With three strong and active Business Improvement Areas, compounded by a commitment to supporting business, Cambridge, Ontario has been named one of 10 “American” small cities of the future. This is according to FDI intelligence, a research arm of the Financial Times which based its claims on the city’s business friendliness. In fact, the report gives other municipalities in the region similarly high praises including Waterloo and Brantford.
This is exciting news for businesses based in the area; a fantastic opportunity which should not be squandered. Let’s take a look at some key numbers.
According to the small business commercial and retail data book published by Cambridge’s Office of the City Manager, Economic Development Division (whew, what a mouthful), the business community consists of approximately 8,174 businesses in the retail, manufacturing, services and other sectors. Seventy percent of these organizations have 1-9 employees, and 24%have 10-49 employees. Small and medium business isn’t a large sector of our economy, it’s the backbone. This is a place where small business are diverse and numerous. We have weathered economic storms, faced changes in the business environment and adapted rather than wither on the vine. At the risk of sounding overly flattering, the region is healthy for business and the fundamentals are strong.
I wrote a previous article about the state of small to medium sized businesses in Canada regarding their online presence. The crux of that piece is, we are lagging behind our US counterparts, dragging our heels when it comes to claiming our spots in the virtual marketplace. This reality is despite the fact we have an advantageous position. The time has come for us to start asserting our online presences, and capitalizing on the opportunity. In the words of a former colleague, it’s a big pie and we intend to get our fair share. When more than half of Canadian small businesses do not have a website we need to pause and ask ourselves if we willing to learn and adapt again. The economy is in the process of being digitally disrupted (you can’t halt progress), and we owe it to ourselves to come out on top.
I’m not suggesting the need to redo how we approach running businesses. Bluntly, the region is doing better than average when it comes to business as usual. We do however, need to stay on top of things. When 42%of small businesses in Canada don’t have a website, a number which ignores the ones that are dated or maybe even a little embarrassing, it becomes clear there is opportunity to grow. There was a time in the not too distant past when many business owners treated email as a novelty and an internet connection was a nice to have supplement. Today, it’s hard to imagine conducting business without these valuable tools. Once we learned how to use these things, they went from intimidating and disruptive to convenient and invaluable.
The same can be said about claiming your online presence. It doesn’t have to be intimidating or mysterious. Much like putting a sign up on a storefront, it fills a very necessary need: Here we are and we’re open for business.
We at MoonSoar Services can help you get started or work with you to improve your existing online presence. With upfront and honest communication we are committed to helping you understand and extract value from your digital presence. It’s always a pleasure to have a dialogue with people that want to share their experiences and needs, that’s how we learn things. Contact us today for a friendly and straightforward conversation about a strategy which best suits your evolving needs.