Founder & Executive Director, Canadian Small Business Women
Dwania Peele from Canadian Small Business Women shares top tips and resources to you help build business resilience and manage your new way of working.
“Being an entrepreneur is hard work”. Is that a statement that you’ve heard a lot? I find that most often, entrepreneurs will share the “fun” stuff — you can be your own boss, set your own hours, and hire your own staff. It’s true. You can be and do all those things, but you must also be ready to roll up your sleeves and put in the work necessary to succeed. The #EntrepreneurLife can be whatever you make it — even during a pandemic like COVID-19.
The past 10 months have been challenging for some entrepreneurs and a blessing for others. Despite their experiences, the one certainty is that we all learned valuable lessons. At Canadian Small Business Women, we were forced to analyze our systems and find new resources to help us excel. We also used this time to interact closely with businesses across different sectors and locales to get a grasp of their challenges, their wins, and what methods they used to pivot to success. There was also an incredible number of women who decided to use this moment to take that step into business ownership and soar.
In the spirit of success, let’s share some of our favorite tips and resources to help build business resilience and manage your new way of working.
Implement fluid systems
The businesses that soared during the pandemic were ones with processes that could quickly change to suit the new needs of their audience during a crisis. As small businesses, many of us didn’t have a pandemic plan or even the knowledge of what a business continuity plan was. What most of us did have was the power to change quickly to adapt to the pandemic. Most of us pivoted to an online model in a matter of weeks. Take note of the processes you put in place and test the rigidity or fluidity of the processes before implementation.
Internship and co-op programs
Many schools are opening virtual internship and co-op opportunities for their students. With the need to be in a physical space waived, the opportunities are endless in this space. It’s a cost-saver for the employer and a great way to increase diversity in your team. You can have team members represented by different countries who can bring fresh ideas and a new set of skills to your organization.
Government assistance programs for small businesses
The Government of Canada has launched many funding initiatives geared to small businesses over the past 10 months. Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain what pertains to you and your business and if you meet the qualifications for funding. Resources can be found via organizations such as BDC, EDC, Futurpreneur, FedDev Ontario, Office of Small and Medium Enterprises or just by making a quick phone call to your local MP.
Say yes to unique opportunities
The world is open to you. With the majority of events being hosted virtually and most publications introducing virtual options, it’s the perfect time to flex your speaking and writing muscles. Start by making inquiries to your local publications to see if they need contributors. Consider publications, podcasts, and events that you would love to be a part of. Don’t put yourself in a box and only list those in your city. The world is now open to you!
Automate your day
Spend some time to streamline your processes. With new digital products being released daily, the competition for your subscription is high. Take advantage of free trials and discounted rates to see how new products can help streamline your day. There are automatic social media schedulers, email marketing campaigns, on-line shopping portals, and virtual assistants to name a few.
Here are some of my favourite tools:
- Business Planning: Google Workspace, Shopify, Constant Contact, Buffer, Tailwind, Asana, Canva
- Instant Messaging: WhatsApp, Slack, WeChat
- Conferencing Platforms: Hopin, Zoom, Microsoft Teams
Dwania Peele is the Owner and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women. A lover of entrepreneurship, volunteering, and networking, Dwania strives to inspire aspiring and current entrepreneurs in Canada. In 2013, Canadian Small Business Women began serving as a platform for aspiring and current small business women of Canada. Dwania continues to make an impact by appearing as a guest speaker at various entrepreneur events and by guest appearances on panels across Ontario to provide valuable insight to those in need. Dwania also champions the success of immigrant entrepreneurs, which is reflected in her new book, The Power Within: Inspiring Stories of Female Immigrant Entrepreneurs.