Three Things The Canadians Can Teach Us About Business

Business Tips

Back in 2008, I took my first flight across the Atlantic, to the great land of maple syrup, Tim Horton and Robin Scherbatsky; Canadian FlagCanada. Going to Canada was an amazing experience, but one of the things that I picked up was – as anyone who watches American films and TV shows – Canadian’s are so darn nice.

I know that a lot of people mock how nice Canadians are – seriously, is it possible to be “too” nice – but I think that there is a lot to be learnt from our Canadian friends, especially in the realm of business:

1. Helping The Little Guy Out

One of the first events that happened the day after we arrived in Canada, was probably – as a Brit – one of the most surreal. In England, if you want to cross the road you have two options:

  1. Cross at a designated spot
  2. Cross wherever the hell you like

And whichever option you choose you can either:

  1. Be patient, and wait until it is safe to cross, or
  2. LEG IT!

In Canada, the method is a little bit simpler.

  1. Select place to cross – basically, wherever you like
  2. Wait for a car to stop, and nine cars out of ten will stop!

What Can We Learn From The Canadians?

It’s true, every success story started out as a struggling man, working hard to build himself up (whether that is learning to drive, so that you can buy a car, or learning the tricks of the trade, to buy better products). But, what is the problem with trying to change that? Why can’t we all think like the Canadian drivers, and stop to lend a hand once in a while.

Giving someone a small piece of advice could be the simplest thing that helps their business to flourish, and in turn they will be grateful and – hopefully – thank you by eventually paying forward the help they received by passing it on to another new business.

Instead of being rude, see your role as the Mentor – guide and inspire, and make yourself approachable. You never know, you might even be able to cash in on your kindness – as long as your kindness is your motivation.

2. Be Friendly

7f2b93df362d76a3ca69798af76648d2In the UK, one of the first things that you notice about staff is that they generally swarm on you, when you enter the shop and have no idea – at that moment in time – what you are looking for, and then when you actually need help, it’s like they’ve been sucked up into a tiny hole in the floor.

In Canada, sales assistants greet and make you feel welcome. They are genuinely interested in helping – even to the level that they knew my dress size, just by looking at me, and will help, even if you don’t ask for it. This does sound like it could be annoying, but unlike some market stall holders, it really wasn’t.

The Canadian’s also have a “Leave a penny, Take a penny” bowl, which came in incredibly handy when some stamps we were purchasing was a few cents over the dollar, and the guy took two cents from the bowl so that we didn’t have to fuss about finding the change.

What Can We Learn From The Canadians?

Being friendly and helpful don’t cost anything other than time, but the problem with a lot of businesses is that you feel like they’re being helpful because they have to, not because they want to.

So, set out to be as helpful as you possibly can with clients and customers, but make sure that you absolutely and genuinely mean it. Good customer service is likely to bode well on your return business, and customers are more likely to tell their friends about you.

3. Be Enthusiastic

4c1483c5512f12f4e146d0a37357e3b2I don’t if the Canadian’s just don’t say “thank you” (I honestly don’t know/remember if they do or not!) but as everyone knows, we Brits are renowned for our manners, and saying both “please” and “thank you” (as well as “sorry”) all of the time!  But often when you say thank you, most people don’t really acknowledge it – you don’t really expect them to. However, in Canada, a thank you when the assistant gave you your food, or your change was always received with a greatly enthusiastic “you’re welcome!”

What Can We Learn From The Canadians?

As we know about being helpful and friendly, it is often very easy to say something, but it is really difficult to make someone believe it. However, if something is said with a great deal of enthusiasm (without feeling forced), then people are likely to respond in a much more positive way.

I, for one, definitely feel happier being served by someone who has the enthusiasm to make it look like they love their job. whether they do or not, doesn’t entirely matter, because it’s more about “smoke and mirrors” (yes, I used a cliché buzz term, but it was necessary!) and realising that people judge other people on appearances, not what is hidden underneath, whether we like it or not.

Canadian Business




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