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ISSUE 21 - AUGUST 2020

CANADIANSME Empowering Canadian Small & Medium Businesses PC PARTNER

BANKING PARTNER

HONOURABLE PERRIN BEATTY President and Chief Executive Off icer Canadian Chamber of Commerce

HELPING BUSINESS COMMUNITY PREPARE, PERSEVERE & PROSPER


2020 As October is Small Business Month in Canada, on October 20 and 21, we are hosting the inaugural The Small Business Summit and would like to invite you to be a part of it. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I

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Meet ThinkBook—the first laptop designed exclusively for Small Business. Outfitted with smart and secure business features, a premium aluminum design, and top-notch audio, ThinkBook was built

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for every aspect of your life. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I

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20-21 October 2020 From 11 am to 3 pm

Small Business Moving Forward Don't miss out on this opportunity to gain valuable information from top leaders in this exclusive summit and get your business moving in the right direction.

This exclusive two-day summit will be featuring panel discussions, webinars and keynote presentations by Canada's top business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Adapting to new normal

Why attend:

Who should attend:

Tech adoption

Every small business owner wants to learn entrepreneurial resilience during challenging times. As a small business owner, you want to know and discover the best strategies to implement during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Small Business Leaders, Owners, CEOs, Business consultants, Finance and HR managers, IT decision-makers from small and medium enterprises who are facing challenges to adopt innovative technologies.

Empowering Small Businesses for the new normal

Tech adoption for Small Businesses through Covid-19 and beyond

Entrepreneurial resilience Successful entrepreneurs and CEOs from various industries will discuss how you can revive your business during unpredictable times.

Women entrepreneurship We will discuss resources and tools that are available to women entrepreneurs to deal with Covid-19

Registrations starting soon

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I smesummit.ca

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WELCOME We’ve officially made it to August. Now that Canada has officially reopened its doors for business and entrepreneurs are ready to adjust to the new normal, we at CanadianSME have made it our mission to make the transition as smooth as possible. Our August issue is not like our previous issues. This month, we’ve gone out of our way to include articles and guidelines to help entrepreneurs succeed during these challenging times. CanadianSME is a strong supporter of small and medium-sized business owners, and therefore, every month, we ensure to provide original articles that we believe entrepreneurs will benefit from. To start, Executive VP of Business Financial Services from RBC, Greg Grice, talks about what it takes for small businesses to succeed during the current crisis. Co-founder of Wave Kirk Simpson also shares his expertise by talking about entrepreneurial resilience during these challenging times. The Honourable Perrin Beatty, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, has also given us an exclusive interview on the Canadian Chamber’s latest programs for small businesses: The Canadian Business Reliance Network Small Business Relief Fund. Besides getting expert advice from some of Canada’s top leaders in the business industry, our August issue is also filled with original articles that entrepreneurs will find very informative. For those in the technology industry, the following article will be of interest: Building a Tech Team: Keep These 5 Things Top of Mind. We also have HR expert Kristina Vassilieva from Peninsula Canada who helps employers tackle the vacation issue with her article on Advice for Employers: Managing an Influx of Vacation Requests. Because saving on taxes is always an ongoing issue for many entrepreneurs, we’ve included an article on Tax-Saving Opportunities for Today’s Economic Environment. We also have other resourceful articles such as The Ins and Outs of Customer Acquisition for Small Businesses and Which Knowledge Management Model Works for SMEs in Time of COVID-19. We are confident that you will find this month’s issue extremely resourceful since we have worked hard with our experts to find topics that we believe will contribute to your business’s success. As always, we thank you for your loyalty and support as we work hard to find ways to help you succeed on your journey of entrepreneurship. We hope you enjoy this issue and happy reading!

www.canadiansme.ca info@canadiansme.ca canadiansme canadian_sme canadiansme 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 Greg Grice Stephanie Jindal Perrin Beatty David W. Smith Kirk Simpson

Kristina Vassilieva Andrea Richardson Mélanie Joly Mostafa Sayyadi

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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.


2020-21 www.businesstalks.ca


CONTENTS

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DISCUSSING SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS WITH GREG GRICE Executive Vice President, Business Financial Services RBC

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BUILDING A TECH TEAM? KEEP THESE FIVE THINGS TOP OF MIND Technology teams are core to company success. Here’s what you need to know before building one.

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HON. PERRIN BEATTY HELPING BUSINESS COMMUNITY PREPARE, PERSEVERE AND PROSPER

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ENTREPRENEURIAL RESILIENCE DURING CHALLENGING TIMES WITH KIRK SIMPSON


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CANADA COULD LOSE AN ADDITIONAL 158,000 SMALL BUSINESSES TO COVID-19 Government and consumer support make-or-break for small business survival

DIGITA L TO O L KIT

Returning to Physical Workspaces

CANADA HAS AN INNOVATION MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB, BUT IT IS NOT STARTING

AT THE BOTTOM Andrea Richardson, Canadian Prize Manager, Nesta Challenges

Make a Plan

Get Your Workplace Ready

Prepare Your Employees

Plan to Interact with Customers

LEARN MORE SUPPORTBUSINESS.BOT.COM

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INTRODUCING THE TORONTO BOARD OF TRADE DIGITAL TOOLKIT FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES WORKING TO RE-OPEN

36 THE INS AND OUTS OF CUSTOMER ACQUISITION

FOR SMALL BUSINESSES By Jessica Bennett

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TAX SAVING OPPORTUNITIES FOR TODAY’S ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT Stephanie Jindal, CPA, MTax, TEP


2020-21 www.businesstalks.ca


INTRODUCING THE TORONTO BOARD OF TRADE DIGITAL TOOLKIT FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES WORKING TO RE-OPEN Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we have heard a clear message: you need help now. The Toronto Region Board of Trade is where you will find it. The return to physical workspaces poses several challenges for small and medium businesses. Our Digital Toolkit for Returning to Physical Workspaces will help you navigate welcoming your employees and customers back to your workspace safely. We know that nothing matters more to you than a safe reopening of your business. Yet, because small and medium businesses are facing so many new and unique concerns due to the pandemic, it can be hard to know where to start. The Toolkit is a one-stop place to find the resources, tools, and critical support programs you need to recover, grow, and manage your business throughout these challenging times

D I G I TA L TO O L KI T

Returning to Physical Workspaces

Make a Plan

Get Your Workplace Ready

Prepare Your Employees

Plan to Interact with Customers

LEARN MORE SUPPORTBUSINESS.BOT.COM

Our Digital Toolkit lays out a step-by-step path to reopening your business: Step 1: Learn how to formulate your plan for reopening, including how to form your planning and response team. You can also access essential government and industry safe return to work guidelines to help you get started. Step 2: Learn more about making your physical workspace ready for the safe return of employees and customers. Access information about physical workplace retrofits to consider, protective equipment requirements, and cleaning schedule best practices.

Step 3: Learn more about how to prepare your employees to be partners in workplace safety during the pandemic. Get the latest information on public health recommendations, make plans for a phased return to work, and keep employees up to date about changing public safety rules that might impact their commutes. Step 4: Learn about how to safely interact with customers as you welcome them back to your workplace. Access resources to help plan a safe flow of customer traffic, learn how to manage inperson transactions safely, and find government resources available to businesses such as directional and safety signage.

The information and resources gathered on the toolkit are drawn directly from all three levels of government and other expert advice on navigating the workplace during the pandemic.

Visit supportbusiness.bot.com to access the easy-to-use tools available through our stepby-step process, allowing you to focus on what matters most: reopening your business while keeping everyone safe.

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I

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NEW AMERICAN EXPRESS CANADA SHOP SMALL AD CAMPAIGN PUTS CANADA’S SMALL BUSINESSES FRONT and CENTRE

Amex teams up with real business owners and notable personalities to help rally support for small businesses in latest marketing campaign TORONTO, July 29, 2020 /CNW/ - American Express Canada is rolling out the next phase of its Shop Small marketing campaign to encourage Canadians to get behind small businesses and help revive local communities. The program, which is backed by American Express Canada’s largest ever Shop Small Cardmember offer, includes national advertising including influencer and social media marketing that puts real small businesses and their stories in the spotlight. By placing businesses at the forefront, American Express is putting their resources and marketing experience into making a direct impact for small businesses across the country.

“From shop keepers to bakers, florists and restaurateurs, it’s our local business owners that make the Shop Small campaign so important,” says David Barnes, Vice President of Advertising and Communications, American Express Canada. “We want to use our advertising to help elevate real small business owners from our main streets to the main stage, putting them front and centre in creative across high-impact placements from billboards to digital media to video.”

Local Toronto business Aba’s Bagels featured on high-impact billboard as part of Amex’s #ShopSmall campaign (CNW Group/American Express Canada) CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I 11

The 360 campaign is a rallying cry in support of small businesses and comes to life over the 12week program through video and digital display, audio, out of home, content partnerships as well as influencer and social content.


A variety of Canadian local small business owners are featured front and centre in creative across marketing channels, putting small businesses at the heart of the program: • Video creative featuring notable Canadian personalities including Donte Colley, Eden Hagos, Sarain Fox and Tyrone Edwards, and Torontobased small businesses including, Mary’s Brigadeiro, Throne Barbershop, SugarKane, May Flowers, The Dirty Bird and The Good Son • Social media features with more than 40 small businesses • Digital OOH with high-impact billboard placements across Toronto • Custom partnership with award-winning content team Twitter Originals fueled by so.da (Corus Entertainment) “With the Shop Small campaign, we’re lending our marketing platform to the businesses that can directly benefit from our investment and experience,” continues Barnes. “Putting them at the heart of our campaign allows us to personalize the Shop Small story, with the goal of encouraging Canadians to get out there and show up for the local businesses that play such a crucial role in our communities.” “It’s been a really challenging year for businesses like ours,” said Mariane Oliveira, owner of Mary’s Brigadeiro, a hand-crafted Brazilian confectionary shop in Toronto. “This kind of spotlight really helps shine a light on small businesses and the role we play within our community.” To drive additional awareness for the Shop Small program, American Express Canada also partnered with professional basketball player and Canadian fan-favourite Fred VanVleet to help spread the word and encourage Canadians to support local businesses. “Part of what I miss most about Toronto are the local places that give the city a great culture and vibe,” says Fred VanVleet, professional basketball player. “I’m proud to be partnering with Amex Canada for this campaign and to be using my voice to help encourage fans and all Canadians to get out there and support local businesses.” Notch Video developed local video creative, with North Strategic (social media, PR and influencer marketing). BT/A (merchant communication & experiential) and UM (media). Global creative was developed by McGarry Bowen and includes digital banners, online video/TV and OOH.

