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BIG IDEAS FOR SMALL BUSINESS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO SUCCEED BIV’s first annual Small Business Month report is designed to help your business grow and prosper. It features advice from experts, insights from entrepreneurs who have survived the small-business wars, events listings and resources that any business can use. This first of two parts covers startups, financing, tax tips, growth and marketing

STARTUPS ■MONEY ■GROWTH MARKETING ■TECHNOLOGY


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BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

B4 | Startups ■Have faith, patience and a plan ■Ask an expert

B6 | Money ■Find the financing ■Tax assessment

Small Business Month events All events hosted at Small Business BC unless otherwise indicated

B8 | Growth

*Webinar: available across B.C. on videoconference and webinar

■“Just do it” ■Q&A with Growing City

B10 | Marketing

Sage 50 Accounting – Canadian Edition – Getting Started and Setting Up Your Books

■Minimize risk, maximize profit š?Z[dj_\o_Z[WbYb_[dji

OCTOBER 3 1-3 PM. Free. Presented by Dianne Muller of SOMA Business Solutions. *Webinar

B12 | Technology

Globe & Mail Small Business Month Summit

■Cybele Negris - web tools ■Surfing the cloud

NEXT WEEK SOCIAL MEDIA TIME MANAGEMENT HUMAN RESOURCES FRANCHISING CHOOSING A LOCATION

OCTOBER 4 Renaissance Harbour Hotel, Vancouver. vancouver.smallbusiness-summit.ca

What’s Your Business Worth? Business Valuation OCTOBER 10 10-11:30 AM. $39. Presented by Paul Savage of Pacific Business Brokers. *Webinar

Vancouver Island Economic Summit OCTOBER 15 & 16 Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo, B.C. www.viea.ca/index. php?page=58

SOHO Small Medium Enterprises Expo OCTOBER 16 Vancouver Convention Centre. soho.ca/sme/

Funding and Resources available for Innovative Businesses, Government of Canada OCTOBER 17 9 AM-noon. Free. Presented by SRED, NSERC, IRAP, DFAIT and CICP. *Webinar

Inpire – Cool Concepts and Fresh Ideas OCTOBER 26 1-4 PM. $39. How to successfully build, leverage and engage a community of fans for your business. Includes a keynote and two interactive panels. Inhouse and available on webinar.

Constant Contact: The Power of E-Newsletters and Engagement Marketing

TradeStart: Drop Shipping Logistics

OCTOBER 17 1-3 PM. Yaletown Roundhouse. Free. Presented by Guy Steeves of Constant Contact.

OCTOBER 31 1-2:30 PM. $20. Presented by Richard Brinkert of Pacific Customs Brokers Ltd. *Webinar

Returning to Provincial Sales Tax

The Irresistible Marketing Program

OCTOBER 18 11 AM-noon. $25. Presented by Gabrielle Loren of Loren, Nancke and Company. *Webinar

ONGOING For women entrepreneurs and service professionals who are intimidated by marketing. Master marketing essentials, develop simple repeatable systems and connect with clients hungry for your services. Schedule a free 30-minute Marketing Smarts Discovery Session to learn more. Anne Melnyk. 604-943-1342 . (See B10 for Melnyk’s column.)

Hydro: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint and Bottom Line – Sustainability Initiatives OCTOBER 24 1-3 PM. Free. Presented by BC Hydro and Joe Kelly of Gobi Carbon Management Solutions. *Webinar

Starting a Business? We Can Help. We offer a fixed-fee package of legal services for first-time entrepreneurs or small business owners. Our STARTING

UP SMART legal package includes:

1. Incorporation 2. Shareholder’s Agreement

3. Loan Agreement 4. Security Documents

Where BC women go for business ADVICE, LOANS & RESOURCES Women’s Enterprise Centre is the go-to place for BC women entrepreneurs seeking business advice, loans, training, resources & mentors! We can help you with: sbusiness skills training sprofessional business advisors sbusiness loans up to $150,000 sresources, referrals, research snetworking connections smentoring programs

Contact Our Team Email Doug Hopkins, Luca Citton or Hannah McDonald today:

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womensenterprise.ca 1.800.643.7014 Vancouver | Victoria | Kelowna Serving the women of BC since 1995

Financial support provided by:

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Business banking gets personal Canadian Western Bank takes its relationship banking approach one step further with the launch of its ďŹ rst Private Business Banking team.



s the financial services industry trends towards centralization and automation, Canadian Western Bank (CWB) is sticking to its roots by making local expertise and exceptional service accessible to business owners in the West. To demonstrate that commitment, the bank’s Park Place branch recently introduced a Private Business Banking team dedicated exclusively to serving private businesses with term and operating loan requirements in the $250,000 to $3 million range. With expertise in commercial lending, construction financing and term real estate mortgages, the Private Business Banking specialists operate as true partners with their clients, working closely with them to grow their business. “We believe that being accessible, responsive and truly local helps us build a stronger relationship with our clients and enables us to understand their business better – which is imperative to growing with them over the long term,� said Mike Spiess, Team Leader of the Private Business Banking Group. Equipped with CWB’s new suite of business accounts plus a full line of cash management products and services, the Private Business Banking specialists have all the tools to help drive growth for their clients.

“A lot of our competitors have tried to increase their profitability by centralizing their commercial lending teams and using outsourced call centres to service their clients,� said Spiess. “We take the complete opposite approach.�

                                           

                      

Taylor Spelt, Andrew Weeks, Stephen Allen and Mike Spiess One might expect to pay steep fees for a privileged level of service granting direct access to a dedicated team, but at CWB there are no added costs - it’s the way they work with all their clients. Given one of the largest complaints

from borrowers is Account Manager turnover rates, the Private Business Banking team is able to cultivate a relationship of up to $6 million with a borrower before introducing a new CWB commercial account manager into the relationship.

CWB’s success, including its 97 consecutive profitable quarters, is based on building solid relationships with their clients. “It may sound old fashioned but we simply think of it as the best way to do business� concludes Spiess. ◆

BUSINESS BANKING IS ABOUT A SHARED PERSPECTIVE. Being headquartered in the West has its advantages. We know your business environment better, understand local markets and make timely decisions. More importantly, we can work closely with you to find solutions perfectly suited to your business banking needs. Learn more at theworkingbank.ca.

Looking for financing between $250,000 to $3 million? Call to find out about Private Business Banking today! Mike Spiess Senior Manager, Commercial Banking Ph: 604.602.2756 tCell: 778.839.4217 email mike.spiess@cwbank.com

Private Business Banking Group Park Place Branch 666 Burrard Street, Vancouver


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BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

MONIKA BECKER | Owner, Clear Directions One of my biggest mistakes was to not have worked with my budget as closely as I should have. I now have

STARTUPS

a financial adviser

MEETUP | Lean Startup Vancouver is for startups and agile businesses that want to transform how their products are built and launched. Through every-other-monthly events, you will have a chance to compare notes on operational, development and business issues with peers and learn from guest speakers. www.meetup.com

MEETUP | Startup Grind is an event series and website designed to help educate, inspire and connect local

Small-business owner Sarah Millin: “if someone is switching from part time to full time, I would advise them to [do a business plan]” | DOMINIC SCHAEFER

Have faith, patience and a plan It takes longer than you think to get your own business going

entrepreneurs. Each month speakers share

BY MICHAEL BERNARD NEWS@BIV.COM

their stories about what worked and what they would do differently. It’s an opportunity to learn from the best, network with other members of the startup community, and improve your chances of entrepreneurial success . www.meetup.com

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ooking back on the first year of her digital design firm, Iconic State Digital Agency Inc., Angie Yoo says the quality she needed most was patience. “We were excited about the new venture, hoping things would kick into gear pretty fast,” she said. “If I can give a piece of advice to myself I’d say, ‘Have patience. Things will take longer than you think, but you will get there.’” To say she is single-minded in her approach is an understatement: everything she has done to date is about going into business with her partner, starting with

Angie Yoo started Iconic State Digital Agency last year with a partner: startup owners should be patient with themselves as things will unfold as they should

taking computer science at UBC for two years then switching to SFU applied science to study a course mixture of interaction and computer programming. It was the perfect complement for a business that focuses on delivering digital media creations to a growing list of clients seeking to build a market presence through everything from websites to kiosks. If things take longer, it’s because there is so much to learn in the first year, she says, like managing time. Her methods read like a page out of the late Stephen Covey’s best seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “We come in early, at 7:30 a.m., so we can have that hour and a half in the morning


BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

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VENAY FELTON | Executive director, Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth The key to getting the festival started was to find a community of supporters: people with resources and experience who could provide advice and facilitate connections with key people in the community

to really focus on tasks before we start getting distracted with emails and phone calls. We also schedule difficult tasks in the morning and knock them out rather than pushing them to the latter half of the day. “We keep a task list organized according to priority and importance. We label our emails, we stay on top of our inboxes, and make sure we do not get bogged down with useless emails.” For Monika Becker, defining her coaching business Clear Directions remains a priority as she enters her fourth year of business. She is now focusing on assisting both young professionals, whose enthusiasm she finds inspiring, and those involved in a family business. “What intrigues me is that we are talking about two generations,” said Becker. “I see a very good opportunity to be part of that conversation.” Becker is also focusing on the nuts and bolts of her small business, like finances and budgets. “One of my biggest mistakes was to not have worked with my budget as closely as I should have. I now have a financial adviser, and I am going to talk to another one to get another perspective on things.” As with many entrepreneurs, the past 12 years for Sarah Millin have been a living example of what happens when one

door closes and another opens. A former business credit investigator, she lost her job when the company she worked for was sold in 1999. She promptly took advantage of a federal government retraining program for people collecting employment insurance. The minute she got out of IT school, she was working full time in the industry and running her business, Make IT Work Computer Solutions, on the side for extra cash. The tough part came when she started working in her own business full time. “It was difficult, and I know how I would change that now. I should have sat back and taken a long look at the business, done a business plan. If someone is switching from part time to full time I would advise them to do that.” She would have invested more time and money in marketing and networking at the beginning, as well. The best decision she ever made remains setting out on her own. “I love how much I have learned about business and myself on the journey, and I’ve met some great people with interesting businesses.” She sees her ongoing challenge as getting her name better known. “I’m a typical Canadian,” she laughed, “a nd I don’t l i ke p ut t i n g my sel f forward.” ■

