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7 Habits Successful Small Business Owners Have In Common

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Last Updated on March 15, 2024 by Treana Wunsch

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Canadian small business owners are some of the most successful in the world. They have a unique set of skills that make them successful, and they share some commonalities that help them achieve their goals. In this article, we’ll take a look at 7 things successful Canadian small business owners have in common.

Canadian small business owners have a plan

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Photo by on Unsplash

A business plan is a written document that outlines a company’s goals and how it plans to achieve them. It also includes financial information and projections. The purpose of a business plan is to give potential investors, partners, and employees a clear idea of what the company is trying to accomplish and how it plans to do it. A well-written business plan can also help a company stay on track by providing a roadmap for future growth.

In order to succeed, Canadian small businesses need a business plan. Almost half of all Canadian small businesses fail in their first 5 years. This is usually due to a lack of market research. If you make the savvy decision to write a business plan, you’ll end up doing the necessary research during the process.

This is why I always recommend writing a comprehensive business plan regardless of the financial requirements of the business. Writing a business plan is like performing a feasibility study for a project. During the research process, you’ll discover whether or not the business is viable. That alone is worth the time and effort of writing the business plan.

Additionally, having a business plan is essential for securing funding from lenders or investors. It will demonstrate that you’ve done the proper research and you know what you are talking about. It can also help you stay on track as your business grows. It is a living document that should constantly be tweaked and updated as circumstances change.

If you’re thinking of starting a small business in Canada, or you already own one, be sure to create a business plan. It may be the difference between success and failure.


If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up somplace else.

You don’t have to be good at writing to write a business plan. It should be in simple everyday language that anyone can understand. Its job is to convey the information to the appropriate parties when needed.

If you plan on starting a business, you most likely have already started researching. If you haven’t already, gather all your research into one place. I would recommend using a platform like Trello or Google Drive for this.

These platforms make it easy to gather all forms of media and you can collaborate with anyone else who may be involved in starting the business. I normally use Trello because it makes it easy to comment on links, images, discussions or files. Plus, it’s very customizable.

Even if you know your product or service inside and out, there are several other aspects that need to go into a business plan. Knowing your product or service is the easy part.

You also need to determine your target market, decide on a name and location, develop your core values and goals, nail down your pricing and provide financial information for the startup, as well as, 3-5 years down the road.

Knowing your competition is a large part of the plan. Plus, you’ll need to outline how you will be carrying out the day-to-day operations.

Your business plan doesn’t have to be perfect – it can continuously be updated as your business grows. But having a solid plan in place is an important step in starting your own small business in Canada. If you’d like to be one of the first to purchase my upcoming book on how to write a business plan, click below to be notified when it’s available.

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They are passionate about what they do

Small business owners are the backbone of the Canadian economy. They are creative, innovative and passionate about their businesses. They work hard to make their businesses successful and provide jobs for their employees. However, many small business owners struggle to maintain their businesses because they are not passionate about their business idea.

Passion is a powerful driving force that fuels one’s desire to make a business successful. In order to be successful, small business owners need to be passionate about their business idea and have a clear vision for their business. They also need to be motivated to work hard and make sacrifices for their business.

Without passion, small business owners will not have the drive or motivation to succeed. As I spoke about earlier, almost half of small businesses fail. If you’re not passionate about your idea, the odds of your business failing increase exponentially.

If you could create your product or service for free and do it all day and lose track of time while you’re working on it, then you have the passion you need to get the ball rolling. If you are starting this business with nothing but dollar signs in your eyes, you may want to reconsider the idea.

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.

They are flexible and adaptable

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Photo by MING Labs on Unsplash

Being adaptable in business is one of the most important skills you can have. It means being able to change and adjust to new situations, demands, and challenges. It’s about being flexible and open to new ideas. If you’re not adaptable, you’ll likely find yourself struggling in today’s competitive business world.

Small business owners in Canada need to be adaptable because of the country’s unique economic landscape. The small business sector is a major contributor to the Canadian economy, making up over 98% of all businesses in the country.

