Category Archives: Strategy

Anything that has to do with strategic planning, vision development, forward thinking, risk management, and business planning.

COVID-19 Creativity!

The COVID-19 pandemic quickly derailed 2020 for a whole lot of folks. For business owners, staying afloat while people are staying at home is a primary concern, reflected by a downturn in the economy and a rising unemployment rate. For a small business, the key to surviving a crisis like a pandemic is an ability to pivot from its current offering to one that’s easily provided and highly desired given the circumstances.

COVID-19 graph on blue background with bulb and question mark
Covid -19 graph on blue background with bulb and question mark

We’re seeing examples of this everywhere right now. Businesses are resilient in light of the challenges COVID-19 creates, finding creative opportunities to not just survive, but thrive. In our “COVID-19 Creativity! How to Pivot Your Business” we’ll discuss:

  1. Government programs – Which ones are available to you? Which make the most sense to pursue?
  2. Cash flow – How can you make sure that you stay afloat?
  3. Getting online – Will “going digital” open new markets for you?
  4. Virtual services – Can you provide your product or service online while you can’t offer it face-to-face, or add products or services that are available exclusively online?
  5. Manufacturing Pivot – Can you pivot to manufacture products that are in high demand during the pandemic?
  6. New supply chains – Can you create new supply chains to get products to customers?
  7. Customer loyalty – How can you use your time to strengthen relationships with your customers?

Government Programs

Most governments have infused money into the system during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist struggling businesses. Assistance includes:

  1. Wage subsidies – Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Summer Jobs
  2. Rent support – Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
  3. Loan programs – Business Credit Availability Program, Canada Emergency Business Account, BDC Co-Lending Program
  4. Export support – Grants

Speak to a representative at your financial institution to see if your business fits the criteria for any of these programs!

COVID-19 Cash Flow

Cash is still king! You must have enough money left in the bank account to cover expenses each month, even if your storefront is closed to flatten the curve. Here’s how some businesses do it:

  1. Gift cards – $25 is $25, whether you’ve sold someone a meal or a gift card for a meal. The restaurant doesn’t need to be serving food in order for you to sell a gift card for a meal, though. The gift card’s allure of giving people money to spend (so to speak) in your restaurant when lockdown is over may keep revenue coming in while lockdown is on.
  2. Memberships – Use your creativity to keep your membership program going while you can’t offer the services you regularly do. Maybe the members at your gym get online classes while they can’t access the physical gym, or their money refunded at a later date for every day that the gym was unavailable to them. What matters is that the cash you get from memberships remains available to you now, when you need it.
  3. Reduced Operations – Sometimes consolidating operations saves time/money in the long run and lets you plan better. There’s a good example of this involving an irrigation company in the webinar. As a social media manager, I like to schedule as much posting as I can in advance so that I have to spend a minimal amount of time on it each week.
  4. Getting Online – Plenty of businesses have shops on their websites filled with their products, but you don’t even have to get that specialized if you don’t want to – Etsy, Yahoo, and Amazon are all existing online markets where you can sell products. However, some companies that already have an ecommerce presence chose to use it to meet a need created by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, GoJava.ca opened a website to take grocery delivery orders in addition to their primary service of helping offices operate in an environmentally conscious manner.

Virtual Services

Speaking of getting online, some businesses pivoted during COVID-19 from offering face-to-face services to offering services online through video-teleconferencing once lockdown began.

  1. Mental Health – Counselling services delivered online help people to deal with the mental health stressors that come with the lockdown situation
  2. Exercise – Classes and/or personal training delivered via Zoom let people work out at home and gyms continue to collect money from memberships.
  3. Education – What can you teach over Zoom? Art classes? Writing seminars? Computer skills? Quilting or sewing? Depending on the popularity of your classes, perhaps you won’t even have to charge that much to make them profitable!

Consider what services you already offer and how you can adapt them to offer them online – the work could be minimal for significant reward!

Manufacturing to Meet COVID-19 Demands

If you’re in the business of making things, consider whether you’re equipped to pivot at this time to make vital supplies for dealing with the pandemic that are currently in short supply.