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ASK AN EXPERT What do I need to know before starting my own business? QUESTION |

RAB KOONER | Business adviser, Small Business BC

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efore starting a business, the number 1 thing to know is if your business concept is viable. Through market research you’ll need to learn if there is a demand for your product or service and whether growth potential exists in the marketplace. A competitive analysis will reveal who your direct competitors are, what they are offering and at what price point. This information will help you uncover your niche and better develop a competitive edge. Depending on what industry you’re entering, you could face a number of barriers, such as licensing, accreditation, regulations, etc. Thoroughly research entry into your industry and assess

whether it’s achievable. Keep in mind: the greater the barrier to entry, the less competition that exists. To start a business you’ll need financing, so you’ll need to find out if you’re eligible. Do you have a good credit rating? Do you have collateral and equity to put towards a loan? And most importantly, are you prepared to take on that debt burden? Starting a business can be risky, so take time to assess your tolerance for risk and whether that aligns with the requirements of your industry. And finally, you’ll need to self-assess. You might be trained in a certain industry, but being a business owner also means being a salesperson, a marketer, an accountant and a manager. What experience and skills do you have that will help you? Play off your strengths and take training in your areas of weakness, or look at outsourcing to experts. Although you might be excited at the prospect of entrepreneurship and anxious to get started, taking the time to research and plan will give you a realistic look at the viability of your business so you’ll have a better chance at success. ■


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BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

LORNE BROWNE | Principal, Acubalance Reproductive Wellness Centre I was penny wise but dollar foolish in the early years. I did not delegate tasks that are not my strength. By allocating “stuff” to others it would have allowed me to focus more time on what I do best and would have

MONEY

resulted in faster growth and paradoxically, more personal free time. Work smart not hard

APPS FOR THAT BIV surveyed small-business operators in B.C. about what apps they use on a day-to-day basis. Here are some of their suggestions.

Aptana Studio Allows users to build web applications quickly and easily using the IDE web application for software development. www.aptana.com Basecamp Web-based project management and collaboration tool for to-dos, files, messages, schedules, and milestones. www.basecamp.com Billings This app lets you send elegant and stylish invoices by combining powerful features with a logical workflow. www.billingsapp.com Doodley Moore Lets users draw over a live or paused video feed or photo to capture a moment with a quick sketch. www.itunes.apple.com Dropbox A free online file storage service that lets users share photos, docs and videos from anywhere. www.dropbox.com

Show me the financing Financing remains an essential tool for small-business owners BY JAMES DOLAN NEWS@BIV.COM

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ost of the time, small businesses need financing to fund growth. But in the case of Carter Hales Design Lab, the need was driven not by a desire to expand but by client payments – or rather, the lack thereof. “It’s very common in our business that the invoice is due on receipt,” explained Ross Hales, principal. “So people would typically pay within 15 days and that would be fine. Well, that eventually became 30. But increasingly we see people take 60 days and being very unapologetic about it.” Needless to say, such tardiness played havoc with the studio’s cash flow. And that had important implications for the studio’s five full-time staff members. “We need to have access to funds to cover payroll. It’s just not negotiable,” Hales said. After considering their options, Hales and his partner approached their lending institution for a line of credit (LOC). Although the LOC isn’t large ($25,000), it has made a significant difference to the business – and to the two owners’ peace of mind. “Having the line of credit allows us to pay our staff and our bills in a timely fashion,” Hales said. “In the unlikely event that we went an entire month without billing a single dollar – there are much bigger problems if that happens – the reality is that we would be able to cover things off.” The episode taught Hales a valuable lesson. “As the business evolves, our financial requirements evolve,” Hales said. “We didn’t need a line of credit when we began; now we do. We weren’t as worried about cash flow at the start; now it’s a daily focus.”

Stricter lending approach It’s a lesson Robert Dean knows first-hand. Before joining Coast Capital Savings as vice-president of business banking, Dean ran his own manufacturing business for more than a decade. “I’ve [been] on the other side of the desk,” he acknowledged. “So I get it. I’ve got an [idea] of what it’s like, the pressures of meeting a payroll and all sorts of things.” Whereas Hales was able to secure financing relatively quickly, Dean acknowledged it doesn’t always work that way. “The environment in terms of attracting financing has changed,” he said, explaining that part of the problem is what he calls “automated decision-making”: instead of evaluating a business loan application within the context of the local business climate (which may be quite different from the national snapshot), many lenders now use a strictly mathematical approach. Such an approach may protect the lender from downside risk, but it ignores the potential for the owner to drive further business to the lender. “Call it that old-fashioned relationship banking,” Dean said. “If you’re doing more for that individual and their family and their employees, it’s a full and therefore profitable relationship for both sides. Everybody wins through that.” Cast a wide net Julia Vidakovic, principal of Brightspark Consulting, believes today’s small-business owners need to be smarter when seeking financing. “The advice I always give is to work collaboratively with the banks or the credit unions that you have chosen to work with,” Vidakovic said. Instead of simply asking the bank for money, Vidakovic suggests using the loan

Julia Vidakovic, principal of Brightspark Consulting, believes small-business owners need to “get creative” when it comes to securing financing.

officer as a sounding board. “What you would do is say, ‘I don’t want you to submit this – I want you to give me the wisdom of your experience,’” Vidakovic said. “‘Looking at it, what do you think the chances are? Where do you think my application needs to be tightened up?’” If that doesn’t work, Vidakovic advises a multi-pronged approach. “Get creative,” she said. “You get some money from Mom and Dad. You get some money from friends as investment. You get some from professional investors who know you and are really committed to your project. You get some from the bank. You get some from crowdfunding. It may not be one source.” Another solution: scale back your business plan. It may be counterintuitive to many entrepreneurs, but it may make it easier to find financing, she said. “Let’s say you’re asking for $100,000,” Vidakovic said. “If you scale the business back and you go at a slower rate of growth, you only need $10,000.” ■

ASK AN EXPERT QUESTION |

What do I need to know before starting my own business? ■Prepare a business plan. A well-thought-

CONTINUED ON PAGE B8

BRIAN SHAW | Partner, Dale Matheson Carr-Hilton Labonte – Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors

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he path to becoming self-employed may seem daunting at first. However, with proper planning and guidance you can be in control of your own success. Here are five tips to put you on the right track to becoming your own boss:

out business plan will benefit you in many ways. It will help you secure financing from possible lenders and investors and show your employees and partners that you are informed and prepared. It will help you identify your customers and competition and will determine your financial needs. ■Decide on a business structure. You will need to decide whether to operate your business inside a corporation. You should ask your lawyer and accountant for advice in this area. If you choose to set up a corporation you will need professional advice regarding the share capital structure. ■Understand taxes. Register for harmonized sales tax. You will need to register for HST if your gross income exceeds $30,000. However, you should register to

take advantage of input tax credits. Ask your accountant about any tax refunds and credits that may affect your business. (See Dalton Green column, next page.) ■Set up payroll. You will need to register with CRA and activate a payroll account. Accounting software packages such as QuickBooks and Simply Accounting have payroll modules that can be used. Alternatively, outside payroll service companies such as Ceridian offer an affordable option. ■Create an accounting system. Once your business is up and running you will need timely, reliable accounting information. An accountant may be able to recommend a reliable bookkeeper. QuickBooks and Simply Accounting will also allow you to track your invoices and produce timely reports. ■


BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

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LAURA MURRAY | Principal, Laura Murray Public Relations Be mindful of cash flow. There are so many expected and unexpected costs when starting a new business. Work from home for as long as you possibly can to reduce overhead costs. It may be a tight fit, but it’s important to remember that it’s a temporary working space, and saving wherever you can in the early days will serve the business well into the future

The CRA’s interpretations are preferences, not rules

TAX ASSESSMENT DALTON GREEN

These bulletins are detailed preferences the CRA wants you to follow because they generate the largest tax revenues, but they also generate myths that a lot of people follow

I

’ll let you in on a secret. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is the government’s tax collection agency – that’s it – they collect money for the government. The CRA does not

have the power to make tax law; the House of Commons does that. The CRA does not interpret tax laws; the Tax Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada do that. But the CRA is more than happy to interpret every tax law that exists and pump out an interpretation bulletin for each and every law. These bulletins are detailed preferences the CRA wants you to follow because they generate the largest tax revenues, but they also generate myths that a lot of people follow. Today I’ll debunk two pervasive tax myths for small or startup businesses. First myth: You can’t get/ shouldn’t get a GST number until your gross annual revenue reaches $30k. It is true that you have to get a GST number when your gross revenue hits $30K, but this does not mean you cannot get a GST number until then.

