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Being a small business owner during the pandemic has been anything but a smooth ride — but despite the turbulence of the times, optimism reigns.
In fact, according to a recent RBC survey, 55% of small business owners surveyed feel optimistic that small businesses will thrive without many challenges post-pandemic.
Businesses have had to adapt to the unprecedented strains of the past 19 months with a level of strength and resilience that’s admirable — something they couldn’t have done alone.
With every twist and turn, communities have rallied around their beloved small businesses. In turn, enterprises, like RBC, have stepped up to the plate to offer up key resources and support.
For Brock Stacey, owner and creative director of BEAUX Florals in Burlington, Ontario, the path to opening his own floral design shop was actually spurred by an outpouring of local support.
“If it wasn’t for the community, BEAUX Florals wouldn’t be here today,” says Stacey, who launched the business with his mother when, at the dawn of the pandemic, he began creating floral bouquets and arrangements for his inner circle as a creative outlet.
According to Stacey, “The outpouring of support was so quick and spread so fast that I made the decision to close my hair salon and reopen it as a floral studio to cater to my highly requested designs.”
From dainty toffee roses to flower arrangements that look straight out of a still-life painting, the floral design studio does everything from ready-made seasonal bouquets to all-encompassing florals for weddings and other events.
Stacey describes the experience of launching a business amid the uncertainty of the pandemic as both hectic and exciting. “There were many late nights, lots of research, and lots of quick decisions being made to create BEAUX Florals and make it a successfully running business while still being new to the world of florals.”
Like so many other businesses across Canada, Stacey remained buoyant amid the tidal waves, adapting to business trends and helping reshape the country’s small business landscape.
Despite the challenges, there’s evidence to suggest these ongoing trends and changes have inspired, rather than deterred, Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners to remain hopeful about the future.
For instance, according to RBC’s survey, 66% of Canadians surveyed have a positive outlook that a new wave of competitive and transformed small businesses will emerge post-pandemic, while 77% of respondents plan to spend more at small, local retail stores and restaurants in support of their recovery.
“I think that there has been such an awakening to support small businesses,” says Stacey. “During the pandemic, there was so much stacked against small businesses but consumers rose to the occasion to support their community.”
Beyond the local community, he also cites tools and resources, like RBC Beyond Banking services for helping fill the gaps in his financial and organizational needs. “I used their calculators to help budget and finance all of my startup costs.”
RBC Small Business Navigator Hub launched as a free resource for business owners during the pandemic, bringing together practical tips, insights, money-saving offers, and solutions to help support businesses with everything from e-commerce to digital payments, payroll management, and employee wellness and needs.
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Tools and services like Ownr, developed by RBC Ventures, offer a quick, affordable way to help businesses register or incorporate online. RBC collaborates with other service providers, like GrantMatch, a tool for exploring government funding opportunities, and Nextdoor, an easy-to-use app that allows businesses to reach community members and grow their business in real-time, that are available to help support small businesses.
RBC Insight Edge for Small Business, a dashboard solution that offers retail businesses up-to-date data insights around consumer trends, competitive benchmarks, and market intelligence, has been key in helping small businesses navigate uncharted waters.
“Having access to all the tools and resources that RBC Business Banking offers has allowed me the freedom to keep my finances in order,” adds Stacey. “It was so easy to get the answers I needed when I was unsure of finances, allowing me to be confident in the decisions I was making for my small business.”
What’s next for BEAUX Florals? Stacey has big plans to open a second location in Dundas, Ontario, and to expand beyond just florals with more collaborations, events, and workshops.
He also has some words of advice for other prospective small business owners and current entrepreneurs: “Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.”
For more tips, insights, and solutions to support your business, you can go to rbc.com/smallbusinessnavigator.