  1. Masks – More and more, people want masks to wear when they’re out in the community, and retailers can’t keep up with the demand. We need to be sure that masks are available for them, so that they’re not buying up the more specialized masks required by front-line workers who put themselves at risk all day, every day. Businesses that work with fabric materials for which demand has dropped have pivoted to making and selling cloth masks.
  2. Disinfectant – Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and cleaners (household and industrial) are very difficult to find right now because people have been hoarding them. Some companies that specialize in handling and mixing chemical have pivoted to making hand sanitizer, to help out with the need.
  3. Other PPE – The World Health Organization has said that the global stockpile of PPE, or personal protective equipment, is deficient – there are not enough gloves, gowns, and N95 respirators to protect front line medical staff treating COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

Is it feasible for your business to do a manufacturing pivot at this time? What can you provide? If you’re a Canadian business, let the government know that you can help.

New Supply Chains for COVID-19 Times

Being in lockdown sometimes makes it difficult to get what you need, whether you’d like a bottle of wine or some beer after a hard day of Zoom meetings or you’re out of something that you need for the evening meal or you shouldn’t be in grocery stores because you’d be a high-risk case if you got infected with COVID-19.

Can your business create new supply chains that make products easier for people to get?

Examples:

  1. Wine and beer delivery from Toronto restaurants to customers became available through third-party company soon after the pandemic began, making it unnecessary for people to have to leave the house to buy alcohol.
  2. Pop-up grocery trucks that visit food deserts and communities low access to food help people meet their nutrition needs while keeping them out of the grocery stores.
  3. While libraries are closed in Ontario due to the pandemic, food banks have been using the buildings to store donations.

What else might people need during the pandemic to which they might not want to dedicate a trip to the store? Is there a way that you can create a new, safer supply chain for them?

Customer Communications

Customer loyalty can see your business safely through a crisis. Stay in touch with your customers and let them know what you’re doing to ensure their safety during this time.

In general, after any sort of social crisis, focus on the following in your communication strategy:

  1. Connection – Touch base with your customers as soon as possible and reassure them that you’re there. You cannot over-communicate at this point.
  2. Safety Updates – Tell people the measures you’re taking to preserve their safety and give them clear instructions about any measures regarding your products or services that they must take. Depending on your business and what products and/or services you offer, you may be required to offer information in multiple formats. Consult the accessibility laws for your province or country for more information.
  3. Loyalty – Think about how you might build loyalty even if you can’t offer your customers all the services during lockdown that you can face-to-face. How can you demonstrate to them that you’re thinking of them and the challenges that the pandemic creates for them, that might set you apart from other businesses in your community offering the services that you do? Customers remember companies that treat them as more than numbers and are more likely to become and stay return customers.

Steer into the COVID-19 Skid

When Sarah took Driver’s Education, many years ago, she learned that the best way to get out of a skid on a slippery road is not to slam on the brakes, as people reflexively do.

To increase your chances of getting out of the skid safely, you must keep steady pressure on the gas and steer in the direction that the skid. If you slam on the brakes, you’ll lock them, and lose control of the vehicle.

Ask yourself how your business can steer into the skid of COVID-19 – pivoting your business to take advantage of potential opportunities it creates – to increase your chances of safely getting out of it. Don’t slam on the brakes and lose control of the direction in which the pandemic takes you!

If you enjoyed the COVID Creativity Webinar watch our other webinars on our YouTube Channel!

Strategic Planning, Small Business Planner-Style!

We’re six weeks into 2020 and everyone is doing strategic planning for their small business! Which is a great thing…because, as we all known, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail…but as we were preparing to do this year’s strategic planning for Small Business Solver, we noticed that there were no good resources or tools out there to help small business owners through this process.

White 3D figure with a black necktie examines the word "Plan" in large, red, 3D block letters with a magnifying glass. Keyword: strategic planning
Time for Strategic Planning!