Think of a gold mine: it takes years of searching and testing potential sites to find a proper ore body; millions of dollars for equipment, engineering and the workforce to start the mine; and time to smelt and refine the ore before the first ounce is sold. Think of all the tax paid to get to $30k in sales. Do you think the mining industry does not claim the GST/HST paid until after their gross revenues reach $30k? Of course not. You are in the same situation. Depending on your industry, your competition and the costs to market your product or service, it might take years before you reach $30k. Your startup expenses and accompanying GST/HST costs are valid deductions now. It is very important to secure a GST number. You cannot claim GST/HST expenses until you have one, and GST numbers cannot be backdated. When you call to get a GST

number, the CRA will suggest or imply ineligibility or sometimes deny your application outright. I had to write a script for my customers to use when calling the CRA to ensure the tax law on this issue is properly applied and they get their GST number. Second myth: I must calculate home-office expenses on the basis of how much area my workspace takes as a proportion of total area in my home. The CRA’s website claims, “The expenses should be apportioned between business and nonbusiness use on a reasonable basis, such as, square metres of floor space used.” What most taxpayers, advisers and certainly the CRA often miss (whether by lack of training or by intent) are the two words “such as.” There is more than one acceptable method for calculating the ratio of work vs. personal expenses in a home as supported by Tax Court of

Canada rulings. The method I have found most advantageous to date is using the number of rooms rather than area. Using the number of rooms method versus square meters typically doubles the percentage of eligible expenses. For example, if you live in a two-bedroom plus den and living room, and you use the den as your work area, your “office” takes up 25% of your home. (You do not count the kitchen or bathroom.) As this method is safe, valid, proven and much more beneficial to you, it is unlikely you will find this method, or others, in an interpretation bulletin. There are specific rules of how to use this method, but any good tax adviser will know what they are. ■ Dalton Green (778-870-4829, dalton@greenfinancialonline.com) is founder of Green Financial Online Inc., www.greenfinancialonline.com,

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The Vancouver Board of Trade

CEO Canada’s Leading Cyber Security Provider Star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den & ABC’s Shark Tank


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BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

GLEN MUND | Principal, Plus Computer Solutions I should have hired additional staff sooner. I worked in the business for such a long time it was hard to extract myself so I could work on

GROWTH

the business

APPS FOR THAT Evernote Makes it easy to remember things big and small from everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web. www.evernote.com Freshbooks Time tracking, expense logging and invoicing to help smallbusiness owners get organized and get paid. www.freshbooks.com GoogleDocs Create and share work online and access documents from anywhere. www.docs.google.com Harvest Allows users and staff to track time and send invoices from one integrated application. www.getharvest.com Highrise Helps users manage contacts, keep track of who said what when, schedule followups and set reminders. www.highrisehq.com Hootsuite An online and smartphone app that allows users to manage all of their social networks with one interface. www.hootsuite.com CONTINUED ON PAGE B10

Veteran to novices: “Just do it!” Thinking too much before opening a business can lead to paralysis, says BY MICHAEL BERNARD NEWS@BIV.COM

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ane Solovyov’s first lesson in growing a small business came hard and fast – on the same day that the jets slammed into the World Trade Center towers. “I had an appointment on September 11, 2001, to sign my first lease with the landlord,” said Solovyov, who was opening ETC English Training Centre when she woke up to the news. “I phoned the owner and said, ‘Can we postpone the appointment?’ I feel so terrible thinking about business and signing a lease when so many people have lost their lives.’” The landlord’s reaction was quick and unequivocal: “‘Jane, business is business,’” Solovyov related. “‘We have an appointment and we are going to sign the lease.’” The importance of separating her heart from her head has stayed with her, as her business has grown from just her teaching 20 students alone to having four full-time teachers instructing 70 to 80 students. “The challenge is to be centred and to ride out the waves of economic change, your audience, changes with your staff, anything that comes your way,” she said. That “anything” includes raising her now seven-year-old daughter on her own and running a business at the same time, which has forced her to set priorities. Looking back, Solovyov says she would have taken more courses in leadership and “finding the right people to work for her,” asked more questions rather than “shooting first” and educated herself about business, including leases. At the same time, says Solovyov, you can think about things too much before opening your business “and you get scared of leaping.” “You really have to just do it.” Be ready to ramp up Anticipating change and client needs are lessons that veteran human resources consultants Peter Saulnier and Vincent Chow are still absorbing after opening the doors at Logan Human Resource Management Inc. in June. “We did our research and we knew there was a need out there for local expertise without going to a global concern,” said Saulnier who, like Chow, had worked previously at an international human resources company. “We were anticipating a reasonable rampup time [for hiring staff] but we underestimated how great the client need was. To ramp up quickly when the business rolls in you must have a qualified and flexible workforce. That’s been a key learning point for us.” The pair scrambled, and Logan has added four part-time staff. They also learned to be prepared to reshuffle their day at a moment’s notice to be responsive to their clients’ needs, which is getting advice on compensation programs and salary structures.

Jane Solovyov, ETC English Training Centre owner: listen to your heart but be guided by your head | DOMINIC SCHAEFER

Peter Saulnier and Vincent Chow: scrambling and reshuffling to manage growth after opening the doors at Logan Human Resource Management in June

Says Chow: “I received a call today from a client asking about a bonus plan. The client has to do something right away. We have to respond to those calls quickly.” The pair’s advice for hiring staff? It’s really important to get the employee’s expectations about compensation correct. “It’s not about the amount of money; it’s about the message as to why you are paying that particular amount,” said Chow. Saulnier and Chow suggest small-business owners seriously consider a partner when starting up. “I think everything we do is better because it is the product of two brains,” said Saulnier. An unexamined business may fail Sometimes answers to growing your enterprise are staring you in the face, if you step back and re-examine your business. That’s what Glen Mund learned shortly after rescuing a moribund software sales firm back in 2003.

“In the high-tech industry, there are so many bells and whistles and bright and shiny objects for our customers, it’s easy to lose your focus,” which happened with the firm’s previous owner. “The salesman never left the office. He never met a client face to face in the three years he had been there.” Mund and his staff of 13 full-time and one part-timer turned things around with a needs assessment of the company’s customers. What they found was surprising. Customers kept phoning Mund’s firm – Plus Computer Solutions – for help with the new software they had purchased but yet the standard procedure at the time was to “push them away” to the software publisher’s support line. “We quickly found out that not only did they want help from us but they were happy to pay us for it. They found the service was better because while the publisher knew the software well, they didn’t know the customer’s business well. We did.” ■


BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

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TARA LANDES | Principal, Bellrock Benchmarking The biggest mistake I made was hiring the wrong consulting company to help us. My gut said that they were too deferential. I dismissed the impression because I have a strong personality. I figured I was just intimidating them. Now I’ve learned if a service provider can’t stand up to me and challenge me, it isn’t the one for me. I corrected the mistake quickly, but it wasted a lot of time and energy

Putting down roots Check in with Growing City, two years after first appearing in BIV on March 16, 2010 Q: What do you find to be the biggest hurdles in your day-to-day operations? A: At this point, the challenge is

LISA VON STURMER | Growing City, organics recycling and waste reduction services

Q&A Q: When did you start your business? What were you thinking at the time and what would you now tell that person? A: I started Growing City in

2009. At the time I started it, I was extremely nervous. Many people didn’t think that the corporate world would be interested or ready for composting. I had left the agency to work full time on the business and spent my nights working at a nightclub to pay the rent. People thought I was crazy. It was definitely a nervewracking time. I felt like I was risking everything. Looking back now, I would tell myself, “Don’t worry. This won’t go on forever. Soon you’ll have staff and your business will grow. The city will ban organics from the landfill and people will tell you they knew all along that your business would succeed.”

finding the time to accomplish all the tasks that need to get done. We are still a growing company just leaving the startup phase, and there’s so much to be done. Thankfully, I have an amazing, dedicated team and that truly makes all the difference. For any potential entrepreneurs out there, definitely focus on creating an organized routine so that you can maximize your time management. Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome? A: Believing I could become an

entrepreneur in the first place. Coming from an arts and media background, I didn’t think I had the “right” credentials to go into business. Since I started Growing City, I’ve had the pleasure to speak to many youth groups about the opportunities to be had in entrepreneurship and I’m always so surprised by the number of intelligent and motivated people that don’t believe they’ve “got what it takes” simply because they don’t have a financial or traditional business background. Many people sell themselves short. I take great pride and pleasure in helping/encouraging other people to build the life they’ve always wanted by creating their own business. Q: What would you have done differently? A: Don’t put all your eggs in one

basket. Diversify your customer base – it’s so important. That was

a painful lesson for sure – but I’ll never forget it and I think it made me a much more resilient and determined entrepreneur. Q: Do you have any special techniques to manage your time? A: I’m a big checklist person

myself – I like to determine my top five tasks the night before I start work. I also am a fan of Omnifocus (it syncs between my desktop/iPad/iPhone) and is an excellent way to empty your head of all those thousands of “to-dos” that entrepreneurs have floating around all the time. I love Gantt charts. (They’re not for everybody, but I love the visual representation of time used and time remaining.) Q: Do you have any resources you use regularly for help? A: Small Business BC is excellent.

The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs is also a huge resource. Anything by Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Verne Harnish, Stephen Covey, Tim Ferriss or Jim Collins is on my reading list all the time. Q: When it comes to social media, where are you weakest? A: I tend to hate/avoid social

media, but I’m trying to learn to love it. It really is a fantastic way to connect with people and clients, so I’m starting to embrace it more and more. Personally, I really like to live in the moment, so I typically forget to tweet about things until way later (which is less effective). We’re hiring someone to run this for us though, so phew. Our strength is that we have a fun, youthful and exciting brand that allows us to take risks with our

I’m always so surprised by the number of intelligent and motivated people that don’t believe they’ve “got what it takes” simply because they don’t have a financial or traditional business background social media and be playful. Q: What’s the best decision you ever made? A: Starting the business and buy-

ing out my former partner. If you start a business with a partner, make sure you both have a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities (break them down into as much detail as possible: who manages what, what tasks does each person do, who reports to whom about what, etc.) and that both (or however many) partners have a full sense of accountability related to those roles. This can really take the pressure off so that you and your partners can focus on growing the business and not on managing each other. Q: What’s been the biggest challenge around getting your name known? A: Making composting and waste

reduction “sexy.” Q: What’s a message you want to leave other small businesses? A:Determine your core values and

make sure absolutely everything your company does encompasses them. They don’t have to necessarily make sense to other people,

just to you. Every successful company is driven by values and a mission statement, but it’s so surprising how few entrepreneurs know what theirs is. Q: How do you balance business and personal time? A: I would say that in the first

two years, I worked around the clock with very little life in terms of family or friends. I would not recommend this. At first it was necessity since I spent seven days a week working on Growing City and then would go work nights at the nightclub or studio – but it developed into a habit and I became a bit of a hermit. For new entrepreneurs out there, I would definitely say that success is more enjoyable when you can share it. Now, I make sure to schedule in family and friend time each week. Yes, I schedule it in. I know that sounds a bit anal but your calendar is your best friend when you’re starting a business. If you don’t schedule in time to see people, it can become very easy to get sucked into a vortex of work and suddenly it’s been months since you’ve seen or spoken to anybody. Get yourself a mastermind group, or join a business group so you have other entrepreneurs in your life to commiserate/brainstorm/chat with – your friends and family, although wonderfully supportive I’m sure, will have a finite amount of energy available to spend talking about your business. Other entrepreneurs, though, will be happy to go on about it indefinitely. Spare your loved ones and join some groups. ■

ASK AN EXPERT QUESTION |

How do I balance work life and family life?

I DIANA STIRLING | Owner of three businesses, a 2011 recipient of BIV’s Forty under 40 award and she speaks and writes on the value of imbalance at PretirementLiving.com

don’t believe work-life balance exists. Work, family and living constantly overlap and intermingle. We can’t erect boundaries between them and try to slot each into some sort of formula like 1 unit family + 1 unit work +1 unit of living = balance. My solution has been to take a different perspective. My goal is fulfilment – across all aspects of my life. That creates imbalance, practically all the time. By embracing the imbalance my businesses have soared, I’ve been able

to introduce my children to eight countries in three years – spending 30% of each year traveling and experiencing new cultures. My belief is we should look at life like a pitcher to be filled. How the pitcher gets filled changes day to day, and we don’t have total control over how it gets filled. If one day, life hands you a few cups of family, a few cups of living and only a shot glass of career then you should take that and embrace it. Live in that moment. T hen, when l i fe ha nds you

almost a pitcherful of business because you have a huge project you’re closing, and only a thimble of family, embrace that. Once we stop pressuring each other to create a life full of equal parts of career, family and life, and welcome imbalance, our pitchers will fill up with the amazing life moments – whatever they may be. Continually striving for imbalance is when you stop placing limits on each element of your life and truly achieve fulfilment. ■

If one day, life hands you a few cups of family, a few cups of living and only a shot glass of career then you should take that and embrace it. Live in that moment


B10 BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

MELISSA OROZCO | Owner, Yulu Communications I was not selective enough in the first few months of business. I allowed my hunger to get in the way of my gut when it came to taking on a client that was not a good fit for our agency.

MARKETING

We’re learned from that now and couldn’t be happier with the roster of clients we have

APPS FOR THAT Milebug Uses GPS and map display to help users keep records of their trip miles and expenses. www.milebug.com Omniplan Helps users visualize, maintain and simplify projects by breaking down tasks, optimizing required resources and controlling costs. www.omnigroup.com Tenrox A web-based business project management software tool with time and expense tracking and online project workforce management software solutions. www.tenrox.com Twitter A real-time information network that connects users to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news. www.twitter.com VMware A business virtualization infrastructure provider, offering a platform for building private clouds and federating to public clouds. www.vmware.com CONTINUED ON PAGE B12

TRANSFERABLELESSONS

Startups head to Small Business BC to learn about marketing research and how to mitigate risk and maximize profit How did market research make a difference when launching your small business? | BY PETER DEVRIES QUESTION |

WILL WOODS | Owner, Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours – chose to get to market quickly and evolve from there

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e had a very targeted and specific market research exercise. We looked at the characteristics of walking tour businesses that are successful in other cities. We also reviewed the competitive landscape in Vancouver. I wanted to make sure I was building a product with a proven track record elsewhere and was sufficiently differentiated from existing companies in Vancouver offering similar tours. This effort was valuable – we are the only company offering theatrical, interactive walking tours in Vancouver and have had a very successful first year. However, I certainly did not conduct a typical “customer-side” market research exercise. I trusted that Forbidden Vancouver is a thoroughly interesting and engaging experience that most people will enjoy. I had two choices: get to market quickly, seek feedback from customers and evolve the product; or conduct a large market research project. I chose the former.

STACEY REEVES | Owner, Yo-Guy Men’s Yoga – ran classes as a pilot study and followed his gut

JASON MASON | Owner, Mason Industries (snowboard/ski outer wear) – used an iPhone to conduct surveys

I

I

think it’s pretty important to determine your market. In my case, I had to see if it even existed. I researched statistics about yoga, which confirmed for me that very few men in fact go to yoga classes. Then I looked at the demographics of the local market, including its potential size and things like income and living location, and I found out how many men aged 20-65, which I determined to be my market segment, live in Metro Vancouver. I looked at the number of competitors on file with Statistics Canada, which I knew was only a fraction of the real number. With all this done, I realized that there was no exact information, and I knew that I was heading into new waters where there was high risk and undetermined returns. So I ran the classes as a pilot study to determine if the market would support the business. This past year has shown me that men want to do yoga and that the best ways to get them to come are through online coupons and word of mouth. I’ve followed my gut and so far it’s working out.

started with a business plan, but when I needed to show real numbers and proof, I quickly discovered that commerce doesn’t run on “hopes” and “I think so.” I couldn’t see a way to move forward without real market research. Small Business BC helped me learn the language and theory of marketing and what to expect from it and provided me with tools and resources to go out and gather my own data. The following weekend, I approached people in the lift lines at Grouse and Seymour mountains and asked them to complete a survey using my iPhone. I started out with a theory about the market, but only through research was I able to prove my theory correct. I could then move forward with my business plan. My research proved to be invaluable when I was in meetings with potential partners, investors and mentors. The panic that initially rose up in me when they would ask hard questions quickly vanished when I realized the work I had done had given me the answers I needed.

Getting clear about your ideal client ANNE MELNYK

S

tarting a business can be overwhelming. There’s so much to think about, plan and do. In fact, if there were a patron saint of entrepreneurs, it would probably be an octopus. Too many entrepreneurs get stuck in the thinking and planning stage. I don’t advocate that my clients figure out every aspect of their businesses before they roll into action; however, there are three key areas where you do need clarity if you want to be effective in your marketing efforts. You need a clear understanding of: ■who your ideal client is; ■the problems that they’re motivated to solve; and ■how your genius, service or product can solve their problem.

Knowing those three things will give you everything you need to create powerful and effective marketing messages. Which is important because the better your marketing is, the less time you have to invest in selling. Start with getting clear about your ideal client and the other answers will follow. The biggest mistake business people make when they’re identifying their target market is making it too broad. They come from the perspective that everyone can benefit from their services. Most business people are afraid of getting too specific with their target marketing, because they’re reluctant to cut out any potential business. It’s counterintuitive, but in reality, having a broad target market decreases your chances of connecting with your ideal client.

People are inundated with thousands of marketing messages a day. We’ve learned to actively filter out those messages because we despise being sold to. Unless you are speaking directly to people about a specific problem they’re desperately looking to solve, your message won’t cut through their filtering system. So, the more specifically you can define your market, the better chance you have of finding and attracting your ideal client. ■ Anne Melnyk (www.annemelnyk.ca ) is a marketing strategist and mentor who works with women entrepreneurs and service providers who are intimidated by marketing. She helps them banish their marketing demons and build simple repeatable marketing systems that bring them more clients and more money.


BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

B11

JOHN WHITE | Owner, Bayside Health & Wellness Figuring out how to market on a budget has been a pretty big challenge for us. I’ve learned that people get really excited about ideas and business philosophies. If you’ve made it to opening a business, you’re passionate about what you do. So share that passion and your vision with people around you. They will respond and come to you because they will be inspired by your unique ideas

What is a brand anyway?

BRANDING KARLEY CUNNINGHAM

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e need help to develop our brand” or “We need to rebrand our business” is what business owners who have been referred to me often request. But, this is rarely what they really want. As I dig around in this familiar conversation, I find out that what they are actually asking me to help them with is designing a new name, or a logo, and a visual identity to go with it. Once we have those things in place, in their mind they have developed a brand or rebranded themselves, and now they are on their way to being the next Apple or BMW. They’re mistaken.

I spend a lot of time educating clients about what a brand really is. What’s interesting is that not even a group of branding experts can seem to agree on one simple definition of what a brand is. My goal is to help you understand what a brand is. Let’s start with what a brand isn’t. A brand is not: ■a logo; ■a name; ■a visual identity (fonts, colours, design style); ■a product, service or company; ■a tagline or slogan; ■an advertising campaign; ■a website; ■front-line or back-office staff; or ■a spokesperson. While there were 82 different answers in the LinkedIn discussion, I noticed that there were three common themes that kept appearing. While each on its own does not completely explain what a brand is, threaded together

as components of an equation, they reveal a more complete picture. The promise: This is what a company intends to provide to their customers that both really matters to the customer and makes their product/service/ business different from their competitors. This is called the brand promise. The experience: This is the collective experience delivered to a company’s customers (good or bad). If developed intentionally, the experience supports the promise. This is often where I spend a lot of time working with my clients to figure out how to deliver their brand promise consistently throughout every interaction a customer has with their product/service/business. This requires some broad thinking and a lot of strategy, which is why we call this the brand strategy. The result: This is what people share with others about whether what they have experienced

PRESENTED BY:

is in line with what the company has promised. So, as a result: The promise + the customers’ experience + what these customers tell their friends about your company/ product/ service = your brand. One of my favourite brandrelated quotes, from Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, illustrates something very important to note about developing a brand: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Reread that and think about it for a moment. It’s a powerful statement. Your brand is something you can influence, but not control. Your brand promise and brand strategy are things you can intentionally create in a controlled environment, but once it actually leaves the lab, it’s open to the world’s interpretation and every individual’s perspective. So back to the logo. I think you’ll now understand why a logo alone is not the brand. By

simply seeking to only develop a logo and a visual identity, business owners are only scratching the surface of a much larger business opportunity. Developing your brand can be one of the most powerful business tools, second only to your business strategy. There’s good reason for taking the time to develop your brand promise and strategy. These are the controllable elements to create that deep psychological, emotional (and sometimes physiological) connection with your customers. These connections, when consistent, develop trust and loyalty. What brand doesn’t want loyal fans? The grandfather of advertising, David Ogilvy, put it this way: “Any damn fool can put on a deal, but it takes genius, faith and perseverance to create a brand.” ■ Karley Cunningham is the big thinker and creative strategist at Big Bold Brand. www.bigboldbrand.com

SPONSORED BY:

November 1, 2012 A forum for women on the path to business success Business in Vancouver and the Professional Women’s Network present the 4th annual Leadership Lessons from Influential Women in Business. Talk candidly in interactive sessions led by some of BC’s most influential business women. This unique half-day forum includes networking time and lunch.

