Good luck, Justin!


We Bay Street Birthdayshould have sent the new Prime Minister a Bay Street Cake yesterday saying “Good Luck!”

Parliament Hill was overflowing with optimism about the changes that are coming…but without making this a political commentary, the challenge he faces is that government (any government) is really a Big Company.

Andrew and Marilyn each work for Big Companies and the 3 of us often talk about how hard it is to really manage the expense side of publicly traded companies…there are just so darn many people!

I’ve been thinking about this lately at Prairie Girl with everything going on: the Cakes launch; a Customer Service Manager opening; a few raises that have been given to people. Each of these topics has an important consistent theme: expenses, spending money.

If I didn’t have a small business where each and every expenditure is highlighted to me in our monthly finance review, here are the things I would do:

  1. Hire a well-paid experienced salesperson who devotes himself or herself going company to company, both existing clients and cold calls, to talk about all that we offer, including the new Cakes.
  2. Bring on a seasoned Customer Service Manager who could take the customer service from above average to jaw-dropping.
  3. Double the raises I just gave (trust me, they’d be deserved)

These would all actually be great decisions and a Big Company would do them in a heartbeat. Payback? Probably. Overall cost to the enterprise? Not enough to create any stir in the short term.

But it’s tough to spend like that as a small business: relative to immediate revenue, the costs would be significant and owners are always motivated to watch the current bottom line, looking for creative ways to get similar results with a cheaper approach.

My conclusion is that small businesses miss growth opportunities by minding their pennies…and  big companies/government may get “fat” (or at least a little chubby) by slowly over time expanding the number of people, the projects, all the “good stuff to do” that eventually drive up costs.

I don’t have an answer other than to be aware of the frugality issue as a small business owner.  – that sometimes it is important to “spend out” to really push the business to the next level. (Check out the Gretchen Rubin website if you want to read more about the idea of spending out.)


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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