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Building connections with the Ottawa Board of Trade

Why join OBOT?

“My life is not about me, it’s about me living in the world,” says Margo Crawford, reflecting on her motivation to both establish the Business Sherpa Group and get involved as a member and business leader within the Ottawa Board of Trade.

Sharing as much business knowledge as she can is a way for Crawford to give back to the world she is in. As the founder and CEO of Business Sherpa Group, she has firsthand experience with the difficulties that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have accessing resources that could make a significant impact on their operations, like HR experts or a great Bookkeeper.

OBOT is a place where Crawford can share what she knows and can help guide other businesses on their journeys. It’s also a chance to find community and learn from other leaders’ and the unique circumstances they face, igniting a spark for creative problem solving.

Working with OBOT

Diving right in, Crawford joined the SME Council. The SME Council is where business leaders come together to help address challenges facing smaller businesses, challenges which became exaggerated during the pandemic. The OBOT also offers programs for businesses, such as CEO peer groups which both Crawford and the Business Sherpa Group president Todd Luckasavitch were excited to participate in as mentors.

As a business, Business Sherpa Group has benefited from OBOT webinars, networking events, free resources like Rapid Testing kits and the large knowledge bank OBOT curates for members.

How businesses are supported

A community working together can get a lot done, and the SME Council is a prime illustration. For example, during the first wave of COVID, restaurants needed support for staff and with covering expenses right as revenue evaporated. The SME Council helped advocate for proper support channels and to influence policymakers to respond in ways that actually helped those most affected. The network at the OBOT stepped up to help small business owners most affected by the pandemic to think about options to address immediate pressures while preparing them for the long term through a series of relevant workshops and discussions.

Lessons for her own work

Margo sees her work with OBOT reflected in the work Business Sherpa Group does. Often, Crawford and BSG go into businesses and provide them with solutions to urgent issues, helping to reduce the stress level for business owners and most importantly giving them time back to focus on building their business and strategizing for the long term. Many of these relationships are symbiotic, giving both clients and consultants and opportunity to learn from shared experiences.

The importance of learning

“Learning in any organization is inevitable,” says Crawford, and it’s better to learn with others by your side, as it makes addressing difficult topics more digestible. Recently, she facilitated an OBOT session on living on the financial edge, addressing the stigma around the possibility of bankruptcy or insolvency in the business world. It provided great insights on the realities and options available for businesses facing this, and brought to light that the experience, while difficult, can ultimately result in positive change.

And we have happy news! OBOT is an excellent spot to learn with others by your side.

About Margo

Margo Crawford, MBA, ICD.D is the founder and CEO of Business Sherpa Group. She has grown BSG over the past 14 years to support over 400 small and mid-sized businesses throughout Canada and internationally. Learn more about Margo here.

About Business Sherpa Group

We provide flexible business solutions to SMEs, helping them thrive on their business journey.

Human Resources | Bookkeeping | Managed Recruitment | Executive Solutions

Find us at or @BusinessSherpaGroup!