Here's how we can help
So, are you ready to bring your business idea to life?Get started!
Starting a business often mystifies people because when they think business, they think of large corporations such as Walmart, Apple, or Dollarama.
In reality many businesses are small businesses run by real people all around you. They’re the babysitter down the street, your friends that mow the grass for the neighbourhood, they developed that app you use to find which restaurant you’re going to next, they’re the people getting paid for their videos on Youtube. Those are small businesses run by real, everyday people.
Small businesses dominate the Newfoundland and Labrador economy, all you have to do is walk around your community you will see numerous small businesses.
Too often people get caught up in what they feel business should look like versus what it actually is. Chances are, you don’t need accountants or lawyers to get started, you probably don’t even need a business number. The only thing you need is to be passionate about helping people solve a problem, that’s where your business idea is going to come from.
So why should you start a business?
Self employment, or the now trendy term “entrepreneurship”, provides you with opportunities such as the following:
What’s your favorite thing to do? Imagine spending every day doing just that. Starting a business allows you to grow an idea your passionate about and make a profit off your passion.
Ultimate Decision Making
Who has final say? You do. You get to be the captain of your own ship. At the end of the day you are the boss and you get to make all the decisions for your business.
Running a small business from your home allows a few tax benefits because you’re able to claim expenses related to your business, including a portion of your other bills if there is space in your home dedicated to the business.
Ever wanted to make a million dollars. Go for it. Who is going to stop you? The potential to grow and profit from a business has no boundaries, as long as you are willing to put in the work, the potential for your business is unlimited.
It’s a new type of economy, it’s time you embrace what you’re passionate about and turn that passion into what you’ve always dreamed about.
For many, starting a business can seem terrifying and most people are content working 9 to 5 for someone else’s dream. Entrepreneurs however, are not driven by the comfort, ease, and predictability that comes from working for someone else. Entrepreneurs are in the mindset that they want to feel challenged, satisfied, and in charge and often the only way to do this is to start a business. If you have an entrepreneur mindset you may already have the desire to start your own business. Check out our top 5 reasons you should dive in and start your own business today.
1 – You are driven and passionate
You are truly passionate about your business idea and are willing do just about anything to turn your dream into a reality. Being driven by your desire and passion to turn your idea into a successful business are key to starting your own business.
2 – You want to be your own boss.
You see the value in being your own boss, and the independence it provides you to make your own decisions. Owning a business is empowering because, at the end of the day, you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself for the decisions you make regarding your business.
3 – You have a good idea with income potential
Your business idea meets an unfilled need in the marketplace and has the potential to generate an income. By starting a small business you are enabling yourself to become financially independent.
4 – You want to get involved in your community and create jobs
The current job market is not as abundant as it use to be and starting a business can provide you with the opportunity to not only create your own employment, but give back to your community. Successful businesses can help revitalize communities and provide job security for the people within your community.
5 – You want flexibility
Starting your own business provides you with the flexibility to work the hours you want. You can choose to work as much or as little as you would like. The key thing to remember is that the amount of work you put into your business, is what you will be getting out of it.
Social media has grown exponentially over the past few years and can be an excellent way to promote your business. Most social media pages are free, relatively easy to use, and effective at increasing sales, therefore making them an entrepreneurs dream. Smart entrepreneurs understand the value that social media can offer their business and see it as one of the greatest assets available to them. In order to properly utilize social media, it is important to understand the basics of social media etiquette. The following are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to using social media to promote your business.
- Do know your target audience
Before you set up a social media page, such as Instagram or Twitter, it is important to understand who it is you are trying to reach. You cannot just post whatever you feel like on your businesses social media pages and hope the posts reach your ideal customers. First you need to narrow down who it is you are trying to reach and then make sure that you are posting content that relates to them.
- Do monitor your social media pages daily
Make sure you are checking your social media pages at least once a day, if not more. This ensures that you will catch any positive or negative feedback and comments. You want to make sure that you are the first person to see anything negative (or positive) that is being said about your business. By being first to respond to customer allows you to address any issues or concerns your customers may be having. Being proactive with your social media creates a positive brand image for your business because it lets your customers know you are paying attention to their questions and concerns.
- Do understand what you are posting, before you post it
Ensure that your message is the same across all social media platforms that you plan on using. You want to be sure you have a clear understanding of your business, brand identity, and what image you want to portray on social media before you start posting.
