This article is a series highlighting the graduating businesses from the Business Advisory Centre’s Starter Company Plus program. This program has been a key stepping-stone for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to grow in the region and since 2017 has resulted in the creation of 74 startups and supported 47 business expansions. The program has also seen the opening of 22 brick-and-mortar locations in the region, and has created 141 jobs in the local community.
Douglas Works offers residential and commercial landscaping, hardscaping and property maintenances services for Peterborough & the Kawarthas.
You can check Douglas Works out on Facebook.
- What was the Starter Company Plus experience like for you?
In a nutshell, the Starter Company Plus program was a great experience. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from different speakers each week (e.g. SocialKat Media, 705 Creative and Net Mechanics just to name a few that I particularly enjoyed). The support I received for the development of a proper business plan was also invaluable and will help me to effectively sustain and grow my business. I also enjoyed the networking opportunities with other local small business owners that came about through this program. This program pushed me to develop new marketing strategies, such as the use of social media, which have already created more work opportunities for Douglas Works.
- Where did the idea for Douglas Works come from?
The name Douglas Works came from a combination of my middle name (Douglas), and taking a page out of my Dad’s business (Stratton Works of Peterborough). I like the simplicity of this name; the less is more approach. The word ‘works’ allows the business to provide services in a wide variety of areas (e.g. not just ‘Property Maintenance’) and allows the business to expand over time into additional avenues.
- What are your hopes for the business in the next 3 years?
My hopes are to expand Douglas Works in a variety ways: Working full-time, all year round, hiring employees, purchasing additional equipment, having a greater presence both in the community, as well as online, and secure a few larger contracts.
- Has it been difficult launching a new business during the pandemic?
To be honest, being laid off from my previous job provided me with the opportunity to assess what I wanted to be doing for a career. While launching a new business is never easy and requires a lot of time, effort and grit, the main complications have come in the form of accessing needed materials for jobs because of shortages due to the pandemic. Technology has been a great tool to allow the necessary meetings, conversations, and general support from other professionals in getting Douglas Works up and running.
- What has been the response in the community been since you launched?
I feel like Douglas Works has been warmly received by this community. My friends, family, acquaintances and neighbours have offered support in many different ways. Douglas Works has received lots of referrals in the community through happy customers. The Starter Company Plus program has also helped to promote Douglas Works through its website.
- What is your favourite thing about living and working in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
I love being outdoors. Peterborough and the Kawarthas has no shortage of lakes, wooded areas, and beautiful views. Because I work outside most of the time, I get to blur the lines between my hobbies and my career. It’s a truly amazing feeling to be getting paid to do what I love. This town and its surrounding areas mean a lot to me. I was born and raised in Peterborough and really couldn’t see myself ever wanting to be anywhere else.