It is now over half way through my term as Chair of the Brampton Board of Trade. In my first column I wrote about the need for a new strategic plan for the Board. This plan was developed in January, finalized over the winter months and the first year operational plan has now been approved by the Board of Directors.
Before I get into what you may see in out next fiscal year (which began July 1st) let’s review some of the previous year’s results. These results illustrate why all Boards of Trades and Chambers of Commerce need to change and adapt to today’s business environment.
I may get some criticism for writing some things that may seem negative but those that know me also know I speak the truth. I have never been good at sugar coating the facts. I prefer the straight facts.
On a big picture the Board of Trade has a few dozen less members than we had a year ago. This is after having almost 200 new members join in the past year. As we say, we have a retention issue. And we have had this problem for many years. Members join but do not stay. So as you will see below and I have written about this before, we are doing everything we can to add value to our membership.
From a financial perspective you will also see a loss when the audited statements are released later this year. The Board has two major “departments”. The first one is our DVLO (Driver Vehicle Licence Office located on Steeles Avenue). This division continued to make money but was unable to transfer its budgeted profit to the BBOT operations. The cause of this was new competition as well as some staff changes we faced this year.
For the core BBoT operations it too was an under performer financially. First, with membership down from the budget we missed our revenue target. The other area where performance was poor was with our events. A few planned events didn’t happen not the least of which was the annual Golf tournament.
So what are we doing to address these issues? First, when it comes to the DVLO we have established a task group to assist staff with optimizing the performance of this division.
When it comes to the core operations; one of the strategic priorities we have to lessen our reliance on membership and event revenues. So new sources of income will increasingly become important. If you haven’t heard about it yet, we have received a grant from Trillium for a new program geared towards youth. While Trillium funds can only be spent on approved expenditures we see an opportunity to leverage this grant into new revenue sources. Other new revenue sources are also in development and should be announced soon.
Also under development is a new structure for being a member of the BBoT. I won’t speculate too much here on what it will entail but we are looking to encourage businesses to join and participate in our many events.
I said I was going to try to ask every day “How can we help Brampton business grow their business and be successful?” I am still doing this and will continue to do this. I think we are moving in the right direction. I do value your comments so look forward to hearing how we are doing.
Until next month, Be Heard, Be Seen and Belong! Your BBoT is here to help you grow.