- Do post frequently
You want to make sure your business has a presence on whatever social media platform you are planning to use. You want to be posting enough to capture your customer’s attention BUT not over posting. A social media schedule can help greatly with this. It can be as simple as planning out what to post each day, or as complex as planning your whole month’s social media posts in advance.
Facebook, for example, allows you to schedule posts under the publishing tools section on your businesses Facebook page. All you have to do is create the post and figure out the date and time you wish you to have the post published.
- Don’t ignore your online audience
Wither it is good or bad, don’t ignore feedback from your customers. Be aware of what is being said about your business and don’t disappear from social media when someone says something negative about your business. Never delete a post or review from a customer. Proactive business owners understand that not everything said on social media will be positive and they work with the customers in order to deal with and fix the negative.
- Don’t expect results instantly
Like anything else in life, you get what you put in when it comes to your businesses social media pages. It takes time, hard-work, and dedication to build a social media following so don’t expect result’s overnight.
- Don’t forget about spelling and grammar
Poor spelling and grammar can be a turnoff for customers and gives your business an unprofessional image. The last thing a customer wants to see from a business is a social media post full of spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure you double check each and every sentence before posting on social media to ensure proper grammar and spelling.
- Don’t expect to use social media as your ONLY marketing tool/strategy
Social media can be a business owner’s best friend but don’t expect to have thousands of customers just from using social media alone. A social media platform is often built off the back of other marketing tools such as print or radio ads, websites, billboards, or posters. A new business cannot depend on social media by itself to get the word out about their products or services. Make sure that your marketing strategy isn’t solely based on your businesses social media page, but is well rounded to include other marketing platforms as well.
We are pleased to announce that the 2016 Youth Ventures program is now up and running. For 2016 there are 22 coordinators stationed all across Newfoundland and Labrador, ensuring every region is covered, and the tools are there for you to get your business ideas off the ground this summer.
What do coordinators do?
All of your coordinators have diverse backgrounds and a knowledge base to connect you to the business resources and opportunities available to youth in Newfoundland and Labrador. So whether you’re looking for someone to sit with and hash out your ideas, a connection to help you get to know the region, help with how to make your first sale, or advice on how to expand your future empire, your coordinator is there for you.
If you’ve been thinking about starting your own business or playing around with ideas in your head, there’s no better time to start than now. Whether you’re 12 years old, or finishing up your university education, there’s huge opportunity in communities all across the province to explore your business ideas and start going after your dreams. If you already have your business started and just need a little bit of extra help to move forward, your coordinators can help with that too.
Youth Ventures is a free program for students aged 12-29 in Newfoundland and Labrador. We don’t take any ownership of your business, there are no fees to join the program, and your coordinators are only here to help you achieve your goals. Many students get involved in the program to get help with marketing materials, access to events, assistance in accessing financing, business plan help, or sometimes just to chat with someone about their ideas. Other times, students are looking to get more connected to the community, whether that’s help with finding a mentor or meeting other entrepreneurs and business owners like themselves.
But how can my coordinator help me?
With over 6000 participants after going through the program, the type of help everyone needs is always a little different. Luckily, your coordinator has a lot of flexibility to help you with your specific needs for your business start up. In some cases, your coordinator may not have the answer you need, but rest assured they can help you find what you’re looking for.
If you want to learn more about how your coordinator can help you, submit your contact information here, and the coordinator for your area will follow up with you shortly!
Coming up with an original and successful idea is often difficult. Many inventors or famous business people didn’t come up with their ‘million dollar’ idea in a day. In fact, it may have taken them years to create the perfect product idea or maybe it was by some freak accident while trying something else.
Take the chocolate chip cookie for example, Ruth Graves Wakefield, a dietitian and food lecturer, prepared all the food for the guests at her families Inn. One night while baking she ran out of baker’s chocolate and instead chopped up a semi sweet chocolate bar expecting the chocolate to melt and disperse through the cookie dough as regular baking chocolate would. Instead, the chocolate pieces kept their individual form, but were softened and perfectly gooey, creating the world’s first known chocolate chip cookie!
The point here being, you need a good idea before you can really start a business! Here are some ways to get those creative juices flowing.
A good way to start thinking of ideas that could work for you is to start with a fresh mind. Stop thinking about what’s currently stressing you out, and just relax.
Draw a hot bath, take a nap, go for a run, anything that helps you clear your mind and you’ll be able to concentrate more on coming up with your business idea.
