Since I’ll be flexing my FX industry expertise during CFIB’s free webinar, Currency Basics for Importers/Exporters, I wanted to take this guest blog opportunity to share some alternate advice for small business owners, drawing from my own experience of opening an EncoreFX branch in Mississauga as well as through learning from some of the best business owners in the GTA, who I work with closely on a daily basis.
1. Hiring for attitude
Starting a new business means a lot of work will need to be done from scratch. Are you hiring people from large, established companies with impressive resumes who just want to coast? Or are you hiring people interested in rolling up their sleeves, who aren’t afraid of menial work in the name of the bigger picture?
If it’s not clear, pick the latter. They’re the ones that will stick with you when the going gets tough, and they’ll celebrate with you on even the smallest victories. Hire well rounded people, and make sure you train and take care of them. The strength of an organization is in the strength of its people.
2. Time management and delegation
As a CEO, should you really be the one on your team who orders office supplies from Staples? What is your time worth and where is it best spent to add value to your customers? If you are solopreneur, you might want to consider doing tasks which don’t add value outside of your most useful hours.
For independent businesses with a small staff base: delegate tasks to others in your organization or consider outsourcing? Do what you do WELL, and let others handle the things you don’t. Don’t worry about playing your cards so close to your chest; companies you outsource to only succeed if you do!
3. Have a plan
Yes, things never go as planned. Yes, life gets in the way. Yes, it’s difficult to foresee pitfalls. But without a plan, how will you know what you should be working on today? This week? This month? Next year? Will you figure it out as you go? How will you judge performance? How will you change course in moments of adversity?
Set goals which are tangible yet flexible, and make sure that everything you do is filtered through these goals. For example, during our webinar on November 30th we will show you how to make a plan for even the most unpredictable environment – specifically, how to introduce certainty regardless of currency risks which are outside your control.
4. Attend industry events
Are you keeping up with the changes in your industry? How? Through a quick Google search or scroll through Twitter? The internet is curated by advertisers… How can you be sure you’re getting the most cutting edge information? The internet is not the best place to make solid connections or meet new partners for business. Keep your mind open and yourself sane by attending events and education sessions with likeminded people; the benefits of doing so are endless.
5. Listen to your customers
If your supplier says, “It can’t be done”, will you just relay that to the customer or will you make things happen? Who is more important to your business? Listen to feedback from your customers, and remember who you got into business to help in the first place. Your customers are your lifeline; without them, there is no you.
6. Location, location, location!
Among other things, this will ensure you attract the right talent/employees for your business. Is your location accessible? How’s the commute? Is it accessible via public transit? Are you around other industry players? How are the amenities around you? Opening an FX branch in Mississauga has definitely revealed some new considerations…