When any individual grabs the reigns of business ownership, they usually bite off more than they can chew! And they do it in the complete bliss of ignorance...

They are usually terrific at whatever it is they base their business on and start their own operation for a number of reasons. They may be tired of driving to Concord. They may be tired of making money for someone else. They may feel they can produce a better product or service, more efficiently. They may want control over their time (that’s usually the biggest surprise!). They may want to work from the cottage or the spare room at home.

The first reality check in self employment is how much there is to do. How much OTHER STUFF that’s not the reason they started up. Things like making cold calls, figuring out when to apply for GST, waiting for the business line to get installed, choosing which cell package is the best, setting up their accounting systems, buying office equipment, applying for PST and registering their business in the first place.

It’s a myriad of confusion and it often gets in the way of what the entrepreneur really wants to do.

Hurdle number one to self employment.

Hurdle number two comes later, when there’s more than one person in the business. At that point the entrepreneur becomes a leader. And being a leader in a small business with lots of active marketplace competition and no mentor is the loneliest place on earth.

Nobody understands. Any of it. Nobody. Decisions that must be made are often made in the dark, without information or guidance. And often the risk belongs entirely to the person making the decisions. Lonely.

It’s for this reason that Dave Clare and his team at Leadership Management Canada have opened up a brand new Centre for Leadership Excellence. Centred in the King house at 13 Poyntz St., the centre celebrated its official opening on Wednesday and drew a huge crowd of business owners, anxious to meet with others.

Dave and his management group have set up a practical facility, with a board room for off-site strategic planning, a resource library of books, CDs, tapes and DVDs, equipment for Power Point, VCR, LCD use, small meeting places for silence and refuge from distraction.

“Leadership is lonely,” says Dave as he talks about pulling together groups of business leaders for think tanks, problem solving, mediation and independent business use. He can offer catered events and moderators and facilitators for strategic growth planning.

At Wednesday’s opening, key rooms were named after key business families in the community. The library is after Arch Brown, Canadian Tire retailing guru, and other rooms bear the names Sinton (transportation), Wallwin (electrical contracting), and King, the family who built the house and provided tremendous leadership in Barrie’s early days.

Dave’s pretty clear in his definition of a leader, too. “A leader commands. Another demands. A leader knows where they’re going.” People in leadership positions, whether non profit corporations, industry, sole proprietorships, community services can all benefit from taking their position and making it better.

Business owners and non profit corporations wanting to make use of the Centre can do so by membership or by individual fee. And a quick log onto the Centre for Excellence website, at www.centre4leaders.ca will take you through all that’s available.

Robert King Sr. was a banker, head of the masonic lodge, and his son was Chief of Police. Emma King was the first teacher in Barrie and at age 17 introduced reading classes to the public library. The house, at age 155 years, was one of the community’s early residential homes and no doubt the site of discussion, confrontation, decision and movement.

How fitting that it will continue so. Bravo!

Thanks, Dave.

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