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Winner of Local Media Association’s 2011 award for Best Business Publication

small business forum

Food product contest a new feature for the annual event Page 3

TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES

September 2012

In conversation

Keeping it all in the family with Canada Goose President & CEO Dani Reiss Page 13 www.torontobusinesstimes.com

Franchise Taking painting business by storm trends in Franchise offers brush with success for three long-time friends Toronto Izabela Jaroszynski tbt@insidetoronto.com

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rent Sharpless doesn’t believe in the messy side of painting a house. “Painting doesn’t have to be a big chore that drags on for weeks,” he said. Imagine coming home from work to find a freshly painted kitchen and a bouquet of flowers sitting on the counter. No sign of tarps, paint cans or crusted-over green tape. That’s the type of service Sharpless believes everyone desires. In fact, he is banking on it. Sharpless and two of his closest friends, Simon Hermant and Hugh McKee, are the new owners of Toronto’s first 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting franchise. As the name promises, nearly all painting contracts are started and completed in just one day. The concept for the franchise began in Vancouver with Brian Scudamore, founder of 1-800-Got-Junk? and has spread throughout the country, revolutionizing the painting industry. “How the industry worked is to put two painters on one house for two weeks and these two guys would have work for those two weeks,” Sharpless said.

SANAM Islam tbt@insidetoronto.com

Franchising has been growing rapidly across Canada, and Toronto is no exception. Children’s education, pets and space renovation for seniors are just some of the franchise sectors that are on an upward trend in the city. At a national level, food brands make up almost 40 percent of the franchise industry, while consumer products and services account for most of the remaining percentage. According to the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA), the following areas saw the most growth between 2011 and 2012 in terms of entry of new brands: n business-to-business consulting (39 per cent) n hair and nail salons/spas (38 per cent) n commercial/residential services (25 per cent) n seniors/home care and services (22 per cent) n children’s products and services (19 per cent) “Franchised businesses are meeting the needs of the community. Where there’s a need, that’s where you’ll see growth,” said Lorraine McLachlan, president and CEO of the CFA. While the trends identified by the CFA apply to all of Canada, there are certain sectors that are doing particularly well in Toronto because of its specific demographic. One such sector is children’s education, which includes tutoring services and supplementary education centres. It is becoming successful partially because Toronto attracts educated immigrants from countries like China and India who are concerned about their children’s academic success, said Claus Etzler, owner of Etzler Franchise Consulting in Toronto. He added that parents increasingly want to prepare their children for a globalized economy. “A lot of parents say they like public school education, but if they see their child is not doing as well as they should be, they send >>>education, page 9

corporate approach

Staff photo/Irvin Mintz

1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting general manager Pat Findlay, left, keeps an eye on a recent job at an Elm Road home. The franchise is a branch of a company started in Vancouver and is the first in Toronto.

Get paid fast...

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The 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting model takes a corporate approach to painting, he said. Each painting project is broken into components and a large crew is deployed to do a big job in just a few hours. Sharpless said customers have been very satisfied with the work, which is backed by a two-year warranty. “The quality of the work is excellent,” he said. “It has to be. This model won’t work if we don’t provide a high quality of work.” It helps, of course, to have a brand name behind the product, he said. With a professional website, clean uniforms and recognizable trucks, the one-year-old brand is >>>childhood, page 8

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TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012 - 3

S ma l l BU S I N E S S N E W S

Looking ahead to Toronto’s Small Business Forum IZABELA JAROSZYNSKI tbt@insidetoronto.com

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Photo/PETER C. MCCUSKER

Enterprise Toronto’s Michael Wolfson is the sector development officer at Toronto’s economic development and culture division. He came up with the idea for a contest open to Toronto residents wanting to pitch their food creations.

Satisfy craving for success with food product contest Do you have an idea for the next big thing in food? IZABELA JAROSZYNSKI tbt@insidetornto.com

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he clock is ticking to submit to Toronto’s first contest aimed at those who dream of entering the fascinating world of food manufacturing. Have a great product with commercial value? Do you delight your friends with beverages that would fly off the shelves? Ever wonder if you could sell your product nationally? Enterprise Toronto and the city’s economic development department are giving you a chance to find out through the first Toronto’s Next Great Food Product Contest. “We wanted to give a brand newbie a chance to get their product to market,” said Michael Wolfson, the brain behind this contest and the sector development officer at Toronto’s economic development and culture division. With 30 years of industry experience, Wolfson knows a thing or two about what it takes to market a great product and create a viable business around it – and he has been sharing that expertise with Toronto’s business community. “Every year for the past three years we have had a booth at the Canadian Restaurant and Food Association (CRFA) trade show,” he said. “Instead of just standing there, handing out pamphlets, we opened our booth up to showcase six up-and-coming food manufacturers from Toronto.” Wolfson sends out a mass email and the first six to respond get the opportunity to display their products at Canada’s largest food trade show, surrounded by the industry’s top buyers and marketers. “I started thinking that it would be great to give the same opportunity to a start-up or someone getting ready to launch a business,” he said. Toronto’s Next Great Food

‘Food production is the largest manufacturing employer in Ontario right now. It has surpassed automotive.’ – Michael Wolfson Product Contest is open to businesses less than a year old or to entrepreneurs ready to start a food business in the next six months. Only Toronto businesses need apply and you must be ready with a prototype food or nonalcoholic beverage product. A small business selection committee will choose the Top 5 candidates to attend the upcoming Small Business Forum where each candidate will have 15 minutes to pitch their product. Judging the contest will be Christine Cushings, a celebrated star in the culinary world, Dufflet Rosenberg, owner of Dufflet Pastries, and John Mastroianni, manager of Pusateri Fine Foods. “They were all very willing and excited to be part of this event,” Wolfson said. The winner will be swept into the multi-billion dollar world of food manufacturing. Working with small business professionals and industry experts, the winning applicant will focus on getting the product ready for market by March, just in time to be displayed at the CRFA trade show. Wolfson has every reason to believe the product will make it to market successfully as he sees success stories all the time. Ontario has a supportive network for food manufacturers, with more than 3,000 businesses calling Ontario home. This has made the food production sector a key economic driver in the province.

“Food production is the largest manufacturing employer in Ontario right now,” Wolfson said. “It has surpassed automotive.” The city of Toronto itself is home to 700 food manufacturers, with a further 800 operating within the Greater Toronto Area, making the GTA one of the largest food and beverage clusters in North America. “The majority of these businesses, I would say 75 per cent, are small- to medium-sized with less than 300 employees,” Wolfson said. While playing on the latest trends in television programming that feature contests and business pitches in front of industry experts, Toronto’s Next Great Food Product Contest is also a very real opportunity for a local entrepreneur. Wolfson tells the story of a local restaurateur who attended the CRFA show last year as part of Toronto’s economic development booth to showcase a panini-type product he was selling at his restaurant. “He received a huge response from buyers,” he said. Now the entrepreneur is working with Georgian College on a way to develop his product into a commercially viable prototype. “So it really is a great opportunity.” The application deadline is Sept. 10. Visit www.enterprisetoronto.com for contest details.

