A Money Coach in Canada

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CoffeeSome time ago, after resisting all the way through university, I succumbed to the coffee culture. My blogger friend Jack, whose story with money can be found here, today wrote about how he indulges in coffee on a regular basis, by investing in his home inventory.

Coffee no longer a dark hole

I confess: I love my coffee and I can be found in the line up of one of our region’s coffee stores at least twice a day. I prefer drip coffee or a shot of espresso. This means my habit costs about four bucks a day. Not a bank breaker.

Along comes a friend who is passionate about coffee. As the months pass, he convinces me I need a coffee grinder for home and a French Press coffee maker. Says he: anyone can make better coffee than what is served as most coffee shops.

He’s right. I’m now at the point where I can bring out the distinguishing flavours of the varietals. Bet you didn’t know some coffee beans have hints of chocolate. The Kenyan Peaberry I sampled yesterday boasted citrus overtones. Who knew this stuff is just like wine.

So here is the bottom line (this is a money blog, so there needs to be a bottom line): I’m still having two cups a day, but a third of them I make myself. I have invested $250 in a burr grinder and a French Press. Factoring in the beans I buy, I am saving $25 a month. The equipment is paid for in 10 months.

That’s all great, but the real story is I have learned so much about coffee and how best to prepare it. I have met baristas and coffee-loving folks who are sharing their knowledge and passion with me. The hands on approach is taking my appreciation for java to whole new level. Money can’t buy this experience and I have just a little more in my pocket.

Any other caffeine freaks out there with us?  How do you save money?(or is it desecration to consider finances when thinking about coffee??)

I’m here at the Entrepreneur’s Business Growth Group, and the guest speaker is from SPUD SPUD– small potatoes urban delivery. I use them — one of the things I spend extra money on (ie organic, lots of local ) instead of the usual grocery stores. Over the year, I’m sure it costs a chunk more (retraction! see notes below), but I want my dollars to go towards: food that is less gm, more local and better for this body of mine.

This isn’t quite ‘live blogging’ as I’d hoped (taking a lesson from Miss 604), but I am typing this on location, and as I hear it and will upload when I get to some wifi!

Speaker:

Darren Stot (with a tantalizing table piece – massive bowl of gorgeous fruit. hmmm…. for decor only? – Later — nope, we got to sample!)Cezanne Fruit

Darren’s been with SPUD for 4 years; SPUD is 9 years, founded by David.

Cool factoids:
SPUD started with: 5 customers, 1 farmer, 2 staff.
Now: 100 staff, 10million rev/year, over 100 farmers, over 5000 customers in vancouver, 7000 across 4 locations. Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria, Seattle. Plan to be in 20 cities over next 10 years. Some have challenged them, “big is bad!” to which they reply: The more that buy from SPUD, the greater impact on environment.

Triple Bottom Line: People.Profit.Planet

Primarily, it’s a Grocery delivery business.
yes, they have a List of Banned Ingredients. eg. nitrates (huh? I’m clueless- don’t know what they are or why they Ought To Be Banned)

potatoes AND
household cleaners
local bakeries, pizzas
ethical bean coffee (some questions are dumb. I asked one. I asked why we buy coffee grown on saltspring at the expense of our neighbours in the south. he explained the beans aren’t grown on saltspring; the beans are processed there. and if you want to go hardcore ethics, choose Cafe Etico = non profit, direct relationship with farmers)

Meat products = humanely reared, organic note: free range can have antibiotics. They sell only organic.

Produce = certified organic
Everything = local (processed here)

speaking of ‘local’, referenced BALLE. Business Alliance for Local, Living Economies.
org that connects local businesses – who then support each other.

Because they sell groceries, but are not safeway/iga, by definition they are a Challenger Brand which requires different marketing, eg. trucks are purple. They do inhouse pr, including guerilla stunts – got a coffin, put a shopping cart in it, had a ceremony on VAG = press

They were first grocery delivery company to turn a profit in north american.

Why? because delivering a unique product, ie, straight from the farm. Kept it small.
Customer loyalty: because sustainable, recycle, etc., customers love them, and stick with you.

The Lovemarks Effect: Winning In The Consumer Revolution

is a book describing how some businesses cause their clients to fall in love with them – cbc, vancity VanCity

(ahem. Apple)- people just love these companies because of what they do. because they invest in the community. 60% of new customers came from present customers. fanbase.

It’s the same price as purchasing organic food from a store.

Question: does organic food go bad quicker?
Answer: yes. so buy it every week and make sure you eat it all!
on the other hand, you get it more fresh, since it’s local.

