Archives for February 2018

StartUP Sault Celebrates Four Years of Growth

StartUP Sault Ste. Marie is celebrating four years of community building and strengthening of our local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Together with our community partners and fellow entrepreneurs we are making a difference.

StartUP Sault began in early 2014, as a grass-roots movement and has since connected with thousands of entrepreneurs, students and business owners in the community. StartUP Sault has hosted more than 40 events, meetups, pitch contests, film screenings, book clubs, networking events and more.

We connect entrepreneurs with the small business resources available in the community, and provide the support of existing entrepreneurs who are building successful companies. Our programs and events continue to evolve, in the interest of supporting the startup and growth of local businesses.

Many people do not realize that StartUP Sault is completely volunteer driven. We do incredible things with very little resources. This isn’t our job and we don’t receive government funding to do what we do. We are just passionate entrepreneurs who want to build our community.

We are grateful for the sponsorship and partnership dollars we are able to leverage from community partners and in some cases from Startup Canada. Without our partners, we couldn’t hold events that involved renting venues and other costs.

In 2017 alone, StartUP Sault held four Startup Drinks meetups, four Book Clubs, a Startup Pitch Night (with nearly $2,000 in prizes), two boot camp training sessions (finance and social enterprise boot camp) and two speaker series events. Most events are free, and we want to continue to host bigger, better and even more valuable events to support our members and build our community.

We are part of a bigger picture, however. Startup Canada, a national movement, has been connecting, and supporting entrepreneurs across the country for just over five years. The flagship program of Startup Canada is the Startup Communities program. Now numbering more than 50 communities across Canada (we were #16), local entrepreneurs and community champions are volunteering their time and efforts to support local startups and connect local entrepreneurs.

Every Startup Community is different, but they have one common goal, which is to support and grow their local entrepreneurs and help build a supportive ecosystem where startups can thrive.

StartUP Sault announced last week, a new membership program that allows its members to support local entrepreneurship while accessing exclusive benefits. We launched a membership program that is pay-what-you-want, in order to be more inclusive for the community. Community members can sign up for a free membership to access members-only special events and programs, and get listed in our online directory. Free members can also stay in the loop and attend free upcoming events and meetups.

The next tiers of $10, $20 and $40 also get access to exclusive programs like the upcoming Startup Cafe Mentorship program, and access to a members-only Facebook Page where they can share resources, and ask for advice or ask questions to other local entrepreneurs. Facebook Groups are powerful tools, while maintaining privacy, so members are often more willing to ask questions or share details about their own business.

We welcome all of our local entrepreneurs to sign up for a StartUP Sault membership – free or paid, so that they can get involved. Only together can we build a supportive, thriving ecosystem in Sault Ste. Marie.

Any revenues derived from the membership program directly support the growth of StartUP Sault and the development and hosting of unique events, learning opportunities and networking sessions.

StartUP Sault is supporting the growth and development of our members and connecting entrepreneurs in the community. We welcome the support of our members as well as the business community in general.

To become a member or learn more about StartUP Sault, please visit www.startupsault.ca. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date on Startup Sault events, startup tips and other useful information.

Launching a Side Hustle for Under $250

For most wannapreneurs (wannabe entrepreneurs), coming up with the right business idea is often the biggest obstacle. But sometimes an opportunity falls in your lap that you didn’t consider before. I consider myself a serial entrepreneur, having started seven different businesses over the years, and this recently happened to me.

As an entrepreneur, I am always thinking about different business ideas and opportunities. I have operated various types of businesses over the years (nearly all part-time), everything from web design, computer camps, consulting, training, blogging, indie book publishing, online product sales and more. But a recent experience spurred my latest side business or “side hustle” if you will.

A friend reached out to me, asking if I could help a colleague with their resume. Over the last decade or more I have helped numerous friends and family members to build or revamp their resumes, with great success. Since my free time is at a premium these days, I agreed to help for $50 per hour.

First I reviewed the “client’s” existing resume and then we met for coffee to get into more detail about her work history, skills and ambitions for the future. I really enjoyed the process. The result was a much more powerful resume, and my client was very pleased.