Key dates n Monday, Sept. 10 at 4:30 p.m.: Applications due n Friday, Oct. 5: Top 5 applicants will be notified n Tuesday, Oct. 16: Top 5 will pitch an industry expert panel at the 2012 Small Business Forum. The panel will then select the winner, which will be announced before the end of the forum. n March 3 to 5, 2013: Contest winner will exhibit its product at the Canadian Restaurant and Food Association Trade Show.

ith more than 100 exhibitor booths, four business seminar sessions and a lineup of top industry speakers, Toronto’s Small Business Forum is full of ways to inspire and inform the local entrepreneur. The tag line for this year’s event is ‘Full Speed Ahead’, said Katherine Roos, manager of small business at Enterprise Toronto. While the news on the business pages may not always be positive, small business owners are surviving and thriving throughout the city, she said in explanation of the theme. “We wanted to recognize that and provide tools to help business succeed.” Scheduled for Oct. 16 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the annual event will begin with a special keynote address by one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs, Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose. Attendees will also be treated to a closing panel discussion on growth financing, a topic that Roos said always draws a big crowd. “The panel is not in conflict with any other session so everyone can attend and participate,” she said. During the day, small business owners can browse through the exhibitor booths or attend one of several educational sessions on offer. “These are meant to be work-

ing sessions, so come prepared to work,” Roos warns business owners. Participate in sessions, ask questions and get real support from industry veterans, experts and fellow entrepreneurs to get the most out of the day. The full list of sessions has not yet been released, but Roos said popular topics covered will be social marketing, banking, cash flow and forecasting, selling to government and selling online. Since sessions will be run simultaneously, attendees will have to choose the topics that interest them most. “My advice is to partner up with another business owner and head to different sessions,” Roos said. “Then swap notes.” And while you are sitting in one session, you can also follow along on another by subscribing to the Twitter feed and reading tweets from fellow attendees. Between 2,000 and 2,500 small business owners are expected to attend this year’s event, making it a rare opportunity for the often-isolated entrepreneur to feel part of a larger community. “Where else can you mingle with that many other business owners?” Roos said.

Details n WHAT: The Small Business Forum n WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. n WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 222 Bremner Blvd,, South Building, Level 700. n INFO: www.enterprisetoronto. com

Photo/PETER C. MCCUSKER

Support for Métis businesses Provincial minister of energy Chris Bentley, left, Métis Nation President Gary Lipinski, Métis Voyageur Development Fund (MVDF) CEO Steve Morse, minister for aboriginal affairs Kathleen Wynne and MVDF chair Paul DeVillers get together at the Royal York Hotel Aug. 14 for the launch of the funding and support agency for Métis business interests.

Toronto Business Times is on the move The Toronto Community News (TCN) building and production facility has moved to a new location. TCN, publisher of Toronto Businss Times, has moved from 100 Tempo Ave. in North York to 175 Gordon Baker Rd., essentially two buildings to the west. The new building will be visible from Hwy. 404, between

Steeles and Finch avenues. “It’s a larger, brighter facility which will allow us to maintain our distribution activities under one roof,” said Metroland Central vice president and TCN publisher Ian Proudfoot. All existing telephone numbers from the Tempo location will be maintained after the move.


TBT

4 - TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012

TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES

CONTACT US

Ian proudfoot Publisher Marg Middleton General Manager Peter Haggert Editor-in-Chief Paul Futhey Managing editor Warren Elder Regional Director of Advertising Jamie Munoz Regional Director of Distribution

EDITORIAL Telephone: 416-493-4400; Fax: 416-493-6190 Advertising Telephone: 416-493-4400; Fax: 416-493-4703

Toronto Business Times is one of Metroland Media Group’s business newspapers. Pressrun: 25,000; Publications Mail Agreement #: 40013798

Website: www.torontobusinesstimes.com Email: tbt@insidetoronto.com

WHERE TO FIND TBT

VOLUME 10, NO. 9

Toronto Business Times is published monthly by Toronto Community News, 175 Gordon Baker Rd., Willowdale, ON, M2H 2S6

Copies available at many locations, including Enterprise Toronto offices in North York and Scarborough civic centres, Etobicoke Civic Centre, the Learning Enrichment Foundation, Toronto Board of Trade, Canadian Youth Business Foundation, Business Development Bank offices and mailed to business owners and managers throughout Toronto.

Editorial

Seize the opportunity of the Small Business Forum

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ome prepared to work.” That quote from Katherine Roos in our story about the upcoming Enterprise Toronto Small Business Forum, is perhaps the best and most important aspect of the show. This October’s forum, themed “full speed ahead” should give entrepreneurs who are serious about taking their business to a new proficiency lots to think about. The day will offer a number of seminar sessions – all keenly populated with tangible tips and takeaways that are accessible to any entrepreneur. The full list of sessions has not yet been released, but Roos, Enterprise Toronto’s small business manager, said popular topics covered will be social mar-

keting, banking, cash flow and forecasting, selling to government and selling online Scheduled for Oct. 16 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the annual event will begin with a special keynote address by one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs, Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose. It’s no small feat to successfully run a small business. And it’s easy to go to a seminar, join a webinar or hear a speaker on a small business topic. The key when you attend a training session is to actually take something out of it you can use to improve your business. When a speaker offers a comment on the surface of a topic, ask the next question. Drill

down deeper into the reality of applying what you hear. Come away with not only new ideas, but ensure you’re taking enough back that you can apply the new idea or concept when you get back to the office. As many as 2,500 small business owners are expected to attend this year’s forum, making it a rare opportunity for the often-isolated entrepreneur to feel part of the larger Toronto entrepreneurial community. Toronto is rich in opportunity for the entrepreneur to learn. It’s a fine place to grow. It’s obviously a central marketplace for the country. If you, as an entrepreneur don’t already take advantage of what organizations like Enterprise Toronto offer, now is the time to start.

Opinion

Piles of paper: less is C The cold call and chilly reception more, less is more... olumn

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national publication once called the house inviting me to buy a subscription. Of a media mind, I of course was intrigued and wanted to hear the pitch. “Well we have sports, entertainment, international, national and local news...” Suddenly it became interesting and I wondered, as a resident of Saint John NB, just what local news would be provided. “Tell me about your local news,” I eagerly and suspiciously inquired. “Well for instance,” countered the enthusiastic and confident cold caller, “there was a bad accident on (Hwy.) 417 in Ottawa yesterday – and it’s in the paper, that’s my local news!” It was about this time I’d generally have to explain to a cold caller Saint John is in New Brunswick, not Newfoundland – that’s St. John’s. Remember, your pitch will only be as good as your knowledge of the customer’s needs. “You’ve got to know your customer and the value you bring them,” says new business development specialist Susan Clark of RDP Associates, a firm who identifies tax credits for IT and various other industries. “You don’t have time to waste on the phone. You need to hit the right person and focus your attention on listening to them, and assessing best how to meet their need,” she says.

EDITOR’S DESK

PETER HAGGERT So how do you know how to hit the right buttons? “I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, getting to know my customer and getting to know their business,” said Rick McCutcheon, managing partner at ADXStudio Inc., a CRM (customer relationship management) development firm. “It will also let you know if your potential customer is in your network – that is, do they know someone you know...and that might lead you to a valuable introduction from an intermediary,” he said. There’s no doubt, different telephone solicitations yield different results depending on the product and the size of company being approached. But, there’s also little doubt you want the best possible success rate from the calls you make. It’s also important to get the maximum impact from each and every call. So, for instance, you call a potential customer. From the start, you’re building an assess-

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ment of that customer’s potential needs. If you’ve done your homework or have a previous relationship with the client, you have a pretty good idea where to start to impress them. But if you really don’t know them, you’re probing and listening. “You’ve got to be able to take advantage of every product you sell,” says Clark. “You may not ever get them on the line again, so you’ve got to give every call your best attention and have a wide variety of ways you can try to impress them with your services.” If you have a one-track mind focusing on selling one product or service, you can end up with a “no” pretty quickly. But many small companies offer a variety of services. “Obviously a sale or at least an appointment is the ultimate,” says Clark. “But building on that relationship when you call is important too. Sometimes it’s simply opening that door and getting to know a little more about that potential client – a little more information you can build on for your next pitch,“ she says. The lesson. A cold call gets cold results. The more you know about your customer – and how your product and service is used – the greater chance of a warm, rich conversation and sales conversion. n Peter Haggert is editor in chief of Toronto Business Times. He can be reached at phaggert@insidetoronto.com

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ne of the benefits of my job is getting to read all the advice that gets dispensed on these pages. As I’m sure it is with any of us, given the wide range of topics, some pieces of advice tend to speak more directly to us than other pieces. As it so often happens, some of those strike at something very personal – to the point where you sharply exhale. Maybe you even think to yourself: “Oh yeah. That.” “I should do that.” “Why can’t I do that?” On the facing page are the great responses we got to our question of the month on office efficiency. Give them a read: there are lots of opportunities to ensure your time and money are well-spent in an office environment. One of the featured columnists, Doug Williamson, touched on one element that I personally struggle with: piles of paper on desks. “Your desk is a working space, not a storage system,” he says. True enough. Bottom line: clutter is an obstacle; in some way, shape or form, it’s impeding efficiency. In other words, it wastes time. Okay, so we’ve established that an uncluttered workspace is a good thing. So why the struggle with achieving it? I’m not sure I have a good answer to that question. For me personally, the best I can come up with is that maybe one feels the pull of more imminent tasks to the point that they’ll always find something else to do. Sometimes it may be procrastination. I lean toward having multiple tasks competing for my time and attention.

