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WELCOME

Welcome to the April Edition of CanadianSME Magazine. We’re almost halfway done with the year but with the current events going on in the world, it feels much longer than just the fourth month of the year. COVID-19 has now become an international issue that is affecting every aspect of our everyday life. That being said, it’s also been affecting the success of businesses everywhere. With the entire world on lockdown, more and more businesses are being forced to close their doors and go out of business. While at CanadianSME we do understand the difficult times that entrepreneurs are currently facing, we’re happy to provide our continuous support to SMEs everywhere. With that in mind, we’ve decided to focus our April issue on e-commerce. E-commerce provides many benefits that entrepreneurs often don’t realize. Having an online presence and being able to provide their products and services online continuously even through a world pandemic is extraordinary. Today’s technology has made that possible. While businesses are being forced to close their doors due to social distancing, having an online presence might be the one thing that can save them from going out of business and/or bankrupt. E-commerce allows entrepreneurs to continue their business without disruption. Today, more then ever, e-commerce is on the rise which is why we’ve dedicated this issue by including articles and interviews from experts in the e-commerce industry. Among our exclusive interviews we have Paul Parisi who is President of PayPal Canada, Shawna Miller, VP of Marketing at MasterCard Canada, and Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. In this issue, you’ll also find valuable articles on e-commerce such as the Major Takeaway from the 2020 Canadian E-Commerce Report and 10 Questions Every Company Should Ask When Vetting an IT Vendor. We’ve also included some articles on COVID-19 which we believe will be beneficial for every entrepreneur: CRISIS Communication – SME Leader’s Important Role During the COVID-19 Outbreak and ZOHO Launches Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program. While we know that the next few months will be difficult, CanadianSME strongly believes that if we stand together and work hard enough, we will make it through. We hope you find this month’s issue beneficial and until next month, happy reading!

Thanks for your support!

www.canadiansme.ca info@canadiansme.ca canadiansme canadian_sme canadiansme Publisher Shaik Khaleeluddin (SK)

Webmaster Ashraf

Consulting Editor Shiraz Siddique

Social Media Cmarketing Inc

Creative Designer Rakibul Islam

Photography Ahsan Khan 416 617 3058

Client Manager Sheliza Yacoob

Contributors Hon. Mary Ng Shawna Miller Rocco Rossi Andrea Lekushoff Jim Estill Prabmeet Sarkaria

Tom Burmeister Paul Parisi Derek Luke David Rabin

For Advertisements: info@canadiansme.ca Cmarketing Inc 2800 Skymark Avenue, Suite 203 Mississauga, ON. Canada. L4W 5A6 +1 647 668 5785 + 905 206 0055 MEMBER OF

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) ISSN 2562-0649 (Print) ISSN 2562-0657 (Online)

Published by Cmarketing Inc 2800 Skymark Avenue, Suite 203 Mississauga, ON. Canada. L4W 5A6. Copyright © 2020 CMarketing Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photography or illustrations without written permission from the publisher is prohibited.

The contents in CanadianSME Magazine are for informational purposes only. Neither Cmarketing, the publishers nor any of its partners, employees or affiliates accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of its contents.


CONTENTS 31 13 THE HONOURABLE MARY NG

25

EXCLUSIVE CHAT WITH Shawna Miller

Vice President, Marketing & Communications at Mastercard in Canada

ONE-ON-ONE WITH

Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Prabmeet Sarkaria Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction

27 10 QUESTIONS Every company should ask when vetting an IT vendor

34

21

THOUGHTS ON BUSINESS LEADERSHIP

SMALL BUSINESS TALK WITH

Rola Dagher President & CEO, Cisco Canada

PAUL PARISI President, PayPal Canada

23

TIPS TO HELP SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS WITH REMOTE WORK

By Lissa Ricci, VP of small business solutions, Cisco Canada


Enjoy our reach.

We connect you to over 450 chambers of commerce, reaching 200,000 Canadian businesses – your future customers.

Attract new customers.

Our audience of business executives and administrators are always looking for ways to save time and money.

Reputation matters.

Advertise with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Get started today! 1-800-661-2930 (2226) | info@chamber.ca For more information, visit Chamber.ca.

Benefit from the credibility of being associated with Canada’s largest and most influential business organization.


SOCIAL DISTANCING Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other. Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. With patience and cooperation, we can all do our part.

What does Social Distancing mean? This means making changes in your everyday routines in order to minimize close contact with others, including: f avoiding

crowded places and non-essential gatherings

f avoiding

common greetings, such as handshakes

f limiting

contact with people at higher risk (e.g. older adults and those in poor health)

f keeping

a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others, as much as possible

Here’s how you can practice social distancing: f greet f stay

with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug

home as much as possible, including for meals and entertainment

f shop

or take public transportation during off-peak hours

f conduct f host f use

virtual meetings

virtual playdates for your kids

technology to keep in touch with friends and family

If possible, f use

food delivery services or online shopping

f exercise f work

at home or outside

from home

Remember to: f wash

your hands often for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face

f cough f avoid

or sneeze into the bend of your arm

touching surfaces people touch often

If you’re concerned you may have COVID-19: f separate

yourself from others as soon as you have symptoms

f if

you are outside the home when a symptom develops, go home immediately and avoid taking public transit

f stay

home and follow the advice of your Public Health Authority, who may recommend self-isolation

f call

ahead to a health care provider if you are ill and seeking medical attention

FOR MORE INFORMATION: canada.ca/coronavirus

1-833-784-4397


BANKS IN CANADA STEP UP TO

ONE THIRD OF SHUTTERED SMES

SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS

NOT CONFIDENT THEY WILL EVER

Canada is in the midst of a public health emergency that has

REOPEN

touched everyone. It has created volatility in our markets and impacts to our economy – and has created real stress for businesses. Small businesses are an economic engine of this country, and Canada's  banks know that these businesses are particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this unprecedented time,  Canada's  banks have been working around the clock to bring much-needed relief to their customers across the country. Banks are now working to effectively implement the direction announced by the federal government to support Canadian businesses, more details of which will be available in the coming weeks. Each bank will have more information to share with their small business customers in the weeks ahead, as specific plans are clarified by the federal government. Once all details of the support program are finalized with the government, banks will update their websites with customer information about how to enrol and have their questions answered.  For details about existing relief programs, customers are encouraged to visit banks' specific COVID-19 relief webpages for further information before calling or visiting their specific bank. Due to the unprecedented volume of calls banks are experiencing, we appreciate Canadians' understanding as bank representatives continue to work very hard to respond to requests for relief. For more information, please visit: www.bmo.com/main/personal/bmo-branches-coronavirus-update

Small businesses remain extremely anxious about the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and 32 per cent of those who have had to close are unsure if they will be able to reopen, show new survey results released today from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). While current federal support programs like wage subsidies are viewed positively by business owners, much more is required to addressed ongoing fixed costs, such as rent. “Putting in place a 75 per cent wage subsidy was terrific news and we are already hearing from business owners who have delayed layoffs as a result. Stress among business owners is very high and it’s critical that the wage subsidy and other measures are accessible to as many businesses as possible to avoid a flood of permanent closures in the weeks and months to come,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly.

THE SURVEY FOUND: 68 per cent viewed the wage subsidy program as helpful (despite limited details being available) 71 per cent said deferring GST/HST payments will be of assistance53 per

www.cibc.com/en/personal-banking/advice-centre/covid-19.html

cent rated the new Canada Emergency

www.nbc.ca/personal/notice.html

Business Account positively

www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/personal/scotia-support/latestupdates.html www.rbc.com/covid-19 www.td.com/ca/en/personal-banking/covid-19

56 per cent said they have no more capacity to take on debt during this emergency 21 per cent remain fully open, 31 per cent are fully closed, 46 per cent are partially shut down

About the Canadian Bankers Association The Canadian Bankers Association is the voice of more than 60 domestic and foreign banks that help drive Canada's economic growth and prosperity. The CBA advocates for public policies that contribute to

The average cost of COVID-19 on small business is $160,000

a sound, thriving banking system to ensure Canadians can succeed in their financial goals. www.cba.ca.

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

7


GOT A BUSINESS IDEA TO HELP COMBAT COVID-19?

“This increased funding leverage is unprecedented in Mitacs’s 20year history,” Hepburn explained, adding that Mitacs has already deployed resources to mobilize Canadian researchers to develop solutions for projects ranging from improved facial masks to a

THIS ORGANIZATION CAN HELP YOU GET SUPPORT, FUNDING

COVID-19 vaccine. The organization’s business development team is also serving as connectors for calls for highly needed specialty equipment, including 3D printers and ventilators. “While we continue to focus on our core operations and established programs, Mitacs is committed to doing our part during this global

Mitacs announces first-of-its-kind initiative to speed up application process, access to research talent for SMEs

crisis,” Hepburn said. “It is our hope that this initiative will give SMEs the support needed to provide highly needed solutions at this unprecedented time.”

If you’re a small to medium-sized business (SME) with an idea that can help in Canada’s fight to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a national research organization is poised to help your company rapidly transform that concept into reality. Mitacs — a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions — has announced a first-ofits-kind initiative to help SMEs expedite coronavirus-related projects by securing government funding, accessing resources for research, development, and equipment, and hiring post-secondary interns, within days. “Our team is committed to supporting the development of innovative solutions for Canada and the world,” said John Hepburn, CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs. “In response to federal and provincial government announcements of funding for coronavirus research, our 80 business development experts nationwide are poised to guide SMEs through the process and give them access to the talent and tools needed to succeed.” The team assists SMEs in answering government calls-forproposals by helping to complete Mitacs funding applications. Mitacs also matches and connects businesses with top researchers at Canadian universities and colleges according to the skills and expertise required to develop each particular solution. Most recently, college interns have been added to the mix in order to support project development with activities such as coding, prototyping, monitoring cell cultures, managing data, and creating visual presentations of modeling22. Incorporating college students in the R&D process will help commercialize products, services, and technologies faster than would otherwise be possible, Hepburn explained. For SMEs looking to hire a post-secondary researcher for a fourmonth internship to help develop COVID-19 solutions, Mitacs will cover 75 per cent of the intern’s $15,000 salary. That means that businesses with qualifying COVID-19 projects during this finite period will contribute $3,750 for a four-month internship, with the remaining cost of $11,250 covered by Mitacs through government and other funding sources. Traditionally, Mitacs requires organizations to contribute $7,500 per four-month research intern for projects, all accessible as part of the organization’s Accelerate internship program.

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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Quick Facts: Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions. Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan. For information about Mitacs and its programs, see mitacs.ca/newsroom.

RETAIL INDUSTRY TIPS FOR SHOPPERS Retail Council of Canada (RCC), on behalf of the retail industry in Canada, has just released a short video to explain the precautions and guidelines grocery and drugstore shoppers should follow during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep customers, retail employees and communities across Canada safe.  "The way we live our lives has fundamentally changed over the past several weeks.  So, what does that mean for the activities that many of us still need to do each week, like shopping for food or other essential needs?  While your shopping experience at your local grocery or drugstore has changed, it's important for each of us to recognize the role we need to play to help keep front-line workers in stores safe," said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada.  "On behalf of retailers across the country, RCC wants to thank employees who are keeping grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential retail services operating – helping keep Canadians fed and well." The video link can be found here : http://www.retailcouncil.org/shopsmart


RBC CUTS CREDIT CARD INTEREST

ADVOCIS LAUNCHES FREE ONLINE

BY 50% FOR CLIENTS FACING

SERVICE TO CONNECT FINANCIAL

HARDSHIP DUE TO COVID-19

ADVISORS WITH SMALL BUSINESS

Effective April 6, 2020, RBC will reduce

OWNERS IN WAKE OF COVID-19

credit card interest charges by 50% for personal and small business clients receiving minimum payment deferrals

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the Canadian economy, Advocis – The Financial Advisors Association of Canada – has been in pursuit of how to best assist Canadians during this uncertain time.

RBC announced today it will be reducing credit card interest charges by 50% for those clients receiving minimum payment deferrals on credit cards. Upon completion of a financial review with an RBC advisor, customers will be eligible for a 50% credit of their interest charges during the deferral period. "Clients are managing their spending as they adjust to new circumstances and, to help them, we have introduced several relief measures to support them in this very difficult time," said Neil McLaughlin, Group Head, Personal and Commercial Banking for RBC. "More than anything, clients need to know that they have options. Approximately 80% of our clients either do not pay credit card interest or have access to lower interest rate options, like Lines of Credit. By reducing interest charges for clients who receive credit card minimum payment deferrals, we are now offering additional support during these challenging times." For personal and small business credit card clients already receiving minimum payment deferrals, RBC will reduce the current interest charges on their credit card by 50%. The difference in interest will be credited to their account. For more information about financial relief available to clients during these times, please visit https://www.rbc.com/covid-19/index.html. About RBC Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 85,000+ employees who bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada's biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com. We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at rbc.com/community-social-impact.

Inspired by the Government of Ontario’s recently launched “Ontario Together” program, Advocis is now pleased to announce the fullynational launch of Advocis Connect – a free online service that will match Canadian small businesses with financial advisors who can provide high-level advice on the state of their small business, as well as answer questions on navigating any government relief programs which may be available to them. Through a simple online form, small business owners in every province and territory can submit their contact information, after which they will be paired with a volunteer financial advisor in their area within 1-2 business days. .Advocis Connect advisors, all of whom are members of Advocis and bound to its Code of Conduct, are proud to be participating in the program, which they recognize allows them to use their skills and abilities to uniquely serve their communities in this time of great difficulty. “The motto of Advocis is non solis nobis – which translates to ‘not for ourselves alone’,” said Greg Pollock, President and CEO of Advocis. “Through Advocis Connect, we are working with our 13,000+ members across Canada to live up to those words, and dedicating resources within our association to coordinate them effectively so that small business owners across the country can weather this unprecedented storm.” Small business owners who are interested in participating are invited to visit: https://info.advocis.ca/advocis-connect for more information. About Advocis Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada, is the largest voluntary professional membership association of financial advisors in Canada, representing more than 13,000 members and 40 Chapters across the country. Advocis offers designations, continuing education opportunities, industry-leading publications and membership in a chapter network with comprehensive mentorship programs, study groups and practice development resources. For more information, visit http://advocis.ca.

SOURCE RBC Royal Bank

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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PROVINCIAL & TERRITORIAL RESOURCES FOR CANADIAN SMES

BRITISH COLUMBIA BC Chamber of Commerce 750 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2T8

COVID-19

Phone: (604) 683-0700 http://www.bcchamber.org/

Canadian Chamber of Commerce 1700-275 Slater Street, Ottawa ON, K1P 5H9T: 613.238.4000 | F: 613.238.7643

SASKATCHEWAN Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

info@chamber.ca

200-2221 Cornwall St, Regina, SK S4P 2L1 Phone: (306) 352-2671

ONTARIO

http://www.saskchamber.com

Ontario Chamber of Commerce 180 Dundas Street West, Suite 2105 Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8 Tel: 416.482.5222 http://www.occ.ca

NOVA SCOTIA Halifax Chamber of Commerce 32 Akerley Boulevard, Suite 100Dartmouth NS, B3B 1N1, Canada (902) 468-7111

ALBERTA

info@halifaxchamber.com

Alberta Chambers of Commerce

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

1808, 10025 - 102A Avenue Edmonton, AB T5J2Z2(780) 425-4180 http://www.abchamber.ca/

Newfoundland and Labrador Chambers of Commerce

QUÉBEC

6 Hillcrest Road, P.O. Box 460, Station B Happy Valley-Goose

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Quebec 1150 Rue de Claire-Fontaine Bureau 740,

Bay, NLCanada, A0P 1E0 Tel: (709) 896-8787Toll Free: 1-877-920-8787 https://www.chamberlabrador.com/

Quebec City, Quebec G1R 5G4 (418) 692-3853

NUNAVUT

www.cciquebec.ca

ALBERTA

The Government of Nunavut P.O. Box 1000 Station 200Iqaluit, NunavutX0A 0H0

Manitoba Chambers Of Commerce 201 Portage Ave # 550, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3K6 Phone: (204) 948-0100

Toll free: 1-877-212-6438Tel: (867) 975-6000 Fax: (867) 975-6099 www.gov.nu.ca

http://www.mbchamber.mb.ca

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

NEW BRUNSWICK Atlantic Chamber of Commerce

Government of the Northwest Territories

PO Box 2291Windsor,

P.O. Box1320Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9

NS B0N 2T0 902.698.0265

Switchboard: (867) 767-9000

/www.atlanticchamber.ca

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

https://www.gov.nt.ca/

10


EDC PROVIDES RELIEF FOR CANADIAN BUSINESSES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

INCREASED ACCESS TO WORKING CAPITAL AND INSURANCE

For credit insurance customers, EDC understands how difficult this time is and therefore effective immediately EDC will:

E

Cover losses for goods shipped even if the buyer has not accepted the goods, subject to terms.

