Via LinkedIn : The smart way to start a business – We very rarely work with start-up businesses as 9 times out of 10 they are usually calling to get “free advice” and are not really serious about taking the risk and investing the time and cash needed in their business. Then there is that 1 out of 10 that exudes the term – A True Entrepreneur. That term does not even begin to describe Janet Sirko, of Ashbro Inc., who is on track to be a true Canadian entrepreneur success story. In addition to this story being about Janet, it is about building a solid team and how it can truly contribute to your overall success.
The Business Idea
Janet was referred to us by our mutual representative at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). She initially needed help with pricing a product she developed for market. The product was Ring Around the Bin™, which was a plastic moulded ring that fits around the kitchen compost bin to stop the compost bag from falling down into the bin. The compost bin fits under the kitchen sink, which is usually provided by the regions and municipalities in Canada. Janet came up with the idea after experiencing her own frustration with the messy compost bag always falling down. She visualized the idea in her mind for several years and decided that no one else was solving the problem, so she decided to do it herself. Janet then did research to see if there was anything out there like her idea. Though the issue was with her own kitchen compost bin, the issue exists with most of the kitchen compost bins being sold today. The solution in her mind was now under way.
Protecting and Development of the Idea
The first thing Janet did was look for a patent lawyer and find an illustrator to develop her idea. No one else had a similar product, but she knew there was always the possibility that someone else could copy it, so she knew she had to protect her idea. She now has a pending utility patent on her product, which means that no one will be able to copy or alter the design in any way. It was important to her that the product was manufactured in Canada, so she found a local manufacturer, MSB Industries / Epcot Plastics Ltd., in Pickering, Ontario who provides a one stop shop service from product development to developing the prototype, the mould, as well as the manufacturing. Janet knew she needed packaging of some kind depending on the different channels to market Ring Around The Bin™, so she engaged a friend of hers, Joanne Nichols of Mushroom Media, to develop her branding, website, packaging and trade show displays.
Hiring the Right Team and Investment in Her Business
Janet contacted us after being referred by CFIB to help her with the “business side” of starting her business. We have helped her with developing her pricing, channels to market, business processes and have provided coaching along with referrals for other services that she has needed. She has many channels to market with this product for multiple manufacturers. In addition she has hired a corporate lawyer for all of her contractual requirements, which is very important for any serious business.
To quote Janet, “she has created a team of experts” to help her be successful in the areas she needs help. And a team it truly is, as we all work together, and it turn, Janet has created a small virtual company as a start-up business owner. She has funded this business herself and invested her own money and time, as a true entrepreneur does.
Dedication to the Business
Janet has the energy of five people and does whatever it takes to get her business off the ground. She makes cold calls to the various kitchen compost bin manufacturers that her product will fit, as well as the regions and municipalities. And the good news is that she is getting the meetings. She has presented to City Councillors and Executives. She has knocked on doors of shop owners to sell her product and attends shows and fairs to promote her product, Ring Around the Bin™ and her business, Ashbro Inc., to both consumers to potential channels to market. Janet admits she does not know everything and cannot do it all herself and no one can. She trusts the expertise of the team she has hired and relies on their input in areas she is not sure about which is what leaders actually do.
I do not believe any of us on her team even speculate as to whether Janet will be successful with Ring Around the Bin™. It is forgone conclusion we already have made just watching Janet work and by her doing all of the right things for her business to make it a success.
For those thinking about starting a business, here is a list of the things that have been done right by this business owner.
- Made an investment in her business by using her own savings and line of credit.
- Has taken all of the risk, but has hired outside help in areas where she needs advice and guidance.
- She knows her strengths and weaknesses and she listens to her trusted advisors, when needed.
- She has created a working team out of the professionals she has hired and we are working together collectively for her instead of independently.
- She is out hustling every day making phone calls, knocking on doors, doing presentations, networking, attending shows, and doing whatever it takes to make sales and make her business a success.
About the Author
Karen Fischer is a Partner with RK Fischer & Associates which is a business consulting and coaching firm that focuses on helping businesses in Ontario, Canada that are under 100 employees generate growth and profitability for their business.