So we created a strategic planning process of our own! We used it to do our own planning, and have since used it with 50 small businesses, non-profits, and large associations! We’ve been so excited by the results that we’ve made it a training module on the Small Business Solver Website! It was also the subject of a recent webinar:

In this webinar, you’ll learn about:

  1. The importance of defining your vision
  2. What makes an effective mission statement
  3. How to do a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Weaknesses) Analysis
  4. SMART goals
  5. Strategic Activities and getting them done with a Workplan

Defining Your Vision

Your vision tells you and the people involved with your business where your business is headed – it is your Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal! For strategic planning purposes, this goal is set for 5 years, although you’ll define goals for the 1, 3, and 5 year marks. Keep your mind open, because you’ll be setting Impossible Goals as well as Possible Goals! (As the webinar explains…)

An Effective Mission Statement

You’ll want to write a strong mission statement as part of your strategic planning. The webinar gives you a formula for writing a mission statement that is:

  1. Memorable
  2. Personal and inclusive
  3. A description of your daily activities
  4. Focused on your target market
  5. A description of the ideal result of your actions for your target market.

Your mission statement should motivate you and your staff!

Strategic Planning and SWOT!

A SWOT analysis forces you to take both internal and external inventory of factors that will affect the success of your business:

  1. Strengths – What do you have going for you?
  2. Weaknesses – What perceived gaps are holding you back?
  3. Opportunities – What are the possibilities or opportunities you can leverage
  4. Threats – What do you need to watch out for?

Your strategic planning will be much more effective when you have a clear idea of what you have to work with!

Strategic Planning Includes Strategic Goals

At this stage of strategic planning, you must define 3 – 5 critical areas for your business that are related to your Unique Selling Proposition. You’ll learn in the webinar that most small businesses list Revenue and Communications or Marketing as critical areas, and you’ll also see examples of other areas. Once you’ve defined your ctitical areas, you’ll write a strategic goal for each of them.

Your strategic plan really starts to take form once you’ve set these goals.

Strategic Activities and Workplan

You now need to list the activities required to make your strategic goals a reality create a workplan so that the work gets done! Ask yourself:

  1. What tasks need to be done so that the goals you’ve set are achieved?
  2. In what order should these tasks be done?
  3. Who is responsible for each task?
  4. What is the deadline for each task?

Keep your workplan and the strategic tasks in view so that they stay on the radar of everyone involved! See the webinar for some suggestions on how to do this.

Strategic Planning – Bottom Line!

Strategic planning lets you take a large amount of data about your business and the areas within it and reduce the overwhelm around what to do next. You’ll end the process with a manageable number of goal, a plan for getting them done, and (hopefully!) a commitment to repeat the process the next year!

Check out the webinar…and then check out our new Strategic Planning Training Module and get your strategic planning done for 2020! And be sure to let us know what you think (here, or on Facebook, or on Twitter, or by email at sarah@smallbusinesssolver.com)…because we love to hear from you!

Small Business Wisdom: What To Expect in Your First Year

What can you expect in your first year as a small business owner? After tracking our first year as a business and following thousands of others on the journey, we can tell you that you’ll go through several ways of looking at your business, or paradign shifts. Here are the main ones covered in our video of what to expect in your first year:

You’ll also hear about the milestones you can expect to reach in your first few years.

Weeks 1 – 4: The Fake Start

The Fake Start paradigm shift occurs when you first jump into the idea of starting your own business. Get ready to do some serious talking and planning! You’re putting your business together during this first month and making sure that everyone around you knows it.

Weeks 5 – 8: Small Business Realities

You’re making a paradigm shift to Small Business Realities thinking when you start to realize that small business is different than every other type of business. This four-week period is about testing things out and learning the rules of small business (“”Cash is King” and “Personal Brand is Small Business Brand”, for example.) You’ll concentrate on getting some cash into your business, assess how long you can wait for cash to start coming in, and determine what prices you’ll need to charge in the future to keep your business running.

Weeks 9 – 12: Getting to the 2nd Ring

In Week 8, at the tail end of the Small Business Realities paradigm shift, you may still be only selling to friends and family. That’s okay. But during Weeks 9 to 12 you need to make a third paradigm shift.