Waive the 60-day waiting period for claims.

xport Development Canada (EDC) is here for Canadian businesses with enhanced services and support to help as the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts their business. Our immediate focus during this time of crisis is bringing liquidity into the market in order to manage the challenges companies are facing. Here is how EDC is helping Canadian exporters as of today:

Effective March 24, 2020, EDC is stepping up to support all exporting companies by offering their bank a guarantee on loans of up to $5M so that companies can access more cash immediately. For more details, contact your financial institution. Providing timely and relevant information through our insights, tools and advice like Export Help Hub. Through a MyEDC account Canadian businesses can access free services and information.

“EDC is here to support Canadian companies in good times and bad. We have an essential role to play alongside Team Canada partners in responding to our current economic crisis. This is the first announcement on how EDC intends to support Canadian businesses. Stay tuned for more.” said Mairead Lavery, President and CEO, EDC.

Customer Support/access to information :

1. New to EDC and seeking more information please call 1-800-229-0575 or tell us how we can help here.

2. Current EDC Customer needing working capital and financial solutions should contact their account manager.

3. Existing customers needing any assistance with insurance products and online portals should contact 1-866-716-7201 and support@edc.ca.

4. If you only sell products and services within Canada, our Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) partner financial institutions are here to help you. We recommend reaching out to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) as a first step. You can see how they are helping businesses like yours here.

About EDC Export Development Canada (EDC) is a financial Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. As international risk experts, we equip Canadian companies with the tools they need – the trade knowledge, financing solutions, equity, insurance, and connections – to grow their business with confidence. Underlying all our support is a commitment to sustainable and responsible business. For more information and to learn how we can help your company, call us at 1-888-434-8508 or visit www.edc.ca.

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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ZOHO LAUNCHES SMALL BUSINESS EMERGENCY SUBSCRIPTION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Program toprovide up to 20,000 of Zoho’s small business customers free access to their existing Zoho applications for up to three months

Z

oho Corporation, a global company that offers the most comprehensive suite of business software applications in the industry, is launching its Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP) to help Zoho customers worldwide weather this global crisis. A recent study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has found that half of Canada’s small firms have already seen a drop in sales due to the economic effects of COVID-19, with 4 in 10 of those affected businesses also reporting a decrease greater than 25 per cent1. ESAP is one way Zoho is committing itself to helping its small business customers. For up to 20,000 qualified paying customers with 25 employees or less, Zoho is waiving the cost of every single application they currently use, for up to three months

a virtual productivity platform of 11 collaboration applications, provided to businesses of all sizes around the world for free, so that companies could effectively make the transition to remote work. Since its release two weeks ago, more than 5,000 new companies are running on the platform, and that number is increasing every day. We have seen an average of 500 per cent growth in usage of our collaboration apps and 1,000 per cent growth in daily new users of Zoho Meeting. “Our business has been extremely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We were on the leading edge of the impact,” said Anders Boulanger, Founder and CEO of The Infotainers, a Canadabased event entertainment company. “We work delivering custom presentations in our clients’ trade show booths, and one by one trade shows have been canceled leaving us with little to no income for the next four months or more. Last week, we were forced to lay off one of our employees. At the moment, we are taking extreme cost-cutting measures and many of our month-to-month subscriptions are on the chopping block. We would definitely consider our business a ‘Zoho Shop’. We will touch at least two or three Zoho applications on any single work day, so they are mission critical to our business’ long-term success. It means a lot to us that Zoho is reaching out and supporting their loyal customers. Having three months of complimentary services means that we can survive that much longer and we can put off laying off another employee. Every little bit helps when it comes to finding savings and this gesture goes a long way.”

Zoho is a 24-year-old, bootstrapped, privately held company with more than 50 million users located in over 180 countries. Since the beginning, Zoho has owed its existence to its small business customers. While Zoho now has grown significantly upmarket, serving midmarket and enterprise customers in addition to small businesses, the company believes that for the broader economy to stay healthy, SMBs must first stay healthy and viable. ESAP is intended to lighten the financial burden put upon our small business customers during this chaotic and difficult period. “Certain industries have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and we strongly encourage our customers in these industries to please apply for this Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program,” continued Vembu. “While we want to provide relief for as many small business customers as possible, we will prioritize those who are most in need and hope that others who are adapting to market conditions will help us by allowing program availability to those struggling to stay afloat.”

Between this global program and the nocost availability of Zoho Remotely, a full virtual collaboration platform, Zoho is committed to helping as many businesses as possible. We are encouraging other companies in a position to help businesses survive to join us in supporting the small business ecosystem.

Earlier this month, Zoho launched Remotely, CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

12

Please see a video announcement of the Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program from our CEO Sridhar Vembu: https://youtu.be/ZxSrdGeEG1M For more information and to apply for the Small Business Emergency Assistance Subscription Program, please visit www.zoho.com/ESAP.

ABOUT ZOHO With 45+ apps in nearly every major business category, including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting and back office operations, and an array of productivity and collaboration tools, Zoho Corporation is one of the world’s most prolific software companies. Zoho is privately held and profitable with more than 8,000 employees. Zoho is headquartered in Austin, Texas with international headquarters in Chennai, India. Additional offices are in the United States, India, Japan, China, Singapore, Mexico, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates. Zoho respects user privacy and does not have an ad-revenue model in any part of its business, including its free products. More than 50 million users around the world, across hundreds of thousands of companies, rely on Zoho every day to run their businesses, including Zoho itself. For more information, please visit www.zoho.com.


THOUGHTS ON BUSINES LEADERSHIP THE HONOURABLE MARY NG Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Image credit: Small Business Ministry, Canada

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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TheHonourableMaryNg

How do you encourage the development of your employees?

The Honourable Mary Ng was elected as Member of Parliament for Markham–

I believe that mentorship is incredibly important. In my own professional journey, my parents were my first

Thornhill in April 2017.Minister Ng is a

mentors. Growing up, I always noticed my father’s quiet determination, and the way my mom made sure my

devoted community leader who has always

siblings and I were kind and respectful of one another. I have worked with incredible leaders who have

believed in the power of public service. She

challenged my thoughts and supported my goals. I aspire to promote this kind of mentorship and guidance

has 20 years of experience in the areas of

within my office and beyond. Encouraging people and empowering them to succeed is how we can best

education, women’s leadership, job creation,

serve small businesses, entrepreneurs, and all Canadians across the country.

and entrepreneurship.Minister Ng immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong with her family and grew up learning about the struggle and eventual success that many new immigrants experience in Canada.Her years working for the Ontario Public Service, Ryerson University, and the Ontario Ministry of Education led to her being recognized as one of Canada’s topperforming public sector leaders. She later served as Director of Appointments for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Image credit: Canva

What is your definition of Leadership?

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

To me, leadership is getting involved in a cause you care about – and encouraging and

We are living through an extraordinary period in the face of

empowering others to do the same.

COVID-19 – and I know Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs are feeling the brunt of it.Our government will do whatever it takes to help small businesses and all

What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?

Canadians get through this challenging time. Whether you are self-employed, a small business owner, or an entrepreneur – you shouldn’t have to worry about having to lose your business or your job.That is why we are working

Growing up, my dad taught me and my siblings to be proud of who we are and where we come from, and to listen to people especially when you we didn’t agree with their point of view. He also taught me to find a way to get involved to make our community a better place.Now, more than ever, I would say that those life lessons – an ability to listen, work together with others, and find innovative ways to solve problems – are at the core of

hard to provide immediate relief for small businesses so you can keep more money in your pocket, and keep people employed. Whether it’s our Emergency Response Benefit, enhanced Work-Sharing Program, or increased lending capacity from financial institutions, we are working around the clock to get small businesses and workers the support they need to get through this.Canadians are innovative, we are strong, and we are resilient. We will get through this together.For more information about supports for small businesses, visit http://canada.ca/covid-19-business.

how I aim to serve my community and all Canadians. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

14

Our government will do whatever it takes to help small businesses and all Canadians get through this challenging time.


CANADA’S COVID-19 ECONOMIC RESPONSE PLAN: SUPPORT FOR CANADIANS AND BUSINESSES

T

he Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. On March 18, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new set of economic measures to help stabilize the economy during this challenging period. These measures, delivered as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, will provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses.

Supporting Canadian Business through the Canada Account The government is changing the Canada Account so that the Minister of Finance would now be able to determine the limit of the Canada Account in order to deal with exceptional circumstances. The Canada Account is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and is used by the government to support exporters when deemed to be in the national interest. This will allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian companies through loans, guarantees or insurance policies during these challenging times.

Support for Businesses The Government of Canada is taking immediate, significant and decisive action to support Canadian businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 13, 2020, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, Governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz, and Superintendent of Financial Institutions Jeremy Rudin outlined a coordinated package of measures to support the functioning of markets, the resilience of our financial sector, and continued access to financing for Canadian businesses. These actions will significantly increase the availability of credit to businesses of all sizes, sustain liquidity in key financial markets, and provide flexibility to businesses experiencing hardship. On March 18, 2020 the government and its partners announced further measures to support businesses. These actions are part of Canada’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19, and the significant stimulus program developed to stabilize Canada’s economy, support businesses and to protect Canadians.

Helping Businesses Keep their Workers

Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes

The government is changing the Canada Account so that the Minister of Finance would now be able to determine the limit of the Canada Account in order to deal with exceptional circumstances. The Canada Account is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and is used by the government to support exporters when deemed to be in the national interest. This will allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian companies through loans, guarantees or insurance policies during these challenging times.

The government is changing the Canada Account so that the Minister of Finance would now be able to determine the limit of the Canada Account in order to deal with exceptional circumstances. The Canada Account is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and is used by the government to support exporters when deemed to be in the national interest. This will allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian companies through loans, guarantees or insurance policies during these challenging times.

Flexibility for Businesses Filing Taxes The government is changing the Canada Account so that the Minister of Finance would now be able to determine the limit of the Canada Account in order to deal with exceptional circumstances. The Canada Account is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and is used by the government to support exporters when deemed to be in the national interest. This will allow the government to provide additional support to Canadian companies through loans, guarantees or insurance policies during these challenging times. Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. The Canada Revenue Agency will not contact any small or medium (SME) businesses to initiate any post assessment GST/HST or Income Tax audits for the next four weeks. For the vast majority of businesses, the Canada Revenue Agency will temporarily suspend audit interaction with taxpayers and representatives. The Liaison Officer service offers help to owners of small businesses to understand their tax obligations. Traditionally available in-person, this service is now available over the phone and will be customizing information during these challenging times by ensuring small businesses are aware of any changes such as filing and payment deadlines, proactive relief measures, etc. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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Ensuring Businesses Have Access to Credit The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses. This will be an effective tool for helping viable Canadian businesses remain resilient during these very uncertain times. BDC and EDC are cooperating with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism. The near term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy.

Ensuring Businesses Have Access to Credit The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses. This will be an effective tool for helping viable Canadian businesses remain resilient during these very uncertain times. BDC and EDC are cooperating with private sector lenders to coordinate on credit solutions for individual businesses, including in sectors such as oil and gas, air transportation and tourism. The near term credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector will also be increased through Farm Credit Canada. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy. The Bank of Canada also took a series of actions to support the Canadian economy during this period of economic stress, enhance the resilience of the Canadian financial system, and help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to both households and businesses. This included cutting the interest rate to 0.75% as a proactive measure in light of the negative shocks to Canada’s economy arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent sharp drop in oil prices.

Supporting Financial Market Liquidity As a further proactive and coordinated measure to bolster the financial system and the Canadian economy, the government announced on March 16 that it is launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program (IMPP). Under this program, the government will purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This action will provide long-term stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders, help facilitate continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses, and add liquidity to Canada’s mortgage market. Details of the terms of the purchase operations will be provided to lenders by CMHC later this week. The IMPP enhances the already substantial set of measures announced on March 13 to support the economy and the financial system. CMHC stands ready to further support liquidity and the stability of the financial markets through its mortgage funding programs as necessary. Further, the Bank of Canada has announced that it will adjust its market liquidity operations CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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to maintain market functioning and credit availability during the current period of uncertainty in which conditions are evolving rapidly. The Bank of Canada also announced that it will broaden eligible collateral for its term repo facility to include the full range of collateral eligible under the Standing Liquidity Facility, with the exception of the non-mortgage loan portfolio. This expansion of eligible collateral will provide support to funding conditions for financial institutions by providing a backstop to regular private funding. The Bank also announced that it stands ready, as a proactive measure, to provide support to the Canada Mortgage Bond (CMB) market so that this important funding market continues to function well. This would include, as required, purchases of CMBs in the secondary market. Similar to the increase in Government of Canada bond buybacks, this will support market liquidity and price discovery.


$ Image credit: Envanto

MAJOR TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 2020 CANADIAN E-COMMERCE REPORT Canada Post recently released their 2020 Canadian E-Commerce Report. With technology continuing to develop and change our way of living and doing business, e-commerce is on the rise. More and more businesses are opting for e-commerce to gain more customers and expand their targeted audience. For businesses to really succeed in the e-commerce world, understanding their customers and having a better knowledge of what consumers want is crucial. To help businesses understand shoppers behaviours and tendencies, Canada Post surveyed 5,000 Canadians who made online purchases in 2019. By doing so, they were able to gather data insight that revealed what are some of the deciding factors and important aspects that online consumers are looking for when it comes to online shopping. The 2020 Canadian E-Commerce Report revealed three important aspects: the current trends in Canadian e-commerce, important deciding factors for creating a standout shopping experience, and how to increase and retain online consumers.

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Current trends in Canadian e-commerce There are many aspects and important factors that the 2020 Canadian E-Commerce revealed. Among those what the fact that 80% of Canadians shopped online in 2019 with an estimated spending of approximately $65 billion. If the market continues to progress as it is at the moment, by 2023 the $65 billion can increase to $108 billion. With the online market that continues to grow and mature, it’s no wonder that 32% of Canadian online shoppers confirmed that they will continue to purchase online in the coming year and will in fact be making more purchases online compared to previous years. E-commerce is on the rise and with businesses who are growing their online marketplace, Canadians are taking full advantage of the opportunity of making their purchases online rather than going in person. One of the main places that Canadian online shoppers are making their purchases from are marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay. In fact, 75% of Canadian online shoppers confirmed that they purchased from a marketplace, the most popular being Amazon with 72%.