NOTEBOOK

Paul Futhey Whatever. I just know I need to do better. Anyway, we’ve just moved offices. A perfect opportunity to test out a plan to have a more disciplined approach that involves a small amount of time each day set aside for keeping order on the desktop. We’ll see if it works. I hope it does. Because it’s one thing to read good advice and agree with it. It’s another to actually experience it working for your betterment. There’s nothing like seeing results to make something that’s a struggle into a habit. So then when you come across that piece of really good advice, you can smile to yourself. Maybe you’ll even think to yourself: “Oh yeah, that.” “I do that – and it works” n We’ll be attending the Enterprise Toronto’s Small Business Forum on Oct. 16 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. If I’m not at our booth, I’m wandering the floor. Just leave a business card or drop me an email! We’ll connect one way or another. n Paul Futhey is the managing editor of the Toronto Business Times. His Notebook column appears Monday. Email him at pfuthey@insidetoronto.com


TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012 - 5

op inion Each month, Toronto Business Times solicits opinions from experts on a question of relevance to the small business community. This month’s question is: What are some of your ideas to make an office environment more efficient?

Making smart choices will Chip away at all things that lead to greater productivity stand in the way of efficiency E A veryone has gone home, more than once, wondering exactly what they accomplished during their eight hours in the salt mines. Endless meetings, mind numbing PowerPoint presentations, inconveniently timed phone interruptions and, of course, way too many emails. There has to be a better way! The challenge we all face is figuring out how to rescue our individual sanity and improve our collective productivity. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a matter of how well organized we are. This is a matter of choices, practices and disciplines to improve our mental acuity, the net result of which will be greater efficiency. Here are some ideas that have worked well for me over the years and may be helpful for you as well. They fall into three broad categories and it’s all about getting the balance right. n How to maintain smart discipline 1. Develop a strict time budget and stick to it. Decide how you want to spend your time and then track it relentlessly until you get it right. Make tough choices. Don’t allow random events to make you a prisoner of someone else’s agenda. 2. Label your meetings ahead of time. Some meetings are for decision making, others for

beacon group

doug williamson

information sharing and others for administrative updates, etc. Be respectful and let people know what the expectation of the meeting is. 3. Ruthlessly organize and categorize your personal priorities. The are some great webbased tools for tracking your various priorities and tasks. I use Priority Matrix and find it invaluable in ensuring I remain focused. n How to eliminate noise and distraction 4. Don’t keep piles of paper on your desk. The endless piles of paper are not only distracting, but they create a subliminal level of stress that is totally avoidable. Your desk is a working space, not a storage system. 5. Ignore reading emails where you are not the primary addressee. If the email is not addressed to you, then ignore it. You have more important things to accomplish with your time. 6. Read your emails only during set time periods. The constant scanning of the inbox is a habit you can and must break. In the process, you will allow your mind to get in a groove, rather than having it

ratchet aimlessly from one issue to another. n How to decompress 7. Work from home one day every two weeks. We all need a mental break and a solid block of time to address the more thoughtful and contemplative work we have. To change things up, put yourself in a different atmosphere and maybe even work in your pajamas. 8. Block off your Friday afternoons for unscheduled time. Use the end of the week to sort out any loose ends. Allow yourself a three- to four-hour buffer at the end of the week to reflect and tidy up. 9. Coach, teach, talk and connect. Consider giving yourself an adrenaline boost by using some of your unscheduled Friday time to connect with people – to coach, teach or talk. Engage in some good old-fashioned relationship management. Whatever you do, avoid the tempting embrace of being seduced by sweat. Instead, fall in love with the idea of working smarter. n Doug Williamson is president and chief executive officer of The Beacon Group, a Toronto-based firm that specializes in organizational transformation, effectiveness programs as well as talent identification and leadership development.

n efficient office environment is critical to protect margins, retain customers and quickly respond to changing expectations. Before jumping in and making improvements, be aware: to make a beautiful diamond, the diamond cutter chips away the rough stone. Likewise, chip away at those things that are making you less effective. Not all improvements to efficiency make the businesses stronger; prioritize the important issues needed to increase business results. Here’s how: n Develop a mindset for eliminating waste Like a diamond cutter, finding and chipping away at resource wasters is the best way to become more efficient. We’ve found, regardless of the business, some typical problems that can often be addressed: • Mistakes fulfilling customer orders • Issues that prevent invoicing and collection • Scheduling problems • Inadequate or excessive inventories n Identify a couple of targets Leaders will often try to improve efficiencies without specific targets. Improvement requires focus; target two very specific areas at a time. Here’s an example: “We need to improve our cash flow by reducing our Day Sales Outstanding from 90 to 60

tom armour

high return selection

kristina vohma days.” When finished, move on. n Engage the right people Those closest to the work often have the best ideas for making improvements. Get them involved – they’ll enjoy the challenge and you will love the gains. To get them engaged: • Realize most dedicated employees want to be part of the solution. They simply need your authorization to get started. • Provide support to maintain focus and motivation. • Make those who improve efficiencies champions. This builds a culture of improvement. n Give your employees the tools to succeed While large companies use complex methods to gain efficiencies, these prove too cumbersome for smaller companies. We’ve found these four practices can provide large returns: n Reduce mistakes Many businesses waste valuable resources by redoing work. As example, when

fulfilling customer orders, we’ve seen mistakes cause extensive rework, wasted time and materials as well as collection problems. If this is a problem for you, estimate the cost impact and set a course to reduce it. n Eliminate costly wait times Delays caused by waiting for supplier deliveries, preparation, information, etc., have very high costs. Find out what is causing these delays and remove them Don’t do everything yourself: Small businesses often try to do it all and waste a lot time that could be better spent with customers. It’s often faster to contract the right expertise and avoid costly mistakes n Gain control of inventories It’s said that inventories are like bananas; they don’t keep well. When extra inventories are maintained, even non-perishables can be lost, damaged or become obsolete. Maintaining the proper levels can improve efficiencies in cash flow, storage and production. n Kristina Vohma and Tom Armour are the developers of many advanced methods designed to improve profitability and employee engagement. They are the founders of High Return Selection, a company that shows businesses how to improve profitability through employee engagement.