Then it occurred to me. Everyone I had helped over the years had success with their new resumes…they had either gotten the job they were after or at the very least landed an interview. They also felt much more confident with their qualifications.

It turns out I have a knack for helping people extract valuable transferable skills and accomplishments from their work history, many they didn’t even realize they had. Through my own experience and background, I have learned what skills and talents make someone a valuable team member. I am able to wordsmith these accomplishments, crafting a narrative in the form of an attractive, powerful resume.

And now I realized clients were willing to pay me for this service.

I am not a certified resume writer, or job counselor…so what qualifies me to help clients with their resume? It turns out that my nearly 20 years of experience in business development, marketing, entrepreneurship, management, and personal branding gives me a unique edge. I have hired my own employees, and have been involved in hiring at several positions I have held over the years. I know what skills I look for in great candidates, and have worked with enough talented colleagues to recognize the skills necessary to be successful and effective in any organization.

Shortly after my own revelation, I began the process of establishing and launching my new service. It will focus on resume development and personal brand development – something I have had success with personally, as a published author, brand advocate for Blackberry, and Startup Canada Award winner. With hard work and a plan, it is possible to craft your own story, while building authority and expertise in a particular area or industry.

How does this apply to you? Think about it. We all have talents, experience and qualifications that we can utilize to operate a side hustle. Would you be happy making extra money in your spare time doing something you enjoy? Side hustles are often low-cost operations that fit your schedule, and your lifestyle. Work as much or as little as you’d like (in your spare time), and who knows, you might find there is enough demand (and satisfaction) to someday make it a full-time venture.

With this in mind, I wanted to describe each step and the costs incurred to launch my new service in less than a week. It is easier and less expensive than you might think!

  1. Choose a business name. Sometimes it helps to look and see if the website domain name is available. I had several ideas, but I liked BrandMe.Social because I felt it best described the service I offered, and the .social (top level domain) is relatively new and unique. Cost = $20
  2. Register your business. It is important to register the business with your province or state to make it official. In my case the Ontario government charges $60 for five years (ontario.ca/page/business-name-registration) for a sole proprietor or partnership. Incorporation costs significantly more. Cost = $60
  3. Get a logo and branding. Having a visual and easily identifiable logo is important for brand recognition. Branding takes the colours and style of your logo and extends it to things like social media banners, letterhead, business cards etc. It is a good idea to maintain a common appearance and theme. Cost = $45 (using fiverr.com – a website where freelancers from around the world offer various services, often starting at $5).
  4. Having a website is essential for businesses today. While some small businesses utilize a Facebook Page as their online presence (which certainly is a good idea), having a dedicated website in my opinion is still a necessity. Facebook is great for connecting with customers socially, but a website can have more content, more capabilities and align better with your brand. I opted to build a website using wix.com which had a number of templates to choose from and included one year of hosting. Check it out: www.brandme.social Cost = $140
  5. Networking is essential for building a business, so my last purchase was business cards. I utilized vistaprint.ca and found a design that went well with my website and branding. I customized the text myself and uploaded my logo. I received 250 cards within a week! Cost = $20
  6. Promotion. Tell all of your friends and family about your new venture. Ask for referrals. Share on social media and start engaging with potential clients. Get the word out using free techniques before spending any money on advertising and promotion. Cost = FREE

You might have noticed that the grand total was actually $285. But in my case I did not register the business, as I intend to offer the service under another existing business I operate, saving me $60…therefore I only spent $225.

It is important to recognize that there are some other important steps along the way. As soon as I decided on the business name/domain name, I made sure to secure the name on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms. Again, you want to try to be consistent across mediums so that your customers and clients can find you.

You may have noticed that I did not mention writing a business plan, and performing a lot of market research to ensure the business was feasible. I did make a plan, but it was a one-page business plan – identifying what my ideal client looks like, our unique selling proposition (what makes us different), how I will market the service, a startup budget and a bit more.

Since this is just another side business for me, there isn’t a lot to lose. There is no inventory or major expenses to incur – since I am offering a service, it is just my time, which is valuable to me, but doesn’t technically cost me anything.