Local Toronto business Mary’s Brigadeiro featured on high-impact billboard as part of Amex’s #ShopSmall campaign (CNW Group/American Express Canada)

markets to help jumpstart spending at local businesses. American Express has been running Shop Small and the popular Small Business Saturday program in the US for 10 years. Shop Small launched in Canada in 2013, and this marks the first time the campaign has extended its reach at such a largescale in Canada. This Shop Small offer is the largest ever for American Express Canada. Eligible Cardmembers can earn $5 back in statement credits when they spend at least $10 at up to 10 different qualifying small businesses, allowing them to earn up to $50 in statement credits through the program. To learn more about the offer and for Cardmembers to enroll, visit: www.americanexpress.ca/shopsmall

About American Express in Canada American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. American Express was established in Canada in 1853 and offers a variety of consumer and business products. Learn more at americanexpress.ca and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

About American Express Shop Small Shop Small is an international movement founded by American Express to ignite passion for small businesses, call attention to the valuable contributions they make to their communities and the economy, and encourage shoppers to support them. Shop Small celebrates small businesses ranging from retail stores and restaurants to fitness studios and salons, and everything in between. Visit www.americanexpress.ca/shopsmall and follow #ShopSmall for more information. SOURCE American Express Canada

Globally, American Express is investing $200M USD in Shop Small across six international CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I

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Interview

DISCUSSING

SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS WITH

GREG GRICE

Executive Vice President, Business Financial Services RBC CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I

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Interview

As Executive Vice President, Business Financial Services for RBC’s Canadian Banking division, Greg is responsible for setting the strategic direction and leading all lines of business that serve small business and commercial clients through an extensive business banking network. Based on a strong commitment to its clients, Business Financial Services holds the leading market share across Canada in business loans and deposits/investments. Since joining RBC in 1988, Greg has had a wide range of senior management and executive positions within RBC’s branch network and head office. Prior to his current role, he was Executive Vice President, Enterprise Services where he led Procurement; Enterprise Optimization; Acquisition Integration & Enterprise Decision Support; Strategy & Transformation; Corporate Real Estate and Enterprise Business Continuity Management. Greg has also served as SVP, Service and Operations, RBC Insurance as well as a number of senior executive roles including Regional President for the Atlantic Region, Vice President of RBC’s domestic Business and Commercial Financing Products and Regional Vice President of Business Markets for the Greater Toronto Region. Greg earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. An avid community supporter, Greg serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Trillium Health Partners Foundation, Moneris Solutions Corporation and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He is past Chair of the Board of Directors for Trillium Health Partners Foundation. He lives in Toronto with his wife and their two children. CanadianSME had the opportunity to discuss the road ahead for small businesses with Greg Grice and what it takes to make the small business successful. Greg highlighted essential steps necessary for surviving, reviving and thriving during the COVID-19 and beyond, how RBC offers HR solutions through Magnet, ADP, Wello and League to help business clients. We also discussed the launch of Canada United, an initiative by RBC, in association with the national network of Chamber of Commerce, Canadian business associations and over 50 leading corporations to rally support for local businesses through Canada United.

Unfortunately, Canadian entrepreneurs and small businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the disruption of COVID-19. In our latest report, Small Business, Big Pivot, we found that small companies saw nearly double the rate of job losses versus mid-sized and large businesses. At the height of the pandemic, two-thirds of those surveyed had experienced revenue declines of more than 50% forcing most owners to cut their own salaries and lay off 75% or more of their employees. In the midst of physical distancing measures and forced temporary closure of businesses, many small companies were also ill-prepared to pivot quickly to mobile and e-Commerce alternatives as many did not have a pre-existing online presence or digital payment processing capabilities. This, among other factors, had a significant impact on their ability to adapt quickly and sustain operations during the pandemic.

How will increased or sustained PPE expenses affect your overhead costs?

First and foremost, focus your efforts on reopening your business in a way that prioritizes the safety of employees and customers. Beyond minimizing the risk of a new COVID-19 spread, it’s important that your employees and customers feel safe to show up to work and shop in your place of business, and first impressions count! If they don’t feel safe the first time, they’re not likely to return and potentially bear the risk a second time. So it’s important that owners think through the impact of physical distancing measures as it relates to merchandising, on-site traffic, sanitization schedules and PPE availability. Also consider alternative means of accessing your products and services through e-Commerce and mobile apps, or through continued curbside pickup, delivery and appointment-based interactions to manage volumes.

How does a switch to local or alternative suppliers affect your cash flow, should you need to?

How will the extension or expiry or government and other financial relief programs affect your short and long-term capital needs?

Secondly, take this time to proactively scenario plan your cash flow and capital needs. Thinking beyond the summer re-opening, think about the impact of a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall so that you’re better prepared to support your employees and customers. Consider the following questions:

The economy is slowly but surely re-opening. What are some advice or considerations you have for entrepreneurs as they prepare to

How will your cash flow be affected if you were required to partially or fully shut down your business again?

This has had a profound impact on our economy as small businesses represent 42% of GDP and 48% of new jobs in Canada.

welcome customers, and focus on recovery and resilience this year?

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on everything from our healthcare system and economy to the physical and mental wellbeing and behaviours of Canadians. How as this pandemic specifically impacted Canadian small businesses?

The recovery phase of our economic future remains fluid and it’s important that business owners proactively think through these scenarios now so they can develop contingency plans. It’s just as important to talk to an advisor at your bank, your accountant and lawyer to understand how they can support you in these scenarios and help secure any necessary capital so you can be less reactive and more agile in the event that scenarios become a reality. Finally, explore digital HR solutions to support employees while simplifying the administration for you as the owner. Saving time and maximizing value for you and your employees is critical, now more than ever. Whether you’re looking to hire new staff, efficiently manage your payroll, or offer virtual employee health services and other benefits, RBC offers HR solutions through Magnet, ADP, Wello and League to help business clients support the well-being of their employees with greater flexibility and ease.

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Many businesses expanded into e-Commerce and digital channels during the quarantine period. Do you anticipate this trend to continue? Yes, and I don’t think we’ll see digital adoption going back to pre-COVID levels for two reasons. First, digital solutions have the potential to unlock new operational efficiencies, and critical cost savings as a result of those efficiencies. Secondly, digitizing operations and exploring e-Commerce as part of your business model through solutions like the Moneris + Bookmark offer for RBC small business clients can help you maintain business continuity during periods of disruption and physical distancing. During COVID-19, we saw many entrepreneurs make the difficult move to pivot on their traditional business model and embrace digital tools and channels to stay open. Fitness instructors took to virtual Zoom training sessions, brick-and-mortar retailers offered online shopping options, restaurants offered curbside pickup and delivery, and real estate agents encouraged virtual viewings and ‘open houses’. Meanwhile, digital communication platforms, payment & cash management tools, banking solutions and invoicing and payroll management solutions provided greater flexibility for owners and employees to efficiently manage their business operations, while freeing up valuable time to stay engaged with customers and re-plan their business strategy. Many entrepreneurs and consumers have now adapted to this new, digitally-enabled and expedient way of living and working. And I think the businesses that remain agile and resilient in this changing landscape will be the ones that say on the path of embracing digital solutions and e-Commerce strategies to enhance their operations and customer experience.

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Canadian small businesses are the backbone of our economy and their successful bounce back is critical. How is RBC supporting entrepreneurs and business owners during these challenging times? We’re supporting Canadian businesses in three ways: First, we’re rallying all Canadians to support Canadian brands and local businesses as the economy re-opens through our Canada United campaign. We partnered with the national network of Chambers of Commerce, business associations and 50+ corporate partners to encourage Canadians to support local businesses– from retailers and restaurants to florists, tradespeople and other service providers – to stimulate economic recovery. Support can take the form of shopping or buying services from a local provider, and amplifying awareness of businesses through social media likes and shares. The campaign will culminate in a nationwide shopping weekend from August 28-30. Starting August 31, the program will also accept applications for the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund to help Canadian small businesses cover expenses related to PPE, renovations to accommodate physical distancing measures, and enhancements made to e-Commerce platforms. More information on this can be found at www.gocanadaunited.ca. In June, we also launched Points for Canada to stimulate local economies across Canada by giving clients double the points at restaurants and 30% more value when redeeming points for gift cards or paying in-store. Secondly, we’re sharing valuable tips and resources to help entrepreneurs pivot and manage their business through this crisis and recovery. RBC’s Discover & Learn portal offers articles, expert tips and perspectives around how to effectively plan and manage cash flow during uncertainty, create checklists to prepare for re-opening, manage stress and mental resilience, and plan safe retail shopping experiences, to name a few. We also partnered with the Chatter that Matters podcast to bring entrepreneurs and business experts together on topics of resilience, marketing, strategy and industry-specific insights. Finally, we’re continuing to provide tailored advice and client relief solutions to small business clients impacted by COVID-19. We’re continuing to support the administration of the Government of Canada’s various financial relief programs, while also adapting and administering RBC’s own Client Relief Program to the case-by-case needs of our clients as they continue to navigate these fluid and challenging times. More information on RBC’s Client Relief Program can be found at https://www.rbc.com/businessrelief.


Exclusive interactions with entrepreneurs, business leaders and business experts.

Small Business Podcast Welcome to Canadian SME podcast, a podcast for Canadian Small Businesses. We interview Canadian experts and entrepreneurs to give the small business owners access to expert knowledge that helps them grow their business. Our mission is to empower Canadian small and medium enterprises.

Technology

Women entrepreneurship

Small Business Finance

Social Media Marketing

Business Leadership

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I Digital Transformation

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BUILDING

A TECH TEAM? KEEP THESE FIVE THINGS TOP OF MIND TECHNOLOGY TEAMS ARE CORE TO COMPANY SUCCESS. HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BUILDING ONE.

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I

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E

arlier this year, David Levine’s chief technology officer tendered his resignation, leaving the CEO of Digital Bridge, a Manchester, U.K.-based firm that uses artificial intelligence to help people design homes, without a tech lead. Fortunately, he knew what he wanted from a CTO, so the search didn’t take long.

