The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is a useful organization. I have experience with it since the spring of 1973 when I met founder John Bullock and enrolled my nascent accounting business. They provide a voice for business that is found nowhere else. Its is the voice of owner-managed businesses. You know, the ones that are the economic backbone of the nation.
If you have not yet become a member please consider it. Small and medium sized businesses bear the burden of bureaucracy and often just because the government can pass thoughtless regulation. Many of these regulations are not appropriate to them but the costs remain real. Anything that helps reduce this burden improves the likelihood of success for these important entities.
As time has passed since 1973, CFIB has widened its programs and now provides value in three distinct areas:
- Lobbying. Passing the business message to politicians and bureaucrats who frequently have little experience with the real thing. Sometimes easy to fix problems arise and a little help with insight can assist governments adjust.
- Business Support. There is a wide range of consulting power and published information. I have used it to show clients how some of them need not pay Employment Insurance on their own salaries. You can get the previous three years refunded too. There are about 15 categories where you can find easily understood information and ideas to help your business.
- Skeptics should go to Savings and Benefits first. Many people can save more than the price of admission with programs that reduce the cost of credit card processing, web site construction, tel com and more.
I recently met CFIB Toronto district manager Jesse Kline. He carries business experience forward from his previous career and has a feel for the important parts of owner-managed enterprises.
- Value for money.
- Minimizing governmental disincentives and mindless rules.
- The need for someone who understands business and business owners and who can bring a wider worldview to everyday business problems.
That last one is the key. Small business owners can become quite isolated. They must devote a huge amount of time and effort to keeping up with the internal needs. External opportunities are often missed.
As early as the mid-70s, Schulich School of Business professor Rein Petersen had identified the need for small and medium sized business persons to have an outsider, who understands both them and their business, to bring information, ideas and critique from the outside world. It is a forest and tree problem with an easy solution.
Some can do it with external directors. For others, the CFIB can be a useful ally. Contact Jesse or the CFIB rep in your area to learn more.
Running a business is hard enough. Take help where you can find it.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in an international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org