In 2011 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Megan Paul founded Modern Dame Boutique – a vintage inspired clothing store that provides Saskatoon women with new clothing that has been inspired by the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Megan had the following advice for other young entrepreneurs:
Join forces with other businesses. As a new business, you may not be able to afford the best location which results in the most foot traffic. Take advantage of other like-minded new businesses and network, network, network. Work together to offer cross-promotions; do creative things like photo shoots and fashion shows; and exchange cards and display them at each other’s businesses. Other start-ups will be eager to work with you in situations where you can all gain exposure and experience.
Organization is vital. Okay, it might cost you $10 for a recycling bin and some file folders, but basically being well-organized is free. The amount of paper you have to deal with as a new business is insane! Quotes from rival merchant services companies, mail-outs from organizations trying to recruit you, bills, bills, and more bills – it all adds up. Try and deal with paper as soon as it comes into your hands, recycle whatever you can eliminate as junk, and have a sorting system for things to think about versus things that need immediate attention. Keep the administrative side of the business under control so you can keep your sanity.
Do your research. When it comes to reviewing a lease, legal fees can be an added expense you do not want to deal with. Take advantage of the free services that are out there. Your benefits package may include a set number of complimentary hours with different professionals – something I just found out with my Chambers of Commerce Plan. Also, if you took a program to prepare you for your new business venture, your tuition may also include a certain number of hours with a lawyer or an accountant. Additionally, Business Infosource provides free half-hour sessions with lawyers and other professionals via their Guest Advisor Program.