Meakin Pivoting During the Pandemic

Connor Meakin is a UBC Alumnus and the owner of a small business in Vancouver. We are excited to feature Connor as our latest guest blog writer.

Guest Post: Pivoting During the Pandemic

 

If your small business is struggling because of COVID-19, you may want to consider taking drastic measures. I certainly did. My business dropped 400% from April to August. We rely on our retail partners to sell our products, and retail sales were almost zero. I decided that if COVID-19 was going to try to put us out of business, I was going to have a say in the outcome.

You need to be assertive and play offense to get through uncertain times. In business, playing offense means taking control of circumstances by building a culture focused on growth and innovation. Waiting for growth without a clear action plan isn’t practical during a pandemic. This article will outline three ways to play offense with your business. These strategies saved my business; hopefully they’ll help your business too. 

1. Meet your customers where they are

Retail isn’t dead, however it has changed forever. According to Adobe’s DEI report, within 6 months COVID-19 accelerated e-commerce growth by 6 years. As a result, shopping habits are different now. You need to make adjustments to your business model to meet your customers where they are.

When COVID-19 hit in March, I immediately invested what little cashflow we had into a new website, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and email marketing software. We had tried online sales before but had little traction due to the physical nature of our products, which are frozen and heavy—not ideal for e-commerce.

But things were desperate; we had no sales coming in. We had to find a way to make it work. Now e-commerce makes up 25% of our revenue—that’s up from 0% this time last year. Online sales kept us in business. If you’re a retail business struggling with no foot traffic, find a way to meet your customers online. You don’t need to ship physical goods to do this (more on that below).

2. Learn to acquire customers online for free

There are several different ways to acquire customers online. Unfortunately, many of them are costly for small businesses. For example, paid advertising on Facebook can be effective if done correctly. However, there are also a number of cost-free ways to connect with potential customers online: social media, SEO and email marketing. The main investment needed from you is time.

Play to your strengths. I recognize that my strength is writing, so I focus on mediums that play to that: SEO, email marketing and long-form written content. If you love being on camera or taking photos, use social media to acquire customers. You may laugh at TikTok, but savvy business owners are making a lot of money using it to market their products.

The take home point is this: pick 1-2 channels to focus on. Learn about those channels using free online tools and courses, then measure your results. Do they drive online sales? If they don’t, move on to different mediums or strategies. During the early days of COVID-19, I spent every morning learning SEO and email marketing. Now it is paying unforeseen dividends. These strategies are helping both my online sales and my retail sales.

3. Pivot what you’re selling

You need to find a way to transition the offline parts of your business to the online marketplace. If you work in trades, as a teacher, or as a chef, you might consider offering an online course about your trade or skill. You’d be surprised at what people will pay for. And you don’t need a massive following to make money with an online course.

If you sell items that are expensive to ship, brainstorm new products that are e-commerce-friendly. Despite funds being extremely tight, I am launching a new product specifically tailored to our online clientele. It is light and small, perfect for keeping shipping costs down.

What if my lease is weighing me down?

Stuck in a lease with physical real-estate? You may not be able to get out of your lease, but you can change what you’re selling. For example, my partner pivoted her barber shop to a tattoo studio. Little up-front capital was needed: just some new signs, new tables and equipment.

Another example is fulfilment services. The shift to e-commerce has led to an increased demand for fulfilment services. If your property has unused space, get ahead of the times and open a last-mile fulfilment service for your city. “Last-mile” refers to the movement of goods from a transportation hub (e.g. warehouses outside the city) to the final delivery destination, usually a residence. The demand for last-mile fulfilment is skyrocketing with the rise of e-commerce. To get started, reach out to local businesses that are selling online. Ask them how their local delivery is going, and offer to do their fulfilment locally.

The rise of cold storage

Another opportunity is to start a cold-chain micro distribution service. Many grocery stores are moving to online delivery. They need cold storage facilities and vehicles within cities to make this viable. Restaurants are prime candidates for this opportunity as their real-estate is often well-suited within cities. Retrofit your restaurant with additional cold storage and prep space, and reduce unnecessary dining space. You can convert the whole restaurant into a hybrid model that supports meal prep, delivery-focused restaurants and grocery delivery services. Then you can sublease your space to a store, other restaurant or meal delivery service.

If your small business is struggling due to the impacts of the pandemic, follow the steps in this article to adjust your business model, acquire customers organically, and pivot to the online marketplace.

 

Images credits:

Mike Petrucci from Unsplash


  About the Author

a photo of guest blogger connor meakin

 

Connor graduated from UBC with a BA in Psychology, and is the founder of Bluebird Provisions Bone Broth, a small business in Vancouver that sells organic bone broth both online and in grocery stores near you.

 

 


 

Meakin Pivoting During the Pandemic

Connor Meakin is a UBC Alumnus and the owner of a small business in Vancouver. We are excited to feature Connor as our latest guest blog writer.

Guest Post: Pivoting During the Pandemic

 

If your small business is struggling because of COVID-19, you may want to consider taking drastic measures. I certainly did. My business dropped 400% from April to August. We rely on our retail partners to sell our products, and retail sales were almost zero. I decided that if COVID-19 was going to try to put us out of business, I was going to have a say in the outcome.

You need to be assertive and play offense to get through uncertain times. In business, playing offense means taking control of circumstances by building a culture focused on growth and innovation. Waiting for growth without a clear action plan isn’t practical during a pandemic. This article will outline three ways to play offense with your business. These strategies saved my business; hopefully they’ll help your business too. 