When it comes to their shopping habits and what purchases are made online, the report demonstrated that these are the five most common categories:

62% 41% 31% 30% 29% CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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Clothing apparel

Computers and electronics

Books

Footwear

Beauty products

The e-commerce report also revealed that Canadians tend to support more Canadian brands in the upcoming year as 40% of online shoppers confirmed that they fully intend to purchase from companies within Canada in the upcoming year. One crucial habit that Canadian shoppers are also going towards is social selling. With a lot of businesses who rely mostly on social media marketing such as Facebook and Instagram, it comes to no surprises that Canadians are purchasing through social media. In fact, 46% of online shoppers visited a retailers website or app after having seen their add through social media. Selling models such as subscription boxes and recurring deliveries are also trending with Canadian online shoppers. One of the main attractions is due to several benefits such as free shipping, faster delivery time and accumulated savings in the long run.


Standout shopping experience The Canadian e-commerce industry is rising, however, there are many factors that influence Canadian consumers when it comes to online purchasing. These are the main deciding factors that will have them choose among the many online retailers. The 2020 Canadian E-Commerce Report revealed that there are eight factors which Canadian online shoppers rely on when it comes to deciding from the several online retailers.

Free shipping

Delivery expectations

Return policy

It’s no wonder that the shipping cost is the most important factor when it comes to making online purchases. The e-commerce report confirmed this by revealing that 86% of online consumers will make their purchases from a retailer that offers free shipping as opposed to those who don’t. Additionally, 67% of online shoppers stated that they are most likely to abandon their shopping cart if the shipping is not free.

Knowing when a product will be delivered as well as delivery updates is the second most important factor for online shoppers (52% confirmed it as their key influencer). That’s why it’s crucial for companies to provide delivery updates and letting their consumers know when to expect their delivery Not providing delivery information will often result in consumers not going through with their purchase.

Providing consumers with different return options will not only increase a company’s brand loyalty, but it will also put consumers mind at ease knowing that they have the option to return a product if they are unsatisfied. It’s also important to provide consumers with a positive return experience since 79% of online shoppers confirmed that they will stop shopping from a retailer if they experience a bad return.

Shipping speed

Delivery experience

Canadian retailers

While free shipping is the most important factor for online shoppers, the shipping time is also in the top 5 most important factors as 75% of consumers stated that they are most likely to opt for a retailer who offers faster shipping.

Choosing the right delivery company and providing flexible delivery options is also a crucial aspect for Canadian online shoppers. 54% of Canadians confirmed they prefer Canada Post and 67% of online shoppers said that they will make future purchases from retailers who offer flexible delivery options.

It’s important for Canadians to support Canadian brands. Not only are they supporting local retailers, but they are also contributing to the success of the Canadian economy. Out of 3,000 Canadians, 61% confirmed that they prefer to deal with Canadian companies.

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Loyalty and rewards:

Environmental factors:

Recognizing and providing benefits to customers who make regular purchases from the same retailer can eventually have them become loyal customers. Loyalty programs that provide discounts and rewards is one of the deciding factors for online shoppers (71% confirmed that they are more likely to purchase from companies that provide rewards and discounts).

Going green and being eco-friendly has become a current trend for retailers and consumers. Therefore, the survey revealed that implementing measures that are committed to protecting the environment are influencing the purchase decisions of 14% of online shoppers. This number will without a doubt increase in the coming years.

Having a strong client base and putting in measures to ensure clients will return and continue to make purchases from the same business is crucial. By understanding the habits of Canadian online shoppers, businesses can implement measures that will increase their online clientele and improve their online experience. The e-commerce report revealed that 58% of shoppers will discover new online retailers through online search engines such as Google and Amazon. Additionally, 32% will discover retailers through social media. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to improve their searchability making it that much easier for consumers to find them. The Canadian e-commerce industry is on the rise and it’s important for businesses to have a full understanding and knowledge of Canadian consumers so that they can therefore have a better chance of competing in the online marketplace.

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Small Business Talk with PAUL PARISI

President, Paypal Canada

Paul is a results-oriented Canadian leader with a strong track record of more than 20 years in the payments industry. He is focused on driving the next phase of growth for the company and its 7.1 million active customers in Canada. Paul plays a pivotal role in identifying strategic partnerships and bringing payment innovations to the Canadian market. He leads his team to help more than 250,000 Canadian small businesses and large retailers grow their sales locally and internationally. An engaging speaker with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, Paul brings a unique perspective on how financial services companies can collaborate to make money more accessible to people and businesses. Prior to PayPal, Paul was vice president and general manager of global commercial payments at American Express Canada. During his tenure at American Express, he developed and drove business strategy for corporate payments and small business services and held several key leadership positions across sales, account management, e-procurement and travel. A global sales leader, Paul has lived and worked in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. “Paul has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph”

Image credit: PayPal Canada

1. As President of PayPal Canada, what are some of the initiatives you have implemented that benefits small business owners? Helping small businesses survive and thrive is at the core of what we do at PayPal. We offer our business customers Seller Protection at no extra charge. That protects business owners from chargebacks, reversals or any associated fees. We offer digital invoicing solutions that help customers keep close track of their sales. Last year, we launched a new shipping solution in Canada that will save small business owners up to 75 per cent in shipping costs. This is incredibly important because high shipping costs is a major hurdle Canadian sellers face. It’s also the number one reason online shoppers abandon their shopping carts. We searched long and hard for a solution to that problem and found one that helps business owners overcome these obstacles and grow their business.

2. With the new opportunities that technology is creating, more and more businesses are turning towards e-commerce. How is PayPal helping entrepreneurs understand and embrace e-commerce? What would you say is the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs face when it comes to e-commerce and how can PayPal help them overcome these challenges? At a time when consumers are hesitant to shop in store, we are educating businesses about the benefits of online commerce and providing them with the tools they need to attract new customers, drive sales and customer loyalty to in turn, drive digital spend globally. We offer PayPal Business Loan which enables Canadian small business owners to easily access loans of $5,000 to $100,000 at competitive prices so they can better manage their cashflow and access capital necessary to remain operational. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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Image credit: Depositphotos.com

At PayPal, trust, safety and security of our customers and data is in our DNA and at the very core of everything we do to build and maintain out network and 300 million plus customer base.

4. What are some of the strategies you use when it comes to identifying strategic partnerships and remaining innovative in the payments industry?

The way to look at this is to see what do your customers truly need and what gaps exist in what your business offers to them. The strategy here is you either build it, buy it or partner with someone. To meet a customer need, what’s critical is speed-to-market. When it comes to identifying a partner, find a partner who can not only bring the solution to market quickly but they should offer the same level of delivery standards as your company and brand.

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We know one of the greatest sources of stress right now is uncertainty. No one knows what the next day, week or month really holds for the world. PayPal has weathered storms like these before. In our over 20 years of business, we’ve been through the dot-com bust, recessions, natural catastrophes and more. We are a timetested and reliable partner and are committed to business owners.

We are committed to helping small businesses who are facing difficult times right now. PayPal shared a number of relief measures to help its more than 24 million merchants around the world impacted by COVID-19. These measures include a series of fee waivers and payment deferrals for business loans. A summary of the efforts to assist business customers include:

3. How is PayPal ensuring the security and confidentiality of its customers to avoid any privacy threats?

5. How is PayPal serving small businesses in the time of COVID-19?

Additionally, eligible PayPal purchases are protected by PayPal Seller Protection - combining 24/7 monitoring, secure technology, fraud protection, and dispute resolution and other tools to keep you safe.

Business loans and cash advances: Customers can request to defer repayment, with no additional cost. Chargebacks fees: PayPal is waiving chargeback fees for merchants if their customer files a dispute with their credit card issuer through April 30, 2020. Instant funds transfer: In partnership with Visa, PayPal is waiving fees on instant withdrawals of money from a PayPal business account to a bank account through April 30, 2020. Customer disputes: PayPal is extending the window in which merchants must respond to a customer dispute from 10 to 20 days through April 30, 2020.

We are working to find new ways to meet your needs and will draw on our technology and resources to make a difference for you. Please visit the PayPal Newsroom Hub to find helpful resources to help you navigate our products and tools during this unprecedented time.

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6. On a final note, how do you see the future of payment industries and how do you believe technology will impact the e-commerce and payments industry? Given everything we’re seeing right now – the future of payments and commerce is digital. Digital-payment services are facing a surge in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in people shopping online for groceries, essentials, medicines, home office equipment, workout equipment and gear, audiobooks and movies and everything in between. In Italy, one of the first countries to order residents to stay home in a bid to prevent the COVID-19 from spreading, e-commerce transactions soared 81% since the end of February, according to estimates by McKinsey & Co. Our mission at PayPal has never been more critical as we help sellers and retailers of all sizes figure out how to get online and start selling online.


EYE ON TECH Image credit: Canva

TIPS TO HELP SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS WITH REMOTE WORK By Lissa Ricci, VP of small business solutions, Cisco Canada

I’ve seen this quote a few times over the last few days: You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work. We all have different homelife situations, from those trying to juggle children, to caring for parents, to people with pets.

Make sure you remind your team to have empathy for one another. Use the first few minutes of each meeting to connect, gauge how teammates are coping and even share a laugh or two. If you’re able to be flexible in your

With so much upheaval and the (mis)perception of additional free time, it can be difficult to maintain the structure and normalcy going to and from a physical office can provide. With that in mind, it’s important to set basic rules for both yourself and your team. This can include:

Allow for more flexibility

Lay a new set of ground rules

As someone who not only works in the collaboration business but has also led remote field teams from a home office throughout my career, I wanted to share some of my own tips to help keep you and your team stay connected, productive and secure.

work, give employees the space to carve out their days as they best see fit.

Working from home has moved from being a perk just a few short weeks ago, to an imperative for many businesses. For those new to remote working, this change in processes, workflows and communication with teams can feel highly disruptive.

Using video to connect face-to-face as much as possible – nonverbal gestures are a huge part of human communication! Ensuring every meeting has a clear agenda and only invite the people who truly need to be there. Use a headset you can wear to improve your audio quality (for yourself and others on the call) Mute yourself after you join a call and aren’t talking or presenting. That said, don’t forget to unmute yourself either to avoid hearing the old adage: “I think you’re on mute.”

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Embrace the cloud On the technology side of your business, it’s also important to evaluate the infrastructure you have in place to ensure it can seamlessly support your mobile workforce, which includes embracing the cloud – a game changer for small businesses – if you haven’t already done so. Why? With cloud and SaaS (software as a service), small businesses can implement new IT capabilities efficiently and at a low cost, including scaling your remote work capabilities, as well as rolling out new apps and services in minutes rather than weeks. This nimbleness, especially in the current climate, can be a huge advantage over larger organizations that need to deal with long procurement processes and physical infrastructure.

Use a secure meeting solution The transition to working remotely happened in a blink of an eye, but as we continue to adjust to this “new normal” it’s important we aren’t sacrificing security for the sake of convenience and speed when it comes to collaboration tools. When you look at the video conferencing solutions you have in place, take a closer look at the following: •

Did you opt-into sharing your data?

If you’re not opted-out, who is your data being shared with?

To successfully lead a team that’s now spread across geographies during this time, it’s important that your business has the right tools. Hopefully these tips will help you and your employees stay connected and productive. Stay healthy, and stay safe.

Cisco Webex, for example, is secure out-of-the-box, with privacy built-in from the get-go – that means no sharing data with third parties. If you’re looking for a solution, we’ve expanded the capabilities on our free Webex offer and are also providing free 90day licences to businesses.

Secure your remote workers Hackers are looking to take advantage of the sudden shift to remote work, focusing their efforts on gaining remote access to users’ apps and data — whether it’s with stolen passwords, out-of-date devices or other means. If you haven’t already, put in place a zero-trust security strategy to ensure consistent, easy and secure access across all applications, devices and locations. You can start by using cloud-based security products that protect users regardless of what network they connect from. This doesn’t need to be confusing or difficult. We recently extended free licenses for three of our key security solutions designed to protect remote workers anywhere, anytime on any device. Just download and protect.

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Lissa Ricci

Vice President Of Small Business Solutions for Cisco Canada Lissa Ricci is vice president of small business solutions for Cisco Canada. She is passionate about technology and how it can help growing businesses achieve their goals. See how our solutions can help your business at cisco.com/ca/smb.


ONE-ON-ONE WITH Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria ASSOCIATE MINISTER OF SMALL BUSINESS AND RED TAPE REDUCTION, ONTARIO

1. As Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, can you tell us more about your role to give our readers a better understanding of your responsibilities? As Associate Minister, I had the opportunity of being tasked by the premier in June last year to make Ontario more competitive. I try to create jobs by eliminating the Red Tape burden and regulations so that businesses can grow, and by creating and protecting jobs for the people of Ontario. I aim to reduce the annual cost of complying with regulations affecting businesses by 400 million dollars by summer of 2020. The goal is not that we’re against regulations, it’s that we’re against unnecessary regulations. We believe that regulations are essential in keeping people safe, healthy and protecting the environment. Just because the regulations are necessary, doesn’t mean businesses should have to jump through unnecessary hoops to comply with it. I understand that business owners face intense time pressures and juggle with many demands when running and growing their businesses and we’re trying to take a proactive measure by eliminating regulations that are outdated, cumbersome, and those that don’t achieve their purpose but just add costs to the system. I had the opportunity to work with stakeholders and regulatory ministries to modernize and streamline regulations while ensuring that we also uphold the highest workplace, health and public safety standards.

2. What are some of the initiatives and projects you’re hoping to implement that can benefit the small business industry? We have taken several strides already when trying to remove barriers that hamper business success, specifically lowering costs to make Ontario more competitive by fostering more investments to grow the economy and create good jobs. For example, when we have an overlap between the federal and provincial level, we try to streamline those types of regulations to make Ontario work smarter for business and better for people. We announced new steps for a consultation on a small business success strategy to ensure businesses have the right tools and resources necessary to succeed. These consultations are the backbone that forms the Ontario Small Business Success Strategy that was launched a couple of weeks ago. We understand that small businesses face unique challenges, and we want to listen to their concerns and how they achieve their long-term goals. In those discussions, we talk about competitiveness, regulations to innovation, commercialization, all the way to succession planning, which is a very important

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rabmeet Sarkaria has the honour of representing his community as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Brampton South and serving the people of Ontario as the Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.  Before answering the call to public service, Prabmeet worked as a corporate and commercial Associate at Miller Thomson LLP. He earned his law degree from the University of Windsor as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University, where he majored in Finance. Prior to his legal career, he worked at TD Securities.  Passionate about community, Prabmeet is an active volunteer. He served on the City of Brampton’s Property Standards Committee as well as the Board of Directors for Hockey for Humanity and KarmaGrow. He is an avid sports fan who enjoys playing and watching hockey, basketball, baseball, and football.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit his office, it will be impossible to forget who won the 2019 NBA Championship. Prab entered public service in order to be a strong advocate for hardworking families in Brampton South and all across the province he loves—and is committed to giving voice to the concerns of the everyday people he is humbled to serve.

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topic. When I jumped into this role, I had bill 132 which contained nearly 50 legislative measures as part of a broader package aimed at reducing unnecessary regulations, so it’s about introducing Red Tape packages for the sector. We passed the Restoring Ontario Competitiveness Act on April 2, 2019, that had about 31 actions to cut red tape in 12 sectors and on November 22, 2018, we passed the Making Ontario Open for Business Act. In total, we’ve been able to take 200 actions to reduce these burdens across Ontario and we’re not looking to stop there. We’re now in the process of developing our 5th red tape package in less than two years.

critical thinking and analytical skills and to apply those skills in a business sense and bring that over to the Ministry of Small Business where I’m able to now examine those challenges through that lens and tackle the regulatory framework that these businesses operate under. I have the unique ability to use some of my legal skills and get through the regulatory burdens that can save money for businesses..

