When you take the step to start a business there are so many things to figure out. You know how to do what you do, but what about all the rest?
In 2015 I started a home based business making cupcakes and other treats, then in 2018 I built a commercial kitchen in my home so I could sell in retail stores. When the time finally came that I was ready to move on to the next phase, what happens…. COVID 19. With little reassurance on what would happen month to month my plans had to go on hold.
Fast forward to 2021 and I realized it was time to go after my dream or let it die. I knew the basics; get a location, equipment and financing, but at a time when the economy was unstable, banks were far from interested in lending money.
I was advised by a very smart business woman to look into a group called Community Futures. She said they have people that know every aspect of business and they are a resource that stays to support you well past the money and numbers.
When I called I was asked what I needed, there were documents and numbers required, and I quickly realized how little I knew about the business I ran for so long. With a lot of hours and an amazing amount of patience on the side of Community Futures, they helped me build a business plan, and put together a 70 page loan application.
It felt like a lifetime, but…. we got the loan.
Things started moving super fast… but as we progressed to the opening of the store Community Futures was beside us all the way, answering questions, and just checking in. They gave me a sense of security not just financially but like having your hand held as a little kid, (you just knew you could cross the street with someone watching your back.)
Opening our business location was the first step of a long term 5 year plan for me, but what I was not prepared for was how quickly things moved. My 5 year plan was already happening 6 months into our opening. (Our products were in 10 stores when we opened our store in June of 2021.) As of December 2021(6 months after open) that number rose to 16 stores, a Safeway grocery store as well as 3 other grocery stores in Alberta.
In December I received a call from a Calgary store asking us to supply them with our product, with a huge amount of excitement it brought to light a huge problem…. They asked about our inter provincial license…????? Our what??? I was at a loss, I scoured websites, government pages, and I was completely out of my element. So I decided it was time to use our resources….
I contacted Community Futures Export Navigator team. I explained the situation and asked for any help on understanding what was required.
I had answers in no time. The team looked into it, asked me questions to get the right information and they gave me peace of mind.
At the craziest time of the year in a new business and with a huge potential issue on my shoulder… I felt secure.
It put my mind at ease knowing that the Export Navigator team was there. They have no interest in my business, but they felt like a part of my team, they had the same goal and my best interest at heart.
I’m proud to say I got my license straightened out, and we are now legally able to sell anywhere in Canada.
It’s great to want to go after your dreams, but its amazing to have people that want you to reach your dreams as much as you do.
This amazing group of professionals helped me, but that hasn’t stopped. We meet monthly to review financial s, to look and see where changes can be made to help me better my business.
If you are looking to start a business, or expand a business, don’t think you have to go it alone. The team at community futures is like having your own board of directors with only your interest at heart. If it were not for them I would still be in the back of my house wondering what if…. Because of them I had the confidence to go after my dreams, to create bigger goals then I imagined and I have been able to start my future well before I ever thought I could.