From a Different Perspective
The shift is happening in communities across Canada where the traditional drivers of economic expansion are changing, which has implications for the ability of existing businesses to grow and also for the attraction of new enterprise. Without embracing change, communities are unable to reach their full potential. Summerside is well-positioned to embrace, adapt and seize on the upcoming opportunities to transform itself for the future.
Research indicates that
Every community and business have the potential to become a thriving and desirable going concern by ensuring they embrace change. In Summerside, our collective efforts are positioned to be aware, pivot and adapt to the new realities of the global economy and influences of human evolution. The tenants of change need to be driving our collective thinking including the demographic, social and economic drivers and finding the ingredients of collective success will be critically important moving forward.
- While the location is important, talent is king, and jobs and growth are moving to where talent is.
- Collaborative thinking must be at the root of every communities’ efforts.
- Business and Communities must be aware of the cohorts of our society as they all have different needs, motivations and reward measures. Today there are five generations working alongside each other in the workplace all with different experiences and values that they bring to the team.
- The age of the digital economy allows us to have the world at our fingertips – which is both an advantage and a challenge.
- Location is secondary when it comes to the community with key differentiating factors being schools, neighbourhoods, downtown, recreation and affordability.
- The role of nine to five both in terms of working and social does not exist anymore and business and workers need to embrace that change. Trends of life after six is important to understand for families and businesses to uncover both opportunities and shifts needed to be made in order to adapt to this change.
Summerside’s focus on creating a desirable ecosystem in which to live is paramount to our success moving into the future and building the key relationships and tools are at the heart of our community’s collective effort, centred on the following themes.
Talent attraction and retention
– Through our Labour Tool and My Summerside initiatives (found on our bigpossibilities.ca
web site), we are working hard to satisfy the discerning demands of business and entrepreneurs to showcase the Summerside advantage.
Innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem development
– In collaboration with our partners and environments such as our Living Lab, we are working on developing a natural ecosystem that supports innovation and ideas to foster creativity and economic opportunity
The importance of placemaking
– Ensuring that the amenities that support business and workers are front and centre in our offerings as a place to call home.
Business environment, including regulation and business climate
– Summerside continues to work across organizational silos and within the community to build the trust and confidence of being a city that embraces business and opportunities to differentiate itself.
Inclusivity, culture and welcoming community
– With globalization, modern technology and demographic shifting, we strive to create an environment that enhances and accelerates diversity and inclusion to bring significant benefits to Summerside. Ensuring we are building a future of innovators, leaders, visionaries, and creators remains a core focus of our efforts.
It is clear that Summerside has committed partners, a strong economy with defined growth potential, a pro-growth leadership mentality, a diverse and agile business community and a focus on delivery that has the mindset to embrace these new realities and perspective of the future. Our ability to adapt, accelerate and seize on future opportunities is what has made us successful and will continue to drive our focus going forward. Summerside is positively unique and embracing new perspectives of change.
From Fiction to Funded: A Guide For Startups
Economic Development recently attended NACO (National Angel Capital Organization), a conference dedicated to investors and entrepreneurs. There were dozens of panels and seminars given by entrepreneurs, investors, financers, and academics. One of the common threads was the business plan, which was no surprise.
Although Elon Musk does not believe in business plans, not everyone is Elon Musk. The business plan is the heart of any Startup. It acts as the showpiece and is often the first item requested by potential investors such as venture capitalists, government agencies, banks, and so forth. This article will highlight some of the more useful tips and insights are taken from some of these sessions regarding business plans.
Business plans require a lot of work. One speaker noted that a typical business plan takes about 20 business days to author. It is also the gateway to funding, both dilutive and non-dilutive. Several other speakers called them “fictional” and “a bunch of guesses”. Although it is true that business plans are speculative and subject to change, everyone agreed that putting together a cohesive document demonstrates capability. Even if a charted course changes, understanding an initial path forward is key. Everything contained within a business plan should serve a purpose and be defendable. If a certain number or claim in the document cannot be explained, then the plan is not yet ready.
Not a Chore:
Obtaining funding is not the only reason why a business plan should be authored. One of the presenters quoted an entrepreneur as saying, “Here’s that business plan you wanted, sir.” The business plan should not only be prepared for the funders or financers – they are secondary. The primary purpose is to chart a course for the business and to act as a resource for the entrepreneur. For some, it is the exercise that reveals certain gaps or weaknesses. Although entrepreneurs naturally want to burn rubber, taking the time to assemble a high-quality business plan is well worth their time.
Business plans are typically split up into two pieces: the strategic (i.e. narrative) piece and the financials (i.e. numbers) piece. More than one speaker mentioned that several plans were denied funding because they were inconsistent. Not only does each section have to make a convincing case, but the two must link up together. If the numbers do not naturally link with the dialogue from the rest of the plan, then there is a good chance it will receive the rejected sticker. Even plans over 100 pages have been guilty of this.
No One Cares About Your Ideas:
Ideas are great, but they are a dime a dozen. In terms of customers, their sole concern is how you can solve their problems. In terms of funders, they care about the team behind the business as much as the concept itself. To them, the business plan is more about execution and less about the plan itself. Remember, a proper business plan convinces funders that you are capable.
Talk to Humans:
This was the most surprising topic. Too many entrepreneurs are reluctant to speak with people when it comes to customer discovery and customer validation. Despite the many ways to communicate these days, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. According to one speaker, the hierarchy of communication goes like this:
- Video chat (FaceTime, Skype, Hangouts)
With each step-down something special, such as body language and rapport, is lost. Talking face-to-face relays that you care about meeting a customer’s needs. Also, it gives the customer an opportunity to talk about something they treasure – themselves. Finally, you often learn things you were not expecting when you meet face-to-face, such as who else you should talk to. Remember, rigid surveys can backfire on you because it presumes you know the questions to ask. Let the person talk.
The people vetting your business plans are people too, so it is best not to annoy them. Some of the more vexing habits of entrepreneurs are:
- Saying projections are not needed
- Thinking that nobody reads business plans
- Oversharing the technical piece, but ignoring the problem
- Calling yourself a “game-changer” – that is for others to decide
- The “I only need 0.02% of the global market to succeed” schtick
Remember, your journey as an entrepreneur extends far beyond a good idea. Your strategy, idea, and financials must be articulated thoroughly. As well, you and your team must be capable of executing. The place to make a convincing case for all of these is within your business plan.
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Director of Economic Development City of Summerside
275 Fitzroy Street, Summerside PE C1N 1H9
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