Small Businesses Are the Cornerstone of Our Communities

By Joan Janzen

Our Prime Minister said, “Small businesses are key drivers of the Canadian economy and the cornerstone of our communities. They transform ideas into new products, and keep our country prosperous, modern and competitive – and this year, small businesses and their owners, need all of us more than ever.” Those words were spoken in recognition of Small Business Week which took place from October 18 to 24, 2020. Those words are truly eloquent, but how do they actually play out in everyday life?

So I tracked down a small business owner to find out what it takes to become the cornerstone of our community. And what better business to select than a small business with a total staff of one – the owner, which in this case is Paul Palynchuk, owner of NorthStar Electric. His business, which has been operating since February of 2016, specializes in home automation, home theatre systems and all types of electrical work.

But there’s more … because Paul runs another business as well called Infinite Eight Multimedia, which has been operating since 2012. In his small sound and video production studio he transforms endless amounts of video into meaningful, professional footage. “Often I can make it real pretty too!” Paul adds.

I asked Paul how he manages to juggle not only one small business, but two? He responded, “I figure out where I need to give my time. When one business is busy the other one’s not. Electrical gets slower in early spring, but that’s usually the busy time for dance recitals and other media events. Electrical is also slow around Christmas time, but then special events keep me busy during that time.”

How does this entrepreneur generate business? “I offer services that I found weren’t available. The electrical generates more income than the media business, and I noticed there weren’t a lot of electricians focussed on residential customers who wanted to have technology in their homes such as more automation and networking. I wanted to focus on making those types of things available locally, because that’s where I see the future is headed,” Paul replied. After he has completed a job, the satisfied customer will willingly spread the word. “I have done work for high profile clients which also helped me to get more exposure.”

When asked if small business owners get days off, Paul laughed because it happened to be the day after our record snowfall and he couldn’t get out of his driveway. But he replied, “When you are self employed you have to come to terms with the fact that there is no such thing as a regular schedule. Your family has to adapt as well, so there are some challenges.” However he mentioned additional challenges.

“I feel that the industry and apprenticeship program don’t prepare you to know how to manage your own business, or manage your time. The hardest part is figuring out how to do that.” He also noted that it has been an unusual year, when customers are waiting to see what the economy will do, before they go ahead with projects.

As for the most rewarding part of being a small business owner, Paul didn’t hesitate to say, “It’s when you have finished everything, you step back, and the client looks around and they just love what the project looks like. They take pictures and are proud to show people. It’s the satisfaction of knowing I’ve taken something and turned it into something completely new and helped turn a house into a home and make it theirs. It’s also rewarding when I figure out a very complicated problem because I do a lot of trouble shooting. Figuring out a solution is very rewarding. It’s all about finding solutions.”

This is just one example of how small businesses “transform ideas into new products, and keep our country modern and competitive”. They truly are the cornerstone of our communities.

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