Valley First

Lack of Planning Could Stall Business Growth

Lack of planning could stall small business growth in a rebounding economy
October 14, 2014

Kamloops, B.C.—A recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey shows of B.C. small business owners are feeling confident about 2015 as they anticipate better business performance in the new year. According to CFIB, these buoyant feelings often reflect a growing economy. But, are small business owners really ready to take advantage?

“There is certainly a growing confidence among business owners,” says Arden Thacker, a senior commercial account manager at Valley First. “However, many are remaining cautious yet optimistic as the local economy has thrown us all a few curveballs over the last several years.”

To ensure they are best positioned to grow in a recovering economy, Thacker says there a number of crucial areas businesses need to review and evaluate, such as staffing levels, inventory and cost controls, to name a few. To get over these obstacles in a rebounding economy, many small business owners will look to their financial institution.

“Business owners are often very aspirational people,” Thacker says. “They work hard and they want to see their businesses grow and be successful. However, it is rare for growth and success to just happen. It’s important to carefully plan for any expansion, whether it be a new product line, more staff or branching out into a new trade area.

“In many cases, small businesses need to finance the growth of their operation,” says Thacker. “This is where a business plan becomes vitally important. Most small business owners have plans—but often it’s tucked away in their heads. You’ve got to put that plan on paper as a point of reference. It’s a guide for the adjustments you make to grow your business.”

One Valley First member that has benefited from having solid business plans is Ecopave Systems of Kamloops. Ecopave is the leading provider of hot-in-place asphalt recycling equipment in Canada and the only provider in B.C. Thacker has worked closely with Ecopave through the growth phase of its business. Colleen Wikene, Ecopave’s chief financial officer, says the partnership and advice delivered by Valley First has been critical to its success.

“We recently needed funding to develop a new machine that was part of our growth plans,” says Ecopave’s chief financial officer Colleen Wikene. “Arden’s support enabled us to carry through with our plans. It’s important that our financial services provider works for us, not against us.”

“The folks at Ecopave know where they want their business to go and know how they’re going to get there,” says Thacker. “When a small business has solid, documented plans, it makes it much easier for their financial institution to help them grow their business.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 38 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 177,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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