Restore order to maintain a Refresh your daily routine productive office environment and eliminate all distractions

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hink about your office. Is it the place where you are most productive, zooming through relevant tasks with energy and verve? Or is it a place where you react to what comes at you, lose time looking for information, feel overwhelmed and wonder where your day went? Creating a productive office is as much about managing the physical space as managing your time. Use this simple four step P.L.A.N. to create and maintain order: n Prioritize Determine what is important to accomplish in your work and therefore where you will invest your time. Make sure your office is set up to support getting those tasks completed most productively. Your job and how you do it may have changed since your office was established. Think carefully about the furniture, storage, organizing systems, and tools you need to do your job well. Adjust what you can to create the right work surfaces, meeting spaces,

streamlife

clare kumar privacy and light. n Liberate Let go of the things that do not further your priorities or create a comfortable working environment. This could mean shredding the files lingering in unused cabinets, recycling old trade manuals, or disposing of a broken stapler or unsupportive office chair. It also means clearing out your email and electronic files so that their volume does not impede your ability to search for necessary information while respecting any legal or business requirements to retain information. n Arrange Set up your office so you flow through your space. Organize effectively by creating a system that lets you expend the appropriate amount of effort to retrieve an item. Keep the most often used items close at hand, those used less fre-

quently further away. Create systems with the right amount of complexity so that you will use them. Generally this means keeping them simple. It is equally important to arrange your calendar so you flow through your day. Alternate blocks of time dedicated to focused work with responsive periods to engage with others and handle incoming requests. Take physical and mental breaks throughout the day, and keep your body nourished and hydrated. n Nurture Restoring order is a necessary part of maintaining a productive environment. It takes time, energy and commitment. From putting files away to scheduling your time, good habits must be practiced until they can be relied upon to create a sustainably efficient office. n Clare Kumar is the principal professional organizer and productivity consultant at Toronto-based Streamlife, an organizing company, and creator of the four step P.L.A.N. for a productive life.

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ffice efficiency is a bit like losing the 10 pounds you gained from last Christmas – all you have to do is diet and exercise, correct? You can have the best computer, printer and phone system, but they won’t make you efficient; how you use them is the key. Here are four quick steps to improve your efficiency immediately. n Read Eat A Frog For Breakfast by Brian Tracey Don’t delay the inevitable hated task. Only you can decide what time of day is best time to handle it, but know this: the frog will not go away. Procrastination costs you money. Get it done, or get someone else to do it. Don’t let the frog multiply. n Email, the new water cooler For the entrepreneur, solitude is often the norm. Welcome to email, the easiest and most useful tool for communication, and the most deadly of distractions. You may even have your computer play a noise to

brewers market

gerri sefi announce the interruption! So, turn email off. Yes, off. Do not open it until the current task is done. Set time aside to check it, perhaps over your morning coffee or lunch. Create folders for work/personal/ read later/jokes and file every email so your inbox is cleared at the end of each day. n Ring-ring... The same goes for the telephone, both cell and office. No doubt you have a friendly and professional greeting on your phone, and probably call display. When you are working on an important task (one that will contribute to revenue) do not answer the phone unless it is a call you have been waiting for that could result in revenue. If you really can’t ignore a ringing phone, then turn off the volume. n Create the right environment

If you feel good in your office, your productivity will soar. • Don’t use harsh overhead lighting; use soft lamps to create dark and light areas. • Bring the outside in by adding plants and flowers • Do not clutter the walls, you don’t live here, you work here. Add your favourite painting, or a picture of your family. • Keep it clean – no old coffee cups or overflowing waste baskets. • Play classical or meditative music softly. You don’t want to sing along with it, this is de-focusing. You just want a melody. (I use the Spa channel on the TV.) And finally, the most efficient and effective action of all – leave the office at least once a day. Walk the dog, grab a newspaper, breathe, refresh, revitalize. n Gerri Sefi owns several small businesses in addition to The Brewers Market, an online company that distributes beer kits for the home brewer.


6 - TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012

op i n i on

Embrace the value of office gossip: it can serve an important function

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eople duck into their cubicles when they see this person coming toward them in the office. When her voice is heard in the kitchen some people slip around the corner to meet and chat with her while others pick up their phones and get busy. You see, she is the office gossip and every office has one – that busy body who is always “in the know.” They can make a story out of any crumb of information, and truth is a minor detail. We may assume that office gossip is unnecessary, a distracting force in the strong unwavering work ethic of serious people. But is there any value to gossip? What could be positive about something so trivial? I maintain that gossip is not trivial nor is it entirely idle. It’s actually an important part of everyday work life and serves a necessary purpose in business. When you remove the innuendo and the falsehoods and scrape a little fodder off the top, you are often left with core truth. Just as there is always some truth behind a sarcastic joke, there is always some kernel of truth inside every gossip story. Gossip also acts as the unofficial communication pipeline combining

Coach’s Corner

Sonia Byrne people’s fears, concerns, intuition, speculation, suggestion, recommendation... and truth. People will say things in gossip that they would never say in formal business conversations. In gossip you get the true, raw version of another’s feeling, what they are willing to say if they think no one – especially the intended party – will ever hear. For instance, rumours of impending terminations can signal that employees are under-utilized or there has been a loss of business. The best tactic is to hold a town hall meeting to communicate to the employees in a group so they hear everything at the same time. If you find yourself involved in a gossip conversation, you have three choices: n Participate: know that anything you say may come back to the target of discussion. n Stand by: know that

condoning gossip by witnessing it can lead to implied participation. n Walk away: know that while this is not a popular stance, you will be able to live with yourself if things end badly. As a people manager, the gossip pipeline can provide information about what’s important to employees at any given time. In the core truth layer you may find that people are not happy with a recent business decision or an unengaged employee may be “outed” through gossip about their lack of team spirit. The strongest enemy of gossip is communication. Regular, frequent and transparent communication between business leaders and employees makes for pretty lame gossip fodder. Employee groups that feel like they are “in-theknow” and have the true story about a business issue are less likely to contribute to winding tales of grandiose events. Whether you believe office gossip is good, bad or ugly, there is no denying its value as an informal channel into what’s happening in your workplace. n Sonia Byrne is a business and life coach. She can be reached at www.soniabyrne.com

A Home For Your Business… That Feels Like Home. The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is one of the jewels of the GTA. Located just north of Toronto on highway 404, Whitchurch-Stouffville offers easy access to clients in the GTA and to new business in the fastest-growing economy in Canada - York Region. The Town also has something truly rare: low taxes and available business properties. And as you grow your business you and your employees can grow your families in a community that offers small-town warmth and all the amenities and services you want. If you have always dreamt of living close to business and having your business close to the action, Whitchurch-Stouffville is worth a look.

for more information contact:

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Tech innovations can lead to downfall of business models B ack when I was starting out as an undergraduate, I heard whispers early on of this exciting practice going on with students across campus: Internet downloading. For someone who had come out of a home still on dial-up (that’s how long ago this was), going into a residence equipped with high-speed Internet made downloading everything – mostly lots and lots of music – irresistible. Every one of us on my residence floor was going onto file-sharing networks, taking every conceivable song we could think of. It felt edgy and even a little dangerous. After all, my age group – the tail-end of Generation X – was still used to going into music stores and buying CDs. Going onto the Internet and taking music for free felt kind of wrong at the time, but it felt good to do something that took it to The Man. Besides, we were poor students. Why not take the music? It’s not as if we had cash to burn on a mediocre Third Eye Blind album (remember, late 1990s here). To wit: It was disruptive and fun to do it. Of course, the music industry eventually got wise to what people were doing. Lawsuits came down, record labels struck

TECH TALK

GREG HUGHES back hard, and file-sharing applications got shuttered. Yet none of those moves managed to stem the tide of people wanting to get their music online. Downloading music remains one of the most common tasks done by Internet users. The record industry has only recently wrapped its collective head around the fact their profit margins from selling CDs are gone for good. While baby boomers are still likely to buy CDs, everyone else south of age 40 is assured to be listening online. For younger listeners, listening options are bigger than anything my age group could have conceived of: YouTube videos on demand, streaming services like Radio, CBC Music and Spotify (in the U.S. and Europe, at least), SoundCloud and Grooveshark are just a few examples. These “cloud-based” services aren’t even the most

dominant music players yet; downloads from Apple’s iTunes and BitTorrent are the go-to services for most digital music listeners. This is not a new story: technology has ruptured an old business model. It’s happened before. Yet the record industry’s downfall as a sustainable business model is a cautionary tale for the digital age. In the years to come, our society will be exposed to an increasing number of technological disruptions, each more ferocious than the one before. Our contemporary economic model remains driven by the myth of scarcity – the belief that a product or service should be priced on market-driven availability. It’s impossible to tell how upcoming innovations will level industries the way the Internet did to the record industry. Yet one thing is clear: businesses should take what’s happened to music as a harbinger of things to come for them. Every industry will face disruption at the hands of digital tools. From nascent 3D printing on-demand to online customization, digital will render the idea of economic scarcity obsolete. n Greg Hughes is a writer, editor and Web 3.0 junkie. Follow him on Twitter at ghughesca

