I’m excited to take on my new role and help small and mid-sized companies apply two success factors that are critical to growth.
I know I have some big shoes to fill in my new role as the Regional Vice-President of EDC’s Small Business Solutions Team and I’m certainly not talking about shoe size. When it comes to “small business,” the name does not mean the challenges you face are small or simple either. You need to rely on skills like knowledge, ingenuity, persuasion and persistence to innovate, adapt and grow.
These skills are not so different from the traits that help people grow in their careers or life. I tend to see these parallels because I come from a human resources management background – helping people develop their talents to promote both career and corporate growth.
And one key success factor – whether for individuals or small businesses — is daring to go beyond your comfort zone, by stretching a little higher and farther than you think you can reach.
I’m extremely excited to have the chance to help small business entrepreneurs apply this stretch-factor. I want to explore ways to help small businesses boost their potential to grow beyond the confining domestic or U.S. market, into the limitless global marketplace.
This column is just one of many avenues where I will share with you some of the vast trade know-how and tools we have here at EDC – whether to help you identify the most promising foreign markets, figure out how to overcome financial risks, or find out the latest trends impacting your business.
And that brings me to a second crucial success factor for helping small businesses grow – picking the brains of others and partnering for more clout. Again, my HR background has taught me the immeasurable value of development and collaboration.
Of course, entrepreneurs are a busy and independent lot, so there are challenges in seeking help. But we can all benefit from the ideas and services of others – it lets us concentrate on what we do best and rely on specialists in other areas to fill the gaps — including financial services that can protect your assets and or get you additional working capital.
In fact, time and again small businesses tell us they have three main needs to grow internationally, namely: information, networking and financing. How about that – EDC can help you with all three!
So let me come back to the concept of being “small.” I believe it’s in the DNA of small business to increase its size, whether in sales, profits or reputation — it’s the result every business strives to achieve. That’s where exports are proven to help. And the opposite is true too. Companies that simply stand still ultimately collapse – only half of Canada’s new businesses survive for five years.
And less than two per cent of Canada’s small firms export. Even fewer invest abroad. But, frankly, a lot more will need to do so in order to survive. The globalized economy, long-term slowdown in mature markets and our high loonie are already making that a reality for more companies.
Canadians are great at getting small business off the ground. Now we have to take it around the globe. I invite you to reach out to EDC’s Small Business Solutions Team to help you in that mission.
EDC is Canada’s export credit agency, offering innovative commercial solutions to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. EDC’s knowledge and partnerships are used by more than 7,700 Canadian companies and their global customers in up to 200 markets worldwide each year. EDC is financially self-sustaining and a recognized leader in financial reporting and economic analysis.