Interview With Sean Stanleigh: No Moss on This Rolling Stone

Here’s another one of our Small Business Influencer Champions! Learn how Sean keeps Report on Small Business on its toes by never being satisfied with where it is.


Sean Stanleigh: Report on Small BusinessSean Stanleigh is the editor of Canada’s Report on Small Business. His goal is to make the media resource the primary destination for readers in search of information and compelling stories about Canada’s small business community, which continues to grow in size and influence.

Despite Report on Small Business (ROSB) being owned by Canadian media mogul The Globe and Mail, Stanleigh considers himself an entrepreneur working within the confines of a large organization.

Where many large corporations find it difficult to have a small business mind-set, Stanleigh says The Globe and Mail does it well with ROSB:

“The key to our success has been The Globe and Mail’s approach to its small-business properties: Sell it hard on the advertising side, provide the necessary funding and resources to allow ideas to become reality, and ultimately, give the editor a lot of freedom to operate.  I don’t have to go through multiple layers of bureaucracy to launch new initiatives. There’s room to improve, experiment and try new things. There is a level of trust and support in place that has paved the way to success.”

Always Room for Improvement
Something else that makes ROSB stand out is the fact that Stanleigh and his staff are constantly updating and expanding the platform. The website has been redesigned and retooled, new features have been added, and multimedia functions have been tailored to fit the small business audience’s needs. As a result of constantly seeking perfection, ROSB has doubled in traffic since its January 2010 launch, said Stanleigh.

It doesn’t look like Stanleigh will be taking a break any time soon: his goals are to boost monthly page views by 25 to 30 percent, live-blog more events, offer webinars and increase ROSB’s social media reach. With his background in journalism, including a number of senior editing positions at The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star, it sounds like he’s equipped for the job.

Advice to Small Business Owners

Stanleigh shared some advice he learned early in his career . . . give your staff room to grow:

“An editor I worked with for many years acted more like a collaborator than a boss. He understood that talent was an asset, not a threat, and he put a lot of the day-to-day decision making in my hands when I was his deputy. Perhaps even more importantly, he was a trusted adviser. I knew I could count on him to be an effective problem solver, to steer me in the right direction when I was headed in the wrong one, and to be my champion when it was deserved.”

And to small business owners, he suggested breaking away from your workspace to brainstorm. Working in your business can make you stagnant, so it’s good to step outside of the familiar to think further out into the future.

Sean was recognized as a Small Business Influencer Champion for 2011. Read more of our Small Business Influencer Champion interviews.


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

3 Reactions
  1. As an American currently running a small business in Canada I can tell you there are defiantly some similarities and differences with American and Canadian businesses. Being in Ontario, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) has mad greatly increased the costs for Canadians, which currently stands at 13%. While I love Canada, I think most Americans would balk at the number of taxes you have to pay in the regular course of living up here.

  2. As a strategy consultant for “Second Stage” small businesses, I like Sean’s suggestion to “step outside the familiar to think further out into the future” and I’d add that that process really works when you create distance through time as well as space. In other words, don’t just go somewhere else…also give yourself some buffer time to get your head out of the trenches. Many of my clients want to treat planning like a spike (walk in the room, be strategic) when it really needs to be a wave (build up to higher level thinking, and then ramp back down to the present).

  3. @Gary–
    But do you have socialized medicine? If so, that makes up for the taxes!

    Everything worth doing takes time, right?