5. You initially joined the public office to be an advocate for hard-working families. Would you say you have achieved your goal? Our government came out with a strong agenda to make Ontario a completive jurisdiction and we’ve taken several steps to improve Ontario’s competitiveness. We reduced the cost of starting a business in the province of Ontario. Pre COVID-19, the numbers were approx. 300 thousand new jobs in the province since premier Ford was under his leadership. That included making sure that WSIB premiums were reduced through the unfunded liability portion. We froze the minimum wage and introduced one of the most generous progressive tax settlements for Ontarians across the province. We introduced the capital cost allocation incentive, which allows companies to write off capital purchases of equipment. As well, we’ve put in a lot of different measures to reduce the cost of doing business and we will continue to work towards reforming and making sure Ontario remains competitive to be the economic engine of Canada.

3. Prior to joining the public service, you worked in legal and financial services. How would you say your past experience in law and finance have prepared you for your current role? There’s a lot of similarities. In my previous role, worked as a corporate lawyer at one of Canada’s largest law firm. I specialized in emerging tech, startups, venture capital, as well as private equity financing. I had the opportunity to get an understanding of what small businesses struggled with on a day to day basis. I saw them grow, from being a startup and coming to our office with zero cash flow and zero dollars and with just an idea, to landing 120-million-dollar financing rounds from across the world. Law presented itself as an opportunity to hone in on critical thinking and analytical skills and to apply those skills in a business sense and bring that over to the Ministry of Small Business where I’m able to now examine those challenges through that lens and tackle the regulatory framework that these businesses operate under. I have the unique ability to use some of my legal skills and get through the regulatory burdens that can save money for businesses..

6. You’re an avid sports fan. If you were to compare sports and business, what would you say are some of the aspects they have in common when it comes to succeeding? I would say teamwork. One of the biggest things about governments is making sure we all work together on the same page. Often you hear of governments, weather its different ministries, having siloed approaches to tacking issues. When all governments work and integrate, whether its health, education, or the environment, there will be a huge productivity gain and economic benefit. Now more than ever, we understand how integrated our supply chains are and how every decision-making impacts how we go about in our day to day lives, whether it’s through the business lens or lens of the resident.

4.What would you say is the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs face in Ontario, more precisely, in Brampton, when it comes to growing their business? There’s a lot of similarities. In my previous role, worked as a corporate lawyer at one of Canada’s largest law firm. I specialized in emerging tech, startups, venture capital, as well as private equity financing. I had the opportunity to get an understanding of what small businesses struggled with on a day to day basis. I saw them grow, from being a startup and coming to our office with zero cash flow and zero dollars and with just an idea, to landing 120-million-dollar financing rounds from across the world. Law presented itself as an opportunity to hone in on CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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7. On a final note, what would you say has been your biggest accomplishment in your professional career so far? One of my biggest accomplishments was having the opportunity to pass the piece of legislation that called Better for People, Smarter for Business Act that was introduced in the previous legislative agenda in 2019. We introduced a piece of legislation that had about 80 action items, that were actioned on, and that made a real difference in Ontario’s competitiveness and business environment. Having the opportunity to listen to the province and many different stakeholders across Ontario, and to then action their concerns into a piece of legislation that was passed a couple of months ago, and seeing the impacts of it first hand, for me couldn’t have been done without the hard work and support of premier Ford and my entire cabinet collogues at Queens Park.

8. Is there anything else you would like our readers to know? One of the main things I want everyone to know is that our government is going to do anything and everything it takes to make sure Ontario is the most competitive jurisdiction in the world. We want to make sure every dollar of investment being considered, that Ontario is at the top of the list. We have some of the smartest people in the world and some of the best academic institutions in the world. We have so much going for us and we have to remain competitive and ensure we are doing everything to attract as many good-paying jobs to secure the future generations across the province. We’re going to be committed to ensuring we do our best and support small business owners and businesses to make Ontario more competitive.


10 QUESTIONS

EVERY COMPANY SHOULD ASK WHEN VETTING AN IT VENDOR With so many IT vendors to choose from, it’s important that you find the right one.

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Image credit: Lenovo

ver the past 36 years, Kesler Corporation has become one of Connecticut’s leading IT firms by helping businesses implement software, purchase hardware, and develop cybersecurity plans. But, as much as the company has grown—from a one-man operation in 1982 to 38 employees today—every time they meet with a potential customer, they have to answer a barrage of questions.

But, there are numerous questions businesses should be asking their potential vendors, and, Mulligan says, executives interviewing an IT provider should leave no stone unturned. “There has to be comfort with the company you choose,” he says. So, what should you ask? Here are some questions to start the conversation.

They don’t mind. They just answer the questions patiently and thoroughly, says Brian Mulligan, the company’s Director of Commercial Sales. Choosing an IT vendor should involve a thorough vetting, especially since the team you pick will be responsible for ensuring your company runs smoothly. “Our mission is to understand a company’s risk and to help them grow,” he says.

This may seem like a simple question, but it’s an important one, says Mulligan. Most people want experienced teams who have evolved with the industry. “You don’t want someone who just popped up a week ago,” he says. “Find out how they’ve changed with the market.”

1. How long have you been in the managed service business?

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2. Who have you worked with in the past? Get a sense of the potential vendor’s experience and how they’ve dealt with challenges, says Dave Zimmel, a Calgary-based business consultant. Do they have experience working in your sector? Do they know the software you’re running? “Ask for references so you can see the work they’ve done,” he says.

3. Who is on your team? You’ll also want to get a sense of whom the vendor has on staff, says Zimmel. Are these people trained in the areas you need help with? What type of experience do they have? Will you be working with the same people next year as you are today? “It’s back to basics,” he says. “You have to have the right people.”

4. How often are you going to communicate?

8. Can you help us plan for the future?

A client once asked Mulligan if they would hear from him again once the contract was signed. It was a joke, but it speaks to a big issue: Vendors can disappear once the checks start coming in. Find out if potential vendors are available when needed, how often they typically talk to their clients, if there are any newsletters or educational materials they send out, and more, he says.

The technology industry is always evolving, and companies need help keeping up. Find out if a vendor is aware of changing industry trends, if they’re keeping their staff educated, and if they’ll tell you when something needs to change. “What are they doing internally when it comes to dealing with tech changes and new cybersecurity threats?” says Mulligan.

9. How do you charge? 5. Do you take a proactive approach to IT? This is key, says Mulligan. Companies need to know if their vendor will make recommendations on how to fix things before they break down or if they wait until a problem occurs. The former is better, he says. Companies should be constantly reviewing their clients’ IT needs and pointing out any gaps.

As helpful as a vendor might be, you’re eventually going to receive an invoice. It’s important to understand what they’re billing you for—i.e., do they just charge an overall fee or can they break it down into specific services? Ask to see a sample invoice so you know what to expect. “You want to see that they’re providing the services you contracted them for,” says Mulligan.

10. What if a problem arises? 6

6. What’s your process? Find out what a vendor will do after you sign on the dotted line, says Zimmel. They may take six months to do an assessment or meet with different departments to evaluate their IT needs, but whatever they do, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the process, so you know what you’re paying for.

7. What happens in an emergency? It’s one thing for a vendor to show up to work to do their day-to-day tasks, but it’s when things go awry that you’re going to need them most, says Zimmel. Ask them how they deal with emergencies, who you should be calling, and how they charge for unexpected events. “If the system shuts down, you need to know how fast they can get in and solve the problem,” he says.

As great as your vendor may be, at some point a problem will arise, says Zimmel. Ask the vendor how issues get addressed. Who would you speak to if something came up? How would you handle that issue internally? How would you remedy a negative situation? After asking these questions—and more will pop up during discussions—think about whether you’re getting satisfactory answers. If you’re not convinced that this vendor is the right one, then move on. Because, in the end, “it comes down to trust,” says Mulligan.

Lenovo is dedicated to providing the technology, services, and support Small Businesses need on their journey to make a difference. For more information, please https://solutions.lenovo.com/thinkbook

visit:

This content was co-produced by Lenovo and Inc., and originally appeared on inc.com

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CANADIAN SME BUSINESS MAGAZINE

CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS : Sme Leaders’ Important Role During The COVID-19 Outbreak By Andrea Lekushoff, President, Broad Reach Communications

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he COVID-19 pandemic is having wide-reaching effects on small and medium sized businesses across the country. As the backbone of the Canadian economy, employing 90% of Canada’s private-sector workforce, small and medium enterprises are poised to take the lion’s share of the impact. Whether you run a corner store, manufacture auto parts, farm organic eggs, repair HVAC systems, or develop commercial real estate, you’re surely worried about what this crisis will mean for your future. And if you’re worried, you can bet your employees, vendors, partners, and customers are too. And they’ll be looking to you for reassurance. Crisis communications is a specialty discipline in itself, one that many entrepreneurs have little experience in. Companies on the smaller end of the spectrum don’t often have their own marketing, communications, or PR teams at all. Communicating with stakeholders, in the midst of all the other business challenges you’re facing right now, can feel like an extremely daunting proposition. But nothing is more important than communications right now. Business leaders play an important role in providing accurate information while also reassuring people and containing panic. Keeping employees, customers, vendors, and partners informed has to be a top priority as the world works together to contain this novel virus. And you don’t need to feel as if you’re “making it up as you go.” Take the time to think through your communication strategy as you plan for the weeks and months ahead. Here are some of the specific tactics that Broad Reach has been advising clients to use while communicating during this unprecedented crisis. A little advance planning can ensure you have a thoughtful, proactive pandemic communications strategy.

1 Start with empathy. While your business is a high priority for you, your stakeholders are primarily worried about themselves, their families, and their communities, as well as their colleagues and companies. Make sure they know that you understand where they’re coming from and that your decisions are guided accordingly. Show your stakeholders you can be trusted to do what’s right.

2 Establish a centralized team to lead your crisis communications It’s important to create clear ownership for communications, including those at the highest ranks of your company. The group should meet regularly to discuss ongoing developments and agree on plans and tactics. They should be seen by the organization as the trusted source of information.

3 Conduct a stakeholder analysis to determine which groups need to be communicated with and on what topics Every group has different interests and needs, and information is important to different groups at different times. Determine how best to keep each group appropriately informed so they can help your business continue to operate.

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4 Create an easily accessible repository for upto-date employee information

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Your employees will have lots of questions. Answer them all, honestly and openly, and then make those answers available centrally (allowing you to avoid answering the same question again and again). Maintain a list on your company intranet, bulletin board, or other easily accessible place with up-to-date information and FAQs, and make sure employees know that that’s the first place they should look. You could also consider sending out a daily email to employees with the latest updates, to make sure you reach those who don’t consult the FAQs regularly.

Know your brand, but study what your competitors and others are doing t’s important to know your brand and stick to your company values. At the same time, employees, customers, and other stakeholders are paying attention to what other companies are doing, and so should you. You want to be an industry leader, not a follower, but in these uncertain times you can learn a lot from other organizations. Tap into your network to make sure you’re doing everything you can.

5 Keep customers and partners informed: Use your external webpage to keep customers and partners informed of updates as soon as they become available. Use email to share developments that affect them directly.

6 Be proactive by developing messaging for various scenarios in advance: It’s hard to predict how the coming days and weeks will evolve. But we can imagine a certain number of possible scenarios (such as continued school closures, mandated lockdowns, or layoffs), and the more you can develop messaging in advance for each of those, the better prepared you will be should they become reality. Remember to lead with empathy and reassure employees that their wellbeing is of utmost importance to you.

7 Consider the medium It should go without saying that the most difficult topics, such as layoffs, should be initially discussed by personal phone call, not by written message. You’re undoubtedly feeling low on manpower and time right now, and slowing down to have personal conversations might feel unrealistic, but nothing could be more important. When we come out the other side of this crisis, you want your employees to remember how well they were treated. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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9 Offer help to your customers Your customers are facing all the same challenges you are, and if you’re in a position to help make things easier for them, you should. Maybe you can be flexible with terms, or even just share information and ideas. Working together during these difficult times is extremely important, and will go a long way to building trust, nurturing a collaborative environment, and reducing stress.

By Andrea Lekushoff, President, Broad Reach Communications

10 Communicate about the good you’re doing If your company is giving product away or helping a particular community group, share that information via social media and put it on your website so that your efforts can be celebrated. We’re all in this together, and contributions should not go unnoticed. This is a tough time for small- and mediumsized companies, their leaders, and their people. The more you can communicate with your stakeholders in a calm, empathetic, transparent way, the more you will maintain strong, trusting relationships that will carry you through this stressful time and out the other side.

With more than two decades of experience as a communications strategist and trusted advisor for some of the world’s most respected brands, Andrea is the president of Broad Reach Communications, a PR agency specializing in crisis and reputation management, corporate and consumer PR and social media, public and stakeholder relations and executive profiling. She can be reached at alekushoff@brpr.ca.


Exclusive Chat with Shawna Miller Vice President, Marketing & Communications at Mastercard in Canada

1. As Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Mastercard Canada, what advice can you give to small business owners when it comes to marketing? In your expert opinion, what would you say is the biggest challenge that business owners face when it comes to marketing and communications, and how can Mastercard help them overcome these challenges?

I

Image credit: Mastercard Canada

n today’s world, it’s critical to have a digital and online

a complete understanding of the benefits offered by their credit card issuer have

presence, but small business owners often wear many

significantly higher satisfaction levels when compared with those who do not

hats and may be strapped for resources. That’s why it’s important to work with partners who can provide tools and resources, such as Digital Main Street, where Mastercard is a founding partner.

Creating an online presence can benefit small businesses the way accepting electronic payments did: with electronic payments, small businesses were able to spend less time handling cash and more time connecting with customers and delivering great experiences. Since most purchases today start online, creating a digital presence will help small businesses expand their reach and better connect with their customers, wherever they are.

2. The Augmented Reality Experience app was recently launched by the marketing and communications team of Mastercard Canada. What was the inspiration behind the launch of this app? According to a 2019 J.D. Power study, Canadian customers who have

understand the benefits. They are also nearly twice as likely to recommend their card to others. Additionally, research from a 2018 J.D. Power study shows that rewards continue to drive consumer satisfaction with credit cards, and a related study found that 47% of consumers who switched to a new credit card did so for better rewards, yet only a third of credit card holders said they completely understand all the benefits available to them. Even though we live in an increasingly digital world, valuable information about card benefits is often stuck in paper brochures or somewhere on a website, waiting to be found. With the new Mastercard app, cardholders can easily find and fully explore their benefits in an immersive, digital environment that can be easily accessed with their mobile device.

3. The app was part of the annual employee innovation challenge. How important would you say innovation is when it comes to marketing and communications? Innovation is important across all levels of business, including marketing and communications. We recognized many years ago that marketing is about more than the brand – it’s a business driver. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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And our thinking goes beyond creative, to the customer experience. At Mastercard, innovation is not a department within the company. It’s part of our DNA, and throughout the year, we engage our talent by challenging them to think of new ways to benefit cardholders. In this case, members of Mastercard’s North American marketing and communications team in Canada created the idea for an augmented reality app to bring card benefits to life, and they had the opportunity to work and develop the app with colleagues across North America and globally.

"We recognized many years ago that marketing is about more than the brand – it’s a business driver."

Image credit: Mastercard Canada

Mastercard’s new augmented reality app lets

brand; from live events and marketing campaigns, to

cardholders see, explore and access the benefits of

purchase transactions in-store, online and on every

their Mastercard. Once the cardholder downloads and

connected device.

launches the app, they will be prompted to scan their

4. What would you say are some of the strategies that small business owners can implement to encourage a culture of innovation in their team?