“I wanted someone who wouldn’t get too bogged down in the details, even though it is a very technical role,” he says. “They need to be able to talk to their team, get opinions from their team, and make the right call. It’s also important that they fit into our company culture.” While he ended up promoting someone from within the firm, the task of finding the right CTO, and then creating the right technology team, can make or break a business. In today’s business environment, your technology lead must be a difference maker in your company or organization. These days, technology teams handle a variety of issues, including cybersecurity, software and hardware purchases, proprietary software development, and more. That’s why it’s critical to for companies to build a top-notch tech group. “If you don’t, then you’ve lost months of work and have to go through the process again,” he says. What can you do to make sure you’re hiring the right CTO and building the best team? Start by focusing on what you need – and follow these five tips.

1.

Think Carefully About What You Want

2.

Insist on Experience

3.

Find a Partner

4.

Let the Tech Lead Pick the Team

5.

5. Keep Your Team Engaged

With so many areas of tech, there’s no one-size-fits-all team anymore. Think about what you want your tech-focused staff to do, says Jerry Fralick, chief security officer with Lenovo. For insurance companies, collecting and securing big data is important. Service businesses may want someone who can use technology to drive efficiencies. “You have to look at your business model first and then bring in the people who can help you depending on your needs,” he says.

A couple of decades ago, anyone with a computer would have been qualified to be a CTO. Now, tech executives need to have the right certifications, like a Certified Information Security Manager or a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, as well as experience working on a tech team, says Fralick. He suggests looking for people who have worked in the public sector, in higher education, or at Fortune 500 companies. “These people know how to deal with big budgets and boards of directors, and they can be a champion within an organization,” he says.

Whether you’re hiring a CTO or a chief information officer—in larger companies, the CIO oversees the CTO and is involved in more strategic planning—you’ll need someone who can become a trusted confidant and partner. “While the CEO may have the vision, the CTO is the one who, in many cases, will have to execute on it,” says Tom Berray, a managing partner with Cabot, a McLean, Virginia-based executive search firm. “You don’t have to agree on everything, but you have to be partners who share a vision and strategy,” he says.

Your new CTO or CIO should be the one choosing their team. However, you’ll need to work with him or her to decide what kinds of people are needed. While the size of a team will depend on the company, Fralick says a team of eight is not uncommon in small-to-medium-size operations. You’ll want someone who knows security, someone who can oversee a business’s software and hardware needs, an innovation officer who can work with customers, and project managers to keep things running. Teams should also be diverse, from a race and gender perspective, says Levine. “People must be empowered to say we should be doing things a certain way,” he says.

Once the team is hired, you’ll have to put them to work. That likely won’t be a problem, but you should think about what they’ll do when they come on board, says Fralick. Some may be tasked with ensuring every computer is up and running, others will be protecting your business from a cyberattack. Work with the CIO or the CTO—whoever’s in charge—to manage everyone. “The [tech lead] has to be cognizant of how much things cost and get money to keep the lights on or to make improvements,” he says. “The whole team needs to be involved.” Perhaps, most important, business owners need to make sure they’re hiring a team they trust. Levine wants to be meeting clients and selling his product, not working on the tech itself. If he knows his team is doing their part, then he can do his. “I need to be comfortable knowing that I can deliver on what I’m saying,” he says. “And, when something happens, we can come up with a tech solution that’s right.” Lenovo is dedicated to providing the technology, services, and support Small Businesses need on their journey to make a difference. For more information, click here This content was co-produced by Lenovo and Inc., and originally appeared on inc.com

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Stephanie Jindal, CPA, MTax, TEP Senior Tax Manager at SBLR LLP who specializes in corporate restructurings and estate planning.

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I

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TAX SAVING OPPORTUNITIES

FOR TODAY’S ECONOMIC

ENVIRONMENT Stephanie Jindal, CPA, MTax, TEP

When it comes to tax minimization, you should look into strategies that reduce not only your tax bill but also that of your family as a whole - one way of doing this is income splitting between family members. Income splitting is the concept of shifting income from a high-income tax rate family member to another who will pay tax at a lower rate. Attribution rules of the Income Tax Act state that if you give a spouse funds for that person to invest, any income or capital gains generated on those funds would be taxed in the hands of the other spouse. Similar rules apply with respect to gifts to minors, with a few differences. A way to steer clear of the attribution rules is by, for example, creating a loan between the spouses at an interest rate equal to or greater than the CRA prescribed rate. The loan must be documented in writing. As of July 1st, 2020, the CRA prescribed rate is at its lowest possible rate of 1%, down from 2%. This represents an excellent planning opportunity that would allow family members to income split. The net effect would be that any investment return generated above 1% would be taxed in the hands of the lower-income family member.

Example: Assume Mrs. A is a successful business owner and is currently paying tax at the highest income tax rate, which in Ontario is 53.53%. On the other hand, Mr. A has no income.

Mrs. A currently has $1 million of investable assets, which are generating a 5% return on investment. The investment income of $50,000 is taxed at the top marginal rate for Mrs. A. Mrs. A has decided to loan her near-cash investment assets to Mr. A. Note there may be capital gains/losses on any dispositions. A loan agreement is documented at the prescribed interest rate of 1%. Mr. A then goes ahead and invests the $1 million. At the end of the year, Mr. A generates $50,000 of investment income, assuming the same 5% rate of return. He would end up paying tax at his marginal income rate of under approximately 15%, rather than the higher rate of 53.53%.

Something to keep in mind is that the interest rate is set at 1% for the life of this loan. The interest on this loan for each calendar year must be paid in cash by January 30th of the following year. The Government sets the prescribed interest rates every 3 months, meaning the 1% rate will remain for at least July to September 2020. Future rates would depend on where interest rates go in Canada. A professional tax advisor’s assistance is strongly recommended to determine if this or any other type of tax planning strategy could benefit you.

Stephanie Jindal:

By January 30th of the following year, and every year the loan is

outstanding, Mr. A must pay interest of 1% on the $1 million loan from

Mrs. A ($10,000). Mrs. A will report this $10,000 as income on her personal income tax return, and Mr. A would be able to deduct this $10,000 as an interest expense

Senior Tax Manager at SBLR LLP who specializes in corporate restructurings and estate planning. SBLR LLP is a mid-sized accounting and tax firm that delivers proactive service to the small and medium-sized entrepreneurial business owner. We provide accounting, tax and business advice to clients across multiple industries. Learn more at www.sblr.ca

on his return. Tax savings for the spouses could be over $20,000

W

hile facing COVID-19 financial challenges, tax planning may not be your top priority. However, putting tax strategies into place could help you save money during today’s economic environment.

for the first year, and available

thereafter on an annual basis.

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BMO BLUE BOOK:

CANADIAN SMALL BUSINESSES

BEGIN THE POST-LOCKDOWN RECOVERY

BMO Blue Book combines expertise of BMO’s economists with information on business conditions from its bankers

Central Canada:

• 

Small businesses are the foundation of local economies and their rebound will influence Canada’s recovery

6.0 per cent this year, in-line with the decline expected nationally. The province entered the downturn in a position of strength, but struggled with a steeper COVID curve early on.

•

F

ollowing the steepest, deepest, and fastest recession in history, there are clear signs that the Canadian and global economies have begun the initial stages of recovery, according to the newly-released BMO Blue Book: Small Businesses in the Recovery. The BMO Blue Book, published by BMO Economics and BMO Business Banking, combines the expertise of BMO’s economists with information on current national and provincial business conditions provided to BMO’s business bankers by local businesspeople. The BMO Blue Book features a report for Canada at large, each province and the Greater Toronto Area. This edition also features an outlook for five key sectors of the Canadian economy: technology, agriculture, energy, manufacturing and construction. The BMO Blue Book states that the Canadian economy will contract by roughly 6 per cent in 2020, by far the deepest annual decline in economic activity in the post-war era. “Yet, as we have consistently maintained since the shutdowns began, growth is expected to rebound to roughly 6 per cent next year, helping bring the jobless rate down markedly,” said Doug Porter, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group. “Even with a forceful recovery, the challenge will be to get the economy back to full health. It will undoubtedly be a bumpy road but, as key drivers of Canada’s economy, it’s vital to understand how businesses will be affected over the coming months.” “As the Bank for Business, we stand ready to support our customers during these challenging times,” said Ernie (Erminia) Johannson, Group Head, North American Personal and Business Banking, BMO Financial Group. “The BMO Blue Book represents another part of our effort to provide specialized content and resources to

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help our business clients navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery. Now more than ever, we need to work with our clients to support their needs and provide them with opportunities to make clear financial progress.” “Small businesses have been more adversely affected by the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19,” said Mike Bonner, Head, Business Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. “It’s crucial that we all help small businesses bridge the gap back to profitability – they are the foundation of local economies across this country and account for a large portion of local tax revenue and local employment. Their rebound will influence Canada’s recovery.”

Provincial forecasts at-a-glance according to the BMO Blue Book: Western Canada:  British Columbia’s economy is expected to

contract 5.3 per cent this year, but rebound to 6.3 per cent in 2021. Unemployment is expected to remain below the national average.  Alberta’s GDP decline will be deeper than in

the rest of the country. The province has been faster to re-open, with the CFIB reporting that almost 60 per cent of small businesses were fully open as of mid-June.

Prairies:  Saskatchewan’s economy will contract 6.2

per cent this year. That said, the COVID situation has been milder than in most other provinces – leaving the province flexibility to re-open earlier.  Manitoba’s economy is expected to contract

4.8 per cent in 2020, milder than the national decline. Manitoba has typically weathered downturns much better than the rest of Canada, but COVID-related lockdowns will still weigh heavily.

 The Ontario economy is expected to contract

 The Quebec economy is expected to decline

6.3 per cent this year, slightly worse than the national figure given more widespread shutdowns early in the pandemic.

Atlantic Canada:  Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI are

all seeing GDP contractions that are milder than the decline expected nationally, with reductions of 3.8 per cent, 3.2 per cent and 3.0 per cent, respectively. Faster re-opening in these provinces has provided significant benefits. The Newfoundland & Labrador economy is expected to contract 7.5 per cent this year, deeper than the decline expected nationally. The province was already in a challenged position pre-COVID, and current shutdowns and the decline in oil prices have exacerbated the headwinds. 

The BMO Blue Book can be downloaded at: https://bmoficc. bluematrix.com/sellside/EmailDocViewer?encrypt=97c0d8cdf2d4-430e-82d2-b73dce5354f9&mime=pdf.

