Local Business Leader Transition Research Finds that Businesses Could Lose Millions

The retirement exodus of about 3.3 million Canadian employees over the next decade will have an impact on business continuity, financial stability, and business growth.

Kathleen Ozmun and Marielle Gauthier, both experienced professional leadership coaches, conducted discovery research focusing on retiring and incoming leader transitions in Saskatoon.

“A change in leadership is a time of flux and change for everyone – the leader and the team,” says Marielle Gauthier, founder of Redworks Communications and Coaching. “These transitions create potential risks at every level of the organization and profitability, productivity and positivity can be negatively affected.”

The report found that the financial costs to the businesses if the transition failed were significant – from tens of thousands to more than $3 million dollars.

“When a transitioning leader struggles, the impact goes beyond individual performance,” says Kathleen Ozmun, CEO of Crossing Point Coaching and Consulting. “The leaders’ struggles and the lack of a transition support plan can affect the business services to the point that whole programs are in jeopardy.”

Based on the findings, there are opportunities for greater attention to better manage the transition for the retiring and the incoming leader and from one leader to another.
It is paramount that businesses look at decreasing and preventing some of the challenges as stated in the findings, to ultimately lower the risks, increase productivity and quality of work, and foster better stakeholder relationships, all of which impact the bottom line.

Ruth Kinzel, PhD, CPHR, Kinzel Cadrin & Associates Consulting says that the research provides rare insight into the lived experience of local leaders in transition. Kinzel also states there is a backlog of unaddressed transition issues in every sector, the costs of which continue to accrue and it is in the best interests of organizations and the people within them to move forward proactively.

“The stakes are high and the wave is upon us and these research findings can inform your way forward. Gauthier and Ozmun identify key issues as well as productive ways to address transition challenges,” says Kinzel.

The study findings included challenges and struggles of the leaders; impacts and potential risks to the organizations; levels and types of supports in place and the financial costs if transitions failed.

Business owners can create successful transitions for both their organization and their new leaders by establishing consistent key practices.

Download the full report at https://crossingpointcoaching.com/leader-transition.

Kathleen Ozmun | Contributing Writer

8-Point Startup Checklist

Opening a new business is always an exciting prospect. You spend months, if not years, thinking of all the fun things associated with a business, like calculating profits, being your own boss, and building the best team imaginable.
Before you earn a single dollar from your hard work, however, you need to make sure you have certain aspects squared away. As anyone who has gone through the process can attest to, the true essence of a startup is rolling up your sleeves to ensure the success of your business.
So, what does an entrepreneur need to do before cutting the proverbial ribbon on their new venture?