1. Meet your customers where they are

Retail isn’t dead, however it has changed forever. According to Adobe’s DEI report, within 6 months COVID-19 accelerated e-commerce growth by 6 years. As a result, shopping habits are different now. You need to make adjustments to your business model to meet your customers where they are.

When COVID-19 hit in March, I immediately invested what little cashflow we had into a new website, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and email marketing software. We had tried online sales before but had little traction due to the physical nature of our products, which are frozen and heavy—not ideal for e-commerce.

But things were desperate; we had no sales coming in. We had to find a way to make it work. Now e-commerce makes up 25% of our revenue—that’s up from 0% this time last year. Online sales kept us in business. If you’re a retail business struggling with no foot traffic, find a way to meet your customers online. You don’t need to ship physical goods to do this (more on that below).

2. Learn to acquire customers online for free

There are several different ways to acquire customers online. Unfortunately, many of them are costly for small businesses. For example, paid advertising on Facebook can be effective if done correctly. However, there are also a number of cost-free ways to connect with potential customers online: social media, SEO and email marketing. The main investment needed from you is time.

Play to your strengths. I recognize that my strength is writing, so I focus on mediums that play to that: SEO, email marketing and long-form written content. If you love being on camera or taking photos, use social media to acquire customers. You may laugh at TikTok, but savvy business owners are making a lot of money using it to market their products.

The take home point is this: pick 1-2 channels to focus on. Learn about those channels using free online tools and courses, then measure your results. Do they drive online sales? If they don’t, move on to different mediums or strategies. During the early days of COVID-19, I spent every morning learning SEO and email marketing. Now it is paying unforeseen dividends. These strategies are helping both my online sales and my retail sales.

3. Pivot what you’re selling

You need to find a way to transition the offline parts of your business to the online marketplace. If you work in trades, as a teacher, or as a chef, you might consider offering an online course about your trade or skill. You’d be surprised at what people will pay for. And you don’t need a massive following to make money with an online course.

If you sell items that are expensive to ship, brainstorm new products that are e-commerce-friendly. Despite funds being extremely tight, I am launching a new product specifically tailored to our online clientele. It is light and small, perfect for keeping shipping costs down.

What if my lease is weighing me down?

Stuck in a lease with physical real-estate? You may not be able to get out of your lease, but you can change what you’re selling. For example, my partner pivoted her barber shop to a tattoo studio. Little up-front capital was needed: just some new signs, new tables and equipment.

Another example is fulfilment services. The shift to e-commerce has led to an increased demand for fulfilment services. If your property has unused space, get ahead of the times and open a last-mile fulfilment service for your city. “Last-mile” refers to the movement of goods from a transportation hub (e.g. warehouses outside the city) to the final delivery destination, usually a residence. The demand for last-mile fulfilment is skyrocketing with the rise of e-commerce. To get started, reach out to local businesses that are selling online. Ask them how their local delivery is going, and offer to do their fulfilment locally.

The rise of cold storage

Another opportunity is to start a cold-chain micro distribution service. Many grocery stores are moving to online delivery. They need cold storage facilities and vehicles within cities to make this viable. Restaurants are prime candidates for this opportunity as their real-estate is often well-suited within cities. Retrofit your restaurant with additional cold storage and prep space, and reduce unnecessary dining space. You can convert the whole restaurant into a hybrid model that supports meal prep, delivery-focused restaurants and grocery delivery services. Then you can sublease your space to a store, other restaurant or meal delivery service.

If your small business is struggling due to the impacts of the pandemic, follow the steps in this article to adjust your business model, acquire customers organically, and pivot to the online marketplace.

 

Images credits:

Mike Petrucci from Unsplash


  About the Author

a photo of guest blogger connor meakin

 

Connor graduated from UBC with a BA in Psychology, and is the founder of Bluebird Provisions Bone Broth, a small business in Vancouver that sells organic bone broth both online and in grocery stores near you.

 

 


 

Content marketing is using information for marketing purposes. The information can be in any medium, including writing, videos, infographics, photos, slide presentations, podcasts, and many more.

It contrasts with explicitly promotional marketing material. Nobody watches a car ad to gain information about road safety, for example. An ad for a car is explicitly promotional and so it’s not content marketing. But a car manufacturer’s blog post that talks about how to drive safely in icy conditions is an example of content marketing.

If you’re a home builder, you could have a blog that answers potential customers’ questions about zoning, bylaws, the design process, mortgages and interest rates, builders’ warranties, the difference between stick-building and prefabrication, and so on.

What are the benefits of answering these questions if you’re in the business of selling new homes?

Content marketing has many business benefits, but in this article I’m going to touch on just two:

  • Building trust

  • Attracting web traffic

Content marketing builds trust

When you honestly and helpfully answer people’s questions for free, it helps them trust you. And, as you know, trust is crucial when it comes to an expensive, time-consuming, stressful purchase like a new home.

Sharing your knowledge also allows you to demonstrate your expertise (and differentiate yourself from competitors) in a way that doesn’t come across as boastful. It helps potential homebuyers see you as the expert you are. If you never share your knowledge, how can they trust that you have it?

If a potential customer searches online for “home builder Richmond BC” or “custom-built homes Kelowna BC” your company will (hopefully!) come up in their results if you build in those cities. But local competitors will show up too. Now, suppose the potential customer starts browsing the various websites. Having past projects they can look at is important, as are customer testimonials. (If you do only one thing after reading this article, collect Google reviews from all your happy homebuyers and display them on your website.)

