In a recent blog post I wrote about going back to school, this time not as a student but as a professor. I received some wonderful comments, but I may not have been that clear. The professor gig is just one afternoon a week and a fun project for me. By the comments, I think my friends and readers thought I was becoming a full time professor. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It’s just that I am a full-time entrepreneur doing a few different things. Yes teaching marketing to keen culinary students, yes helping clients with their marketing needs and now I am also a columnist.
I started writing for one of the local papers “The Times”. My focus will be on people, their stories and how they manage, persevere, succeed and sometimes fail at their rural entrepreneurial mission.
Here is my first column. Let me know what you think?
I’m joining The Times as a chronicler of small business, entrepreneurs and to a certain degree the economy in Prince Edward County. As many readers know I was the economic development officer here for a decade starting in 2001. I was also a small business owner, grape grower and winemaker until 2006, when my wife and I sold the vineyard and moved on from our wine business.
In 2011, I took on a new leadership role in economic development in the Peterborough region. In Peterborough I was dealing with a much bigger and more diversified economy with many larger businesses as well as small ones too. We didn’t move to Peterborough as a family, it seems nobody wanted to leave the county. I had an apartment there and commuted back and forth, after 4 years of commuting I decided to root back home this spring and start up my own business.
I have a sincere interest in entrepreneurship and small business and a definite love for the county. After settling in back home, I approached Rick Conroy about writing a regular column about business in the county. He was quite open, welcoming and encouraging. While I suspect this column will shape itself over time my vision for the column is as follows.
First and foremost the column will be about people and their stories. We will meet people who base themselves in the county and work on contract or for companies outside of the county but are based here. They are remote workers or people who can work from home, enabled by technology and a shifting mindset that work is what people do not where they are located.
We will meet the brave souls who dare to run small, entrepreneurial businesses in a less than ideal environment. Less than ideal because Prince Edward County, despite its beauty and many wonderful assets, posses many challenges for a business. Over time I will reveal and share those challenges. However, the focus will be on perseverance and human spirit. Despite those challenges the business people that are here persevere. Some have been here for generations and other’s merely months.
This column will explore the variety of people and entrepreneurs who have both succeeded and who have just started to pursue their dream of living and working in the county.
I believe the thing that ties us all together is our love for the County. It’s always been a special place and in recent times, it’s agricultural and heritage roots elevated with the wine, culinary and hospitality scene and the arts & culture that is here seems to make the county even more special than it already was. It will be interesting to see how “Place” plays a role in the businesses of entrepreneurs that we meet in this column.
While I don’t plan on covering my own story. I am one of the entrepreneurs. My grape growing and winemaking experience has come and gone and now I find myself as a new start up in Prince Edward County, providing marketing help to those who want to grow their business. My advice to many, when I was the economic development officer, was to target business outside of our borders as well as within. I am taking my own advice, interestingly to date despite my outside the county targeting almost all of my business is local. We are here as a family because we love the county, the people and all the wonderful things that are going in the community. I know we are not alone.
I hope that I can provide an interesting and entertaining column. The column will appear every other week. I suspect I will learn quite bit more about people, local business and the county’s economic environment as I write each column. Please feel free to contact me as I will be looking for an ongoing source of interesting stories to write about.
I look forward to sharing the stories of the county’s enterprising and entrepreneurial people.
I specialize in helping companies and organizations achieve growth through impactful marketing. I work with companies throughout their life cycle – from start ups, to expansions to exit strategies and the sale of the company.
I help economic development and tourism based organizations with their marketing. I also provide support to those agencies to assist their clients. I am available to speak on these topics too. I offer FREE 60 minute strategy sessions to get people started. For more information e-mail me or give me a call today.