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TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - August 2012 - 7 ADVERTORIAL

QUESTIONS FROM THE FRONTLINES

Helping investors protect and profit through ALL market conditions

So who do you trust? Last month I wrote about how several crises have morphed and are given many names none of them addressing the root cause which in reality is a crisis of confidence. We are investment advisors and this question pertains directly to people with: Vestable assets, so in the world of investing who can you trust? Just this week a study revealed a very high percentage of investors are not satisfied with their full service advisor. The full service advisor is for the most part someone who can hold and advise you in many fronts and areas of your investment needs and are compensated primarily through the products they sell. But what are the alternatives? In all my years in the industry, one thing that always surprises me is how little people know about what they own and why they own it. I must challenge each and everyone of you who demands results to TRUST ONESELF before you put your trust in someone else. We all invest in many things and also encourage our children to invest in education; yet when it comes to our hard earned money we throw caution to the winds and go through the roller-coaster experiences with several advisory firms without taking a look at an independent advisor who will not take your money but will also educate you. This knowledge is not just for a privileged few! Educate you in what to do? And yes, it may involve other advisors or other structures,

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Working together to achieve your goals Benefit from a one-on-one relationship with a dedicated professional Investment Advisor. Receive sound financial advice while staying involved in the key decisions about your portfolio.

In a sea of changes affecting our behaviour - is there really anyone that I can trust who will teach me and look out for me? but the point is you will not be alone. Imagine for a second that you are charged with something or diagnosed with something. Would you not seek professional advice and opinion as to what you should do and also like to know what it is and what are your options? Is your money and financial well being not worth the same due diligence and research? The world revolves in the premise of faith and trust. All police are honest, all judges obey the law, all pilots can fly a plane. In principle we believe that. But we also know that the percentage is never 100%. There are situations and circumstances that prevent this ideal. Invest in yourself before you blindly trust your hard earned money to a third part with a badge or a title. Wisdom says, “without knowledge the people perish”.

Call me and let’s talk – I will share my knowledge on these concerns and show you how to manoeuvre through this jungle of debt annihilation, emergency savings, saving for kid’s education, investing for the future and living life free from financial worries. Call me to see all your options tobetterYOURfinancialstanding and not the ones that profits YOUR ADVISOR! Please send me your questions, concerns and comments to Nimble Consulting nimbleinvesting@gmail.com or call us at 416-574-7065.

Richard Bruton B. Comm. (Hons.) Investment Advisor The Richard Bruton Wealth Management Group Toronto 416-982-3517 richardbrutongroup@td.com

Start a conversation today.

www.richardbruton.ca

nimbleinvesting@gmail.com

TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice is a division of TD Waterhouse Canada Inc., a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. - Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. ®/ The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank or a wholly-owned subsidiary, in Canada and/or other countries.

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8 - TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012

News

Childhood friends unite in franchise venture >>>from page 1 slowly building a reputation. Franchises have popped up in Vaughan, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Seattle, Austin, San Jose and Kansas City. One may be coming to Barrie soon. The trio behind Toronto’s first franchise also owns ones in Oakville and the Muskoka area, where they have been building their name slowly while concentrating on the dense Toronto market first. Their plan is to expand the franchise to other markets soon. Helping them get past some of the inevitable new business hiccups is the fact that the three owners are long-time friends. “They are more like

brothers to me,” Sharpless said of his business partners. Indeed, their friendship spans more than two decades. “I met Simon when I was about seven,” Sharpless said. The pair became fast friends during their elementary school years and then attended Upper Canada College together, where they met McKee. “I think we’ve managed to avoid a lot of the communication problems that typically arise in new businesses because we’ve known each other so long,” Sharpless said. And this isn’t their first foray into business ownership. In high school, Hermant started a construction and landscaping business and brought Sharpless on to

‘We wow our customers because in the morning we say “have a good day” and they come back to freshly cut flowers and a finished job.’ – Brent Sharpless

From left: Brent Sharpless, Simon Hermant and Hugh McKee. assist. When he decided to move on to other projects, Sharpless and McKee came together to create a similar company and continued to run a business together for a few years, even hiring some

employees. So while the trio has gone on to work in the private sector – Sharpless was in management consulting and is now about to graduate law school in Alberta; Simon is an insurance executive in Toronto;

learned many years ago is to never underestimate the value of good customer service. It is a lesson they are applying to their newest venture together. “We wow our customers because in the morning we say ‘have a good day’ and they come back to freshly cut flowers and a finished job,” Sharpless said. “Mostly the response has been, ‘Why wasn’t painting like this before?’”

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McKee is an attorney in New York City – they have retained many of the lessons they learned during their entrepreneurial years. “You have to be a selfstarter,” Sharpless said, adding that even in the franchise business it is vital to pound the pavement and work hard to get your name out there. But the most important lesson the three friends

Photos/Nancy Paiva

Janet Cox, left, Cheryl Kern and Colleen Springer exchange contact information at the tenth anniversary of Summer Networking Bash, which was held at Ontario Place’s Atlantis on Aug. 15. Hundreds of business owners attended to learn how to build their connections and improve their social media skills.

Keynote Speaker: Jenna Feldman, Manager, Sustainability and Responsibility, Tim Hortons Presenter: Dr. Jane Philpott, Founder, “Give a Day to World AIDS” Movement

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TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012 - 9

franchising

Franchise show adds seminars due to popularity Sanam Islam tbt@insidetoronto.com

T

he Canadian Franchise Association will be adding an extra seminar room and offering more seminars to attendees at the October Franchise Show in Toronto. “One of the highlights of the show is the free seminars that are available,” said Lorraine McLachlan, president and CEO of the Canadian Franchise Association. She said six seminars are typically offered each day, but in the show taking place Oct. 20 and 21 at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke, up to nine seminars will be scheduled daily. “We are expanding the number of seminars available because they have proven to be so popular. We are expanding to make

Details n WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 20 and Sunday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. n WHERE: Toronto Congress Centre, North Building, Hall J, 650 Dixon Rd., off Hwy. 401 n COST: One day pass is $10 and a weekend pass is $15 even more education available,” McLachlan said. The Franchise Show takes place in February and October in Toronto and provides an opportunity for prospective franchisees to meet with more than 100 franchisors – including big names such as Pizza Pizza, the UPS Store and Kumon Math and Reading Centres – registered with the Canadian Franchise Association and to learn more about the franchise industry. Attendees can

Education, pets emerging trends >>>from page 1 them to summer school or put them into crash courses before their exams so they can get good grades to get into a good university,” Etzler said. The pet services sector, which includes everything from dog walking to pet grooming, is also emerging as a trend in Toronto, particularly in the east end, the Beaches area and among condominium-dwellers along Yonge Street. “More people want to have pets for companionship, but they don’t have the time for it,” Etzler said. Barrier-free living and space renovation for seniors is also doing well. “A lot of seniors in Toronto who want to stay in their homes – because they can with condos – have showers they have to step over, so they want to make them barrier-free,” said Brent Barr, a professor who teaches a franchising course at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management. In addition, many seniors who downsize to a condominium to save money for retirement convert their space to get the functionality of a larger home. Health foods and ethnic fare, such as Asian and Mexican cuisine, are also an emerging trend. “We’re getting a lot of fresh food options in the world of franchising. They are giving us ways to eat better, which is more in line with who and what we’ve become as we change our life socially,” Barr said. Toronto’s preference for unique dining options (rather than big brand names) allows homegrown, upscale healthy eateries at a slightly higher price point to succeed. However, outside of the city, such franchises tend not to be as popular, Etzler said. Like other cities across Canada, senior and home care services, as well as beauty care, are booming in Toronto. These sectors and, in fact, most sectors, are expected to continue growing. Etzler predicts there will be explosive growth in the environmental sector. While other sectors have been around for at least a decade, this sector has only emerged in the last few years. It includes products and services such as solar panels, green energy, environmentally friendly building cleaning and air-filtration products. “The environmental movement is creating whole new industries that didn’t exist 10 years ago or even five years ago,” Etzler said. Convenience-related franchises are also expected to be a major trend. As more people near the end of their careers, they have more funds, but less time, said Barr. This means they will be more likely to pay for tasks such as the picking up and dropping off of dry cleaning or meal deliveries.

