The Cornwall Small Business Centre presented the 2022 Entrepreneur Round Table on Thurs., Nov. 10 at the Lost Villages Brewery in Long Sault. Entrepreneurs Kelsey Lee (Love and Lee Bridal Boutique), Eric Lang (ZipGrow Inc.), and Jessica Bourdeau (Spark Synergy) spoke about their experience as entrepreneurs in three very different ventures. Tinkess Photo

LONG SAULT – What does success look like to you? This was just one of the ideas that circulated as the Cornwall Small Business Centre presented the 2022 Entrepreneur Round Table at the Lost Villages Brewery in Long Sault.

Attendees to this free event had the opportunity to share in the experience of a panel of three local entrepreneurs as they responded to questions from Shauna Baggs, Business Consultant at the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre.

The three panelists, Kelsey Lee (Love and Lee Bridal Boutique), Eric Lang (ZipGrow Inc., an international leader in indoor vertical farming technology), and Jessica Bourdeau (Spark Synergy, a people-centric Workplace Synergist), each spoke of how they had navigated the path of the entrepreneur.

Lang, a serial entrepreneur, said it is essential to understand what success means to you.

“You can get a lot out of this,” said Lang. “You can have a job, you can have a career, you can have a business, you can have a publicly traded business, you can have so many different things. You have to define what you want. If you can’t define what you want, you’ll never get it.”

Some people, according to Lang, are just looking at being self-employed and creating a job for themselves, which is fine, but others want much more. He suggests imagining what a good, typical day would look like to you, and then try to create a business around that.

Lee, for her part says it is essential to know your numbers and strongly recommended making a bookkeeper a part of your team very early in the process.

“You need to be working in your business, not on your business,” said Lee. “One huge thing I wish I would have done right at the beginning is to use a really involved bookkeeper, because at the beginning you may be able to manage all the different things yourself but having a really involved bookkeeper who is able to give you feedback on your margins. An accountant or bookkeeper is really crucial.”

Bourdeau, whose business is more service related said that you can’t underestimate the value in making mistakes.

“As many mistakes as I have made, I have really learned from them,” she said. “I would have started earlier. You get nervous, you lack confidence, you’re not really sure what you’re doing, you want to plan everything out. While there is definitely room for planning, and it is very important, just getting started and learning from experience and mistakes was one of the key take-aways for me.”

The session ended with a Q and A session with the audience, who listened intently to the advice that was provided.

Analysis provided by Statistics Canada in March 2022, revealed that in 2021, small businesses made up 98.1 per cent of all employer businesses in Canada, employing 10.3 million individuals, almost two-thirds (63.8%) of the total labour force.

A small business in Canada is defined as having between 1 and 99 paid employees, while a medium-sized business has between 100 and 499 employees.