Digital Marketing Interview Series with the Principal Consultant at SME Strategy

Anthony Taylor is the principal consultant and chief strategist at SME Strategy Consulting, a Vancouver consulting firm which specializes in helping small companies reach their business goals. As part of our interview series, Anthony has shared some of his insights and experiences on how local businesses can adapt to the  ever-changing business world and thrive for success:

  1. Large corporations such as Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon have opened offices in Vancouver. How will the presence of these companies in Vancouver affect salaries and the talent pool in the local market?

    That depends. In my experience companies pay market rate for their talent, and I’ve seen many companies here offer less in salary for the opportunity to work and live in Vancouver (compared to other places in Canada). I’m not an HR expert, but my HOPE is that these companies attract more talent to Vancouver, which then would attract better people to work all areas of business (including startups and SME’s) which would then increase the salaries of all people in the marketplace. 
  2. Currently, 98% of businesses in B.C. are small businesses (less than 50 employees or self-employed with no paid help). What advice do you have for small businesses that want to take steps to become large corporations one day?

    The first step is to make the plan, and set the vision to become a “large” company. I would also say, get more sales and sell outside of BC.  As size and the needs of your customer base grow, so too will your staff requirements to service those customers. Get more clients, and you can support more staff for future growth and scalability.

    BC and Canada are relatively small markets compared to the rest of the world, and entering a new market is as easy as ever. If you first focus on being the leader in your local market it will give you stability and funds to expand, and then you can start exploring abroad to service other customers and markets.

    When you start with the vision of being a large company in the future, you’ll build your systems and marketing programs to be scalable and adaptable to other markets.
  3. You’ve been a consultant for small businesses for nearly 4 years. What inspired you enter the consulting field?

    I’ve always wanted to be a consultant, even when I was in high school, but I started my consulting practice after my last business partner ripped me off. In hindsight, there were a lot of things that I missed, and could have done to avoid what had happened. That said, I became a consultant to help businesses avoid those mistakes and be more successful, faster.

    I love being able to work with different businesses and solving different problems every day, and I love being able to use my skills and experience to help people be more successful in their own businesses.
  4. I've met many students or young professionals who want to become consultants one day. What advice do you have for these young professionals?

    Figure out what you’re really good at, how you contribute to a business or a team, and then find opportunities to put your skills to work. 

    Get as much experience as you can working with different projects, different organizations and different problems; build your body of work and it will help you market yourself in the future.

    Learn about the business world around you, and keep reading and educating yourself daily. The best business people consume information in large amounts, and you’ll need to do the same.

  5. According to Industry Canada, the average survival rate for small businesses for the first 2 years is 71.7%. This means that over one-fourth of small companies go out of business within the first two years. What advice do you have for small businesses to improve their survival rates?

    Make sure that people actually want what you are selling. Watch your cash flow and your burn rate. Get a good accountant, and get a good lawyer.

    Do a business plan, and make sure that you understand what makes you different and better than your competitors. Make sure you market yourself to the right people, and follow up. Also, be prepared to work your butt off!

     

    Anthony Taylor is the principal consultant and chief strategist at SME Strategy Consulting, a Vancouver consulting firm that helps small businesses reach their business goals. SME Strategy helps businesses by assessing opportunities for growth and improvement, and they recommend and implement strategies to take advantage of those opportunities. His favourite digital trend is mobile payments, and his pass times include drinking scotch and sunday football. You can find him online at @anthonyctaylor or at www.smestrategy.net.