Due to its size, the small business sector is highly vulnerable to economic shifts. For example, the recession of 2008 had a significant impact on small businesses, with almost half of them reporting a revenue decline. Not to mention the recent pandemic we went through. You really never know what can happen.


If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.

To stay competitive, small businesses need to be able to adapt quickly to changes in the market. This includes being able to respond to new technologies and changes in consumer behaviour.

In addition, small businesses need to be nimble enough to adjust their product or service offering as needed. They also need to be able to manage their finances effectively, so they can survive during tough times.

Small business owners may feel at a disadvantage when competing against larger businesses, but there are ways to be more adaptable and successful. First, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest technology and trends in your industry.

You should also be willing to change your business model or processes in order to meet the needs of your customers.

Additionally, you can network with other small business owners and exchange ideas and strategies. Finally, always be prepared to pivot if necessary.

They focus on a narrow target market

In order for a business to be successful, it is important to identify and target a specific market. A target market is a group of people that a company identifies as its main customers. In order to identify its target market, a company must first understand who its ideal customer is.

This involves studying the demographics of the customer, such as their age, gender, income level, and lifestyle. Once the company understands who its ideal customer is, it can then create marketing messages and products that appeal to them.

Although many new business owners think casting a wide net to reach as many potential customers as possible, that is the opposite of how to become successful. Narrowing your focus allows you to better understand your customers and what they want.


Everyone is not your customer.

This, in turn, makes it easier to create products and services that appeal to them. Additionally, by narrowing your target market you can more easily identify your competition and how to differentiate yourself from them.

Having a specific target also makes marketing and advertising efforts more effective. Ultimately, targeting a specific group of people allows you to build a stronger business that is more likely to succeed.

For example, marketing to small business owners is much more difficult than marketing to people who want to learn how to make goat milk soap.

Your small business should first analyze its ideal customer. This is the customer who has the most need for your product or service and who is also the easiest to reach and serve.

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer, you can then begin to research their demographics (location, age, gender, income) and psychographics (interests, attitudes, values). With this information in hand, you can start to develop a profile of your target market.

They spend time on marketing

Small business marketing is an important aspect of any company, no matter how big or small. It can be the difference between a business that is successful and one that struggles to stay afloat. There are many different aspects to small business marketing, from advertising to public relations to social media. The key is to find the right mix of marketing tools that will work best for your company and your target audience.

Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.


Despite their importance, many small businesses don’t market themselves effectively. A study by the Marketing Association of Canada found that only 37 percent of small businesses have a marketing plan. And those that do have a plan often don’t allocate enough resources to it.

There are several reasons why small businesses need to market themselves effectively. First, competition is fierce and it’s getting tougher every day for small businesses to survive. Second, customers are more sophisticated than ever and they expect companies to engage them in new and innovative ways.

Marketing a small business can be a daunting task. However, there are many ways small business owners can market their products or services.

One way is to create a website and post information about the product or service. Additionally, businesses can distribute flyers and brochures in local businesses and post them in public places. Local newspapers and magazines are also great places to advertise, as are websites such as Craigslist and Google AdWords.

Word-of-mouth marketing is another great way to get the word out about a small business. Friends, family, and acquaintances can be asked to spread the word about the product or service. Small businesses can participate in trade shows and other industry events to promote their product or service.

However, digital marketing is currently the most effective method of marketing for Canadian small businesses. You may be wondering how to use digital marketing to reach more customers. While there are many different strategies you can use, here are a few of the most effective ones:

  1. Use social media to create a strong online presence. This includes setting up profiles on popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and sharing valuable content that will interest your target audience.
  2. Use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages. This can be done by optimizing your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and other elements for relevant keywords.
  3. Use paid advertising to target potential customers who are already interested in what you have to offer. This can be done through platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
  4. Email marketing is still the best way to get the word out about your business and can be done through platforms like MailChimp. You don’t have to deal with algorithm shifts or platforms losing traction or shutting down completely.