  1. Understanding Relevant Laws
    Building a foundation of relevant legal knowledge isn’t the most exciting part of being an entrepreneur; in fact, it can be quite daunting. Regardless, you need to spend time creating a better-than-rudimentary understanding of the laws that will regulate your business with respect to employment, taxes and anything specifically related to your industry.
    Consult with both a lawyer and an accountant to learn how to structure your business in a way that is compliant with relevant laws. When it comes to legal matters and protecting your business, details matter. Don’t be shy about asking questions, even if it costs a little more. It’ll be worth it in the long term.
  2. Own Your Business Name
    You need to register your business name with the Canada Revenue Agency and, if possible, secure all pertinent internet domain names. Depending on your type of business, you could look to register it as a trademark. This will give you sole use of your business name for 15 years, at which point you’ll have to renew.
    This is an important early step for every startup. It also reveals whether your business name is already in use, meaning you might have to come up with another clever moniker or pun, or shift to a slight variation on your original idea.
    And don’t for a second think that by using your own name as your business name that you’re in the clear. Your name doesn’t have to be “Tommy Hilfiger” for it to already be in use.
  3. Figure Out Your Personal Finances
    Launching a startup could mean living without a salary for a year or two. That’s the reality and you’ve probably already accepted it, which is great. But acceptance is only a small part of what you need to do.
    While your business is still in the planning phase, make sure your personal finances are in order. Get your savings and investments as high as possible since there’s a good chance you’ll be dipping into them at some point relatively soon. Additionally, make a new household budget that includes what you can spend on non-essential business expenses like lunches or coffee.
    You need to keep your non-work life operational and not fall into personal debt while your business ramps up. This will only compound stress, and there will certainly be enough of that in the early going.
  4. Develop a Marketing & Communications Plan
    Business hours should be devoted to sales and operations, so the best advice is to have your marketing and communications plans in place and ready to be executed on day one. These plans need to be comprehensive and involve tactics that will impact the bottom line for both the short and long term.
    These strategies should cover marketing and communications with respect to digital, print, experiential and community outreach. They should be constantly evolving as more opportunities present themselves. Taking your first year of operations to develop these plans could result in missing out on growing your customer base.
  5. Choose a Payroll System
    Unless you’re the only one working and wearing every hat, you’ll need to pay your employees. The last thing you want is to be so overwhelmed that you miss a payday, which can result in disgruntled employees or even disruptions to your operations.
    With the advent of digital payroll systems, your employees and vendors can be paid promptly and automatically. Before you launch your business – even if you’re the sole employee in those early days – choose a system and familiarize yourself with every aspect and feature.
    Some of the more popular ones are Wave Accounting, Payment Evolution, Quickbooks, and SimplePay. Each is different, so you’d be wise to take advantage of demos or free trials to discover which best suits your needs.
  6. Hire an Advisor
    Having an advisor can be invaluable. Ideally, this is an experienced person who understands your industry and knows how to navigate the challenges of running a startup. If you went through the early stages without a mentor or advisor, try to bring one or more onboard for your official launch.
    This is someone to bounce ideas off, to seek advice from, and to also help you make connections when needed. If you have the capacity, an advisory board can be even more valuable, but make sure you vet every person and use contracts to establish roles, responsibilities, and legal parameters.
  7. Secure Financing
    Opening your business with only one month of financing in your coffers could be problematic, especially when things get bleak around day five after you check your bank account.
    The best advice is to have all your loans secured and all your numbers crunched before launching. You would be well advised to have enough money in the bank to run without interruption for at least a year. If the funds aren’t readily available, you’ll be spending all your time worrying and hustling when you should be selling and managing.
  8. Hire Your Core Team
    It’s unrealistic to think you need to have every role at your company filled in the first week. What you do need is to have key hires ready to start immediately. During the pre-launch period, you should outline the roles that are most important for your daily operations and those that will enable growth. From there, start interviewing and get hiring. This is also a good time to create concrete hiring protocols.
    The Keys to Startup Success
    There’s nothing nobler than being an entrepreneur. Do everything in your power to give yourself the best chance at success so that your business – and you – can thrive. Even when things are tense prior to launch, keep pushing and making sure to take care of the small details. They matter.

Rob Shapiro | Contributing Writer

3 Absolutely Important Things First-Time Investors Need to Know

You finally have a steady income and you think it’s great that you can buy everything you’ve always wanted, yet you’re being advised by the bank, a financial advisor or a family member to start investing a part of it. You’re unsure where to begin and are afraid to invest your money.  

This is a common problem with many Canadians. According to Global Investor Pulse, 51 per cent of Canadians are afraid to hit unfamiliar territories with investing – they believe by placing their money into a savings account there would be no risk involved, and 46 per cent say they like the liquidity of cash.

But, depositing money into a savings account or holding onto cash is not beneficial in the long run because it will not provide any profitable returns. And, it could affect your retirement plans because Canadians can no longer rely on the government for a pension and benefits.

Look at it this way: the wealthiest Canadians are also investors. They don’t let their money become stagnant and earn zero profit; they invest in things that give the most profit in return.  If you haven’t begun to invest, then it is time to visit a financial planner or do some research and get started. The following are three important things a novice investor should know.



