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SMARTstart- Fall 2019

In this issue of airdrielife we meet more of the entrepreneurs and mentors participating in Airdrie’s 2019 SMARTstart program.

The non-profit program offers tools, training, mentorship and business planning to a new group of entrepreneurs each year.

 

 

Entrepreneur: Kitty Bexson

Business: Things By Kitty

Tell us more about your business:

It all started with a meal planner I had made for myself after purchasing a hobby vinyl cutter. I posted it in a local mom’s group and it was wildly successful. I started doing other requests and it just grew from there, and before I knew it I had a full-fledged business.

What’s your biggest hurdle?

Myself. I undervalue my work, my time, and I really want to help people to the point it puts me in a bad spot. I also struggle balancing customer contact/marketing with production time.

What’s your five-year goal?

I have a commercial space, with three employees, a secondary vinyl supply business. We’ve got the Airdrie and area market cornered for signs and vinyl, and we are a significant contributor to the community.

 

Mentor: Danielle Coulter

Business: Former owner of Tutor Doctor

Years in business: 9

Tell us more about your business:

Tutor Doctor is an awarding-winning franchise that provides families with an in-home, customized one-on-one tutoring service. We matched kids with tutors who had the right personality and approach that made the learning engaging and successful. I sold my business in fall 2018 and am officially retired from Tutor Doctor.

What do you wish you would have known when you started?                

Planning is everything! It helps foresee some of the hiccups and challenges you will have to deal with. Work with a book keeper before you start so you can track your finances. Don’t wait before it’s too late! Ask for advice/help to get through the turning points in your business.

Why are you mentoring?

When I started I made every mistake in the book. I want to share my experience to help others avoid falling in the same traps.

 


 

Entrepreneur: Lindsey Coyle

Business: Airdrie Exchange

Tell us more about your business:         

Airdrie Exchange, the local business directory and event calendar, is meant to create a resource for the community where all the businesses that serve Airdrie and area come together. Connecting the community becomes possible when that is the focus.

What’s your biggest hurdle?

My limiting beliefs of myself. Time it takes to learn new skills and the amount of stuff I need to learn is overwhelming.

What’s your five-year goal?

In five years Airdrie should be benefiting from a directory that allows them to know who is serving them and a calendar that makes it easy to be involved in their community. I anticipate having a small dedicated team, contributing their skills to managing and growing Airdrie Exchange beyond Airdrie. A connected community can change the world.

Mentor: Melanie Beingessner

Business: Blessingways Family Wellness

Years in business: 8

Tell us more about your business:

I have been a chiropractor for the past 22 years and eight years ago I started my own clinic. I’ve gone from opening my door with one massage therapist and myself to leading four employees, an associate chiropractor and four massage therapists. Besides adjusting my patients, I run my business, payroll, marketing, advertising and everything!

What do you wish you would have known when you started?

That it is okay to factor your needs into the equation when you are starting your business. That it is absolutely necessary to dream big and to ask for help to grow your business. Your life as a business owner is always about improving yourself and your services.

Why are you mentoring?

SMARTstart is the reason I was able to expand my business, and I want to give back and help someone else to have business success.

 


 

Entrepreneur: Marla Elms

Business: Grounded Natural Cleaning Services

Tell us more about your business:

I run an all-natural residential cleaning service which I started after working for a couple of other cleaning companies. I make most of my cleaners and my future goal is to transition to a manufacturing and retail business only. Natural cleaning is one of my passions and I want to share it.

What’s your biggest hurdle?

Business plan, feasibility study, etc. Currently, I am working on healing a number of injuries while trying to balance my life. Physically, cleaning is very demanding so I would like to concentrate a lot more on preparing my cleaners to sell so I can start to do less physical cleaning.

What’s your five-year goal?

Oh, my favorite question. Glass storefront, nice clean reception/retail front space, shelving for retail items and my logo painted on the wall. Oh, it’s beautiful. Step through the double-glass (frosted) doors into the back area where all the manufacturing happens. Look to the left, it’s a nice little lunch room, beside that my little office and beyond that a bathroom. And look to your right, there’s my happy employees working away!

 

Mentor: Tracy Goodbrand

Business: Irricana Kountry Kennel

Years in business: 33

Tell us more about your business:

My business goal and focus is to make a significant difference to animals’ lives! We provide exceptional care for pets, putting their needs first. Our services include pet boarding, dog daycare, grooming, training courses and specialty retail. We are located on 30 acres, having lots of room!

What do you wish you would have known when you started?

I wish I had used the services of a business coach when I first started out. My business coach took me to the next level!

Why are you mentoring?

So many have given to me, contributing to my success. It is so rewarding to now be able to give back!

 


 

Entrepreneur: Moonliza Menya

Business: Kirabo Fashion & Interiors

Tell us more about your business:

I enjoy working with fabric to create beautiful home decor, outfits and source for matching accessories. I have experience in running an interior design shop and also sewing clothes for clients. It has always been my desire to open a business where I can make use of my talents!

What’s your biggest hurdle?

Not having enough data to research my industry of interest because most of the people doing custom African clothes work from home, along with person family challenges which impact my consistency of working on the business.

What’s your five-year goal?

To have a thriving storefront fashion and interiors business in a prime location in downtown Airdrie and to have a growing online business as a vital component of my business along with a loyal team of staff who are dedicated to the prosperity of the business.

 

Mentor: Don Dixon

Business: Cangos

Years in business: 40

Tell us more about your business:

All of my various businesses were started from scratch; built from my own resources, entrepreneurial ideas and spirit. I was the owner/manager/sales/marketing/bill collector/problem solver and decision maker in all of them.

What do you wish you would have known when you started?

Too soon old … too late smart.

Why are you mentoring?

I like to contribute back to the community in which I live. I hope my experience might benefit another person starting out in business.

 


 

Entrepreneurs: Morgan Sylvain, Kayla McPhail

Business: Smile & Co.

Tell us more about your business:

Our idea is a dental staffing agency. As dental assistants, we have experienced the limitations in a dental clinic when there are staff deficiencies. Airdrie has grown significantly, and with that, there has also been a large increase in dental clinics. We recognize a demand to connect dental professionals with dental clinics.

What’s your biggest hurdle?

Our biggest obstacle would be our confidence in doing things correctly and successfully.

What’s your five-year goal?

In five years, we are based out of Airdrie, and also providing services in surrounding rural communities. We would love to expand to providing continuing education and networking opportunities to dental professionals within the community. We hope that we are in a position to donate and give back to the community of Airdrie.

 

Mentor: Michelle Carre

Business: The Carre Group

Years in business: 13

Tell us more about your business:

I am a Realtor with The Carre Group where I love helping my clients buy or sell their home, as well as a speaker on business and work-life balance. As a business owner, I have a lot of different roles so I’ve learned to prioritize my time and my strengths.

What do you wish you would have known when you started?

I would learn how to prioritize and set boundaries to avoid feeling overwhelmed. I would also trust myself and my intuition more and quiet my ego faster.

Why are you mentoring?

I want to share what I’ve learned with new business owners to help them along their path.

 

 

 Learn more at smartstartairdrie.ca