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Paving the way to success

Paving the way to success

Posted on: February 02, 2016
Author: Siobhan Owen, Marketing Co-op Student

Some might say that launching a new business in the current economic climate is ballsy or even reckless. But with low interest rates and plenty of opportunity, it just might be the perfect time to capitalize. As Renée and Kent Majeau, co-owners of City MiniMix Concrete, are finding out, this environment provides an opportunity to chase the dream they’ve been thinking about for a decade.

The Majeaus started City MiniMix in January of 2015. The Edmonton-based company delivers small batches of high quality concrete directly to customers. By focusing on keeping operating costs low while marketing and getting the word out, they are managing to grow the business, despite the economic climate.

“The good thing about starting a company in an economic downturn is that you operate very lean from the get-go, watching every penny and ensuring that every dollar you spend is giving you the biggest bang for your buck,” says Renée.

Focusing on customer service and being active in the community, all while watching the bottom line, has allowed City MiniMix to grow and mark a milestone—its one year anniversary. And what a year it was. The company was named one of the most promising startups among more than 3,000 applicants in the Small Business Challenge, a national competition sponsored by the Globe and Mail and Telus.

As City MiniMix heads into its second year with an economy that’s continuing to lag, Renée and Kent are looking for tactics to help keep the business growing. That’s where Ed Straw, ATB’s Vice President of Strategic Business Solutions comes in.

“Now is not the time to be overly picky about work,“ he says.

“Taking on jobs with lower margins—work you might not normally go for—will help you keep the lights on and build important relationships with clients that will pay off handsomely when things turn around.”

Ed suggests this is also a great time to review your supplier relationships and, if necessary, leverage them to negotiate payment terms on contracts. Although suppliers are in the same boat as you, your company’s success is in both of your best interests.

It’s straightforward advice like Ed’s that Renée and Kent have come to rely on from ATB.

“Working with ATB helped take some of the stress out of starting our new company. The staff was always friendly, responsive and efficient and the terms and conditions they offered us to help with financing our new venture made our decision easy,” says Renée.

Perhaps that’s one last tip for starting up (and carrying on) in tough times—pick the right bank. After all, whether your business is concrete or candy floss, you’ll need a strong foundation to build on.