What a journey it has been! Our BWCA program has seen the development of some incredible businesses and success stories in the Central Alberta regions.
We developed a strong team of staff from Management to Coaching that led our Clients through the program. Here are some of our successes and things we have learned to date.
We learned about our clientele. They fell into the following categories:
- Regular Worker 25-44 (55%)
- Mature Worker 45-54 (24%)
- Older Worker 55+ (18%)
- Diverse-Abled (13%)
- Immigrant (7%)
- Indigenous (3%)
- Youth 18-24 (3%)
66% of Clients were female.
33% of Clients were male.
We had our first Gender X Client.
Here's where the approved Clients were located by number:
- Red Deer 26
- Lloydminster 8
- Sylvan Lake 7
- Camrose 6
- Blackfalds 5
- Lacombe 4
- Innisfail 3
- Springbrook 2
- Stettler 2
- Delburne, Vermillion, Drumheller, Castor, Eckville, Caroline, Clandonald, Three Hills, Wetaskiwin, Leduc, Chessor, Bentley, Torrington, all had 1
Our program attracted such a geographically dispersed clientele that would not have been able to attend traditional brick and mortar classroom-based workshops. Our blended online model was a key to the program success.
What was our Marketing and Social Media approach?
- Online marketing produced the strongest leads in all demographics.
- We used social media such as: FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and multiple online marketplaces.
- We attended Inter-Agency meetings to boost our presence between Service Providers.
- Alberta Works Centres proved a solid referral source for SE clientele.
- We attended Job Fairs and Community Events.
- We learned that relationship marketing was by far our greatest tool in making ourselves known in the various communities.
- Asking for referrals was key. Our clients had great applicants to share!
- We learned that our Clients were more interested in hearing about the real stories, from the real people, in the real communities. Our clientele was less about the flashy marketing, and the fancy sayings, more about the grassroots.
- Current Client success stories and testimonials went a long way in generating interest for future Clients.
What was our approach with our Clients?
- We provided each Client and each intake with a 'Success Team' approach.
- All team members provided expert coaching, support, motivation and wrap-around services for an all hands on deck method .
- Our blended learning platform ensured we could get the necessary information to the Clients, whilst allowing us to expertly coach through the weeks.
- We used data and client surveys to pivot proactively and in reaction to the clients needs.
- We held the Clients accountable for their success through methodologies like goal setting, time-blocking, and diving deep into their 'WHY'.
- We met the Clients as 'Who they are, where they are'.
- Coaching was offered both in person and online dependent on the Client's needs.
What were our Outcomes?
- 76 Clients started the program
- 36 are currently In Progress
- 31 Attained all Training Program Benchmarks
- 9 were NA/WD/T
- Today's completion rate is 78% however will go up with the outcomes from the In Progress Clients
We continue to build, develop and strengthen all program strategies and workflows.
What did we learn and how did we grow during the program?
- We learned that the downturn in economy affected many participant's drive and self-esteem more than we had expected.
- While Client's were coming to the table RWA to begin their entrepreneurial journey, they had varying levels of self-esteem, deflation and anxiety.
- We took this information and incorporated varying levels of life skills coaching into the weekly sessions.
- We learned that the Clients needed to collaborate with other learners for a sense of belonging. Bringing cohorts together online, and in person was a big win for the program.
- We learned there is a huge market for online businesses and home-based businesses in the Central Alberta areas.
- Most of the businesses we found turned out to have a service-based model rather than a product-based model.
- Our Team worked diligently in Mobius to standardize our systems as to what is required with the Ministry.
Sandra Suazo - Chocolatier
Sandra came into the BWCA program working part-time and dreaming of a sole proprietorship, as a chocolatier. Sandra had previously invested in a small business with a 'partner' however was taken advantage of and left with nothing. She overcame many hurdles throughout the program and credits her business success to our coaching and unwavering support of her dream. Sandra picked up immense speed and traction over the Christmas holidays, and Valentines day, and is now running a successful chocolate shop!
Please go visit her at House of Fiori, or online at: https://houseoffiori.com.
Savannah Shaw -Serenity Alliance, Grief Counselling
Here's what Savannah had to say about her time in the BWCA program:
As a Bereavement Companion, I have been focused on how I can help people. When I was introduced to BWCA, it truly changed the trajectory of my vision. It is easy to dream, however, it takes a well detailed plan to put into motion. Without the compassionate and dedicated team of BWCA, I may not have obtained the knowledge I needed to bring my dream of Serenity Alliance to reality. I highly recommend that anyone looking to pursue their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur to invest their time into taking this course. My Success Team has motivated and pushed me to become the best version of myself in my developing path as an entrepreneur.
Email Savannah at: firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to book her services.
Aaron Johnson, The Resistance Electric
Aaron blew his coaches and team members away with his dedication to launching his Electrical Company, The Resistance Electric. While Aaron had immense skills in his trade, he lacked formative business training. He was able to receive individualized training and work plans that catered to his vision and schedule. He is starting to win smaller and medium sized contracts from word of mouth and his incredible work ethic. He credits his Success Team for keeping him positive throughout all the ups and downs of his business launch.
Janet Renzetti, Kreative Kare Ltd.
"The BWCA program was one of the best things I could have done for my life. I started the program with the intent of opening a massage business, however with the incredible support I received from my business coach, I was able to launch Kreative Kare AND maintain a mobile massage practice. I provide specialty medical and mobility aids for a diverse population. While I still take massage therapy clients on the side, I have received large orders from International organizations for my gear.
I was able to connect with other clients in the program and have rounded out my business for future success. I received huge support and understanding on how to run a business. I am so grateful for this opportunity."