As a novice investor, you should decide on the purpose of your investment. Do you want to buy a house in the next couple of years, or own your own business? Are you wanting to start investing for retirement, financial security or a college fund for your kids/children? It is important to know the purpose of your investment in order to recognise the type of investment that suits the need or purpose.

Time Horizon

Also, knowing the purpose of your investment will decipher your time horizon. A time horizon is the length of time an investment is “made or held before it is liquidated.”   It will help you, or your financial planner, know which investment vehicle to consider. Also, it will enable your financial planner to know when to move your money into a low-risk or high-risk investment.

Risk Tolerance

Thus, a time horizon determines an investor’s risk tolerance – if your investment should be a high-risk or low-risk. A long-term investment (investments that are 10 years or more) is considered to have a high-risk tolerance because it has time to recover and gain profits if the investment drops in value at any point-of-time. A short-term investment, on the other hand, will not recover in time. That is why short-term investments are often considered of having a low-risk tolerance.


Now that you’ve seen the importance of being aware of your time horizon, purpose and risk tolerance before you invest, book an appointment with a certified financial planner or do a thorough research and find out which investment is right for you.

What do you think first-time investors should know? Should we be educating Canadians at young age to have a positive mind-set towards investing? Should we show them the benefits of investing and how it can help their retirement plan, or plan to buy a house or own a business? Tell me what you think.



M. Policicchio | DBPC Blog

Setting Your Business Apart

A key aspect of successful businesses is what sets them apart from their competition. The unique qualities of running a business, such as focusing on steady performance as opposed to operating on survival mode, can make the difference between an innovative company and a struggling one. Businesses running on survival mode are normally unstable and only focus on short term goals. This eventually leads to a difficult work environment. A flourishing business knows how to compete by incorporating the use of non-traditional methods, having a steady focus on what their clients need the most, and a great understanding of how their service or product can positively affect the world. You too can set your business apart from the competition by following the traits of these leading businesses.


The Best Opportunities Are Outside the Box

Instead of competing in cluttered and saturated markets, strong organizations seek out the opportunities that others miss. These leaders are not afraid to test out new methods and create new industries – even if they might fail. Great companies focus on developing new and myriad innovative products that give the user or client a unique experience. They embark on projects that others would deem difficult or unnecessary. Efforts are directed towards developing products and services that change the lives of individuals in great ways. For example, companies like Uber, Skype, Facebook, and Apple have developed game-changing products and services. In addition, great organizations hire the best and unique talent to assist in the creation of new opportunities.

A Structural and Entrepreneurial Balance

This is not an easy balance to achieve as most businesses either have a structured or entrepreneurial strategy. However, successful businesses such as Facebook and Google have mastered this tactic.  These companies operate on a structured basis while maintaining a flexible entrepreneurial mindset. They ensure that they meet all the organization’s performance goals while encouraging innovation, new ways of thinking and action towards projects. To accomplish this, it is essential to have a leading team that is open to celebrating uniqueness and differences, while maintaining trust in its employees. It’s important to note that success comes from a diverse team who can find success in a variety of ways – not just one. This often leads to breakthroughs in companies as they end up discovering innovative solutions that others miss.

Avoid Distractions at All Costs

There are many distractions that a business can face. Businesses have a hard time staying focused especially when the economy is unpredictable. Essentially, being strategic does not only revolve around focusing on your competition, but it also means being openly aware of change and crisis that can potentially occur. Businesses that are strategically wired can foresee changes in how the marketplace flows and its regressions. Surprises may arise when competition grows unexpectedly (e.g. the rise of the iPhone and Android OS, and the plummet of Blackberry and Nokia). It’s crucial to have a leadership that has a 360-degree view of market changes and strikes when opportunity arises.

