YARMOUTH - Knowing how to describe your product or service simply and attractively, plus devoting time to networking, are some of the recommendations shared recently by entrepreneurs.
A panel composed of local business people was part of the agenda at the Nov. 16 Entrepreneurship Expo at NSCC Burridge.
Doug Jones, a member of NSCC faculty and founder and executive director of Ignite Labs Inc., facilitated the discussion.
Melanie Sweeney, with Tusket Falls Brewing Company, was asked what skills she utilized the most as an entrepreneur.
Problem-solving and decision-making skills was her answer.
“We started close to two years ago, planning the brewery,” she says.
“In that time period, every day, it felt like I was making a new decision. You make the decision with the information you have at the time. Sometimes it’s the right decision, sometimes you realize you’ve made a mistake and you try to correct it and move forward.”
In response to how their business is marketed, she says social media has been valuable as well as “getting out there and attending as many events as possible.”
Scott Dauphinee is the managing director with the Lobster Trap Company, which offers new-age plastic traps.
He agreed that mentors and networking are extremely important.
“My networking has quadrupled or grown tenfold in the last couple of months,” he says.
Dauphinee was asked how he felt about his product “disrupting” an historical way of doing things, as fishermen have been using wire traps for decades.
“It wasn’t my intention to be ‘disruptive’ when I came up with the idea. I just wanted to build something different and provide customers with an option,” he says.
“What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?” the facilitator asked Mark Dunkley, with Saltwreck, a company that juxtaposes maps of Canadian villages and towns into and onto iconic images.
“I don’t really think of it as a title, I think it’s more of a mindset,” says Dunkley.
Billy Mole, co-founder of Boostflow Multimedia, says the aspect that surprised him the most about starting a business was trying to build value in digital marketing to people “who don’t really understand exactly what it is or may not see the value in that.”
“In our usual marketing strategy, we start with an awareness campaign, then pounding the ground, knocking on doors and introducing ourselves to people to sell our services. A lot of people are set in their ways and just want to be on the radio and newspaper,” he says.
Mole added that new business owners should be prepared for challenges because no matter how rock solid they think their business may seem, once they get a few months into it, they’re going to find holes and things that need to change.
“While this business is challenging, it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” he says, to applause.
Matthew Ellis, owner/operator of Iron Wave Productions, a voice-over recording and production company, says he believes there are opportunities for business in southwest Nova Scotia but entrepreneurs must “talk to people, press flesh, go to things, see people and get involved in the community, including volunteering.”
“The more you’re out there, the better your chances are,” he says.