visit booths, listen to informational seminars and talk to experts. Seminars are led by industry specialists such as franchise owners, franchisees, consultants, lawyers, accountants and bankers. Some of the topics scheduled for the October show include “10 Things You Must Know Before You Invest in a Franchise” and “How to Finance Your Franchise and Approach Your Bank”. After the seminars, speakers will available to chat with prospective franchisees and answer specific questions at the Ask The Experts booth. “There’s an ongoing involvement with the franchisor in terms of support and the network of other franchisees within that franchise system,” McLachlan said. “That’s certainly one of the hallmarks of our show and

there’s no other show that has even close to the number of franchises that we have.” Lucie Shaw, a Nurse Next Door franchisee, will be an exhibitor at the show, but she was once an attendee. In February 2009, she and her husband, both of whom had a corporate background, were still on the fence about becoming franchisees and attended the show looking to get more information. “It was a great learning experience. Not only were we able to meet and chat with different types of businesses, but it was a great eye-opener in terms of what was out there and the things that we didn’t want to do.” Shaw said attending the show solidified their interest in becoming franchisees, particularly in the health care industry. In May 2009, they opened

Nurse Next Door (a home care services business) in Mississauga. Single-day tickets cost $10 and weekend tickets

cost $15 at the door. Those who register on the CFA website will receive a $2 discount coupon. To register, visit http://cfa.ca

Be prepared 10 Sample questions to ask when investigating a franchise system: 1. Are you a member of the Canadian Franchise Association? 2. How many years has the franchisor been operating? How many units do they have overall? 3. How does the franchisor choose franchisees? How are qualifications reviewed? 4. What makes the franchisor’s product or service unique? 5. What kind of support and advice, including advertising, marketing and promotional assistance, does the franchisor provide franchisees? 6. Does the franchisor choose the location or does the franchisee? 7. Will you be provided with a disclosure document? Does it comply to provincial laws in Alberta/Ontario/PEI or CFA’s minimum disclosure requirements? 8. How much is the initial franchise fee? 9. What is the anticipated period of time between start-up and profitability? 10. What are the future plans of the franchise? – The Franchise Show

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10 - TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012

mi l e s ton e s Do you own a consulting practice? Do you want to

Expand your horizon? Extend your reach?

The Experion Group provides a venue for its members to GENERATE BUSINESS PROVIDE MORE VALUE TO THEIR CLIENTS SHARE KNOWLEDGE

We are a networking group of senior, independent professionals who provide services to Canadian and International clients. Our members are specialists in a broad range of disciplines including finance, taxation, interim management, IT, restructuring, sales, presentation skills, communications, video production, executive and personal coaching, purchasing, and business development. For information on membership, contact Florian Meyer @ 416-873-8684

Photo/Gilbert Ching

100 years at Spadina and Dundas Scotiabank recently celebrated 100 years at its Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street location. Pictured are, from left: Tony Kong, Branch Manager, Spadina & Dundas Scotiabank, Adam Vaughan, Councillor (Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina), Fang Li, Consul General, Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, Troy Wright, Scotiabank Executive Vice President, Retail Distribution, Canadian Banking; John Doig, Scotiabank Senior Vice President, Toronto Region. The celebration also included a special presentation to the longest serving customers.

Vision Showcase awards Sept. 20 Anthony Lacavera to be keynote speaker and honouree

www.experiongroup.ca

The 2012 Vision Showcase Awards are to be handed out Sept. 20. Canadian Hispanic business leaders will be awarded in seven categories based on achievement and positive impact on the community. The categories include young entrepreneur, small/ medium business, entrepre-

neur, retail, arts and culture, business man of the year, and business woman of the year. All recipients, excluding those who are successful in the last two categories, are eligible to receive the grand prize for business of the year. Anthony Lacavera, chairman and CEO of WIND Mobile, will be the keynote

speaker and receive one of the Visionary Awards. The ceremony will be held at The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Epic Hall on the second floor of the Toronto Reference Library at 789 Yonge St. It will run from 5:30 to 10 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets visit, www. thcc.ca/showcase.

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TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012 - 11

g ood wor k s

Pickle Barrel, Rose Reisman sponsor and support Weekend to End Women’s Cancers

Photo/Courtesy

Home Depot helps at Seneca

On Sept. 8 and 9, Rose Reisman Catering and The Pickle Barrel Restaurants are sponsoring The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. Over the weekend, 20,000 meals will be served to the 4,000 participants. Together, Rose Reisman Catering and Pickle Barrel Restaurants will be donating more than $130,000 for the cause.

Seneca’s Early Childhood Education Observation Laboratory Teaching School (ECE Lab School) playground got a makeover this summer courtesy of The Home Depot Canada Foundation’s Community Grant Program and the help of volunteers from Team Depot. Improvements to the playground at the Newnham Campus included a new wooden pathway, expanded sand boxes and raised garden beds where vegetables may be planted. The Lab School received a $5,000 grant from The Home Depot Canada Foundation for this neighbourhood improvement project.

chairs of their individual teams. Higley is walking in the weekend with a team comprised of The Pickle Barrel Restaurant’s loyal customers and employees. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from The Pickle Barrel’s gluten-free menu will go towards the weekend. To learn more, visit http://to12.endcancer.ca

The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers is in benefit of The Princess Margaret Hospital in support of a cure to end women’s cancers. Rose Reisman, a spokesperson of The Pickle Barrel, teamed up with Peter Higley, president and CEO of Pickle Barrel Restaurants, to be the official caterers for the weekend, as well as honourary

Photo/COURTESY

Rose Reisman, left, and Peter Higley have teamed up as official caterers of the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers Sept. 8 and 9.

Business Directory Professional Services & Special Offers To advertise in this section, call Jey at 416-774-2235 or JDharmaraj@insidetoronto.com

RESTAURANT AND PARTY CATERING - TORONTO EAST

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Photo/Courtesy

49 $6

Gift from Hollywood Gelato Dino Carella and Enzo Salvaggio, co-owners of Hollywood Gelato with their staff. The Leaside gelateria donated half of its sales on Aug. 8 to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Altima Dental supports Toronto team sports Altima Dental is pledging a $10 donation to the team or league for athletes who purchase a custom-fitted mouthguard. The dental group, with nine locations in Toronto, says athletic mouthguards provide

protection from concussions and injury to the teeth, gums and lips. For a limited time, for each Altima mouthguard purchased, Altima Dental will donate $10 to the player’s team or league of their choice.

