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Downsizing leads to brand new personal management business for Ontario woman

CompanySweet City Lifestyle
Industry:Other Services - except Public Administration
City:Mississauga, Ontario
Amounts: various  Find what funding programs you qualify for

Startup business plan speeds things up

Losing your job might seem like the end of the world. But sometimes it can be the start of bigger and better things. Renée Blanchette had worked for more than 30 years in the pharmaceutical research industry – most recently, validating university research in a private laboratory. Last summer, the company she was working for consolidated and downsized. After more than three decades in the industry, Blanchette was out of a job. But today, with the help of a startup business plan, she's launching a brand new career with her own professional organizing business – Sweet City Lifestyle.

Everyone needs organization in their lives

With reality shows sensationalizing chronically disorganized "hoarders", people may tend to focus on extreme cases. But Blanchette explains that her work is directed at everyone who needs to get some organization in their lives – and isn't that everyone? For example, she says, baby boomers with newly empty nests often make the move from a larger house into a condominium. "There's a transition," says Blanchette. "Part of it is helping them go through and get organized to be able to move into the condominium. That's a process that's very challenging. It requires some coaching along the line, because it can be quite traumatic if you're not prepared. You can have difficulty getting started."

Showcasing business at the Toronto Fall Home Show

She recently launched and showcased her business at the Toronto Fall Home Show. "I wanted to validate what I perceived was a need," she explains. "And it was funny; it was exactly the way I had perceived it. People who had moved to a smaller home were asking where I was six months ago when they had to move. And others were saying that they were considering a move, but just couldn't wrap their minds around it. Everybody sees it as a challenge. Nobody says, 'Ah, it was a breeze.'"

Targeting baby boomers

She also did some target market research. "I collected some metrics to see if the show was the right audience, because I'm targeting the baby boomers. Interestingly enough, the most interest was in the 30 to 45 age group and the 45 to 65 age group. And the 30 to 44 age group seems to want lifestyle coaching." The market seems to be there. "What my company does is different than straight professional organizing and life coaching, " she says. "It meshes both."

Creating positive work flow settings

While setting up the facilities to validate the university research, she was responsible for scaling up processes and designing labs and offices to be productive – which fits in with her approach to professional organizing. "The idea is, as in a corporate setting where you look at the office and the way the work flows, you look at putting in place systems to create productivity and efficiency," explains Blanchette.

A startup business plan to seek funding

That attitude also led her to seek a professionally prepared startup business plan with assistance from the Centre for Business Plan Development. "I've done business plans in the past, but I was starting to get going with this, and it wasn't moving as fast as I'd hoped, so I was seeking funding," she says. "And I realized that while this was a substantial investment, it would provide elements that wouldn't be readily accessible to me, including analyses of the population and the industry segment.

Advice for future entrepreneurs

All in all, when you're going to make this a full-time focus, things have got to start to move ahead. You have to look at it as a business and not a hobby." She's pleased with her startup business plan, and eager to grow her business in a big way. "I’m very excited," she says. "There are so many ideas, so many things that could be put into place.

Imagine how a professionally prepared business plan could help grow your business. For a free consultation, call 1-800-481-8434.

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