Photo: Vic and Kathy Pundzius are photographed at their For Your Fur Kids store in Forest Glade where they sell health-conscious food and treats for pets of all sizes. They also stock coats, leashes, collars and toys. Photo by Dave Hall.
Small Business Month: The Jewel In The Crown For Our Local Economy
More than 50 small businesses across the region are set to display their products at the “W.E. Shop Local Show” as part of Small Business Month across Canada.
Rebranded, this year, as a retail show to attract more consumers, it will be held October 25, 2018 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Fogolar Furlan Club, 1800 North Service Road in Windsor.
The show was originally called the “Small Business Expo” but, based on feedback from vendors and attendees, many people thought it was a training show (with tips and advice for entrepreneurs) rather than a retail show, says Shannon Dyck, Manager of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Centre, which is organizing the event.
“It really is a show where you can buy products and get a better idea of what our many successful small businesses are producing,” says Dyck.
“Small businesses are clearly the engine that drives our economy and that’s why we are trying to help many of them showcase their products to a larger audience,” notes Dyck. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for home-based business owners to get their products in front of consumers.”
The Small Business Centre also offers a variety of programs to help business owners launch their companies. For more information on the centre, check out online.
Dyck adds that small independent businesses exist along every main street in this region, from Lakeshore all the way to Leamington and in every municipality in between.
According to Statistics Canada, small businesses employ 90 percent of Canada’s private sector workforce and contribute 30 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.“Shows such as this are an integral part of our mandate to provide support and opportunities for small business owners who face many challenges in a competitive marketplace,” Dyck comments.
The event is a great time for area residents to support local by purchasing many goods on site, but also to learn about new services.
As well, it allows entrepreneurs (those with a booth on site and others in attendance) to meet old and new business contacts.
This is also the purpose of this article in Biz X as it is designed to introduce our readers to local business owners — whether they are new or have been operating for a few years — to learn about their companies and also gain a bit of helpful advice for yours.
And one of the many challenges facing owners of small businesses, whether they are start-ups or already established, is letting your customers know you exist.
Katie Stokes of Blab Media (BlabMedia.ca) and Imaginative Imaging (ImaginativeGroup.com) believes using social media instead of traditional media can help small business owners reach a targeted audience more effectively.
“You’re able to more directly connect to your audience by using Twitter, Instagram or Facebook where you can find groups of like-minded people who are already pre-disposed to buy your products or use your services,” says Stokes. “And selecting which social media platform to use depends largely upon the audience you want to reach. You have to determine who your perfect customer is, and from there, find out where to find them on social media.”
Stokes explains that using social media can help small business owners access customer markets at the ground level where they can get to know their target audience in a cost-effective manner.
For those business owners who are unfamiliar with social media platforms, don’t be afraid to turn to a professional for help, Stokes urges.