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The Globe and Mail

Resolutions for 2013 from entrepreneurs across Canada

Ten entrepreneurs reveal their challenges, opportunities and vows for their companies and industries for the coming year

1 of 10

Cynthia and David Enns, co-founders and partners of Laughing Stock Vineyards Inc., a winery located in Penticton, B.C.
Founded: 2003
No. of employees: Five
Annual revenue: $2-million
Biggest challenge in 2013:
Remaining globally competitive. What I mean by that is selling Canadian wine in Canada because we’re competing against the global wine industry in our own market.
Biggest opportunity in 2013:
The potential we have with the big federal law change this year that allows Canadian wineries to transport wine legally across provincial borders for the first time. But we’re still fighting with government regulations and provincial liquor boards on allowing domestic product to be moved easily in the country.
Top resolution for 2013: Quality, quality, quality. We’re always trying to raise the bar every year with what we’re doing.

2 of 10

Stuart Lowther, founder and president of Life Science Nutritionals Inc., a Burlington, Ont.-based company that manufactures vitamins for children and adults under the trade names IronKids and Adult Essentials
Founded: 2005
No. of employees: 40
Annual revenue: $11.2-million
Biggest challenge in 2013:
Keeping up with funding our growth. With the increase in sales and the demand for gummy vitamins, we need to continually increase our production capacity, and are looking at government funding to support our growth.
Biggest opportunity in 2013:
Supplying the multi-national pharma and nutritional companies in the U.S. who have requested production space. To do this we need to expand our capacity as quickly as possible.
Top resolution for 2013:
To secure the building of a new gummy-based vitamin and nutritional manufacturing facility locally, which would increase our production capacity and create as many as 100 new jobs.

3 of 10

Alain Geoffroy, co-founder and president, left, and vice-president Marc Godin of Les Brasseurs du Temps Inc., a brewery and pub located in Gatineau, Que.
Founded: 2009
No. of employees: 50
Annual revenue: $2.5-million
Biggest challenge in 2013:
To maintain and increase the high standards in the quality of our beers and cuisine, incorporating fresh and local products while developing our industrial expansion.
Biggest opportunity in 2013:
Industrial expansion to respond to increasing demand for our beers. We’d like to introduce our products throughout Quebec and explore other markets in Canada and the U.S.
Top resolution for 2013:
To keep a close eye on our costs and workforce as we manage our growth.

Etienne Ranger, LeDroit Bar shots

4 of 10

Barb Gamey, co-founder and president of Payworks Inc., an online payroll service provider located in Winnipeg
Founded: 2000
No. of employees: 125
Annual revenue: $12.8-million
Biggest challenge in 2013:
In the payroll services industry, the challenge will be to sort through the technology options available to employers and deliver practical solutions that people actually want to use, versus deploying technology just for the sake of it.
Biggest opportunity in 2013:
New product introductions. We’re always interested in deploying new technology that is smart and makes sense for our customer base.
Top resolution for 2013:

To continue to build our growth the old-fashioned way, one customer relationship at a time.

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5 of 10

Brandon Kolybaba, president and founder of Sheepdog Inc., Halifax-based company specializing in IT consulting and cloud-based software
Founded: 2007
No. of employees: 28
Annual revenue: $3.7-million
Biggest challenge in 2013: Cloud is very cloudy right now for cloud advisers. There are so many bigger companies in the cloud business and so many mixed messages around cloud and the value of cloud-based technology that our biggest challenge is education – helping organizations understand exactly what cloud means.
Biggest opportunity in 2013: We’re seeing a lot of public- sector organizations embrace cloud. They’re not typically early adopters but everyone is getting excited about moving different aspects of their organization into cloud-based technology so that’s our biggest opportunity, for sure.
Top resolution for 2013: We want to move beyond the major cloud-based platforms to explore all the different cloud- based platforms and solutions that are coming out on the market.