If you’ve gone further than your competitors and have a blog or a series of videos where you answer your potential customers’ questions and address their worries, you’re already starting to build trust with them. Being helpful shows that you care about your customers’ concerns and it demonstrates that you know your stuff. If they spend a decent amount of time on your site absorbing your content, that also helps them to remember your company. Brand recall is important for any product with a long sales cycle, like a new home.

two people working together team laptops

Content marketing attracts web traffic

Content on your website provides opportunities for you to attract visitors who are searching online for information related to building new homes.

Think about how people can find your business online. As mentioned above, they might search for a builder in your city, in which case your content can differentiate you from competitors. Alternatively, if your business has been around for a long time, people might search for your company by name. Your content can build on the authority you already have and it can bring you additional web traffic.

If you’re newer to the industry, potential homeowners are unlikely to be searching for your company name. Content marketing is a way that newer construction companies can compete with more established companies for a share of online traffic. (If you’re just getting your construction business started, check out the UBC Small Business Accelerator’s Construction Guide.)

Whether your company is new or well-established, your content can attract web traffic. Someone who’s considering building a home in Vancouver might search for ‘Vancouver building bylaw energy efficiency’. If you build homes in Vancouver and have a detailed blog post that explains what the city’s building bylaw says about the energy efficiency requirements for new homes in the city, there’s a good chance that your site will come up on the first page of their search results.

As you likely know, the goal of getting on the first page of Google has spawned an entire industry in itself. The details are complicated and I won’t go into them here. The short version is: Create genuinely helpful content that answers your potential customers’ questions. Learn more about the details of coming up in search results as you go along.

(Neil Patel has consistently useful content relating to Google rankings. You can start here: How to Show Up on the First Page of Google (Even if You’re a Nobody).)

The good news is that the construction industry is far from saturated with content, with many construction businesses not creating any at all. This increases the chances of your content showing up higher in search results. As more companies in the construction industry start taking content seriously, it will become harder to get your content on the first page of search results.

Learn more about content marketing for construction companies

If this short article has sparked your interest in content marketing for your construction business, I invite you to read my more in-depth article, Construction Marketing: How to Use Content to Grow Your Business. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


About the Author

Zena Ryder is a BC-based freelance writer who specializes in writing about construction and robotics, while drinking countless cups of tea. You can find her at Zena, Freelance Writer or on LinkedIn.

 

 


Image credits:

Image from Callum Hill used under Unsplash License

Image from Scott Graham used under Unsplash License

Content marketing is using information for marketing purposes. The information can be in any medium, including writing, videos, infographics, photos, slide presentations, podcasts, and many more.

It contrasts with explicitly promotional marketing material. Nobody watches a car ad to gain information about road safety, for example. An ad for a car is explicitly promotional and so it’s not content marketing. But a car manufacturer’s blog post that talks about how to drive safely in icy conditions is an example of content marketing.

If you’re a home builder, you could have a blog that answers potential customers’ questions about zoning, bylaws, the design process, mortgages and interest rates, builders’ warranties, the difference between stick-building and prefabrication, and so on.

What are the benefits of answering these questions if you’re in the business of selling new homes?

Content marketing has many business benefits, but in this article I’m going to touch on just two:

  • Building trust

  • Attracting web traffic

Content marketing builds trust

When you honestly and helpfully answer people’s questions for free, it helps them trust you. And, as you know, trust is crucial when it comes to an expensive, time-consuming, stressful purchase like a new home.

Sharing your knowledge also allows you to demonstrate your expertise (and differentiate yourself from competitors) in a way that doesn’t come across as boastful. It helps potential homebuyers see you as the expert you are. If you never share your knowledge, how can they trust that you have it?

If a potential customer searches online for “home builder Richmond BC” or “custom-built homes Kelowna BC” your company will (hopefully!) come up in their results if you build in those cities. But local competitors will show up too. Now, suppose the potential customer starts browsing the various websites. Having past projects they can look at is important, as are customer testimonials. (If you do only one thing after reading this article, collect Google reviews from all your happy homebuyers and display them on your website.)

If you’ve gone further than your competitors and have a blog or a series of videos where you answer your potential customers’ questions and address their worries, you’re already starting to build trust with them. Being helpful shows that you care about your customers’ concerns and it demonstrates that you know your stuff. If they spend a decent amount of time on your site absorbing your content, that also helps them to remember your company. Brand recall is important for any product with a long sales cycle, like a new home.

two people working together team laptops

Content marketing attracts web traffic

Content on your website provides opportunities for you to attract visitors who are searching online for information related to building new homes.

Think about how people can find your business online. As mentioned above, they might search for a builder in your city, in which case your content can differentiate you from competitors. Alternatively, if your business has been around for a long time, people might search for your company by name. Your content can build on the authority you already have and it can bring you additional web traffic.

If you’re newer to the industry, potential homeowners are unlikely to be searching for your company name. Content marketing is a way that newer construction companies can compete with more established companies for a share of online traffic. (If you’re just getting your construction business started, check out the UBC Small Business Accelerator’s Construction Guide.)

Whether your company is new or well-established, your content can attract web traffic. Someone who’s considering building a home in Vancouver might search for ‘Vancouver building bylaw energy efficiency’. If you build homes in Vancouver and have a detailed blog post that explains what the city’s building bylaw says about the energy efficiency requirements for new homes in the city, there’s a good chance that your site will come up on the first page of their search results.

As you likely know, the goal of getting on the first page of Google has spawned an entire industry in itself. The details are complicated and I won’t go into them here. The short version is: Create genuinely helpful content that answers your potential customers’ questions. Learn more about the details of coming up in search results as you go along.

(Neil Patel has consistently useful content relating to Google rankings. You can start here: How to Show Up on the First Page of Google (Even if You’re a Nobody).)

