Behind every business, there’s a story worth knowing and nowhere is that truer than a small business. All corner stores, restaurants and hair salons are built on hard work, goals and values. We recently sat down with both Val Michaud, owner of Gravelbourg Gourmet Mustard and our very own Glenda Tinant, Conexus Small Business Advisor to discuss all things small business.
What are some challenges you face as a small business?
Val: Financing was very difficult for me. I had approached many financial institutions and it was challenging working with different advisors to set up
a line of credit or a loan. When I walked into Conexus and had my first appointment with Glenda, she understood the needs and the difficulties with running a small business. She took the time to build trust within our relationship, answered all my questions and made me feel like I was being listened to. My dreams were big, but Conexus was willing to take a chance with me and help grow my business.
What tips do you have for small businesses?
Glenda: When first starting out, do your research and create a business plan. Build a support system including finding a financial business advisor that has the knowledge within the industry and can provide you advice in helping you grow your business.
What solutions has Conexus offered you, that benefited your business?
Val: The best part about working with Glenda was the knowledge she brought to the table. Glenda was available to answer all of my questions, helping me to make business decisions quickly. She worked with me to find the right solutions for my business and didn’t push products on me that weren’t needed, showing she truly cared about me and my business.
What experience do you have working with small businesses?
Glenda: I have worked at Conexus for over 12 years, providing financial advice for small businesses for the past three years. Conexus is an empowering organization and we work with our members to have involved conversations around their financial wellness. I work with my small businesses to ensure we find the right advice for their business and that I am available when they need me most.
What do you think is unique about doing business in Saskatchewan?
Val: Trade show attendees always seek out Saskatchewan businesses because we are known for the quality of products coming out of our great province. I enjoy showcasing the resources grown in Saskatchewan through unique flavours within our products.
Glenda: Saskatchewan has a thriving community helping entrepreneurs along the way. Working at Conexus has been incredible, we’re Saskatchewan people helping Saskatchewan people succeed. I love working alongside local business to help them grow. For example, this year we built Canada’s first credit union led business incubator, Cultivator!
ABOUT VAL MICHAUD (GRAVELBOURG GOURMET MUSTARD):
Val Michaud opened her first business at the age of nineteen. Twenty-five years later in 2011, she decided to risk everything and acquire Gravelbourg Gourmet Mustard. In just eight years, she’s grown the company exponentially and has expanded her product to new markets. Val was successful in securing a deal on Dragon’s Den in 2017 while also being a 2018 and 2019 ABEX awards finalist. Recently, she was pre-selected for a business acceleration program in France.
ABOUT CONEXUS CREDIT UNION:
Conexus is a forward-thinking Saskatchewan credit union committed to our members and their financial well-being. We work with small businesses to find the right advice to build and grow their business. Conexus also offers free business training courses to help improve business knowledge and skills. We’re here to help you succeed. Visit conexus.ca/business for more information.