Considerations During Expansion

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Lessons from Best Managed

Richard Rousseau (Vice President, D.L.G.L., Winner since 1999):

(French speaker, translated into English)

The first thing I would say to companies wanting to grow their market and seek out other areas of activity, is to truly acknowledge their core strengths and weaknesses and, especially, not to shy away from acknowledging their weaknesses. They should focus on strategic growth, and not forget about their relationship with internal employees. We could push for aggressive growth but that could result in our downfall. We must always consider those around us and be sure not to adversely impact our employees' quality of life.

Kris Tierney (Chief People Officer, Questrade Inc., Winner since 2011): Really for a company to move into a new market, the strategy that we've used is really to build relationships in that local market. So for example, at Questrade, we don’t actually operate in the US, but we do deal with US exchanges, so we have built relationships with NASDAQ and other brokerages in the US to help support our business in that market. So really, going into other markets, building those local relationships is very important. In terms of products and services, we know what our core business is, we know what our core product is, so any time we look at business development or adding new services, we make sure that those new products and services align well or complement our core business.

Cory Bell (President, J.W. Lindsay Enterprises Limited, Winner since 2013): So we go out there and say, “What do we do well?” And you have to learn to say “no” where you may not be as adept as someone else to do that project. So you’ve got to be very honest with yourself, and put your resources where it needs to be.

Alex Campbell (CEO, Vista Projects Limited, Winner since 2013): Another thing that I think was very important in our growth was getting a competent HR group that could help us, because we had to do a lot. Ours is a people business. We’re selling the services of people, we have to find people, get good people. And when you're a small company you don't have the resources to do an effective job of that, and so I think that having a good HR group really helped us. And then it was really just focusing on our people.

When you're expanding rapidly the tricky part is maintaining your work quality because you're bringing a bunch of new people into the organization. So we have really focused on trying to get things a little more proceduralized so that there's set methods of how we do things when we bring somebody new in. We are trying to have a buddy system so they have somebody to work with. We’re trying to really focus on our on-boarding, so that people are brought up to speed quickly and know where things are and how things are done. So these are all important things when dealing with people during a growth phase.

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