Learn more by reading my article 7 Effective Digital Marketing Basics Small Businesses in Canada.

They follow good bookkeeping practices

computer monitor with financial information
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Small business bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions for a small business. This may include tracking income and expenses, issuing invoices, and paying bills.

Keeping accurate books is important for small business owners as it helps them make informed decisions about their business. In addition, good bookkeeping practices can help business owners stay organized and efficient. Good bookkeeping practices can also help reduce the chances of tax audits.

Making good judgements when one has completed data, facts and knowledge is not leadership, it's bookkeeping.


But for small business owners, bookkeeping can also be a major time suck. Here are a few tips to help you streamline the process:

  1. Make sure you have the right tools. A good bookkeeping system should include a record-keeping journal, invoices or bill payments, receipts, bank statements and credit card statements.
  2. Set up some basic guidelines. Decide on what information you need to track on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. This will help you stay organized and make it easier to keep track of your finances. Get my bookkeeping checklist here.
  3. Use software to automate the process. There are a number of software programs available that can help automate your bookkeeping tasks, including tracking expenses and creating invoices. My favourite is QuickBooks Online. I use this exclusively for all my clients. Click here to find out why your small business needs it.

They schedule time for business development

tool inc cwuSKXhwhxI unsplash
Photo by Tool., Inc on Unsplash

There are two different ways to think of working on your business: working in your business and working on your business. The first way, working in your business, is when you do the day-to-day tasks required to keep the business running. This might include answering customer emails, fulfilling orders, or cleaning the office.

The second way, working on your business, is when you take time to improve the business itself. This is business development. This could involve creating a new product line, researching new markets, or writing a marketing plan.

Both ways of working are important, but it’s important to understand the difference between them. When you’re working in your business, you’re focused on the here and now. You’re busy dealing with tasks that need to be done today. When you’re working on your business, you’re thinking about the future.

The only thing standing between you and outrageous success is continuous progress.


Despite their importance, small businesses often struggle to focus on long-term development. This can be a major liability in an increasingly competitive marketplace. In order to stay ahead of the curve, small businesses need to focus on development and invest in their future. By doing so, small businesses can not only stay afloat but also thrive in today’s economy.

Most small business owners are juggling a million things at once. They are trying to make time to develop their business, while also meeting customer demands, handling finances, and maintaining daily operations.

It can be tough to find the time necessary to focus on growth when there are so many other pressing matters. However, with a little bit of organization and prioritization, small business owners can make room for developing their company.

If you want to learn how you can make time to focus on developing your small business, click here.


Successful Canadian small business owners share several common traits, including a business plan, passion for their work, adaptability, and a narrow target market. They also place a high priority on marketing and bookkeeping/financial management and are consistently working to develop their businesses. By emulating these behaviours, you can give your small business the best chance of success.

Do you agree with my 7 things successful Canadian small business owners have in common? Am I missing any? Comment below!

P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you.

Online Business Management. I will assess your business and make recommendations for improvements. Together we’ll create a plan to streamline the daily operations. My goal is to simplify your business so you can focus on what’s important.

Business Plan Writing. Take the first step to building your dreams.

Digital Marketing. If your business doesn’t have a digital marketing plan, you’re leaving money on the table.

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Dan Richards
Dan Richards
Co-owner | XFE Project Solutions
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Treana has been very flexible, not only with making time for our requirements, but also with the tasks on the ever-changing "to do" list for her. She has also leveraged her experience to connect us with other service providers that we would not have found on our own.
Brandon Mack
Brandon MackOwner | Black Atlas Creative
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Treana did all the legwork for the business plan I was putting together. I started going through the process myself, but figured after about 5 headaches in that it would probably be better to hire someone who knew the ins and outs of putting one together. Glad I did! Saved me tons of time and has everything I needed!
Tyler Dzurka
Dzurka Plumbing Inc.
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Very professional, on the ball, and very insightful on how to make an efficient business stay progressing and making good profits. Very quick at responding and honest and sincere. 10 out of 10.

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