K. Nwankwo | DBPC Blog

Five Best Practices for Working from Home / Remote Offices

There are many benefits to working from home or working remotely. You can worry less about commuting, conveniently make time for personal obligations and work within your own comfort zone. But, when distracted by this ideal, we tend to become unproductive. Working at home or working remotely requires commitment. Here are some tips to help you:

1. Get Dressed
No one has ever been excited to commute to their office in the morning, thus it’s a great feeling to think you can get out of bed, stay in your pj’s and work! But, this will make you feel lazy! Getting dressed greatly influences your mood. You do not have to go out of your way and put on a suit or some heels, but stay casual. Dress like you are ready to get work done.

2. Tune out Distractions
Being able to have a movie on in the background, browse social media or online shop are all tempting distractions you may indulge in, but set this aside for a break. Whether you’re in the office or not, maintain your work habits just as if it were a normal work day. Work as if an employer or employee were watching you.

3. Schedule Your Day
Have an outline for everything you need to get done. This is a form of self-discipline. Not everyone is suitable for an at home work day or remote job because they are not capable of working independently, but use this as a chance to be your own boss. Nonetheless, do not lose valuable work time.

4. Stay Connected with Your Team
This isn’t your opportunity to avoid your boss, difficult coworkers or colleagues. Remember that having a job and maintaining your career is all about how well you are able to work with others. Take the initiative to remain easily accessible with those you work with. You also do not want to miss out on any important updates or events that may affect your work. Have your email open and phone ready to answer.

5. Maintain Consistent Office Hours
Be determined to work a set amount of hours for each particular day. This way, you do not find yourself working too much or working too little. For instance, you could maintain your usual 9-5 work hours to help you do so. Keeping family and colleagues/clients informed about your work hours is also a good strategy to keep your work life and personal life separate.



L. Shabudin | DBPC Blog

Strategies to Effectively Enforce Acceptable Norms and Practices

Most successful organizations adapt and promote diversity in the workplace. It does not only bring equal employment opportunities but also provides benefits to the business. However, tension may sometimes arise due to differences in culture, traditions or beliefs. Therefore, it is necessary for companies to establish a set of norms and best practices that are fair and just.

Set Standards

When hiring new employees, ensure that they are aware of the company’s rules and regulations, as well as the policies and procedures to prevent work interruptions and conflicts with co-workers. Also, discuss the steps that will be taken by the company to address infractions, should they occur. These protocols may consist of a variety of topics from cleaning workstations before clocking out to the type of conversations which are acceptable in the office. Once you have discussed all of the company’s guidelines, ask them to sign a contract that will certify their understanding and acceptance. Provide them with a copy for their personal reference.

Probationary Period

Allow an observation period for new hires to see their fitness on the job. This will help determine if they perform their job in an efficient and effective manner, as well as  whether or not they are following workplace guidelines. This extent of time will indicate what kind of long-term performance and behaviour you can expect from your new recruits.


Evaluate employees on a periodic basis, if possible, every six months or yearly. Provide constructive feedback and discuss any performance issues. This is also an avenue to review some of the subtler norms and practices. The employee should leave the evaluation with a better framework of what s/he can do to improve his/her performance.


Good performance should be recognized. Commanding an employee’s perfect attendance, excellent work ethic or adherence to workplace norms and practices will further motivate exceptional execution and allow the person to put forth a greater effort to deliver beyond expectations. Rewards can range from certificates of recognition to gift cards, bonus pay or a promotion. Keeping your employees happy will create a healthier and more engage workforce.


Claudine Burca | DBPC Blog

Setting Up Free Promotions

Free samples and demonstrations when introducing new products or services to the general public or target market is not only a good marketing strategy, but is necessary. One of the resources that some corporations do nowadays is acquiring the services of professional event organizers to do all the work for them from ingress to egress. However, business should not worry if you cannot afford to get one. Utilize your in-house marketing coordinator or event manager’s skills and expertise.

Here are some information that you will find of value when setting up free promotions:

Why the need to set up one? Usually when there is a newly opened business or when you need to introduce new products or services to the public. Setting up marketing strategies to attract more clients is necessary. It can be as simple as giving out flyers on the streets, posting advertisements on websites or going all out and do a major promotional event.

