Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre hosted a three day training session for clients who were either starting a new business or working on expanding their current business. The training, which ran from March 25 to 27, brought together a wide selection of entrepreneurs across a variety of industries to take their business plans to the next level.
“It is always an exciting time when a group of enthusiastic people, who have been investing months in developing their business plans, come together to share a learning experience,” said Rosemarie Montgomery, Business Consultant with Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “The energy in the room is always electric as people discovered some personal ‘ah-ha’ moments and the ideas start to flow.”
The event is a part of Starter Company Plus, a program designed to help both aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs strategically design and execute their business plans in order to develop new business in Chatham-Kent.
“As a Business Consultant, it is my goal to help ensure that each client is setting themselves up for success,” said Taylor Hughes with Economic Development. “We know that one of the biggest causes surrounding business failure is not taking the time to plan. People often have great ideas but they may not realize the value of writing the ideas down and organizing their thoughts.”
Hughes added, “Once the planning process is started, it is very common to have people start asking the vital questions about how they should price a product or service, what regulations they may need to look at, and how to scale the business to take on new staff.”
“I was so fortunate to have attended this training for launching a small business,” said Stephanie Owen, attendee and owner of Status Dress Rentals. “Thank you Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre for the opportunity, training and advice. It was truly invaluable.”
The event helped attendees explore a variety of topics including reading financial statements, record keeping, human resources, and important tips and tricks to save time.
“We dive into an entire toolkit that makes people understand exactly what their income, expenses, and cash flow will be,” said Montgomery. “One of the most common stumbling blocks people encounter is marketing. We challenge people to think about how they are going to not just launch their business, but how they will create a marketing strategy that is a year or more out.”
The next steps in the Starter Company Plus program will have each business develop a set of key milestones and objectives that they will complete, along with assistance from the Small Business Centre. Once the milestones are met, there is an opportunity for the business to apply for grant funding.
“The grant is not the focus of the program, rather it’s an extra incentive to help inspire people and help them stay focused,” said Montgomery.
The Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre is accepting new clients for the next Starter Company Plus program. People can access this free service by visiting www.cksmallbusiness.ca or call to book an appointment at 519-351-7700.