The unpredictable economy poses big challenges for small businesses

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The unpredictable economy poses great challenges for small businesses

Very small businesses often allow certain services to be kept in smaller towns or municipalities. (archives)

As Global Entrepreneurship Week draws to a close, the challenges facing entrepreneurs are growing in number with rising inflation, labor shortages, and more. work that persists and a recession looming on the horizon. Meeting these challenges is often even more difficult for very small businesses, which must be extra ingenious to do well.

Very small businesses are those with less than 10 employees. These include retail businesses such as bookstores or bakeries, but also service businesses such as hair salons.

These small businesses also allow certain services, such as convenience stores, to be kept in smaller communities or in more remote areas of cities.

Nearly three out of four businesses have between one and nine employees in the country, according to data from the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Even though they are numerous, very small companies must face the same challenges as large employers.

Retention of labor, increase in production costs which are important because, when we arrive with the increase in inflation, the cost of the company to produce, to offer the service is more important, lists the director general of the Rimouski-Neigette Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jean-Nicolas Marchand.

According to him, the key is often to offer what large companies cannot offer to their employees. There is, among other things, a possibility of having much more flexibility in leave, availability, he indicates.

“In a large company, I am a number. In small companies, there is a closeness with the boss. »

— Jean-Nicolas Marchand, General Manager of the Rimouski-Neigette Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Jean-Nicolas Marchand adds that entrepreneurs often show ingenuity to attract workers since, in addition, they find themselves in competition with each other for the recruitment of labor in the region. It'sa market where the employees have the big end of the stick, he recalls.

Hairstylist and owner of Andrée Blouin Coiffure, Andrée Blouin, says it is indeed difficult to recruit new staff. The company has five employees.

Andrée Blouin Coiffeuse employs five workers in Rimouski.

She says, however, that some hairdressers who work in their home have been there for 10, 15 or even more than 20 years. The trick to keeping employees is, according to her, to create a strong sense of belonging and mutual support.

We've been working for so long together it is sure that we become a family. Respect is very important here, says Andrée Blouin.

Another challenge for these very small businesses is to make themselves known by consumers, but also by workers, a question of to attract.

The leaders of La Firme marketing, a very small company in Rimouski that helps others build a development and marketing strategy, believe that, given the current market, workers must now be seen as customers.

Someone who is interested in a company, to come and work in the company, he must perceive that the company, it is at the level, that the image that x27; it projects is good, that they are good products that are suitable for the market. It's also going to be part of how to recruit people effectively and have good people knocking on the door, explains La Firme marketing account manager Anne-Françoise Gondard.

< p class="e-p">Hairdresser owner Andrée Blouin explains it very well: she must perform the tasks that normally fall to several people to carry out the operations of her business.

“I have to be an accountant, be an electrician, know how to do Excel, know how to do hair, know how to network social…”

— Andrée Blouin, hairdresser owner at Andrée Blouin Coiffure

She tries to stay positive, despite the pitfalls that delay the realization of some of her projects such as entrepreneur.

We are told about the 2023 recession. And that is a great challenge because we say to ourselves: "Hey! not something yet!" So, you have to stay positive, continues Andrée Blouin.

Anne-Françoise Gondard stresses that it is often difficult for entrepreneurs to find time to devote to the development of ;a marketing or development strategy for their business.

She cites the development of the online presence of very small businesses as an example.

“It is difficult to strategically plan the development of your business. This creates additional challenges to position oneself in relation to large companies.

— Anne-Françoise Gondard, Account Manager at La Firme marketing

You still have to be at the level of these large companies, but with few resources, underlines- she.

Anne-Françoise Gondard adds that the unpredictable nature of the current economic climate prevents entrepreneurs from projecting themselves into the future and from foreseeing the future of their business.

The investments that x27;we want to do, it's not easy. We sell strategy, we sell advice, but it's hard for an entrepreneur to say, “I'm going to put $10,000 on my strategy”. It's not easy to invest when you're not sure what's going to happen, she explains.

Very small businesses often allow some local services to be kept in smaller communities (archives).

Jean-Nicolas Marchand of the Chamber of Commerce agrees.

“Often , in smaller companies that have 5 or 6 employees, the manager or the owner comes with a lot of hats, a lot of responsibilities.

— Jean-Nicolas Marchand

He adds that government assistance is often available for small businesses, but their owners must have time to learn about existing programs and then enroll in them

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