Latest News

Our Newest Committee Member Helping Others

He's at it again! One of our newest committee members, Slava from 4th Street Panago Pizza donated $1000, pizza coupons AND pizza for all the kids at Fresh Start: Back to school event . 

The annual Fresh Start program is fundraising and collecting items for young students, including backpacks, books and clothes. Any money donated will be given to parent groups who already work hard to provide supplies for students who can’t afford them. Creator Dave Lawrence says it’s been a joy to see the program grow by “leaps and bounds” in such a short time. “It’s such a rewarding thing to do. You see people who came one year and then are in a better situation volunteering to help the next year." Every student who comes to pick up supplies also gets a fresh haircut for the first day of school, for the cost of reading a book to the barber. Supplies can be dropped off at That 50’s Barbershop on Victoria Crescent, downtown Nanaimo. Money can be donated online.

 

Volunteer of the Year

We are excited to announce Ed Poli as the Community Futures Central Island's Volunteer of the Year for 2019. CFCI relies on community business leaders to volunteer and represent our region's communities and economic sector voicing the needs and concerns of constituents. Poli's broad understanding and balanced perspective enabled him to make a meaningful contribution to members, staff and clients.

"It is very easy to support the nomination of Chair Ed Poli for Volunteer of the Year.   Ed has been an essential influence in the direction of Community Futures Central Island.  He is forward thinking and understands our role to best serve development in the central island region. With his great respect for board and committee members along with a great sense of humour, Ed made our organization effective to meet the challenges facing future growth in Central Vancouver Island.  We feel comforted knowing that Ed is close by and will continue to lend his expertise on our important committees,"commented David Mailloux, Vice-Chair, CFCI Board of Directors.

Community Futures Central Island holds its AGM

Community Futures Chair, Ed Poli wished to thank Wendy Smitka for her years of service on the Community Futures Central Island Board of Directors.  Both Wendy and Ed have served their nine year maximum tenure.  The new Board of Directors is comprised of nine continuing members.  We were pleased to welcome three new members to our Loans Committee.  David Mailloux was appointed as the Chair of CFCI with his tenure effective July 1, 2019.  David served as Vice Chair for two years and has been on the board and involved in committee work for six years.

Our 'Year in Review' reflects on our collaborations and community engagement as well as our investments in small business.  To view a copy of our report click here.

What is the Export Navigator Program?

The Export Navigator Program offers businesses access to community-based export specialists who can provide a personalized, step-by-step approach to exporting and help connect your business to the market information, export programs, financial services, and business development experts it needs at every stage of the process. There is no cost to the business owner for these services.

Benefits of Expanding Your Markets

Diversifies Your Customer Base - Expanding to new markets increases the size of your target market, may broaden your product offering and offset seasonal fluctuations in sales.

Increases Profitability - Increased production generally leads to economies of scale and decreased cost per unit, which increases your profit margins.

Fosters Innovation - Expanding to new markets fosters innovation in your goods and services, which enhances your competitiveness.

Export Navigator Services

  • Export readiness assessment
  • Business needs assessment
  • Market entry strategy support
  • Export workbook and information
  • Expert advice and guidance
  • Streamlined service connections
  • Ongoing market entry support

Who is Eligible?

Small and medium-sized businesses operating in the following regions:

Cariboo (Based in Prince George)

Community Futures Fraser Fort George   email Charles   Direct: 250.960.0246  1566 Seventh Ave., Prince George, BC V2L394

North East BC (Based in Dawson Creek)

Community Futures Peace Liard  email Lilia Direct: 250.261.3148  904-102 Ave., Dawson Creek, BC V1G 2B7

Kootenay Boundary (Based in Nelson)

Community Futures Central Kootenay email Michael  Direct: 250.354.7857  201-514 Vernon St., Nelson, BC V1L4E7

Vancouver Island - North (Based in Port Alberni)

Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot  email Brady  Direct: 250.585.6004  4757 Tebo Ave., Port Alberni, BC V9Y 8A9

Vancouver Island - South (Based in Duncan)

