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Small Business Advice and Tips for Success from Industry Experts

Posted by Alden Hui on February 28, 2019
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Discover the key insight and advice given by each small business owner from our #SmallEpic project.  See how each business answers "What would you tell yourself if you traveled back in time to the first day of your business?" There is some great small business advice and tips that you might not have thought of:

Una Pizzeria - Kelly Black

Stick with one business. When you have something good, it is hard to see it. In 8 years, we grew our company to 6 restaurants across 2 provinces. With multiple businesses taking up our time, it became hard to focus on the bigger picture.

Phil & Sebastian - Rob Oppenheim

It’s important to hire good people, but also to trust them when delegating responsibilities. I figured that out eventually, but it took me a few years. 

There’s no secret to hiring the best people. If you have to choose between someone knowledgeable with the industry vs. a good fit, culturally and personality-wise. It’s much better to hire the good fit. You can train someone technically, but not vice versa. It's a common trade-off.

The Coup - Dalia Kohen

Find mentors. Continually work with them and create those relationships, even in challenging times. There is a lot to learn from people. It’s equally important to gain a strong management team. At the start of The Coup, I wasn’t able to put people and processes in place, it had to come with time. Knowing this would have saved a little bit of stress. A small business owner has so many roles to fulfill.


Calgary Sport & Social Club - Rob Gillespie

Keep up the faith. There’s huge potential to grow and reach many people. Don’t give up until you get there.

Pieoneers - Olena Tkhorovska

Keep going and be bolder. Don’t waste time on any doubts. Just keep going and do what you believe is right.

Master Chocolat - Bernard Callebaut

Don’t force the growth. Stay in control.

Master Chocolat 1-1

ACE Architecture - Coben Christiansen

Take the time you need to get your work done. Don’t rush. Don’t feel the pressure to do something you are not comfortable standing behind. A young firm has more pressure to please a client.

Precisionwerkz - Jay Wu

Don’t work harder, just work smarter. Don’t try to do everything yourself. I’d rather have the work done once properly, than finish it fast and have to constantly make adjustments. I also strongly believe in keeping a positive frame of mind. If you're not in the right frame of mind, it's okay to take a break once in a while. 

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Italian Centre Shop - Teresa Spinelli

Trust your gut. Listen to your gut.

Cassis Bistro - Gilles Brassart

Go for it.


Tool Shed Brewery - Graham Sherman

I asked that exact same question to my brewery idol. He gave me the best advice: "your business won’t scale and you won’t achieve it. You might screw it up unless you listen to this. You need to be able to give away your jobs and delegate as soon as one of your staff can do it 51% or better. They will take it to 300%." It is the entrepreneurial dilemma, to give away your initial responsibilities like sales, marketing, social media, and tours (especially).

Family Squeezed Lemonade - Jennifer Andrews

Trust your gut and it always works out. Always keep going.

POD Marketing - Kevin Wilhelm

Remain focused. Don’t chase "squirrels". In the overall mission, I see myself as the visionary. The balance is hiring the right people to filter my ideas and also empowering them to say "no". Only the truly good ideas make it through the filter.

Work Nicer - Alex Putici

I wouldn’t say anything. The reason Work Nicer is what it is today is because of the journey it took to get here. I am thankful for that. If you change any part of that journey, it may lead to a different result.  

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Olympia Benefits - Robin Fry

The most important part of your job is to show up. It’s the same with family. 

Small business owners take on multiple roles and face new challenges everyday. These answers come from people who are no stranger to that resolve. I hope this insight helps your small business achieve success. 

All the owners above have one thing in common, a great health and dental plan. Discover an affordable way to provide tax-free benefits to your employees. Used by over 55,000 small businesses across Canada: 

The Beginner's Guide to Health Spending Accounts GROUP HSA Employee Benefits 2018

Read the full interviews with the business owners above, starting from the beginning - Una Pizza.


Topics: small business story, small business epic story