The Great “AHA”!

Great Resignation, Great Reshuffle, Great Reckoning, Great Realization…

At Bainsco we call it the “Great AHA”!

Manifested by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have heard a lot about the drastic changes in work life over the past two years. Employers and employees alike recognized the futility of the typical “9-5 grind” and how important to overall health the work-life balance is. Did this result in the “Great Resignation” that was predicted? No, not really. We did not see thousands of people walking out on their jobs shouting “I QUIT”!

Based on Statistics Canada, there is indeed a small decline in current labour force participation rate, but after the initial sharp drop when the pandemic began the rate has essentially recovered for most age groups. When we hear about this “Great Resignation” it is more about what may be happening in other countries, like the U.S. for instance. However, it is not happening in Canada.

Is there a “Great Reshuffle” then? Somewhat… many people took the time they may have been locked down to rethink their career choices and took the opportunity to learn, take courses, and upgrade their skill sets. Some even decided that they wanted to completely change career paths. Yet it wasn’t a “Great Reshuffle” where people were doing this in mass numbers.

According to Statistics Canada, over two-thirds of those who had been unemployed at the start of the pandemic, returned back to the same industry as their last job. The industry re-employment rate was in fact 68.8% in October 2021 (StatsCan) which is essentially the same rate observed before the pandemic. Hospitality and food service was the only industry that really took a hit on labour force according to RBC Capital Markets.

Ok, so maybe there was a “Great Reckoning”? Perhaps. Employers had to re-examine how to make their jobs more attractive to entice high quality workers – the ones who could “shuffle” or “resign”. Many employers are boosting wages and benefits to attract the right people, and where possible they are also offering a hybrid working culture awarding more autonomy and flexibility. Surveys indicate that workers are more worried now about physical health and fitness, workload and work-life balance, and mental and emotional health so employers need to factor in ways to address those concerns. More benefits, flexibility in job hours, rearranging the job (e.g. making it less difficult, job-sharing, different shifts, etc.) are a start. Steps also have to be taken to mitigate burnout, particularly among front-line workers. This means supporting mental health and ensuring workers have resources available and managers are given tools to support their workers. Employers need to understand their workers’ life situations and increase their empathetic approach.

Is this the “Great Realization”? On the positive side, employers are realizing that changes need to be made and companies are making the adjustments. Organizations realize they must examine employee needs, but the problem lies in how to get them those needs. Some businesses are still struggling to recuperate financial losses from repeated lockdowns so how do they increase their budget to cover what employees want? This is where the process has to be analyzed and the offerings optimized. Employers must rethink the “employee experience” and the way the jobs are structured and organized while incorporating steps to mitigate burnout by supporting mental health.

 How do you achieve this?  With the “Great AHA!” This is what we at Bainsco can help with – understanding your employee needs, reconfiguring your budget and expenditures, and providing you with tools to enhance the employee experience for a post-pandemic world.  Connect with us; our first meeting is complimentary and may be exactly what you need to get to your “AHA” moment. Contact Us – Bainsco Consulting Group

Digital Marketing

When you hear the term “digital marketing” many assume it just means posting a bunch of social media posts and emailing advertisements in the form of newsletters to people who sign up on a website. Kind of is, but there is a lot more to it if you want to leverage it to propel your business further. The overall success of digital marketing is all based on the strategy.

Curiosity is the most effective human emotion to target for a successful digital marketing campaign. Intentionally create a knowledge gap to keep the viewers’ attention by not ‘giving it all away’ in your ads. Be honest in your message; it is important to build trust right off the bat so include a personal note to let your audience connect with you. Incorporate reciprocity with the “give to get” approach. Collect leads using freebies/giveaways with special discount codes, which in turn creates an obligation from the viewer to give something back.

Find your audience, then attract it.  Sell your service and keep an eye on what works and then do more of it. Stay on top of what doesn’t work and get rid of it.

Failure to execute a robust digital marketing plan is most always a result of: not doing proper market research; not having a strong foundational strategy; not getting enough engagements (likes, shares, comments); or not including a CTA (Call-To-Action) (subscribe, like, share, etc. to win).

So how do you start to create and add detail to this solid digital marketing plan?  Contact us to help you!

Drop The Label

Lately, the hashtag #dropthelabel has become increasingly popular amongst Leaders who happen to be Women. Personally, I never liked it when people recognized my achievements by emphasizing that I’m a woman. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough – irrespective of your race, culture, sexual orientation, parental status or gender. Labels that differentiate result in more focus on differences versus equality and that makes me uncomfortable. Gender inequality amongst leaders is highlighted when the distinction between male leader and female leader is intentionally made. We need to stop bringing focus to the wrong point by emphasizing that we are women – and bring it to the fact that we are leaders in society. It isn’t empowerment when we openly contribute to the gender gap. Women who are ambitious, persistent, and high-achievers don’t need “cute” names to define them.

