Best Businesses to Open in Canada Now
By: Angie Mansfield
One of the most entrepreneur-friendly countries in the world, Canada ranked number five in 2012 in terms of share of high-growth firms.
With much of Canada's manufacturing operations being sent offshore for lower labor costs, the economy is becoming more and more knowledge-based. Online businesses and others where you can keep your overhead low while scaling both locally and globally continue to be the best bet for new business owners.
Where should new business owners look to when wanting a piece of the pie in the Great White North?
Best Sectors for Top Cities
Different sectors have better results in different parts of Canada. Here are a few good choices for different cities/markets:
* Calgary: Dining and retail are big in Alberta, making a restaurant a good choice for a startup. Other areas to consider include financial services and oil/gas consulting;
* Montreal: Government stimulus for infrastructure makes construction and infrastructure maintenance excellent new business choices. Other industries to consider include transportation, retail, and wholesale trade;
* Ottawa: A large government community makes Ottawa a stable place to start your business. The city also has a diverse economy and solid workforce, making it even more business-friendly. Tourism, retail, and any business providing products and/or services to the government are all solid choices here;
* Toronto: Home to more business headquarters than any other Canadian city, Toronto is another excellent choice for a new business. Legal firms, construction and home building, and financial services should all do well in this city.
Choosing Your Business
While the lists above give you a general idea of what sectors will do well in different areas, choosing the specific business you want to start takes a little more planning.
Start by taking an inventory of your passions, talents, and expertise. These different traits will help guide you to the right business for you.
A product or service you're truly passionate about will make it easier for you to stay with for the long term.
You may also have an easier time selling something you truly believe in. On the other hand, your work experience and expertise may make another business more suitable for you.
You also need to conduct in-depth market research in order to ensure you'll have customers for your new business. Assess things like demographics in the area you want to start your business, competing businesses and how they're doing, and industry trends that might affect your ability to succeed.
Once you've chosen your location, industry, and specific business focus, it's time to find funding to get your small business off the ground.
For some small businesses, such as sole proprietor consulting services, you may not need much in the way of funding, and your overhead may be low.
If you're starting a business that requires startup capital, you'll need to do a little more research into your choices. A great place to start is Service Canada's page on starting a business.
Canada has a welcoming atmosphere for businesses, including entrepreneurs.
With a little legwork and research, you can choose a successful focus for your new company.
About the Author: Angie Mansfield is a freelance blogger and copywriter covering a range of topics for small business owners and consumers, including doctor reviews.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.