Explore Your Interests:
When starting a business, you definitely want to come up with an idea that interests you and that you are passionate about. Think about things you would consider fun instead of work and maybe it’ll turn into a great idea!
Write It Down:
Take a pen and piece of paper and write down any ideas that come to mind throughout the day. It could literally be anything from a thought about something you use to get ready in the morning to how your lunch food is served. Write every product or service idea down that you think could be of value to someone.
Guaranteed you will have to eliminate some ideas because they just aren’t possible or there’s already some product out there that serves a similar purpose.
Think About What Bugs You:
Look at the way you do things and think about what frustrates you and how you can fix it. If you can think of a solution that others would find useful then there’s your idea!
Look At The New Fads:
New trends catch on fast, so try to get involved with a fad early! Fads come and go though, so try coming up with something you think people will stay interested in for the long run.
Take Charmed Aroma Candles, the candle with a ring in each one and an appraisal code. Women love the idea of getting a candle and jewelry, especially if they receive the high end $5000 dollar ring. People are very interested in this product and now another company is selling Pearl Bath Bombs. A bath bomb that fizzes till the hidden “pearl” is shown. This is another product that women will love with basically the same idea.
Do The Research:
What better way to find out what people want than to ask them? Talk to shoppers and see what things they would like to purchase but can’t find exactly what they want.
Always remember to do research while brainstorming, it is important to make sure there isn’t already an identical product or patent for what you come up with.
1 – Offer the best
The best way to please customers and ensure their business in the future is to offer them the very best you can. Make sure your product or service is something they value. Make sure that your employees and you are friendly, inviting, and helpful.
2 – Be friendly
Customers love to ask a million questions before purchasing; it could be important questions or it could be, what employees think are “stupid questions”. No matter what the customer is asking or wants, you should always answer with kindness and try to help them the best to your abilities.
A smile goes a long way, and if a customer feels appreciated and that the employee they are dealing with is friendly, than they are more likely to continue doing business with them.
3 – Be flexible
Consumers usually expect products or services whenever they want or need it. They aren’t concerned about schedules or product availability because they expect you to have openings and inventory. This is an easier step to take if you offer a service. Say you operate a lawn mowing business from Monday – Friday, 9am – 4pm, but a customer contacts you during the weekend and would like their lawn mowed. If this is a valued customer than try to be flexible with your schedule and get it done on their time. The customer should appreciate your hard work and dedication and result in more business from them.
4 – Offer incentives
No matter how hard you try to perfect your product or service there will be people who want to return an item and get their money back. Be sure to hear these customers out and try to understand where they are coming from. It’s best to offer them an incentive for their troubles, unless it’s an outrageous request or compliant.
5 – Don’t ignore existing customers
Some businesses will offer different promotions every month or at certain times in the year. It could also be something like “Sign up today and receive 20% off!”
Although that is a great way to engage new customers, it’s important to remember your existing ones. Maybe offer them a promotion when they have been doing business with you for a couple months or at the 6 months mark. Obviously your promotions will vary and the time will depend on your business.
6 – Get their email
By getting the customers contact information you can keep them updated with new things your business is doing, new promotions, and keep in contact with them. However, stay clear of spamming their emails!
7 – Ask for feedback
Asking for customer feedback is a great way to make the customer feel valued. Asking in person or a phone call to see how they enjoyed your product will have the customer feeling like their purchase was important to you. Not to mention, you will receive some valuable feedback to help improve your product or service.
Asking for feedback can create customer loyalty, but it’s important to note that you don’t harass and annoy them. Don’t leave endless voicemails and emails.
You could also ask them to complete a survey and often a discount or deal that will benefit them.
8 – Be active on social media
A lot of consumers are active on social media. They may post things to the internet like “Just had the best meal at …” or it could be something negative like “bought this product today and must warn everyone to save their money”. If you are active on social media you can thank the customers who praise your business, and you can apologize and explain or offer something to the negative feedback you might receive.
As well as, promote your business on social media and reply to customers quickly, this will likely result in better customer loyalty.
9 – Create a sense of community
Customers will value your business and stay loyal if you can make them feel valued and that their business is very important to you. If you can create a sense of community and make them feel involved, than they will likely stay loyal and praise your business to new customers. Match names to faces and keep in contact. Also, if you have any business events, you should send them an invite!
Each year Youth Ventures, with the support of our amazing sponsors, has the privilege of giving out awards to young entrepreneurs who have made an outstanding effort throughout the duration of the program.