Small businesses in Canada are vast in number and diverse in scope and industry. The Merchant Advance Blog has previously highlighted the importance of forming strong community ties that encourage businesses to support one another, advocate for fair practices and for the advancement of locally-minded, independent economic growth. In this edition of the blog, we will focus on an important organization with the goals and interests of small business owners across the country at the core of their mandate: the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, or CIFB.
A Voice for Small Businesses
CFIB, whose members number in the hundreds of thousands, primarily lobbies for the interests of small businesses and their owners at all levels of government. Lobbying efforts have focused on issues both traditional and emergent – such as taxation, fiscal policy, legal precedents, workplace safety, transparency, regulatory efforts and labour policy. Input from the member community – through surveys, polls etc. – largely informs the direction and focus of many lobbying efforts. Also, if a member chooses, CFIB will forward specific concerns and comments directly to their federal or provincial elected representatives.
Access to Resources
In addition to advocacy, CFIB provides resources to its members. These are designed to make business easier and to minimize the cost of certain critical services. Such benefits include savings on include payment processing, shipping, payroll management and telecommunications. Members are also eligible to participate in certificate training programs in management skills, human resources, and health/safety standards education.
CFIB posts regular blog and news commentary, helpful advice and opinion on the latest developments affecting small businesses of all kinds as well as their owners.The organization has made laudable efforts at keeping abreast of effective web content distribution including social media – boasting, for example, separate Twitter accounts for each province and territory as well as those specifically targeted to a certain theme or type of advice. The organization also publishes a regular “barometer” of the state of small business confidence nationwide and in each province.
Creating Broad and Powerful Community Bonds
The strength of a small business community may largely be said to be found in the collective amplification of its voice, and in the education of its members so as to better their own businesses as well as the overall economic health of the place they live and work. Membership in CFIB may allow small businesses to participate in a community effort that scales beyond their local environment, and to make an impact on the greater economic health of the country as a whole. Even outside of its advocacy goals, CFIB is notable for providing free access to a highly informative library of content that could be of help to any small business owner in need of advice.