Business Challenges In The Great White North
By: Tina Samuels
Canada has long been open to new small businesses.
It is one of the best places in the world to open a new business. Much of the country's GDP comes from small business, the bulk of exports also comes from small business.
So what type of challenges can a business owner expect to face in Canada?
Major strides have been made in the eco-conscious environment of the 21st Century. People care about where their products come from, how the products are made, and if the products can last for a long time.
Viability isn't the only concern for Canadian businesses – sustainability is the major concern for now and the future. If a company can't sustain business practice in a manner that helps preserve the environment, they most likely will not survive.
Current economic conditions are best for businesses that can do more with less.
Disposable items aren't nearly as popular these days, nor are chemical laden products. The less chemicals present in a product, the better reception is in the market. People want durable, simple goods created with fair trade practices. When a small business can meet these demands, they are overcoming a huge challenge in today's market.
Read related content:
- Five Reasons to Open a Business in Canada
- Kindle Fire Available In Canada
- Canadian Retailers Forced To Compete With The US
Another challenge to businesses in Canada is the cross border trade systems.
The complexity of associated paperwork and different requirements for such trade can cause some business owners to avoid cross-border trade. The Canadian government has a number of regulations concerning cross-border trade, as does the United States.
To help cut down on the amount of red tape you can make sure that all of the information for a product or service is stated clearly on all packaging or service manuals.
Have all information in a place where customers can find it (i.e.- website), have all of your company's contact information in an easy to find place, and even create a website where all cross-border trade is conducted.
The Canada Border Service and U.S Customs and Border Protection has information that can help these border businesses work smoothly.
Due to a growing global trade, crossing the border to buy items shouldn't be out of the question. Moving forward into a global economy, working with governmental border agencies may become less stringent. There will always be regulations, as some countries or provinces will have items that cannot be legally imported or exported
For example - some states in the U.S. do not allow postal delivery of alcohol from other states or countries to individuals. Such regulations exist from state to state and can be found by checking regulations online or through border services.
Challenges faced by business in Canada are different from those in the US, but can be similar.
It is easier to start a small business in the Great White North, as people seem to embrace individuality. However, due to the different culture reaching across the border can be a challenge. Expectations of each country are different.
As small business evolves to comprise more of Canada's economy, it is likely that the challenges will evolve as well.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes news articles on the web about social media, small business, and marketing.
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.