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Toronto contractor sets the foundation for new business with help of business plan writer

CompanySA Renos
City:Toronto, Ontario
Amounts: various  Find what funding programs you qualify for

Business plan writer helps contractor create a professional plan

Steve Aker has always been handy. As a young man, he worked on construction sites with his uncle's contracting business, and in the years that followed, he continued to work around his own house and help out friends with minor renovations and other projects. Even during his career in IT, he enjoyed the hands-on aspect of wiring and cabling and project-oriented tasks, versus an ordinary day sitting in the office. So when he was corporately restructured out of his job eight years ago and couldn't get work back in the field, he realized he had a new opportunity. Today, after years of offering handyman and small renovation services, SA Renos is ready to get bigger, as a full-fledged renovation contractor. Using the help of a business plan writer, Aker was able to lead his business into the right direction.

From IT to construction work

Aker started his career as a messenger at Confederation Life Insurance and worked his way up to manager of the data centre. "I worked there from April of '78 right till August of '94 when the company closed its doors," he says. Stints at the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Pension Trust and the Insurance Information Centre of Canada followed, but by 2002 corporate restructuring had left him out of a job. "And I couldn’t get back in anywhere in the IT field," says Aker. "I was at a point where I was angry with it and just decided I needed a change. I had a neighbor across the street who was messing around with his kitchen, and he said, 'I'll hire you on; you can do it for me.' So away I went."

Working one’s way up

For the next few years, work kept coming. Word-of-mouth from satisfied clients kept him busy, primarily in a handyman role, offering small repairs and renovations. Then, a year ago at one of his son's baseball games, he met someone who was looking for a major basement renovation. "I took it on, and it's been pretty much non-stop," says Aker. "So I thought, I'd better make this legit." Last June, he registered his company name, and started looking at some new, more serious equipment.

Business plan writer helps contractor get on track

Aker also decided he needed a business plan. "One, I thought it was a good idea to have that behind me to basically set the foundation of the company and the direction I want to go. And two, I got interested in some of the grant opportunities that are out there. And as an overall best practices kind of thing, I thought it was a good idea." He found that having to answer questions from the business plan writer forced him to nail down the right answers. "It absolutely helped. I really enjoyed the setting. It was informal, but an opportunity to talk about the past and then the future, and where I'd like to see this thing end up." He pauses. "I wish I'd had the opportunity to do this 25 years ago."

SA Renos grows

Aker now has a licensed plumber and a licensed electrician working for him, and he has some young carpenters on call. And he's getting more serious about marketing SA Renos. He has developed a logo, he's working on a website, and he's printing business cards and adding signage to his truck. "So now it will be more than word-of-mouth," says Aker. "And hopefully that will generate some more consistent work." He says the key to growing a business is being happy doing what you're doing. "That's first and foremost," he says. "If you're young enough, you can get in and fail, and try a few different things. But don't get into something that's going to give you more headaches than you can handle. That's number one."

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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