If you’ve been telling yourself that building a business as well as a life in a place like Toronto is no longer worth the effort and stress and you’re open to relocation, the Grey-Bruce region is a very ideal location.
Grey and Bruce counties have a lot to offer, but that’s not to say these benefits come without any drawbacks – there are plenty of them.
That’s the entire purpose of this guide.
If you have a vision of what you can build for yourself under the right conditions, you should very well find what you’re looking for here.
So, without any more dithering, let’s get to it.
What’s great about this area is that you will not face the same financial challenges most entrepreneurs struggle with in Toronto.
Just some of what you can immediately start to benefit from includes:
- Lower rents (for both commercial and residential)
- Lower house prices (the house that would cost you $1.25 million in Toronto goes for $250K in these parts)
- Property taxes are rarely over $1K per year.
- There is a severe shortage of rental housing, so if you’re looking to buy income properties, this is a prime opportunity.
- Large community of affluent residents
- Many one-player industries – the only dry cleaner in town couldn’t properly clean a jacket of mine and delivered it as ‘good enough’ and didn’t offer and apology or waive the charges. Businesses like these are one competitor away from extinction.
- The majority of existing businesses do not know how to use or refuse to use digital marketing
Summary – this is a Blue Ocean market: many local business owners have never had to struggle and as a result aren’t ready to take on hungry competitors who are willing to out-hustle them.
Being in business often means you’ll need to rely on other businesses. Here are some of the pratfalls you are likely to encounter:
- Many (and I mean MANY) business owners here are on “country time” – don’t be surprised to have your deadlines defaulted on more than once.
- Words are not bonds here – not carrying through with what’s promised is very common for business owners here.
- Do you get frustrated when you hear someone tell you “we do it like this, because that’s the way things have always been done?” – you’ll be getting that in spades here. Out-of-the-box thinking isn’t big up this way.
- Until things start to change (a movement which you will be a part of), avoid opening businesses in downtown Owen Sound. If all of the quality traffic is on the West and East hills.
- If your business can only afford to pay minimum wage, you will struggle to find and keep quality staff.
- Winters here are tough – you can definitely count on Father Frost having an effect on your business as well as on your psyche. However, if you have a passion for skidooing, you’re golden.
- There is a BIG drug problem in the region with addiction to crystal meth being worse on a per-capita basis than in Toronto. This, of course, results in a lot of crime and poverty.
Once again, I can’t emphasize the cons of dealing with other businesses enough. If you’re diligent, determined, hungry and focused, I guarantee you a lot of frustration.
Here are a few personal examples:
- When shopping for a bookkeeper, I made an appointment to meet with one prospect. Not only did he show up 12 minutes late, he offered no apology. He was dressed in shorts and a golf shirt, his hair unkempt. When I’d say something he didn’t understand, he respond with “What are you talking about?” instead of “Could you repeat that?”
- A printing company here has a rate of 8 cents clearly stated on their website. They tried to charge me 10 cents a copy under the pretense that I’m printing out a PDF instead of doing a straight photocopy. When I brought up the other rate, the owner offered 8 cents a copy for a $5 set-up fee making the job more expensive than the 10-cent rate. (Because that’s how things have always been done).
- Three business owners to date were offered interviews on GreyBruce Now, providing them with free publicity. Once sent the questions for their interviews…crickets.
Industries that are prime for growth in the Grey-Bruce region:
Rental housing (this is the biggest one – the sooner this is addressed, the sooner we can expand the region’s labor pool and continue to open more businesses).
Technology – think rural means you need to stick with conventional businesses like grocery stores or barber shops? KP9 is an example of a local tech firm that has successfully built a team of programmers in Owen Sound (get in touch with them for an interview so they can explain their approach).
Elder care – One of our most thriving industries, but the challenge is in finding staff. If, however, you are ready to open a smaller operation that can be run as a couple of by partners, you could do ok regardless of the staffing situation.
Loans & Credit – While the cost of living here is cheaper, home prices are higher than they should be and are outpacing the income levels of young families. If you have money to lend, this is an excellent market for private lending.
How GreyBruceNow can help you:
We want to see change in this region and it can only happen if we help bring up disruptors who can’t stand hearing someone say they “do things this way because it’s always been done this way.”
We’re also actively building lists of candidates from the region as well as building a pool of prospective workers who’d be happy to trade up the rural life if they had the right job opportunities.
Telecommunications infrastructure – the region is starved for higher internet speeds and the person who delivers shall reap the benefits for many years to come.
Additional Support for Entrepreneurs Coming to Grey-Bruce:
Futurpreneur – For entrepreneurs under the age of 39. Warning: the “entrepreneur in residence” is who you’ll have to go to in order to get a loan. He’s never owned a business of his own and has a severe attitude problem, so be ready.