Community Futures Cowichan  email Fabrizio   Office: 250.746.1004 135 Third St., Duncan, BC V9L 1R9

North Okanagan (Based in Vernon)

Community Futures North Okanagan  email Ken  Office: 250.545.2215 3105 33 St., Vernon, BC V1T 9P7

Pacific Northwest (Based in Prince Rupert)

Community Futures Pacific Northwest email Mietka  Office: 250.622.2332 100-515 Third Ave. West, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1L9

Women and Indigenous business owners are encouraged to contact:

Community Futures Central Interior First Nations email Daphne  Office: 250.828.9833 208-345 Chief Alex Thomas Way, Kamloops, BC V2H 1H1

Women’s Enterprise Centre

Email office  Office: 800.643.7014 Suite 54, 601 West Cordova StreetVancouver, BC, V6B 1G1

For businesses in the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria and other areas outside of the service areas, there are resources to assist you with exporting. For more information please email.

 

 

Pathway to a Successful Business Sale 

Your business could be your single most important financial asset. You have led its development and growth, with patience and care.  Now that the time has come to consider selling it, patience and care are even more vital. 

Stage 1: Plan

Give yourself time. On average it takes close to 2 years for a business to sell. While planning the sale, don’t take your foot of the gas. A declining business is worth less and will quickly become unattractive to buyers.  Take the time to ask and answer questions around the sale value of your business and to decide whether a friendly buyer, such as an employee or family member is ready to jump in. 

Stage 2: Prepare

Buyers will always ask to see financial statements prior to entering a purchase agreement, which could include a combination of asset values, income statement, or balance sheet. As well, buyers will need procedures, employee roles, and customer/supplier information for a smooth transition.  If you’re the gasoline that’s powering the entire engine, you’ll need it all written down so the business can run without you. 

Stage 3: Market

No one knows as much about your business as you do. Even though you will be busy dealing with more pressing matters, it’s important to add the “staging’ and the ‘sizzle’ when marketing your business for sale. While you should remain open to any buyer that comes your way, marketing efforts need to be focused on getting your business in front of the kinds of buyers that are most likely to give you what you want. 

Stage 4: Connect

It takes a village to sell a business. It is extremely helpful to have knowledgeable resources like a realtor, business broker or experienced adviser on your team; someone who can suggest a way around an impasse during negotiations and point out the small but important details and considerations.  Essentially, creating a win /win situation can make the difference between success and failure. 

Currently, it’s a buyer’s market.  If you are not ready to accept a reasonable offer you’re better off not listing until ready. Patience is key! If you try to offload your business in a hurry, or without preparing adequately, you won’t realize the return you are hoping for. 

Jolynn Green is the Executive Director of Community Futures Central Island who specializes in small business loans. Jolynn can be reached at ed@cfnanaimo.org or 250-591-7499

 

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES CANADIAN EXPERIENCES FUND

During the unveiling of Budget 2019, The Government of Canada announced the Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF), a national program geared toward supporting communities across our country as they create, improve or enhance tourism products, facilities and experiences.

How it Works

The Canadian Experiences Fund is delivered in British Columbia by Western Economic Diversification Canada. The fund is part of our government’s renewed efforts to support the tourism sector by investing in the types of products and experiences that cater to Canada’s strengths, while also growing tourism beyond major cities and the summer season.

Investments made through the Canadian Experiences Fund are focused on the following five categories:

  • Expand winter and shoulder-season by funding projects like onsite experiences development, tours, excursions, special events and tourism facilities
  • Grow tourism in rural and remote communities by investing in projects such as destination development planning, adventure, eco- and agri-tourism, local product development, or rural and remote tourism facilities
  • Increase Indigenous tourism by investing in such projects as market readiness, onsite experiences development, developing a line of consumer products, tours, festivals and special events
  • Promote LGBTQ2+ communities, by supporting train the trainer programs, projects such as attractions, special events and festivals as well as market readiness
  • Boost culinary and farm-to-table experiences, by funding projects in areas including culinary tourism trails, farmers markets, and onsite experiences development in various locations

Who Can Apply?