Mastercard to start their session. The cardholder will

Always put your customers at the centre of

to launch a fully immersive 360-degree experience

everything you do. In the case of our new augmented

which brings that area to life.

see three portals, each one representing one of the three categories that Mastercard benefits fall into: Experiences, Everyday Value and Peace of Mind. To explore a benefit area, cardholders can tap a portal

reality app, we knew that cardholders who had a

satisfied than those who didn’t; however, a lot of

6. What is sonic branding, and can you tell us the reason behind Mastercard’s decision of launching a sonic brand?

valuable information about the card is often stuck

Today, the lines between the physical and digital

in paper brochures or somewhere on a website,

worlds are blurred, and brands have to

complete understanding of the benefits offered by their credit card issuer were significantly more

waiting to be found. With the new Mastercard app,

connect across dimensions. With the rise of new

cardholders can easily find and explore their benefits

technologies, and the always-on digital

in an immersive, digital environment that can be

mindset of consumers, it’s important to deliver

easily accessed with their mobile device.

immersive and seamless experiences that resonate

Business owners should also encourage all staff

with the way consumers live, shop and pay in an

to bring ideas forward – it helps keep employees

increasingly digital and mobile world.

engaged and innovative ideas can come from

The rise in voice-enabled devices is redefining how

anyone. For instance, in our case, the idea to bring

we engage at every point of the consumer journey.

card benefits to life through an augmented reality

We’re entering a time where consumers search

app was created by members of Mastercard’s North

the web simply with the sound of their voice, so

American marketing and communications team

brands will need to find new ways to connect with

during an innovation challenge. The challenge was open to all employees across the globe and ideas could span across all categories.

5. What can you tell us about the Augmented Reality Experience app and how do you believe it will benefit Canadian small business owners? CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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7. On a final note, what can you tell us about any upcoming projects and initiatives that Mastercard has planned in the near future that can benefit Canadian SMEs? Small businesses are essential to the economy and Mastercard continues to provide support through numerous ways: Digital Main Street Mastercard is a founding partner with TABIA and the City of Toronto on the Digital Main Street (DMS) program. DMS is a first-of-its-kind initiative that helps local businesses adopt digital tools, technologies and services to promote growth in the main street business ecosystem. Mastercard Start Path Start Path is Mastercard’s award-winning incubator that enables later-stage start-ups to rapidly scale through unparalleled access to Mastercard’s technology, solutions expertise and partners around the world. The program enables companies to gain access to Mastercard’s global ecosystem and break into new markets through relationships with Mastercard and our customers.

audiences.

Global Cyber Alliance

With this, Mastercard introduced a comprehensive

In partnership with the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA),

sound architecture last year. It complements

Mastercard has created a free online resource that

our iconic interlocking circles and allows us to

arms small and medium-sized businesses with

connect with consumers innew, meaningful ways.

basic security controls and guidance, including

Consumers will associate Mastercard with a unique

operational tools, how-to materials and best

sound whenever and wherever they engage with our

practices.


Thoughts on Business Leadership


CANADIAN BUSINESS LEADERS AND THEIR THOUGHTS ON LEADERSHIP The Honourable Mary Ng, MP

Rola Dagher President and CEO, Cisco Canada

1. What is your definition of Leadership?

What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership isn’t a position, it’s an action. As a leader, I subscribe to the notion of servant leadership which focuses on leading people by empowering them, giving them the tools to make an impact and inspiring them to believe in your vision and become great leaders. Successful leadership, to me, is not about how many people I lead, but how many leaders I develop along the way.

What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Being humble, vulnerable and honest has greatly influenced my leadership style. Being me and bringing my whole self to work has allowed others to do the same; it’s helped build a deeper level of trust and acceptance amongst our team. I’m also a big believer in sending the elevator back down by using my influence to develop, support and mentor employees to help grow them in their careers at Cisco.

How do you encourage the development of your employees? At Cisco, we like to say we’re architects of possibility for all people. That’s especially true for our people, particularly when it comes to professional development. Nurturing development fits seamlessly within Cisco’s Conscious Culture. In a place where awareness of our environment and our interactions is a throughline to our productivity, it’s important that our professional development is rooted in inclusion and collaboration. Because when people feel safe bringing their whole selves to work, they can show up for their teams and for Cisco in groundbreaking ways.

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Businesses and organizations of all sizes are facing unprecedented expectations to deliver business continuity, while keeping people safe and connected. Cisco has had a long-standing remote work culture, so my advice is two-fold: 1. Employees are under an immense amount of stress and pressure and we must take care of their mental and physical health. For the Cisco team, that can be as simple as checking in with one another each day, sharing funny stories or even meeting one another’s families on Webex to maintain that critical human connection. 2. Remind employees to be flexible as we all have different homelife situations and commitments. Now more than ever we must act with empathy for our colleagues who are trying to juggle children or care for sick family members – trust in and empower employees to build a schedule that allows them to maintain productivity while meeting the demands of their homelife. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

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To me, leadership is getting involved in a cause you care about – and encouraging and empowering others to do the same.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Growing up, my dad taught me and my siblings to be proud of who we are and where we come from, and to listen to people especially when you we didn’t agree with their point of view. He also taught me to find a way to get involved to make our community a better place. Now, more than ever, I would say that those life lessons – an ability to listen, work together with others, and find innovative ways to solve problems – are at the core of how I aim to serve my community and all Canadians

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? I believe that mentorship is incredibly important. In my own professional journey, my parents were my first mentors. Growing up, I always noticed my father’s quiet determination, and the way my mom made sure my siblings and I were kind and respectful of one another. I have worked with incredible leaders who have challenged my thoughts and supported my goals. I aspire to promote this kind of mentorship and guidance within my office and beyond. Encouraging people and empowering them to succeed is how we can best serve small businesses, entrepreneurs, and all Canadians across the country.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? We are living through an extraordinary period in the face of COVID-19 – and I know Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs are feeling the brunt of it. Our government will do whatever it takes to help small businesses and all Canadians get through this challenging time. Whether you are self-employed, a small business owner, or an entrepreneur – you shouldn’t have to worry about having to lose your business or your job. That is why we are working hard to provide immediate relief for small businesses so you can keep more money in your pocket, and keep people employed. Whether it’s our Emergency Response Benefit, enhanced WorkSharing Program, or increased lending capacity from financial institutions, we are working around the clock to get small businesses and workers the support they need to get through this. Canadians are innovative, we are strong, and we are resilient. We will get through this together. For more information about supports for small businesses, visit http:// canada.ca/covid-19-business.


David Rabin Vice President of Commercial Marketing, Lenovo PC + Smart Devices

1. What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership isn’t a position, it’s an action. As a leader, I subscribe to the notion of servant leadership which focuses on leading people by empowering them, giving them the tools to make an impact and inspiring them to believe in your vision and become great leaders. Successful leadership, to me, is not about how many people I lead, but how many leaders I develop along the way.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great leaders who have demonstrated leadership traits I’ve come to admire – three of which I try to practice include: •

Clarity - A leader must be clear with their directions and expectations. I use every opportunity to deliver this to the Lenovo team, from annual strategy setting and performance reviews, to standing 1:1 meetings. I believe gaining clear alignment enables employees to feel comfortable to do their jobs well and deliver for the business.

Support - A leader must be the backbone of a team and provide the foundations on which success is built. My team knows that they have my full support in terms of their work and decisions. As a leader I do challenge and debate with my team, but at the end there is no confusion that they will always have my support.

Ability to listen, then motivate - This trait becomes even more important during challenging times. Employees will follow a leader who shows great understanding of a situation and then develops an achievable game plan based on facts and credible insights. This always starts with listening to your team, asking questions, and ensuring they are part of the solution process. From there, the leader can communicate the action plan, expectations and create a path to success with full alignment.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? Employee development is a crucial part of business success and employee retention. As a leader you have to make employees feel valued and that they serve a purpose within the company. In fostering employee development, you keep workers engaged and provide growth. As it is such an important aspect, there are a few things leaders need to keep in mind: •

Don’t expect to be the smartest person in the room - As a leader, it’s perfectly fine and even expected, that you won’t be the smartest person in the room. It’s a great development opportunity when an employee feels empowered to become the expert and teach their leader. Set expectations – Part of a leader’s job is to set up employees for career success, whether that’s inside the company or after they leave. Employees feel valued when they know you want them to succeed and not just deliver on KPIs they track.

Encourage employee learning – While we’re all busy and the company pays us to deliver, the world is quickly evolving and those who can learn and adapt will always be valuable. Whether it’s industry events, access to learning libraries, relevant magazines or podcasts, or internal lunch & learns, it’s important to build an environment for people to continue to grow and find new ways to contribute to the company.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? The health and well-being of your employees and customers must be your top priority during this challenging time. During times of crisis, people will remember how you treat them. Everyone is dealing with their own situations, whether they’re feeling fearful or anxious or scrambling to manage childcare while still focusing on work. It’s important for leaders to recognize that we all bring a personal life to work, especially in times like this, and to be flexible as the situation unfolds. Financially, this will be a difficult time for many business owners. Clarity with your employees and customers, combined with a sense of humility, will go a long way. For example, I’ve seen some local small businesses openly explain to customers their dire situation and offer gift cards with bonus offers for use down the road. It builds a sense of community, shares some emotion with customers, and creates a moment of collaboration.

Sukhman Sangha Manager of Operations to the Minister of Small Business & Red Tape Reduction, Ontario

What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership to me is about doing the right thing at any given moment. Often times, in the business environment, many individuals face the difficult task about balancing the needs of their business and making the right decision for their business and industry. In the government, it is the same. Making the best possible decision with the information we have is what we strive to do each and every day. Being able to see different perspectives and take the best ideas out of those is what differentiates great leaders from the rest. We won’t always be right but having that motivation to work tirelessly to make meaningful change is what drives us each and every day. A good leader embodies not only that but inspires his or her subordinates to do the same. Building a cohesive unit is the most powerful driver of change whether in government or in the private sector.

What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? As a leader, the most important values that I am proud most of are the ability to balance different perspectives and being able to shift from bad decisions to good decisions. You will not make every decision right all the time but if you are able to be self-critical and learn from your mistakes, your future decisions as a leader will be so much easier and more well informed. In government especially, every day it is a privilege to work for the people of Ontario. Having that mentality of working for the public motivates you to be cognizant of Ontario’s small business community’s needs when making those important decisions. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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How do you encourage the development of your employees? In any professional setting, the development of employees is an extremely important endeavor. In many organizations in the private sector, many employees build experience and then find better opportunities in other organizations. The government is the same in terms of staff turnover. We as a government have brought up so many young leaders that have really transformed how we operate in terms of policymaking and implementation. Valuing these employees has allowed them to provide great ideas. They continue to have unlimited room to grow in their careers in the Ontario government which really brings out the best in all of the employees. Sharing a common ideal of truly working for the people of Ontario brings our collective unit together and makes us all work that much harder to make key decisions.

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? My advice to Canadian business owners during this difficult time is to keep being champions of our communities. Small business owners have been and will always be the backbones of our economies. There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has made operating many small businesses difficult but every level of government has shown their commitment to making sure that we all get out of this. These are challenging times for our country but with Canadians have shown resilience through so many tough times and I have no doubt that we as a country will get through this together stronger than ever before. As always, the Ontario Associate Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction is available to hear out your concerns and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or a member of our team!

curiosity leads to wondering, wandering, questioning, learning, developing and inventing. Even if we fail along the way, we have the openness to take calculated chances to experiment with new things and push the needle forward. Making mistakes is the price of pushing the status quo and developing as people and as a business

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? My biggest advice is that now is not the time to retreat and think small. You need to stay consistent and pursue business as much as possible while implementing safeguards to protect your community so we can get through this crisis together. You may want to shift some conversations around addressing the crisis – however, you need to do this in an authentic, empathetic and transparent manner. Overall, I would tell business owners to focus on the following: 1. Do not tarnish your relationships – Avoid short term thinking that will tarnish your relationships with employees, customers, investors, and other stakeholders. How you act in moments like this speaks volumes about who you are and your core personal and business ethics. 2. S.E.T – Continue to audit the business environment by using my model called S.E.T – social, economic and tech trends. This will help you know how to shift and be agile with business decisions and next steps. 3. Have a very sharp eye on your cash – Eliminate all unnecessary expenses and use that money to invest in growth at your business. 4. Double or triple your prospecting efforts – Make more contacts and fill your pipeline, do not let off the gas. 5. Create more social media content – It costs you nothing to continue sharing informative and creative content about your business.

Nunzio Presta Founder & CEO of BizON

7. Be 100% virtual – All of the ‘social distancing’ requirements and canceled events caused by this virus should be a real eye-opener to the fact that you must be able to operate your business virtually. That’s particularly true of your sales processes. Shift, adjust and move forward.

What is your definition of Leadership? I don’t believe there is a set definition. Everyone will have something different to say. But to me, leadership is about inspiring people, motivating them, and getting them to do more than they ever thought possible. It’s all about getting the right team, on the right bus, going the right way, at the right time.

What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? I pride myself on being reliable, focused, curious and energetic. By working on my craft and by being reliable, focused, curious and energetic, I can move relentlessly decisively forward, taking actions on uncertainty and betting on the future for my business.

How do you encourage the development of your employees? First, I find A+ players who are open to developing, learning and excited about what we are trying to accomplish at BizON. With the right people on my side, I then set the strategic direction and tone for the business. For example, I am very curious, therefore, my team is very curious. This CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

6. Stay healthy – Eat well, sleep well, and exercise so you have the energy to work hard.

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Jeff Dawley President and Founder of Cybersecurity Compliance Corp.

What is your definition of Leadership? My definition of leadership consists of three key elements. Strategic vision. Leaders have the ability to learn from the past, evaluate the present and see future opportunities, creating innovative, strategic plans for their organizations. Inspiring communication. Leaders must be able to clearly articulate their plans and connect with a variety of audiences. Set an example. Leaders must represent their vision through action, demonstrating commitment, living their values and acting with the level of passion they want to see from their teams.


What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?

What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?

As a leader, I think it is important to set your values and act in accordance with those values on a consistent basis. First, respect for all stakeholders is a foundational building block for our values and ethics. Respect is the first step to empathizing with your stakeholders. The second value I try to demonstrate is courage. Leadership comes with ups and downs, with challenges and opportunities. Finding the courage to take risks, express and defend opinions and to take on actions that are outside of our comfort zone sets an example for everyone in the organization.

As a leader, I am very mission focused. This is the foundation for how I conduct myself as a leader and founder, ensuring that employees feel completely supported in our organization. Making those around me feel safe and comfortable is my top priority and helps create speed and efiiciency within day-to-day business functions. These qualities have allowed me to take risks, and empower my team(s) to take the best risk of all…on yourself

How do you encourage the development of your employees? How do you encourage the development of your employees? Through out our organization, we encourage everyone to find their own answers to problems before providing coaching or support. We set the “what” and ask our teams to determine the “how” themselves. We also assemble project teams that are cross-functional, creating a learning environment across all aspects of our operations. Finally, we look to our functional experts to provide leadership in their area of expertise, both inside the organization and at events and conferences, online or in person. Encouraging our team to take the lead in their areas of expertise and following them helps us all learn and grow.

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? My advice to Canadian business owners during these uncertain times is to prioritize their families and their health first. Set a strong example by staying home and staying safe. I also believe it is critical to reach out to your team members, their families and your broader group of stakeholders to make sure they are safe and know there is a community around them that can help if needed. With respect to your business, create a daily cash forecast, pay attention to relief measures and changes to the laws and regulations related to your business, and look for opportunities to donate your time and resources in order to help others to the extent your financial health allows you to do so.

Jamie Hoobanoff Founder | The Leadership Agency

Leading an organization that has always maintained the core value of transparency has led to people feeling both safe and self-expressed. Providing employees with a platform and opportunity to express their needs in terms of support, growth, and learning has created excellent dialogue and development throughout the company. Its important to leverage subject matter experts, whether for sales training or psychometric testing. Listening to your employees and providing learning and development resources will maintain diversification amongst your team. A team with diverse perspectives, experiences, and training will allow you have a leader to stay positively challenged.

