Our next instalment in the Burlington Entrepreneur series features Elizabeth Plouffe and her two local businesses. Elizabeth is brimming with excitement and creative ideas and you’re sure to see more of her and her businesses around Burlington in the weeks and months to come. Keep reading to learn more about this fun-loving, hard-working woman!
I focus on communications for health care practitioners as I have education and experience in health care. It just made sense to apply my skills and abilities to this special area that is quite new to having to communicate with patients directly through online and social media channels. Communications is something that most people need help with and I build strategies and content that help businesses meet their goals while supporting their vision and mission statements. There’s no point in communicating without a strategy – otherwise how do you know if you’re helping your business? I also have planned events such as conferences, tradeshows, workshops and large scale recognition ceremonies.
MCV Communications started with me working from home. Between laundry and coffee shops, it wasn’t the right solution for me and the options out there focused more on space than community. I decided to develop my own concept and launched At My Office Canada as a business centre that offers rental office space, workshops, access to an extensive network and warm introductions to government agencies and angel investors. At My Office Canada supports local community development by hosting meetups and networking groups and supports business development through an extensive list of service providers that provide affordable business workshops. I opened the doors in May 2015 with two out of four offices already rented, which was a great way to start!
My Aha! moment for MCV was after my last position ended and I was working with a job coach to decide my next steps. After working as an employee for 25 years in a variety of positions, I decided to go out on my own. It was time for me to place worth on my services and skills versus what someone else thought I was worth and for how long. MCV Communications has been growing and developing since 2014.
My Aha! for At My Office Canada was when I realized I could use my previous work experiences, good and bad, to develop a business centre that focused on the entrepreneur/small business owner as a person and not just someone to fill an office. Originally I started it as a business space/business service solution and just had another Aha! a week or so ago when I realized that what AMOC is, is a centre. A centre for the business community to use not only for office space, but as a space to grow and learn.
I can honestly say that neither business has a typical client. I like to keep things diverse and can work with just about anybody. While MCV Communications focuses on health care, I’ve also worked with clients in leadership development, sales, angel investors, human resources and not-for-profit. The needs are the same and if you listen and learn, it’s completely achievable to deliver a quality communications strategy or event for any industry. It’s just a matter of being open minded and creative.
At My Office Canada is just getting off the ground but the space is already being used by a health care networking group and photography meetup group on a monthly basis. I’ve hosted workshops and client meetings for a variety of industries and all say the space is friendly, welcoming and works for their needs.
I think what drives me and what inspires me are different. What drives me is the need to deliver a high quality experience or product that exceeds a clients expectations. I know that sounds cliché but I’ve been in situations where that hasn’t always been able to happen and it makes me crazy. I want to make sure that the client is happy and feels confident that I will do whatever it takes to deliver what they need.
What inspires me is the need to teach. I loved teaching college and have been looking for opportunities to get involved in teaching again. The opportunity to share what I’ve learned and help others over the hurdles of business development or give them the skills to engage better with their audience inspires me every day.
I’m pretty new to the entrepreneur game but the biggest challenges have been:
1. Setting up my own work schedule and sticking to it. This was really hard when I just had MCV Communications and didn’t “have to” get up at a certain time in the morning like I do for At My Office. I guess 25 years of having to be somewhere on time really sticks!
2. Remembering that the only person who is going to promote me, is me. And I don’t mean up the corporate ladder since you can’t get much higher than president. But I do need to remember that all promotion and sales comes down to how hard I work and network.
1. That first client I signed up for either business. That was freaking awesome.
2. Delivering a quality product or experience AND getting a glowing recommendation? That’s addictive and helps me to get through the challenges.
3. People who meet with me to help solve a communications or event problem and say, “I’ve never thought about it that way before.”
With MCV Communications:
· Offering workshops based on projects I’ve completed for clients and needs that I see from consultations on topics such as social media management, blogging, networking, etc.
· Continuing as the organizer and sponsor for the Health Care Collaboration Networking group
At My Office Canada:
· Move to a larger location with more meeting space and eventually have multiple locations
· Expand the current service provider list to be as diverse as possible
· Continue to build partnerships with local community services such as the Halton Small Business Centre and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce
· Continue supporting not-for-profit community groups such as the Burlington Photography Group
MCV Communications is unique because most communications/public relations businesses aren’t able to properly support health professionals with their communications needs. Why? Because it can be very challenging to make medically based information relateable and it’s imperative that the spelling be accurate. With 13 years in healthcare, I can make sure that the content is accurate, engaging and that you don’t see testicle instead of thyroid.
At My Office Canada focuses on people instead of the space they can fill. I want to make sure that entrepreneurs and small business owners feel like they are part of a business community. As a business centre with a vision to provide workshops and networking opportunities, I can support a business from more angles and provide more options for success.
At My Office Canada
Teresa Baerg is a writer, editor and self-confessed word-nerd who loves telling a good story. She is proud to call Burlington home for over a decade. She is passionate about her family, sunshine and palm trees, growing veggies, running and cycling, good books, good food and good coffee. And football. Twitter: @teresabaerg Instagram: @teresabaerg Website: teresakbaerg.com
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