Ongoing Support

Whether you're just starting out or have an operational business, there are many free online tools available to guide on your entrepreneurial journey. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)Futurpreneur Canada, TD Bank and Canada Business Network websites have webinars, articles, templates and more designed to educate, inform and inspire entrepreneurs. Also, check out our podcast series, Entrepreneurial Recon, guest hosted by program alumni and Veteran entrepreneurs.  

The online tools below are great places to start. The next step is connecting in-person (or over the phone) with local resources in your community.  Start building your entrepreneurial support network today!

Entrepreneurial Mindset

1. Exploring entrepreneurship: Is it right for me? Can I start small?

2. Do I have a good idea?

Business Fundamentals

3. Creating a new business

4. Planning for your business

5. Financing

6. Selling 

7. Marketing

9. BDC webinars

10. Books

Climate change is impacting our environment and providing new economic opportunities.

As part of our new strategic plan, we’re championing sustainable solutions to help Veterans and members of the military community establish resilient businesses that mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

What is sustainable business planning?

Every time an entrepreneur’s planning process extends beyond financial needs to account for environmental and societal impacts, they have engaged in sustainable business planning. Sustainable business planning seeks to balance profit, environment, and community by:

  • Taking ownership of impacts, both financially and non-financially

  • Contributing to the development and spread of resilient, healthy business practices

  • Building strong community

Although this document focuses on the environmental component, it is always important to keep community and financial viability in mind as well.

Why should I care about sustainability?

The bottom line is that sustainable business practices are good business practices. Despite the challenges, many businesses are continuing to implement sustainable operations because of the inherent advantages they can result in:

  • Increased profitability – Sustainability and efficiency go hand in hand. Streamlined processes and reduced material use not only reduces a business’ impact on the environment, but can also save money.

  • Stakeholders – Customers, employees and investors are increasingly concerned with business sustainability. A study by Unilever indicated that 33% of customers want to buy from businesses that are doing environmental good. At the same time, some clients and investors are requiring businesses to provide environmental performance information. Maintaining a good reputation with these groups may require taking on sustainability initiatives.

  • Lower risk – Businesses with more sustainable practices and supply chains tend to be more resistant to unexpected environmental impacts on their operations.

Is sustainability right for my business?

Every business is capable of being more sustainable. However, the form that sustainability takes will vary. For some businesses it may make sense for sustainability to become a key part of all its operations and marketing. For others, it may be limited to smaller initiatives. In this sense, sustainability is a spectrum, where each business must determine its own optimal point that balances profit with environmental and social impacts.

The degree to which sustainability becomes a part of your business strategy is dependent on many factors. Answering these questions can help you to determine how sustainability fits into your business:

  • What can I afford to do? – Financial viability comes first. Afterall, a business that is not making money cannot maintain any sustainability initiatives in the long term.

  • What do my customers want? – If sustainability is not a criterion for customers’ purchases, then greening your product or service may not make sense. Instead, consider other areas of your business operations that could be made more sustainable.

  • What is my competition doing? – Whether your competitors are or are not undertaking sustainability initiatives has implications for your business. If they are, you may risk being left behind. If not, it may be an opportunity to distinguish your business.

How do I get started?

Finding the exact way to integrate sustainability into your business takes time and care. This four-step process will help guide you through some of the key considerations and planning needed to develop and share your commitment to sustainability:

1. Realize – Identify the ways in which your business impacts the environment. Consider questions such as:

  • What business processes use energy?

  • Where are my products coming from and does that place enforce environmental protection laws?

  • What resources support my service?

  • How am I delivering my product or service?

In addition, consider establishing a baseline for your business location’s environmental impact. Natural Resources Canada’s and Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager is a free tool that can help to evaluate the energy, water and greenhouse emissions of your business location: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/buildings/energy-benchmarking/3693

2. Understand – Determine how the environment you operate in affects your business. Review the questions in the “Is sustainability right for my business?” section. Apply a new sustainability lens to your business model canvas:

  • What can I control or change?

  • Which stakeholders affect my decision?

  • How would a change in one aspect, for instance a supplier, affect the rest of the canvas?

3. Explore – Taking the information gathered in the previous steps, identify your options for sustainable business practices. The ideas that follow range from beginner, which can be implemented quickly, to advanced, which require significant planning and resources:

Difficulty

Sustainability Initiative

Notes

Beginner

Cut lighting costs

  • Lighting can account for 20% - 50% of the electricity bill depending on the type of business.

