Entrepreneurial Inspiration – Ganong, a Canadian family business with a long history

By Samantha Garner | July 23, 2016

Note: This article was originally published on January 11, 2014. We’ve re-published it with updated information. Enjoy!

ganong-family-businessAs we love reminding entrepreneurs, approximately 80% of Canada’s businesses are family businesses. And they’re not all small business, either. Take, for instance, the Ganong family, founders of Canada’s oldest candy company.

Ganong was started in 1873 by brothers James and Gilbert Ganong in St. Stephen, NB. Together, they opened a grocery business which grew to include a bakery and confectionery. They even tried selling oysters, and manufacturing their own brand of soap. But it was their chocolate that became the most sought-after aspect of their business, and Ganong as we know it was born.

One reason Ganong is still around, in our opinion, is their long history of innovation. Some of the newfangled inventions pioneered by the company include:

  • Wrapped chocolate bars (initially invented to bring along on fishing trips)
  • The first Canadian lollipop
  • North America’s first chocolate nut bar
  • Heart-shaped chocolate boxes (first introduced at Christmastime)
  • Pureed fruit as a candy ingredient

Giving the market new and innovative solutions to their needs is just one aspect of the company’s success. They have also maintained the family tradition through the generations. Members of the Ganong family are still involved in the highest levels of the family business – in roles such as President and CEO, VP Sales and Development, and Executive Vice Chair.

By the way, the business is still headquartered in St. Stephen – at the appropriate address of One Chocolate Drive!


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What pathway to entrepreneurship is best for you?

By Samantha Garner | July 16, 2016

pathway to entrepeneurshipWhen it comes to entrepreneurship, there are many pathways you can take: Starting your own business from scratch, buying into a franchise, creating a family-owned business, buying an existing business, and licensing your product idea.

But which one is best for you and the kind of business you want? Here are four important considerations when choosing the best entrepreneurship pathway for you:

Upfront capital and financing

Estimate the start-up capital you are prepared to invest in your business in dollars. If you are thinking of buying a franchise, consider that your estimated start-up capital should be between 10–30% of your franchise fee. Your ability to secure financing for your small business will depend upon your five Cs of credit: your character, capacity to repay, your capital (net worth), collateral (assets to secure debt) and conditions (of the owner, the franchise and the economy).


How long do you want to run this business? What return on investment (ROI) were you hoping for?

Independence, autonomy, experience

For many people, entrepreneurship is a way of becoming your own boss. The thought of having to operate within strict rules and requirements of a franchisor is not an option. Others prefer the security of franchise ownership and, sometimes, a family-run business.

Failure rate and overall risk

Could you handle losing your business and your investment? Could you handle letting employees, customers and suppliers down if you were forced to close your business? These are questions you need to answer honestly. Comprehensive small business training will give you all the tools you need to help improve your odds of success.


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Want to find a good website builder for your small business?

By Samantha Garner | July 9, 2016

In this day and age, almost every small business can benefit from a web presence. There are lots of services out there that you can use to build a website for your small business, and it can be hard to figure out which one of those services is best.

Robert Mening test-drove 10 website builders and has written a comprehensive review of each one, complete with pros and cons and recommendations.

From the review:

I don’t make any money from recommending these website builders.

My goal instead is to provide an unbiased review, by actually going through each product in detail, to help you make the best decision.

Check it out – making your small business’ website might be easier than you think!



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Small business inspiration for your long weekend

By Samantha Garner | July 2, 2016

Happy Canada Day long weekend to our fellow entrepreneurs! We hope you’re finding a moment to relax and enjoy some downtime.

Why not make some entrepreneurial inspiration part of your you-time? Enjoy this advice from Richard Branson:


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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | June 25, 2016

If you want to learn about brand hygiene, or are curious about how small businesses can rebuild after disaster, these are two of the topics covered in some of the small business blog posts we read this week. Here they are:

Did you read anything interesting this week? Let us know in the comments!


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