Since my costs are so low, this will be a worthwhile venture even with one client a month. And technically I have already had my first paying customer, so I am on my way.

Once my website was complete, I shared the news of this new service on Facebook and LinkedIn. My Facebook page already has over 40 likes, and continues to grow. From here I am confident I can connect with new clients through word-of-mouth referrals and social media alone. I don’t anticipate spending any money on advertising, beyond perhaps some targeted Facebook ads down the road (because of the nature of the business, I am not limited to local clientele).

Feel free to check out my website at www.brandme.social. I’d love to hear your feedback or answer any questions you may have about starting your own side business.

The easiest way to get into business is to get started with as little cost and risk as possible. I have shown you how to launch a new business in a week for less than $250. What is holding you back?

StartUP Sault Founder Receives 2017 Startup Canada Award

August 25, 2017| Sault Ste. Marie, ON –  Nevin Buconjic was recognized yesterday by Startup Canada as a regional winner (Ontario) of the Startup Canada Entrepreneur Promotion Award, for advancing​ the​ environment​ ​and​ culture​ ​for​ entrepreneurship​ ​in​ ​Canada. Buconjic accepted the award at a red carpet ceremony in Ottawa attended by leading Canadian investors, innovators and anchor company executives.

“It is with great honor that I accept this award for my work with Startup Canada, StartUP Sault and other activities promoting and fostering entrepreneurship in Sault Ste. Marie and beyond, said Nevin Buconjic, Founder and Community Lead of StartUP Sault. We don’t do these things for the recognition, but it feels truly rewarding to be recognized by my peers, and Canada’s entrepreneurial community.”

“Congratulations to all of this year’s 2017 regional award winners,” said Victoria Lennox, Co-Founder and CEO of Startup Canada. “Each and every one of these outstanding individuals and organizations have an immense impact on the future of Canada and they all represent the greatness and diversity of our nation’s entrepreneurship community.”

The Startup Canada Awards is the hallmark event and the largest celebration of the Canadian entrepreneurship community – recognizing the individuals, communities, and institutions that have demonstrated innovation, excellence, outstanding achievement, and impact in advancing Canadian entrepreneurship.

After hundreds of nominations poured in from across the country this Summer, Nevin Buconjic was one of the over 55 regional award winners that have been pushed forward to the National Adjudication Committee; comprised of some of Canada’s leading entrepreneurship and industry experts. The national winners will be celebrated at the Startup Canada Awards Grand Finale in Ottawa on October 19, 2017.

For more information, and to schedule interviews, please contact:

Nevin Buconjic

705-943-2143

nevin@startupsault.ca

 

Startup Canada Press Contact:

Lindsay Bright

Communications, Marketing and Digital Production Administrator, Startup Canada

613-627-0787 ext. 101

lindsay.bright@startupcan.ca

 

About StartUP Sault:

StartUP Sault is a grass-roots, volunteer organization connecting new entrepreneurs with the small business resources available in the community, and provides the support of existing entrepreneurs who are building successful companies. StartUP Sault connects local entrepreneurs and innovators through events, meetups and networking opportunities. We are part of the Startup Canada Network. For more information about StartUP Sault, visit www.startupsault.ca and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 Since 2014, StartUP Sault has held 32 local events, meetups and training sessions, impacted over 1,200 entrepreneurs and students, completed two entrepreneurial ecosystem projects and hosted discussions of eight business and leadership books through its Startup Book Club program.

About the Startup Canada Awards

The Startup Canada Awards celebrate and distinguish outstanding achievement in advancing Canadian entrepreneurship.

The objectives of the awards are to:

  1. Celebrate those working to advance entrepreneurship in Canada;
  2. Increase awareness of the importance of strengthening Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and culture; and,
  3. Incentivize efforts and elevate the ambitions of the Canadian entrepreneurial community.

 About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is the leading national social enterprise supporting and giving a voice to entrepreneurs through online programs, national awards, flagship events, partnerships with private sector and government to foster a community for startup and small business success across the country. Learn more at www.startupcan.ca.

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