  • Switching to LED lighting over incandescent or halogen can save up to 75% of that energy and occupancy lighting sensors can also reduce costs significantly.

Beginner

Join local initiatives

  • Research sustainability initiatives being run by your municipal and regional government or chamber of commerce

Beginner

Reduce single use products

For instance, paper:

  • The production of paper consumes large amounts of energy.

  • Going digital can save time and money.

  • Reducing the amount of packaging used to ship products can also reduce the amount of waste generated.

Moderate

Purchase efficient tools

  • Many devices have energy efficient equivalents that offer the same level of performance.

Moderate

Supplier screening

  • Small businesses cannot control suppliers in the way larger firms do, but this does not mean they cannot be selective.

  • When purchasing products or materials from a supplier, ask whether they have any certifications or sustainability initiatives.

  • Look for and understand the meaning of various product certifications. These “Ecolabels” indicate that a product has met a set of environmental standards.

  • Consider buying locally to reduce transportation emissions.

Moderate

Screen your business space

Advanced

3rd party certification

Advanced

Building renovations


4. Develop – Once you’ve explored some options, define your sustainability goals and create a plan to achieve them. Finally, establish how you will share your initiatives with customers.

Now that you have reviewed your business impact, the environment in which you operate, and considered different options, you are ready to establish realistic goals and a plan to achieve them. To ensure that you develop quality goals, use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goal model. In addition, establish a plan to review and evaluate your goals on an ongoing basis.

If you intend to market your sustainability initiatives, determining how to clearly communicate your goals and accomplishments to stakeholders is essential. Accusations of greenwashing can cause considerable harm, as BDC’s Chief Strategy Officer has noted, “a reputation takes many years to build but can be lost in minutes”. By following the Realize, Understand, Explore, and Develop model to build your commitment to sustainability, you have already taken a step to minimize this risk. However, there are additional best practices to consider:

  • Start with a great product or service – Sustainability benefits will not be enough to attract and retain customers on their own. The base product or service must adequately meet the customer’s need before sustainability attributes will be compelling to customers.

  • Make sure that “green” fits your brand – The perceived authenticity of your sustainability branding depends on the extent of your commitment. A single product in a line of products is likely to be perceived as greenwashing. This does not mean that you cannot present smaller sustainability initiatives to customers but that the promotion should be proportional to the work being done.

  • Consider your market – For sustainability to add value to your brand it needs to differentiate you from your competition. Investigating your competitor’s sustainability initiatives and finding unique ways to present yours is an important part of ensuring you effectively communicate with customers.

  • Be transparent and honest – The entire business does not need to be sustainable to make sustainability claims but being clear about your commitment is essential. The best way to avoid accusations of greenwashing and build customer trust is to be honest in your representations. For guidance regarding best practices for marketing claims refer to: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/02701.html

Small business case-studies

Notes:

Connecting with free resources in your community

Canada has a wealth of free in-person support resources waiting to assist aspiring entrepreneurs. You can find traditional “bricks and mortar” government funded offices in all major cities and most rural centres across Canada. They all go by different names (Small Business Development Centre, Community Futures, KEDCO) making them sometimes difficult to find. Whatever the name, they all are staffed by experts ready to assist or point you in the right direction. Contact one of them and start building your support network today! 

In the regional compilations below, the organization listed after POE is the best place to start. They either spoke at a POE one-day workshop or at boot camp and will always make time to talk and answer questions.

National and Online Resources (PDF) 
Canada Business Services Overview (PDF)

Provincial and Community-Based Resources (PDF):

 

Podcasts

Making money and charging what you're worth

Date: 13-Mar-2018 | Presenter: Debbie Adams
From veteran to entrepreneur, Debbie shares the lessons that she has learned as she moved from a heart-to-serve to profit motive. Listen to Podcast

The Close: Moving seamlessly, elegantly, and confidently from pitch to asking for business

Date: 11-May-2018 | Presenter: Edmund Chien
Many people in sales are afraid to ask for the business. In this episode, Edmund details how to look for the moment when to ask for the sale. And then how to ask for the sale from a position of confidence in a non-pushy way. Listen to Podcast

The importance of asking for help with Dave Morrow

Date: 14-Aug-2019 | Presenter: Dave Morrow
Dave Morrow shares shares his personal story about why asking for help, a challenge for many veterans, is also one of the most important steps they can take. Listen to Podcast