Getting to the 2nd Ring thinking forces you to consider how you can sell to strangers. You’ll need to:

  • Assess who you know outside of the circle of friends and family that could be potential customers.
  • Learn about networking
  • Get business cards so that you always have a way to quickly and conveniently give people your contact information. .

Weeks 13 -16: Unlearning (Relearning)

At Week 13, four months into your small business journey, the Unlearning (Relearning) paradigm shift begins. This is a time to go over your progress so far and tweak your plans and processes for the future to include what you’ve learned.

Maybe you need to do more definitive goal-setting. Maybe you need to examine your revenue streams and determine whether they’re all working optimally for you. Maybe your marketing plan needs some changes. Maybe you need to consider a potential referral partner who take on work that people who want you to do that’s not a service you offer.

This paradigm shift is about asking, “Is this real? Did what I try during the first 3 months work, or do I have to change things up?”

Weeks 17 – 21: Asking for Help with Your Small Business

In Month 5 you’re going to start adding people to your team, shifting your business paradigm from one where you work alone to one where Asking for Help is healthy and encouraged. Finding someone to talk to about your business (not family or a significant other – they’re sick of hearing about it by now), who can offer a second opinion about issues you face and help you keep your energy up, will keep you from waking up at night with business concerns stuck in your head. Mentors are ideal for this.

Weeks 22 – 25: Cash-O-La!

This month’s paradigm shift is around money. You will learn:

  • Why “cash is king”
  • Why reducing costs is important
  • How you may be able to benefit from bartering
  • How attention to all the things mentioned above raises your profit margin.

Still with us, business owner? Good! You’re doing great!

Weeks 26 – 28: Breath(ish)

You need to make the Breath(ish) paradigm shift now because at this point you’ve been going full-speed for six months! You need to slow down and make sure that you’re taking care of yourself as well as well as your business.

Put a self-care plan in place if you don’t have one, to avoid burn-out. Be sure that your plan is something that you can keep doing over the long-term.

Week 29 – 33: Think Bigger about Your Small Business!

As you shift your business paradigm to Think Bigger, you’re looking for an elephant. Not literally, of course, but an elephant of a new client that brings in a lot of money with consistency, or a current client to whom you can sell more services. You can look for elephants in a couple of ways:

  • Reconnect with contacts you made when you launched. Let them know that you’re still around, offering services and welcoming referrals.
  • Consider making your business your full-time job if you haven’t already. Give some thought as to how you’ll structure Accounts Receivable when the time comes to do so.

Can you think of any potential elephants right now?

Weeks 34 – 37: Graduate

As you start making the Graduate paradigm shift, you might feel to need to move on from your mentor – you’re having some success, you’re feeling confident, and you’d like to go at it alone. Take a couple of weeks to consider your decision, trying to stay humble and realistic as you evaluate where you are with your business and whether you can keep up the momentum on your own. At the end of Week 37, make the decision about whether to graduate from your mentor.

Weeks 38 – 41: Do Bigger for your Small Business

Now the business paradigm shifts to Do Bigger – you’ve thought about how you’d like to make your business grow, now what structure do you need to put in place to make it happen? As you make this paradigm shift, you’ll think about:

  • Action plans
  • Scalability and processes
  • Re-investment
  • Whether you need employees or partners

Guess what? You’re almost there..

Weeks 42 – 52: Sustain Your Small Business

In Sustain, the the last of the paradigm shifts for your first year, you’ll focus first on strengthening your business through its customer service and its branding, and then on you. You’ll ask yourself:

  • Is this making me happy?
  • Do I want to continue?

Hopefully you do! Congratulate yourself for making it through your first year…you did it!

View What to Expect When You Are Starting to learn about the Small Business Solver modules that are the most useful for small businesses in each paradigm shift. And view more of our webinars on our You Tube Channel!

Contact us at smallbusinesssolver@gmail.com if you have any questions…

Social Enterprise – Making Money While You Make A Difference!

Our “Make Money & Make a Difference” webinar is all about how you can do just that in your organization! Social enterprise is on the rise, and why not? It feels good to give back, and it’s a good business move to do so, as 60% of customers want to support companies with a sense of corporate social responsibility. How can you lose?

