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Key Advice To Small Business Owners For 2021 by Jim Estill

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Jim Estill – President & CEO, ShipperBee & Danby Appliances

Jim Estill is currently CEO of both of Danby Appliances and ShipperBee, a new venture that is revamping outdated shipping channels into a system that is better for consumers, retailers, and the environment.

Jim is a Canadian technology entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist. He started his first computer distribution business from the trunk of his car while in university and grew that business to $2 Billion in sales.

Jim has invested in, mentored, and advised many technology companies including Blackberry. He joined their board before they went public and served for 13 years.

Jim is the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 Ontario winner.


What is your key advice to small business owners for 2021? 

Covid has changed the world. Although it is terrible, it is an entrepreneur’s dream. Change is an opportunity and this has created a massive opportunity. There is a covid economy and there will be a post covid economy. There are many opportunities that entrepreneurs can find in both.

The recovery will be good for some business segments and bad for others. Choose the ones you can thrive in.

For each piece of bad news, find the good news.

I like to focus on the “right-sized” business opportunity for me. A small business can benefit from this. Danby Appliances makes appliances and we sell about 2,000,000 of them per year. A small business could easily compete with Danby by choosing an appliance where there will be only 50,000 sold. This would be too small for Danby but could be a great business for a smaller company. At the same time, I tend to avoid choosing a market that is too big for us. I would not want to go head-on into a market against a player that make 100,000,000 appliances.

The message is to choose your niche and choose your market size wisely.

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