The good news is that the construction industry is far from saturated with content, with many construction businesses not creating any at all. This increases the chances of your content showing up higher in search results. As more companies in the construction industry start taking content seriously, it will become harder to get your content on the first page of search results.

Learn more about content marketing for construction companies

If this short article has sparked your interest in content marketing for your construction business, I invite you to read my more in-depth article, Construction Marketing: How to Use Content to Grow Your Business. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


About the Author

Zena Ryder is a BC-based freelance writer who specializes in writing about construction and robotics, while drinking countless cups of tea. You can find her at Zena, Freelance Writer or on LinkedIn.

 

 


Image credits:

Image from Callum Hill used under Unsplash License

Image from Scott Graham used under Unsplash License

With the help of local BC business librarians, we have created a new page in our Business Basics section titled COVID-19 & Business Research to help you find credible business information during these uncertain and rapidly changing times. We have listed freely available public resources, as well as databases that may be licensed through local libraries, including here at UBC Library. You will find curated content on the following categories:

  • Key Business Research Starting Places

    Features go-to resources and services that aggregate information about COVID-19 and business.

  • Funding Resources

    An accessible list of various financial resources that have been made available for business during this crisis.

  • Industry Databases with Licensed & Freely Available Content

    A list of databases and tools that are available to the public, as well as through licensed subscriptions. These resources can help you research impacts of the pandemic on industries, consumers and the Canadian economy.

  • Legal Resources

    A variety of legal resources including news, legal updates and Q&As related to COVID-19.

  • Free Educational Opportunities & Professional Development Opportunities

    Free webinars and online courses that business schools have made available in response to the pandemic.

We hope this resource guide is useful to the BC small business community. We invite your comments below to share any questions, feedback or resources with us.

SBA Program News

With the help of local BC business librarians, we have created a new page in our Business Basics section titled COVID-19 & Business Research to help you find credible business information during these uncertain and rapidly changing times. We have listed freely available public resources, as well as databases that may be licensed through local libraries, including here at UBC Library. You will find curated content on the following categories:

  • Key Business Research Starting Places

    Features go-to resources and services that aggregate information about COVID-19 and business.

  • Funding Resources

    An accessible list of various financial resources that have been made available for business during this crisis.

  • Industry Databases with Licensed & Freely Available Content

    A list of databases and tools that are available to the public, as well as through licensed subscriptions. These resources can help you research impacts of the pandemic on industries, consumers and the Canadian economy.

  • Legal Resources

    A variety of legal resources including news, legal updates and Q&As related to COVID-19.

  • Free Educational Opportunities & Professional Development Opportunities

    Free webinars and online courses that business schools have made available in response to the pandemic.

We hope this resource guide is useful to the BC small business community. We invite your comments below to share any questions, feedback or resources with us.

SBA Program News

Looking to start a new business? Want to expand your existing business? Or just want to meet like-minded individuals to share your business ideas with? Here are some places where you can do just that in Networking November:

Library Support for Entrepreneurs (UBC)

Host: UBC AMS eHub
Target Audience: Startups, entrepreneurs, business owners
Date: Friday, November 6, 2019
Time: 5:30PM – 7:30PM
Location: Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (1961 East Mall)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Learn how library and UBC community resources can work for you and your business!

 

BizInfo Day

Host: SFU Vancouver
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, non-profits, and job seekers
Date: Friday, November 8, 2019
Time: 9AM – 4PM
Location: SFU Vancouver – Harbour Centre Building (Room 2270, 515 West Hastings Street)
Cost: Free!
Register for the waitlist here
Summary: Share and discuss business resources, research strategies, patrons, and more with other entrepreneurs, non-profits, and job seekers
 

Strategic Storytelling: Skills and Tips you need to Succeed

Host: Women in Communications & Technology, BC Chapter
Target Audience: Company representatives, entrepreneurs, and working professionals
Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Time: 5:30PM – 8PM
Location: SAP Canada (910 Mainland Street)
Cost: One for $25 or two for $40
Register here
Summary: Develop skills and discover creative strategies to engage with your target audience and tell a compelling story to help build your career or brand

 

SIP + SLAY 3.0

Host: Rebecca Casey, Amy Dewaele, and Deb Tate
Target Audience: Women in business in South Surrey and White Rock
Date: Friday, November 15, 2019
Time: 7PM – 9PM
Location: The Lotus Pedal
Cost: $30 (price includes wine and food)
Register here
Summary: Network with like-minded women in business in your local community!

 

Get Bread: Small Business Finance 101

Host: The Bad Academy
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs and small business owners
Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Time: 5:30PM – 8PM
Location: Conscious Lab (200 – 422 Richards Street)
Cost: $75
Register for the waitlist here
Summary: Learn how to manage your small business’ finances with workshops like “Planning for Profitability”, “Bookkeeping and Cash Flow Management”, and “Financial Analysis”

 

Business Bestie Brunch: Instagram

Host: Megan Nakazawa
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs and small business owners
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 9:30AM – 11AM
Location: The Heart Cloverdale (4 – 5723 176 Street)
Cost: $35 - $45
Register here
Summary: TBD

 

Best Practices Culture Shaping Group – November Gathering

Host: Mike Penninga
Target Audience: HR/Culture Shaping leaders, entrepreneurs, small business owners
Date: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Time: 2PM – 3:30PM
Location: Staples (430 – 2339 British Columbia 97)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Meet other culture-shaping leaders to share best practices on workplace culture development

 

