[KwartzLab] kwartzlab growth plan, and a call for personal contacts
doug at moens.org
Sat Jun 16 15:04:14 EDT 2012
This is just a summary of some research I've done over the last week
while working on the Kwartzlab Growth Plan (a plan for growing our
membership and improving our facilities).
I talked to Angela Pause, Marketing Lead for TEDxWaterloo. Her advice:
to achieve our goals, we should create a formal Business Growth Plan,
using templates and guidelines from the Waterloo Region Small Business
Centre. We should also meet with a consultant from the Small Business
Centre to improve the plan. Having a proper, professional looking
growth plan not only helps us achieve our goals, it also makes it
easier for us to get grants from Trillium and get help from the
cities, since it shows that we know what we are doing, and will be a
good steward for whatever resources are thrown at us.
I also talked to Chris Farrell, manager of the Small Business Centre.
She's interested in Kwartzlab, and thinks they can help us develop our
I talked to Cheryl Ives, who has experience designing business
strategies and working with non-profits, and knows somebody at
Trillium. The hardest part of the growth plan is the marketing plan --
we need to find people who know how to write a marketing plan. Many
marketing agencies will do pro bono work (Angela), but it's hard to
get this kind of freebie unless you have a personal connection, and
the contact is enthusiastic about Kwartzlab (Cheryl). We can also
approach Conestoga College: we might be able to get a marketing
student to construct a plan for us, for course credit. I talked to
Jessica Colwell, a Conestoga marketing graduate, and she gave some
some contacts for that program. Cheryl told me that Wilfred Laurier
has a similar program.
Cheryl gave me a strategy for winning a Trillium grant. They have far
more applications than money, so it's important to craft our pitch to
correspond to what they are looking for. What they currently want is
for us to be working together with other local organizations. They
don't want to fund multiple organizations for doing the same thing and
independently reinventing the wheel. For example, hypothetically, if
we want to buy a ShopBot, Trillium might ask why we don't partner with
the KW WoodShop, who already has a ShopBot. In practice, I think this
means it would help if we show what our unique contributions will be
to the community, compared to other local maker organizations. But
even better, we should actively talk to other local organizations and
look for ways to build partnerships, and then incorporate these
partnership arrangements into our growth plan. Can we partner with
other maker organizations, like the Woodshop, or LoveMade, or the
Button Factory? Can we partner with Communitech? We've already had
talks with TreeHaus about partnering with them (sharing space in a
building). So I'm thinking about this. We could share space with
sister organizations, in a KW Artz Centre building (providing sponsors
with a rationale to help us get our own building). If we shared space,
we could also share access to equipment, classroom space, etc. Maybe
people from other maker orgs could teach some classes at Kwartzlab.
Other kinds of partnerships are worth exploring -- ideas are welcome.
Finally, I ran into Silvia Di Donato at Kitchener City Hall (we talked
with her and other officials last year). She still thinks Kwartzlab is
awesome, and thinks we should get going and have some serious talks
with the City. Eg, the city can help us find new real estate. The
problem we had last year was we didn't have a good idea of what to ask
for. The new Kwartzlab Growth Plan will solve that problem by
providing well thought out short and long term objectives that
sponsors and institutions can help us to achieve.
So, do you have any personal contacts that could further these goals?
* Do you have contacts at other organizations that we might want to
* Do you know people with marketing experience?
* Do you know people with experience writing business plans?
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