Small business a real gem

Husband-and-wife team decide to jump into self-employment

What could be better than working alongside your loved one every day? “My husband and I make a good business team because our skills are so complementary,” says entrepreneur Lori Cranson.

Lori and her husband, Steve, own Dalo Jewels (www.dalojewels.com). Dalo Jewels sells one-of-a-kind handcrafted gemstone jewelry.

Serving professional women between the ages of 25 and 65, the company uses textile techniques in metal, precious metal clay and traditional cold joining techniques to create fabulous pieces.

“We also do custom work for brides and their wedding parties,” comments Cranson. “It’s nice to have a special piece of jewelry for a special day.”

Dalo sells its pieces at craft shows including the popular One of a Kind Show, Huronia Festival of the Arts, at home parties, galleries, charity events and through its website.

Like the story of so many entrepreneurs, Lori originally created jewelry for herself and some friends. Eventually, other people started to ask where she got her beautiful pieces.

“I enjoyed making jewelry so much I thought I might was well start a proper business to sell my designs,” she explains.

The timing was right for both husband and wife to start up their company four years ago. “I was actually teaching others about entrepreneurship, and Steve found himself out of work, so we decided it was a good time to launch our business together,” recalls Lori.

Steve brings a strong background in web design and administration to the business so Lori can focus on production and sales.

Despite the long, 18-hour days, Cranson says running her own business is a labour of love. “We really enjoy making our own decisions and working the way we want, side by side.”

Cranson has learned to be patient with her growing business. “It simply takes time to build a reputation in the marketplace and to generate a profit,” she comments. “To do both, you’ve got to stay the course and keep focused while you continually build your business.”

BizLaunch

With Roger Pierce

Manage your small biz priorities

Starting a small business means you’ve got to do everything yourself. With so many little tasks to complete each day, like running to the bank or sending emails, you may often feel like you’re not getting anything important accomplished.

In order to build a business, a new entrepreneur must learn to set priorities. Otherwise, you’ll spend your days putting out fires and completing little tasks that really don’t contribute to growth. Follow these tips to put your priority projects first:

  • Rule of Three. Aim to accomplish three major objectives each week and three minor objectives each day. The minor objectives support the major ones. Your major objectives might include forward-moving priorities like negotiating a bank loan, calling several prospects or interviewing job applicants.
  • Plan each week. Develop weekly to-do lists sorted by priority. Schedule in time to work on tasks that contribute to your Rule of Three. Once you’ve created your weekly calendar, step back and review it to make sure you’ve allocated enough time to get the important things done.
  • Monthly escape. CEOs of large companies don’t get bogged down doing little tasks. They’re paid to plan, strategize and manage others. It’s too easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees in any new business, so try to set aside a day or more each month to plan the future direction of your business. Escape to your favourite “thinking place” away from phones and computers and plan ahead.

Entrepreneurship Expert Roger Pierce advises startups at www.BizLaunch.ca

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