Startup Learning Series: Stock Options, RRSP’s and Benefits

Host: VentureLabs
Target Audience: Founders and senior leadership of startups      
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 12PM – 1PM
Location: SFU VentureLabs (1100 – 555 West Hastings Street)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Hear about the benefits and drawbacks of using different employee incentive structures to retain existing talent and attract new talent

 

Measure What Matters 101 Workshop

Host: BDC and VEC
Target Audience: Entrepreneur, business owner, those interested in becoming B Corp Certified
Date: Friday, November 22, 2019
Time: 9AM – 12PM
Location: Vancouver Economic Commission (1500 – 401 West Georgia Street)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Learn how to measure your business’ impact by performing an audit of your business practices in governance, employee engagement, social responsibility, and environmental impact

 

Women in Business Brunch Tour + Official Book Launch Vancouver

Host: Jane Stoller – Life-Biz Organizer, speaker, and best selling author
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals
Date: Sunday, November 24, 2019
Time: 11AM – 1PM
Location: Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place)
Cost: $92
Register here
Summary: Learn how you can level up your career, explore your passion, refine your goals and tackle obstacles, and network with other business leaders while drinking champagne

 

Funding and Support

Host: Accelerate Okanagan
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, business owners
Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Time: 8:30AM – 9:30AM
Location: Accelerate Okanagan Technology Association (460 Doyle Avenue)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Learn what funding and support programs there are available in Canada that can help you grow your business!

 

It’s YOUR Time Business Breakfast

Host: It’s Your Time Business Services
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, business owners
Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Time: 7AM – 9AM
Location: ARC Restaurant (900 Canada Place)
Cost: $15 - $20
Register here
Summary: Network with other business owners and get your questions answered about how your business can succeed

 

Channel Marketing and Growth

Host: ACETECH
Target Audience: Board members, CEOs, and others working in emerging tech companies
Date: Thursday, November 28, 2019
Time: 8:30AM – 12PM
Location: TBC
Cost: $250
Register here
Summary: Learn about the six unique aspects of channel marketing capability required to successfully develop a high growth channel and tech routes to market strategy

 

For more events like these visit smallbusinessbc.ca and review their event calendar. Please note all above event details have been taken from host descriptions and may be subject to changes.

Looking to start a new business? Want to expand your existing business? Or just want to meet like-minded individuals to share your business ideas with? Here are some places where you can do just that in Networking November:

Library Support for Entrepreneurs (UBC)

Host: UBC AMS eHub
Target Audience: Startups, entrepreneurs, business owners
Date: Friday, November 6, 2019
Time: 5:30PM – 7:30PM
Location: Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (1961 East Mall)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Learn how library and UBC community resources can work for you and your business!

 

BizInfo Day

Host: SFU Vancouver
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, non-profits, and job seekers
Date: Friday, November 8, 2019
Time: 9AM – 4PM
Location: SFU Vancouver – Harbour Centre Building (Room 2270, 515 West Hastings Street)
Cost: Free!
Register for the waitlist here
Summary: Share and discuss business resources, research strategies, patrons, and more with other entrepreneurs, non-profits, and job seekers
 

Strategic Storytelling: Skills and Tips you need to Succeed

Host: Women in Communications & Technology, BC Chapter
Target Audience: Company representatives, entrepreneurs, and working professionals
Date: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Time: 5:30PM – 8PM
Location: SAP Canada (910 Mainland Street)
Cost: One for $25 or two for $40
Register here
Summary: Develop skills and discover creative strategies to engage with your target audience and tell a compelling story to help build your career or brand

 

SIP + SLAY 3.0

Host: Rebecca Casey, Amy Dewaele, and Deb Tate
Target Audience: Women in business in South Surrey and White Rock
Date: Friday, November 15, 2019
Time: 7PM – 9PM
Location: The Lotus Pedal
Cost: $30 (price includes wine and food)
Register here
Summary: Network with like-minded women in business in your local community!

 

Get Bread: Small Business Finance 101

Host: The Bad Academy
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs and small business owners
Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Time: 5:30PM – 8PM
Location: Conscious Lab (200 – 422 Richards Street)
Cost: $75
Register for the waitlist here
Summary: Learn how to manage your small business’ finances with workshops like “Planning for Profitability”, “Bookkeeping and Cash Flow Management”, and “Financial Analysis”

 

Business Bestie Brunch: Instagram

Host: Megan Nakazawa
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs and small business owners
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 9:30AM – 11AM
Location: The Heart Cloverdale (4 – 5723 176 Street)
Cost: $35 - $45
Register here
Summary: TBD

 

Best Practices Culture Shaping Group – November Gathering

Host: Mike Penninga
Target Audience: HR/Culture Shaping leaders, entrepreneurs, small business owners
Date: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Time: 2PM – 3:30PM
Location: Staples (430 – 2339 British Columbia 97)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Meet other culture-shaping leaders to share best practices on workplace culture development

 

Startup Learning Series: Stock Options, RRSP’s and Benefits

Host: VentureLabs
Target Audience: Founders and senior leadership of startups      
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 12PM – 1PM
Location: SFU VentureLabs (1100 – 555 West Hastings Street)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Hear about the benefits and drawbacks of using different employee incentive structures to retain existing talent and attract new talent

 

Measure What Matters 101 Workshop

Host: BDC and VEC
Target Audience: Entrepreneur, business owner, those interested in becoming B Corp Certified
Date: Friday, November 22, 2019
Time: 9AM – 12PM
Location: Vancouver Economic Commission (1500 – 401 West Georgia Street)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Learn how to measure your business’ impact by performing an audit of your business practices in governance, employee engagement, social responsibility, and environmental impact

 

Women in Business Brunch Tour + Official Book Launch Vancouver

Host: Jane Stoller – Life-Biz Organizer, speaker, and best selling author
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals
Date: Sunday, November 24, 2019
Time: 11AM – 1PM
Location: Fairmont Pacific Rim (1038 Canada Place)
Cost: $92
Register here
Summary: Learn how you can level up your career, explore your passion, refine your goals and tackle obstacles, and network with other business leaders while drinking champagne

 

Funding and Support

Host: Accelerate Okanagan
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, business owners
Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Time: 8:30AM – 9:30AM
Location: Accelerate Okanagan Technology Association (460 Doyle Avenue)
Cost: Free!
Register here
Summary: Learn what funding and support programs there are available in Canada that can help you grow your business!

