2018 SMALL BUSINESS of the year finalists

2018 SMALL BUSINESS of the year finalists

< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment


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AEROVISION CANADA INC.

If you could follow in the footsteps of a successful business, which would it be and why?
Elon Musk and SpaceX. They failed repeated attempts to launch their own rockets — three times with the fourth being their final try, due to available capital. Even after being told the business would never work and to leave space to the professionals, they persevered and launched their first of many successful flights.

How is your business contributing to making Halifax a better place?
AeroVision Canada Inc. continues to bring the focus of the Canadian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry back to Halifax at every available opportunity. More and more, we are afforded opportunities to discuss topics such as drone regulations and tech news with the media, and each time we try to draw attention to the technological center of excellence that Halifax is becoming. AVCI has also offered youth groups a chance to learn more about drone technology and how they can steer their education towards a future in robotics and aviation.

What has been the biggest challenge to being a small business?
Certainly it has to be educating and demystifying drones. As a small business that started near the grassroots level of a new industry, we have struggled many times to influence prospective clients that the technology and services we provide can provide tremendous value to their business. Second to that would be raising capital. Many banks and private lenders still see the commercial UAV industry as high-risk but we are starting to see a positive shift with that perspective.

BLUELIGHT ANALYTICS

What has been the biggest challenge to being a small business?
As a small business, we are often limited in our time and resources. One of the biggest challenges of being a small business with a small team is allocating our time and resources to have the greatest impact. Everyone tends to wear many hats and is required to constantly reassess what they are prioritizing and how it will help the company move forward and be successful in the long run.

How is your business contributing to making Halifax a better place?
BlueLight is based in Halifax but primarily works with clients across the globe and in doing so, we hope we are helping create a more global awareness of the city and the talent it possesses. We are heavily involved in the startup ecosystem in Halifax and try to hire recent graduates to help retain bright young talent in the province. At the same time, we work with our enterprise partners to ensure that checkMARC tests are being carried out at dental clinics around the city so that people don’t need to worry about the outcomes of their fillings when they visit a dentist in Halifax.

Does your business engage youth and/or immigrants? What does that bring to your business?

At BlueLight we tend to hire for fit rather than role and one way that has manifested is in hiring recent graduates and young talent, giving them substantial responsibilities right off the bat. Alongside providing mentoring and training, we try to create opportunities where they can learn new skills and explore their professional interests.

QUANTUM COMMUNICATIONS

What would you say is your organization’s proudest achievement?
Quantum Communications was founded so that we could offer personal and professional service to clients. We know we’ve achieved our goals when clients continue to come back and when we don’t just provide a service, but establish a relationship. The quality of our work is critical to this and we are proud to be one of a handful of companies and organizations (including Best Buy and the Saskatchewan Roughriders) featured in a national book that looked at highly successful public relations initiatives.

How is your business contributing to making Halifax a better place?
For us, business is about being part of the community and that means we must put our money, our time and our hearts into giving back. We are actively involved in supporting numerous community groups. That may mean turning up to do yoga with bunnies or being the major sponsor in a capital campaign. It always means our role is about so much more than our bottom line.

What has been the biggest challenge to being a small business?
Learning to breathe. As a business owner, I feel a personal and profound connection to clients, employees, colleagues and contractors. We work together on issues and initiatives that matter to us and to our community. It can be tough to find the balance between work and everything else. I would like to tell you I’ve gotten much better at this over time, but I’m not really sure I have.

Why did you choose Halifax?
I’m not sure I chose Halifax; I think it chose me. Halifax is home. It’s where I grew up. My roots are here — I have friends today I went to primary school with. Opportunities to work elsewhere never matched up to the joy of working and living here, a place where people do have time for a cup of coffee, where they share ideas and insights, where they know your name.

TWIRP COMMUNICATIONS INC.

What would you say is your organization’s proudest achievement?
Helping Spring Loaded Technology and Souls Harbour Mission each win a $100,000 prize through social media campaigns were definitely high points for me. It was validation of my ability to set out a strategy, implement it and meet a goal. And it felt pretty amazing to help both organizations receive the prize, but also the added publicity and awareness for them that came with winning.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
Twirp is diversifying. Social media is changing and I’m trying to keep up just like everyone else. I’ve got plans for apps that will help small businesses manage social media and plans for programs to help train people to manage social media themselves. In five years I see Twirp more as a resource hub and less a manager of client accounts.

How is your business contributing to making Halifax a better place?
My vision sees a time when all small businesses can manage their own social media. We’re getting there. As younger generations come into the workforce and start businesses, there is less and less of a need to outsource social media management. To encourage this, a large part of my business focuses on teaching small business owners how to use social media. I’m doing that with courses through the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, speaking at professional development conferences and of course, through my educational blog, newsletter and social media profiles. I have also advised several local non-profit organizations and charities to help them win contests, sell tickets and collect donations to help their clients. All of this helps to make Halifax businesses more competitive in the local, national and global marketplace.

WEUSTHEM

Where do you see your organization in five years?
We are a growing, diverse team and plan to expand our team organically over the next five years. We see ourselves in a couple of different markets over the years to further our growth in the regions that need us there the most locally. Clients require agencies in-market for a variety of services and we intend to provide the same in-markets that serve our continued growth and our clients’ needs mutually.

What has been the biggest challenge to being a small business?
The biggest challenge? We are small! Small is defined as being nimble and quick to react, but in our industry, small is also looked upon as being not capable of handling large accounts. We have however, surpassed these challenges a few years ago and are currently serving blue chip clients, along with a variety of governmental agencies taking over from what was this year’s number one PR agency and what was last year’s number one creative agency internationally.

What brings customers back to you?
We thrive on building relationships, not clients. Unlike most in our industry we aren’t in it to bill each hour, but we are in it to ensure our solutions have longevity and are sustainable. Clients come back because they trust us. They do because we have earned that through our first interaction which leads to the second, and a third and so on, furthering a relationship that lasts for years to come. We have not had a situation where we have had to break ties or walk away from a client, project or account and we have never given them a reason to do so either.

Why did you choose Halifax?
Halifax is home, and it will be for the foreseeable future for WeUsThem. We may have outposts as far as the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East, but we will always have a foothold here on the East Coast. As long as Halifax is willing to have us, we can’t imagine being anywhere else for our base of operations.


< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment

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