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Cirque Du Soleil has thrived by making smart business-related investments.

Whether you’re trying to build a business or increase your nest egg, you need to invest. For the former that could mean investing in people, equipment or growth, for the latter that’s putting money in the equity and fixed income markets. In both cases, though, investing hard-earned dollars is the key to a successful future. Sun Life Global Investments is the Presenting Partner of Cirque du Soleil Touring Shows in Canada. Both brands are rooted in Canada and share a vision of innovation, excellence and high performance.

Of course, investing is easier said than done. We asked two experts – Finn Taylor, Senior Vice-President of Touring Shows with Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil and Lori Landry, Chief Marketing Officer at Sun Life Global Investments – to talk about how to invest in your business and your future.

At Cirque du Soleil, investing is about putting dollars into new shows audiences will love.

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What’s your philosophy when it comes to investing in your business?

Finn Taylor: Our product is shows, so we invest by putting tens of millions into the creation of new shows. We always have several projects in development; right now we have ten, which is a lot, but we’re growing the company.

How do you know which shows will be a good investment?

Finn Taylor: We’ve been doing this for 35 years, so we have a good idea of the potential lifespan of a show. When we build a show, we don’t make it just to survive – we build them for the long term. It takes more than two years to build a show, and we want each one to work. Before we greenlight the development of a show, it has to go through a series of filters before we spend a single dollar. We know our business well enough to know what works and what doesn’t, and we’ve reduced the risk as much as possible.

Do you take some risks in investing in the business via new shows?

Finn Taylor: We are fortunate to have large shows running on an ongoing basis in Las Vegas. Mystère has been running for 25 years. O has been running for 20 years – and they’re not going to close any time soon. As long as people go to Vegas, they want to be entertained. We have numerous touring shows, some of which have been going for 15 years. This allows us to try new things. Based on feedback from our fans, we created an ice show last year, Cirque du Soleil Crystal, which was a first for us. We’re in the process of launching our first show in India, called BAZZAR, and we’re developing a market in China right now and looking at expanding into kids’ shows. These are new avenues for us, but every show still has to go through the same business-plan process and the same artistic and creative process, so we know it will work.

Cirque du Soleil is a household name. How did you get there?

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Finn Taylor: When we first started in 1984, this kind of circus show was a new concept. It looked like our success was instant, but members of our team were busking on the street to create our first shows and understand what audiences want. Since then, we’ve worked hard to understand what works, and we stick to that. We’ve grown based on the reputation of the quality of our work. And most of our tickets are still sold based on word of mouth.

At Sun Life Global Investments, the company focuses on helping Canadians better understand how to invest in themselves.

How can people better invest in themselves and their future?

Lori Landry: There are three basic ideas to follow: start young, get advice and manage debt. That’s all well and good, but the truth is most of us would rather spend our money now and enjoy life, rather than invest for something down the road. You need to get to the heart of what motivates someone to save and invest. A good financial adviser can sit down with you and help you get a picture in your mind of what you’re saving for – a house, education for your kids, retirement – and then work from there.

Today, we’re faced with stagnant wages and rising living costs, especially when it comes to real estate. How can you save and invest today?

Lori Landry: If you’re like me, every month you say, “Where did all my money go?” When there’s less to go around, you need to set a budget and track where you’re spending money. You’d be shocked to see how much you are spending on coffee and eating out, and the gym membership you don’t use is getting costly. You have to make tough decisions about spending, so you can try and tuck some away each month. It’s a tough thing to find that balance.

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How can Canadians plan for emergencies and life’s big changes?

Lori Landry: Once you’ve made a habit of saving, it’s not that hard to set aside money in an emergency fund. Or, even if you’re not that disciplined, using a pre-authorized payment plan makes it really easy. Build an emergency fund that will allow you to weather the unexpected. Some of life’s big moments like a family wedding or a university education aren’t unexpected, so your adviser can help you get ready.

What are some common saving and investing mistakes people make?

Lori Landry: Most people are risk averse. So, when the market starts to decline, they panic. They often sell low and may end up buying high. But if you look at the data, markets rise over time. That’s why you need an investment professional to help you resist letting risk aversion take over. Also, people who don’t start saving early are prone to falling for get-rich-quick schemes, or even just buying a stock based on a tip. You need a professional’s advice to make sure these investments are a good idea.


Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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