Veteran Entrepreneurship in Canada

Date: 27-Nov-2018 | Presenter: Will Lymer and Nicole Verkindt
Will Lymer and Nicole Verkindt discuss the entrepreneurial landscape in Canada and what’s needed for veteran entrepreneurs to succeed. Listen to Podcast

What I've learned about customer service

Date: 05-Feb-2018 | Presenter: Laura Nash
Laura Nash of Houseboot.com and 2017 Dalhousie boot camp graduate shares her thoughts on the importance of good customer service. Listen to Podcast

Canadian Veteran Business Directory

About the Canadian Veteran Business Directory

On November 1st 2016 POE officially launched Canada's first online business directory dedicated to promoting Veteran-owned business. This provides a tangible way for patriotic Canadians to recognize and support Veterans and their families beyond Remembrance Day. The Directory is searchable by province and industry sector making it easy to find what you're looking for. Whether it's an artisan bakery in Squamish or a web designer specializing in online optimization check out the Directory first.  

 In November 2017, POE created a Buy Veteran brand making it easier for Canadians to find the Directory and support Veteran-owned businesses: www.buyveteran.ca



Do you know a military entrepreneur?

Listing businesses in the Canadian Veteran Business Directory is free and open to all current or former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. It takes 10 minutes and requires only a short business description and logo or image. To list: navigate to Veteran Login on the top right corner of our home page and follow the instructions. Listings are live within 24 hours.



Are you a military entrepreneur?

Other than promoting businesses, the Directory exists to help you grow your personal and professional networks. Starting a small business can be isolating with few opportunities to recharge. Use the Directory to connect with local military entrepreneurs for coffee or those in the same industry for ideas and advice. While you're at it, why not think creatively and find a way to promote each other?




Login to list your business Go to Directory 
Download Buy Veteran logos: BuyVeteran_Black      BuyVeteran_Colour     BuyVeteran_White
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On Demand Entrepreneurship Learning Modules

Refresh your knowledge and expand your skills with Accenture’s Skills to Succeed!

Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur has collaborated with Accenture and Futurpreneur Canada to provide access to a series of six online learning modules focusing on key entrepreneurial concepts to help new entrepreneurs move their businesses forward. These modules can be viewed in any order, at any time, and a certificate earned upon completion.

To access 

1. Email poe@princescharities.ca with REQUEST FOR LOGIN in the subject line. 
2. Once received use your new login information to access the modules  Skills to Succeed Learning Modules   ( http://skillstosucceedlearning.accenture.com )

Module summaries

Becoming an Entrepreneur

Learn the skills to succeed when you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur! This module includes the different types of businesses that exist, what you need to start your own business, as well as the benefits and risks associated with entrepreneurship. 

Business Financial Planning

Financial planning can be an intimidating and time-consuming undertaking - this module will help you to define terms and understand things like: What is a sales forecast? What is a break even analysis? What is cash flow? How do I read an income statement?

Marketing Channels and Pricing

Can’t decide if you’re charging too much or too little for your product or service? Trying to decide the best way to market and promote your business? Whether you need help with creating a website, or you’re unsure of how to navigate the ever-changing world of social media, this module will present you with tools to be successful when trying to engage with your customers. 

Marketing Your Business

Are you having a difficult time trying to determine what your unique business market is? This module will provide insightful information about the different types of marketing activities as they relate to your business and explain the impact of supply and demand on market prices. 

Price, Profit and Cost

Arguably one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face is determining the value of and calculating the price of their product or service. This module will help you to define direct and indirect costs associated with your business, including labour costs, profits and profit margins, as well as start-up costs that you may encounter. 

Creating Your Business Plan

Every business needs a business plan. Whether you are still in the “idea stage,” or if your business has been operational for some time, you need to know how to best prepare for the future by mapping out the opportunities and challenges that you may face along your entrepreneurial journey.  A business plan will provide you with a path for the future and can help minimize risks associated with decision-making. 

Protecting Your Business

Taking the right steps to protect your business starts with learning the different types of Intellectual Property that exist, in order to choose the right one that best fits your unique product and/or service. This module will explore the appropriate steps to take when pursuing your options, whether you plan to copyright, trademark, and/or patent an idea or product. 

Running Your Business

Ready to start operating your business? Already operational? This module will provide information about how to choose the best type of workspace for you, as well as provide insight into the types of operational challenges that come with owning your own business such as location, legal issues, insurance, human resources, and production flow.