Tired of the 9 to 5 life? We don't know about you, but the thought of being our own boss is seriously appealing. The good news is, entrepreneurship is super accessible these days, which means just about anyone can turn their idea into a business and build your own brand, whether it's starting an online store or having a side hustle teaching yoga.
If you already have your business up and running and are looking for ways to take your business to the next level (or even if you're an aspiring entrepreneur), we got you! We caught up with Sandra Chabot Weber, who is the President of Whole Life Balance Canada, a Toronto-based studio on King West which offers holistic wellness services (like IV Vitamin Drip Therapies, Aerial Fitness, Massage Therapy, and Yoga) for a little inside look at her success story! Oh, and we also rounded up 10 ways that you can kickstart and grow your business so you can turn your dreams into reality!
1. Create a website
If you don’t already have one for your business, you should get one ASAP. Whether you’re a graphic designer or selling a product, having a website can help you get your business out there. Thanks to sites where you can create your own website or online portfolio for free (like Wix or Squarespace), starting one is super easy.
2. Get awesome business cards made
Ever been given a business card that looks really cool and stands out? It might not seem like a huge deal at first, but having a standout business card really makes a difference. There are tons of user-friendly sites where you can design your own business card (like Vistaprint or Moo), so there's really no excuse not to have one that sets you apart!
3. Set up an e-commerce store
The amazing thing about having an e-commerce store is that you can sell your product even when you’re preoccupied with other things (or even while you sleep). Whether you already have a retail store or are thinking of selling your product only online, setting up an online store is a lot easier than you think! All you have to do is set up an account on an e-commerce selling platform (like Shopify or Etsy) to start up your online business.
4. Step up your Instagram game
Creating a visually appealing Instagram page can really help promote your business and help your product find the right audience. Take it from Margot + Maude , who used Instagram to grow their business along with Futurpreneur Canada, a Canadian non-profit that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners.
"Experience is everything and I love that Instagram helps to showcase the experience that [our business] creates," says entrepreneur Sandra, founder of Whole Life Balance. "Every post is an opportunity to paint a picture of who we are, how we can help, and the energy we bring to the community. I do find it very beneficial given that a large majority of our clients find us on Instagram."
5. Use social media advertising tools
Whether you’re a small business or one that’s already established, using social media advertising tools (like Facebook Ads) can help you find your target audience, track your page views, and increase visibility for your business.
Sandra is no stranger to using social media as a way to leverage her business and admits that it can often feel overwhelming.
"Social media advertising tools are a reminder that there is always so much you can do and so much to learn. The key is to learn to differentiate between what is an opportunity and what is noise. This means you must have a strong understanding of your business on a deeper level. What is your business really about? How are you adding value and transforming lives consistently? And what will be the best tool to enhance that?"
6. Set up an online booking system
Does your business offer a service? Whether you work as a hairstylist or yoga instructor, having an online booking system on your website can save you time and effort to make booking appointments so much easier (and more organized!). If you already have a website on a platform like Wordpress, it's super simple to add in a plugin for an appointment booking app.
Choosing the right online booking platform can also make a huge difference in the efficiency of your business. Entrepreneur Sandra tells us: "We use our booking system, MINDBODY Online, for all of our bookings- it was the only online booking system that could support our business model: being a one-stop-shop for wellness – not just fitness classes. It’s great because our clients are able to manage their bookings on their own, on their own time, and at their convenience."
7. Plan special events for your business
At least once a year, try and plan a special event for your customers where you can connect with your client base. Use social media and event planning platforms like Eventbrite to promote your event before the big day (it’ll help get your company out there, trust!).
8. Build your email marketing list
Growing your emailing marketing list is super important to keep your customer base updated on what’s new with your business. Keep your customers engaged by sharing email content that offers something of value (such as insightful advice) rather than spamming them with promotional emails.
9. Attend networking events
Every entrepreneur knows that networking is key to promoting your business and meeting other like-minded individuals. Keep a stack of business cards on hand to give out to everyone you connect with (because you never know who you'll meet). "I can't emphasize this enough. Relationships are everything," says Sandra. "Networking events are a tremendous opportunity for you to practice the art of connection and turn an interaction with an agenda into one of organic value."
If you're looking for some cool networking events, Futurpreneur hosts awesome meetups and workshops for entrepreneurs, startups, and new business owners!
10. Partner up with another entrepreneur to promote each other’s business
Joining forces with another company that's in line with your company can be an awesome way to cross-promote each other's businesses. Just make sure to partner up with another company that shares similar values with your own business and go together (for example, a yoga studio partnering with a juice company).
Still looking for ways to start or grow your dream business? Futurpreneur can help you get your business up and running (it's the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39).
"Success doesn’t happen alone – it takes a village. Long-lasting relationships are something I look for and that’s what I love about Futurpreneur," says Weber, who partnered with Futurpreneur to successfully launch her business. "It’s not just a quick transaction – it’s a relationship of support and genuine interest with growing collaboration. There’s this continued education once you’re a part of the Futurpreneur family, and we owe a lot of our success to their leadership."
So if you're a Toronto-based entrepreneur looking to turn your idea into a business and don't know where to start, Futurpreneur can make it happen! Their local experts and full suite of online and in-person business services help aspiring entrepreneurs build confidence and meet their goals. Which means they're more than just a finance option: they're there for entrepreneurs every step of the way, from idea to launch and beyond.