 

It’s YOUR Time Business Breakfast

Host: It’s Your Time Business Services
Target Audience: Entrepreneurs, business owners
Date: Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Time: 7AM – 9AM
Location: ARC Restaurant (900 Canada Place)
Cost: $15 - $20
Register here
Summary: Network with other business owners and get your questions answered about how your business can succeed

 

Channel Marketing and Growth

Host: ACETECH
Target Audience: Board members, CEOs, and others working in emerging tech companies
Date: Thursday, November 28, 2019
Time: 8:30AM – 12PM
Location: TBC
Cost: $250
Register here
Summary: Learn about the six unique aspects of channel marketing capability required to successfully develop a high growth channel and tech routes to market strategy

 

For more events like these visit smallbusinessbc.ca and review their event calendar. Please note all above event details have been taken from host descriptions and may be subject to changes.

coffee shop and coffee manufacturing industry overview

This industry overview will discuss the latest statistics and trends for those interested in the coffee business.

  • Limited-service eating places: In Canada, this is the industry category for coffee shops. In this category, food and drinks are paid for prior to consumption and typically picked up at the counter to eat at the retail location or as takeout.
  • Snack and Non-alcoholic Beverage Bars: In the US, this is the coffee shop industry category; do not confuse this with limited-service restaurants, which excludes coffee shops.
  • Coffee and Tea Manufacturing: This is the industry category for coffee roasters and tea blenders. This has been included as some independent coffee shops roast their own coffee beans.

For more specific information about researching the coffee shop industry, please see our Coffee Shops and Coffee Manufacturing Guide. For an overview of the overall Restaurant industry, please see our Restaurant Industry Overview.

For information about related industries please see our industry guides for restaurants, caterers, bakeries, specialty foods, and street food vendors.

Industry Status

Industry phase: Mature

Concentration: Medium

Competition: High

Regulation: Medium and Increasing

(Sayler, 2018; Ozelkan, 2018)

Starting a coffee shop has a low barrier to entry due to the lower amount of capital required to start a business.

Coffee roasting has a very high barrier to entry; but if you are not planning to sell your roasted coffee on the mass market in places such as grocery stores, this barrier is significantly lower (Ozelkan, 2018).

BC Industry Snapshot

  • Overall profit margin for limited-service eating places is around 5% (Statistics Canada)
  • Sales were up by 8.0% in British Columbia in the third quarter in food services and drinking places (Statistics Canada)
  • High rental costs are increasing the barrier to entry for new coffee shop owners (Sagan, 2019)
  • Only Ontario and BC have significant coffee and tea manufacturing industries in Canada (Statistics Canada)

Graph of sales total for BC Limited-service eating places

Statistics Canada. Table 21-10-0019-01 Monthly survey of food services and drinking places (x 1,000)

Graph of sales totals for coffee manufacturing in BC

Statistics Canada. Table 16-10-0048-01 Manufacturing sales by industry and province, monthly (dollars unless otherwise noted) (x 1,000)

Employment Numbers

Most limited-service eating places and coffee and tea manufacturing companies in British Columbia have fewer than 50 employees, as shown in the charts below.

Limited-service eating places encompasses eating places beyond coffee shops, but most are not large chains, contributing to the high competition in the industry. There are fewer coffee and tea manufacturing companies, and they tend have no employees because of the local and small markets they serve as well as the high barriers to entry.

Graph of employee numbers at limited-service eating places in BC

Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0092-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, June 2018; Table 33-10-0094-01 Canadian Business Counts, without employees, June 2018

Graph of employee numbers at coffee manufacturing businesses in BC

Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0092-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, June 2018; Table 33-10-0094-01 Canadian Business Counts, without employees, June 2018

Industry Trends and Challenges

Continuing Growth

Both coffee shops and coffee and tea production will see their growth trend of the past five years continue, at a slightly slower rate than previously. The growth rate is being negatively impacted by economic stagnation and a stronger Canadian dollar (Sayler, 2018; Ozelkan, 2018).

  • Coffee shops are expected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.1% (Sayler, 2018)
  • Coffee and tea production expected to grow at an annualized rate of 2.1% (Ozelkan, 2018)

Canada is one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world (the conversation), with 82% of Canadians drink coffee every week (Coffee Association of Canada, 2018).

Climate Change

In coffee and tea production, low harvest yields have resulted in more expensive coffee beans and tea leaves (Ozelkan, 2018). It is expected that many of the areas in which coffee is grown will no longer be able to grow coffee due to climate change (Charlebois, 2018).

Third-Wave Coffee

An increasing number of consumers are purchasing specialty coffee, in which the coffee is considered an artisanal product and is analyzed in a similar way to wine (Draper, 2019); the focus is on offering consumers a particular experience with a product (Schalk, 2018).

This segment has grown over the past five years (Sayler, 2018), and it now represents about 60% of coffee consumed in the US (First Research Industry Profile, 2018). Offering specialty coffee that cannot be obtained in other shops also provides small coffee shops with a competitive advantage over large chains (First Research Industry Profile, 2018).

