All about diversifying your small business

In GoForth’s October newsletter, we’re talking about small business diversification. No matter how successful you are now, diversifying your small business is an important factor in sustained success. Diversification helps you increase your sales through a combination of new products and new markets. It helps keep you protected against market slowdowns or sales plateaus.

Five ways to diversify your small business

Small business diversification can be a scary concept to consider initially. It requires focus, determination and – like anything in business – lots of research. Here are five avenues into small business diversification:

  • Engage your existing customers.
  • Engage new customers.
  • Take stock of your company’s strengths or core competencies. 
  • Take stock of your competitors.
  • Think ahead and look for emerging trends.

Read more about these five ways to diversify your business – as well as the contributions of Tommy Douglas and the growth of WWOOF – in our October newsletter, out now!

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Tip of the Month: Creating a Perfect Pitch

In keeping with the theme of our last post, we’ve added a new How-To Guide to our new, expanded website. Titled “How To Create a Perfect Pitch,” it’s designed for entrepreneurs who need help creating a pitch for their small business. Even if you’ve made a pitch before, the guide can still help you tweak and fine-tune your approach. We know that small business pitches are never a walk in the park, so use our guide to make the process easier and more clear.

Creating a pitch for your small business begins with a business concept. After all, you can’t confidently talk about your business unless you know it inside and out, right? The foundation of a great pitch is an understanding of the following concepts:

  • Who will buy?
  • Value proposition and the compelling story;
  • Definition of your product or service; and
  • The distribution channel.

Once you have these four concepts clear in your mind (and on paper), you can then put them all together to form your business concept – the foundation for your perfect pitch!

Read more about the elements of a business concept and your business’ perfect pitch in our How-To Guide.

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How to make a great small business pitch

GoForth Institute is excited to deliver small business training to the winner of the University of Alberta’s Perfect Pitch competition. Part of the overall prize package, the winner will receive mentoring, workshops and training in GoForth Institute’s 100 Essential Small Business Skills TM.

This got us thinking about pitches, so on our Facebook page, we asked entrepreneurs to tell us about some of their memorable small business pitches.We want to know what worked, what didn’t work and what their favourite pitch strategies were. Tell us your pitch stories in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.

Stumped or scared when it comes to making pitches? Share your advice, or take some free inspiration from our list below.

Tips for making pitches about your small business

We know that making pitches to potential investors or customers can be nerve-wracking, so here are some tips:

  • Know your numbers – things like yearly sales (volume and dollar amount), cash flow projection and net worth.
  • Know your business. You should be able to, when asked, describe your business model, explain what unique need your small business fills, who your competition is and your marketing and sales plan – to name a few.
  • Research your potential investor or customer so you can speak accurately to what they’re looking for – and so you know what issues may arise.
  • Act natural! Making pitches is a lot like public speaking, but they don’t have to be terrifying. Just be professional, friendly and try to relax!
  • Practice in front of your business partners, trusted friends or family or even in front of your mirror. The purpose of this is not to memorize your “speech,” but to pinpoint strengths or missing pieces. Some cities even have networking groups where entrepreneurs just like you can practice their pitches.
  • Be concise. You might have five minutes to make a pitch, or you might have 30 seconds. Prepare a few pitches of varying lengths that get the point across and sound compelling.
  • Put yourself on the other side. If you were being pitched to, what questions would you ask? Make a list of these questions to help you become better prepared.

Here’s one more tip for making pitches – start watching the CBC TV show Dragons’ Den. No, we were not paid to say this; we just really love the show! Tune in for even a couple of episodes and you’ll get some free education on how to make a small business pitch.

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Can entrepreneurship be taught?

In this month’s newsletter at GoForth Institute, we’re examining the concepts of new beginnings and education – perfect for September and back-to-school time! One question we’re asking is:

Can entrepreneurship be taught?

At GoForth Institute, we believe in supplying entrepreneurs with basic small business skills – things such as understanding cash flow, analyzing competition and knowing government regulations. We also train entrepreneurs in general small business concepts like learning market positioning strategies, competing effectively and raising capital. Lastly, we encourage creativity and being open to new opportunities in business. These are all things that Dr. Richard Goossen, author of Entrepreneurial Excellence: Profit From the Best Ideas of the Experts, believes can be taught.

However, Goossen says that one entrepreneurship element just comes naturally: the ability to recognize specific market opportunities and determine their potential for success.

Read more about entrepreneurship education in our September newsletter.

GoForth Institute’s new expanded website launched

Speaking of new beginnings, we are proud to announce the launch of our brand-new website! We knew that Canadian entrepreneurs were searching for a one-stop resource for everything small business, so that’s what we gave you!

In the words of our President, Dr. Leslie Roberts:

We launch the largest, resource-based website for entrepreneurs in Canada – 1,050 pages of content, resources, free downloads, tips and tricks. We’ve assembled a team of business experts from across Canada who will answer entrepreneurs’ questions in all areas of business, law and government compliance and post the Q+A to the GoForth Community for everyone’s benefits.

Visit the new site and let us know what you think – the opinions of entrepreneurs are what created the new site, so your opinion matters.

A big thank you to the wonderful folks at Evans Hunt for all their help and hard work!

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