Share Your Good Works with TBT readers Email details of your business’s charitable deeds, donations and volunteer work to tbt@insidetoronto.com

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12 - TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012

AWA RD S & H ON OURS The 2012 Ontario winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the YearÂŽ Awards will be announced Oct. 10 and there is strong representation from Toronto among the 28 finalists. The overall winner will represent the region at a national banquet in Toronto on Jan. 16, 2013. Here is a look at the Toronto-based finalists and their respective categories. Categories: Business to Business Products and Services; Business to Consumer Products and Services; Cleantech; Emerging Entrepreneur; Information Technology; Media and Entertainment; Mining and Metals; Services

Photo/Courtesy Photos/JEREMY MIMNAGH

Allen Lau, Ivan Yuen, Wattpad (Media and Entertainment)

David Fortier, Ivan Schneeberg, Temple Street Productions (Media and Entertainment)

Photo/Courtesy

Christopher Szybbo, CBI Health Group (Services)

Photos/Courtesy

Photo/JOHN TRIGIANI

Photo/Courtesy

Photo/Courtesy

Ray Cao, Aditya Shah, Loose Button Inc. (Young Entrepreneur)

Lori Lord, Spectrum Health Care (Services)

Gordon Lownds, ListenUP! Canada (Business-to-consumer)

John Paul Morgan, Morgan Solar Inc. (Cleantech)

Photo/Courtesy

Photo/Courtesy

Robert Herjavec, T h e H e r j av e c Group (Information Technology)

Ezer Mevorach, M evo t e c h I n c. (Business-tobusiness)

Photo/Courtesy

Michael Back, Collective Point of Sale Solutions Ltd. (Business-toBusiness)

Photo/Courtesy

Photo/GERI BORN

Photo/COURTESY

Gerald Soloway, Home Capital Group Inc. (Services)

Johann Olav Koss, Right to Play International (Special Citation - Social Entrepreneur)

Leerom Segal, Klick Inc. (Information Technology)

Photo/COURTESY

Photo/NICOLE LAPIERRE

Photos/Courtesy

John McCluskey, Alamos Gold, Inc. (Mining and Metals)

RenĂŠ Marion, Au Rico Gold, Inc. (Mining and Metals)

Shaun Ricci, Somen Mondal, N4 Systems Inc. (Cleantech)


TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012 - 13

i n c onversa tion

Toronto is ‘down’ town for Dani Reiss Canada Goose president, CEO leads firm to 3,000 per cent growth

ERIC HEINO tbt@insidetoronto.com

M

ore than 50 years ago Sam Tick started a small garment factory in Toronto called Metro Sportswear. Since 1957 the company has evolved from a small entrepreneurial endeavor to an internationally recognized brand worth over $100 million. Now known as Canada Goose, the company is currently run by Dani Reiss, president, CEO and the grandson of Sam Tick. By keeping manufacturing in Canada, focusing on a strong business culture, and taking a new approach to marketing, Canada Goose has grown by more than 3,000 per cent and is an inspiration to entrepreneurs in Toronto. Reiss will be sharing his insights as the keynote speaker at the Enterprise Toronto Small Business Forum in October. Toronto Business Times managed to speak with him recently.

Q You became president

and CEO of Canada Goose at age 27. Can you take us back to that time and describe what that was like for you?

A I was working with the

company a little bit before that time. I joined Canada Goose in 1997 when I was 24. When I joined the company I never thought I would stay here. I thought it was just a job in Toronto and it wasn’t like I was raised and groomed to be running the company, albeit it was the family business. It was also a very small business at the time. To answer your question, how was it for me to be the president and CEO by the age of 27? Well it was actually quite organic. It was a bit more jarring to join the company at 24. It wasn’t like I tried to make a beeline to the top. I wore a suit, I fit in with the culture and I showed up early every day. My first year was learning about business and learning that there were parts of the business that were really exciting and I became very passionate about it. Around 2000, my dad was still running the company at that time and I knew exactly what I wanted to do and it felt natural. I was kind of finally ready to take my place. It wasn’t really a major transition for me.

Photo/EVAN DION

Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose, is the keynote speaker at the Enterprise Toronto Small Business Forum in October. million now. We have grown well over 3,000 per cent in the past 10 years. Internationally, we have grown to the point where people just want more of everything. It really comes down to three major decisions. One was that we decided to stay made in Canada and if we didn’t make that decision we wouldn’t be here today. I’m absolutely committed to that. At the time, everyone who was in Canada was leaving to manufacture in Asia. It was a global phenomenon and people all over the world were taking things to Asia for manufacture. Everybody that was doing it thought that nobody cared about made in Canada and that we couldn’t compete if we stayed. I couldn’t believe that people didn’t care about made in Canada and for us it was fundamental for our brand. After all, Canada Goose is a quintessentially iconic Canadian product. Just like if you made a Swiss watch in China, you can’t do that either. We

‘One of the biggest jobs of running a company is maintaining a culture.’

Q How has the company

changed under your leadership? You said that it wasn’t very large when you took charge. How big is it now and how has it evolved over the past decade?

A We are worth over $100

tion. We have a very large accessories program and our down-filled gloves and down-filled mitts are made in China. The reason they are made in China is because the manufacturing technology and capacity to make them just does not exist in Canada. We decided that because our consumers were asking us to be able to provide them with hand wear and accessories to go with their jackets that we would have to compromise and make them in China. At the same time, we knew that we wanted to make these in Canada but we just can’t do that yet. We decided that we would put a rather large box of text on the packaging of our products that, and I’m paraphrasing, we appreciate you as a customer and we make these products in China. We say the reasons why we make the gloves in China and that we are committed to making these in Canada and hope that in the foreseeable future that we will be able to do that. We also ask that if anyone knows someone who manufactures this sort of thing in Canada of if you yourself are interested then to give us a call or email us.

structure in your company to fulfill the promises you are making to your customers. That’s not easy to do, it’s very hard and a lot of companies can’t and don’t do that. At the same time, a company that is growing is naturally going to have a lot of demand for product and needs to find ways to evolve and continue to support that demand and continue to build that demand. That is done through awareness and telling your stories, whatever those stories are. We have all heard so many times to be careful not to grow too fast but what is the definition of too fast? It’s just about keeping up in terms of the ability of your operational infrastructure, right? You need to look at your order book and ask if you have the capability to deliver on those orders. Part of that is bringing in amazing people. Not only fantastic personalities but also hiring people that are better than what you think you need. If you keep growing, you are going to need the capabilities of those people anyway. In my experience, almost all of the money you spend there will come back. Good people will make you or save you more money than you will spend on salaries.

Q You have kept the

Q Tell me what you think

A That’s a good ques-

decided that we had to stay in Canada. A huge element to that was also that if everyone is leaving, if we can stick around a few years and make it then we would be the only ones left. I certainly thought at the time that people would start to bring the production of their brands back to Canada eventually and now that is turning out to be the case. By making that decision we have now become the leader of the “made in Canada” movement, certainly in the apparel industry, and the poster child for made in Canada. So made in Canada was big for us, that’s number one. Number two is focusing solely on Canada Goose branded stuff. At the time we were doing a lot of private label and smaller manufacturing that wasn’t branded Canada Goose. It was product that was made and sold in the colder parts of the world and in northern Canada. Also, it was essentially the uniform of the coldest places on earth but anybody that never went there, which is most people, had no idea. We decided to focus on Canada Goose and to tell the stories of the people that

live in these places because they are real and they are authentic. If you go to these places in the world you’ll see that most people do wear Canada Goose because they know. That’s where our slogan – ask anyone who knows – comes from. That has been very successful. The last thing has been our culture. When you talk about going from being a very small company to a large company, keeping a fun work environment, a positive cultural place where people want to work and where people love their job is such an important element. One of the biggest jobs of running a company is maintaining a culture. We have managed to maintain that culture all the way from being a small company to where we are today and I have no doubt into the future as well.

Q

I understand you do manufacture some of your gloves and mitts in China, but you just said that you really want to stay away from doing that. Is that the case and why did you make the decision to manufacture some products overseas?

company in Canada, but another interesting aspect is that you have kept the management of the business in your family, starting with your grandfather. What are the advantages to that sort of structure?

A In terms of manage-

ment, I’m the only one in the family right now that works in the business. We have a highly qualified and fantastic professional management team that works with me as a team to run this company. For management there is no nepotism here. From an ownership point of view, I think it’s simply that we have been fortunate enough not to need to go outside and get any investors. I don’t know why anyone would do that unless they had to.

about Toronto as an environment for small business. Do you find it unique to other places you have familiarity with? If so, how?