Time: 9:00am – 1:30pm Venue: Marriott Vancouver Pinnacle Downtown 1128 West Hastings St. Price: BIV Subscribers: $85 Non-Subscribers: $95 (includes lunch)

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For more information or to register visit:

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B12 BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 2–8, 2012

FABIO BANCUCCI | President and CEO, Peer 1 Hosting SMBs often assume that cloud computing is complex, taxing on financial and human resources or designed only for the enterprise. This is simply not the case. In fact, there are

TECHNOLOGY

any number of reasons why SMBs should be looking toward the cloud

APPS FOR THAT Wordpress Free blogs that include custom design templates, integrated statistics, and automatic spam protection. www.wordpress.com Zend Complete, enterprise-ready web application server for deploying, running and managing PHP applications. www.zend.com

10 free tech tools to improve productivity news about that topic. This is a great way to track media mentions about your company or your competition.

SMALL-BUSINESS BUILDER CYBELE NEGRIS

If a small business is going to skimp on security, MS Security Essentials is definitely better than having no security software

S

mall businesses don’t have the budgets or luxury to buy expensive licences for all the tools and software they need. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 10 free technology tools and software. Some are available through open source, GNU general public licence (intended to guarantee freedom to share and change all versions of software and programs) or in beta version and others have offered a “freemium” model that offers users a free lighter version, and upgrades as their needs and budgets grow. I have left out social media and related tools, which will be featured in a future article. Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts). This service keeps you in the loop about industry news and other information relevant to your business. Simply enter keywords or terms you want to track and Google will email you the latest relevant

PrimoPDF (www.primopdf.com). You don’t need Adobe Acrobat software to create PDFs. PrimoPDF allows you to create PDFs from any application by “printing” to the PrimoPDF printer. Convert documents from Word, Excel, PowerPoint and virtually any other printable file type. Foxit Reader (www.foxitsoftware.com/ downloads). An alternative to Acrobat Reader, Foxit has added features that allow you to make annotations and fill out PDF forms. Some people prefer SumatraPDF for its simplicity and because the program is small and portable on a USB drive. Sysinternals Suite (technet.microsoft. com/en-us/sysinternals). This group of Microsoft-sponsored system tools allows users to diagnose and troubleshoot PC/ network issues. Non-technical people may find it a bit complicated, but it’s worth a try before paying for a technician to do the fix.

Password Safe (passwordsafe.sourceforge.net). With the numerous passwords businesses have these days for all the websites and programs they are subscribed to, a convenient and secure place to store login information is essential. Password Safe stores all your usernames and passwords in an encrypted file you unlock with a single “master password.” GIMP (www.gimp.org). An alternative to Adobe Photoshop, GIMP can be used for expert quality photo retouching, image composition and image format conversion. It can also be used as a simple paint program. ■ Cybele Negris (cybele@webnames.ca) is the president and co-founder of Webnames.ca. She serves on the boards of Small Business BC and Small Business Roundtable of BC.

Getting your SMB into the cloud

Zinio Offers digital editions of popular magazines, with features like video, audio and live links, for iPad, iPhone, desktop and laptop. www.zinio.com Zite Matches users’ personal interests by scanning new stories for their article type, key attributes and manner of sharing across the web. www.zite.com

CardMunch (www.cardmunch.com). Recently bought by LinkedIn, this free iPhone app automatically converts a business card into a digital contact file stored in your phone. Simply take a photograph of the business card and the image is transmitted to a team of human transcribers at LinkedIn, which sends you back a detailed, accurate contact file for your phone. It will even show you the LinkedIn profile information and connections you have in common. It’s not yet available to Android or BlackBerry users.

Microsoft Security Essentials (windows. microsoft.com/mse). Many small businesses fail to protect themselves because they try to save money and don’t install the proper anti-virus, anti-spyware or anti-malware software. Norton AntiVirus, Kaspersky and others can be expensive when you add up the licence cost for each computer. MSE is free for up to 10 PCs. It’s also designed to be simple to install and easy to use. It runs quietly and efficiently in the background so you don’t have to worry about interruptions or installing updates. Some independent studies have shown it to be as effective as the paid software, but others say it’s not as effective. If a small business is going to skimp on security, MS Security Essentials is definitely better than having no security software.

CLOUD SURFING FABIO BANDUCCI

B

y now you’ve probably heard of the cloud. And while it has become one of the most tossed-around buzzwords of the past couple of years, you are not alone if you’re unsure of its meaning. Simply put, the cloud is a virtualized platform that runs across a massive underlying hardware environment, delivering an almost limitless reservoir of raw computing power. Businesses can use virtual servers instead of physical servers to host their website or data, giving them greater

control over their hosting costs, availability and scalability. Gartner Research estimates that the cloud computing market will be worth US$150 billion by 2013. However, despite the ease of use and cost efficiency that comes with outsourcing one or more aspects of your IT infrastructure to the cloud, many small to medium-sized businesses have not taken advantage of this new technology. SMBs often assume that cloud computing is complex, taxing on financial and human resources or designed only for the enterprise. This is simply not the case. In fact, there are any number of reasons why SMBs should be looking toward the cloud – to support their business and to grow their business. Organizations of all sizes need to focus on the business, mission and revenue critical aspects of their operations. This is especially true for SMBs that can’t afford to waste resources. By outsourcing to the cloud, you can free up crucial resources to focus on what’s most important to

your business: improving your products and services. There’s no need to be a tech genius to get started with the cloud. Ready to make the switch? Here are three tips for SMBs to get their head into the clouds: Start with one aspect of your business. There’s no need to jump in all at once. Start by outsourcing just one aspect of your information technology to the cloud. If it fits you can expand piece by piece. Don’t assume every cloud is the same. There are as many different cloud solutions as there are SMBs. Talk to your cloud-hosting provider to find the solution that’s right for you. Take advantage of free trials. Many hosting providers offer a free trial of their services. Test-drive outsourcing to the cloud by taking advantage of these offers. They are easy to get up and running and often come without any risk. ■ Fabio Banducci is president and CEO of PEER 1 Hosting (www.peer1.ca).


LESSONS TRENCHES FROM THE

SMALL-BUSINESS MONTH PART TWO

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BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

B3

B4 | Social media ■Teach yourself to get in the game ■Ask an expert

B7 | Sales ■What can online booking do for you?

Small Business Month events All events hosted at Small Business BC unless otherwise indicated

B8 | Location ■Space happy ■Looking to establish a retail location? Here are some tips

*Webinar: available across B.C. on videoconference and webinar

B11 | Franchising

Vancouver Island Economic Summit

■Buying in or selling out

B13 | Human resources

OCTOBER 15 & 16 Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo, B.C. www.viea.ca/index. php?page=58

■Move over type A’s; agencies seeking type T

SOHO Small Medium Enterprises Expo and Super Meetup

B14 | Time

OCTOBER 16 8 AM-5 PM. Vancouver Convention Centre west side. soho.ca/sme/

■Focusing your time in the development cycle

Funding and Resources Available for Innovative Businesses OCTOBER 17 9 AM-noon. Free. Presented by SRED, NSERC, IRAP, DFAIT and CICP. *Webinar

This is the second part of BIV’s Small Business Month report. The first was published in our October 2-8 issue.

Constant Contact: The Power of E-Newsletters and Engagement Marketing OCTOBER 17 1-3 PM. Free. Yaletown Roundhouse. Presented by Guy Steeves of Constant Contact.

Rapid Time Networks East Vancouver Launch Party OCTOBER 17 6:30-9 PM. $20. Waldorf Hotel. Presented by Rapid Time Networks. bit.ly/QdC8Uc

Returning to Provincial Sales Tax OCTOBER 18 11 AM-noon. $25. Presented by Gabrielle Loren of Loren, Nancke and Company. *Webinar

Hydro: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint and Bottom Line – Sustainability Initiatives OCTOBER 24 1-3 PM. Free. Presented by BC Hydro and Joe Kelly of Gobi Carbon Management Solutions. *Webinar

Hyper-Local Marketing – How to Get Found Online OCTOBER 25 8-9 AM. 2-3 PM. 5-6 PM. Location TBA. Check the Rapid Time Networks Meetup online for information. bit.ly/R9d9Qw

Inspire – Cool Concepts and Fresh Ideas OCTOBER 26 1-4 PM. $39. How to successfully build, leverage and engage a community of fans for your business. Includes a keynote and two interactive panels. Inhouse and available on webinar.

TradeStart: Drop Shipping Logistics OCTOBER 31 1-2:30 PM. $20. Presented by Richard Brinkert of Pacific Customs Brokers Ltd. *Webinar

The Irresistible Marketing Program ONGOING For women entrepreneurs and service professionals who are intimidated by marketing. Master marketing essentials, develop simple repeatable systems and connect with clients hungry for your services. Schedule a free 30-minute Marketing Smarts Discovery Session to learn more. Anne Melnyk. 604-943-1342 .

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B4

BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

ROB SCHLYECHER | Creative director, Spring Advertising and Design A lot of marketers mistake social media as a marketing tool and they attach marketing objectives to it and social media isn’t really a marketing tool because it doesn’t really work. What works is

SOCIAL MEDIA

when an organization treats social media as an interface between them and their customers

MHAIRI PETROVIC | Founder, Out-Smarts Marketing, Small Business BC ask an expert The biggest social media mistake that small-business owners make is not taking a strategic approach. Your online presence should reflect and augment your real-world strategy. Take time to consider your target audience, how best to connect and interact, which tools to use to do so, and how you will represent your organization and add value through great content. Ask why you are using social media and determine realistic business goals. If you take the time to consider these up front, you will be more likely to use social media tools effectively to grow your business. (More Small Business BC tips, B15)

Kyla Ray (left) and Michelle Miazga, owners of Port + Quarter Interior Spaces: social media is the best way to reach a wide audience for little or no money | DOMINIC SCHAEFER

Teach yourself to get in the game Use online tips and networking, and reach out for help when you need it BY LORNE MALLIN NEWS@BIV.COM

U

sing social media might seem daunting, but small businesses can learn how from online resources and Meetup groups. And for an extra hand, or if it’s all so overwhelming, get help. That’s the message from self-taught Vancouver entrepreneurs who have made social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, HootSuite and Placeling a vital part of their marketing. “I figured it out myself by reading online and watching YouTube videos,” said Kyla Ray, partners with Michelle Miazga in their Gastown interior design firm Port

