Key Advice To Small Business Owners During These Challenging Times By Priya Chopra

Small Business Canada

Priya Chopra, Founder and President, 1Milk2Sugars 

Born and raised in Montreal with an East Indian heritage, Priya Chopra is the founder and CEO of 1Milk2Sugars, a thriving public relations agency specializing in influencer marketing, social media and media relations.

Priya launched 1Milk2Sugars in 2012 and expanded its footprint within a year, making it one of Montreal’s only boutique agencies to penetrate the national media hub of Toronto. During that same period, Priya helmed the creation of 1Milk2Sugars’ social media division, giving her team first-mover advantage in the now-critical digital space.

Under Priya’s leadership, 1Milk2Sugars has stepped up its reach in strategic markets throughout North America, including New York, all while maintaining profitability. The agency has grown by over 200 percent in the last two years alone, with a portfolio that includes top international lifestyle brands like NIVEA, Marriott, L’Oreal and Pfizer.

Priya has weaved her passions for diversity, social awareness and female empowerment into the fabric of her agency’s DNA.  Her outstanding leadership has been recognized by the Forbes Agency Council, Bloomberg Canada, Ernst & Young and the Chamber of Commerce to name a few recent distinctions. Priya was also proudly awarded the PR In Canada, Women in Communications Award in the “Founders” category for 2018.

In addition to being an accomplished business leader and highly sought-after communications professional, Priya is trilingual and a proud mother of three. She feels incredibly gratified to be fulfilling her personal dreams in tandem with her professional ambitions and is excited for what comes next. 

What is your key advice to small business owners during these challenging times? 

 Although this really depends on what type of business you own, and what stage your business is at, my best advice for everyone, is: keep calm and carry on.  This doesn’t mean carry on as usual; now is the time to get highly innovative and channel your mental calm into creating new strategies.  

 To begin, evaluate where you can reconfigure your business model to introduce new ways of reaching and relating to your consumers.  Companies that are pivoting and transforming their value propositions are succeeding; it’s all about catering to your customer’s needs as they are now, not what they were or what you’d like them to be.

Now is not the time to over analyze or procrastinate, it’s the time to make swift decisions aimed at becoming more lean, more efficient and above all – more relevant.  

 Furthermore, they say that cash flow can make or break a business — any business — so I want to elaborate on the importance of understanding your finances. This crisis doesn’t have many silver linings but one of them is that it’s given our company the opportunity to look inward and evaluate our capacity for long-term resilience. It’s also reinforced the need for contingency planning and the importance of setting aside funds for a rainy day. If finances are not your strong suit, overcome this challenge by regularly reviewing your financial statements and staying in close contact with your banking advisors; now is the time to address your real financial picture head-on.

And what steps should they take to keep their small business afloat during the current crisis?

  1. If you had a business plan for 2020, it’s time to rewrite it. A global pandemic is a game-changer and today’s reality may not be tomorrows. Have backup plans to your backup plans!
  1. The COVID crisis has expedited our digital economy. Now is the time to evaluate your business model vis-à-vis its digital efficacy and employ digital tactics if you aren’t already.
  1. Reflect on your business model and cut out any extreme plans or “fad” business tactics. It’s important to have a balanced and consistent approach for long-term business survival.
  1. Get informed about all the financial relief programs available to your business and check back regularly as they’re changing all the time.  The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is an example of an organization that is offering free tips and provides sound resources for small businesses. You can see an overview here:
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