20+ years as a small business owner
Have Your heard?
Small business week was celebrated in Nova Scotia Oct. 15-19. Instead of publishing one of Sheri Macgregor’s regular hearing-related columns, we thought this week we would have her ‘sound off’ about her own business experience.
How did you come up with the idea to open Highland Hearing Clinic?
I was working for a hearing clinic in another community and quickly realized that clients were driving from Antigonish to see me as there was no service provider in that area. I opened Highland Hearing Clinic in Antigonish in 1997 and then expanded to Port Hawkesbury in 2001. We now go to Inverness twice per month as well. Basically, we go where we are needed.
What do you enjoy most about your business?
I love being able to take a person from the hearing test to the hearing solution. We really get to know our clients well as we see them every two weeks until we are sure that they are happy with the hearing solution. I also love the fact that we are an independent clinic which is not tied to a hearing aid manufacturer. That means we can choose from eight different brands of hearing devices and be very sure our clients have the opportunity to obtain hearing technology that suits their own needs and budget.
What is something you like about being a small business in your community?
I love when we find a common thread between ourselves and our clients. I've been in the community long enough that I am starting to see connections between my clients (i.e., siblings) or even children of my clients from 15-20 years ago. I'm happy to report that the baby boomers of today don't wait as long as their parents did to address a hearing problem.
What words of advice would you give to other would-be small business owners?
"Take baby steps" in the beginning. Start off with a small team, a small salary and a minimal investment until you survive those first five years. Then add more resources and assets to your business gradually as you can afford it.
What does the future hold for you?
I plan to take more time to work ON the business instead of IN the business. It's hard to juggle seeing clients full time plus running the organization between appointments and in the evenings and weekends. Now that I've built a great team of staff, I feel our clients are in great hands even when they are not my own hands.