Please describe exactly what your business does and your target market (ideal customer).
3V Communications helps companies and individuals develop their interpersonal and professional communication skills. We provide one-to-one personalized coaching and team training workshops, plus public workshops open to anyone. Our clients are people who want more confidence and clarity in their verbal and non-verbal communications.
What makes your business different? What is that you do that makes your business unique?
We use techniques from life-coaching and also the ‘communicative approach’ from traditional classroom-style teaching. In this way our business is different from standard life-coaching, in that we also provide thorough communication techniques and easy-to- use formulas for people to use immediately. We incorporate from life-coaching valuable self-assessments and goal-setting but we have found our clients also want to receive prepared ‘answers’ to their questions from a communication expert. Also, due to over ten years experience teaching English as second language and business English here and abroad, 3V Communications readily works with immigrants and non-native English speakers in helping them with accent reduction, English fluency and cross-cultural understanding.
Why did you decide to start your own business? How did you get into your particular business? (i.e., saw a market need, discovered my passion, found a partner, etc.)
I started my business when I realized that I was a good teacher and dynamic trainer, and had the ability to take complicated information and simplify it into ready-to-use formulas. In this way I found my usefulness in society and felt great about helping people who were lacking confidence in their communications, or people who knew some but wanted to take their skill-set to a higher level. As my background included Sociology, Psychology teaching and career coaching, it seemed to be a natural fit. I started working mostly with immigrants and then slowly expanded my business to include universal topics such as body language, building rapport, NLP and public speaking, to name a few. I really love what I do!
What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is the freedom. You are free to set your own schedule for meetings, marketing, vacations and sleeping in, without having to get permission from a boss.
What’s the worst part of being and entrepreneur?
The worst part of being an entrepreneur is the freedom! You are too free, and there are few deadlines, unless self-imposed. It is easy to say to yourself that this project can wait until tomorrow or that you can do something later. We have to stay motivated and set our own goals and have markers of success, to measure our progress.
How long have you been in business?
I registered my first sole-proprietorship in 2002. I am on my second.
How did you raise the start-up cash?
I worked part-time as long as I could stand it to pay the bills as I was setting up on my new venture. I got a personal line of credit from the bank and otherwise used my credit card. As long as you are a decent money-manager you can do it this way to start.
Identify and discuss a few lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur.
Lesson One: Do not let your enthusiasm bankrupt you. Many entrepreneurs get so excited about their new idea that they quickly drain their accounts on expensive websites, marketing and advertising. They lose financial control. This did not happen to me. I knew about this bad habit and was fortunate enough to have business mentors show me how to get everything you want in a website and advertising but to do it cheaply and with patience. Having said all that, another lesson I learned is that too cheap does not pay. If you go to the other extreme and try to do everything with free sites and services, you will wonder why no one is calling you! “You get what you pay for” is something to remember.
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Start with a lot of market research and get some feedback from people other than your friends and family. If that means doing free service or giving away some free samples to the right leads, just to get some feedback, then do it. You really need verification that your idea or model is going to be successful, especially when it is new.
Briefly, what are your goals and plans for the future?
My goals are to expand my business and hire full-time trainers. Right now I do a lot of joint-ventures, which are great, but I would like to have staff around to send out to companies. Also I plan to do more half or full-day corporate training sessions at companies. Finally, I plan to sell more information products online like ebooks and training videos.
- Any other information or advice you’d like to share?
“If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?”