A My gut reaction is that

Toronto is a great place for business and entrepreneurs. Toronto is a great city because of its multiculturalism, to be honest. The advantage we get from being in Toronto is that we grow up exposed and interacting with the world, because the world is here. Many parts of the world are very homogeneous and only have people there from that particular country. I think that our diversity gives us a built-in advantage in terms of dealing with the world and in international business. In Japan, for example, there are mostly Japanese people and if you grow up in Japan and you move to somewhere else to do business there might be a bit more culture shock. Being in Toronto made it easier to expand our business internationally. Now, two-thirds of our business is not done in Canada. A third is in Europe and a lot in Asia and in the United States. I think that Canada’s and Toronto’s diversity definitely have helped me to grow.

‘The advantage we get from being in Toronto is that we grow up exposed and interacting with the world, because the world is here.’

Q When a business begins

to really take off, like yours has, what are the key principles to maintaining that growth?

A When you are growing

like that there are a number of things you need to really pay attention to. You need to be able to execute and doing that is operational. You need to make sure you don’t get caught up in the excitement and make sure that you have the infra-


14 - TORONTO BUSINESS TIMES - September 2012

Bu s i n e s s A g e n da Wednesday. Sept. 5 n Solar Drinks: Ontario’s Renewable Energy Mixer hosted by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association and CanSIA at The Office Pub, 117 John St., 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is $20 for members, $25 for non-members. Visit www.ontario-sea.org

Sept. 6 and 7 n Solar Summit and eXpo (SSX) will assist Ontario-based companies to develop opportunities in the province and internationally. At the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W. Visit www.ssx2012.com/ for details.

Friday, Sept. 7 n How to Start a Food Business, a free workshop organized by City of Toronto Economic Development Division in Partnership with Enterprise Toronto. Learn how to develop your business plan and make sure your financing is in place; how to brand your identity, develop your products, and utilize other websites to source information. Takes place 9:30 a.m. to noon at North York Civic Centre, Council Chambers, 5100 Yonge St. For details contact Michael Wolfson at 416-392-3830 or mwolfso@toronto.ca. Registration required at www.eventbrite.com/ event/2349260702 n Economic Forecast Panel: Join Canada’s top economic forecasters as they discuss the outlook for business in Ontario and Canada. Learn which global issues could impact business strategies in the year ahead and how they will affect Canadian businesses; understand the growth opportunities for Ontar-

io’s businesses in today’s economic climate. At the Toronto Board of Trade Downtown Centre, 77 Adelaide St. W., fourth floor ballroom, 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Cost is $79 for TBOT members, $99 for non-members. Register at bot. com/events or 416-862-4500. n Effective Business Communication, an Enterprise Toronto workshop to give you the strategies to communicate in a concise, compelling and engaging manner. Develop your communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal and strengthen your ability to connect with current and potential clients. Free; 10 to 11:30 a.m. at North York Civic Centre, Committee Room 3, 5100 Yonge St. Call 416-395-7416 or email enterprisetoronto@toronto.ca. Register online at www.enterprisetoronto.com

Tuesday, Sept. 11 n Greening Your Business: Good for the Environment, Good for Your Profit, 7 to 8 p.m. at Barbara Frum Library, Room B, third floor, 20 Covington Rd. Learn the first steps in achieving environmental sustainability in your operational activities using the Lean and Green process. This presentation will be delivered by Brett Wills from Green Enterprise Movement. Register at 416395-5440.

Sept. 11 and 12 n Retail Loss Prevention Conference at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd. Hosted by the Retail Council of Canada. Call 888-373-8425 or email events@ retailcouncil.org for more details.

WednesDay, Sept. 12 n Green Enterprise

Toronto GETSmart Speaker Series, 8 p.m. at the Centre for Social Innovation, 215 Spadina Ave. The featured speaker is Gina Conte, president of Nature Clean, a green idea that became a business success story; followed by networking. Cost is $12, students free. RSVP to getoronto@bell.net

open data movement, part of the Toronto Board of Trade’s Distinguished Speaker Series, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at One King West Hotel and Residence, Grand Banking Hall, 1 King St. W. Tickets are $69 for TBOT members, $89 for nonmembers. Register at http://bot. com/events or call 416-862-4500.

Thursday, Sept. 13

Sept. 24 and 25

n Retail job fair hosted by the Retail Council of Canada in partnership with the City of Toronto - Youth Employment Partnerships. For RCC members in advance of the holiday season to fulfill seasonal, part-time and full-time recruitment needs. Geared to HR recruitment personnel, store managers and business owners; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., second floor. Registration is free; Visit www.retailcouncil.org/events/jobfair/default.asp for a registration form.

n HR Summit 2012: Engagement Strategies for Uncertain Times, at The Old Mill Inn, 21 Old Mill Rd. Visit www.conferenceboard. ca/conf/12-0027/default.aspx for details.

Tuesday, Sept. 18 n Business Inc. Orientation Session, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Cedarbrae Library, 545 Markham Rd. Attend to find out more about the nine-week business program offered at Toronto Public Library in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Business Development Centre. For details about Business Inc. visit www. torontopubliclibrary.ca/programsand-classes/featured/business-incseries.jsp

Thursday, Sept. 20 n Open Data, Big Data but NOT Personal Data: join Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian, and other leading experts in the field, as they discuss the global

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Wednesday, Sept. 26 n Customer Retention Strategies, a seminar presented by Enterprise Toronto, hosted by Judy Farrant, of Farrant Service Solutions. Learn strategies you will be able use in order to retain current customers, increase customer numbers thus achieving financial success through repeat business. Free; from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 4, 100 Queen St. W. Call 416-395-7416 or email enterprisetoronto@toronto. ca. Register online at www.enterprisetoronto.com

Wednesday, Oct. 3 n Enriching Your Work in Culture, offered at Parkdale Library auditorium, 1303 Queen St. W., over four weeks: Oct. 3, 10, 17 and 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. WorkInCulture leads this series that demystifies the language of business for creative professionals from any discipline. This course is designed and delivered in collaboration with cultural insiders who will share tips and exercises to help you create a thriving,

Oct. 20 and 21

life-long career. Space is limited; registration starts Aug. 13. Call 416-393-7686.

Oct. 15 to 17 n Canadian Convention Deal Making and Trade Exposition, hosted by the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W. Visit www.icsc.org/apps/meeting_list. php to download a brochure and to register.

Tuesday, Oct. 16 n Enterprise Toronto Small Business Forum, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W. Keynote speaker is Dani Reiss of Canada Goose. For general information contact Angie Bellanza at abellanz@toronto.ca or 416-3385985. For sponsorship/exhibitor questions contact Jason Li at jli@ toronto.ca or 416-395-7499.

Thursday, Oct. 18 n Canadian discussion on corporate social responsibility: a webinar taking a national look at the impact, challenges and opportunities, 1 to 2 p.m., hosted by Canadian Business for Social Responsibility. Free to CBSR members, $75 for non members. Visit www.cbsr.ca for details and to register.

n The Franchise Show: discover franchise investments that could be your answer to business ownership success; attend free information seminars; speak with leading industry experts; meet with accomplished franchise systems in Canada. The show is hosted by the Canadian Franchise Association and runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. One-day pass is $10, weekend pass is $15, at the Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Rd. Call 1-800665-4232, ext. 242, email events@ cfa.ca or visit www.thefranchiseshow.ca

Oct. 30 and 31 n The Conference Board of Canada Summit on Sustainable Health and Health Care aims to bring together a broad range of stakeholders to discuss the major challenges facing Canada’s health care system; at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel, 525 Bay St. Visit www.conferenceboard.ca for details and to register.

submit an event n Submissions to the Business Agenda can be emailed to tbt@insidetoronto.com. The deadline for the October edition is Friday, Sept. 14.

n 47th annual SIOR fall seminar, noon to 7:30 p.m. at Corus Quay. This year’s topic is Ontario Strong: riding the Growth Wave. SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Retailers) is a leading professional commercial and industrial real estate association. Visit http://siorcanada.com/

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TBT September 2012