How Do I Know If I’ve Got the Right People on My Team?

Successful businesses are always evolving. Sometimes the evolutions are in their core offering. Sometimes it’s in the technology they use, or in the way they sell or even deliver their service. Just like companies, roles within companies evolve too. It’s essential for a business leader to be regularly assessing the skill sets and core competencies required in each role for employees to be successful. This is essential if you want to build a strong team.
One firm I worked with saw a dramatic shift in the skill sets required of their customer service team. The shift occurred when they implemented a new computer system. Whereas the primary requirement for the customer service role used to be someone who had great customer service skills, the primary requirement evolved to them needing to have great technical skills first and customer service skills second. They still needed to be good at customer service but first and foremost they needed to have a technical mindset. Some employees were able to make a seamless transition while others required extensive training. Though most were able to learn the new skills ultimately, some just did not have the technical aptitude. Keep in mind, these were employees who were great in the “Old” role but could not adapt to the “New” role. It didn’t make them a bad employee but it did make them unsuitable for the existing role.
The guidance I would give clients that I work with is that they need to assess the skill sets and competencies that are required in each role for the employees to be successful. They should review these annually and then evaluate their employees against this criteria. Where there are short-falls there should be a formal training plan established in order to help bridge the gaps. If an employee is successfully able to bridge the gap then you have a wonderful success. If not, then you need to consider whether they might be better suited in another role within your company or explore separation.
The reality is, if an employee is not well matched for their job, you’re likely not happy with their performance and they’re not likely happy either because they know they are struggling. As a business leader it’s your responsibility to help each member of your team to be successful and to make changes when necessary.

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Graham Acreman, President | Stellacon Business Solutions

(613) 263-1010



Understanding the Fuss About Tim Hortons

Ontario’s minimum wage increased 21% January 1, 2018.  Prudent businesses have already developed plans for how to mitigate the impact of the increase. Some solutions have been more popular than others.

Already there have been public call-outs of owners who are thought by some to be offside in how they are dealing with the impact of the change.  Some are weathering the storm, others are quickly backtracking, and others are still trying to figure out their next move. Read How to Mitigate the Effects Of Ontario’s Minimum Wage Increase. 



The reality is, businesses exist to provide value and make money.    In the process, they provide jobs and opportunities for employees. If an employer is not earning a reasonable return on their investment for any reason they will not remain in business long.

Salary costs are often the single largest cost to a business.  The impact of the minimum wage increase will vary by industry.  To get a better understanding of the impact let’s take a look at a case study using a company that has a 60% labour cost and predominantly employs minimum wage workers. This means for every $1 sold, 60% of the revenue is labour related.

This is our case study showing a snapshot of their financials before the minimum wage increase:

In the above, the business has $1,000,000 in annual sales.  Their labour cost is $600,000 (60%), other costs are $300,000 and their remaining profit is $100,000.

Now we take a look at the numbers after the effects of the minimum wage increase:





The only change above is that the labour cost has increased 21% (now represents 73% of the total sales).  This single change has taken a business that was profitable and now brought it into a loss position.    Obviously this isn’t good so what is a business owner to do?

Options  can include:

  • increase prices
  • reduce hours
  • reduce number of employees
  • reduce benefits
  • reduce other costs
  • automate processes

Most employers will likely use a combination of these options.

Returning to our case study, if our business owner chose to increase prices in order return to the same level of profitability then our numbers would now look like this:

Keep in mind, our business is not selling any more volume they have simply increased their prices by the amount necessary (12.6%) to maintain the same level of profitability.

In the case of Tim Hortons, price increases of 12.6% would look like this:




Of course a business owner choosing this route would have to consider whether their customers would be accepting of a 12.6% increase.  And in the case of Tim Hortons, this is not a decision that that franchise owners have – their pricing is mandated from their head office.

Ultimately  they had to do something  as has been widely reported in the media.  I suspect in time we’ll see some pricing increases and increased automation.

In the meantime, as business owners consider their next move, they need to be mindful of the potential impact and ramifications of their decisions.   You must carefully strategize how you are going to educate your employees.   That is, how are you going to sell it to them?  An effective strategy can significantly improve your likelihood of success.


Like this?   You may also like: 10 Mistakes to Avoid as a Business Leader

We help business owners solve problems.

Graham Acreman, President | Stellacon Business Solutions

(613) 263-1010



How to Mitigate the Effect of Ontario’s Proposed Minimum Wage Increase

In my last post we discussed the tentative 32% increase in Ontario’s minimum wage. We also reviewed the critical importance of why you need to perform an “Impact Assessment” to understand how it will affect your business. READ HERE.

Protecting your profitability

Today we’re going to discuss ways of mitigating the impact. Let’s use a simple example based on the following:

Current annual revenue = $1,800,000

Current annual labour cost = $950,000

Your maximum risk = $304,000 (32% x $950,000)

This would be based on all of your labour cost being at the current minimum wage of $11.40.

Your minimum risk = $0.00 (0% x $950,000)

This would be based on having no staff today below $15.00. If this is the case, congratulations. You’ve ducked a bullet.

In all likelihood you will fall somewhere in between. For illustration sake let’s assume that you’ve calculated your increased cost to be $165,000.

Assuming your revenues stay flat and no other costs increase, you now have to determine what to do about the extra $165,000 in costs.

When it comes down to it, you’ve really got five options:

  1. Suck it up.
  2. Increase your prices.
  3. Reduce head count.
  4. Reduce other expenses.
  5. A combination of the above.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these options.

Check out your business

Option 1: Sucking it up is a pretty big pill to swallow.  The reality is – this is the default option. Most of the business owners who will suck it up will be those who didn’t take the time to assess the impact and deal with it proactively.

Option 2: Increasing your prices is a likely option for many business owners.  In the case above, with revenues of $1,800,000, a business would need to increase prices 9.2% to negate the cost of the increase. This increase does not impact profitability in any way – it simply maintains it based on the increased labour expense.

Option 3:  Frequently, owners have one or more employees that they know they should let go but for a number of reasons they’ve been hesitant to do so.  Now may be the time to act.  If you’re already running a tight ship then this is likely not an option.

Option 4:  There are a few ways of reducing costs.  Labour expenses can often be reduced by automation.  Now may the time to investigate and invest.   A regular expense review is also definitely on my list of best practices and there’s no better time than now.  Many times business owners find they are paying for items that no longer make sense. There was likely a good reason at one time for any expense but as businesses evolve, some things become redundant or just aren’t used anymore.  And for those expense items that you still need, this may be the best time to negotiate lower prices from your suppliers.

Option 5: The most likely option in my opinion is that most pro-active business owners will offset the increase in costs through a combination of the above.

The truth is, the proposed increase in Ontario’s minimum wage is beyond your direct control. How your business deals with it is up to you.

If you need assistance with assessing the impact or strategizing a solution we would be happy to assist.

We help business owners solve problems.

For more information contact:
Graham Acreman, President | Stellacon Solutions
(613) 263-1010