Rich Russey, VP Publisher of INC. Media, was in Toronto recently moderating The Globe’s 2019 Small Business Summit. INC., an American publisher covering small businesses and startups, is part of the Globe Alliance, our digital network of world-class, brand-safe publishers. The following morning, Mr. Russey sat down with the Head of Globe Content Studio, Sean Stanleigh, and an audience of advertisers and marketers over breakfast. During this discussion, they spoke about the impact shifting political landscapes and business models are having on how small businesses are run. Here are five key takeaways from the conversation:
The loss of intellectual capital south of the border is advantageous to Canadian companies
Canadian companies should take advantage of U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Since immigration is not happening in the U.S., Russey said he believes the States is losing a lot of intellectual capital, and said small businesses in Canada can take advantage of it.
Russey acknowledged that while Toronto’s labour market is still tight, he thinks in the long run Trump’s policies will help the Canadian labour market. “Business owners need to see that, take advantage of it, and keep growing their businesses in Canada,” said Russey.
“Entrepreneurs are becoming celebrities, and celebrities want to be entrepreneurs.”
One of the biggest hiring challenges for business owners may be attracting talent away from the Googles and the Facebooks of the world, but Russey says it is getting easier, and that shows like Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank have helped make entrepreneurialism cool.
He said the idea of not working for a large company is appealing to Millennials coming out of school, and that this is an opportunity. While big companies use hiring to solve a problem, small companies need to use hiring as a view towards the future of their company. “When hiring, small businesses need to hire people for their future value, not for a role,” said Russey.
He explained, if someone gets hired at a small business, they are more likely to rise as that company grows. He said this is advantageous for small businesses, and they should make a point about it when hiring.
“When I’m reading the magazine, or I’m reading the newspaper, I always find something I wasn’t thinking about.”
Russey says from a marketer’s standpoint, print has become unsexy, but from a readership standpoint he always hears, “when I’m reading the magazine, or I’m reading the newspaper, I always find something I wasn’t thinking about.”
He explains this differentiator helps drive how Inc. develops custom content. When creating online content, they base it on what they know people are looking for.
Do not underestimate the power of clients with small budgets
Inc. has hired someone dedicated to exclusively pursuing small business owners as clients. Russey said a few small businesses, with little budgets, add up to a lot of money. Between website content, and social media, Inc. is able to build out effective programs for their clients working with smaller budgets.
The explosion of D2C businesses and “spookier” data
The success of direct to consumer models may be taking advantage of well-established tactics like smartly targeted ads and sharp ecommerce sites, but the timing is just right and the data is much better, or as Russey described it, “spookier”.
“With third-party data companies five years ago, it was really shaky, what was going on in their data, but today they’ve implemented first-party data overlay, it’s not as shaky as it used to be.”
He attributed Amazon with changing the landscape, saying that consumers are getting increasingly comfortable with buying things online.