Three common traits of successful new business launches

Last week I attended Small Business BC’s annual awards ceremony for business excellence. Since I teach monthly marketing seminars for SBBC, and have helped many entrepreneurs learn to market their businesses over the years, it is always great to see a few of those businesses actually launched and showcased as nominated contestants. Hosted at the Pan Pacific, the event was buzzing with energy and spirit. The event profiles and celebrates five finalists and a winner in eight categories. While all nominated companies where truly deserving, when I reflect on the common characteristics shared by the winners, their approach can be best summarized by three common traits:

1.     They had responded to an unfulfilled need of a defined target group.

2.     They had few or no primary competitors. (At least not yet!)

3.     Their offerings responded to societal trends. (Concerns for medical access, online/mobile/or cloud computing growth, rising awareness of security, and green/environmental interest)

Could it be that a successful entrepreneurial venture lies in simply satisfying all three? I think so. #1 and #3 for sure, and #2 at least initially until first mover advantage is secured. Success often invites competition, but it’s a whole lot easier to establish yourself in a lone field, than battling for share at the introduction and early growth phase. These common traits are also found in some of the most successful large companies and global enterprises.

So perhaps it’s time to consider the following questions as they relate to these success factors, and see how your own product, service or business lines up. Or consider them from the perspective of a client you may work with.

1.     Do I respond to an unfulfilled need of a defined target group? What is it that I uniquely do? And whom do I do it for?

2.    Who are my primary and secondary competitors? How am I different from them? Why does that matter to my target audience?

3.    Is my business aligned to positively take advantage of a growth trend?

If you want some inspiration, here is a list of the Small Business BC winners, a brief overview of their business and links to their websites. It’s so exciting to see entrepreneurial ideas take flight!

Best concept


Innovation in health care, bringing back the house call, by allowing individuals to connect with family physicians through live online and mobile chat.

Best employer

Fully Managed

Giving piece of mind to small business owners through IT support

Best international trade

Xanatos Marine

Maritime security and monitoring for government and private organizations

Best green business

Eclipse Awards

Awards for the recognition industry using sustainable and reclaimed materials

Best workforce


Cloud computing solutions

Best online marketer

Make it!

A production company organizing unique events profiling over 250 artisans with original pieces

Best community impact


One of kind locally handcrafted dolls

Best company

Save Everyday

Mobile coupon platform supporting fundraising for schools and community groups

Premier’s people’s choice award


South Asian specialty grocery story

You can also link here for more background on the winning companies as well as photos from the event:

Mary Charleson


  1. It is heartening to see small businesses are doing well in British Columbia in spite of the competition from big corporations in almost every field. The success stories of small businesses in Canada should be served as a lesson for those people in India who are against the foreign direct investment of global players like Walmart, Target, Tesco,( to name a few). The small businesses back home are scared that they will have to shut shop if permission is given to these multinational giants to open their stores. I believe all these successful small businesses in British Columbia too face competition from these giants and but they innovated to stay in this competitive world. In my opinion, competition is the critical driver of performance and innovation.

  2. Nicely put Jikku. BC had the highest rate of start up small businesses in all of Canada last year. There is something to be said for the political climate that breeds an attitude of creation and independence to see opportunity and go for it.

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