Time To Reflect On A Few Things

Photo of golfer holding his swing on a beautiful day. Featured image for a blog post on Elgin Business Resource Centre in St. Thomas, Ontario's blog.

As I see it, there are really only two seasons: Golf Season and No Golf Season. As we enter into No Golf Season it’s a time to reflect on a few things:

Over the past couple of years, I have truly realized the importance of a sound business transition or succession plan. Here at EBRC we are undergoing such a plan. The importance of being prepared, having appropriate steps in place, workable timing, and extremely capable personnel are all key to a smooth transition. As your business grows and you look to the future, always keep in mind what happens next. As important as your business startup plans were, your exit plans are equally important. Don’t leave what you built over time to an uncertain future.

Post COVID, what is the state of entrepreneurship and business recovery? That is a question that I get asked frequently. The answer is not particularly straightforward. While my outlook is cautiously optimistic, one can still see the lingering effects of the necessary shutdowns and total societal upheaval that occurred just a couple of years ago. Some businesses have rebounded nicely while others still struggle with restarting and redefining themselves. Many are concerned about how to repay emergency loans that were necessary at the time. However, entrepreneurs are resilient and creative, while the effects of the crisis remain, my belief is that the spirit of entrepreneurship will overcome. As always, sound planning and constant reevaluation of your business will help you to move forward. Seek business advice from support organizations.

Another question that surfaces frequently is regarding downtown revitalization. We in St. Thomas and throughout Elgin County face the same problems that you see in many other towns and cities. The combination of COVID crisis, homelessness and changing business trends, on-line shopping, etc. has led to a deterioration of many downtowns (both large and small). They may no longer be the hub or centre of the city. While there are no easy answers to this problem, it’s important to note that there still are answers. Thinking outside the box and doing things differently than we did in the past is crucial.

St. Thomas has initiated many steps to begin rectifying these problems. Many other municipalities have as well and are turning the corner to revitalize their downtowns. We need to make a concerted effort to plan what our downtowns should look like in the 21st and 22nd century. I encourage all entrepreneurs to work together and discuss what these downtown canvases should look like. GET INVOLVED in the remedy, don’t just complain.

My last thought is a sad reflection. Two years ago, on November 18, we all felt the sudden loss of our then Assistant General Manager, Janice Henwood’s young daughter Olivia. It was a shocking and severe blow to everyone in this organization and indeed throughout the building. Olivia had worked for us as a summer student and spent several years working for the Community Futures Ontario organization. She was known and loved by all of us in the building and throughout the community. Olivia had a vibrant spirit and passion for life. She is deeply and sadly missed. Our continued condolences and thoughts go out to Janice and her family as they continue to try to navigate what life looks like two years after Olivia’s tragic passing.