The Canadian Experiences Fund is open to a wide spread of organizations. These include non-profits, for-profit businesses, industry associations, and local, provincial or indigenous governments.

Non-Profits

Non-profit organizations can normally request up to $500,000. Funding requests above this amount will only be considered on an exceptional basis. CEF funding can be up to 100 per cent of eligible costs.

For-Profit

Incorporated for-profit organizations (less than 500 full-time employees) can request funding of less than $100,000 with confirmed funding from all other sources (CEF funding can be up to 50% of the proposed project costs, with the remaining funds coming from other non-government sources).

How to Apply

Interested applicants are invited to contact Western Economic Diversification Canada via email, attaching the Project Summary Form.

7 Reasons Your Small Business or Freelancing Career Isn't Making Enough Money

Cash flow problems? It's probably due to one of these reasons.

What if you have sales and are still not making enough money? Here's another comment I received:

I left corporate work in 2013 and created my solo consultancy. I have *not* reached my corporate salary (not even close) and while I’ve been incredibly successful in terms of business, clients, 80%+ client-referral, outcomes, A-lister clients, etc...the financial success is not there. I know every 'freelancer' and solo entrepreneur knows what I’m talking about. I’m now focusing and building strategy to grow my services business. I’m trying to remain open-minded to growth ideas that I rejected in the past.

Here are seven reasons your small business is not making enough money.

1. Current business area is lower-paying than previous corporate role.

This particular small-business owner is not making enough money when she compares her current consulting business to her previous corporate role -- “I have *not* reached my corporate salary (not even close)” despite strong sales and clients results. However, this may not be a fair comparison.

A previous job might serve Fortune 50 clients, while the current business serves mom-and-pop businesses. A previous job might deliver long-term, multi-departmental projects, while the current business is a solo consultancy with smaller, discrete pieces of work. Make sure the money potential is there in your current business before you expect it to replace your previous corporate salary. Depending on your financial obligations, you may not need to replace your salary. Compensation is not just monetary -- there are psychic and lifestyle benefits that make up for the lower pay. However, if you do want to make more, then look at your revenue potential. If you charge by the hour, can you charge a high enough rate and book enough hours that you can replace or exceed your corporate salary?

2. Pricing is too low.

That said, if your current business is in a similar market as your previous corporate job and you are still not making enough money, this is a legitimate concern. You should expect to match, if not exceed, your former salary (after all, you are now taking on the risk of developing the business).

So, if you are doing similar work but not earning as much money, look at your pricing. You may be charging too little -- a small price for a small shop, rather than a big price for a big company. 

You might have strong sales, but are you pricing high enough with each sale, or at least your average sale?

3. Costs are too high.

A consulting or services business typically doesn’t have as complicated (or high) a cost structure as a products business that has materials, manufacturing, storage and distribution costs. However, all businesses have costs, so when you are not making enough money, you have to review yours.

For example, my services business has costs, including office rent, accounting and legal fees, technology and equipment and travel and entertainment. If you have strong sales but don’t feel you’re making enough money, then your cost structure may be too high for the prices you are charging.

Do you need ongoing office space? Do you need that professional membership? Do you need that subscription? In the 10+ years I’ve been in business, I have pruned a number of support services that turned out not to return enough for the cost. Many of these services aren't too expensive on an individual basis, but in aggregate, they can impact your profits.

4. Volume or turnover is too slow.

Let’s say your costs are minimal and your pricing is in line with your market. Your profit seems high each time you make a sale, but you are still not making enough when you draw each week, month or quarter. Your individual sale might be just fine, but you are not making enough of them.

This particular reader is getting results and referrals, so not having enough volume isn’t a reflection of not doing a good job. It could be simply be caused by a long selling cycle or a conscious decision to not take on as much work. If it’s a conscious choice to limit your number of clients, then you have to charge a premium to each client. If your selling cycle is so long that you inadvertently limit the number of clients, then you have to focus on speeding up the process from the time a client hears of you until they decide to buy.

