Barriers to Success
For newcomers in business, by newcomers in business
'For newcomers in business, by newcomers in business'
This single sentence encapsulates the ambition, mission & vision of The Hive Saint John.
Yes, our clients need to adapt, change and grow as our markets demand but we also need to listen to the incredible wealth of experience newcomer professionals bring to the province.
What do they need? What are the barriers to entry into our markets? Where can we facilitate a public discussion that allows their voices to be heard as peers among our business leaders?
Recently I decided to bring a group of those voices together in the Newcomers In Business Facebook group.
The idea is simple: bring the alumni of The Hive Saint John together, not only to facilitate connection and discussion, but to take the pulse of our newest professionals. Allow for not only cross-promotion of businesses but facilitate discussion based on mutual support and a growth mindset.
Do you truly feel welcome? Do you find it hard to appeal to local consumers? Is our culture open or closed? Are we truly interested in doing business with the rest of the world or do we pander and delay? How can we incite action?
So far we have 82 members of Newcomers In Business and our community is growing month over month.
Recently I posted a poll: I was curious to know, what are your biggest hurdles to success in our markets? I knew there was a caveat here: self-reported barriers are not always true barriers. Perception can be different from reality but it's absolutely crucial we hear the self-reported barriers of our newcomer professionals. If we don't measure and weigh barriers to success, all support in the entrepreneur development and incubation space will be arbitrary.
So here it goes. The following are the top 3 self-reported barriers to success for newcomer professionals in Greater Saint John.
1A: Validating the Business
I write 1A because it was an even tie between Validating the Business and the second barrier. More on that shortly.
Getting out into the community is hard. Understanding how consumers think, behave and spend is hard, especially in a new market but it is absolutely crucial! Baked in to our training is a diverse set of opportunities to learn the strategy and communication involved in getting out into the market and validating your business plan. Special thanks to Dan Doiron, Chris Weir and Momentum Canada for their work on this front.
1B: Getting First Customers/Generating Leads
1A and 1B are inextricably linked. Getting your first customers in a market like New Brunswick can be challenging but once you're in you will build consumer loyalty. We are not terribly adventurous people. If you offer the right service, at the right price and bake in a level of customer service that strikes a chord in our hearts you will have a loyal customer. Once we love you, we LOVE you. We are a huge advocate of building your network. Coffee dates may be tedious but to have brand recognition you MUST get out into the community.
2: Accessing Funding
Money, money, money. I don't have enough evidence to suggest that actually accessing funding is a barrier for newcomer professionals but the lead up to applying for funding can be daunting. In these parts, a strong business plan and a 3-year cash flow projection are crucial to a strong funding pitch. At Economic Development Greater Saint John we are prepared to get you all the way to the pitch, from there it's up to you to impress! Our Impact Loan committee ask strong questions and want you to succeed. Accessing funding can appear daunting but we are prepared to support you every step of the way. In our training we have an entire day dedicated to ensuring your start-up costs are met (within the parameters of what is on offer). Special thanks to the Impact Loan committee, Dakota Lutes & Lucas Loughead of EDGSJ, Suzanne of Scotiabank and Chris Daigle of BDC.
We are, and we will remain, for newcomer professionals, by newcomer professionals.