A new equation

A new equation

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This is a guest post from CUA
(Member since 1992)

Contributors:

Lindsay Cross
Director of Brand and Partnership Development

I’ve always appreciated the rightness of math, especially the moment you know your answer is undeniably correct. The check mark evokes equal parts satisfaction, relief and closure and it offers us permission to move forward. As it turns out, however, not all math is created equal and, in business, there is a growing case to adopt a new equation: 1+1=3.

I promise that’s not a typo.

I remember the first time I heard it from Marie Mullally, CUA’s President and CEO. It not only described the topic of partnerships, but also my own philosophy of adding value through collaboration. Given CUA’s place in the financial services sector, I recognize the irony.

Still, I hope you’ll consider looking at your current business and strategic plans through this lens.

THREE QUESTIONS

Whether you have lived in a household with a four-year-old or are leading a business with $4 million in annual revenue, you have likely invested heavily in answering the question “Why?”

For organizations, it generates a shared vision of desired impact, inspiring a rallying cry to remind us of our daily mission. It brings life to our values, making clear what they look like in the delivery of our promise to clients, colleagues and communities. There’s a reason Simon Sinek’s Start with Why book went viral; it’s the best question to ask first.

This article, however, isn’t about that question. You know your why, which is the reason you may be feeling a “potential-actual” gap. Your bottom line has potential and you may be focused on finding a solution that your business can implement on its own. While there is always value in looking inward when asking “What’s getting in the way?” new math also asks, “Who else would benefit from solving this problem?”

The thing getting in the way might have little to do with your core products and services. It could be an issue with how they are perceived, purchased and implemented.

A FOCUS ON PURCHASING

Within the context of the provincial economy and consumer spending patterns, it is critical to inspire Nova Scotians to spend with intention here at home. In recent months, the call to buy local is on high rotation from elected officials, public and private-sector champions, as well as experts in sustainable development. Simply put, the value of a dollar depends on where it is spent and the impact of every dollar is amplified when directed to a Nova Scotia-owned business.

Regardless of the product or service being purchased — a heat pump, a mountain bike, home renovations or groceries — the decision often boils down to a buyer’s perception of quality, convenience, choice and cost. And when it comes to cost, how it is positioned can be a game-changer.

BITE-SIZE BUSINESS

According to the 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey, nearly three-quarters of Canadians leverage debt as a way to smooth out their spending. Consumers have largely adopted a buy now, pay later approach to big purchases like houses, cars, furniture, appliances and education. Why not offer the same for products and services offered by Nova Scotia businesses?

The question “What’s better: paying for something upfront or paying over time?” is best answered with information about the buyer, their current situation and the impact of the purchase on their financial health. If paying now is the only option, it becomes a question of available cash, credit or savings. It also becomes a question for a buyer and their banking provider.

As a business owner, it’s impossible to predict (and rather uncomfortable to advise) what’s best for your customer. This is why partnering to offer both a pay now and pay later option can benefit your bottom line.

MAKING IT EASY

The Nova Scotia economy needs us to step up and think outside the box. If we want people to choose Nova Scotia-owned businesses, I believe we must go further than telling them how to spend. As business leaders, let’s explore what’s getting in the way in order to identify potential partners and a path forward. Two partners can create mutual benefit for themselves, as well as benefit for their shared customer. That’s 1+1=3.

It’s a model we’ve adopted at CUA and it works. As a financing partner of EfficiencyOne and dozens of businesses in the energy-efficiency sector across Nova Scotia, we’re enabling homeowners to easily and affordably invest in energy-efficient upgrades. It’s a simple referral to a trusted partner. Everyone stays in their lane and delivers their why with their what to their who. It’s a model that can be applied across all sectors to close the gap, maximize impact and realize our collective potential.

Having a financing partner is just one example of how you might benefit from looking beyond the borders of your business to change your balance sheet. As a member of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the potential for partnerships is limitless. Together, we can make it easier to say “yes.”


CUA is a full-service banking provider to 20,000 individuals and small businesses across Nova Scotia. To reach Cross, email lcross@cua.com.

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