Talking to Clients: Business Resolutions for 2018
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Over the last twelve months, we’ve seen exciting opportunities for Nova Scotia companies emerge, including the launch of NSBI’s new Scale-up Hub in Cambridge, Massachusetts; a strengthened relationship with China through the CanCham-Shanghai partnership; and the ratification of the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which allows 98% of Canadian goods to enter Europe without tariffs.
As we look forward to a new year and plan for what’s ahead, we asked our clients, Gidney Fisheries, wholesaler and worldwide exporter of lobster and seafood, and Smarter Spaces, 3D scanning and processing company, to share their new year’s resolutions for 2018.
Resolution #1 - Diversify
Having a diverse customer base is essential to successfully weathering sudden changes in global markets. Robert MacDonald, President and General Manager of Gidney Fisheries, noted this was particularly important for his business last year and plans to continue expanding the company’s global reach in 2018. “We’re shipping to China, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, the Middle-East, and moving into Northern Europe. We’re trying to keep things diverse so we can be resilient to market shifts.”
Resolution #2 - Listen to the market, and keep customers at the forefront
As Gidney Fisheries continues to export into Asia and Europe, they’re keen to learn more about new customers. This has led the Centreville lobster processor to develop new offerings, such as frozen lobster, as they respond to the needs of a new customer base. “We’re expanding and releasing new products, rounding out our product offerings.” Though the company remains focused on lobster, they’re listening to what customers are looking for and responding with new, value-added products and expanded distribution. “At first our focus was food service, but now we’re also pushing towards retail grocery, working to build great relationships with our new buyers.”
Resolution #3 - Take advantage of technology and trade agreements
Online selling and a growing number of free trade agreements have created more opportunities for Canadian businesses than ever before. Leveraging major e-commerce platforms in Asia, such as Alibaba, has given small Nova Scotia companies tangible ways to enter major markets. “The opportunities in Asia are exploding.” And though Canada’s free trade agreement with Europe is still in its early days, Gidney Fisheries sees great opportunity. “Free trade opens doors and gets the product in. Free trade with South Korea created lots of opportunity for us, particularly in retail grocery through e-commerce. And there’s still lots of work to be done.”
Resolution #4 – Succeed at home, grow abroad
At Smarter Spaces, owners Colin Gillis and Dan MacIntosh know focusing on building a strong foundation at home and serving the clients they already know, helps to lay the groundwork for future expansions. “We’re focusing on the market here in Atlantic Canada, educating existing clients, and growing out the team to build a foundation to scale abroad.” While giving special attention to the market at home, the company kept international markets and export as part of their larger strategy, as they explored new opportunities in the Netherlands in 2017.
Resolution #5 – Consider early adoption of new technologies
As the first Atlantic Canadian company to use mobile 3D scanning, Smarter Spaces uses technology as their leading edge. The company is a world-leader in using unique tech solutions to collect data for digital documentation and continues to focus on adopting new technologies. “We are always on the lookout for new technology, and introducing disrupters to the industry as we lead the pack. For services that local professionals source abroad, we want to take them home to create jobs in Nova Scotia.”
Resolution #6 – Keep your eyes on the prize
Running and growing a company is a constant balancing act, but Colin and Dan believe keeping the end-goal in mind helps keep things on track. “Entrepreneurs, including ourselves, tend to get buried in running the business versus growing the company. Our commitment in 2018 is to stay focused on our objectives and avoid distractions.”
Is growing your business part of your resolutions for 2018? Nova Scotia Business Inc. is here to help, providing resources such as an Exporter Self-Assessment Tool and relevant Export Development Education.