Learn about financing Particularly for aboriginal entrepreneurs, there are many special programs that can help. Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development The Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development offers funding to Aboriginal business owners or businesses with majority Aboriginal ownership.
Distributed through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, the funding may cover business planning, capital costs, expansions, marketing, and a range of other expenses. There is also a mentoring and business support component to the program. Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses Committed to encouraging Aboriginal entrepreneurship, the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Businesses connects entrepreneurs to procurement opportunities, offers certification for corporate performance in Aboriginal relations, and sets up mentorships.
Additionally, this program connects Aboriginal entrepreneurs to financing and tools. People Your employees and sales people represent your business. Every contact between these people and your customers, from initial greetings to after-sales service and even conflict resolution, sends a message. Words of wisdom on promoting your business Jennifer Taback is a founding partner of Design de Plume, an Aboriginally-owned, Sudbury-based, independent graphic design firm: Talking about yourself and your business comes more naturally to some people than others.
We tried raising awareness through elevator pitch messaging, but our personalities never made for a comfortable fit — we often came across as inexperienced or simply awkward. So we focused on our strengths. Our company is passionate about community, we're youthful, and we produce great quality work. We market ourselves as people that are trying to make a difference through design and we let our client testimonials speak for themselves.
Most design firms don't use traditional advertising mediums, often relying on their reputation and word-of-mouth to bring about business. But when you're a new start-up with no reputation, it can be tricky. So we experimented and asked for help from our peers and mentors. Don't be afraid to talk to experts in the field — even if your budget is limited. As a business owner, you need to reach out to others to build partnerships and spread awareness of who you are and what you do.
When our business was launched, we undertook research to find key business contacts in our industry and reached out to them to let them know who we were and what we were about; opening the door for potential business relationships down the road. Andrea Johnston is founder of Johnston Research Inc. What you do and how you behave matters. Stories resonate with people, so tell your story! In this way, it becomes important to maintain connections with people — put yourself out there.
Rely on personal networks, establish contacts through past employment, connect with professional associations to broaden your network of contacts and even consider taking the opportunity to mentor other Indigenous entrepreneurs or professionals in your area of expertise. Supporting your field of work and building a name for yourself amongst your peers is a great strategy for highly competitive fields of business, like consulting. A good quality product that works for a client should always be your primary focus.
Peter Jensen is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Jensen Group, an Aboriginal design and multimedia company: We are a design and digital media company, so our own branding and marketing efforts take on added significance and importance compared to a lot of other businesses.
We hear it time and time again. What impression do you want to make in those first few seconds? Perception is reality. There are a variety of tools that can help you operate your business, sell your product or service, and promote your company. Almost every business — even small, local ones — can benefit from an online presence. It is important to develop an online strategy to help you determine which tools you should use and how you intend to use them. Web or online tools can contribute to the development of your business in numerous ways, and it would be impossible to cover them all here.
The following section describes strategies for building your online presence and identifies some of the main tools.
Use these as a starting point for your own research. E-commerce Will you sell your product or service online? This is an important first step in developing an online strategy for your business. You may choose to make sales through your own website, through a third-party site, or both. You may also choose not to offer online sales. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding if e-commerce is right for your business. Some of these factors are described below: Your competition Consider the e-commerce capabilities of your competitors — do they offer online sales?
If so, you may lose out on potential market share if you choose to not sell your product or service online.
Your customer Is your target customer able to shop online? Do they shop online regularly, infrequently, or not at all? Would they be willing to purchase your product or service from a website, or would they prefer to buy it in a store? The local market You should also consider the availability of your product or service in the market. Customers may find it more convenient to purchase a product or service online if they are unable to purchase it from a store in their area.
If the product or service is easy to access in local stores, what would motivate customers to buy yours from the Internet instead? Pricing and costs Setting up your e-commerce capabilities will involve additional costs, which you will need to incorporate into your sale price.
These may include costs related to packaging, shipping and handling, and credit card processing. Storing and shipping The size, weight and durability of your product may impact your ability to offer online sales.
If your product is large and heavy, it may be too expensive to ship. If your product is fragile, it may be too risky to ship. If you have a home business, you may need to rent a facility where you can store your inventory. Social media for your business Regardless of whether you sell your product or service online, there numerous web tools you can use to advertise your business. Many potential customers will research a product online before they decide what to buy and from who.
Social media platforms are used by marketers to easily and directly communicate with potential customers via the internet. Social media can help you increase the recognition of your brand, promote your product or service and build relationships with consumers.
Given the wide variety of platforms and tools available, social media marketing may seem overwhelming at first. Start by developing a social media strategy to identify your goals, audience and key messages. This will help you choose the right online platforms for your business. Your goals What do you hope to achieve by advertising online? Do you want to attract more customers? Are you hoping to increase recognition of your brand? Your audience Will you be able to reach your current customers through your e-marketing efforts?
If you want to expand your customer base, who are you hoping to reach? Which online platforms are they most likely to use? You may want to start by coming up with some key words that describe your business and align with your marketing strategy.
Keep in mind that any content you post online should be concise and to the point — many online platforms, especially social media sites, have limited word length. Write down a social media strategy for your business. Below is a list of some of the various types of social media tools and some corresponding examples. Examples include: LinkedIn. Examples include: Twitter and Tumblr. Examples include: YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Our education introduced us to much of the technology we use to promote our company. But even we need to make choices in the types of media we use to advertise our business. For example, Design de Plume doesn't use Twitter. We still tried to incorporate it into our marketing efforts, but we failed to ever use it.
The lesson learned? Pick something you like and that you believe in. There are so many avenues of self-promotion that you can be picky about what to invest your time and energy in.Are You Eligible? Our education introduced us to much of the technology we use to promote our company. We market ourselves as people that are trying to make a difference through design and we let our client testimonials speak for themselves. Can you raise your price? Words of wisdom on securing financing Jennifer Taback is a founding partner of Design de Plume, an Aboriginally-owned, Sudbury-based, independent graphic design firm: We started Design de Plume with nothing more than the computers we had from college and a cheap office space. Start by developing a social media strategy to identify your goals, audience and key messages.
The group works with businesses, community organizations, and individuals, and it provides guidance with business planning and development, and part of that involves helping entrepreneurs or organizations find sustainable funding for their endeavours.
Will a sale take a few minutes to complete or many months? Some things may be written in stone, but many programs may have flexible guidelines that your business can fit into. Write down a social media strategy for your business. There are many different templates you can use when writing your business plan. Factors include the scope of the project, the need for financing, and whether other sources of financing are available — including funds received from other government departments and agencies. Where to find support and more information Business plan support.
Stories resonate with people, so tell your story! If your product is large and heavy, it may be too expensive to ship. Requests for financial support are assessed on each project's viability and merits. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding if e-commerce is right for your business. If the product or service is easy to access in local stores, what would motivate customers to buy yours from the Internet instead?