You can see all the products available on Janet's website, here: https://www.kreativekare.ca/
Angela Bloomfield, Get'RDone Bookkeeping
Here is what Angela had to say:
I am the black sheep of my family. My family owns and runs an Equipment Rental Company, and employs many members of our family. I was never offered to work for the family business, even though they have an Accounting Department and it seemed like a fit from my end. I took the BWCA program to become an entrepreneur for my own Bookkeeping business idea. The BWCA program blew me away. I think I always had the skills to be an entrepreneur, but I was so scared that I wouldn't be successful or would fail, that I never started. I learned to believe in myself, and focus on the steps to build my own practice from the ground up. After the program ended, my family offered me a temporary contract to come in and clean up the accounts for the season. They saw the work that I had done, and offered me a long-term contract in their company. They were blown away with my talent, and what I had learned in my business. They have done a complete 180 in wanting me on board! I am currently negotiating a contract to keep my own business, and work with the family. What a change!
Ruby Cole, The Maby Studio
For years after moving to Canada I felt lost as I was not able to practice as an Architect after studying for 12 years. I found a calling (and a loop-hole!) with Event Design, and that is why I started my company. As much as I have been wanting to start, I was scared to go "all in". I often wondered how to make sure I had sustainable success. This program gave me the tools I needed to feel comfortable moving forward. It inspired me to do the full rebrand (from Maby Rentals to The Maby Studio) of my business with new logo, slogan and new website.
I was able to finish my Business Plan, which gave me a clear vision of how many bookings I should aim for (I am already at 40 of 85 event target for 2020), how to spend my marketing dollars and to give me the confidence to subcontract most of my tasks and be able to have a healthy work and life balance.
I have DOUBLED my Facebook following.
My business plan also allowed me to apply for additional funding through Community Futures, which I have been awarded $3,000 for additional Business Development Consulting (for operating businesses) and training for 2020.
I have never felt more confident and supported to pursue my passion. The courses, lessons and the one-on-one coaching have been instrumental to give me the tools I needed to have the perfect balance between a realistic action plan and to dream big. BCWA has truly changed my life... no more self-doubt, no more worry, no more 80 hour days, no boring office work for this girl! I feel the sky is the limit and forever be thankful to you Rod, Michelle, Megan and especially you Garth for this feeling.
So, once again, THANK YOU.
I wish this Program and this Team many more years and much success!
You can visit Ruby's new website at: https://themabystudio.com/ or on FaceBook at: https://www.facebook.com/themabystudio/
Here are her featured ads in Prestige Magazine: https://www.paperturn-view.com/uk/knightsbridge/cambridge-red-deer-hotel-conference-centre?pid=NzY76685
Rena Simmons, Heritage Optical
Rena is a registered Optometrist who purchased a new to her Optometry clinic from a retiring couple. Not only is her business now thriving, she is seeing profits of over 50% each month. She had the following to say about the program:
I learned so much being in the BWCA program and LOVED the online coaching and classroom. Getting to connect with fellow entrepreneurs, coaches and clients of the program, you really feel like you are supported in so many ways. The financial forecasting and marketing was eye opening for me and has greatly contributed to my success.
You can visit Rena at : https://www.heritageopticalltd.ca/
B. Adair, Diversity and Inclusion Consulting
B was our first Gender X participant in the program. He worked incredibly hard to undertake his entrepreneurial journey and live his passion. B is someone who struggles with ADHD and found the 1:1 coaching model extremely beneficial in helping him reach his goals, and accomplish meaningful tasks. His Diversity and Inclusion workshops are really taking off and in-demand. B had multiple contracts this new year and is expecting to see massive growth. Here's what he had to say about the program:
I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with Business Works Central Alberta (BWCA) on creating and running my own business. The team helped me from the very first steps of dreaming into planning, designing, executing, and now maintaining. I still meet with my coach every week and he helps me stay on top of things, answers all my questions and provides great support. As someone with no previous business management experience, this has been an invaluable experience. The knowledge and skills I’ve obtained have set me up to run my business successfully.
You can keep up to date with B and even book a workshop through his FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/JustBConsulting/
Candace Eberle, Holistic Wellness Coach
Candace has overcome an unbelievable amount of familial issues that have occurred while she was in the program. She incredibly managed to stay the course and launch her holistic healing practice. She has purchased a large acreage with horses to combine equine therapy into her practice and has even collaborated with some BWCA clients to round out her offerings. She had this to say about the program:
I am so grateful to my Success Team. If I had not received the level of support and coaching from the Team at BWCA, I think I might have given up or put everything on hold. I feel like I am able to say I have a successful business that I am proud to call my own.
You can visit Candace at: http://freespirithealing.ca/background-and-bio.php
Thank you very much for the opportunity we have had with the Ministry to provide our program and have the option to continue. From:
- Deborah Bromley, Director
- Barbara Stevens, Finance
- Megan Hamlet, Management
- Rod MacWhirter, Team Lead and Coach
- Michelle Bazylinski, Program Assistant
- Garth Epp, Business Coach
Created with images by Kym MacKinnon - "August Snowfall" • Daniel Cartin - "untitled image" • Austin Distel - "If you use this photo, I would be very appreciative if you would please credit in the caption or meta to "www.useproof.com"." • Thor Alvis - "untitled image" • Nikita Kachanovsky - "On my eames" • Riccardo Annandale - "untitled image" • Annie Spratt - "Man archery bow and arrow" • Tim Mossholder - "Love to Learn" • Антон Дмитриев - "Electrician at work" • Sarah Shaffer - "Business Meeting" • David Travis - "Getting things in focus" • Jon Tyson - "untitled image"