• Go where the money is. [Mentor Reza] Reza Alavie once mentored a home-services company that provided quality service but was barely breaking even. "Like a lot of SMEs," he says, the company wasn't charging enough for its services. That doesn't mean it could just raise its prices; Alavie helped the owner recognize she should reposition the company to serve high-end consumers at higher price points. Today the company has a carriage-trade reputation and a long waiting list for appointments.
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Holiday Bonus: Last week’s column took its lead from my recent visit with an economic-development agency in Saskatchewan. I was impressed by the work done by Sagehill Community Futures in creating jobs and businesses in its territory, north and east of Saskatoon. In fact, I realized it reminded me of something: George Bailey’s community co-operative Building & Loan Society, in the Frank Capra movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
In the movie, Jimmy Stewart’s character gets to discover how different things would be if he had never been born. Productive ventures like Sagehill get to see the difference they make every day.
Playing the part of Bailey’s Savings & Loan is Sagehill Community Futures Development Corp., headquartered in Bruno, a 500-person town 90 km east of Saskatoon. Under the direction of an all-volunteer board, Sagehill’s five-member staff provide loans no one else will make, hand out free business advice, offer management training and development, and help new or insecure entrepreneurs navigate the bureaucracies of banks and governments. They also play a key community-building role co-ordinating the economic development activities of more than 50 small towns in an area three times the size of Prince Edward Island.
For the full inspiring story, click here. And savour a government-funded program that works.