Dwania McLarty-Peele, Owner and Executive Director, Canadian Small Business Women
Building an organization is just like starting a business. You need a plan. After 5 years of running Canadian Small Business Women, I had a chance to reflect and really think about what my challenges were.
Some of these start-up challenges are still challenges five years later.
Asking for help
As owners, it is very hard to ask for help. It is safe to say that as business owners, we are
control freaks so relinquishing what we perceive as power to others is really hard. We
need to realize that we can serve our organization better if we delegate tasks to experts.
Finding good help
Not all help should be accepted. You have to focus on what is beneficial to your
organization. Whomever you select to be involved must be invested in your organization
on some level. Its success will be depended on all involved.
Butts in seats
When you are an organization that relies on events and membership meetings you
understand how hard it is to get commitment. All the time and effort that is you give to
planning these meetings/events is not necessarily understood by all. Getting that
commitment from the masses to turn up is a challenge that many of us face today. It is
up to the organizer as well as the membership/volunteers/participants to come together
and spread the word in order to ensure that all that hard work is not in vain.
You are not in business to lose money, so you must be focused on the goal. Monetize
your organization and ensure that it can prosper on its own.
If you run an organization that is built on membership, you need to have a level of
expectation for your membership. Most membership organizations require their
members to pay a fee to be involved. With this fee comes a level of expectation from the
organizer. The organizer should also have a level of expectation for the members as well.
Make those expectations clear and poll your membership to find out what their
expectations are of you and of themselves.
As a newly formed organization, you try to find ways to get involved in your business
community as well as unique ways to get your name out there. You must align yourselves
with events and organizations that have similar core principles. You must also take note
that your time is best spent building your organization and therefore cannot be spent
being involved in others. Limit the number of “outside” events and appearances you will
attend or be involved with.