+ Quarter Interior Spaces, which focuses on male clients. “Also a friend of mine has a social media company,” Ray said. “We had a chat for about three hours and he gave me some tips and tricks. I’m still in contact with him as well if I have any questions.” Clinical hypnotherapist Cynthia Miller taught herself from the Internet and getting together with groups from meetup.com that teach others how to market online, including how to automate sending her blog posts and e-newsletters to Facebook and Twitter. She runs her Pacific Peace Healing Arts Hypnotherapy at the Electra Health Floor clinic in downtown Vancouver and posts to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and has

plans to add Pinterest to the list. “At first it was hard to set things up but after I saw how I could use the automatic posting function, I kept looking into new places to post and new ways to do it,” she said. “It starts to make sense after a while; it doesn’t just come overnight.” Miller said it has taken about six to eight months for her social media efforts to have an impact with people now joining her networks by word of mouth. “I chose to do this myself as I like to be able to make those decisions,” said Miller. “Now that I have most things set up, I can teach an assistant to do what I do and I can devote my time to my business.” Ray said social media is free for the most


BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

B5

BEV ATTFIELD | Marketing director, Omicron I believe it can be more harmful if you are not prepared for that [social media] channel and enter it blindly and just hope to make your way though it. Especially in our business where we have architects and engineers and other professionals, you have to be very careful in those channels where your professional integrity is at risk

part, and businesses have to have it now to be a player in the game. “It’s the best way to reach a wide audience for little or no money,” she said. Both Ray and Miller have apps on their iPads to stay on top of social media. “I have a calendar on my desktop that is for marketing posts only,” said Miller. “Every day, there is something that needs to be done,” she said. Most people put tasks on their calendar but it takes organization and devotion to follow through with carrying out those tasks.” Ray uses the dashboard from Vancouver’s HootSuite Media Inc. to manage her tweets” “So on a Monday, I will sit down for two to three hours and schedule everything for that week.” That usually involves five or six tweets a day, including weekends, with links to tips, articles and videos about styles, trends and products. Those subjects are also on display on Port + Quarter’s account with Pinterest, which is like a digital noticeboard where you pin compelling images you notice online. Meant for visually oriented businesses, it’s not so useful for, say, a law firm. Ray is now exploring the app from Vancouver-based Placeling (Internet Services) Inc., which lets you explore

places and share them by pinning on a map. Ray said she checks her social media apps in the morning and then closes those windows during the day, checking for 10 minutes or so about every two hours. “Or else, you could just be on there all day reading things,” she said. “There’s a reason why social media is a full-time job at a lot of companies. It can take over.” ■

ASK AN EXPERT How do I decide which social media channels to use for our target audience? QUESTION |

Takeaway tips ■Focus on three or four social media services. Facebook and Twitter are musts. ■Make sure the platform you use is relative to your business. For example, a law firm doesn’t need a visually oriented app like Pinterest. ■Manage your time carefully. HootSuite is a lifesaver for managing tweets. ■Create a social media strategy rather than creating random posts. Be clear that what you send out is within your brand. ■Check your apps just a few times a day so you don’t get overwhelmed

CHRIS BREIKSS | President, 6S Marketing

F

irst of all, you will need a social media strategy or a clearly stated plan that identifies what you hope to achieve with social media. With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn, you may be interacting with people where the goal is not to drive them back to your website but, in fact, to develop relationships with them and your brand. However, you can still gain customers and use direct response on social media, but in the form of advertising. Facebook has a fantastic advertising program that allows you to target very specific demographics including age, sex, geographic location and interests.

Twitter’s promoted tweets also allow you to expand your reach on Twitter beyond the audience that follows you. LinkedIn also has terrific advertising options that focus on business-to-business advertising and, of course, Google and YouTube have very advanced advertising opportunities that can help deliver customers to your door. Your social media strategy will need to have content creation as a major part of it and you will need to have resources producing some or all of the following; blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates, videos, photo galleries. You will also need a listening strategy to monitor who is talking about your business and/or industry and identify who you should be engaging and interacting with on social media. Beyond Google Analytics, you will want to use a social media monitoring tool like Radian6. In my opinion, you need to have a presence on all social media channels but how much time and resources you need to allocate is the real question. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn are key and perhaps Pinterest as well. ■

“I Want a New Porsche Every Year” At their first planning meeting we asked Mr. and Mrs. J about their retirement goals. Mr. J listed off their goals, which included a new Porsche every year. Mrs. J leaned forward and endorsed Mr. J’s retirement goal, “He means it, and he deserves it.” Mr. J had brilliantly built the family business, and the new Porsche is his reward for years of success. Pacific Spirit has helped the J Family with retirement planning, portfolio management, family business decisions, IPP Implementation, and other financial opportunities. We are proud that we are now working with the next generation of the J Family and also providing for the future of the third generation. We can help you, too. Join us for a cup of coffee and a complimentary initial meeting.

The Pacific Spirit team: Iris Tang CGA, John S Clark CA, CFA, CFP, CIM, Lenka Urbankova, Dennis Wan CGA, CFA, CFP

Pacific Spirit | Investment Management Inc. 1100 – 800 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 2V6

Tel: 604-687-0123 | 1-800-337-1388 info@pacificspirit.ca | www.pacificspirit.ca

2011

Wealth Manager


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BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

STEPHANIE TOEWS | Uzima health Do what you love every step of the way. When

B7

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TONY MCALEER | Wealth manager, McAleer & Associates It’s said that 85% of people buy because they like and trust the person they are dealing with. I asked myself the question, “How trustable and likable am I?” Deep trust-based relationships are key to my success as a financial adviser and what I learned is that the quality of our relationship with others is defined by the quality of the relationship we have with ourselves. I made an investment in learning how to be more authentic with myself and with others, and the resulting impact on my business was astounding. My sales cycle shortened and my referrals increased dramatically.

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ow many hours do you spend in telephone or email tag trying to nail down a convenient appointment time for both you and your clients? Online booking can eliminate this time-waster and up your business. It’s more convenient for clients, it can reduce your communication load and it challenges you to get organized: for online booking, you need to develop good work/life boundaries and keep your calendar up to date. If you’re considering taking this route for sales, I have a few recommendations: ■Bookeo, which works well for my massage business, has all the services I need and is one of the least expensive out there ($15/month for a solo plan). ■FullSlate.com is a little slicker but more expensive ($30/ month). ■Schedulicity is also slick but requires your clients to make an account. Most companies advertise a one-month free trial. Here’s a useful list of criteria for choosing an online booking service: 1. Website integration. If you want your clients to stay on your website rather than navigating away, make sure you can embed the online booking calendar into your site. It’s a more professional and streamlined experience for the client. 2. No account creation. Many clients will be turned off if they need a password account before making an appointment. I know I would be. Name and email for your records is enough. 3. Two-way calendar sync. This can be really important if you manage your life with an online calendar such as Google. 4. Interface. It has to look good for your clients, and ideally it looks good for you from the admin side. I will admit that Bookeo does not have the most user-friendly calendar on my side, but from the client’s point of view it looks clean and professional. That’s all that matters to me. 5. Point-of-sale (POS) system. Most online booking services offer a mini-POS system that keeps track of your customer information, booking history and invoices (all privately – the company never contacts the client). Now that’s value. Finding a way to back up this information is my next step. Kelty McKerracher is a certified bodyworker with a massage practice in Gastown. Book online at www.embody-work.com.

Good Money knows small businesses play a big part in a vibrant economy. Our roots are in community banking. So we know the important role that small organizations play in the growth of our communities and the health of our economy. We also recognize that as the owner of a small business, or organization you want to get on with what you do best – running it. Our hands-on business specialists can help you with everyday banking, lending and investment solutions. The things that make doing business faster and easier. It’s nice to know too that while we’re helping you make good money, just by banking with Vancity, you’re also helping to put money to good in your community. Because at Vancity we continuously invest back into local businesses and organizations with a positive social, environmental and economic impact. Talk to us today about growing your business.

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B8

BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

RALF HOLZAPFEL | Co-owner, Spirit of Leadership, leadership training We would like to stay here [in the Okanagan] but we must go where the people are. Our business relies on this market in Vancouver, so we must go in this direction. It means we will have to

LOCATION

[reduce] the amount of land we use, but we need to make it easy for our clients to get to us

Space happy Choosing the right location for your business can mean the difference between sweet success and bitter failure

GLEN MURRAY | Realtor, Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty When considering a live/work space, it is important to look at your lifestyle requirements and not just that of your business. One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is not taking both into account. Using a licensed professional realtor to help you weigh the pros and cons is fundamental in making an educated decision on whether to buy or to lease your new business new location.

Owner of Cocoon Home Design, Mark Dawson: “if I could go back with that knowledge, I probably would have selected a different space” | DOMINIC SCHAEFER BY PETER DEVRIES NEWS@BIV.COM

W

ith the roughened hands of a craftsman, manipulating wood with honed tools and glue, Mark Dawson, owner of Cocoon Home Design, has built every part of his business but the front door. It, and the building it fronts, he chose eight years ago when he took out a lease on the shop about six blocks away from what is now the Olympic Village. Even then he knew the location posed some hurdles. “Some marketing [was] needed because there was limited foot traffic,” he said. “But one thing I underestimated was the difficulty in [employing] the strategy needed.” He tried a conventional approach, taking out advertisements in local publications and doing direct mailouts. He quickly discovered their ineffectiveness. “If I could go back with that knowledge, I probably would have selected a different space,” he said. “It’s definitely more of a challenge than I had thought it would be.” He was initially attracted by the industrial

area’s lower rent prices, but without the kind of foot traffic found on thoroughfares such as Broadway or West 4th Avenue, any walking wallets whose patronage might be seduced by the art of masterful carpentry have been sparse, and business, though steady, has remained slow. Yet the location isn’t wholly without countervailing virtue. It’s allowed Dawson to retain that which would otherwise be missing had he chosen a store on one of the majors. “My workshop is on site,” he explained. “It’s a beautiful space, with vaulted ceilings, big beams, open spaces.” In fact, his most useful advertising tool is the frequency with which people tell their friends about the old-world intimacy of the space. “People like the showroom; they’re talking to the guy with the sawdust on him who’s actually building [the products],” said Dawson. The word-of-mouth advertising has helped build his reputation to a point where most of his business comes from designers, referrals and repeat customers. Now, with its many new residents and alluring pathways, the east end of False Creek

is starting to bustle, and the near-deserted sidewalk outside Dawson’s studio may soon convey shoppers in greater numbers. Numbers aren’t a problem for Rachel Sawatzky, owner of CocoaNymph Chocolates and Confections. She’s had trouble meeting demand for her sweets at her Point Grey shop. “Once we started wholesaling, we had to turn people away.” She believes the success of her business on Vancouver’s west side can be attributed in part to the closure of two similar businesses that had been doing well. One of them never recovered from a fire, and the owner of the second decided to leave retail sales in pursuit of other ventures. Knowing the specific market climate of the neighbourhood, she suggested, can play a key role in the ultimate success or failure of a retail location. Yet the difficulties posed by the layout of her store set limitations on her ability to grow. “I have space that I’ve paid for but can’t use,” she said, referring to space she calls “funky”: a nook under a stairwell and two CONTINUED ON PAGE B9


BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

B9

SIMEON GARRIOTT | Independent associate, small business specialist, LegalShield /Gosmallbiz.com Having leased office/commercial spaces in my years of owning small businesses, I find that the most misunderstood term in a lease is “triple net.” Have the landlord outline in the lease what they consider to be the triple-net costs. Have the landlord then outline those costs for the previous three years and any anticipated increases. Don’t forget to have your lawyer review the lease before you sign it

Looking to establish a retail location? Here are some helpful tips

REALTY RECOMMENDATIONS NEIL HAMILTON

Average rents will often tell you everything you need to know about an area

S

o you’ve decided to take the leap and get into the retail trade. It’s a tough business but it can also very rewarding with all the great people you meet. Here are some pointers and things to remember before you sign on the dotted line for that great space. The product/area The first thing to keep in mind as you consider a suitable retail location is the product or service you are selling. Will you mainly cater to walk-by (i.e. “impulse purchase”) traffic or will yours be more of a “destination” location? If “destination,” will parking be a necessity? Also consider the area. Is it generally safe, especially if you’ll be open during evening hours? Will people feel comfortable coming to your location or will they be put off by the neighbourhood? Who are your retail (or residential) neighbours? What are the rents in the area compared

SPACE HAPPY CONTINUED FROM PAGE B8

concrete wheelchair ramps that consume 60 square feet of prime chocolate-eating real estate. To remedy the problem, she opened a second store farther east, equipped it with a bigger kitchen and stopped saying no to clients. In choosing the location, she had some help from a customer: an architect with a sweet tooth. “Looking for a building when it’s not your area of expertise can be pretty overwhelming,” she said, “so having someone help who considered the space very carefully was definitely an asset to the process.” The new location, at the corner of 7th Avenue and Ontario Street,

to those in other neighbourhoods? Average rents will often tell you everything you need to know about an area. Tip: Employ a knowledgeable commercial realtor to provide rental rate information. Realtors are professionals who do this for their clients on a daily basis and can quickly provide you with a wealth of information that will make this process a lot easier. And generally they get paid by the landlord or their listing brokerage for bringing them a tenant, so their assistance to you is free. The space Now to the space itself. First, is it large enough for what you’re planning to do there? If so, wonderful. But measure it yourself to be sure. Does it have ample storefront exposure? Is it located on a busier thoroughfare or a side street? This will greatly dictate customer traffic and the lease rate. What is the current usage and how successful is it? This may or may not be of concern to you. Check the applicable municipal zoning bylaws to ensure you can operate your type of business there. If it’s allowed but an unrelated type of business operates there now, you will have to apply to the municipality for a change of usage. Tip: Don’t overlook that little necessity of obtaining a business licence! Also check with both the landlord and the municipality regarding their respective signage regulations or constraints. Next, what kind of improvements will be necessary for you

had important qualities the first did not. “This place was the right size,” said Sawatzky. “We can definitely take advantage of the traffic in the neighbourhood. It’s on a very busy corner, and it’s at the intersection of two bike routes on two streets that people [use to access] Broadway and Main streets.” Sawatzky is confident that the shop, which has a large wall visible from the street, will be easy to see. “Once we put our signage up it will essentially be a billboard where hundreds and hundreds of cars drive by every day.” Her advice in deciding where to set up shop is as simple as her chocolates are sweet. “Plan [for your] needs, and make sure that the space meets them as closely as possible.” ■

to build out this space and how much will they cost? Do you require one or more washrooms and/or wheelchair access? What kind of electrical service is present? Check both the power and plumbing services and, if not sufficient, where will you have

to go to access them (coring through concrete can get very expensive). Tip: When costing your space buildout, ask other retail associates, friends or realtors who can personally recommend at least three quality contractors. Don’t simply search online

picking names at random. You could regret it. ■ Neil Hamilton is a senior property adviser with Macdonald Realty with expertise in buying, selling and leasing residential and commercial properties. He can be reached at neilhamilton@macrealty.com.

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BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

B11

DOUG ANDERSON | Owner, DA Top Talent A franchisor usually has much better business acumen, deeper pockets, the ability to tolerate risk in pursuit of growth and a fearlessness to pour every dollar back into the business in the

FRANCHISING

belief that that is the best investment they can make with their own capital

BRIAN SCUDAMORE | Founder and CEO, 1-800-GOT-JUNK When I moved to Victoria to start the second office and operation of the Rubbish Boys in 1995, I picked up The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and read it cover to cover – twice! Gerber’s assertion that “people don’t fail, but systems do” inspired me to write an operations manual filled with one-page best-practice summaries for each activity required to grow and operate a 1-800-GOT-JUNK? franchise. But I challenged each “best” practice as I documented them. By the end of 1997, my operating systems were so tight that the business looked and felt so much like a well-oiled franchise business that franchising became my model for growth.

Buying in or selling out For those with the right business, franchising can be the best way to achieve exponential growth BY PETER DEVRIES NEWS@BIV.COM

H

ow do you take a small idea and turn it into the next big thing in digital marketing? Ask Don McQuaid, owner of RTown Communications, and he’ll tell you it’s all about thinking big. “If I wanted a calm life, I guess I would have just run the business [in a small way],” he said. “I could have easily just tucked in and run in five or six markets corporately, but that’s just not my idea. I think this thing needs to be in 300 markets.” RTown has been recognized by a number of chambers of commerce as best new business and most innovative business. McQuaid gave a simple example showcasing why. “If [a tour company] has two seats left on a two o’clock sightseeing flight, in the past they would fax that information to one of the hotel concierges and hope that the agent would be able to sell the package to a guest.” With RTown, businesses can input their offers onto a custom template on the RTown website, and the ad is immediately distributed to thousands of hotel rooms, to digital screens in community stores, and, in the near future, said McQuaid, they will also ping to anyone with a mobile phone who has signed up for the app that allows them access to the information. Asked what made him think the business had what it takes to grow under a franchise model, his answer underlines the fact that he didn’t just jump blindly in. “I had looked at all the options and I knew I wanted to grow my business,” he said. “I’m really passionately excited about it and I think it’s the future. It’s a new media model. It’s a game changer.” When he realized the business potential he had what he called his “aha” moment. “It’s all about scalability,” he said. “You have to convince yourself that your business will scale successfully.” Duly convinced, he decided to rebuild the business based on a franchise model. RTown is now running in 12 markets and counting, including locations in the Bahamas. They broadcast into more than 45,000 hotel rooms and 570 digital signs across Canada, in areas such as Whistler, Banff, Mont Tremblant, Kelowna, Vernon, Tofino and, most recently, the Vancouver Hotel Network. It’s the stuff Doug Anderson, owner of DA Top Talent, looks for when advising clients on growing their businesses. “You need to have something unique,” he said. “To be the seventh major hamburger restaurant may be difficult to do.” Franchise entrepreneurs need to be very creative, often fearless individuals, said Anderson, who has worked with hundreds of new and growing businesses. “A franchisor usually has much better business acumen, deeper pockets, the ability to tolerate risk in pursuit of

Owner of RTown Communications Don McQuaid believes franchising the right business can be the quickest way to achieve exponential growth | DOMINIC SCHAEFER

growth and a fearlessness to pour every dollar back into the business in the belief that that is the best investment they can make with their own capital,” he said. “[These are] the usual characteristics of a franchise that’s growing.” That’s not to say, however, that the risk always pays off in the franchise marketplace. For those looking to purchase a franchise, Anderson warned of predatory franchisors, some of which he’s also come across and consequently walked away from. “Franchisors who are predatory, come in prepared for litigation and have a war chest with their lawyers, account for perhaps 20% of the market,” he said. They can structure the franchise such that it’s virtually impossible for the franchisee to make money or they charge high royalty fees so that at the end of the month, franchisees are lucky if they can cover costs. They may overcharge for the materials and equipment required in running the franchise. Selling the franchise can be very difficult as well, because the franchisor can retain the power to either approve or deny a given purchaser. Anderson has seen it before.

“There are some people out there who have lost their shirt,” he said, warning that the marketplace is sometimes sugarcoated. In his view, however, there’s no doubt the opportunities exist for those with a niche product or service that nobody else is offering and that is difficult to duplicate. “As a franchisor, that’s really where the magic is.” ■

Takeaway tips ■Ensure that your business is scalable and repeatable. ■Talk to many franchisors and franchisees about their experiences. ■Answer honestly: Are you creative, fearless and a risk-taker? ■Choose a business that you are incredibly passionate about. ■Find a lawyer or consultant with franchise expertise to help you with the fine print.


BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

B13

PAT CORBETT | Co-owner, Hills Health Ranch Part of how we retain staff is that when we hire, we tell employees that the culture here is the most important part of the job. We use three words: harmony, caring and nurturing. If the staff

HUMAN RESOURCES

are taking care of one another behind the scene, the customers are better taken care of

Move over type A’s; seeking type T

HIRE POWER DEAN ELISSAT

A

s the complexity of today’s marketing strategies increases, new challenges have surfaced for the modern company. The traditional structure – that divides a team into silos of experts – has become outdated as it limits a company’s ability to quickly adapt and meet the demands of the fast-moving digital landscape. To keep up, firms are seeking employees with a broad range of skills plus one standout skill. This is known as the T-shaped hire. T-shaped hires are those who have a strong single discipline such as technology (the vertical stalk of the T), while the horizontal line reflects their ability to understand other disciplines such as brand strategy, creative and project management. Key attributes of a T-shaped person is one

who demonstrates empathy – the ability to stand in another team-member’s shoe and understand challenges they face. Building on that empathy is their enthusiasm to actively participate in those other roles (with a lighter level of subject matter understanding). Engine Digital embraced this modern agency structure by adding seven recent Tshaped employees to the team (it’s built into their interviewing practice). These new hires have better context for decision-making and are able to contribute accordingly. The benefit to clients is a core team attached to a project that is able to navigate through potential unseen barriers. Having multiple perspectives in the room at one time manages the risk associated with digital (technology)-based solutions. While each T-shaped employee has lineitem duties for specific skills (e.g., user experience, content strategy), they are encouraged to draw on their knowledge in other disciplines. Engine Digital focuses its learning and development programs for each T-shape hire with this in mind. ■ Dean Elissat (dean.elissat@enginedigital.com) is the vice-president of client engagement at Engine Digital, which improves the way organizations connect with consumers across digital channels.

PRESENTED BY:

PERRY HILDEBRANDT | Owner, Flooring Canada Kelowna A few years ago, I engaged a leadership consultant to conduct an analytical assessment of the company, as things were not going well. The biggest changes had to come from me. I had to find ways to be more transparent, delegate and stop micromanaging. By making the advised changes, I now have a very dedicated team of employees. I was also not recognizing my employees for their ability to get the job done. I have learned to stop criticizing, condemning and complaining, and to practise catching people doing things right and recognizing and appreciating them.

SPONSORED BY:

November 1, 2012 A forum for women on the path to business success Business in Vancouver and the Professional Women’s Network present the 4th annual Leadership Lessons from Influential Women in Business. Talk candidly in interactive sessions led by some of BC’s most influential business women. This unique half-day forum includes networking time and lunch.

Time: 9:00am – 1:30pm Venue: Marriott Vancouver Pinnacle Downtown 1128 West Hastings St. Price: BIV Subscribers: $85 Non-Subscribers: $95 (includes lunch)

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For more information or to register visit:

www.biv.com/events/biv/leadership-lessons.


B14 BUSINESSVANCOUVER OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

MIKE PRETO | Financial adviser, Investors Group As time passes, the challenges [in your business] change. Keeping your clients’ best interest as the No. 1 priority is crucial regardless of the challenges you are trying to overcome. If you can

TIME

work that into the equation, then you know that everything else will fall into place

Focusing your time in the development cycle

TIME PASSAGES ROBERT SHULAR

Regardless of what you’re developing – a product or a service – they go through the same process …. What is different is where you typically focus your time

U

nderstanding where and how to focus your time throughout the development cycle of your business can save you time and money and greatly increase your chances at success. During my 20+ years developing products and services, I‘ve seen good people with great ideas spend tens to hundreds

of thousands of dollars and never get their idea to market. I’ve also seen and worked with a number of people who repeatedly bring successful products and service to the market on time and on budget. These people follow a process, focusing their time and effort in a planned manner. The fact of the matter is that regardless of what you’re developing – a product or a service – they go through the same process: planning, design, product manufacture or service delivery and sales and service support. What is different is where you typically focus your time. In general, you should allow about 25% of your time and effort to the planning stage, regardless of whether it’s a product or service. When designing, product development is typically heavily loaded. This

Summary table Development process Planning Design Manufacturing/ delivery Sales and service support

Product 25% 50% 15%

Service 25% 25% 30%

10%

20%

can account for in excess of 50% in many cases. On the service side, this is much lighter at around 25%. For product manufacture, if you’ve done your planning and design well, you can generally use standard manufacturing processes and techniques that will minimize your time share to about 15%. Service delivery on the other hand tends to require a greater time portion at about 30%. Similarly, for sales and service support, manufactured products can take advantage of out-of-the-box solutions such as sales samples and standard technical support and returns processing at about a 10% time portion. Services often require a more customized approach, as well as more legal and regulatory issues to manage, putting it at about 20%. Although each project must be considered on its own merits, these general guidelines will help you to focus your time and effort and increase your ability to successfully bring your project to the market, on time and on budget. ■ Robert Shular operates Creator Consulting, assisting clients in taking their ideas to market: www.creatorconsulting.com, 604-219-2397.

TD Waterhouse

Are You Looking For An Alternative To Mutual Funds? Now that your portfolio is over $300,000 maybe it’s time to broaden your horizons. Have your needs and capital outgrown your current advisors investment strategies and experience? Shaun Rickerby of Rickerby Wealth Group at TD Warehouse Private Investment Advice is uniquely able to provide professional and customized portfolio management services. After 26 years of experience, along with his highly experienced support team, he is able to provide a cost effective and compelling wealth management alternative.

WE WILL SAVE YOUR SEARCH THE RIGHT RESULTS. THE BEST PEOPLE. TAKE THE PLUNGE. Specializing in the recruitment of professionals in the fields of

Accounting & Finance

Information Technology

Engineering

If you are looking for a relationship built upon transparency and accountability please call us at 604-482-5188 for an introductory package or visit our website at www.rickerbywealthgroup.com. Shaun Rickerby, CFP, CIM, FCSI Vice President, Branch Manager Portfolio Manager & Investment Advisor shaun.rickerby @td.com

Sean Millington Investment Advisor sean.millington@td.com

www.rickerbywealthgroup.com TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice is a division of TD Waterhouse Canada Inc., a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ®/The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank or a wholly-owned subsidiary, in Canada and/or in other countries. TD Waterhouse Canada Inc – Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Rickerby Wealth Group consists of Shaun Rickerby, Branch Manager and Portfolio Manager, Sean Millington, Investment Advisor, Joanne Palma, Sales Assistant and Perry Chan, Sales Assistant. Rickerby Wealth Group is a part of TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice.

604 689 7946 info@swimrecruiting.com

www.swimrecruiting.com


BUSINESSVANCOUVER

OCTOBER 16–22, 2012

B15

ASK AN EXPERT

Small Business BC (www.smallbusiness.bc.ca) provides Ask an Expert days where you can book one-on-one appointments with a range of professionals so you can ask questions relevant to your business. Below are five Small Business BC experts. See Mhairi Petrovic’s social media response on page B4

QUESTION |

What’s the biggest mistake that small-business owners can avoid?

HR

Accounting

Web development

Law

Branding

GLEN GRANT | Principal, HRfx Consulting

GABRIELLE LOREN | CGA, Loren, Nancke & Company

ANGIE YOO | Creative director, Iconic State Digital Agency

LUCA CITTON | Associate, Luca A. Citton Law Corporation

ANGELA BAINS | CEO, CA Brand Business Development Group

One common mistake is that small-business practitioners often don’t get timely tax and accounting advice. Setting up your accounting system, ensuring that you are aware of all the documents that should be kept and confirming that your business has been set up in the most tax-efficient manner are key for any business to succeed. Nothing has to be too complex, but you do have to have a system. Consulting with a professional accountant before you start can save you thousands of dollars, and many offer some of their time for free.

Having a great online presence is a crucial part of any business. This is your stage to explain your business to a larger audience and to be found by your prospects. Many business owners tend to underestimate the budget and time it takes to develop their websites. There are great free websites you can use if your budget is low, but do keep in mind that you will be limited in functionality and customization. If you would like a high-quality website, consult a professional to plan out a budget and timeline so you have realistic expectations.

A common mistake business owners often make is taking on too much themselves without seeking the right advice. These days, business owners have a huge array of resources available to them and often make the mistake of substituting Google for the advice of a professional. The old adage still applies: “Penny wise and pound foolish.” In today’s market, most advisers are flexible with their fees and willing to accommodate startup budgets. Better to seek the advice of a professional and spend a little now to do it right than a lot later to fix a mistake.

The one mistake many businesses make is not having an overall idea of why they are in business. Every business needs a strong and consistent purpose behind what it does: a purpose that goes beyond their product or service. This enables a business to become brand-led, and everything it does is aligned to this purpose. This is what we call having a “big idea”: the “why” behind your business that excites and motivates you. It’s the starting point to creating innovative ideas for adding value, making customers happier and establishing loyalty to your brand.

M ista kes m ade by bu si ness owners while dealing with employees can cause serious consequences for companies. Some common mistakes are: ■Lack of employment-related documentation; ■Failure to recognize stellar employees and make poor performers aware of their deficiencies; and ■Fast hires, slow fires. Poor hires can lead to a host of problems. At termination, be aware of your legal obligations, but don’t delay the decision. Rectifying staff-related issues before they become serious can save headaches and expenses.

Running a small business requires hard work and tireless effort. An experienced lawyer who is easy to work with is essential. We get that. For more than 40 years, small businesses have chosen McQuarrie Hunter to advance and protect their interests. Our legal services for small businesses include: Commercial Lending

Franchising

Commercial Real Estate Corporate Law

Intellectual Property — Trademarks & Licensing

Employment Law

Litigation

Family Business and Succession Planning

Non-Competition / Non-Disclosure Agreements

At McQuarrie Hunter, small business matters. Call us for a consultation.

.

Central City Tower, Surrey


TD Canada Trust

When you run a business, you shouldn’t have to stop for advice

Switch for up to

$450

1

CASH

In person or by phone, we make it easy to get the help you need. With long days, longer nights and often weekends, running a business can leave you little time to get the banking advice you need. That’s why we offer longer hours, branches that open Sundays and Business Banking Specialists who do what it takes to accommodate your busy schedule. There’s even a dedicated Small Business Call Centre, which you can access before the workday starts and well after it ends. So take our advice: switch to TD today.

To learn more, visit a branch, call 1-800-450-7318 or go to www.tdcanadatrust.com/advice

Banking can be this comfortable 1 Offer available October 1 to October 31, 2012. Offer may be changed, extended or withdrawn at any time without notice. Conditions apply. See us for details. ®/ The TD logo and other trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank or a wholly owned subsidiary, in Canada and/or other countries.

Business in Vancouver - Small Business 2012  

Small Business Month and Small Business Week for 2012

Business in Vancouver - Small Business 2012  

Small Business Month and Small Business Week for 2012