The new year is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you want to achieve for yourself and your business.
To help you get ahead, we sat down with some local Wave entrepreneurs in Toronto to learn more about what’s on their mind, their experience as business owners, and their plans for 2020.
Whether you’re thinking about taking the plunge and starting your own business, or thinking about the next steps for growth, we wanted to share with you some of the big topics on the minds of other entrepreneurs as you wrap up and plan for the new year ahead.
We were joined by an incredible group of business owners to bring their unique perspectives on the state of entrepreneurship:
- Juliana Brasil, co-owner of Canuck Collective - A digital agency that helps small-to-medium sized businesses with their marketing strategies, product ideation, e-commerce solutions, and virtual processes.
- Julie Carter, co-owner of Carter Fox Renovations - specializing in renovations to older Toronto homes, and voted one of Blog TO’s best local contractors!
- Aliya Ladhani - A finance and tech veteran-turned-founder of Base Pace specializing in career and leadership coaching.
- Tina Mavriyannakis, founder and owner of The Smile Room - A mobile business that brings the dental experience straight to you at work!
- Shamin Mohamed Jr., operations consultant at SMJR Inc, and founder of non-profit LetsStopAIDS focusing on educating youth in Canada and globally about HIV.
- Shawn Rusich - An industry veteran and founder of BPR Inc., a full-service communications agency specializing in top-tier food, lifestyle and hospitality clients.
Here are some of the biggest trends that came from our chat, and tips for conquering them yourself.
1) Customer experience will set you apart from the rest
Business owners are constantly striving to ensure a seamless end-to-end experience. Time is a precious thing, and the ability to spend it on the things that matter is critical for successful small business owners. Building trust with the client is key, and will set the pace for a positive working relationship for you both.
Remember: your customers will remember when you go the extra mile for them.
“Even when I know that everything is okay with the clients, I still make the time to sit with them and chat with them about things they like and things they want us to improve on.” -Shawn Rusich, Butter PR
Building a valued relationship with your customer helps ensure you’re establishing trust, which will make wrapping up your projects and receiving payment for your stellar work a breeze.
If you’re looking for tips on managing this process, we’ve created this guide for helping you get paid on time, every time, while still delivering a great customer experience crafted for your clients. Many of our guests are using automated reminders from their invoicing system to alleviate these challenges, so that they could focus on the relationships themselves.
Tip: You can use Wave to automate and personalize payment reminders so that you can focus on the work that matters most.
Need some inspiration on crafting an all-star experience? We’ve put together these helpful tips to guide you on your journey of bringing delight to your customers.
2) Connect with others to keep the creativity flowing
One of the exciting things about owning your own business is the ability to focus on the problems you’re most passionate about. This allows you to work with incredible people to help them solve these exact challenges, and bring your ideas to life for them.
However, it also comes with the less-than-glamorous admin work—such as following up on emails and dealing with tax form—plus many other tasks that are certainly important, but aren’t always immediately rewarding.
“There are days where I'm flying high as a kite thinking ‘This is it, I've got this’. And then the next day I go home and go, ‘What were you thinking?’” -Tina Mavriyannakis, The Smile Room
Entrepreneurship can be lonely, and working independently can oftentimes be tough when you don’t have a partner to talk things through with. Every day is different, and this can come with a rollercoaster of emotions when it comes to working on your own.
“Perhaps I'm a little old school, but I’m looking for human interaction and learning from people more. I do enough stuff online that I want to break from.” -Julie Carter, Carter-Fox Renovations
Whether you need a change of scenery or want to talk to someone who’s in a similar situation, there are thankfully lots of great ways for business owners to build a network. Co-working spaces, meetups, and local coffee shops are great places for entrepreneurs to be able to connect and learn from other business owners. Or it can simply be to get a change of scenery from your home office.
“It’s really about meeting people in my network, connecting with people who introduced me to others. So it's really the network effect. I spend a lot of time drinking coffee with people and it's just getting that one-on-one connection.” -Aliya Ladhani, Base Pace
Check out local events or co-working spaces to connect with other business owners in your local neighborhood.
3) Streamline your systems to boost productivity
Whether you’re building from the ground up or looking to streamline your current tools, there’s so many ways to be able to automate how you work to improve efficiencies and get more time back in your day.
“If you invest the time to make sure your messaging is consistent and it's always personal, you can eliminate the manual work by automating small things like emails, and you don't have to feel guilty about it. You can give more to your customers with better quality by developing a white paper or something to teach a mass amount of people.” -Juliana Brasil, co-owner, Canuck Collective
Don’t spend time on managing everything by hand—there’s tools you can use to help you streamline all of this! From project management to team collaboration, we’ve put together this list of tools and apps you can use to automate your work.
And if you’re looking to integrate with your Wave account, you can connect all sorts of systems seamlessly with Wave through Zapier.
4) Think about growth in all its shapes and forms
A new year comes with new ideas and plans for a business, but many entrepreneurs experience continuous change, learning, and growth with each step of their journey.
“At heart, I am a serial entrepreneur. I can't sit still. I keep on building new things. So I want to learn how to manage all these new pieces.” -Shamin Mohamed Jr., SMJR Inc.
Many of the entrepreneurs that joined us for this discussion were planning for growth in 2020—from expanding operations and starting up new locations, to hiring more employees. While this can be seen in obvious forms such as revenue and team size, many business owners should also take stock of their own personal growth as well.
From overcoming the fear of accounting to perfecting your pitch for your business, you should define what success looks like. And you should celebrate each moment that helps you get there.
Many of you might also be thinking about taking this next step for your business, and we’ve got the tools to help you get there.
- To overcome the confusion of accounting, our Fearless Accounting Guide will help you conquer your books for 2020.
- Starting from scratch? Put a pen to paper with a formal business plan to help you bring your vision to life.
- To help build awareness and new sales, you’ll want to invest in marketing to fuel your pipeline. This introductory guide will walk you through how to get started.
Ready to hire a new employee? Get a solid payroll foundation in place to set the tone for a stellar employee/employer experience.
The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.