Young: A new strategy is needed

I would like to begin 2012 with a cry out to the multitude of home-based entrepreneurs.

I would like to begin 2012 with a cry out to the multitude of home-based entrepreneurs and small business owners who are out there in every possible corner of the Okanagan.

I remember vividly, a few years ago, reconfirming with Robert Fine from EDC while I was enjoying the exchange with members of the now-defunct Central Okanagan Home-Based Business Association, that there were then several thousand home-based ventures in the valley being left unattended by those of us in the entrepreneurial sector.

Unattended? Yes, because to me, we, as a regional society, have not focused our attention on this phenomena in terms of what services we could provide to help people embracing self-employment to attain their personal level of success.

Just in case you have any doubts about the magnitude of this business explosion, let me help you with some information I discovered recently.

One of the factors contributing to the astonishingly high degree of self-employment here is that when people move here for the beauty and quality of life, they cannot find a job that will pay what they need and so they create their own jobs.

According to the HRDC community profile, almost 11 per cent of workers in the Central Okanagan work out of their home, compared to eight per cent in the rest of B.C. and Canada.

In August 1996, a home-based business study reported 25 per cent of all households in the district operate an entrepreneurial home-based venture. Through extrapolation and using 1999 values, there are estimated to be 9, 450 home-based ventures today in the Central Okanagan contributing between $152.5 million to $ 229.3 million in direct earnings to our overall regional environment.

Pretty powerful statistics I’d say. And that is without a network of organizations displaying substantively they are there for the home-based entrepreneurs to turn to at all stages of their venture development and growth. This year can be the year  we reach out through a planned regional strategy for entrepreneurial development, bringing together the diverse group of service providers in existence, discover where we could enhance our efforts of the thousands who work hard to fill the potential gaps in such service provision.

Every home-based entrepreneur should have the same access to business services as those who seek to launch a bakery, coffee-shop, software service or any other business here. That would be my 2012 business resolution.

There has been some negativity attached to home-based businesses over the years but it seems such views have disappeared, and in many corners of the region, home-based entrepreneurship is now considered legitimate and respectable. The greatest change in the past decade has been the broad range of business choice and location hasn’t put a limit on the number of choices as a large variety, from all types of industry sector backdrops, can be run successfully from home.

Your first step on the journey is to find your focus on a future vision of yourself as a successful entrepreneur.

You must cultivate, I suggest, a vision that will allow you to see yourself through whatever circumstance that you may face that challenges your successful research, development and launch.

Happiness and joy may be confused but the root of happiness is what is happening in the moment, something determined by external forces perhaps even outside of your control. Joy is something you can always possess.

The universal law of sowing and reaping is on your side even when, at times, you may feel that it is too difficult to keep it going. Relax, smile and make the next person smile—customer, family member, person at the gas bar or grocery lineup.

The greatest people who ever lived throughout human history have had some significant challenge in their lives.

It is those challenges that fueled their successes.

They were not defined by their challenges, but by their choices in overcoming those challenges.

In the final analysis, I feel your joy at operating a home-based business will sustain you, attract people to you and determine your level of success.

Learn to increase your joy and that of the people around you every day .

Rejoice in your entrepreneurship, joy is my prescription for your entrepreneurial home-based business.

My personal pledge to you at the beginning of 2012 is that through the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society, the vision we are working on zealously for a first-ever regional entrepreneurship strategy will come to fruition.

We will make every effort to examine how we can advance the imagery of the home-based entrepreneur in our region while exploring how we may add value to the services you will require in your journey. We are here for you.

For any home-based entrepreneur reading this column, I invite you to let me know how you may be additionally assisted by regional service providers and where you believe there are shortfalls in our existing regional systems.

Joel Young is an entrepreneurial leadership coach, consultant, educator and founder of the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society.



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