Starting your own business is an exciting but scary proposition. 

The thought of being your own boss and answering to nobody but yourself is uplifting. If you screw up, you can’t be berated or fired, and your lunch breaks won’t be timed by a bean counter. And hey, you just might make enough money to retire some day.

On the other hand, running a small business can keep you up at night stressing over financials, new hires, and customers who aren’t always right. And when was the last time you scheduled a holiday around a seven-day work week? 

Yes, you shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears operating a business, but it’s yours and something to be proud of as you contribute to the economy every day. In fact, you make the world go around by spending money and keeping people employed. So, our hats off to you and the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce for recognizing local businesses during its 24th annual Business Excellence Awards. 

A Statistics Canada report says smaller businesses employed more than 10 million people (63 per cent of all employees) in 2022. Big business employed 3.6 million individuals (21 per cent). You can see how small enterprises really shape the economy.

But another Statistics Canada survey in early 2023 points to a number of obstacles hindering small business, such as rising inflation, debt, supply chain issues, and an expectation of lower profits.

According to collected data, five per cent of small businesses do not survive their first year; more than 70 per cent fail because of management issues.

But take heart, there are countless stories about successful businesses, which is why the Chamber is honouring them. These businesses succeeded because they did their market research, balanced the books, and hired the right people (and treated them well).

These dedicated entrepreneurs work very hard in the valley to keep our economy moving in the right direction, but they can’t do it alone – they need “you.” Shopping local is critical to their survival. Are you really saving money by travelling outside the valley for a deal? Our financial well-being depends on your dollars staying here so that these businesses can continue to serve you and keep families employed.

Businesses of the bizarre

We leave you with these strange business ventures:

• Cuddle parties where you can cuddle with others

• Send rotten flowers or glitter bombs to enemies

• Smash things in an “anger room”

• Reserve a spot in heaven?

• Be the hero in a customized novel

• Hire a professional potty trainer

• Rent a man or woman to be your “hot” date.

• Sober up in a hangover clinic

• Hire people to fill seats at your wedding

• Cover up a lie with an airtight alibi.

• Hire paparazzi to follow you around in public.

Lyonel Doherty, editor