Small Business Story


Shawn Lam – Merited Professional Videographer.

Company name – Shawn Lam Video – Coquitlam,BC

Website address – http://www.shawnlam.ca

Shawn Lam Video provides corporate and event video production services. This includes videotaping, editing, DVD authoring, and DVD duplication. My corporate target market is businesses that have communication needs that can be solved by video including sales, internal communications, conferences, webcasts, and website videos. My event target market includes dance recitals, cheerleading competitions, conferences, and conventions. My ideal customer is one that has repeat business potential, or in other words, who has regular events or video needs.

My business if different than other video production companies in the high level or service I provide, matched with a very high skill level. As a professionally accredited and award winning event video producer, my work speaks for itself and separates my company from the competition. I’ve invested in both technology to be able to handle a complete range of video services in-house and in human resources through extensive professional development. The technology, including high capacity DVD printers and duplicating towers allow for faster and more controlled DVD productions while our people are the best at what they do.

Prior to entering the video production industry I owned a student painting franchise for 4 years while getting my business degree from the University of Winnipeg. By the time I was done school, I was hooked on the entrepreneurial life and was on the look-out for a new opportunity. I entered the video production industry through a business partnership with my brother, who had video training but no business training. Interestingly enough I’m now a video professional and he now has a business degree from SFU and now owns his own business, Sliced Tomatoes, which is in the ready-to-cook, healthy meal delivery industry (shameless plug time: www.slicedtomatoes.ca).

We initially started in the school and wedding markets but I dropped them when our corporate and event markets outgrew the school and wedding markets with less effort. The real advantage came when the event and corporate markets kept returning year after year for their next project while we rarely heard from the wedding clients.

What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur engages me like no other job could ever. I’m in control of my destiny and can always be sure that I will never have to compromise my values to please a boss or make more sales. I absolutely love the control of my own time and that I can set my own schedule.

What’s the worst part of being and entrepreneur?

Cash flow is always a challenge for an entrepreneur followed my time management. Admin stuff is a close third.

How long have you been in business?

11 years total, 7 in the video industry

How did you raise the start-up cash?

A combination of Canadian Youth Business Foundation Loans, personal savings, and my credit cards.

Identify and discuss a few lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?

Keep your overhead LOW in the beginning to reduce your burn rate, the rate at which you burn your start-up capital. The longer you can survive the better chances you have of succeeding. Seek out markets with repeat business potential. Getting new business takes a lot of effort and repeat business make this effort worthwhile. Surround yourself by other entrepreneurs. They will serve as your support group and can be a great source of referrals, even if they are in the same industry as you.

What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Set and keep focused on your goals. If you don’t know where you need to be how are you going to get there. You need to post your long term, short term, weekly, and daily goals in a place you will see them all the time. This is imperative to avoid getting distracted from achieving your goals by busy activities that don’t result in business advancement.

Briefly, what are your goals and plans for the future?

I’m going to keep growing both horizontally and vertically in the services and products that I offer. My business is designed to scale very easily with the addition of freelance camera operators. Once I have enough business to support full time positions I transition the freelance position to an employee position.

Any other information or advice you’d like to share?

Don’t isolate yourself. I find too many entrepreneurs think they shouldn’t join associations and groups until they have “made it”. The irony is that many of these organizations are best to join in your start-up phase of business and by being around other business owners you will only get better at your own business.

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