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? This time of uncertainty poses many challenges for Canadian business owners. It is very important to be proactive. Communicate and then overcommunicate with your employees, clients, partners, and community. Identify immediate areas of weakness and how they’ll affect your business. This could include accounts receivable, HR related matters, supply chain, and internal processes. Keep in mind that although we are all in this together, no two businesses are the exact same in how they react to this situation. Identify the gaps, strategize, and be fast and proactive in addressing them. Do not stray away from your core values or your mission and maintain what is important to you and your organization. This time will also cultivate opportunities and resources. Be wildly create and resourceful and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Lloyd Ainey Founder of Interface Technologies

What is your definition of Leadership?

What is your definition of Leadership?

The definition of leadership is different for everyone. To me, leadership doesn’t have anything to do with a person’s job title, seniority level, or years of experience. Though we are naturally drawn to these kinds of quantifiable measures of leadership, they do not always deem someone a great leader. A true leader is someone who can demonstrate and prove that they continuously put people first. They instill values, their mission, and opportunity for growth in their people, and inspire innovation and disruption.

I think a good leader motivates his organization to set high goals and deliver on that promise. I am not saying I always do it – but I do believe in the delegation –setting the bar high and turning people lose to achieve the targets we set. We work hard to develop a consensus, that stakeholders buy into and participate in the delivery. There should be ample reward for success, but failure is part of learning so I don’t believe in punitive measures unless someone really isn’t trying. I also think a good leader recognizes that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. In a good team, you play to strengths and cover off weaknesses

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What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Above all, I believe in honesty. I also want my people to know I have their back. I try to be fair, to listen. And if I am wrong, I say so. For me loyalty is probably the value I prize most highly. I am committed to full transparency – I don’t believe in hiding things from staff, or clients. Show trust, and hope to get the same in return. And I am not one to quibble over paycheques/ hours.

How do you encourage the development of your employees? We’re a small business and we don’t have a formal learning program. But I do encourage people to learn on the job. We assign juniors and new recruits to a senior manager and encourage them to partner in serving our clients. And I am open to supporting people to pursue education on a case by case basis. We do have a trainer in the product categories where we specialize. He or she does lunch and learns and certifies each staff member as they climb the education ladder.

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? I think we all have to take the long view. At the same time, we need to be ready to adapt quickly and be ready to seize new opportunities. For example, with many companies now working remotely, we are placing a big emphasis on our remote IT supports. Remote phone and integrated redirection of office calls is also something where demand is increasing. You need to be able to scale up quickly. My staff is part of the plan to protect them. In our case, we do need some people in the office. We allow volunteers to work – those who prefer not to stay home. They come to the office daily and handle the onsite work. They are provided with masks and sanitizers. And everyone knows the rules on distancing and hand-washing.

Derek Luke Board Member, CEO & President at Interaxon

What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership can come from anywhere in the organization at any time from anyone - It’s the person with the vision, drive and knowledge to inspire others to follow. As a CEO, sometimes I am a leader, a follower or a supporter.

What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Having an authentic and credible voice as this builds trust among employees, organizational effectiveness, and sets the company for success. The other trait is humility - a humble leader allows others to speak their opinions and respect differences, while championing best ideas no matter where these came from.

How do you encourage the development of your employees? By instilling the right culture and partnering with employees to develop not just themselves, but how they can help develop those they work with. Encouraging feedback loops throughout the organization leads to a more effective team who are consistently iterating themselves to put their best foot forward.

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? These are uncertain and unprecedented times for any organization, but I do think safety of others, your employees and playing an active part in the community is of paramount importance. Listening and implementing guidance from the experts is critical, and having business continuity plans in place to help mitigate risk.

Jim Estill CEO, Danby Appliances

What is your definition of Leadership?

How do you encourage the development of your employees?

Leadership is doing the right things (vs management which is doing things right). Leadership is about direction (management is about efficiency). Leadership is about effectiveness.

I talk about it all the time. I share what I am learning and I continually ask people what they are learning.

What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Ironically I think it is just being a regular person. I care about people regardless of who or where they are.

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What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Now is the time to show leadership. It is now – not about you – it is about the people who work for you and your community. Keep calm and help those you work with to do the same.


Emiliano Introcaso Export Help Advisor at EDC

1. What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership is what allows an individual or an organization, to be guided through internal or external changes that people, teams or enterprises might face during operations. Leadership can come from all areas of an organization, meaning, it does not necessarily need to come from the top. I personally think that leadership is also a very individual skill that can be developed, specially if you are leading a group of good followers.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Respect is probably the most important value that a leader should demonstrate. Personally, I think that ethics is not just a value that a leader should demonstrate, but instead, a value that everyone should have .

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? I am a believer that long life education through training and continuing education is one of the ways employers can help their employees develop and upskill. Helping employees to new skills, that can be acquired via academic or non-academic programs allows employees to gain skills that can be applied back into the business. Many organizations offer educational assistance for employees taking courses or programs outside of the organization. At the same time, many organizations also offer inhouse training that employees can take. My recommendation is to find out if that is something your organization is offering, or what are the particular policies when it comes to external training

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? A lot of organizations have created micro-sites with COVID-19 resources that should be the best place to get up to date information. For example, Export Development Canada (EDC) has this specific site where you’ll find all kinds of information on how we can support your business during these challenging times. https://www.edc.ca/en/campaign/coronavirus-covid-19.html The site also has articles, blog post and guides that can provide you with up to date information. Another great resource for those business internationally (and locally), is the resources put together by the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) that can be found at FITTforTrade.com/COVID19-Resources and in their blog at TradeReady.ca/COVID19-Resources And most importantly, follow the Government of Canada’s official statements, that provide not only businesses, but the entire country, with regular updates as they develop. Their website is https://www.canada.ca/ en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html and they disseminate information about preparedness, prevention, travel advisories and Canada’s response when it comes to economic incentives

Rick Moore CEO, ActionCOACH, Canada

What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership is about how you treat those you are expected to lead. A leader is not the smartest person in the room but rather surrounds themselves with and promotes a culture of, smart and talented leaders within a team framework. A leader is empathetic not sympathetic, a leader listens 80%, speaks 20%, a leader celebrates his teams wins, a leader is grateful, thankful and supportive. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? My values are that my people are the business. I treat them with the respect and care that is required for the business to run effectively. Ethically, it is about truth and frankness being at the forefront of all you do. With those aspects in place, what you give you will get in return.

How do you encourage the development of your employees? All employees must know they matter in the daily work we do, they know their role, they are supported and they are rewarded. We celebrate the wins, we learn from the missteps but we never play the blame game. When encouraged to step up and take charge, employees will shine and so will the results of the business.

What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? First and foremost that you are supporting your employees, your customer and their respective families. This is where a plan is paramount, if one was in place chances are you are faring better than if one was not. However, if not in place, now is the time to seek advice and adopt a 90 day plan at a minimum. If layoffs are inevitable, support the employees to the best you are able, offer them assistance in filing for any government assistance and let them know you are there for them if they need help. As far as your customers go, stay in touch, convey your situation, new hours, closures and any aspect that may affect the customers lives with your business situation. Communication is the key, offer advice, payment options and any services you are still able to provide. The way you treat your employees and customers in times of crisis will determine how they will respond once things are back to normal.

Brian Cookson President and Managing Director , RDP Associates

1. What is your definition of Leadership? Most people will say its about inspiring staff; setting a vision to achieve a company’s goals; to take fast and decisive action when needed and outperform the competition. All of this is true but realistically most people that run business do not possess all this skill set. Practically speaking you are unlikely to achieve superior results without competent senior-level staff that communicates and works effectively as a team. A strong seniorlevel management team can make up for lacking leadership traits of any one particular leader CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

I still think valuing the customer and having a customer focused business is key. Fully understanding your customers needs and creating value will earn customer retention. However, businesses are only as good the employees they have. Nurturing the needs of your employees growth and skill set ensures employee retention and commitment to great service.

These are extra-ordinary times... we will move past the ‘extra’ sometime soon, but times will not quite go back to ‘ordinary’.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? I don’t like to micro-manage. I like to see each employee think of themselves as an expert in their area. I think most people take pride in their work, and allowing them to provide input on how to improve the systems and tasks they work on, and actually implement those ideas, goes a long way to achieve employee engagement. Further to provide them with a career path. This does not always mean moving to say managerial position but to create a career path within their area of expertise.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? I think most businesses are addressing the seriousness of the situation. If you find yourself getting too emotional about this situation, it would be good seek out calm, objective and rational advice from a trusted business advisor. Also as many staff are working from home, trying to implement effective communication and tools to be productive are important. Most staff have been taken out their routine and may feel isolated working from home, so setting up a system to interact with other staff working from home can help. Finally, cash flow will be an important issue for many issues in the coming months, so maximizing and filing SR&ED claims as soon as possible along with identifying what grants can leverage cash flow should not be overlooked.

Disease-caused quarantine in our past history has led to things like the discovery of gravity by Newton and some major works of art by Michelangelo. This lock-down / quarantine will lead to ‘new’ as well, including enhanced enterprise processes and even previously undiscovered Client or product opportunities. But, but... only for the open minded, creative and adventurous SMEs around the world, pushing themselves, asking themselves - and everyone they can - “what can we shift, add, change, create... to connect with and serve you and others in these stressstretching times. Some of the NEW they come up with will work! SMEs are the life blood of local, national and global economies. We are the engine of NEW! This dark wave will wash over us. Stay away from as much news media as you can. Visit solid info sites (like Canada.ca or cdc.gov) sparingly for updates. Survival and recovery will test us all for some time to come. Keep talking with family, friends, colleagues and mentors. Reach out and open up - you never know when you may need a lifeline OR when you might just BE the lifeline.

Silvia Pencak President, WBE Canada

1. What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership is influence. One of my mentors once shared an example with me which shapes the way I lead. If you climb to the top of a mountain and there’s no one else with you, you are a climber, not a leader. Leaders surround themselves with people and inspire them to take a journey together. I’d also add that leaders recognize talent in others and help them grow into their potential.

Charlie Regan CEO, Nerd On Site

1. What is your definition of Leadership? The act of striving for ever better levels of open communication and collaboration with team members and Clients, providing timely access to transparent operational systems, and supporting a ‘learning pilot project’ culture to test and push boundaries and belief systems.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? We support honest and humble attitudes and behaviour between colleagues and with our Clients. To be engaging and enthusiastic is key to help people see how we enjoy helping and assisting in our work.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? Our University of NERDology provides a core tech curriculum along with ITpro.tv training subscriptions for all our team members. Dale Carnegie communications, sales and personal / professional training programs are also paid for. We look to feed the hungry tech expert colleague.

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2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? I consider myself a tough leader. I have a strong work ethic and I require a lot from my team. I understand that I am not perfect so I like to surround myself with people who are better than myself, especially in areas of my weaknesses. As a leader I am also a learner - I read a lot and I am willing to shift direction and admit my mistakes. My super power is evaluation. I evaluate everything -my actions, those of the team right through to everything that impacts the organization. This allows me to constantly improve efficiencies, establish priorities and more.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? People who work with me always tell me that just working with me challenges them to be better. Brainstorming, strategic conversations, reading, learning, team meetings and increased expectations are some of the tools I use to constantly move our team forward. Add to that the adoption of new technologies and constant evaluation of trends - we are never bored


4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? There are 3 types of businesses in this crisis. The first group is directly impacted by this pandemic and they have had to shut their doors due to social distancing requirements, like event planners, catering companies, travel industry or others. The second group include businesses in high demand in need of rapid scale up like healthcare manufacturers and suppliers. The last group is comprised of businesses that continue doing business as usual, but need to adjust to new trends and work arrangements. Each of these groups needs to approach their business differently as their needs are different. Business owners in the first category should move into survival mode meaning they need to ensure that they have the necessary financing to remain dormant for the upcoming weeks or months. Meanwhile, this is not the time to become a couch potato. Use this time to review and evaluate your business, look to improve efficiencies or implement innovative new approaches, invest into (virtually) retraining team members, implement “stay in touch” strategies, map out “get back to market” strategies and more. Basically anything that you normally don’t have time to do because you are too busy running your businesses. Business owners who implement this approach will be ahead of the curve when things get rolling again. The second group must focus on production, delivery and putting the necessary supports in place to keep up production. The key is to not get distracted. The last group needs to adjust to the changing environment and adopt innovative technology and approaches. For example, move your training or coaching into an online environment. Or change capabilities - add a new line of business, streamline or expand your offering to be more relevant. This is the time to get creative and make necessary changes to remain in the game ...and even profit from it.

their perspective. You can’t help someone grow without having empathy for them, and that is even more true today given the current climate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to empathize with your team during this time, while everyone has different realities and perspectives, is essential.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? We have a saying in our company “own your growth”, which I think is important to encourage within any team. My job as a leader is to help my people identify their superpowers and paint a picture of what their future could look like. By helping them self-identify the gaps between their aspirations and their skills, they can be kept accountable for their development.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic This is a difficult time for businesses and there is a lot of uncertainty, so it’s important to think three moves ahead and plan for maximum flexibility in the future. With each decision, carefully consider what you would do next under a wide range of outcomes and work backward from those outcomes to guide your decision today. Communicating with authenticity, transparency and empathy is also crucial during this time. Stay away from corporate-speak and communicate with real words, be honest and take accountability for your decisions and why you are making them and be intentional with your words. Lastly, support your people. As a leader, you need to be strong for your team and as I mentioned earlier - don’t be afraid to carry the team when they need you.

Natasha Koifman President of NKPR

Lee Piccoli Founder & CEO of Fusion Ventures and Fusion Homes

1. What is your definition of Leadership? The most important attribute of a successful leader is leading by example – this is a cliché that is much harder to put into practice than it seems. First, you have to ask yourself who you are as a leader. This defines the way you manage and operate your business, and ultimately how you want your employees to perform. Second, and most importantly, you must understand that it is your actions that define you, not your words. Empower your people, but don’t be afraid to carry the team when they need you.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Empathy and self-awareness are crucial to becoming a successful leader. Empathy, for one, is such an underrated quality. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are holding people while they cry (although sometimes it does), but it means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and understanding

1. What is your definition of Leadership? For me, Leadership has always been about setting a positive example for those around you and inspiring the next generation to lead with compassion, kindness and authenticity. As leaders, we have a responsibility to share our experiences and encourage those around us to have a positive impact on the world.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Confidence and teamwork are so important during a time like this. As leaders, we need to be right there with our teams doing whatever is necessary to ensure the success of the business as a whole. This also extends to our clients and the community in which we live and work - we are constantly looking at how we can do our part, from supporting small businesses to brining awareness to the incredible organizations providing for the community during this pandemic.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? Mentorship has always been an important pillar of NKPR when it comes to team development. With our entire team shifting to a work-from-home environment over the past two weeks, mentorship has been just CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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as important as ever. While we are all working in isolation, we’ve made sure that everyone on the team gets regular check-ins - we start each morning with full team zoom call and encourage the entire team to take time for themselves during the workday. Personal development is just as important as professional. Right now, in particular, checking-in with team members mentally and emotionally is necessary. Many of our senior team members have been with the company for 7 - 12 years and are a great resource for the rest of the team to ask questions, bounce ideas off of and learn from. We’ve found that having these open lines of communication (even digitally) has been super important in the team’s development.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? It is a really tough time, but what is most important to keep in mind is that we will get through this. All businesses, big and small, have had to make changes to adapt to the current climate. This is a time for creativity, we need to look at new ways to support our businesses in innovative ways. It is important to be sensitive to everything going on and stay updated with accurate information, but people are also craving positivity. Look at how you can use your company’s digital channels to reach your consumers, clients and stakeholders in meaningful ways. This doesn’t mean publishing content for the sake of it, but really honing in on what valuable information you can offer your audience at this time so that you can continue to instil confidence as a thought leader.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic It’s a really tough time for Canadian businesses right now, so it’s important to stay positive and focused on what comes next. Of course, the health, safety and happiness of our team, clients and community is our first priority, so we’ve had to make some hard decisions that have been really challenging for me as a leader. My advice for other business owners is to take this time as an opportunity to reassess your business strategies and get creative with solutions, sales and engagement with clients and your employees. For us, it is imperative to maintain the culture that we have worked so hard to build over the years. It is critical to stay in close contact with our employees, our team and our clients in order to keep culture intact. It’s a scary time for everyone, so the more you communicate with your people, the more confidence they have in the business and you as a leader and hopefully the easier it will be to bounce back after this is all said and done. Sometimes a tough situation can provide valuable insights and perspectives to make your business stronger and more agile, and I know we will prevail together !

