Where to get small business resources that bring real value
Can you spare a few hours to scour the Internet and your city for tools and resources to help you run your small business? Probably not. Time is a precious commodity, and some things – like research – can be pushed aside to make way for more pressing matters. But that can be a big mistake.
Information, events, and organizations geared toward small businesses can help take your company to the next level. Here’s some guidance on where to find small business tools, articles, and associations that can help your business gain and sustain success.
If you find that your time is swallowed up by administrative tasks whenever you’re not physically serving your customers, you’re certainly not alone. Many small business owners can barely fit in a full night’s sleep, let alone channel extra energy into marketing efforts. However, neglecting to market your business wisely can be a big mistake – especially since today’s consumers are actively researching their options on their mobile devices.
The good news is there are plenty of talented, insightful marketing firms out there that focus on helping small businesses get the word out to their audience in the digital realm. A quick search of marketing services in your city should return dozens of results; be sure to investigate a bit deeper to find an agency that has worked with businesses like yours and can speak to your professional goals and challenges.
Your chamber of commerce
A chamber of commerce can be a great sounding board and an effective liaison for business owners. These business networks operate at both the provincial and national levels to advocate for the interests of their business community.
When everything feels like an uphill battle, remember that there’s strength in numbers. Not only does membership add credibility to your business, it can also empower your efforts: chambers of commerce exist to help businesses prosper, so you can count on support for matters that are important to your business, and a concerted effort to effect change.
These sorts of trade groups are like chambers of commerce in that they’re organized and run by businesses, but trade associations bring together people who operate in a specific industry.
What’s so great about trade associations? For starters, they often carry out public relations tasks – like advertising, lobbying, and publishing – on your behalf. They’re also great places to network and learn more about your industry. If you’re not sure what your options are, check out the Government of Canada’s directory of registered trade associations to get started.
When everything feels like an uphill battle, remember that there’s strength in numbers.
Other local business owners
Not surprisingly, small business owners look to their peers for advice, guidance, and support. After all, who better understands your business interests and challenges than your commercial colleagues?
Networking can help you connect with allies, spot patterns in your industry, and even give you a leg up on the competition. But small business owners are notoriously strapped for time, and there may not be many formal networking events to join. That’s where you can get proactive: why not put together a casual monthly meetup to share ideas? If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can even organize a formal networking event.
Canadian Federation of Small Businesses
Fortunately for small business owners, there’s a one-stop shop for resources and support. The Canadian Federation of Businesses (CFIB) brings together advocacy, up-to-date business news, webinars, and practical templates and guides to keep your business one step ahead.
One great virtue of CFIB is their tenacity: they’ve got their finger on the pulse of issues surrounding small and independent businesses across the country, and they’re ready to take your concerns to the front lines. When you become a member, you can even call on business counsellors for personalized advice and enjoy a range of benefits that come from CFIB’s professional partnerships.
See what 110,000 independent Canadian business owners are so happy about. Learn more about becoming a CFIB member today!