Many of the startups and even the established businesses who are struggling due to the pandemic happen to be led by women. And I’m not speaking of MLM “businesses” (that’s a whole other post!); rather I’m referring to the unique, started-from-the-bottom businesses where the owner is typically the founder and the operator. I’ve been there before – many times in fact – taking an idea and morphing it into a viable business. At first, I didn’t know where to start either and my first “attempt” was a total flop. I wish I had known then, what I do now, and I wish I had had a true mentor to guide me and objectively give me things to consider – an INCUBATOR.  I’ve also had to juggle being a parent and operating businesses, and trying to scale up and grow.  I wish that back then I had access to an ACCELERATOR. Now, after many years of struggling, I’m in a position that I can help others not have to face those same obstacles because they can retain an independent consultant for as little or as much time as they need to INCUBATE their business, or to ACCELERATE it.  Lucky.

When I work with fellow female business owners, the first thing I usually tell them to do:  Drop the label.  I tell them to stop calling themselves silly names and think it’s empowering. Ladies, it’s not – you’re just limiting yourself from the male business you could be getting, and the business of women who don’t think their gender defines them. You’re limiting yourself of the respect you deserve for being an entrepreneur.

And so, I do not identify myself asBlog by Indu Bains, Senior Partner a “boss babe” or a “mompreneur”. I am a FOUNDER & CEO of multiple companies for the past 25 years. I have grown them from ZERO to multi-million revenue generating corporations. I am a LEADER. I do not reduce the level of success I have achieved by applauding what I did as a woman, as a visible minority, or as a parent. I succeeded just as well as anyone could, male or female, parent or not, minority or not. I worked hard, paid attention to detail, and took risks. How many men call themselves “boss dude” or “manpreneur”? Silly, right? A founder is a founder. A CEO is a CEO. Diversity, equity, and inclusion means everyone is celebrated for who they are – not segregated into a group. To all the women out there who are true entrepreneurs –

DROP THE LABEL. Forget the silly names; you are leaders in society. Ambition does not discriminate.

#dropthelabel #entrepreneurs #founders #ceos #leaders #genderequality #ambition

An Empire Isn’t Built In a Day.

An Empire Isn’t Built In a Day. It’s built EVERY day.

As an entrepreneur, you have to create a mind-set of unequivocal dedication to your business. You will spend long hours, forgo family and social life, forget to take your vitamins and even eat your meals, skip past health appointments, and essentially run around like a chicken with your head cut off for days, months, even years to build up a new business. But it can be worth it – for the autonomy, the result, and to live your dream.

With the right mindset also comes the right planning. By taking time at the start to create a business plan and ensure that you have clearly outlined your process, considering all the obstacles along the way and how you will manage them, you will already increase your chances of survival. A solid business plan is worth investing the time in – and referring to it constantly to ensure you are staying on course, while remaining fluid to change your model as it is needed. It can also be invaluable if you need to seek capital investments, bank loans, or other financial assistance as typically any secured or unsecured funding requires the presentation of a formal and viable business plan.

 

There are many important aspects to include in the plan. For example, be sure to stress the relation between the location you selected and the demographics your business will serve; be sure to highlight ownership and day-to-day management; include a solid marketing plan; and very importantly – your financial projections with cash flow and balance sheet. Don’t be lazy, and don’t go in with blinders on. Be prepared and be patient.

The Business Plan is the first start to your business. There are generic templates online you can use, but these can be confusing and they aren’t specific to your market, industry and business together. The more detail you have, the better the plan will serve you.  Contact us to help you create your business plan; or critique/edit what you have – after all the businesses we have been involved in, we’re PROs!

Linda, honey… Listen!

Introduce Yourself and Listen. Networking is a great tool to get yourself and what you do known but you have to listen to what other people are saying first.  It’s not always about just selling yourself.  It’s about getting to know what others are looking for and then seeing if connecting can make that happen. Networking. Sounds like IT talk to me. It’s like you’re hooking computers up so they are all sharing information… which is actually what networking with people should be.  You’re hooking up so you can share information. Maybe the guy selling tires has a really good bookkeeper. Maybe the girl selling makeup has an awesome photographer she uses.

Networking is about sharing information and making contacts which will, when the time is right, result in your product/service being needed or wanted somehow, somewhere and by someone.  Spend your time wisely and use what you learn from other entrepreneurs to make your business better.  Whether it’s online or in-person, don’t walk in with sales barrels blazing.  Connect with people first, find out what they need and what they are looking for and see if you can make that happen for them.  If not, try to connect them with someone else who can.  It will always come back full circle.  Maybe a fellow entrepreneur you helped connect with clients for them will down the line connect you with clients for you. Pre-Covid19 did you ever attend a local networking event and instead of socializing just yammered on about how the product your’e selling has changed your life even though the people you are talking to are trying their hardest to escape the conversation?  Have you ever posted a million “life is perfect” posts on social media, reaching out to as many people as you could to convince them that the way you live your life is perfect because of the products/services you sell only to have most of your followers scroll quickly past your post while rolling their eyes?   Is your life really perfect for the people you’re selling that fairytale to?   If you’re selling a service or a product, you need to really believe in yourself and what you’re marketing.  You have to be transparent – and let people understand you and why you do what you do.  You have to become known.  Genuinely known.   Don’t just try to sell people your s**t.  Usually at these types of events, or on social media, you get a mix of different entrepreneurs all trying to do the same thing you are – make money.  Those who will successfully do so are the ones who genuinely bring you into their lives and get you to know them and their inspirations, ambitions and motivations.  Take a look at Instagram for example…  entrepreneurs who show their raw side and share their real trials and tribulations along with their successes are the ones that get the most attention.  No one wants a fake perfect life – they just want a real good one.  And if you can help them get there, then you’ve achieved your goals. Networking, be it the old way in person, or the new way online, go with the mind-frame that you’re there to meet people – actually MEET them. Get to know them and what they do, and most importantly why they do it. You’re there to see if you can meet people who can take you to the next level in your own business, not just so you can sell them what you’re selling, be it a service or a product.  When and if people need you, they will want you. 