Michelle August

Lexi Miles Founder and CEO of WAXON Laser + Waxbar and South

Founder of SPINCO

1. What is your definition of Leadership?

1. What is your definition of Leadership? My definition of leadership is fostering a culture of growth that is driven by passion, while staying true to your own voice and vision. Culture has always been at the heart of what I do, so it’s important for me to provide a business where my team wants to come to work, feel respected, appreciated and have their voices heard. I’m really proud of both the work culture we’ve created for our WAXON and South team and the high-quality, affordable service and products we provide to our WAXON and South clients.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?
 The values and ethics that are essential to me as a leader are loyalty and empathy - my team means absolutely everything to me and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without them! We have 120+ incredible women who work extremely hard - whether it be on the front-line performing services and greeting clients, or supporting our franchise partners and marketing our business, and I’m grateful for them every day. We work like a family, so there needs to be trust and empathy on both sides for the business to run smoothly. As a leader, you need to be there to fully support your team and understand their needs to create growth and drive results. I can confidently say I am my team’s #1 fan and cheerleader!

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees?
 I always challenge my employees to take on tasks outside of their regular roles to foster development, because you can’t sustain growth from the limitations of your comfort zone. We have many successful growth stories CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

that include our VP of Operations, who started as the Manager of our very first WAXON location. I also encourage my team to actively make mistakes and learn from them - I think that’s essential for any personal or professional development and allows you to really hone your skillset.

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Leading by example, showing how not telling. Empowering those around to take initiative and be proud of their work and ideas.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? I believe the most important value all leaders should demonstrate are; honesty, respect. I grew up being told “treat people the way you want to be treated” and I’ll never forget it.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? I encourage the development of my employees by enabling them to take tasks right to the finish line, allowing them to stumble and make their own mistakes/decisions along the way. Having your team learn from their own mistakes will enhance their productivity and quality of work in the long run.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Our resilience is being tested right now, the way we show up for our team and community will be a huge testament to who we are as leaders. At SPINCO our goal is to come out of this one the other side stronger than ever, it is our job to make sure your team has a place to some back to.


3. How do you encourage the development of your employees?

ELLIE MAE CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND CEO, ELLIE MAE STUDIOS

1. What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership means showing up: For the good, the bad, and pushing through the uncomfortable regardless of the uncertainty that comes with having your own business. Through all of the ups and downs being a leader means making sure you have a team that feels supported through out.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Self-awareness, respect, kindness and courage.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? I’m anti-micromanagement. I believe you hire someone because they’re the best for that role. Let them be the best by trusting in their experience and expertise, while also providing the support they need for selfdevelopment and success.

At TREC Brands we have an office mentoring program where the leadership team actively meets with their mentees monthly to discuss professional skill development and taking on ‘stretch-projects’. I also really enjoy recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of our team members each month - which we call TREC Spotlight during our monthly all-hands meeting. Lastly, I think it’s important to give the team the autonomy to perform their roles with just the right amount of strategic direction and guidance.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? You are the leader in your business, and your people will expect you to be the voice of reason, so stay calm and reassure that they can rely on you during this uncertain time. The well-being of your team is priority. Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more. Continue to keep your teams connected and engaged via technology (Slack, Zoom, Hangouts) and let them know that ‘we are in this together, and we will get through this together’. The TREC Brands team connect on a daily basis, bookending our weeks with Monday Motivation and Gratitude Friday video calls, in addition to daily 4:20 squats.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Secondly, ‘cash is king’. It is time to scenario plan for business continuity and implement measures to protect cash flow such as: turn your receivables into cash and revisit any variable / discretionary spend by thinking through what could be reduced, postponed, reconsidered or required to position the company for a rebound once the crisis ends?

Try to find the silver lining in the suckiness. Before the pandemic, the world was moving at such a rapid pace, I felt like I could hardly keep up. As awful as everything is right now, it’s an opportunity to re-evaluate, simplify and remind us that we are so much more than what we do.

Nora Voon Noda Designs

TRANG TRINH

1. What is your definition of Leadership?

CEO and CO-FOUNDER, TREC BRANDS

While leadership is unique to individuals and the companies they lead, there are some common ways to define it. In my definition, leadership embodies decisiveness, honesty, confidence, focus, awareness, accountability, optimism, honesty, empathy and most of all inspiration. Leaders are coaches with a passion for nurturing and building a team that you can empower your trust and confidence in the people you lead. Leaders inspire people through a shared vision and create an environment where people feel valued and fulfilled. As a leader, it is my responsibility to establish goals, innovate new ideas, inspire, motivate and trust. At the end of the day, on a more intimate level, leaders are like parents to their children, they need to feel secure and know that their leaders will always be there for them when they need it

1. What is your definition of Leadership? A leader is someone who creates and nurtures more leaders, and to do that, they understand that the people are the key to success (or failure) in any business. I believe that great leaders empower others to carry out their roles and reach their goals by ensuring they have the adequate support and resources to do so. I have had the opportunity to work with many incredible leaders that did just so for me during my time at PwC, Loblaw Companies and Deloitte and I try my best to pay it forward every day.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?

TREC affectionately stands for the values the team and I lead with every day - that is trust, respect, equality, and compassion. During this time, compassion is extremely important - to walk empathetically in the shoes of employees, customers and partners while protecting the company’s financial measures.

I think that trust, empathy, honesty and accountability are all very important factors in knowing that your leader has your back, because let’s face it, we can’t be a leader without anyone to lead or follow in your guidance right?

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3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? I often send my employees to seminars and workshops to enhance their knowledge in the work that they do. When you invest in people, you really invest in yourself and your company. We go to trade shows around the world to enhance our awareness of what’s new and on trend as well as meeting with new companies. Nurturing your employees making sure they are always up to date with their software and applications in our field of work is very important in the development as well as the longevity of your company as a whole. In our sector, keeping up to date/informed with not only trends, but also innovation in software, materials, and innovative new products and applications are all crucial to setting us apart from the competition

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? During this time where uncertainty is a certainty, all I can say is that we need to stand together, we need to help each other, be more compassionate, have a little faith in our government to help us through this difficult time. Most importantly, continue to have some normalcy in your everyday activity, encourage your employees to be team players. It’s important for leaders to guide a team through challenging times, encouraging them and remaining positive along the way. Team morale is heavily dependent upon a leader’s attitude.

Nicholas Reichenbach Founder and CEO of Flow Alkaline Spring Water

1. What is your definition of Leadership? From a business standpoint, I follow the triple bottom line theory; people, planet and profit. A commitment to focus on your employees, consumers and the environment is just as important as focusing on profits. It’s also important to lead by example and to provide guidance, being there for your employees and showing up is essential to a business’s success.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Constant and mindful positivity is important. Focusing on mindful positivity for both the community and society is an essential part of being a leader. From a brand perspective, Flow was developed in 2015 after seeing so much plastic waste at an art festival in Nevada - we created the brand with a focus on sustainable packaging and ethical sourcing practices, which encompasses our brand’s values and ethics.

Matthew Willson Founder of Willson Sand and Gravel Ltd.

1. What is your definition of Leadership? My definition has always been to lead by example; I stay late, work hard and work closely with my entire team. I’m very grassroots with my business, anything I ask people to do I’ve tried in the past and know it works. Sometimes, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, similar to the saying ‘when somethings not broken, don’t fix it.’ This way works for my construction business well. From a film and theatre perspective, always come prepared - it’s that simple

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Hard work. I try to work smart and have learned through examples and through my own mistakes. I’m always refining my business, but traditional with the work we’re doing. When it comes to my values, I’m a bit of a renegade in my field, we are one of very few gravel and area producers. My employees are important to me and I value honesty, which means always telling the truth.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? In my field, the ways I encourage my employees may differ from a traditional workplace. I encourage my employees by always providing them with work to do, even when business is in a slower season. They know they can count on me and trust is an essential part of business. Also focusing on motivating each other and of course leading by example. I always ask their opinions and care about the wellbeing of my employees. If they need a day off, sure. If they want to come in more, why not

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? My advice would be to do what you can, do more yourself and focus on the now - don’t panic. It’s time to focus on a short-term plan for your business. Learn together as a team, keep morale up and keep in close contact with your customers.

Dax Dasilva Founder & CEO of Lightspeed

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? How I work as a leader is to motivate the team through success, lead by example, treat my staff the way I would like to be treated and to also provide a forum for the team to keep engaged.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Businesses need to react. Focus on building a positive work environment, make smart and fast decision and keep their staff motivated and happy. It’s an immediate view that needs to be taken - no long-term strategy; a 90-day, instant, quick impact decision. Unconventional thinking is essential right now for business owners. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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1. What is your definition of Leadership? •

To me, Leadership is unlocking the potential for individuals to be agents of change in ways both large and small.

Leadership is about inspiring leadership within others so that they too can make a difference, guiding in a meaningful way; true leaders create leaders.


2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? •

Some of the most important values, ethics, and qualities I believe I demonstrate as a leader and hope others can learn from include:

Listening – hearings others’ needs and opinions, applying different perspective to a problem or scenario Creating seats at the table – embracing diverse ideas which contribute to innovation at Lightspeed Instilling trust – This comes not from behaviour but from accountability. Your attitude and conduct overtime should demonstrate that you can be depended on

Do a full audit of your business by running Lightspeed Analytics reports Review methods for optimizing customer experience on eCommerce Refresh social media skills and promote positive reviews

Developing a community of allies – Strong leadership builds a team with impact. Leaders need to set aside their ego, and where they lack experience and knowledge, attract people with specialized knowledge

Ali Budd President and Principal Designer of Ali Budd Interiors

Knowing how to make difficult decisions – Always looking at the broader picture and making choices that contribute to the greater outcome Fostering a culture of inclusivity and diversity – Leaders set the tone for exchange and action and making values such as these prominent in a workplace culture contributes to a healthy, supportive environment Being a role model – Educate, support, mentor and grow individuals by demonstrating the qualities you hope to inspire in others Being a thought leader – In your industry or area of expertise, share tools for success through open dialogue

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? •

Many of the values and qualities I’ve just described apply to how I work to encourage the development of my employees, including listening to their needs, giving everyone a voice, and fostering that culture of inclusivity and diversity.

I truly believe in also giving employees the opportunity to give back in a way that is meaningful for them. For example, as part of our corporate social responsibility, we empower employees to take one day a year to volunteer with any of our customers, a charity, or notfor-profit of their choice.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? •

My advice for Canadian business owners is to truly use this time to support one another, especially as small and medium-sized businesses will need that support now more than ever.

For example, we at Lightspeed announced several new initiatives to support its local retail and restaurant customers who have been affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Effective immediately, and for the next 3 months, Lightspeed is now offering the following services for free to help customers adapt:

Lightspeed Delivery for restaurant customers Lightspeed eCommerce for retail customers Lightspeed Loyalty for omnichannel customers •

Lightspeed has also rolled out a #lightspeedlocal initiative that engages its company employees to shop locally and support small businesses in our network. The program reimburses employees in its 14 global offices up to $500 in local currency on purchases employees make from any Lightspeed retail or restaurant customer, whether through eCommerce shopping, meal takeout or delivery.

To further help SMBs protect their businesses, Lightspeed launched an online COVID-19 Retail and Restaurant Resource Guide. The guide includes tips for operational tasks, as well as tools for new revenue streams to help businesses navigate changes in consumer behavior. This time can also be spent reflecting on the current business model, considering strategy, and spending time on the back end of your systems. For example:

1. What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership is focusing not only on an end goal but on the process you choose for you and your team to get there. My parents used to run an advertising agency and I spent a great deal of time there. My dad was the art director and my mother the CEO. They had such different approaches to leadership. My mother was always kind and fair but tough. She’s the strongest woman I know and was the one responsible for tough choices and conversations. She is a BOSS. My dad was everyone’s friend. He made sure there was a cake for everyone’s birthday – he would go around every morning to each team member and ask specific questions about their families and lives. He used to say, “Do you want to know the secret to happy clients? It’s a happy team.” When he passed away, almost everyone who had ever worked for him over the course of his 30+ year career was at the funeral. In my career, I’ve tried to balance both my parent’s approaches which I believe has made me a stronger leader.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? If you follow our Instagram @AliBuddInteriors, you will pretty quickly see I don’t have a typical relationship with my team. I tell them I love them (and genuinely mean it). I’m not fussed with everyone working steady 9-5 days. Everyone works differently - some show up at 7am because they get the best work done early and some come a little late and stay late because that’s what works for them, and we’ve never missed a deadline. I think the most important thing is that the team knows I have their backs, always. There are no office politics – I have no room for it. Our job can be incredibly stressful, so we always fill the space with laughter. Sometimes we need to dance it out for 15 minutes. I am who I am professionally and personally - these sides of me aren’t mutually exclusive and I think letting your team see your humanity only makes for a stronger relationship, which in turn, always produces better work. Not one of my team members has ever taken advantage of me for this. in fact, I think I have the hardest and most caring team around..

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? There are a few things that are extremely important to me in helping encourage the development of my employees: •

The first thing is constant education. Every single supplier we work with comes to the office regularly to present their process, production, company dynamics and products. At Ali Budd Interiors, we don’t just CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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sell nice things – we understand how they are made, what they are made of, and what makes them different. We want to know anything and everything about what we are putting in people’s homes and what all the available options are.

The second thing is making sure my team feels creatively stimulated. If you look at our portfolio, you will see that we do not repeat the same designs over and over again. Our work is diverse. It keeps us thinking, engaged and excited which works well for our clients who want unique spaces.

The third thing is I make sure we spend time together outside of work, socially. It’s important they each have their own relationships with one another. They support each other, help each other and root for each other.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? Take it day by day. These times are unprecedented, and nobody knows what the right decisions are. We must make tough calls. Our job as leaders is to make sure there is a business to come back to at the end of this and to keep our teams safe. I have not hidden anything from my team - we are working together, every day. We have built this business together; I could never have done this without them. Remind your staff that - they need to hear it

because they feel a connection to what they’re doing. By putting your faith in others, more gets done and it gets done well.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? As we know, this pandemic is affecting us in more ways than one: our health, economy, careers, families, daily routine, etc. Without undermining the severity of this, we also have to recognize that it creates the opportunity for business owners to learn the art of flexibility to navigate the boulders that come their way. When the economy slows down, we need to remain optimistic about the future because when the storm passes, the skies open up, and after a storm like this, skies will open for the brightest and sunniest days. Everyone will have a “break out of jail” attitude to make up for lost time. In that sense, businesses will be booming because no one will want to be in their houses. Until that time, my advice to business owners would be to conserve resources, minimize expenses, and keep a close eye on your consumers. While we face these challenges now, the future is bright.

Chandrashekar LSP Head Evangelist for Zoho in Canada

1. What is your definition of Leadership?

Zev Mandelbaum President & CEO, Altree Developments

To be an effective leader, you need to build a consensus among your team or company or community around a central vision or mission. After that, it is your job to translate that vision into reality. You need to be a voice of reason and cut through the noise to make hard decisions.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?

