The First Board Room

My first week in the Fraser Valley Self Employment program consisted of workshops in Business Planning, Marketing, and Competition analysis. My class was quite small. Four people, including myself. There was a Music Teacher/Producer, an International Tax Accountant, and a Senior Care specialist. The sessions were very information-dense. It’s scary to think how many entrepreneurs try to go into business without knowing how to do a balance sheet or register with all levels of government. However, I think our most important take-away from those workshops was not the knowledge, but a chance to get our first taste of the culture of business.

There we were, circling a conference room table with wildly divergent forms of companies. It was almost addicting to hear all of the concerns and strategies involved in all of our companies. Did you know you could clean a house with lemon juice and steeped tea? How about the SOCANN tariff, and how that will affect the music industry? Were you aware of all the bugs that exist in commercially available accounting software? Each one of us had something to contribute. The presenters had almost as much to learn from us as we did from them. With no titles besides the ones we had given ourselves, our knowledge was one of the only things we had that proved that we belonged in this program. Our eagerness to help was the other trait that proved our worth. Not only could we offer our skills, but our network contacts as well. As time went on, I felt as though we were all on the boards of each other’s companies, brainstorming new ideas that would take us all to the top.

For all the talk about rational self-interest in business, my workshop group felt like a very egalitarian place to be. We all wanted to help each other.  Everyone was willing to share information, and they wanted to know what you thought in return. I’ll be interested to see my classmates in months to come after these workshops. Hopefully, I’ll even be able to send them a few leads.