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BUSINESS COACHING | BUSINESS NETWORKING EVENTS NEAR ME | REFERRAL GROUPS | LOCAL BUSINESS DIRECTORY | WEBSITES AND SEO | GUEST SPEAKER OPPORTUNITIES
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WHERE ARE YOU ON YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY?
Each business is unique with different products and services, owners, staff, target market, branding, geographical locations, languages, cultures, and more.
The stage your business is in is also unique to your business. We want to help you at all stages of your business from planning to promotion to scaling and succession planning. We offer a variety of services, including Networking Events for Business, which are also called, “Entrepreneur Networking Events”; Business Networking Groups, also called “Referral Groups;” Toronto Business Coaching; Sales Training Programs; Public Speaking Training; Guest Speaker opportunities; and Website Development and SEO services.
For the other services that you need to grow, scale, sell or pass on your business, check out our new local business directory, which just launched in May 2023. You will find some professionals who can help you with things like business law, contracts, liability insurance, promotional products and more. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will connect you with a service provider directly.
Join us at our semi-monthly open business networking events to meet potential clients and referral partners and promote your business!
We have a virtual event on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 12pm, and an in-person event typically on the last Tuesday of the month in-person at 5:30pm. Note: Our July in-person event will be a joint event with BizCon on Thursday, July 27 from 12-4pm.
Attending these events is a great way to meet potential clients and referral partners. Take your networking to the next level by registering for a Networking Event Membership or join one of our Exclusive Referral Networking Groups.
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Great tips for each stage of your Business Journey!
Are you in the CONTEMPLATION STAGE?
This is an exciting stage when you are full of energy and excitement and look forward to your entrepreneurial journey.
Having a great business idea that will make consumers want to buy from you is key! To help you, we’ve compiled and categorized several lists of business ideas to help you out.
Even if you already have an idea of what you want to do, it’s a good idea to see what the other options exist to get your creative juices flowing and solidfy your chosen path or modify your original idea.
Are you in the PLANNING stage?
Excellent! This is a fun business stage, which is also extremely essential, as this is when you are building the foundation for your business on which it can grow, diversify and thrive.
Your new business is your baby.. your personal project that you can sculpt and nurture in the way you want, and it can be very successful as long as consumers like what you have to offer.
Build a strong plan before spending any money on your business. Start with market research, including defining your target market (TM) and scoping out your potential competitors. Then, write down your long-term and short-term goals and needs, followed by the step-by-step actions you will take to reach your goals.
Are you in the PREPARATION STAGE?
It’s time to start building your business. Whether you will have a physical store or a virtual one or both, there are many things you need to have in place into your store and outside of it before you can start serving customers.
Government business registration is where you should start, followed by getting a business bank account and funding, if necessary. Next, see a Commerical Insurance Agent for liability coverage, and a CRM for keeping track of your contacts and communications with them.
Then, consult with an Accountant to find out the best way to track your finances and make tax return filings easy. There are many other things you will need to do if you are going to have a physical store.
All businesses need branding to make them stand out and be recognizable by consumers. Consult a Graphic Designer to get a logo and decide on a colour palette, font style, etc.
Apply this branding to a new set of business cards, and add it to your social media banners, email signature, letterhead, etc. Also, consider buying some branded pens or other items to give out to your prospects and clients.
Now you need a website. Send the branding scheme over to an experienced website developer so your business looks consistent across all platforms. We have an expert team of website professionals to help you bring your new website to life.
If you need help with sales, marketing, public speaking or types of business communication, we can help you with that through private coaching sessions with our company President.
If you’ll have a high volume of electronic payments for your products or services, look into different options for payment processing as some companies charge less than others.
Are you in the START-UP stage?
This is the full steam ahead phase where you implement your plan using the foundation you’ve built.
Start promoting your business by whatever means you or your Business Coach/Consultant have decided is best for your business.
Promotion is something you will have to do for most of your business career, until you can hire others to do this for you. You can have the best products or services, but, if consumers don’t know that your business exists, you won’t have a business.