If you need more convincing, the webinar examines even more of the business advantages to operating as a social enterprise, including:

  1. Improved public perception
  2. Direct recognition for your efforts
  3. Increased sales
  4. More opportunities for partnerships
  5. Increased employee satisfaction
  6. Opportunities to team build
  7. Increased opportunities to network. Statistics show that almost all small business owners want to give back to their communities – over 99%!

What Social Enterprise Looks Like

There are many ways that companies can be social enterprises. Check out these businesses that are making a difference.

Hungry Heart Cafe – “Hungry Heart Café is much more than a great place for food. We help vulnerable adults access careers in the food service industry so that they can achieve independence and realize their dreams.”

Virgin Unite Foundation – “non-profit foundation…to unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world.”

Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie Week – “Your full $1 goes to over 500 charities and organizations in communities across Canada ”

Making a difference feels good. It can make things a little more complicated for a small business, yes. The webinar addresses these issues, and also talks about what goes into making a social idea a social enterprise:

  1. Starting with the problem to find the solution
  2. Validating your idea
  3. Marketing your idea
  4. Developing your team
  5. Determining your financing options

Does the idea of social innovation and social enterprise appeal to you? We’re here to help! Reach out to us at smallbusinesssolver@gmail.com and tell us how we can help.

Alternative Revenue Streams for Your Small Business

Why would you want to develop some alternative revenue streams for your small business? For lots of reasons! Diversification and customer retention, for a start – customers who have a wide range of sevices and products from which to choose are happy customers!

Alternative Revenue Streams: Things to Consider

You can’t provide everything, so choose your alterative revenue streams wisely. You need to consider:

  1. Your core competencies
  2. Adjacencies to those competencies
  3. Your existing customers
  4. New customers
  5. Standard types of alternative revenue streams

Core Competency

How to decide what your core competency is? This is your bread & butter! A core compentecy is your competitive advantage, what you are known for! You should be better at your core competency than everyone else is. It’s probably the reason why you went into business.

Logical Adjacencies

Logical adjancenies are potential alternative revenue streams that are strategically aligned to your core competency. They steer what you offer in a defined direction. Some different ways to pivot when you do adjacencies is if they are a new product or service for your existing customers or if you are doing the same product or service for a new target market. Both are a natural step in growing your alternative revenue streams strategically.

Existing Customers

Strategies to develop alternative revenue streams that focus on the existing customer include:

  1. Increasing the average sale from a customer
  2. Increasing the frequency with which customers use your business
  3. Offering something new that customers also need
  4. Developing more effective retention strategies.

Keeping a customer is worth even more (and is much less expensive) than finding a new one!

New Customers

Strategies to develop alternative revenue streams that focus on new customers include:

  1. Targeting new markets
  2. Testing new offerings

Standard Alternative Revenue Streams

Standard alternative revenue streams include:

  1. New products, services, intellectual property, programs
  2. Events
  3. Memberships
  4. Intermediaries
  5. Residual income
  6. Sharing economy
  7. Government contracts
  8. Crowdfunding

Learn More About Alternative Revenue Streams

When it comes to alternative streams, the limit is really only the resources that you have available to implement them and oversee them. The general rule is that, regardless of how many revenue streams you have, 20% of your revenue streams should be producing 80% of your income, so focus on that 20%…but make them what you want! You can do one or more of them, blend them…have fun!

Watch the video to hear more about all of this.

Was this useful? Watch more webinars on our YouTube channel!

Small Business Sales: How to Start Selling NOW!

Get a pen and pencil and take notes, because here’s the thing about small business sales: the quicker you start selling, the quicker you start making money!