About BMO Financial Group Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $987 billion as of April 30, 2020, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets. SOURCE BMO Financial Group


INTUIT CANADA LAUNCHES ACCELERATOR WITH HIGHLINE BETA TO POWER FUTURE-FORWARD FINANCIAL PROSPERITY FOR CANADIANS Intuit Canada is partnering with Highline Beta to launch the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator, where a cohort of global tech startups will help solve financial prosperity challenges that Canadian consumers, self-employed and small businesses will be facing in the wake of COVID-19. TORONTO, July 13, 2020 /CNW/ - Intuit Canada, a leading global financial platform company known for products such as TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint, and Highline Beta, a venture studio and venture capital firm, today announced the launch of the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator. This program aims to solve very specific problems that will help enable the future financial health of consumers and small businesses across Canada.

Intuit Canada | Intuit Prosperity Accelerator powered by Highline Beta (CNW Group/Highline BETA) Successful applicants to this accelerator will pilot solutions that: 1) help Canadian consumers eliminate debt, build savings and enable financial literacy; and/or 2) help Canadian selfemployed and small businesses improve cash flow, get customers, and access help.

“Collaboration between corporations and across the global startup ecosystem will be critical to moving with even greater urgency in this fast-changing landscape,” said David Marquis, Country Manager at Intuit Canada. “Many of these challenges are global, and I believe that if we broaden our views, expand our networks, and learn from each other, this time of crisis will bring innovative solutions that will help solve financial prosperity challenges for Canadians.”

“Consumers and small businesses in particular are going to be under significant pressure postCOVID-19. We’re very eager to find startups whose products can help make a difference

Since the onset of COVID-19, half (49%) of Canadians report that they are $200 or less away each month from insolvency, according to the latest MNP Consumer Debt Index. CFIB reports that 48% of small businesses are making half or less their normal sales, with 50% stating they are most concerned about their business cash flow. These are just a few of the problems this accelerator will be looking to help solve.

during this difficult time,” says Benjamin Yoskovitz, Founding Partner at Highline Beta. “By focusing on finding the most effective solutions and executing pilots quickly, we can deliver impact where it matters most.” Selected startups in the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator will benefit from four months of virtual programming, where they will have access to a mentorship network, $20,000 towards pilot execution, and the opportunity for follow-on investment from Highline Beta. The program will accept global applications from high-potential seed-stage tech startups with products in market, but is open to the possibility of pre-seed or later stage. The Intuit Prosperity Accelerator is now accepting applications until September 4th. For more information on eligibility requirements and to apply, visit: http://www.intuit.com/ca/prosperity-accelerator.

About Intuit Intuit’s mission is to Power Prosperity Around the World. We are a global financial platform company with products including TurboTax , QuickBooks , Mint

, and Turbo , designed to empower consumers, self-employed, and small businesses to improve their financial lives. Our platform and products help customers get more money with the least amount of work while giving them complete confidence in their actions and decisions. Our innovative ecosystem of financial management solutions serves approximately 50 million customers worldwide. Please visit us for the latest news and in-depth information about Intuit and its brands and find us on social.

About Highline Beta Highline Beta is a venture studio and venture capital firm helping Fortune 1000s grow outside of their core through organic venture development and inorganic startup partnerships. Highline Beta is Intuit’s partner in the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator. Highline Beta designs, executes, and oversees the program, as well as advises on the selection of startups to participate. Learn more at Highline Beta. SOURCE Highline BETA

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INTRODUCING PHLYWHEEL: THE NEW DIY MARKETING PLATFORM FOR SMBS WHO NEED AGENCY EXPERTISE AT FRACTION OF THE PRICE Focused on Community, Content & Coaching, Phlywheel was Created by Digital Marketing Maven and Truly Inc. Founder, Tara Hunt

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ORONTO, July 13, 2020 /CNW/ -Phlywheel officially launched today as a new DIY marketing platform designed to help small and medium-sized businesses who need the creative and analytical expertise of an agency, but don’t have the budgets they demand. At its core, Phlywheel’s mission is to simplify the digital marketing landscape and provide members with the skills and tools needed to execute successful marketing strategies through the pillars of community, content and coaching.

“When people ask if you should build

an in-house team or hire an agency, my

answer has always been both! For small and medium-sized businesses, with

Phlywheel, now you can,” said Phlywheel CEO and co-founder Tara Hunt. “We offer members cost-effective access to the experts. It’s human expertise with

algorithms and at scale. We like to call it agency expertise at cup-of-coffee prices.”

With the entire business landscape dramatically transformed in the past few months, Phlywheel offers an Agency-as-a-Service model at a time when more and more companies are moving their marketing in-house. Yet, the demand for intricate digital marketing expertise is still there. Phlywheel was founded for the various types of marketers: those who need an agency but don’t have the budget; an in-house team who needs more advanced tools and skills to execute complex campaigns; the freelancer who needs more expertise to scale their services and help multiple clients at once, and more.

founder and social marketing pioneer with 20+ years experience in online and traditional marketing. She is the founder of Truly Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing firm that has worked with top global clients, including Nokia, REALTOR.ca, CAMSO, Michelin, CPA and many more.

With ever-tightening marketing budgets, Phlywheel is focused on doing more with less. Members can find a full range of digital and traditional marketing guidance across strategy, research, design, writing, optimization and more. Content features include masterclasses, expert guest speaker series, case studies, how-to videos, digital tools and downloadable guides, as well as actual templates that have been used on live campaigns. Expert coaching tops off the premium Phlywheel experience as members are offered one-on-one access in addition to online community lessons. Phlywheel provides three types of monthly membership options: Spark ($19.99), Catalyst ($39.99), Superconductor ($149.99).

Phlywheel is a DIY marketing platform designed to help small and medium-sized businesses who need the creative and analytical expertise of an agency, but don’t have the budgets they demand. Phlywheel was cofounded by digital marketing maven Tara Hunt, Kristine Squire and Stefani Forster. Phlywheel is a product of Toronto-based strategic marketing firm, Truly Inc. Truly is an award-winning strategic marketing firm that has worked with top global clients including Nokia, REALTOR.ca, CAMSO, Michelin, CPA and many more.

“Phlywheel is the natural evolution of my life’s purpose, which is to democratize marketing for small and medium businesses. There is no time in recent history where the need has been so vast than the present,” added Tara. Named one of the ‘Most Influential Women in Tech’ by Fast Company and ‘Women to Watch’ by Entrepreneur, Tara is a best-selling author,

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About Phlywheel:

SOURCE Phlywheel


THE CANADIAN CHAMBER ANNOUNCES

$10K LIFELINE FOR 62

SMALL BUSINESSES ACROSS CANADA The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Salesforce today announced 62 businesses received the $10,000.00 grant from the Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund. “Reviewing the applications was both heartbreaking and inspiring, We saw how seriously small businesses across Canada have been hurt by the pandemic, but we also saw how determined these entrepreneurs are to preserve their employees’ jobs and to serve their customers and their communities. But today is a happy waypoint, not an end point, and we won’t stop finding new ways to help Canada’s businesses re-open and recover. We’ll be with you every step of the way,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber.

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ore than 1100 small businesses across Canada applied to the relief fund. The recipients best demonstrated their financial strain, how the business will use the grant to change or innovate, how the change or innovation will sustain the business’s recovery and allow it to prosper, and how the grant will support the role each business plays in their community.

The fund was managed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the generosity of Salesforce (NYSE:CRM). The funding was designed to help small businesses across the country stay afloat and support their recovery efforts, paying salaries, retrofitting their workplaces and acquiring technology to adapt their business model. “It has been incredible to see the resilience coming from Canada’s small business owners over the last few months. We know it hasn’t been easy,” said Margaret Stuart, Canada Country Manager, Salesforce. “The applicants have further demonstrated what we at Salesforce already knew to be true - that Canada is rich with innovation and entrepreneurial talent. We’re hopeful that these grants will provide essential support to small business owners as they return to work.”

About the Canadian Business Resilience Network Supported by the Government of Canada and led by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Business Resilience Network is a coordinated, business-led, inclusive campaign to help businesses emerge from this crisis and drive Canada’s economic recovery.

About Salesforce Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Founded in 1999, Salesforce enables companies of every size and industry to take advantage of powerful technologies—cloud, mobile, social, internet of things, artificial intelligence, voice and blockchain—to create a 360-degree view of their customers. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit: www.salesforce.com.

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

Please visit www.salesforce.com/careforsmallbusiness to learn more and view our full suite of resources helping small businesses navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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HONOURABLE PERRIN BEATTY President and Chief Executive Off icer Canadian Chamber of Commerce

HELPING BUSINESS COMMUNITY PREPARE, PERSEVERE & PROSPER The Honourable Perrin Beatty, PC, OC, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the 200,000-member Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s largest and most epresentative national business association.Before joining the Canadian Chamber in August 2007, Perrin held the same role at Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). A descendant of one of Canada’s most prominent manufacturing families, he grew up in Fergus, Ontario and graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1971. Perrin was first elected to the House of Commons as a Progressive Conservative in 1972. During his 21 years in Parliament, he served as Minister in seven different portfolios, including Treasury Board, National Revenue, Solicitor General, Defence, National Health and Welfare, Communications and External Affairs. In 1994, Perrin joined a number of private sector boards and worked as a consultant in communications. In addition, he was an Honorary Visiting Professor in Western University’s Department of Political Science. From 1995 to 1999, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In keeping with his long-standing interest in education, Perrin served as Chancellor of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology from 2008 to 2015. He has received honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws from Western University, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Wilfrid Laurier University. Perrin is currently a member of the board of directors of Mitsui Canada and in 2018, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada “for his lifetime of public service and for his devotion to the development of our nation as a community leader and corporate visionary”. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I

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he Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Salesforce today announced 62 businesses received the $10,000.00 grant from the Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund.

“Reviewing the applications was both heartbreaking and inspiring, We saw how seriously small businesses across Canada have been hurt by the pandemic, but we also saw how determined these entrepreneurs are to preserve their employees’ jobs and to serve their customers and their communities. But today is a happy waypoint, not an end point, and we won’t stop finding new ways to help Canada’s businesses re-open and recover. We’ll be with you every step of the way,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber.