5. Pricing doesn’t include enough margin.

The unbillable time that you spend selling is a real cost that could mean the difference between a fat profit margin and not making enough money. Additional unbillable time that is necessary for your business includes time you spend on operations: keeping your books in order, invoicing and collecting payments, maintaining your website and maintaining your brand.

You need to account for all of these activities when you set your pricing to ensure that it has enough margin to cover not just executing the work, but all of your operations. Many small businesses' pricing does not include enough margin, either because the small-business owner only considers the hours they are actually executing the work or because they underestimate how much time is spent on these unbillable, but business-critical, activities. 

Do you know how much time you are spending on what activities? Does your pricing account for all of your time?

6. Client targets are too low.

When you do come up with a price that accounts for all of your time, you might see that the breakeven price is much higher than you have been charging to date. You might fear that your clients will balk at paying this increase. This fear may be unfounded, because if clients have been happy thus far, they may not want to lose you.

You can increase prices gradually or offer payment plans -- there are ways to negotiate a price increase so it’s more palatable. However, you might find that some of your clients are unable or unwilling to pay the higher prices. You need to build your business around clients who can pay the prices you need to hit your earnings target.

7. Offering is too small.

If your clients are right and your pricing is right, another area to review is your offering. I coached one design consultant who offered a range of services, from strategy to execution of a branding plan, and sold each step individually, as well as in a bundle.

However, the selling cycle for individual pieces was just as long as for the larger projects. This meant the margins were much smaller, and that she was better off focusing on the larger offerings. She could still take on smaller projects opportunistically, or refer these out and take a fee. You don’t have to say "yes" to every sale, because not every sale is of equal value.

If your small business is not making enough money, there are many levers to pull to improve its profitability. You need to know your numbers, from the unbillable time you are spending to the price of each individual offering. The small businesses I see struggle the most are ones that don’t have a concrete sense of their numbers.

Keep a time log. Review your historical sales for pricing, scope of project, client size, client mix and sales channel. Look for the areas that you can improve in your business based on the profit you want, as well as the psychic and lifestyle benefits you wish to retain.

(By Caroline Ceniza-Levine. Ceniza-Levine is a career change expert with SixFigureStart.)

Understanding Cash Flow is King

A healthy cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business, and knowing how to manage the businesses cash can be the difference between success and failure.

The often quoted phrase, ‘Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity but cash is reality” certainly says it all in 10 words. Having ample cash on hand will ensure that suppliers, employees and others can be paid on time. Understanding your numbers will allow you to make informed decisions quickly when an opportunity comes up that can translate to increased revenue and profit.

Cash management can be as simple as a cash flow spread sheet that monitors the movement of cash into or out of a business, matching outlays of cash with money owed to your business.  As a small business owner, you must keep a record of all payments, bank statements, bills from all customer sales, vendor and supplier purchases, items received and checks disbursed-including payroll.

Bookkeeping may seem mundane but it is essential to keep track of the cash that is going in and out of your business.  If keeping the books up to date is not your strength, find a professional who will ensure you stay up to date with all GST and payroll submissions, as well as, all regular tax filings.

As an added bonus, a professional bookkeeper can have all the information ready for a seamless transfer to your accountant for year-end filings; your accountant will be able to offer advice on anything you should be doing to keep your business fiscally healthy. Best of all, a professional can take care of the books and you can do what you do best whether it’s sales, marketing or management.

Making more than your business is spending? That is good. Is your cash flow regularly edging into the red? Not so good! It’s time to get some help. All it takes are a few smart moves to bring your business into the black. 

Jolynn Green is Executive Director of Community Futures Central Island. You can count on us for sound practical advice, personalized business coaching and tailored financing that supports your business goals. Jolynn can be reached at ed@cfnanaimo.org or 250-591-7499

 

 

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Communities Served

Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Gabriola Island, Lantzville, Nanoose, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Bowser, French Creek, Lasqueti Island
 
Click for the BBB Business Review of this Loans - Small Business in Nanaimo BC

CONTACT US

Community Futures Central Island
#14 - 327 Prideaux Street
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 2N4

T: 250.591.7499
T: 888.303.2232
T: 877.585.5385