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Custom woodworker pursues micro-fit funding with the help of the Centre

CompanyGraham's Woodchips
Industry:Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
City:Osgoode, Ontario
Amounts: various  Find what funding programs you qualify for

Professional business plans require expertise

Graham Kelly knows the process involved in creating a fine piece of custom cabinetry. And now he appreciates that the same kind of planning, attention to detail, and careful crafting can lead to powerful and professional business plans. "It was a very worthwhile exercise," he says. "It was something I never would have sat down and done myself, and I'm glad I called on professionals."

Hobby becomes profession

Kelly, who lives in Osgoode, Ontario, worked with wood as a hobby during his varied career as an electronic technician, stationary engineer, residential housing manager, commercial property manager and office manager for the Crown Attorney for Eastern Ontario. As the years went on, he built up an impressive arsenal of tools with a plan to turn his hobby into a business once he retired. He built a thousand-square-foot workshop and outfitted it with table saws, planers, jointers and hand tools. And in 2003, he launched Graham's Woodchips. "I went from being retired to not being retired," he says with a laugh, noting that business picked up very quickly.

Building a complete construction and renovation service

For seven years, he stayed busy, taking on larger and larger projects and hiring on sub-trades such as plumbers, gas-fitters, drywallers, and electricians to provide a complete construction and renovation service. He offered quality work, and he followed up to ensure his clients were satisfied. "I've never had a call back to fix anything I've done," he says. "I've had lots of call-backs to do additional work, but never a complaint with whatever I'd done." For many of his renovations, he spent time on custom cabinetry and recreating older trim and woodwork. And as he time went on, Kelly decided he decided he wanted to focus more on specialized cabinetry and woodworking. The shift meant he needed some additional specialized equipment, including a computer numerical controlled (CNC) carver a remote control carver and a laser engraver.

Professional business plans help understanding a business better

Kelly needed a business plan. And he recognized that an effective plan would require someone who brought the same skills to planning that he brought to cabinetry. "It's something I never would have sat down and done myself. Having professional people do it helps you focus your thoughts. They ask all the right questions questions I never would have thought of if I was writing the plan on my own." Kelly found that the process helped him break down the elements of his business into manageable areas, so that he could refine his plans. "It was just the way she went through the whole thing and broke it down; the service, the craftsmanship, the warranties, and the type of products that I do. What are my short term strategies: Mid? Long? I realized I could have gone out and picked something off the Internet about how to do it, but I wouldn't have come up with this professional 50-page document."

Imagine how a professionally prepared business plan could help grow your business. For a free consultation, call 1-800-481-8434.

Please note our Centre is not affiliated to programs profiled in the above article and no claim is made that funding is due to our Centre unless stated.

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