Who better to give advice to local businesspeople than other local businesspeople? Here, Seaside Magazine asks last year’s Professionals winners to share some thoughts on the importance of their award category to their business.
Winner: Customer Service. Fran Daviss, INVIS – Canada’s Mortgage Experts. In my business it used to be all about closing the deal and moving on to the next one. It didn’t matter how you got to that point; there was always a new client. I cater to that new client. This new client expects to be treated as a person, who wants more from the experience and the experience I am sharing, and does not want to be treated just as a number. This person remembers how he or she was treated, and refers business to me because of the service I provided. I follow up during and after the closing, and return calls in a timely fashion. When I provide excellent service my clients become loyal and long-term clients.
Winner: Community. Art Finlayson, Finlayson Bonet Architecture. I’d like to thank Seaside Magazine for asking me to comment on how important the Saanich Peninsula communities have been to our Architectural business. We are proud to have been involved in providing buildings throughout these communities. Our firm would not have been able to succeed without my involvement in the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and Silvia Bonet’s involvement in Rotary. These two organizations have provided the connections that continually bring commissions to our office. The Saanich Historical Artifacts Society and the Central Saanich Community Association have also been important organizations to belong to as volunteers. We are thankful that we live and work in these most beautiful communities as the weather and the location in Canada continues to bring people to the Saanich Peninsula so that we can design housing, work places, recreation facilities and institutions. The Saanich Peninsula Hospital and the Victoria Airport have been important to us for the connections and buildings they have afforded us. We are most excited at this time to be able to shape the architectural facade of our communities.
Winner: Innovation. Matt Peulen, Stride Properties. It’s important to remember that innovation isn’t always about recreating the wheel: sometimes it’s just being committed to overcoming challenges. At Stride, we love to present “out there” ideas and then wow people by actually making them happen.
A recent innovation we’re very proud of was moving the heritage-designated Verdier House by a few feet to make a much larger project feasible. We’re completely restoring the 117-year-old building into eight rental homes and co-locating it with a 40-unit affordable rental building. Innovation was at the heart of this project’s significant community support.
To be a successful disruptor, you need to listen to advice (you don’t always have to take it), get financial buy-in and build credibility. You can’t innovate alone, so focus on building trust.
Winner: Branding. Laura McLarty, Flush Bathroom & Travel Essentials. Winning last year’s branding award really meant a lot to me. Since expanding my bathroom business into travel I was worried about confusing my brand. The award gave me the confidence, after redesigning my logo, that I must be on the right track!
The meaning of brand is everything: perception of a business’ customer service, reputation, advertising and logo. Having all of these parts working well maintains a healthy, successful brand. Building credibility and trust with our customers is most important to me. The goal of an indelible impression with them is the driving force behind my business.
Having a strong brand is like turning your business logo into a flag. It represents everything your business stands for. And there is no place I’d rather fly it than Sidney.
Photo, L to R: Matt Peulen, Art Finlayson, Laura McLarty, Fran Daviss