Small Business Sales: Getting the Ball Rolling

Despite what you may have heard, you don’t need to wait for a website/business card/brocures/inventory/insert reason here to start selling. In fact, it’s in your best interest of your small business to start selling as soon as possible! In this webinar you’ll learn:

  1. Why the length of the average sales cycle means that you need that you need to start selling as soon as possible after opening your business.
  2. Why the reasons people give for why we they’re not selling aren’t usually the real reasons
  3. Why it’s a good thing to “fail fast”. Seriously!
  4. How you can quickly and cheaply create a web presence while you’re waiting for your website to be ready
  5. How to create your first batch of business cards/brochures, and why they don’t have to be perfect
  6. Why you don’t need inventory, or even a prototype, before you start selling
  7. How to quickly draft a serviceable client contract
  8. How to choose a business name and how long you should give yourself to do it
  9. Why your business doesn’t need to be a corporation before you start selling
  10. Why you need to talk about your business with other people – lots of other people!

Anything on that list in an action step that could get small business sales rolling within 2 weeks. What are you waiting for?

So, which step are you going to take for your business this week? Let us know in the video comments, on Twitter or Facebook, or email us at smallbusinesssolver@gmail.com. Don’t forget to come back and tell us how it goes!

Was this useful? View more of our webinars on our YouTube channel!

Writing a Business Plan to Get What You Want!

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That’s why why writing a business plan is the best first step you can take toward making your dream of owning a successful small business a reality.

In this recording of our “Writing a Business Plan to Get What You Want!” you’ll webinar, you’ll learn about what you need to think about as you draft a business plan, including the sections you must include.

Decide For Whom You are Writing a Business Plan

Your plan will look very different depending on who will be reading it. Potential readers might include:

  1. Yourself
  2. A bank
  3. Potential investors
  4. Potential partners

If you’re writing a business plan for yourself, you’ll include different information than you will for anyone else. Similarly, a bank may want different information than a potential partner.

Write the Business Overview

The Business Overview is the section to include the following things:

  1. A description of The Opportunity
  2. A summary of why what you offer is a solution
  3. A desciption of your target market
  4. The unique aspect of your business that gives you a competitive advantage over other businesses in your niche
  5. A brief summary of how you plan to keep that advantage

The Business Overview paints a picture of your business at a point in time.

Write the Vision Section

In the Vision Section, paint a picture of how you see your business in the future. Include details about:

  1. Where you see your company in 3 – 5 years
  2. Your ultimate goal for your business
  3. A description of your exit strategy

The reader will appreciate that you have thought about the future.

Write the Marketing Research Section

Drafting this section is a very important part of writing a business plan. Consider including:

  1. Descriptions of the industry trends, consumer trends, and wider general trends (government, economic, technology) that may impact your products;
  2. Your business’ main competitors and their potential impact.

It’s worth taking time to do any necessary research to write this part of your plan.

Write the Sales Projections Section

The webinar recording goes into how to calculate the sales projections that you should include when writing a business a plan.

Write the Management Team Section

In this section, describe why you, as the owner, are the best person to launch your business, given your support team and contacts.

Write the Marketing and Sales Strategy

Discuss your plan to get the word out about products given factors such as:

  1. Price
  2. Location
  3. Size of area to be covered
  4. Marketing budget
  5. Projected sales

If you need help with this part of writing a business plan our Marketing Solver tool can get you started #ShamelessPersonalPlug

Write the Operations Section

The Operations section is a discussion of issues like processes and delivery. You might want to include details about:

  1. How you’ll track processes to ensure completion
  2. Who handles human resources issues like hiring, scheduling, etc.
  3. The processes in place to handle human resource issues

Nailing down processes is dry work, but necessary. Take the time to protect your employees and yourself and get them in place.

Write the Action Steps Section

Discuss the company’s goals. Break them down into three levels:

  1. Today’s Goals
  2. Short Term Goals
  3. Long Term Goals

Again, this shows that you’ve given thought to your company’s position at the moment and to the direction in which you’d like it to go.

Write the Financial Projections Section

Use this section to demonstrate that the business is financially viable and sustainable over the long-term.

The Last Part of Writing a Business Plan: The Executive Summary

Yes, you write this section last…but it’s the first thing reader sees! Make it compelling! It should make the reader want to keep reading. Are you ready to start writing a business plan?

Was this useful? Watch more of our webinars on our YouTube Channel!

Small Business Solver is Better Than Ever!

