On April 25th, entrepreneurs across Canada asked Arlene questions during a live Twitter Chat about running a small business. YouInc rounded up the top 10 questions and answers from that conversation. Learn how to make your first hire, how to approach a business plan and how to decide if the opportunity cost of an idea is too high:
ON BUSINESS DECISIONS, IDEAS AND PLANS
1. What are some ways to determine risks and benefits in the process of making an important business decision?
Arlene: I find facts and meditation help. Yes meditation. Clear your mind. Trust the facts. Count on your instincts.
2. What advice can you provide to a small business that’s in the process of developing a business plan?
A: Write down what success is going to look like for you. Then work on the plan that will get you there.
3. What’s your opinion on starting a new business in an existing market?
A: So many things make a business great even with competition. Be good at what you deliver and be smart about marketing and sales etc.
ON COMMON CHALLENGES
4. What is a common obstacle most small businesses come across in early stages?
A: There is always an inflection point for growth when you need to put your foot on the gas pedal. Be ready and be aware.
5. Do you think having a mentor is an asset when starting a business? Any suggestions on good business books?
A: Mentors are always an asset! Find one who is going to be honest and real with you. Book: Thinking Fast and Slow.
ON MANAGING FINANCES
6. What is the number one financial blindspot for new entrepreneurs?
A: Hiring a good CFO or financial manager is critical. Many don't and rely on themselves. Bad idea!
ON BUSINESS & ECONOMIC GROWTH
7. Do you recommend taking your time to grow your business or organization or just jump right into it?
A: Failing fast matters. So go for it and learn as you go. Too much time allows for competitors to take advantage of the market ahead of you.
8. What's your tip for hiring your first employee(s)? How do you trust them with so much info?
A: Your first hires are so important. I always say hire a bit above what you think you can afford as that pays off in the long run. Learn to trust. Invest in your team and constantly surround yourself with smart folks.
9. How long should you pursue an idea or business before you decide the opportunity cost is too high to continue and move on?
A: If the market hasn’t either invested in you or bought from you then that’s a sure tell. Look for market validation.
10. What industries do you see as growing in Canada and helping to diversify our economy?
A: Agriculture. Health. Innovation in food, water and helping feed our planet.
For more advice about running a small business, check out #ScotiaBizSeries on Twitter.