1. What is your definition of Leadership? Leadership is making hard decisions based on the greater good and keeping your eyes on the big picture. It’s not letting the little things bog you down so you can have quick reactions to the things that matter most. It’s understanding where the world is headed and programming yourself and, in turn, your staff to get there, overcoming any stumbling blocks that may get in the way.

Humility has to be the most important virtue for any leader. Being humble makes one open-minded and receptive to ideas that in turn foster a spirit of entrepreneurship. Of course, being a leader means having the final say, but it is critical that tough decisions are not made with ego or for personal benefit.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader?

Culture is the foundation of employee development. It plays a key role in igniting human experiences and encouraging interactions that engage employees. An engaged employee processes signals in a business, views themselves a player in the business’ success, and ultimately charts their own course toward development that is fulfilling.

As I lead my team, I always try to personify and instill in my staff true integrity. If you are a person of integrity, you are honest and you do what is in the best interest of everyone. Kindness is important, but what truly defines a leader’s character is integrity. Altree Developments is built with integrity. We keep our eyes on the horizon - on the long-term goals. You want to be the person who reaches their goal at the end of the day and learns how to zigzag around any obstacles that may arise. It’s this integrity that will build your team’s trust in you.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? To help my employees develop, I encourage them to be free thinkers. I give my team members a great deal of autonomy so that they can take on tasks themselves. Through this, I have strengthened my relationship with my staff so they feel like they can come to me and we can solve problems together, while they will often also problem solve on their own because they feel ownership and have been entrusted to make it happen. This helps them conquer their projects, mitigate mistakes, and gain confidence CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 I

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3. How do you encourage the development of your employees?

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? The suddenness of this pandemic has woken us all to a new reality. Human interaction as we have known it stands challenged. Canadian business owners should incorporate a business continuity planning (BCP) process. BCP in this context is the adoption of tools and technologies that can keep owners connected with their employees, customers, and vendors. Connecting with them at this time gives work a human dimension. Plan on making BCP a strategic initiative. This is a period of forced-learning of new ways to conduct business. Some business owners’ customers or vendors may be staring at the bleak future, so connecting with them will matter. Pay it forward any which way you can as a business.


Laurence Cooke

ROCCO ROSSI

Founder, Chief Executive Officer

President & CEO Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

1. What is your definition of Leadership?

1. What is your definition of Leadership?

Even a quick search will reveal that there are many definitions of leadership. At the simplest level, leadership is the art of bringing people together to achieve a certain task or goal. It’s the ability to clearly articulate a vision, convince others to believe in that vision, and empower them to deliver on that vision. Leadership is about winning the hearts and minds of our teams.

Leadership is all about helping your team achieve objectives they didn’t think possible, by removing barriers both real and perceived in the mind of your team. A big way to get over the perceived obstacles is to create a vision that helps inspire the team to achieve those objectives.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Leaders take on many shapes and sizes. To me, the key to being an effective leader is a clear vision that will create a better society–a cause that is larger than an individual. A greater purpose helps inspire my team to deliver the highest level of results. To achieve this vision, I believe that transparency, decisiveness, and humility are essential. In terms of ethics, one needs to understand that all relationships are built on trust, and breaking that trust damages relationships. It is really difficult to lead people that don’t trust you. I find the best approach is to be 100% honest...even to a fault. Nothing like a transparent workplace to keep you honest.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? At nanopay, we create a safe space to try, learn, and fail. I empower my team to make “type 2 decisions,” or any decision that would not have a critical impact on the company. This provides an opportunity for my team to take on responsibility outside of their typical role or title within the organization. This also allows me the time to focus on “type 1,” or missioncritical decisions. It is OK to fail, as long as you learn from your mistakes. It is liberating to say mea culpa: own a mistake, fix it, and move on.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Integrity, honesty, consistency, being approachable, walking the talk, and working as hard, if not harder than anyone on your team.

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees? Three important ways to do that, the first is leading by example. You’re always being watched, and people are learning from your example both good and bad every day. The second, is providing resources so that your team members can take additional courses and do outside training to build self-development. Third, is understanding that you need ongoing coaching and mentorship. It’s not enough to simply do a performance review once or twice a year, you need to be constantly celebrating successes and helping to overcome failures or obstacles along the way.

4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? As my father taught me, leadership in easy times is easy. It’s the tough times that test us, and this is precisely the time that we earn our position by keeping people focused on the key priorities, such as their health, public health, as well as our members, customers, sponsors and keeping people focused on their tasks in a time of enormous anxiety.

I have three pieces of advice: A. Put people first. Your employees and their families, your customers and their employees. Whether this is ensuring the safety of employees by supporting a productive ‘work from home’ environment or finding creative ways to serve customers to reduce risk. Businesses are teams of people. Without the people, there is no team; without the team, there is no business. At the end of the day, our businesses depend on it. B. Know your numbers. Understand your run rate costs and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Have a plan for best-case, most-likely-case, and worst-case scenarios. People always say “hire slow and fire fast,” but any leader I have met that follows that advice is acting in their own selfinterest. These are difficult times, but we have to make difficult decisions quickly–otherwise there will be nothing left. C. Take time to reflect. Bill Gates said something interesting (I’m paraphrasing) “COVID-19 is indiscriminate and treats everyone equally, so should we.” I think this is a good time to reflect on what we have and how we can help those that don’t.

5. Final question, what steps are OCC, along with other chambers, taking to help Canadian businesses during this time? One of the main steps that we have taken is acting as a hub for information, there’s so much news and so many announcements. We and our colleagues have created toolkits, a website: https://occ.ca/covid19 and are using social media to provide up to the minute information to our members. We are reaching out to our members to get the best ideas, and the pain points so we can share our ongoing advocacy with the government. We are also celebrating and highlighting the amazing things that so many of our members are doing to help society confront the COVID-19 crisis. From converting manufacturing processes to producing PPE, sanitizers, and ventilators to help support our front-line health care workers. While this is a time of physical distancing, we need to virtually keep people socially connected while they’re physically distant.

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Paul Parisi PayPal Canada President

1. What is your definition of Leadership?

3. How do you encourage the development of your employees?

It’s two-fold. The question that many leaders face is: how do we lead in ways that position a business for the future while meeting current demands? This is where it’s important for a leader to not only set the vision but also provide strategic direction for the team and help them understand how to get there. Strategic leadership doesn’t come easily in most organizations. Statistics show that fewer than 10 per cent of leaders exhibit strategic skills, a woefully inadequate number considering the demands on organizations today. Strategic skills aren’t just needed in times of growth. During tough times—when resources are tight—it is even more important to ensure those resources are focused in the right areas.

One of the things I’ve learnt in my career is that not everyone wants to develop. Some people are perfectly happy doing the same thing day in and day out. First understand who wants to develop. What do they want to develop into and then provide them the guidance, tools and confidence to get there.

The other side is “empathy”- understanding what motivates people. I have a degree in psychology, and it’s come in handy when I engage and interact with my teams, coworkers and our customers.

2. What are the most important values and ethics you demonstrate as a leader? Honesty and integrity. I read a quote by Dwight. D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, where he said, “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on the football field, in an army, or in an office.” Honesty and integrity are two important values that make a good leader. If I had to pick another, it would be to “inspire others”. One of the most difficult jobs of a leader is to inspire their teams to deliver their best work. You have to walk the talk and set a good example. When the going gets tough, your team looks up to you to see how you react to the situation. If you handle it well, they will follow you. As a leader, think positive and stay positive and this approach should be clearly visible through your actions. Stay calm under pressure and keep the motivation level up.

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4. What is your advice to Canadian business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic? The most important thing is communication: Communicate transparently with your employees and customers. Everyone is facing this crisis together, so be transparent about what your business is going through to your employees and your customers. Keep your employees and your customers safe by being as proactive as possible about cleanliness. It’s important to exhibit genuine empathy at this time towards your employees, partners and customers. Customers can empathize with brands facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly.

Access to government funds and resources: In the last couple of weeks, the federal and provincial government has announced a number of initiatives to help small business owners survive this crisis. Examine them to see which ones apply to you and helps you tide over. Think differently: Look at your business model and experiment with new ideas. If you are a brick-and-mortar business, look at how you can get online. That’s the need of the hour right now and one way for your business to survive given everything we are facing today. Ask for help: We’re all in this together. I’ve seen everyone on my team, in my network expressing their desire to help small businesses. If you’re need of a service – ask people in your community if anyone wishes to volunteer at this time to help you. You may be pleasantly surprised by your community’s generosity.


Creating A Cybersecurity Plan On A Budget By Jeff Dawley

When your goal is to better understand your company’s cybersecurity environment, the only budget friendly way is through a self-assessment rather than a consulting engagement. Whether you are just getting started as a small business or not-for-profit, or working on improving communication and compliance efforts in a larger organization, that cybersecurity assessment needs to be based on a framework, or you might as well throw your money out the window. With the growing demand for cybersecurity talent, organizations need tools that help them run self-assessments, leveraging globally-accepted frameworks that are most relevant for their particular industry or stage of development. That assessment then serves as the basis for communication between IT managers and the non-IT stakeholders on the executive team and on the board of directors. One of the best tools for assessing your cybersecurity readiness and resilience is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF). NIST CSF covers the entire cybersecurity lifecycle from identification of risk through to recovery after an event, and with a set of easy to understand controls that roll up to 5 functions, it serves as a great communication tool for IT managers when communicating with non-IT executives and the board of directors.

A PRACTICAL OVERVIEW OF NIST CSF

DETECT

NIST CSF is issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and has been updated once, in April 2018, since it was originally issued in 2014. The framework uses 5 top level functions to frame a cybersecurity environment. Based on experience with various IT service providers and IT managers, here are some examples of activities that would fall under each of the 5 NIST CSF functions:

Watch for anomalous behavior. People need to be vigilant and systems should be in place to identify potential attacks.

Activities may include:

solution(s) •

in your environment.

monitor systems for anomalous activity

both your IT environment and your brand.

Activities may include:

Activities may include:

develop a response plan and integrate with

the overall business emergency response

create information security policies and

losses.

Follow your disaster recovery plan, including

identify and control who can access your

prevent sharing of account credentials a

formal

patch

develop a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) and

contact a public relations firm for support in

communicating with stakeholders •

act decisively according to plan once an attack is detected

have a restore strategy integrate with the overall business DRP

store your response plan outside of your environment

Activities may include: follow

regularly test your plan

once the threat has been neutralized, initiate the recovery plan immediately

likelihood of a successful attack.

plan •

President and Founder Cybersecurity Compliance Corp.

RECOVER

Establish protective measures to reduce the

Jeff Dawley

publish

Act immediately, follow your plan, limit your

PROTECT

and

RESPOND

procedures

awareness

develop hardware and system inventories data

Activities may include:

promote

emails or activity

Identify and document the assets and exposures

monitor logs communication methods for suspicious

IDENTIFY

run endpoint monitoring and protection

execute a claim for your cyber insurance

management

program •

install firewalls evaluate physical security set and monitor minimum password

complexity requirements •

run

regular

education

compliance testing have a back-up strategy evaluate cyber insurance

and

phishing/

There are online NIST CSF assessments available today, along with tools that incorporate other frameworks which may be required or better suited to your stage or industry. These online tools are more affordable than standard cybersecurity consulting engagements while providing a great starting point for any organization. Cybersecurity is no longer an IT problem, it is a business risk. Employ a user-friendly frameworkbased assessment to provide transparency and drive alignment throughout the organization, leading to more effective, budget-appropriate decisions and a stronger cybersecurity environment..

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Financial Planning with

TOM BURMEISTER 5. How is Advicent helping entrepreneurs as they navigate through the challenges of entrepreneurship?

1. As Vice President of Financial Planning at Advicent, what can you tell us about how the new changes to the NaviPlan will impact small business owners?

Our mission is to enable everyone to understand and impact their financial future, and we do that through our advisor- and client-facing technology. In this case we’ve given financial advisors some new and extremely powerful tools to more accurately educate and advise business owner clients to make better decisions today that will positively impact their long-term personal and professional goals.

As the leading financial planning technology provider in Canada, it’s extremely important that NaviPlan is consistently evolving and improving to meet the needs of our users. The recent enhancements to NaviPlan empower advisors to more accurately model holding companies and operating companies for their business owner clients, as well as provide upto-date guidance to business owners that have established Canadian-controlled private corporations (“CCPCs”). The end result is a more comprehensive and precise financial plan, which should instill even more confidence for the advisors and clients that rely on the NaviPlan platform to make critical financial decisions every day.

6. What advice can you give to advisors when it comes to embracing technology so that they can face everyday challenges? Tom Burmeister - Vice President, Financial Planning, Advicent. As vice president of financial planning, Tom is an integral contributor to the strategic vision around our financial planning initiatives. Additionally, he is critically involved in all partner interactions, thought leadership contributions, and internal training programs. With a background in business law, compliance, and financial services technology, he has worked with some of the largest financial services firms in the world to increase success, exceed client expectations, and remain compliant with technology

2. What was the main deciding factor that inspired the changes in the recent tax and private corporation changes? First and foremost, these enhancements are a demonstration of our continued commitment to innovation in the Canadian market. In general, the NaviPlan roadmap is formulated based on three main inputs: 1) feedback from our user base of over 140,000 advisors; 2) industry research (both internally and externally sourced); and 3) emerging FinTech trends.

4. What would you say is the most important aspect that small business owners should keep in mind when it comes to the new changes made to the NaviPlan?

3. In your expert opinion, how important is it for financial advisors to keep their technology updated so that they can stay current with new regulations?

While small business owners are not the ones buying NaviPlan, they can benefit greatly by working with a financial advisor who has incorporated our financial planning platform into their practice. At a time when the Tax Code and other regulations affecting their clients’ businesses continue to evolve, NaviPlan incorporates these changes to help ensure that advisors’ small-business-owner clients comply with new rules and optimize the tax benefits to which they are entitled.

Beyond the obvious compliance risk to providing clients with an analysis powered by outdated assumptions, it’s also important to consider how consumer expectations have evolved over the past decade or so. Consumers expect relevant, up-to-date information from every company with which they do business, and financial advisors are no exception. It is critical for advisors to build their technology stack with this in mind.

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Financial planning is most effective when it’s holistic in nature, and the same principle applies to evaluating and adopting technology within an advisor’s practice. Technology should be harmonious with the documented processes and workflows that make up an advisor’s advice delivery model. If those processes are not already established, documented, and updated, then that’s the place to start. It’s also important to have clear objectives and outcomes in mind before evaluating a given piece of technology: where will data ultimately reside? How should data be shared between systems? How can this technology make my team more efficient and allow us to better serve our clients? The process may seem daunting, but the end result will be well worth the extra effort.

7. On a final note, how do you believe the new technology advancements will impact Advicent? Initial reactions from the market have been very positive, and we’re all very proud of these latest enhancements. However, in this fastpaced FinTech environment, there’s never room for complacency. We’re already off and running on our next series of NaviPlan releases, and I’m extremely excited for some truly transformational enhancements to the NaviPlan platform in 2020 and beyond.


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Bring us in for a FREE 2-hour technology assessment. VISIT NERDSONSITE.COM OR CALL 1.877.696.3737

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Keep your business humming by keeping up with the latest technology. Wherever you take your life’s work, and wherever it takes you, we’re here to make sure technology works as hard as you do. Visit cisco.com/ca/smb to discover our solutions.

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CanadianSME April 2020  

Welcome to the April Edition of CanadianSME Magazine. We’re almost halfway done with the year but with the current events going on in the wo...

CanadianSME April 2020  

Welcome to the April Edition of CanadianSME Magazine. We’re almost halfway done with the year but with the current events going on in the wo...

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