Business Centre Sponsor – BDC
BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 123 business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions. BDC is also the first financial institution in Canada to receive B Corp certification. To find out more, visit bdc.ca.
How to Write a Sales Plan
Four easy steps to create a sales plan for the year ahead
If you’ve never written a sales plan before, the task might seem daunting. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Think of a sales plan as your roadmap for the coming year. It’s where you set specific sales goals for your business and define the actions you’ll need to take to reach them. If done right, it can help you take a more strategic, big-picture approach to growing your business.
There’s no need to craft a 50-page report. For small businesses, a sales plan should be short and to the point.
“Whether it’s a couple of pages in Word or even a simple spreadsheet, all you need is something that will bring structure to your sales and marketing so everybody on your team is pulling in the same direction,” says BDC Business Consultant Diana Da Silva.
Here are four key steps to creating an effective small business sales plan.
How to Get Your Business Online Quickly to Keep Selling During a Crisis
If you can’t deliver your products, you don’t really have an online business
The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing more customers online, giving businesses an opportunity to get online quickly or enhance their online presence to make sales. “There are a number of things to consider in order to start selling,” says Tyler Lockyer, Business Advisor, BDC Advisory Services:
1. Build your product catalogue
Your products need to move from the store shelf to a digital catalogue, Lockyer says. You need to show customers what your products are and what they look like. That means you need an image, description and product attributes, such as colours and sizes, he says.
2. Who picks, packs, and delivers your orders?
“Do you have a shipping supplier? Can you print shipping labels? At minimum, I would think about your fulfillment process,” Lockyer advises. “How are you going to manage the delivery of those products?”
3. How will you receive payment?
If you’re going to be selling primarily online during this period, how are you going to accept payments?
4. Fees, pricing, and policies
Lockyer says you will need to consider how your new business expenses, such as online transaction fees or unrecoverable fulfillment costs, could affect your product pricing.
5. How will you deal with customer service?
Lockyer says you may have entirely new questions from your customers that you aren’t used to responding to, and in a new format. Someone will need to monitor questions that come from your online store.
6. The importance of technology
If you’re already online you need to make sure that your website is transactional, Lockyer says. There are several options available that require varying amounts of technical support in order to get online.
Growing your business online equates with higher revenues, direct communication with customers and easier access to global markets, says the recent BDC study, Expand Online. The study found that four out of 10 Canadian SMEs with an online presence sell, receive and take orders online. Consequently, 60% of Canadian SMEs are missing huge growth opportunities. Getting online fast can make a huge difference to your business at this time.
“These are the crucial things that are necessary for you to do to get online quickly,” Lockyer says.
3 Steps to Manage Stress and Build Resilience
Entrepreneurs often carry a lot of stress. They can feel isolated, bottling up anxieties while trying to project strength and optimism. It’s important for entrepreneurs to be aware of their stress, find ways to manage it and build resilience. Steps for managing stress and building resilience:
1. Evaluate your stress level
It’s important to regularly weigh your stress level. A good time for a check-in is when you wake up in the morning. Ask yourself how you feel. Check in with yourself instead of your phone. A lack of self-awareness is a common problem for people whose stress has built up excessively. We’re so busy being busy that we’re not aware of how we’re feeling.
2. Identify causes and solutions
It’s useful to take a solution-based approach to stress, much as you might when solving a business challenge. Here are some common stressors and possible solutions.
- Business problems
Whether it’s cash flow, hiring or an investment decision, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.
Solutions: Recognize when a problem is beyond your capacity to handle well. If needed, hire an expert or business coach to help you find solutions.
If you have too much on your plate, consider delegating some of them. Take occasional breaks through the workday. Breaks are a great way to allow us not to be stressed.
- Work-life balance
One of the most common causes of burnout for entrepreneurs is an unhealthy work-life balance.
Solutions: It’s important to set boundaries for your personal life. This will help you be more productive at work and maintain healthy personal relationships.
- Isolation, poor communication
Entrepreneurs often feel isolated, unable to talk about business anxieties and have a desire to project vision and strength.
Solutions: It’s important to create a business culture that allows good communication and fosters employee engagement. Give feedback in a constructive way.
- Lack of sleep
Feeling tired often goes hand-in-hand with stress. Getting plenty of shut eye is key for managing stress well.
Solutions: Try to get outside more often and get some sun on your face. Spending time in a natural setting is a great way to lift your spirits.
Constant connectedness is a growing cause of stress and depression.
Solutions: Find ways to limit device use, especially when not at work. This could include turning off notifications, putting your phone on silent, or not checking email at home.
3. Build resilience
Resilience is your ability to bounce back from setbacks, learn, grow and find meaning in challenges. It’s not about trying to harden yourself and ignoring stress.
To read the full article please visit https://www.bdc.ca/en/about/entrepreneurs-well-being/pages/steps-to-manage-stress-and-build-resilience.aspx