Wetaskiwin business leaders say value your staff, customers

Small Business Week panel features four local business owners Oct. 23

Small Business Week in Wetaskiwin was marked in a special way at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon Oct. 23.

The Leduc/Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce had a panel of four Wetaskiwin-area small business owners who explained the ins and outs of a small business in this city.

The panel included Bruce Ganske, Magnum Mechanical, Gerald Finnman, Big Stone Custom Cabinets, Kirsten Montgomery, Refresh Wellness Centre and Rob Dyck, Dyck Insurance.

Ganske said Magnum Mechanical has been in operation for 31 years and offers commercial mechanical service. The business has 32 employees.

Finnman said his business has about 20 employees and allows customers to build the kitchen of their dreams.

Montgomery said she has only one employee plus 13 subcontractors who run their own businesses with her. She’s been in business 10 years.

Dyck said his business has been running 40 years, and he’s been there 37 of them. They sell general insurance in Alberta and the territories and are a third-generation family business.

Chamber executive director Jennifer Garries asked the panel a series of questions.

What’s a big problem you’ve faced?

Finnman said his business could have benefited from more long-range planning.

Dyck said succession planning is an issue his business has been working on.

What keeps you awake at night?

Dyck said making sure staff are treated properly, decision making and understanding there’s a lot of competition around.

Ganske said uncertainty is an issue, as the economy affects his business. Ganske said they’re concentrating very hard to find work.

Montgomery stated work-life balance is on her mind as she has three kids and there’s so much work to do, but there’s also a lot of life to live.

Finnman said he always wants happy clients, and if there is a problem he wants to be able to understand what happened.

Advice for new owners

Montgomery stated new owners should start small, minimize the risk but still take it.

Finnman said new owners should realize there are so many jobs and details to owning your own business so don’t underestimate them and focus on learning, whether it’s your customers or your staff.

Ganske said having a plan is crucial, enjoy organic growth, listen to different perspectives from staff too.

Dyck said don’t be complacent and surround yourself with good people.

How do you attract and retain staff?

Finnman said hire the right person, show appreciation to your staff and clients.

Montgomery noted that having subcontractors is a bit different than employees, but it’s still important to show appreciation, be flexible and enjoy the perks of self-employment.

Dyck answered that a special culture can be created when you treat staff like family and if employees enjoy going to work, that’s three-quarters of the battle.

Ganske said hiring for attitude is important and looking to see if a prospective employee will be a good fit.

How do you create a positive culture?

Dyck said work can be both a serious and fun place to be, staff don’t necessarily need huge rewards and treat your staff like you’d like to be treated.

Montgomery noted she likes to be clear as a leader, listen to other ideas and issues, engage in lots of team-building and see your team as real people.

Finnman said his staff met a sales goal last year so they’re being treated to a night at West Edmonton Mall, and hiring people with positive attitudes is important.

Ganske said owners should know where their corporate culture is in the first place, it starts at the top, there’s usually room for improvement and it comes from the leadership.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Ladies Golf Scramble raises $3,355 for local charity

All proceeds raised will be donated to the Education Plus Fund for the WRPS district.

Three Central Alberta breweries win big at the Canadian Brewing Awards this year.

Hawk Tail Brewery among two other Central Alberta Breweries to bring home top accolades.

Wetaskiwin RCMP make arrests for Hit and Run to residence

Damage estimates are expected to be in excess of $20,000.

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

First annual Best of Wetaskiwin Readers’ Choice Awards

Enter to win a $200 gift card for Canadian Tire.

Lacombe beekeepers give the buzz on winterizing hives

Winterizing a honeybee hive is not a simple task, local apiarists say

Six injured, man in custody following BB gun incident in Alberta, RCMP say

Airdrie’s downtown core was told to shelter-in-place, while others nearby were asked to stay inside

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

“My world exploded,” says Bentley-area farmer who’s swather was struck by a motorist

Dennis Duncan was a mile from home when his swather was struck by another travelling at high speeds

Most Read