Q: what are those ‘green bags’ that keep things fresher, longer.
A: don’t know they name, but they work. As fruit goes off, they release ethene gas which makes fruit go bad. Don’t keep bananas or apples anywhere near other fruit.

side tip: Don’t put tomatoes in fridge.

Q: are your dairy products organic?

A. 80% yes; 20% no. and yes, Soya, unsweetened. Yes, rice milk.

REGARDING STAFF
attracts certain people. 8 managers. each one could double money elsewhere, but committed to what SPUD is about. Grocery business = slim margins.
brainstorming. involved in decisions. give ideas on csr. Victoria warehouse: took it on themselves to have ZERO waste. Every single thing is recycled or composted. No waste, at all, leaves the warehouse.

Social purchasing portal = group of businesses that, for example, will employ from downtown eastside. If you do that, other businesses will use you as a business.
For example, VanCity buys from SPUD explicitly because they have hired people from downtown east side.

Students/Interns want to research projects. Advice on how to be more efficient by engineering student; marketing student gave marketing ideas; business students from BCIT gave ideas on retaining customer loyalty.

Biofuels: can come from recycling waste or from cornfields in brazil. Trouble with latter is cornfields get grown for fuel, not food. Chop down rain forests. and you’re still burning carbons. so not always wonderful.

Stat: delivery companies use 95% less energy than a grocery store, they are that more efficient.

1 truck drives efficiently to 100 homes, instead of 100 people driving to grocery store.

also, takes 8 minutes to shop online instead of 1 hr to go to store and back.

…and that was that! informative, and I discovered, frankly, how little I know about the world of organic food, ethics and the food industry etc. Perhaps I’ve been letting myself off easy, hoping SPUD will do the thinking for me.

Also in the group were

Blaise MacClayne, and Teya France (founder of EBBG) who do phone marketing B-2-B

Chris Sturgess, Freedom 55

Diane DeVie, bookkeeper

Kassandra Harfield iris imaging/metabolic typing

Katrina Smith of Thrive Chiropractic Wellness Centre

Robert Wood, lifecoach.

She was young and gorgeous, earns crazy-crazy money and has nothing to show for it. She knows there are definitely ‘issues’ about money. She approached me in my role as money coach, and asked the searching question, “I’ve tried a lot of things, to gain control. What if, after my time with you, nothing really changes?”

What a penetrating question. And I could offer no real guarantees, because although as a coach I lead people through a distinct process – some of it dealing with technical issues (eg. creating a sane strategy to handle debt), some of it dealing with the softer side of emotions and money – the fact is, I simply offer the tools and resources. I cannot promise that the combination of my offerings, and the person’s desire and ability to change, will necessarily ‘take’. It usually does, and I have oodles of testimonials to that effect. But not always.

It’s hard, as a money coach, when you feel you’ve put your best out there, but the client for whatever reason isn’t able to move forward.

My question is: what do you think has been the key to real changes you’ve personally experienced in your habits/way of handling a particular issue?

and coaches/counsellors: how do you measure your effectiveness, and gauge when you need to sharpen your skills versus leaving responsibility for change with the client?

ps: if you need textbooks, here’s my favourite online, used bookstore. Great quality, easy on the bank balance. Nothin’ wrong with that!
Save on Textbooks! New and Used.

cartoon-roi.gifComic is courtesy of the talented Rob – rocks his facebook profile – Cottingham of Social Signal.

So many businesses get it all wrong and alienate their customers. Then there are others that consistently hit the ball out of the park … just when I thought I couldn’t love them more, they ‘wow’ me again, and I fall in love all over again.

2 local businesses did that this week.

1. Workspace, where Your Money by Design conducts its money seminars, and I see my one-on-one clients, is in my ‘hood, gastown – a place I’m politically passionate about. Yup, I have idealist dreams of those of us with money being Pigeon Parkdeeply respectful and compassionate towards those who are addicted, homeless, mentally ill and marginalized.

I hope businesses bring a good measure of that as they move in and integrate. Workspace just did a lovely, lovely thing last Sat. They pooled together some cash, and bought a whole lot of pizzas they informally gave away to people at pigeons park. How kind is that! Workspace, you make me swoon.

2. Sliced Tomatoes – if you’re run ragged and in desperate need of a civilized meal, these guys bring it to your door. It’s much better than mere meal delivery: they bring the food all good to go but requiring only the cooking on your part. Every.Single.Time. the meal is exceptional. Fresh, organic produce, all chopped to a perfect size. Perfectly seasoned meats. Truly gourmet. The money coach in me knows good value when I find it. Sliced Tomatoes – you gave me a wonderfully satisfying dinner last night, again, on an evening I needed it. Thank you!