How do we set up? First, bear in mind that promotion is an overhead expense. Establish an advertising and marketing budget. Create a feasible plan. Conduct research by analyzing competition, target market, etc. to be able to understand what it needs to be done to promote your product thereby increase public awareness. Make sure your plan is tailored fit to your target market. Don’t waste your resources. The key to a successful promotion is on the initial set up.

Where and when do you set up your promotional event? To get the most of your expenses, set it up on busy days like weekends and on crowded intersections or malls. Be sure you stock up on your products! Better to have more of your flyers, giveaways and refreshments than risking running out of supplies in the middle of your event. Be the host or consider hiring one with a pleasing and entertaining personality. Be prepared to answer any questions regarding your company’s services, prices, quality and etc. Also brief your promo team on the products you are showing off.

As long as you don’t get too stressed out by the process, organizing events like this is a fun and challenging experience. The more you practice yourself in doing things like this, the more you get the experience and become a better asset to your company. Just do one thing at a time and everything will fall into place.

C. Burca | DBPC Blog

The Positives and Negatives of Extending Credit

While it won’t be relevant to every business, customer credit is an established method that some companies have successful used to generate increased revenue.  By extending credit to their customers, some businesses will allow them to defer payment for a period of time – essentially loaning them the product in exchange for the promise of money later.  Sound risky?  It definitely can be.  That’s why it’s important that you know the ups and downs of extending credit before you decide to add it to your business model.         

Competitive advantage

Credit allows you to provide your goods or services to individuals who otherwise may not be able to afford it.  This not only expands your market, but also allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition.  These new customers are also likely to be more loyal, as you are one of a small number of companies who will accommodate their budget.

Get customers to spend more and build goodwill

Goods we want to purchase are often out of reach.  We may want that shiny new TV or couch, but we can’t afford it right this moment.  By offering credit on big ticket items, more customers will be willing to shell out for a luxury item.

Allowing your customers to defer payment is also a demonstration of trust on the part of the organization.  As a result, your consumers will feel more valued and be more likely to return for other purchases down the line.

Unsecured loans are inherently risky

The most obvious downside is that deferred payments will naturally make paying the bills a much more complicated process.  You might defer payments on a new desk until January, but what happens when you need money now?  The unpredictability of a sales model based on unsecured loans is one that many business owners may be poorly equipped to deal with.  Even if you schedule sales to cover your monthly expenses in a timely manner, a single customer not paying on time can throw the whole system into disarray.  The business will be missing a significant amount of revenue that it desperately needs to keep the company running, and likewise, the customer will be charged a significant amount of interest, which they may be unable to pay.  As such, it is crucial that owners are careful about who they extend credit to, and that they don’t offer more credit than what they can afford in case they are not paid.  They must also ensure that they have sufficient cash flow to sustain their business during dry periods.

For many businesses, it is important to note that any missed payments will cause consumers to accumulate interest on the entire amount that the item is worth.  You must be clear about what your interest rates and late payment policies are if you want to avoid alienating your customers.  This makes evaluating your customers’ credit rating a pivotal part of the sales process, but this also requires additional time and money.

Once again, bear in mind that not every business can or should offer credit.  But if your company specializes in big ticket items, then it can potentially be a boon to your sales.  Weigh the pros and cons carefully, and decide if it is right for you before you take the plunge.

Lance | DBPC Blog

Finding New Customers

Getting new customers can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t consider yourself a good salesperson. But don’t lose hope, the following strategies will help you find new customers and increase your company’s sales:


Finding your target market

Before you can find new customers and begin to promote your business, you need to focus on targeting the right kind of people for your product.  Check out what your competitors are currently offering and determine what makes your product unique (price, quality, quantity, customer service, etc).

Understanding the needs of your target market

Market research runs from very simple qualitative research to in-depth quantitative analysis. It can be utilized fairly inexpensively by going to areas you are interested in selling to and passing out surveys to get a better understanding of what your market wants/needs and what factors affect their purchasing decisions.