More than 1100 small businesses across Canada applied to the relief fund. The recipients best demonstrated their financial strain, how the business will use the grant to change or innovate, how the change or innovation will sustain the business’s recovery and allow it to prosper, and how the grant will support the role each business plays in their community. CanadianSME had the opportunity to learn more about this initiative with Honourable Perrin Beatty, PC, OC President and Chief Executive Officer Canadian Chamber of Commerce

What are some of the initiatives that the Canadian Chambers of Commerce have put in place to help small businesses during these challenging times? The first thing we did when we saw COVID-19 approaching in Canada, was to get information to SMEs about business continuity plans. After SARS, the vast majority of larger businesses and other public institutions all had business continuity plans in place. But, the vast majority of businesses in Canada are 97- 98% SMEs and most of them no not have continuity plans. Secondly, we’re working on trying to ensure that governments are aware of how badly SMEs are being affected. Now we’d seen the experience in China, Italy, and Korea, where SMEs bore the

brunt of COVID-19. We wanted to impress on government - the need to give special attention to SMEs. We created the Canadian Business Resilience Network, which was designed to bring together the 450 Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade and our network, along with a hundred other business associations to work together to push out information to help businesses across the country and to act as a source of information to the government. We’ve been very active as well, each day and putting out bulletins to over 7,000 businesses and individuals who’ve subscribed to our information. We’ve worked with a number of our members to provide programs, whether it’s information on mental health for employees, information about how to apply for government programs, or sharing information about best practices that can be followed. Our goal is to be as helpful as possible. In conjunction with Salesforce, we were able to give grants of $10,000 apiece to some 62 small businesses across the country that had been severely affected. More than 1100 small businesses across Canada applied to the relief fund, it was very heartbreading to read so many small business stories effected by COVID-19, but also the incredible determination of so many entrepreneurs across Canada to keep their employees and their customers front of mind. Those are some of the things that we’ve done, and we’ll continue to work throughout the pandemic to help small businesses.

What would you say, is the biggest challenge that Canadian SMEs will face post-COVID? The most important thing is CanadianSMEs suffering from serious liquidity problems. Many small businesses across the country have spent the money they had in reserve, so they don’t have a great deal of flexibility. The announcement the government made about extending the wage subsidy program until December is very good news, as that and other programs will be necessary to help small businesses continue. The single most important thing though that the government can do is to work with businesses of all sizes in Canada to allow for a safe reopening, as rapidly as possible. We need to move away from a subsidies-based economy, to one which allows businesses and families in Canada to be self-sustaining and to go on with normal lives in a much more realistic way. We don’t have to repeat what has been done in the United States, but instead, we can follow the example in Europe where reopening is taking place safely.

What was the inspiration behind launching the Canadian Business Reliance Network Small Business Relief Fund? Our inspiration was founded in the desire to help small businesses struggling across the country. We realized this is a small subset of all of the small businesses that really need assistance, but still, we wanted to help where we could. This program and others are designed to assist local chambers across the country. Members of CBRN will be doing everything they can to provide assistance and other support programs wherever possible. The bottom line is the single most important job creator in Canada is

small businesses. For every single community across the country, small businesses that dot Mainstreet really define the character of the community and help to ensure the health of the community. So, we need to do what we can to be helpful because these businesses contribute so much to the communities and so much to Canada’s economy.

More than 1100 small businesses across Canada apply to the Canadian business resilience network. Small business relief fund. Can you share how you feel when you read stories about so many businesses struggling? Reading these stories about how small businesses have been affected was heartbreaking. There were over 1100 businesses that applied for assistance - those are only the ones who applied, many others did not. When you read the stories, you realize that these were people’s dreams and they had their life savings tied up. These businesses were deeply committed to their customers and employees. It was truly heartbreaking. On the other hand, it was inspirational because we saw people through all of this adversity, determined to continue to support their employees, customers, communities, and to continue to build something for the future. The resilience and determination of small businesses across the country was enormously heartening. It reinforced our determination to help in any way we could.

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What measures do you think entrepreneurs should implement to ensure the safety and protection of their employees and customers? The first thing we have to understand is that even if the government were to do away with all restrictions on the economy and on business today, people would only go back to work and doing business if they felt safe. That means that the businesses across the country have to focus on their employees to ensure that this is a safe workplace to go back to and that means having personal protective equipment, protocols for safety, and reorganizing ourselves. It may involve a shift system in businesses where it isn’t possible to maintain social distancing, such as in a smaller facility. We have to ensure that our customer’s health and safety are paramount, ensuring that they understand doing business safely with us is a priority. So whatever equipment is necessary to ensure safety and having personal protective equipment for employees - in many cases for customers as well and having proper protocols in place is absolutely critical.

What advice can you give to entrepreneurs that can be beneficial for them during these challenging times? The important thing is to recognize that entrepreneurs by their very nature are optimists. They are people who have a dream and a personal commitment, determined to see things in a better light. They believe this pandemic will end? We are having success in Canada in terms of flattening the curve and dramatically reducing the spread of the disease, but there will be setbacks. If we work together as Canadians and have a coherent plan that is well explained with timetables attached to it, we can work together to reopen our economy and to allow business to resume again, allowing many small businesses to come back. It’s going to require support from all of us, including the government to enable that to happen. But it will happen! For the vast majority of small businesses, they will be able to go on and continue serving their customers and communities, something critical for us as Canadians.

Is there any final thoughts you would like to share with our audience? The critical thing here is that we are not yet out of the tunnel, but we can see the light. Things are improving. If we handle it well, we can reach conditions that are considerably better than we’ve known. We can manage outbreaks that will take place sporadically. We can ensure that we have a much healthier economy in the future. Our goal needs to be, to learn the lessons that have been presented to us during COVID-19 and to try to be proactive, building something more innovative, better and stronger even than we had before the pandemic. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I

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Sharing the SHARING THE WORKLOAD Workload in

IN VIRTUAL TEAMS Virtual Teams

By David W. Smith CMC, ACC

By David W. Smith CMC, ACC

There was much I could identify with in the 2017 Harvard Business Review article Sostrin called, ‘To Be a Great Leader, You Have to Learn How to Delegate Well’. A years in organizational leadership and executive coaching/mentoring roles, I can v sharing the workload ‘delegating’ has been the most second-guessed managemen That was then, this is now! We are six months into a global pandemic that promp 40% of the workforce into remote mode using virtual technologies stay connect Sharing to the Can) They expect that likely 25% of the workforce will Workload remain workingin remote into future. How does this impact long proven tips, like Sostrin’s, on effective delegatio

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Virtual Teams

Sostrin wrote that one of the most difficult transitions for leaders to make is the sh By David W. holding Smith CMC,on ACCto wor ‘doing’ to ‘leading’. As a rookie manager you may get away with peers and bosses may even admire your willingness to keep “rolling up your sleev make things happen. This is where the drowning begins which will be invisible in th working environment. With greater dependency on virtual connections to our valu members, sharing the work becomes more complex. Not only must we master pro delegation process skills and our interpersonal and personal skills, we need to tran here was much I could identify with in we masterstyle provenof delegation process skills‘to anddo’ our interpersonal and personal we to identify There wasskills, much Ineed could a leadership trusting others focusing less on activity monitoring and the 2017 Harvard Business Review transition into a leadership style of trusting others ‘to do’ focusing less on activity monitoring and Sostrin called, ‘To Be a Great L outcomes.

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article by Jesse Sostrin called, ‘To Be a Great Leader, You Have to Learn How to Delegate Well’. After 30 years in organizational leadership and executive coaching/mentoring roles, I can vouch that sharing the workload ‘delegating’ has been the most second-guessed management activity. That was then, this is now! We are six months into a global pandemic that promptly moved 40% of the workforce into remote mode using virtual technologies to stay connected. (Stats Can) They expect that likely 25% of the workforce will remain working remote into the future. How does this impact long proven Sostrin wrote that one of the most difficult transitions for leaders to make is the shift from ‘doing’ to ‘leading’. As a rookie manager you may get away with holding on to work and peers and bosses may even admire your willingness to keep “rolling up your sleeves” to make things happen. This is where the drowning begins which will be invisible in the remote working environment. With greater dependency on virtual connections to our valued team members, sharing the work becomes more complex. Not only must

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more on outcomes.

years in organizational leadersh sharing the workload ‘delegatin That was then, this is now! We 40% of the workforce into remo Can) They expect that likely 25 future. How does this impact lo

Sostrin wrote that one of the m ‘doing’ to ‘leading’. As a rookie peers and bosses may even adm make things happen. This is wh working environment. With gre members, sharing the work bec delegation process skills and ou a leadership style of trusting ot outcomes.

The learning curves integrating process and personal skills into your competency repertoire include… Process skills such as performance management, culture building, leading communications and meetings (including interactive webinar sessions), change management, rewards management, feedback and yes, delegation.


er and soft tactics that focus on outcomes i.e. ‘What to achieve’ vs eat engagement and commitment to activities that produce clear Personal skills for executives or owners include strategic thinking, negotiation, and advanced communication skills such as active listening and speak charismatically and passionately about corporate mission, vision and corporate values.

Trap™. This style relies on positional power and hard tactics with an inclination to tell people what to do, then enforce compliance. This approach has a long history of delivering results where activity monitoring is feasible, but it will not maximize productivity in a virtual environment where people work independently, especially inhome working environments. Our experiences show that the contrasting Commitment Empowerment Model™, is more suited to the virtual environment. It relies on relational power and soft tactics that focus on outcomes i.e. ‘What to achieve’ vs ‘How to achieve’ foster great engagement and commitment to activities that produce clear outcomes.

A few years ago, I was introduced to the ‘First, Break all the Rules’ by Gallup’s, Buckingham and Coffman. They conducted in-depth interviews with more than 80,000 managers at all levels (in companies of all sizes). Their work revealed what great managers do differently from ordinary managers to inspire world class performance in their teams. What follows is the synthesis of what great managers do to ‘break all the rules’ and leverage conventional wisdom in mature leadership practices, including delegation. This has been adapted to include our vast experience and learnings at Virtual Leadership Matters Inc.™ in leading successful virtual teams

troduced to the ‘First, Break all the Rules’ by Gallup’s, Buckingham uctedBothin-depth interviews with more than 80,000 managers at all of these vital skill sets will take a backseat to doing vast amounts work of familiar technical l sizes). Their revealed what great managers do differently work by yourself in the virtual climate unless to inspire world delegation is working well. class performance in their teams. What follows is Through connecting with dozens of organizations at managers do to ‘break all the rules’ and leverage conventional and our own coaching clients across North since COVID-19 arrived, it has become delegation. This has been adapted to ship America practices, including clear that in the virtual environment, leaders must avoid what we call The Compliance Control ce and learnings at Virtual Leadership Matters Inc.™ in leading First, in delegation you must select the right people that ‘can do’ and ‘will do’ the job. Fit is most vital in the virtual environment. They need to have skill, will and horsepower to get the job done. Horsepower refers to the potential to grow into a role.

u must select the do’ and ‘will do’ tal in the virtual navigate through you must Then, ed to have skill, the following Virtual Leadership o get the job Matters Inc.™ methodology that as an easy to use mental fers functions to the checklist to maximize the probability a role. of successful delegation. This works well in person and with team members working remotely.

