The Fundamental Skill Canadian Business Can Improve

By Kevin Huhn

In hockey, skating on ice is a skill that fundamentally hasn’t changed in more than a century. The objective of skating is to get from one point to another as fast as you can, while maintaining balance.

What has improved is the style of skating: strides, stopping and turning, and how the skate is made. Technology has changed how the skate looks and feels. Techniques have adapted to the changes. Training methods have affected the physical performance. But all in all, the skill of skating is still the most important skill in playing hockey.

Business is no different. The objective for a business is constant: exchanging a product or service for money. The skill needed is selling. What has changed in this skill is the technology and techniques of processing of a sale.

For many years, the exchange was cash only. Then came cheques and soon after credit cards and debit cards. Now, technology is changing the way people shop and how businesses sell.

For nearly 20 years there is a global processor that has made online transacting a powerful way to make a sale transpire. Available around the world, PayPal enables people to shop and helps businesses enjoy the benefits of e-commerce. More than 250,000 Canadian businesses of all sizes use PayPal to sell to their customers – locally as well as internationally.

We all agree that the internet is here to stay. But not every company has made itself available for customers to make purchases on the internet.

A former colleague of mine, Paul Parisi, now President of PayPal Canada ( and I got together to discuss the one skill that business owners can improve to drive more revenue into today’s marketplace – e-commerce.

The Scoreboard Doesn’t Lie

We discussed a recent PayPal study that was conducted across Canadian small and medium businesses (SMB). Paul said the study revealed:

– Less than one in five Canadian businesses accept online payments
– Only 17% of Canadian small businesses are using payment tools such as electronic invoicing, an online marketplace, or an e-commerce enabled website
– Four out of five Canadian consumers make purchases electronically
– 80% of Canadians shopped online in 2015

There is a massive opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the opportunity that e-commerce provides.

“The slow process of digitization of commerce by businesses has not made it easy for consumers who are ready and want to buy” he said. “Only seven percent of the Canadian small businesses surveyed have a website capable of processing online payments and 34 per cent of businesses that do not currently accept online payments have no foreseeable plans to build a website at all.”

There is a major reason for this low adoption. “They are afraid they won’t be able to service their clients. They also fear the unknown of how to ship online and get merchandise back for returns,” he explained.

If you are a male reading this, then you might be part of the demographic causing these astounding figures. We chuckled as he said, “the average business owner is 63% male, aged 55 years old” and I said that is my age group.

You miss 100% of the shots you never take.

The study also identified that, nearly three quarters (72%) of offline businesses claimed that they are not particularly sophisticated in terms of technology and e-marketing knowledge.

Making this part of their strategic plan, Paul shared, “PayPal’s focus is to help make the addition of e-commerce for SMBs frictionless. And another reason is SMBs who have e-commerce incorporated, have double the revenue compared to those SMBs who do not.”

Skate to where the puck is going to be

When you look at the marketplace in Canada and understand that four out of five consumers buy online, there is no reason a business should remain brick and mortar only. It’s so easy for businesses at any stage to get online and the barriers to entry are really myths rather than reality.

We all know sales are what keep a business alive. To thrive in the Canadian marketplace, which is quickly losing its borders, it is time for more SMBs to improve the skill of selling by adding e-commerce. Paul’s final words captured the essence of this article. “The benefits of e-ecommerce far outweigh the fears. SMBs need to do is give consumers a safe way to pay.”

Kevin Huhn is the Founder of Be Your Best Today and through its mission wants to help business owners reinvent their brand with proven systems, programs and products that engage, empower and enlighten in order to impact their rate of success. To learn more visit

Diana Lu - Building TrustBrakel - Chamber