Techniques for reaching your market

  1. Cold calling: Have a script on hand with your pitch for the product, and be prepared to answer your clients’ questions. Have a goal in mind for the number of people you will reach in a week. The more days you commit in cold calling, the more you get a feel for how clients engage with sales people. This, in turn, will help you develop new methods of making sales in later calls.
  2. Networking: Attend as many social functions as you can and try to mingle and talk to potential clients regarding the product you are offering. Don’t try to sell as soon as the conversation starts; instead, try to connect to the person. In this way, whatever the end result is, you also gain a friendly contact who will be useful for future referrals and networking sessions.
  3. Business contacts: Approach business contacts who have been happy with your products in the past and politely request referrals. When a customer is happy with your product, they will usually be happy to offer a positive testimonial. Word of mouth is an incredibly effective marketing tactic.
  4. Affiliate marketing: Look at non-competitive products or services with similar demographics and see if there are ways you can join forces through mutual outreach efforts such as newsletters, mailings (online and offline) or co-branding opportunities. You can probably find out a handful of like-minded products or services that are already talking to your customer base. The proper cross promotion can result in positive gains for both companies.
  5. Advertising: Nowadays there are an endless variety of ways to advertise one’s business. You can use flyers, Facebook, Instagram, web advertising and more. Try out different mediums and see how different demographics respond to each one.
  6. Samples: Giving out free samples is another way to reel in customers. Having a positive reaction to a test product makes it more likely they’ll tell their friends sooner rather than later. Clients who get samples also tend to brag about their freebies to other people.
  7. Customer rewards: Many customers appreciate loyalty cards that provide them with gifts or discounts. Create loyalty point cards to keep customers coming back to you.

Never give up in your efforts to acquire more customers, and do your best to spread your enthusiasm for the product you are providing.  The market is vast, and even though tastes can be hard to pin down, constantly networking and promoting your product will eventually carry you to your desired goals.

C. Burca | DBPC Blog

When Should a Business Expand?

Starting a business is hard, making it successful is even harder.  Once a company has hit its first few major milestones, many will start to think about going to try and carve out a bigger chunk of the market for themselves.  This has been the downfall of more than one promising business, and before anyone thinks of expanding, they should look for a few key indicators that their organization is actually ready for that kind of growth. 

When the product is ready

So you’ve rolled out the initial version of your product/service, and it is a hit with your core customer base and other early adopters.  The question you must ask now is whether it is ready for mainstream public consumption.  Trying to expand a business centered around a flawed product can lower the ceiling for your potential market share and sabotage your potential.  Analyze your product against the competition, and make absolutely sure that it’s ready to blow everyone else out of the water before you embark on a marketing and hiring blitz.

When you know the market is there

If the growth of your current market is limited, it should only be because of a lack of infrastructure or funding on your part.  It is incredibly risky to expand and try to “find” a larger market.  Lots of money will be spent on marketing and business development for returns that are unpredictable at best.  The market should already be there ahead of time.  In cases where your business has a very particular niche, it is similarly dangerous to try and expand beyond that small market.  It is one thing to convince customers that you have a great solution to a common problem; it is much harder to convince them that you have a solution to a problem they don’t even think about.

When customer base exceeds customer support

One of the most important elements in maintaining a successful business is making sure fast, quality support is available to every one of your customers.  Even the best products can fail if there isn’t sufficient infrastructure in place to help customers who are struggling some element of its use.  Word of bad service will spread quickly and will easily undo good publicity from advertising.  Resist the urge to keep growing your clientele without investing in more support reps to match.

Most successful leaders meticulously plan the start of their business, and they should always exercise similar caution and reflection when dealing with expansion.  The danger is that entrepreneurs will get caught up in the storm of their early success and miss key indications that their company is not yet ready for the big time.  Enthusiasm is great, but it is equally important that you maintain a critical eye when looking at your business.  A bit of caution now can pay big dividends in the long term and can save your company from burning out early.


Lance | DBPC Blog