Set the Context

Provide Clarity in Outcomes

Explain how the delegatee was chosen. They often want to know if tasks are given to help them develop or maybe contribute uniquely as part of the team which has varied competencies. When they don’t know why, human nature navigates us towards suspicions such as maybe they were selected to be picked on or the delegator was just having a bad day!

• •

Outline the Conditions

Describe how it fits into the bigger picture. This also helps people understand how every step during the process can ultimately lead to important outcomes. Even correcting typos on a website or proposal can make an important contribution to an organizations image.

te through the following Virtual Leadership Matters Inc.™ • Explain the reason for the assignment. When people understand • Express the quantity of results required ($,%, widget #’s) tions as an to use mental the ‘why’ behindeasy it, they can understand the work is meaningful. checklist to maximize the • Describe the results expected in terms of quality demanded Meaningful work often rates as the primary reason why people ul delegation. person and with team • Be very clear on timelines feel engaged and performThis accordingly.works More importantly,well research in that engaged employees contribute at least 50% more than • Ensure what resources are available and outline it in detail ($ budget, otely.suggests those not engaged. information, materials, people, other)

Process requirements – what systems, people, checkpoints need to be touched on during the completion of the assignment Ex. quality assurance, safety, end-user training, project costing ... Available latitude in decision making and freedom of control must be agreed to in advance Monitoring and report back (check up) details are most effective when set up early. When this aspect is discussed it can eliminate the

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Virtual Leadership Matters Inc. dav

science of sharing the workload through delegation an e art and leader’s tendencies to either over meddle or ignore, both of which can harm trust. When this is done well it can ensure the right amount of oversight is applied so the delegatorAs can paythey attention to many projects at once leading to significantly leveraged productivity. In the virtual workplace, frequent competency. assume expanded leadership roles, they check-ins are encouraged, perhaps daily, so people feel connected. gate more often and strive to do it right the first time, therefore oneyCultivate on needless The COVID-19 workplace is significantl Commitment andfixes. Climate the reality of interacting with remote teams using e it includes Finally, it is important to consider other factors that may impact the motivation and sense of empowerment of the delegatee. This could include a sensitivity to communication style preferences, relationship structures, individual personal profiles, personal stress factors (isolations, distractions, e busy life of a leader, it is essential to… Delegate or Drown. ergonomics), organizational &/or team goals and so much more. Valuable Insight… Leaders must practice the art and science of sharing the workload through delegation and make it a strong personal competency. As they assume expanded leadership roles, they will be compelled to delegate more often and strive to do it right the first time, therefore spending less time and money on needless fixes. The COVID-19 workplace is significantly more complicated because it includes the reality of interacting with remote teams using virtual technology. In the busy life of a leader, it is essential to… Delegate or Drown. .

m, CMC, ACC, RPM. President, Logia Consulting Inc. Co-Founder s Inc. david@logiaconsulting.ca 306.373.1998

David W. Smith, B.Comm, CMC, ACC, RPM. President, Logia Consulting Inc. Co-Founder, Virtual Leadership Matters Inc. david@logiaconsulting.ca 306.373.1998

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Entrepreneurial Resilience During Challenging Times with Kirk Simpson CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 I

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n 2010, Kirk co-founded Wave and has since guided the company to 400,000 active small businesses registered 260+ people on the Wave team and over $100 million in funding raised from investors around the world. In 2019, he and wave were named Most Admired CEO and Most Admired Corporate Culture by Waterstone. The wave was acquired in June 2019 by H&R Block for over $537M – the 7th largest tech exit in Canada since 2001. Under Kirk, Wave has won numerous awards for leadership, culture, and innovation, including the Deloitte Fast 50, the KPMG Fintech 100, and Great Place to Work Canada. In addition, Kirk has served as an advisor to the Next 36 and provides mentorship to young entrepreneurs and startup visionaries.

Recently Wave financial announced their new product, Wave Money; can you share a few details about Wave Money with our audience? Wave money is a no-fee small business bank account that’s been built for small business owners. The benefits are no fees, as well as instant access to your money, so if you’re using Wave for invoicing and payments, as soon as your customers pay you through Wave Payments, you can get those funds instantly available through your Wave Money business bank account. It seamlessly integrates into Wave accounting so small business owners can spend on the business card, take a picture of the receipt, categorize the transaction and be done with that transaction all the way through bookkeeping and into tax. It streamlines and simplifies those tasks for small businesses so they can stop having to do the monotony of recording keeping and bank record conciliation and get back to running their business.

As an entrepreneur, can you share a few challenges that you faced and how you overcame those challenges? I, very much like a lot of small business owners, really despise everything that has to do with accounting, bookkeeping and tax. It is not something that most entrepreneurs are passionate about, and it wasn’t something I was passionate about. Therefore, the reason for starting Wave was to remove those obstacles so small businesses like myself could continue to do what they are passionate about. All of the backoffice tasks get in the way and make owning a small business complex, scary and difficult and Wave aims to clear as much of that as possible.

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The other thing is COVID has a huge impact on small businesses in our communities. We and many other software and service providers need to be doing as much as we can to support small businesses during this challenging time. Small businesses are so important to our overall economic growth and are very important to the strength of our overall communities.

What initiatives is wave financial implementing to help small businesses during these challenging times? We are lucky that our core software is given to small business owners for free and we have no plans on changing that. We offer award winning invoicing and accounting tools for free so that small business owners can take better control of their books and be ready for tax, bookkeeping, etc. Secondly, we’ve been incredibly responsive with our payroll products in ensuring all of our government programs and subsidies were put into our payroll as quickly as possible so we can save small business owners money and help them access government funds. Third, we offer some of our payment products for reduced fees so that we can help with cash flow and help them get paid faster.

Given the current situation, how can businesses smooth the transition of reopening their business in the coming weeks or months? The government authorities influence and set direction on what small business owners should be doing in each of their communities. I would say that now is the time to – as much as possible – continue to innovate with different ways of serving customers. Customer habits and expectations have changed during COVID, so being as responsive as you can to the changing landscape and to what your customers need is more important than ever. A lot of the digital tools allow small business owners to be more flexible and that’s really important right now.

What is your key advice to small business owners running their business smoothly during these challenging times? I would be as innovative as possible. I would understand customer behavior and how it has been changing. I would be as prudent as possible around cash flow management and ensuring you’ve got as much as you humanly can of capital required to manage through these difficult times. And the last piece of advice is to make sure you go easy on yourself and your employees. It is a challenging time for all of us and we all need to be a little bit easier on ourselves through this process. We will get through it, but we need to be patient through the process and understand that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel


THE INS AND OUTS OF CUSTOMER ACQUISITION

FOR SMALL BUSINESSES By Jessica Bennett

For small businesses, an important addition to customer retention is growing your customer base. Figuring out how to find customers is a top priority for any growing small business, and this process is known as customer acquisition. Many small business owners may not have a lot of time or resources to build out a robust customer acquisition strategy, but when they commit to spending the time to research and determine the best strategy for their particular business, they see renewed growth and the potential to expand the company.

A Definition of Customer Acquisition Current trends show that 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. To keep up with today’s consumers, small businesses need a clear and organized customer acquisition strategy. Customer acquisition simply means the act of earning customers who are willing to purchase your products or services. This generally falls into the hands of the marketing department first, as customer acquisition starts at the top of the funnel. Marketers must show that their company understands its customers’ needs and is ready to meet their expectations. Then, as leads travel through the funnel, sales picks up and continues the conversation. Generally speaking, customer acquisition is a primary goal of marketing and sales, and these departments have metrics to guide them through the process.

That said, metrics are only useful if they’re used. Research shows that customer acquisition rates are only tracked by 58% of marketers, and just over half of marketing teams measure their customer acquisition cost. This means there’s an excellent opportunity for improvement for a lot of companies to better measure, track, and increase customer acquisition efforts and successes.

Small businesses understand that customers are the lifeblood of their success. Owners of small businesses often excel at customer retention and count many customers as “regulars” or friends. To achieve growth and transition from a startup to a sustainable small business takes an understanding of customer relationship management, sales, marketing, and customer service.

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demand generation builds or creates enough interest for a consumer to act. If you offer an industry e-book for download on your website in exchange for a visitor’s email address, that email address is a possible lead. Both of these terms are useful for business owners to know and understand, but they play second fiddle to the concept of developing a customer acquisition strategy. Think of customer acquisition as an umbrella term that encompasses every step you take to identify and convert customers. Your lead generation and demand generation strategies both fall under the customer acquisition umbrella. So are your marketing and sales departments, and sometimes your customer service department.

Examples Tactics

of

Customer

Acquisition

For a concrete idea of what customer acquisition is, think about any marketing or sales tactic you’ve used in the past. Those strategies are for customer acquisition. Some of the most common forms of customer acquisition include:  Building a website to showcase your products

or services  Creating social media pages for your business  Putting together a Google Ads campaign  Attending a local trade show  Calling leads to set up sales meetings  Direct mailing  Asking for referrals

What Is Customer Acquisition? The Metrics and Terms to Know What does it really mean to acquire customers, and where do terms like “demand generation” and “lead generation” fit in? Demand generation means reaching out to an audience of potential customers through different marketing channels to grow their interest or curiosity in your company, brand, products, or services. It’s an important part of both acquisition and retention, as demand generation occurs throughout a customer’s journey from disinterested party to fiercely loyal brand advocate. For example, demand generation for the latest iPhone can target consumers who use smartphones from Apple’s competitors as well as iPhone enthusiasts who are on the fence about upgrading to the newest iteration. An aspect of demand generation is lead generation, which refers to identifying potential customers who are known to your marketing and sales teams as “leads.” A lead is born when your efforts at CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I

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Anything you do to try and get customers is customer acquisition, even cold calling people who have never heard of you. Many small businesses make the mistake of trying lots of different marketing and sales tactics without a clear strategy or without carefully assessing the results of their efforts. Others stick to the same tactics year after year even when response rates dwindle. Getting more customers through your door (virtual or physical) isn’t about trying every customer acquisition strategy under the sun. It’s about improving your customer acquisition process. That starts by developing a clear and organized customer acquisition strategy.


How to Create Your Customer Acquisition Strategy Fortune 500 companies have the budget to create complex, multipronged customer acquisition strategies that seamlessly integrate their sales, marketing, and customer service teams. Don’t worry: You don’t need to get that elaborate with your strategy. Instead, create your customer acquisition strategy by following these simple steps.