The Small Business Solver logo - A cartoon man in business attire stands smiling against a blue sky with a cloud in it. "Small Business Solver" in black and "www.SmallBusinessSolver.com" are centred in grey on a white text box next to him.

Small Business Solver has done a relaunch! We’ve worked hard on our website and modules and made some changes to what we offer, and we’re very happy with what we’ve come up with:

  1. 100 new training videos and 105 coaching guides
  2. PowerPoint slides for business centers and incubators
  3. A pay-what-you-can option for business owners and a low-cost plan for coaches that wish to use our materials in their trainings
  4. A new staff member, Sarah Levis, to help with marketing and to respond quickly and efficiently to customer concerns.
  5. A monthly email newsletter to keep all our contacts up to date on company activities
  6. A bi-weekly educational webinar series designed to educate entrepreneurs on a variety of issues affecting today’s small business owner.

We’re very excited about all these things, but in today’s post we want to draw your attention to our live webinar series, which debuted on March 28, 2019. Small Business Solver co-founder and CEO Carla Langhorst did a presentation called “Make It Fly!” where she talked about how to evaluate whether your business idea is a good one, using Small Business Solver’s Make It Fly Idea Tester.

You’ll learn about:

  1. How to test business ideas (and why we don’t, even though we should!)
  2. Questions to ask to determine your idea’s viability as a business
  3. Determining your breakeven numbers
  4. More good questions to ask and things to consider

The live webinar series will run bi-weekly, each one covering a different topic. You can get the schedule for each month, including topics, in our monthly Newsletter. Please do sign up for the webinars, attend, and let us know what you think of them! We would love to hear your feedback.

We post Recordings of all of our webinars to our YouTube channel. Check them out and let us know which one is your favourite.

See you soon!

Strategic Partnerships and How to Build Them!

strategic partnerships

Strategic partnerships are critical to any small business’ success. Whether your small business is for profit or non-profit, developing solid partnerships is a good use of time and resources.

Watch our Building Strategic Partnerships webinar to learn:

  1. Whether you need to build a partnership
  2. How to determine who of your potential partners are the best to approach about joining forces
  3. How to determine when you are ready to form the partnership
  4. The secrets to maintaining a healthy partnership.

You’re best served by slowly walking through the above stages, paying special attention to the last one.  Keeping your strategic partnership healthy and happy is very important!

When Do You Need to Build a Strategic Partnership?

Consider partnering with someone else when:

  1. They can provide a service or product that is an adjacency to those that you provide
  2. The partnership reduces your risk
  3. Their service or product could add customer value to your offering
  4. Partnering up could help you (and them, ideally!) grow at a faster rate. 

Do you see how partnering with someone could be the best thing for your small business?

What Makes a Good Partner?

Evaluate your potential partners carefully, as you’re trusting them with your precious business! A good partner should:

  1. Need you as much as you need them!
  2. Have leaders that get along with you, and a similar business structure
  3. Have a similar corporate structure
  4. Leave you with a good “gut feel”.

After you meet with a potential partner, ask yourself whether you could, with the right assurances in place, trust them with your vital business information and whether you have confidence in their ability to do what they say they will. You should have both trust and confidence to proceed.

Maintaining Healthy Strategic Partnerships 

Nuture your partnerships to keep them healthy and of maximum benefit to all parties involved by:

  1. Doing planning sessions with your partners at least quarterly
  2. Blending your tools, processes, and technology when possible
  3. Communicating regularly
  4. Determining how all parties involved enjoy the benefits and assume the costs involved in partnering.

Partnerships have perks, so keep them healthy! Email Carla at carla@smallbusinesssolver.com or Sarah at sarah@smallbusinesssolver.com with your comments or questions. 

Did you enjoy this webinar? Check out the others on our YouTube channel!

 

 

 

Succession Planning for Small Business

Succession planning is all about planning your exit strategy and maximizing the value that the small business owner receives for their effort (which often amounts to years and decades of work).

It also protects the small business owner, family, and the business from any risk.

Learn the process and your options in 20 minutes!

Contact the Expert
Mike Hook
mike@intrepidlaw.ca