Dr. Vivek Cheba: To Succeed, Entrepreneurs Must Leverage Resources

A recent survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that a possible 200,000 Canadian small businesses may permanently close due to the pandemic.

Yet an estimated two million people have opted to start small businesses this past year. Dubbed “Pandemic Entrepreneurs,” some moved forward with business plans in spite of the pandemic, while others cite employment concerns from the pandemic as the very reason for their launch.

It is a bold move for anyone to start a business and particularly bold to do so during a global pandemic.

Many people who are stepping into the arena of small business ownership have little business or management experience. In light of that, their continued education in the field of entrepreneurship will be essential to their companies’ survival.

For those preparing to take the leap, how can they be sure they are ready? For those that have already leapt, what resources are available?

Calgary orthodontist Dr. Vivek Cheba, who has opened a number of orthodontic clinics, said that the early days of business ownership are the most challenging. He also gave a few suggestions for resources that can help entrepreneurs keep their businesses alive during the beginning of their journey as business owners.

“Having that early guidance is imperative to success,” he said. “Canadians are fortunate to have the BDC [Business Development Bank of Canada] as a resource.”

The financial institution that serves as a one-stop shop for many Canadian entrepreneurs is the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which helps strengthen Canadian business development through financing, advisory services and capital. With its beginnings in 1944, the organization has helped 66,000 Canadian entrepreneurs and invested $36.5 billion into their success. The small and medium-size businesses they help now employee over one million Canadians and generate $350 billion in annual revenues.

According to Statistics Canada findings, entrepreneurs who utilize BDC resources fare much better and have higher profit and growth.

BDC can finance the cost of its advisory services, which encompass areas such as strategic planning, financial management, human resources management, technology selection, sales and marketing, digital strategy, website development, eCommerce implementation, international expansion and operational efficiency.

With all the thought that goes into launching a business endeavor, there are considerations for those who have launched their businesses and are still reeling from the impacts of Covid-19. A recent survey conducted by the BDC shows that, overall, Canadian entrepreneurs are feeling more in control, less depressed and less tired now than they were during the fall months of 2020.

There has been a societal shift to start focusing on the mental and emotional wellbeing of business leaders as they have faced so much stress and uncertainty during the pandemic, Dr. Vivek Cheba said.

“It does seem to be a systemic issue – we make resources available for our employees when they are struggling, but generally neglect ourselves,” Dr. Cheba said. “My business is essential, so we are coming out of this last year well, but many Canadian entrepreneurs are not. Small business owners need to be willing to discuss uncertainties created by the pandemic and seek help when it is needed.”

The BDC has a list of wellbeing resources available for entrepreneurs.

Canada, in general, has increased the resources available to entrepreneurs in just the last few years, Dr. Vivek Cheba said.

Those resources include:

  • Futurpreneur Canada is a business support service that has supported the young Canadian entrepreneurs for more than 20 years. The group is the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing of up to $60,000, as well as mentoring and support tools for aspiring business owners between the ages of 18-39. Contact the program directly at info@futurpreneur.ca.
  • For Canadian tech startups, there’s the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program, which helps them expand into foreign markets. The program supports businesses with an established product or service that is trying to expand into international markets. CTAs are located in major international tech hubs, and provide small tech companies with mentoring and workspace, as well as introductions to potential investors, partners, and customers.

With resources like these, the steep hill toward entrepreneurial success is a lot easier, Dr. Cheba said.

“Many new entrepreneurs, especially young people, think they have to do everything alone,” he said. “The reality is that we all need a little help, and accepting that help can make the difference between success and failure.”