6 of 10

John Griffin, president, left, with brother and partner Peter Griffin of W.P. Griffin Inc., a family-owned and operated potato farm located in Elmsdale, P.E.I.
Founded: 1969
No. of employees: 40
Annual revenue: > $5-million
Biggest challenge in 2013:
North America keeps going through supply issues in the table potato industry. This year, we had an oversupply, which puts the pressure on price. We have no idea what next year will bring – whether it will be another oversupply year, or an under-supply or come back to being balanced – so things are quite volatile.
Biggest opportunity in 2013: We try to differentiate ourselves in that we do a lot of consumer value-added retail products. We’ll continue to innovate and create newer products that aren’t quite as susceptible to the potato commodity. If they have built- in value, then they’ll hold their prices better.
Top resolution for 2013: We launched a new product through Sobeys called Sensation Annabelle potatoes, so our goal is to make that a success. We have a celebrity chef, Alain Bosse, the kilted chef of Nova Scotia, to help us raise awareness.

7 of 10

William Kellett, founder and president of Kellett Communications Inc., a graphic design company located in Yellowknife, NWT
Founded: 1998
No. of employees: 20
Annual revenue: $4.3-million
Biggest challenge in 2013:: The north tends to grow in spurts, not in nice slow curves. Being a business built around our client base, we’re not any different. Staffing is a challenge we face because it takes a committed, adventurous soul to embrace life up here. Being in a niche service industry in a digital environment doesn’t make it easier.
Biggest opportunity in 2013: To leverage our size and location to our advantage. We’re nimble and small enough to react to changes in technology or consumer behaviour. We can use that to compete against bigger, deeper-pocketed agencies in the urban centres.
Top resolution for 2013:: We just completed a self-imposed brand audit. The answer taps into our inner explorer – the part of us that takes canoe trips in isolated lakes or stands in the bitter cold hunting for the Aurora – and connects that to how we work with our clients. My top priority for next year is the implementation of that into how we work, the team culture, and the value proposition for clients.

Michael Ericsson

8 of 10

Peggie Koenig, founder and president of Koenig & Associates Inc.
What: HR recruitment firm
Location: Saskatoon
Founded: 1994
No. of employees: 10
Annual revenue: $1.1-million
Biggest challenge in 2013:
We purchased a new building which is currently under renovation, so continuing to generate revenues as we go through some business disruption is a challenge. Our second big issue is the changing business climate in Saskatchewan. There’s ever- increasing pressure from competitive firms that now have Saskatchewan on their radar.
Biggest opportunity in 2013:
The changing business environment. For years, Saskatchewan wasn't top of mind for many people as a destination for business and jobs. Now the province is in the limelight, resulting in ever-increasing pressures from competitive firms that have Saskatchewan on their radar. Our firm’s success in 2013 depends on our ability to be innovative, nimble, and finding the right people to support our growth strategy. Top resolution for 2013:
Transformation: to pump up our visibility, review and renew our service offerings, and grow the business.

9 of 10

Dan Eisner, right, founder and chief executive officer, Kelly Boyles, staff manager of True North Mortgage Inc., a Calgary-based mortgage solutions firm
Founded: 2004
No. of employees: 26
Annual revenue: $6.7-million
Biggest challenge in 2013: Government regulations. The government has made several changes to the mortgage rules that may affect the housing market and mortgage market in unpredictable ways. How to react and where the market will be in a year from now is unknown.
Biggest opportunity in 2013:
The tipping point. The Internet has become the de facto way good-credit Canadians seek out information on mortgage rates. Canadians can now find the absolute lowest rates using the Internet as their tool.
Top resolution for 2013:
Pay the good employees more and get rid of the bad ones. This is a perennial problem but I won’t let it slow our growth in 2013. Too often we’re hamstrung by not having the right employee ready to open up a new region or store.

10 of 10

Mario Allain, founder and president of FundyPros Specialty Construction, a commercial and residential construction company based in Dieppe, N.B. Founded: 1993 No. of employees: 200 Annual revenue: $21-million Biggest challenge in 2013:: Our industry is very price- driven and volatile, with new competitors frequently entering the market while the economy is currently in a downturn. The supply will exceed demand. Federal and provincial projects are few and far between. The challenge for the industry will be to stay focused and continue with lean practices.
Biggest opportunity in 2013
: Our biggest opportunity for 2013 will be expanding our service into other regions and building relationships with new clients. When the economy is on a downturn, you look for other opportunities elsewhere and have more time to invest and research new services. Top resolution for 2013:: To continue to strive towards fulfilling our mission of building strong communities with a safe and empowering work environment. We are a culture of continuous learning, always working to improve the standards of our industry.

Daniel St-Louis

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