Step 1: Identify Your Customers Who are your customers? This may be an easy question to answer, but have you written it down or challenged your assumptions? Start your customer acquisition strategy by creating detailed profiles or personas of your ideal customers. Consider data points that include:  Gender 

Age

 Location 

Income

 Hobbies  Values 

Life stage

 Habits

If you’re a B2B company, you can do the same thing for businesses by focusing on their industries, needs, size, budgets, and more. During this process, you will likely identify multiple customer profiles. That’s great: It allows you to segment different profiles so you can customize your acquisition strategy for each different type of profile, or personas. (Learn more about identifying and creating personas: “Personas: The Art and Science of Understanding the Person Behind the Visit.”) For example, a local home remodeling company may be used to working with baby boomers who live in their “forever home” and want to make it perfect. However, after looking at its most recent clients and reviewing its previous bids, the company realizes that it’s getting a lot of interest from dual-income millennial couples who are interested in upgrading their home.

Step 2: Understand the Buyer Journey Now it’s time to research and design a buyer’s journey in order to reach your targets. This

is where your marketing and sales teams can really shine. Figure out how to most effectively communicate with your target audience and move them through the different stages of the buyer’s journey, namely:  Awareness  Consideration  Decision

Again, there are a lot of marketing tactics that can work. Test different methods and make sure you have metrics to assess their success. (Learn more about the sales funnel and the customer journey in this infographic: “Understanding the Buyer’s Journey Through the Sales Cycle.”) CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I

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BUILDING

A TECH TEAM? KEEP THESE FIVE THINGS TOP OF MIND TECHNOLOGY TEAMS ARE CORE TO COMPANY SUCCESS. HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BUILDING ONE.

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CANADA COULD LOSE AN ADDITIONAL 158,000 SMALL BUSINESSES TO COVID-19 Government and consumer support make-or-break for small business survival

O

ne in seven small businesses are at risk of going under as a result of COVID-19 in addition to the ones that have already closed, warns the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in a new report

featured on its Small Business Recovery Dashboard, part of its #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign. CFIB’s mid-range estimate for business closures due to COVID-19 is 158,000 (14 per cent of small businesses). Depending on

how the recovery goes, losses could be as few as 55,000 (5 per cent) or as many as 218,000 (19 per cent).

Small Business Recovery Dashboard – July 29 (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Independent Business)

Businesses in the arts and recreation (gyms, venues, arcades) and hospitality (restaurants, hotels, caterers) sectors are most at risk— hospitality may see 27 per cent of businesses close and arts and recreation, 30 per cent. Businesses in Alberta face the highest risk of closing, with a mid-range estimate of 19 per cent going under as a result of COVID-19.

• 37 per cent are fully staffed

Business closures due to COVID-19 (CNW Group/ Canadian Federation of Independent Business) “Small businesses are big players in our economy, so minimizing business losses is critical to recovery. Right now both government support and consumer behaviour are critical to transitioning back to conditions that allow businesses to survive and thrive,” said Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President at CFIB.

CFIB’s latest Small Business Recovery Dashboard results continue to show that (unchanged from last week): • 62 per cent of small businesses are fully open

• 26 per cent are making normal sales Last month, CFIB launched #SmallBusinessEveryDay to encourage local shopping through a series of doable challenges and promote other initiatives that support small business recovery. Consumers can find information about the many campaigns such as the new Canada United campaign, which will donate funds to hard-hit businesses when Canadians take simple actions like using the hashtag #CanadaUnited on Twitter. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I

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“With many provinces heading into a long weekend, we hope people will visit smallbusinesseveryday.ca and accept a challenge as a fun way to spend time with friends and family while helping local businesses. It’s all about supporting our favourite businesses today so they will be here tomorrow. There are many great campaigns that help amplify that support. No one is too small to make a difference,” said Jones.

Read CFIB’s full research snapshot for more details.

Source of CFIB’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard data These are preliminary results for Your Business and COVID-19 – Survey #17, a new CFIB online survey started on July 17, 2020, completed by 5,269 CFIB members. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Source of CFIB’s business closure estimates Detailed in the report How many Canadian businesses are at risk of permanently closing due to COVID-19? from July 2020.

About CFIB The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib. ca.. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I

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About #SmallBusinessEveryDay The #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign is an extension of CFIB’s annual Small Business Saturday. The campaign encourages local shopping, promotes initiatives to support small business and provides posters and other tools for businesses to use. It is supported by Scotiabank, Chase Merchant Services, eBay Canada, Intuit Canada, Interac Corp and Star Metroland Media. To find out more about being a media sponsor please contact marketing@cfib.ca. SOURCE Canadian Federation of Independent Business


ADVICE FOR EMPLOYERS: MANAGING AN INFLUX OF VACATION REQUESTS By: Kristina Vassilieva, HR Writer, Peninsula Canada The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way work, including the way we take vacations. A lot of people have had to cancel their travel plans, and many are working from home. As a result, many workers’ vacation days have been left unused and this can lead to negative consequences for businesses for two reasons. Firstly, businesses may experience staff shortages and conflicting vacation requests as staff rush to use up their remaining vacation time before the end of the year. Additionally, workers who haven’t taken any days off in 2020 so far may be burnt out and less productive, potentially affecting their mental health and your business. To prevent staff vacation from becoming a problem in your workplace in the coming months, there are several things you can do while ensuring your employees are well-rested and treated fairly.

Encouraging Staff to Take Vacations Some workers may be holding off on taking their vacation time because they are hoping they will be able to travel later in the year. Other workers might not be taking vacations because they work remotely and are already home most of the time. The best way to avoid a simultaneous influx of vacation requests later in the year is to have staff spread out their vacation requests as much as possible. That means encouraging staff to take time off now and in the coming weeks. Even though they may be working from home or unable to travel, they are still working hard and deserve a break. Make this point to workers and encourage them to practice self-care by taking time off to get rest. This will improve their mental health and productivity and save you management dilemmas in the future.

Who gets priority? If workers’ vacation requests end up conflicting and you find you have to deny some of them, deciding who gets priority can be difficult. Your vacation policy should state your company’s process for approving requests, for example on a first come, first served basis. As your workplace reopens and business returns to normal, staff should be reminded of your vacation policy and that they should be submitting requests well in advance. In light of COVID-19, employers may choose to give priority to the vacation requests of essential workers who have been working throughout the pandemic.

Preventing Staff Shortages and Denied Requests Some industries, such as hospitality and retail, rely heavily on seasonal business and have their peak busy period around the holidays. The holiday season is also a period when many workers want time off most. The conflict between the two can lead to staff shortages, absenteeism and other problems for management. To eliminate these possibilities, some businesses opt to implement black out periods when staff are not allowed to make vacation requests.

minimum amount to next year due to travel restrictions and COVID-19 affecting vacation planning in 2020. To further help redirect vacation requests, employers can offer additional days off to employees who elect to take vacation during less busy periods. Businesses unable to give staff more days off can provide other bonuses and benefits.

ABOUT PENINSULA Peninsula is a trusted HR and Health & Safety advisory, serving over 80,000 small businesses worldwide. Clients are supported with ongoing updates of their workplace documentation and policies as legislation changes. Additionally, clients benefit from 24/7 employer HR advice and are protected by legal insurance. Contact us today to learn more about how we help employers succeed: 1-833-247-3652. peninsula-ca.com

Another option is to ask staff to submit several vacation requests, ranking them in order of preference. This way, if their top preference gets denied they can at least get their second choice of vacation time. To give staff enough time to plan their holiday period and for management to organize schedules, this should be done a month or a few months in advance.

Directing Vacation Requests Away from Peak Business Periods Denying vacation requests can have a negative effect on staff morale and create resentment between workers and management. To prevent this, it is best to deny requests only as a last resort. Instead, employers should be proactive in planning for their busy season and work with staff to reach a compromise beneficial to all. Business owners that are anticipating a busy period can use incentives to encourage employees to request vacations at other times. For example, employers can allow staff to carryover vacation time in excess of the statutory

Kristina Vassilieva Kristina Vassilieva is a writer at Peninsula, an HR and Health and Safety consultancy serving small and medium sized businesses across Canada. In her writing, she covers popular HR and workplace health and safety topics, as well as news, employment laws and legislative changes, that affect Canadian businesses. Kristina’s work has been published in numerous newspapers, magazines as well as trade and HR publications.

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CANADA HAS AN INNOVATION MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB, BUT IT IS NOT STARTING

AT THE BOTTOM Andrea Richardson, Canadian Prize Manager, Nesta Challenges

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C

anada is used to sitting at or near the top of impressive global rankings; GDP, happiness, education spending, take your pick. When it comes to innovation, something has gone awry. Looking back across the last decade, Canada has slipped from eighth place in the Global Innovation Index, to 17th. At the same time the UK, a comparable economy, has overtaken us, rising from 10th to 5th – reaching as high as 2nd place in 2014 and 2015 . For the UK, its scores in the rankings since 2014 have remained pretty consistent; it has slipped to 5th place as other countries have become more innovative while the UK sails a steady (perhaps complacent) course. Sadly, that is not the case for Canada. According to the Global Innovation Index, we have slipped down the rankings

Launched in 2017, Impact Canada is a Government of Canada-wide effort to help accelerate the adoption of innovative funding approaches to deliver meaningful results to Canadians. Challenge prizes have been some of the first approaches explored. Traditional grant and procurement funding tends to favour large established companies, with funding upfront for process rather than actual solutions. Challenge prizes have a unique ability to unlock innovation and solve large problems. They reward solutions only after they are proven to work, de-risking investment in unknown entities, SMEs and start-ups and allowing new ideas, companies, and innovators to break through. Working closely with Nesta Challenges, the leader in developing and delivering challenge prizes in the UK, the Canadian government has embedded challenge prizes across national government departments to make them an integral part of innovation policy. Rather than pursuing an unfocused policy of ‘innovation for the sake of innovation’, the

because we have become less innovative over time. This year, Canada has also dropped in the respected StartupBlink rankings for startup ecosystems, with Toronto and Vancouver falling down the global tech hub rankings – now no Canadian city features in the global top 20 . As a proud Canadian and champion of Canadian innovation this is pretty startling news. Innovation is the driving force of productivity and economic growth. Faced with the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the urgent need to achieve net zero emissions by or before 2050, innovation will be more important than ever to future jobs and prosperity. With unemployment hitting a record 13.7% in June , revitalisation of industry, re-skilling of the workforce and a supercharging of Canadian innovation are what is needed to get us back on track.

