Local businesses need a voice

Jan. 15, 2019

At a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a business owner. I was attracted to the ability to earn lots of money and be in control... be my own boss you could say.

I started like many entrepreneurs by opening up a lemonade stand and then I moved onto shoveling driveways and mowing lawns. I started to run my own hockey camps age 19. I quickly learned that running a business is challenging and stressful, but it’s also rewarding.

One of my first “career” roles was at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). At BDC, they focus on lending solutions and consulting for small business across Canada. It took me about eight minutes into the role to know that working at a government bank was not for me, but the opportunity to help small business owners and get under the hood of so many companies and industries was necessary if I wanted to succeed on my own in the future. I was excited about that!

During my 11 months at BDC, I would study businesses financial statements, their margins, the traits that made successful business owners and I worked to deeply understand their challenges. One thing that I kept focusing on and was drawn to was the businesses’ need to attract customers. Every business needs to operate efficiently; you need great products, fantastic service and you need to have a margin. None of this matters, however, if you can’t find ways to attract new and repeat customers.

The big problem and opportunity that has been created by mobile phones and the digital world we live in today is that small- to medium-sized businesses have lost their local voice. For as long as anyone can remember, you got the word out about your business through word of mouth, your local newspaper or, if you were able to afford it, you could put your ads on the radio… and for decades, this worked.  

Insert: Disruption in the local advertising landscape

In a matter of years, everything changed. Word of mouth went digital and now takes place on social networks and through digital communication like text and video. Advertisers, however, are charging a premium for traditional services. Consumers no longer open their local paper, turn on their local radio station for music or tune into their favourite local show. We now follow our news through our phones online (I use Twitter) and we listen to Spotify or iTunes for our music. Our favourite personalities or hosts are no longer local, but global through podcasts and digital streams like YouTube. I am stating the obvious, but where does that leave the local businesses that need a voice.

It leaves local businesses looking for an affordable channel to connect and interact with their future customers.  

When I first started GetintheLoop, or at the time “The Golf Loop”, it was a first step in trying to solve this conundrum local businesses have been left with. From very early on, we worked with golf courses to help them attract new customers through text messages and e-mails, helping create a meaningful and immediate connection to a new local customer base. After two years of learning and listening to businesses in a variety of industries having that same challenge, I decided this would become our mission and vision for GetintheLoop: to create a platform and community that gives small business their voice back and we have been building ever since!

We have worked with over 1,000 businesses on their local marketing strategy and continued to evolve and adjust based on their feedback. The GetintheLoop platform was built to help a business tell its story, build its brand, highlight its products and services while using offers, unique experience and events to solve the biggest problem in business: customer attraction!

We grew to a team of over 30 strong and have heard from many of our customers the difference we have made in helping start their business, grow their business or, in some cases, help save their business. The biggest challenge we have faced? How do we bring GetintheLoop across North America and one day the world as quickly as we can. because we know it’s needed!

Insert: Disruptive digital franchise

GetintheLoop Local: A franchise opportunity we created to empower entrepreneurs in each community to own their own business by helping give a local voice BACK to small- and medium-sized business across the country.

Small business is at the core of our economy and makes up over 70 per cent of all employment in Canada. It’s up to all of us to continue to support our business community by spending with local retailers, avoiding that big Amazon order and spreading the word about all the great businesses and business owners in your area. It's not just important; it’s imperative. I encourage everyone to focus on ways to spend their money at local businesses and we will do our part by growing as fast as we possibly can to soon give businesses a local voice in every community across North America.