Canadian Revenue Spending Breakdown

These charts show how revenue in both limited-service eating places and coffee and tea manufacturing is spent. Overall, 67.9% of limited-service eating places and 69.0% of coffee and tea manufacturing businesses are profitable (Statistics Canada, 2018).

Graph of revenue and expenditures at limited-service eating places in Canada

Statistics Canada. (2018). Report for: NAICS 722512 - Limited-service eating places - Financial Performance Data.

Graph of revenue and expenditures for coffee manufacturing in Canada

Statistics Canada. (2018). Report for: NAICS 311920 - Coffee and Tea Manufacturing - Financial Performance Data

Bibliography

Charlebois, Sylvain. (2018). How the coffee industry is about to get roasted by climate change. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-the-coffee-industry-is-about-to-get-roasted-by-climate-change-85054

 

Coffee Association of Canada. (2018). Canadian coffee drinking study – 2018 infographic. Retrieved from http://www.coffeeassoc.com/media-coffee-facts/

Draper, James. (2019). From the grounds up: Coffee aficionado works to perfect craft. Longview News Journal. Retrieved from https://www.news-journal.com/features/taste/from-the-grounds-up-coffee-a...

First Research Industry Profile. (2018). Coffee shops - quarterly update 11/19/2018. Fort Mill, South Carolina: Mergent. Retrieved from Business Market Research Collection

First Research Industry Profile. (2018). Coffee & tea manufacturing - quarterly update 11/19/2018. Fort Mill, South Carolina: Mergent. Retrieved from Business Market Research Collection

Sayler, B (2017). Coffee and snack shops in Canada (IBISWorld Industry Report 72221bCA). Retrieved from IBISWorld Inc.

Ozelkan, E. (2018). Coffee and tea production in Canada (IBISWorld Industry Report 31192CA). Retrieved from IBISWorld Inc.

Sagan, Aleksandra. (2019). Tiny coffeeshops help owners save on rent in high-cost Toronto, Vancouver. CTV News Vancouver. Retrieved from https://bc.ctvnews.ca/tiny-coffeeshops-help-owners-save-on-rent-in-high-cost-toronto-vancouver-1.4251127

Schalk, Danielle. (2018). The 2018 coffee and tea report. Food Service and Hospitality. Retrieved from https://www.foodserviceandhospitality.com/the-coffee-and-tea-report/

Statistics Canada. (2018). Report for: NAICS 311920 - coffee and tea manufacturing - financial performance data. Small business profiles, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/sme-pme/bnchmrkngtl/rprt-flw.pub?execution=e1s2

Statistics Canada. (2018). Report for: NAICS 722512 - limited-service eating places - financial performance data. Small business profiles, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/sme-pme/bnchmrkngtl/rprt-flw.pub?execution=e1s2

Statistics Canada. (2017). Table 21-10-0171-01 Food services and drinking places, summary statistics. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2110017101

Statistics Canada. (2018). Table 16-10-0048-01 Manufacturing sales by industry and province, monthly (dollars unless otherwise noted) (x 1,000). Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2110001901

Statistics Canada. (2018). Table 21-10-0019-01 Monthly survey of food services and drinking places (x 1,000). Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2110001901

Statistics Canada. (2018). Table 33-10-0092-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, June 2018. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3310009201

Statistics Canada. (2018). Table 33-10-0094-01 Canadian Business Counts, without employees, June 2018 Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3310009401

Industry Trends

coffee shop and coffee manufacturing industry overview

This industry overview will discuss the latest statistics and trends for those interested in the coffee business.

  • Limited-service eating places: In Canada, this is the industry category for coffee shops. In this category, food and drinks are paid for prior to consumption and typically picked up at the counter to eat at the retail location or as takeout.
  • Snack and Non-alcoholic Beverage Bars: In the US, this is the coffee shop industry category; do not confuse this with limited-service restaurants, which excludes coffee shops.
  • Coffee and Tea Manufacturing: This is the industry category for coffee roasters and tea blenders. This has been included as some independent coffee shops roast their own coffee beans.

For more specific information about researching the coffee shop industry, please see our Coffee Shops and Coffee Manufacturing Guide. For an overview of the overall Restaurant industry, please see our Restaurant Industry Overview.

For information about related industries please see our industry guides for restaurants, caterers, bakeries, specialty foods, and street food vendors.

Industry Status

Industry phase: Mature

Concentration: Medium

Competition: High

Regulation: Medium and Increasing

(Sayler, 2018; Ozelkan, 2018)

Starting a coffee shop has a low barrier to entry due to the lower amount of capital required to start a business.

Coffee roasting has a very high barrier to entry; but if you are not planning to sell your roasted coffee on the mass market in places such as grocery stores, this barrier is significantly lower (Ozelkan, 2018).

BC Industry Snapshot

  • Overall profit margin for limited-service eating places is around 5% (Statistics Canada)
  • Sales were up by 8.0% in British Columbia in the third quarter in food services and drinking places (Statistics Canada)
  • High rental costs are increasing the barrier to entry for new coffee shop owners (Sagan, 2019)
  • Only Ontario and BC have significant coffee and tea manufacturing industries in Canada (Statistics Canada)

Graph of sales total for BC Limited-service eating places

Statistics Canada. Table 21-10-0019-01 Monthly survey of food services and drinking places (x 1,000)

Graph of sales totals for coffee manufacturing in BC

Statistics Canada. Table 16-10-0048-01 Manufacturing sales by industry and province, monthly (dollars unless otherwise noted) (x 1,000)

Employment Numbers

Most limited-service eating places and coffee and tea manufacturing companies in British Columbia have fewer than 50 employees, as shown in the charts below.