challenge prize method ensures innovation is supported and promoted in the areas most in need of solutions and ensures the benefits are felt by the people who need them most. The Drug Checking Technology Challenge aimed to reduce the harm of the opioid crisis; the challenge successfully attracted new ideas and innovators, most of whom were new to Government of Canada funding. The Women in Cleantech Challenge is promoting far greater diversity in an industry where 95% of businesses are founded by men. Women innovators are developing technologies to tackle energy and environmental challenges, competing for the $1m final award. As the Government of Canada understands, innovation does not just happen; it needs a finely balanced ecosystem to make real impacts. It needs financial support, political support and an active, healthy market in which to launch new products. Too often, markets are stifled by the over-reliance and dominance of a few big incumbents, denying entry for small agile

It sounds like Canada has a mountain to climb – it does. The good news is, at a federal government level at least, a lot of the groundwork has already been done. After hitting a low of 18th place on the Global Innovation Index in 2017 and 2018, 2019 was the turning point. Canada is on the climb. Governments across the world are facing increasingly complex problems: they are urgent, they cross sectoral and political boundaries, and they are difficult to measure progress against. Many governments are tackling these problems with the same arsenal they have always used – primarily grants and procurement programmes. But some, like the Canadian Government, are taking a new approach.

disruptors. Challenge prizes unlock and unleash the potential of those innovators. The federal government’s embrace of innovative approaches like challenge prizes is a great start, but it will only get us so far. If we are once again to challenge for the top spots in the global rankings, we first need to create the right conditions for innovators and job-creators in ours SMEs to thrive. With the US suspending its H-1B visa programme this year aimed at fasttracking tech talent, now is the right time for Canada to act to attract and retain that talent in our excellent tech hubs. Canada must set its sights on becoming the go-to destination for small and medium startups and scale-ups. A widespread adoption of challenge prizes by our provincial governments and by Canada’s dynamic private sector, to promote untapped talent and disruptive market entrants can release a wave of innovation that will propel us to the top of the mountain once again.

1. https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/about-gii#reports 2. https://betakit.com/report-canada-ranked-fourth-startup-ecosystem-globally-as-toronto-vancouver-drop-for-second-year/?utm source=BetaKit+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4bec13cc0d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_BK_6_07_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_ term=0_2ec531721a-4bec13cc0d-210393613

3. https://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/newsalert-unemployment-rate-hits-new-record-even-as-economy-adds-jobs 4. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/20/881245867/trump-expected-to-suspend-h-1b-other-visas-until-end-of-year

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THE GOVERNMENT

OF CANADA INVESTS

IN REGIONAL

DEVELOPMENT IN

QUEBEC Minister Mélanie Joly announces over $22M in support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions for businesses and organizations involved in regional development.

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) An entrepreneurial environment that meets the needs of businesses and promotes their growth and competitiveness is essential to the sound development of the regions. It not only fosters closer ties between community players, but also supports the creation, growth and maintenance of regional clusters, enhances innovation ecosystems and helps attract foreign investment. Business and organizations from all sectors— NPOs, business incubators and accelerators, and groups and associations—need assistance to improve the business climate in order to be able to support regional development in Quebec.

36 businesses and organizations receive over $22M in funding for forward-looking regional development projects The regions of Quebec abound with entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. These entrepreneurs are developing original solutions to revitalize their communities and boost the local economic fabric. For a number of years now, the Government of Canada has been committed to supporting the regions in their development efforts for the benefit of businesses, citizens and visitors. The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced a total of $22,485,153 in financial assistance for 37 forward-looking Quebec regional development projects.

This assistance will allow businesses to grow and organizations to showcase their communities’ assets. For more information about the projects and the financial assistance, please refer to the related backgrounder.

Quick facts

Ways of responding to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic present themselves as opportunities to foster the development of Quebec’s regions, specifically by supporting innovation, network structuring partnerships and alliances, and business services and coaching. Each region of Quebec will play a leading role in addressing the effects of the pandemic, and the Government of Canada has been, and will continue to be, a key player in supporting them.

• The six regional development agencies (RDAs) ensure that Canada’s regions are heard in Ottawa and that local economies and businesses receive the support they need to grow and prosper.

• The Honourable Mélanie Joly is the Minister responsible for the six regional development agencies, including CED.

• Canada’s RDAs focus on regional economic development and diversification to help communities prosper. With a very strong presence in communities, they know where the need for additional support is the greatest.

Related links

Quotes “Across the country, local businesses are contributing to the economic vitality of our communities by creating good jobs. Helping them innovate so that they can increase their competitiveness and revive our regional economies is therefore one of our key priorities. In today’s announcement, our message is clear: we were there for you before the pandemic with concrete measures, and we will continue to work with you to find solutions so that we can come back even stronger than before.”

• Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan • The funding was awarded under CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program and CED’s Quebec Economic Development Program.

Stay connected Follow CED on social media Check out CED’s news page SOURCE Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED

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WHICH KNOWLEDGE

MANAGEMENT MODEL WORKS FOR SMES IN TIME OF COVID-19 First, knowledge is accumulated by creating new approach to gathering, evaluating, and disseminating information throughout the SMEs. Executives inspire people to create new ideas and develop effective mechanisms to acquire knowledge from various sources such as suppliers, customers, business partners, and competitors. This is similar to a value-chain approach. Executives need to first support this approach for the model to work because they play a strategic role in expanding the knowledge accumulation through applying incentives as mechanisms to develop a more innovative climate and managing effective tools to acquire knowledge from external sources.

Managing knowledge is not anything new, scholars have considered the various processes involved. A good example of this, executives can look at three step processes of knowledge accumulation, integration, and reconfiguration.

By Mostafa Sayyadi

Next, executives integrate knowledge internally to enhance the effectiveness and efficiencies in various systems and processes, as well as to be more responsive to market changes. Accumulated knowledge is synthesized to produce higher quality outcomes. Thus, knowledge integration focuses on monitoring and controlling knowledge management practices, evaluating the effectiveness of current knowledge, defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, coordinating expert opinions, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their services and products continuously improving. In the process of knowledge integration, knowledge enters organizational processes and provides valuable contributions to services and products.

Finally, executives must curtail the knowledge within SMEs. This knowledge needs to be reconfigured to meet environmental changes and new challenges in the time of Covid-19 and at the same time should not be leaked to the competition in any shape or form unless agreed upon by senior executives. When executives agree to share knowledge with other organizations in the environment, studies have shown that that knowledge is often difficult to share externally. One reason is that other organizations have too much pride to accept knowledge or are apprehensive to expose themselves to the competition. Therefore, executives may lack the required capabilities to interact with other organizations, or distrust sharing their knowledge. In addition, just the notion of creating an expert group or steering committee may be shortsighted because such groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend knowledge acquired from external sources. On the other hand, executives are aware of networking with more successful competitors is a key activity for SMEs to share successes and communicate best practices as a way of identifying new collaboration opportunities that can occur to overcome challenging situations in the time of Covid-19. Executives and their expert groups and/or steering committees are the ones who can make final decisions about developing alliances with competitors and other business partners.

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RBC BRINGS TOGETHER

THE

NATIONAL NETWORK OF CHAMBER

OF COMMERCE, CANADIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS AND OVER 50 LEADING CORPORATIONS TO RALLY SUPPORT FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES THROUGH CANADA UNITED This nationwide movement will unite and encourage Canadians to support local businesses, building towards Canada United Weekend on August 28 - 30, and deliver grant relief to help small businesses as they re-open

Supporting local business has never been more important and will be critical to moving Canada’s recovery forward. Canada United gives every Canadian the chance to show their support through actions big and small. Canadians are invited to join the Canada United movement by buying and dining local, including celebrating and supporting local businesses during the Canada United Weekend from August 28 to 30, 2020. Canadians are also encouraged to watch the Canada United videos online at GoCanadaUnited. ca, like posts from @GoCanadaUnited on social media and use #CanadaUnited on Twitter to demonstrate their support. For each of these actions until August 31, 2020, RBC will contribute 5 cents up to a maximum contribution amount of $2 million to the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund, while working with government and corporate partners to source additional contributions to the fund during the course of the campaign. The Fund will provide small Canadian businesses with grants of up to $5,000 to cover expenses related to personal protective equipment (PPE), renovations to accommodate re-opening guidelines and developing or improving e-commerce capabilities.

“As Canadians continue to work hard to limit the spread of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to come together with one voice to safely support the re-opening of Canada’s local businesses and our economy,” said Neil McLaughlin, Group Head, Personal & Commercial Banking, Royal Bank of Canada. “Canada United was created to kick-start an economic rebound by rallying consumers to give local businesses the support they need to re-open during these uncertain times. By bringing together government, business associations and corporate Canada, we are looking to start a movement to get Canadians to buy local and support businesses across the country. We are genuinely excited by the energy that all of our partners are bringing to this effort.”

As hundreds of thousands of businesses begin to re-open, RBC is pleased to announce the launch of Canada United – a national movement to support local businesses in communities across the country. As part of the movement, RBC has brought together more than 50 of Canada’s leading brands, the national Chamber of Commerce network and business associations to rally Canadians to “show local some love” by buying, dining and shopping local.

Small Canadian businesses across the country will be able to apply for up to $5,000 in grant funding. The program intends to support small Canadian businesses of all kinds from across the country. The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund will be administered by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network. Small business owners who are interested in the program can visit GoCanadaUnited.ca to learn more about grant application details, including eligibility criteria, and to apply. “If there has been one silver lining in all the tragedy and sacrifices of the current crisis, it has been the spirit of collaboration and unity of purpose that has been evident between levels

of government, across provinces and across sectors,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We are calling on that same unity of purpose with Canada United. Small, local businesses are the heart of our communities, our Main Streets and our economy. Together, it is time to show local some love.” Canada United is one part of RBC’s journey to support the recovery of businesses across Canada as well as local economies. In June, RBC announced Points for Canada to stimulate local economies across Canada by giving clients double the points at restaurants and 30% more value when redeeming points for gift cards or paying in-store

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 84,000+ 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/communitysocial-impact. SOURCE RBC Royal Bank CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I AUG 2020 I

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CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2020 I

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June, 2021 TORONTO, CANADA

SMALL BUSINESS EXPO 2021 A MUST ATTEND EVENT

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Profile for CanadianSME

CanadianSME Small Business Magazine August 2020 issue  

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