“What’s In A Name?”

William Shakepeare’s infamous line “What’s In A Name?” from Romeo & Juliet rings when talking about the new CUSMA trade agreement set to go into effect July 1, 2020.  The three participating North American countries have their own name for it, although the agreement itself is one in the same regardless of where you are in the world.  In Canada, it is CUSMA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement); in the U.S. it is USMCA and in Mexico it will be T-MEC.

The new CUSMA will replace the 26 year old NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and with it will come along some changes despite the absence of any transition period.  The changes implemented by CUSMA will most specifically affect the industries/trades of Auto, Dairy/Chicken, Copyright & Digital Trade (E-Commerce), and Pharmaceuticals among others.

Importers and exporters of products in Canada operating businesses since NAFTA was implemented in 1994 will notice the changes that the new CUSMA brings, the first of which will be a change in the forms used to clear goods cross-borders.

So what does this mean for the medical device industry in particular?  Well when NAFTA first originated in 1994, businesses and consumers did not rely on the Internet and Digital Trade even remotely as much as they do in modern day.  Even moreso with the current Covid-19 situation, digital trade is increasingly an important factor in global economies and specifically a daily part of most North American lives.  The new CUSMA increases thresholds for imports subject to duty collection and customs declaration.  These increases will benefit online retailers that are shipping across their regional borders as well as small businesses importing small orders.  In light of this, new tariff treatment codes will be assigned and any prior rulings under NAFTA will have to be reapplied for under CUSMA.

Industry group AdvaMed highlighted parts of the CUSMA that will have direct implications for medical device companies:  international standards recognition, elimination of duplication in regulatory requirements, reimbursement decision processes among other international trade matters in medical devices.  Essentially, many of these parts are interrelated and so collectively, they should contribute to the lowering of non-tariff barriers.  As an example, the particular chapter of CUSMA on technical barriers to trade, the medical device single audit program should make it easier for medical device manufacturers to branch out into several markets vs. just one.

Want to know more?  Looking to get rulings on your devices or ready to get the transition to CUSMA right the first time and avoid cross-border issues?   To qualify for preferential treatment under CUSMA, enlisting the guidance of experts in import/export brokerage for medical devices will ensure the correct rates are applied to your shipments and avoid the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) duty rate!  Contact us; we can help with transitioning to CUSMA.

My Word is My Bond.

Have a great idea and want to get it out in front of the right people? Think you’ll make it “big” by getting your product onto the floor and sold?  Don’t overlook the importance of having an iron-clad Agreement in place before you give out too much proprietary information. In the end, anyone can copy your service and/or product – so you have to protect it before you present it. In the good ol’ days you could shake hands to strike a deal and count on honour and integrity for all parties to abide by the rules.  A verbal agreement was worth everything – your word was your bond.  Although that may still ring true with many even in current business, the need for a written agreement is crucial to ensure that all parties have a clear understanding of what the rules are, and how they should be handled when and if the need arises.  Lawyers will charge you a leg and an arm and then some to draw up agreements from scratch.   Decades ago, my first corporate agreement was drafted and redrafted and tweaked and retweaked all to the dismay of my meager start-up business funds.  And in the end, because I did not fully understand legal jargon, I trusted that my attorney was doing the Agreement in my best interest.  Which, relatively speaking, he was.  However, had he taken the time to really understand me and my business at that time, he would have added in a few clauses that may have saved me a whooping mess of a situation years down the line.  Having learned from that mistake, I spent a great deal of time and effort learning how to read and understand my own corporate agreements.  We got to the point where we were internally drafting and our attorneys were essentially reviewing and incorporate legal terminology to ensure we covered all legal angles, saving us thousands of dollars and getting Agreements in place that were protective, mutually beneficial, clear and concise, and covered us completely.   We’ve covered various agreements from distribution to transportation to services and even employment agreements.  Whenever the time has come to enforce these Agreements, we’ve come out ahead because we spent the time to actually understand and capture what we needed out of each corporate or business relationship. We at BCG have years of experience and do our due diligence to ensure you are protected and your business is respected; taking into consideration the current goals and future motives.  BCG works with several lawyers in various fields who will provide guidance, review and execution of your Agreements.  We also take into consideration other factors and as such consult with knowledgeable bankers, accountants, human resources, information technology, political and/or governmental authorities as required.