As customers come in or clients sign-up, you can start collecting money and providing the products and services you’ve worked so hard to make available for them.
The world is your oyster. Treat your customers like gold and they will come back and refer their friends, families and other contacts as well.
Are you in the SOLOPRENEUR SUCCESS stage?
In this stage, focus on your work-life balance so you don’t get burned out. Taking some time off here and there will help you recharge your batteries and come back with more ideas and energy.
If you want to take your business to the next level, read about the growth phase below.
Continue to build and nurture your network and take some time off for yourself.
Are you in the GROWTH stage?
Fantastic! You’ve decided to turn your full-time self-employment (a job) into a small business. How do you do that?
You will need other people to help you and as much business automation as possible. Consider hiring employees, contractors and co-op students.
Money saving and quality are equally important at this stage in your business. Look for low cost ways to get help. If you have teenage kids or a partner, ask them to help out too.
Keep in mind that finding good workers is one of the biggest challenges every business faces, and you may have to try out several different workers to find the best one for your business. If you get a great one on your first hire, congratulations!
How can you increase your chances of hiring a good employee or contractor? Interview a lot of people and have them do some kind of test to prove their skills. Do not take their word for it that they are good at what they say they are.
Are you in the EXPANSION stage?
You are moving up in the world. No longer are you a small fish in the big pond of your industry, you are making a prominent place for yourself amongst or ahead of your competitors.
You’ve worked really hard to get here and you have a few of the key employee positions covered, but, you’ve got more work than ever to do.
This stage can be very rewarding though. If you are able to recruit a good management team and good staff, you train and incentivize them well, and you give them the right tools they need to do their jobs properly, you just might be able to take some more time off, go on vacation, take up some hobbies, and sleep an extra hour per day if you want.
This stage generally requires you to have more capital to invest in infrastructure, staffing, decor, inventory and other items, so you will likely need the assistance of a lender(s) and/or investor(s).
While using other people’s money can be an effective way of getting a physical store off the ground and expanding, don’t spend it like you don’t have to pay it back or that you will always be generating high revenue everyday that your business is open.
Err on the conservative side, buying items on discount or second hand if possible. Examples are desks, chairs, counters, shelving, display racks.
See if you can find a sale or auction for a business that is going out of business and grab some good deals.
It may also be worth it to finance certain purchases with the retailer, instead of using the capital you borrowed or received from an investor, so you have more liquidity when you need it.
Cash is king in business. So, carefully weigh the pros and cons of buying a new expensive piece of equipment or new inventory with cash versus paying off the item over the course of time. Is the vendor offering an interest-free payment period? How much interest will you pay to finance it. If the cash you have on hand for your business can grow comfortably at 3-4% in a high-interest savings account, will you come ahead further financially if you let your cash grow and you finance the items?
There may be a lot of things you will need to pay for that don’t allow for financing, such as renovations to the facility, interior design, graphic design, website, SEO and other advertising. If you buy all of your equipment at full price upfront, then you have less of a cushion for other products or services you may need or want.
Are you in the SCALING stage?
Whichever way you go, very careful planning and consulting with many industry professionals is necessary to have the greatest chance of success.
Go back to the other professionals you’ve consulted with in the past for assistance as well as the ones listed on the right.
This is a huge and risky endeavor, but, if done right can have huge payoffs and life-long financial security.
Make sure that you are growing at a reasonable pace though. Many businesses have failed or seriously faultered because they expanded too fast.
Keep your vision in mind and with the help of experts craft a solid plan with built-in contingencies and safeguards.
Are you in the SUCCESSION PLANNING or SALE STAGE?
Whether you have grown your business into a multi-million or multi-billion dollar empire, you have one physical location for your business or you work from home, you need to have a plan in place in as far in advance as possible, so when the time comes to either sell or transfer your power and/or ownership in the company to someone else, it is done in the smoothest, most profitable way.
Keep on top of market trends and the geopolitical environment to see how uncontrollable factors can affect your business down the road.
Consult with the industry experts above. If you have more questions, book a video consultation with Tammy Defoe here: