For many entrepreneurs, having a vision and innovative idea for a product or service is the easy part of starting their own small business. The challenges come in figuring out what to do next.
As Halogen Hair Co. owner Ashley Evert said, “No one really tells you how to run a business in beauty school.” However, Evert’s decision to reach out to CAN BE and CAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock when she opened her salon has been vital to the success of her operation.
Evert said most of the knowledge she gained at the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey came through “trial, error and long phone calls with Jocelyn”. Now that she has successfully reached her third year in business, Evert said the mentorship and networking opportunities she’s received through working with CAN BE has had a significant impact on her business.
“At year three, I feel like I have a good rhythm for the day-to-day and challenges no longer seem like life or death. I mean, if we can get through a pandemic, we can get through anything,” she said. “The ways Jocelyn helped me set up my business and guide me to mentors in the beginning has made things much clearer and easier to manage three years in.”
Halogen Hair Co. has grown to a team of eight employees and added three experienced stylists, two assistants and one esthetician within the last year. For Evert, having a resource to answer questions about things like human resources and payroll has been instrumental in helping her quickly expand her business.
“As my business grows, Jocelyn has been there to answer more complex questions and direct me to resources that she has that help me with specific challenges. HR and payroll were two of the biggest hurdles for me with expanding my team so much, and Jocelyn directed me to an accountant, an attorney and two HR mentors who have helped me tremendously,” Evert said.
After balancing guiding her new business through the COVID-19 pandemic and hiring six new employees in one year, Evert said she’s looking to settle in to operations with her current staff but has plans within the next five years to expand again.
“I’m really hoping to maintain the wonderful staff we have. Everyone works spectacularly with each other and they are all thriving in their respective roles. I want to focus on their individual goals and helping them reach them before expanding the team any further,” she said. “I do have plans within the next five years to expand, but for now I am enjoying our workflow and happy to be past the hurdles 2020 threw at us.”
Evert said that what stands out about CAN BE is the support businesses receive from the organization and the vast network of business professionals and resources that are available to assist entrepreneurs.
“Starting a small business is literally the most terrifying thing I have ever done. Having someone to call when I was clueless or exasperated or just totally confused was so valuable. One of the greatest strengths of going through the CAN BE system is the network of professionals available— if an answer to a question wasn’t immediately available, you are directed to the perfect person to help you. Additionally, Jocelyn is a solution-focused person who genuinely wants to solve every issue she comes across. Her passion for community and small businesses make her an ideal person to have on your team as an entrepreneur,” she said.