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Is your business prepared for the minimum wage increase?

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Effective April 1, 2018 the minimum wage will increase from $12.50 per hour to $13.46 per hour in the NWT.

Preparing for a minimum wage increase, big or small, is a difficult position for any business to be in, let alone a small business who already operates on thin margins. To prepare your business for this change, we have laid out some simple strategies that might help your business stand up to any negative impacts a minimum wage increase might have on your bottom line.

Update your business plan and review spending
  • Take a look at your business plan, or, create one if you’ve never done so. See and understand what a minimum wage hike might mean to your small businesses financial realities.
  • Now that you’ve taken the time to reintroduce yourself to your business plan, start problem-solving and make a list of how you might deal with these new realities.
  • Consider the following:
    • Can you increase prices to offset the impact of a minimum wage increase?
    • Are you spending money monthly on things that can be reduced or eliminated?
    • Can you cut warehousing costs, or inventory costs?
    • Look closely at your staffing levels to pin point inefficiencies. Can you automate a process? Trim certain lengths of shifts?
    • Look into technologies that can help manage time. Can you monitor hours more closely?  
    • Can you cut waste from your salary expenditures?
Look for ways to increase productivity

Make sure employees are making the most of their time - consider the following:

  • Review processes, and look for ways to streamline operations
  • Remove inefficiencies from employee’s workflow
  • Create daily schedules of responsibilities to keep employees busy 
Work to increase sales and revenue

Boosting sales is the best way to compensate for added expenses… If it were easy, we’d all be doing it. Consider the following: 

  • Develop a marketing plan for your business either internally, or hiring a professional to help

  • Brainstorm strategies with your staff.

  • Incorporating benefits for first-time clients, create a loyalty program, or consider making an innovative partnership.
  • Use social media marketing to generate new exposure.
  • Reorganize your brick-and-mortar store.
  • Feature big-ticket/high-margin items.
Engage and empower your employees

With wages increasing, it is important to be upfront with staff about the financial pressures you’ll face. Consider the following:

  • As your employees are receiving a pay raise, ask for input on ways they can contribute more for higher compensation. You might be surprised by hidden talents and skills some of your employees possess.
  • See what departments can improve the most by initiating a friendly internal competition/challenge. 
  • Continually try to engage your employees. Often, when employees feel included in the overall goals of your business, they will feel empowered and willing to embrace challenges ahead. This also often leads to less turnover which reduces costs associated with hiring new employees.
Investigate resources that might help alleviate the transition 
  • The Canada Business Network is a wonderful resource from the Federal Government that gives you information on all of the government grants, subsidies, and credits available to you. If you follow each link and enter your region on the left, you will find all funding sources available to you.

Although there is no one concrete way to flourish after a minimum wage hike, hopefully some of these strategies will help you prepare yourself for upcoming changes. As always, CFIB will continue to advocate for fairness - we will never give up and we will never go away.

If you would like to share with us what a minimum wage hike will mean for your business, please email us at [email protected]. Your comments help us advocate for what is most meaningful to you and your local business community. If you have questions about the forthcoming minimum wage hike, please contact 1-888-234-2323 or [email protected].  A business councilor can provide advice, guidance, and answers to your minimum wage questions within a 24-48 hour window.