Calgary Herald «January 5, 2017»

2016 business successes

By Jane Marshall via Capital Ideas in Calgary Herald
Capital Ideas members were asked about their 2016 business successes. Here’s what members of our community of business owners helping business owners had to say:
“2016 was the most challenging year my business has had since formally incorporating in 1997. Part of that was due to the fact that my most important client’s contribution to my business revenue dropped by 50 per cent. Though overall business was off by about 12 per cent, it revealed the silver lining that other clients and new business can offset that downturn. I’ll continue the productive prospecting done on LinkedIn in 2017. Overall, things are looking up.”
— Paul Boucher, bilingual voice actor and president, Right Voice Communications Inc.
“Our year was different than anticipated. While some projects were cancelled, others came unexpectedly as a direct result of the economy. One client merged with a competitor and needed a new name and brand package. Another started a new company after buying proprietary designs from a company in bankruptcy. Still another engineered a new product to avoid laying off key people. A new website came through meeting a longtime acquaintance at a fundraising event. Without question, our survival can be traced back to maintaining strong relationships.”
— Robyn Braley, president, Unimark Creative
“Sparking a stronger sense of creativity was vital to continue operating in 2016. It was evident our clients and the market expected an increased value for services provided. Creating new business streams and cutting operational costs was key. We introduced new services and partnered with other small businesses to provide a broader offering to retain and attract clients. Understanding our expenditures and making appropriate adjustments was required to effectively operate and market our business.”
— Laura Pierce, president, LP Human Resources Inc.
“Learning was the theme for us in 2016. Supporting organizations with conflict is hard work and learning comes at every step. Insight and awareness into our own fears and weaknesses is developed during failures and disappointments. Having a strong, trusting relationship with a business partner provides support and a safe place for this learning. Using our new knowledge to shape and grow our business and ourselves is our goal.”
— Michelle Phaneuf, Alberta co-director, Workplace Fairness
“2016 was a year of unexpected and large changes. Even though I moved countries and established another business, I was able to do what I said I would. My focus has been my existing clients and providing them value. I work with clients I adore and am able to truly help them make a difference. My business has grown vertically and horizontally: I’ve added confident leadership as a core theme to what I offer, in addition to confident marketing. I’ve also started to work with coaches. When it comes to new products and partners, it has taken a bit longer to prepare, but we will be ready to offer a workshop on ‘The science and art of recovering from failure’ by February, with my mentor and co-leader Sherry Matheson.”
— Ave Peetri, director, Confident Marketing Coach

“Our student-led initiative, Design Axis, not only worked with noteworthy organizations including ATB BoostR and the Haskayne School of Business (University of Calgary), the team also helped us develop our Pitch Clinic from a passion project into a sustainable social initiative. For 2017, Market Grade is working with business and community leaders to develop the C4 (Calgary Centre for Creative Convergence) innovation hub to bring together imaginative people who work at the intersection of business, arts, entertainment, finance, technology, fashion, design and social engagement. C4 will serve as a hub for innovation and build upon Alberta’s entrepreneurial spirit and the ‘can do’ attitude of our business community.”
— Kris Hans, strategist, Market Grade Ltd.

We had a strong 2016, and our firm as a whole improved in providing our clients expertise from other partners. It came together well in 2016. We can always be better, but considering the up and down year, our teams have done great!
— Desmond Chow, senior financial advisor, ATB Securities Inc.
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