortgage costs

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Colin Tran wants to purchase a home, but can’t afford high mortgage costs. Instead he’s saving using the new First Home Savings Account.JASON FRANSON/The Globe and Mail

In a year of high inflation and housing unaffordability, Canadian homeowners were especially feeling the squeeze of interest rates. Irene Galea spoke to Canadians facing difficult decisions in order to continue paying off their loans. They’re deferring retirement, cutting back expenses and worrying about how they will cover their next mortgage payment. Some are even lengthening their mortgage amortization, stretching out the duration of their payments from 15 or 25 years to 30 years or beyond to keep their payments down. These are their stories.

Opinion: Netflix’s desperate crackdown on password sharing shows it might fail like Blockbuster

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This photo shows a logo for Netflix on a remote control in Portland, Ore.Jenny Kane/The Associated Press

When Netflix announced in February that it would crack down on password sharing, Canadians users were left questioning whether it was still worth paying the subscription fee. In a column for The Globe and Mail, Ken Birch, director of the Institute for Technoscience and Society at York University, raises the question of whether the move – and Netflix’s business model and monetization strategy – is viable in the long-run. He writes: “Netflix is facing a self-defeating cycle with its subscription changes.” Fast forward to the end of the year, Netflix has reported strong third-quarter results and increased its subscriber base – sending shares surging.

The 100 most livable cities in Canada

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Illustration by Kathleen Fu

One of The Globe’s popular stories of the year in general was the inaugural ranking of Canada’s 100 most livable cities. The data-driven list places an emphasis

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The Ultimate Guide To Building A Good Plan

When starting a business, a business plan is essential. Whether you are launching an online store or opening a brick-and-mortar shop, having a well-written business plan is crucial to your success.

A business plan is essentially a roadmap that outlines your goals, strategies, and potential hurdles. It not only helps you stay organized but also provides a clear vision of your business to potential investors and stakeholders.

Think of the business plan as a blueprint that guides you towards building a profitable and sustainable business. If you’re serious about starting a business, take the time to create a well-crafted business plan.

How a business plan benefits you

A business plan is not just a document for investors or loan officers – a business plan can be an invaluable tool for yourself as well. By taking the time to write out your idea and flesh out the details, you gain a deeper understanding of your business and what it takes to make it a reality.

Plus, having a plan in place helps you stay focused and motivated when the going gets tough, and can save you time and money in the long run.

Don’t underestimate the power of a solid business plan. Not only does it benefit your bottom line, but it can also be a source of inspiration and guidance as you navigate the exciting world of entrepreneurship.

How a business plan benefits the lender

It’s no secret that starting a business requires ample financing. But if you’re an entrepreneur, how do you convince lenders to invest in your vision?

The answer is simple: a well-crafted business plan.

Not only does a business plan outline your company’s goals and strategies, but it also shows lenders that you’ve done your homework and have a clear understanding of your market and competitors. By presenting a comprehensive plan, you give lenders the confidence to trust that their investment will yield a return.

A business plan benefits not only the entrepreneur but also the lender, providing a roadmap to success and building a foundation of trust and accountability.

A strong business plan is a key factor that lenders consider when deciding whether to loan you money. It shows them that you have a solid plan in place for repaying the loan and growing your business.

By putting in the effort to create a

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20 Things To Not Forget About In A First-Time Founder’s Business Plan

Amid all the excitement of starting a business, first-time entrepreneurs sometimes inadvertently overlook key elements of their business plan as they prepare to launch their company. Unwittingly sidestepping seemingly minor yet critical components of a business plan can majorly impact a new company’s trajectory. So, as founders craft their visions into actionable strategies, there are some important things that should not be neglected.

Here, Forbes Coaches Council members share ways entrepreneurs can ensure they don’t ignore pivotal aspects they should be integrating into their business plans. Check out the insights below to learn how to create a business plan that leads to sustained growth for a new venture.

1. The Route To Money

You have a marketable product—great! You have key people in place. That’s wonderful. But how are you going to survive the first 12 months without cash flow? Make sure your business plan proves how you will get customers to “put money on the table.” Unless people are going to pay for what you’re selling, your business plan isn’t a plan for business, and you’re dead in the water. – Mark Hayes, SalesCoachr

2. Customer Touch Points

It’s not that first-time entrepreneurs forget to include customer touch points; it’s more that they’re rarely aware of how necessary it is for mapping a comprehensive customer journey. Understanding your customer touch points—the areas where your customers will go from awareness to advocacy—is how you will come to implicitly understand your customer’s needs and values and how to create a trusted brand. – Aileen Day, Aileen Day Advisory

3. Self-Leadership

First-time founders often overlook the significance of their leadership in the business plan. Prioritize regular reflection and intentional planning around self-leadership, influencing others and overall mindset. Neglecting these crucial elements limits the business’s potential, even with the best business plans. – Brian Houp, ReZone Coaching

4. Market Analysis

Don’t overlook market analysis in your business plan. It identifies your target audience, competition and market trends. Ignoring it risks product misalignment, inefficient resource use and lack of competitive strategy. This can lead to low sales and poor performance. Include it for strategic decision-making and competitive advantage. – Farshad Asl, Top Leaders, Inc.

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

5. Scalability

First-time founders must prioritize scalability in their business plan. Neglecting this crucial aspect will hinder growth and

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