Grow your small business by getting out there – Our Communities

Dear Money Lady,

I am a small business owner who had to refinance my Canada Emergency Business Account loan because I couldn’t make the repayment date in January. Our business is still struggling. How can we increase our revenues?

Jake L.

Grow your small business by getting out there – Our Communities


Growing a small business means more than simply opening the door and expecting people to show up.

Dear Jake,

You are not alone. Many small business owners have had to refinance their CEBA loans. If you applied for a refinancing loan on or before Jan. 18, 2024, with the financial institution hat provided your CEBA, you qualify for a special extension to March 28 to keep the forgivable portion. Outstanding loans can be converted to a three-year loans at 5 per cent interest for up to $60,000 with the term loan repayment date extended to December 31, 2026.

Let’s talk about why some businesses prosper and others don’t. It may seem like common sense to some, but I am still surprised that some small business owners still believe that simply opening the doors should be enough. It isn’t. If you’re not “shaking the bushes,” you will never have your business really prosper. Yes, I know you have to find the right location, make the right business choices, and watch your bottom line, but I am not talking about the logistics of your industry. To really prosper, you must get out there and increase sales. Good business owners don’t get ahead, but gutsy business owners do.

If you want something, you have to take the initiative and ask for it. No one knows how great you are unless you let them know it. No matter how pathetic you are at making a sales call or pitching your products, doing it poorly is better than not doing it at all. Suck up your fear and plunge ahead – just spit those words out. People will respect you for asking. If you have to, write down your sales pitch, rehearse it beforehand, and then deliver it.

Remember that getting out into the world primes your brain to be receptive to new ideas to grow your business. Opportunities will come up – guaranteed. Every time you put yourself into the world to promote your business, new possibilities will appear.

Let me give you an example. I have been getting my hair cut by the same person for the last five years but, as much as I liked my young hairdresser, I really disliked the salon she worked at. he owner was always miserable and seemed to never be glad you came in. Lucky for me, my hairdresser decided to open her own salon. Her salon was cute, small, and very pink – a really special little place to get your hair done. After only a year she had moved to a newer and larger up-scale salon and had two other stylists working for her. I asked how she had done so well. Of course, she treated her existing customer base well, but she also actively pursued new opportunities

How did she do this? Well, she phoned retirement homes and offered to come in to provide a discounted “day of beauty” for their residents. This was so successful that she was invited back each month. Coupons for residents’ family members, staff appreciation days and “cut and colour” days were all part of her sales-call promotions. She even went into high schools in her community offering special deals for their upcoming proms and grad dances. The excitement and passion for her business was infectious as more and more people wanted to help her grow, because she was genuine, kind and driven.

Don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve and be passionate about your business. When you’re passionate – when you have energy and enthusiasm and a sense of commitment – people become instantly intrigued and even electrified by it, wanting to get involved and buy in.

Remember also, that people will do more things for you when they benefit from the arrangement. It’s just human nature. Growing your business is about satisfying your customer’s needs and listening for the clues to do this more often.

Christine Ibbotson

Christine Ibbotson
Ask the Money Lady

Christine Ibbotson is an author, finance writer and national radio host, now appearing on CTV Morning Live, and CTV News@6.  Send your money questions through her website at