The pandemic has hit certain businesses in ways we could have never imagined. MTL Blog spoke with Sharon Brand, a young entrepreneur from Montreal, who successfully started her company Brand's Media Group during the time of COVID-19.
Sharon let us know her best advice for starting a company right now, keeping your employees motivated, and the main challenges that you're likely to come across along the way.
Answers have been edited for clarity.
What advice can you give for starting a business during the pandemic?
Brand's Media Group came to life after noticing small businesses needed help growing and building their community online. Especially during COVID-19, brands shifted their businesses to social media.
Think about what is missing in the field you want to dive into today. What can you do that will bring this added value to the field you are interested in working in? Once you have this figured out, you'll need to figure out what your vision, mission, and values are for this business: this is the essence and root of your project.
Prior to that, register your business officially, open a business bank account, and start working on branding (website, social media channels) that will make you stand out.
How can you help keep your team motivated during this confusing time?
Seven months after its launch, Brand's Media Group is now a team of five incredible and hard-working women, working between Montreal and Paris. To keep your team engaged, make sure the work is engaging! Motivation comes from doing what you love.
Understand what the team members love doing most, and give them those tasks and responsibilities. I have taken the time to get to know each member of my team, namely Jasmine Bellini, Annabelle Irakiza, Trinity Duong, and Noyonika Sircar, and figure out what works best for them.
This time period has been tough on everyone and noticing each other's feelings, making sure everybody is doing well is important.
Be a good leader enough that your team knows you are here to listen if they don't feel at their best. Building a team is about mutual trust and having empathy for one another.
What do you think the main challenges are of entrepreneurship and how can you overcome them?
Entrepreneurship is hard and if anybody tells you it isn't, it is a lie. Nothing is linear, it is a rollercoaster of emotions and uncertainty. Yet, it is fun-loving and the biggest adventure of all time.
Focus on long-term goals but take it day by day, know why you started, understand your purpose as an entrepreneur and be open-minded; you'll have to learn a lot, daily.
Entrepreneurship can only be sustainable in the long-run if that's really what you want to do, just like any other job for that matter. As I always say, if you love what you do, you'll never feel like you are working a day in your life.