Limited-service eating places encompasses eating places beyond coffee shops, but most are not large chains, contributing to the high competition in the industry. There are fewer coffee and tea manufacturing companies, and they tend have no employees because of the local and small markets they serve as well as the high barriers to entry.

Graph of employee numbers at limited-service eating places in BC

Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0092-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, June 2018; Table 33-10-0094-01 Canadian Business Counts, without employees, June 2018

Graph of employee numbers at coffee manufacturing businesses in BC

Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0092-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, June 2018; Table 33-10-0094-01 Canadian Business Counts, without employees, June 2018

Industry Trends and Challenges

Continuing Growth

Both coffee shops and coffee and tea production will see their growth trend of the past five years continue, at a slightly slower rate than previously. The growth rate is being negatively impacted by economic stagnation and a stronger Canadian dollar (Sayler, 2018; Ozelkan, 2018).

  • Coffee shops are expected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.1% (Sayler, 2018)
  • Coffee and tea production expected to grow at an annualized rate of 2.1% (Ozelkan, 2018)

Canada is one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world (the conversation), with 82% of Canadians drink coffee every week (Coffee Association of Canada, 2018).

Climate Change

In coffee and tea production, low harvest yields have resulted in more expensive coffee beans and tea leaves (Ozelkan, 2018). It is expected that many of the areas in which coffee is grown will no longer be able to grow coffee due to climate change (Charlebois, 2018).

Third-Wave Coffee

An increasing number of consumers are purchasing specialty coffee, in which the coffee is considered an artisanal product and is analyzed in a similar way to wine (Draper, 2019); the focus is on offering consumers a particular experience with a product (Schalk, 2018).

This segment has grown over the past five years (Sayler, 2018), and it now represents about 60% of coffee consumed in the US (First Research Industry Profile, 2018). Offering specialty coffee that cannot be obtained in other shops also provides small coffee shops with a competitive advantage over large chains (First Research Industry Profile, 2018).

Canadian Revenue Spending Breakdown

These charts show how revenue in both limited-service eating places and coffee and tea manufacturing is spent. Overall, 67.9% of limited-service eating places and 69.0% of coffee and tea manufacturing businesses are profitable (Statistics Canada, 2018).

Graph of revenue and expenditures at limited-service eating places in Canada

Statistics Canada. (2018). Report for: NAICS 722512 - Limited-service eating places - Financial Performance Data.

Graph of revenue and expenditures for coffee manufacturing in Canada

Statistics Canada. (2018). Report for: NAICS 311920 - Coffee and Tea Manufacturing - Financial Performance Data

Bibliography

Charlebois, Sylvain. (2018). How the coffee industry is about to get roasted by climate change. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/how-the-coffee-industry-is-about-to-get-roasted-by-climate-change-85054

 

Coffee Association of Canada. (2018). Canadian coffee drinking study – 2018 infographic. Retrieved from http://www.coffeeassoc.com/media-coffee-facts/

Draper, James. (2019). From the grounds up: Coffee aficionado works to perfect craft. Longview News Journal. Retrieved from https://www.news-journal.com/features/taste/from-the-grounds-up-coffee-a...

First Research Industry Profile. (2018). Coffee shops - quarterly update 11/19/2018. Fort Mill, South Carolina: Mergent. Retrieved from Business Market Research Collection

First Research Industry Profile. (2018). Coffee & tea manufacturing - quarterly update 11/19/2018. Fort Mill, South Carolina: Mergent. Retrieved from Business Market Research Collection

Sayler, B (2017). Coffee and snack shops in Canada (IBISWorld Industry Report 72221bCA). Retrieved from IBISWorld Inc.

Ozelkan, E. (2018). Coffee and tea production in Canada (IBISWorld Industry Report 31192CA). Retrieved from IBISWorld Inc.

Sagan, Aleksandra. (2019). Tiny coffeeshops help owners save on rent in high-cost Toronto, Vancouver. CTV News Vancouver. Retrieved from https://bc.ctvnews.ca/tiny-coffeeshops-help-owners-save-on-rent-in-high-cost-toronto-vancouver-1.4251127

Schalk, Danielle. (2018). The 2018 coffee and tea report. Food Service and Hospitality. Retrieved from https://www.foodserviceandhospitality.com/the-coffee-and-tea-report/

Statistics Canada. (2018). Report for: NAICS 311920 - coffee and tea manufacturing - financial performance data. Small business profiles, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/sme-pme/bnchmrkngtl/rprt-flw.pub?execution=e1s2

Statistics Canada. (2018). Report for: NAICS 722512 - limited-service eating places - financial performance data. Small business profiles, 2016. Retrieved from https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/sme-pme/bnchmrkngtl/rprt-flw.pub?execution=e1s2

Statistics Canada. (2017). Table 21-10-0171-01 Food services and drinking places, summary statistics. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2110017101

Statistics Canada. (2018). Table 16-10-0048-01 Manufacturing sales by industry and province, monthly (dollars unless otherwise noted) (x 1,000). Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2110001901

Statistics Canada. (2018). Table 21-10-0019-01 Monthly survey of food services and drinking places (x 1,000). Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2110001901

Statistics Canada. (2018). Table 33-10-0092-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, June 2018. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3310009201

Statistics Canada. (2018). Table 33-10-0094-01 Canadian Business Counts, without employees, June 2018 Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3310009401

Industry Trends

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library

Info:

604.822.6375

Renewals: 

604.822.3115
604.822.2883
250.807.9107

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet