While she was running her own entrepreneurial venture, Chantelle Quow had a revelation: she could have used a business mentor. Things would have been less challenging, she said, and she would have experienced fewer pitfalls, if she had one. But the good news for everyone else? It was what inspired her to eventually help others build their businesses.
It began when Quow, who had worked with entrepreneurs and bookkeeping, came to realize that many clients didn’t have a business plan. “They were just doing the day-to-day in order to survive. They weren’t thinking about where they wanted to take their business.” She stepped up to the plate to help them, and the work became lucrative and meaningful enough to develop into a side gig, and soon, it replaced her old job. “I was helping people realize their dreams,” she said. “I haven’t looked back since.”
Today she’s President and CEO of CQ Business Consulting Inc, which provides a wide range of business growth and mentoring services – from coaching and strategic planning on an individual level, to executive level training and development. “It’s about really listening … and helping clients reach the goal that they set for themselves,” she said. “We help untangle things … and help you figure out how your business can run more efficiently and effectively.”
One of the most common mistakes made by entrepreneurs is focusing first on things like branding, rather than demographics and audience, she cautioned. “It’s not the fun stuff, but it is the important stuff.”
She wants every entrepreneur to know the importance of a good strategy, and she cautions against being a silo. “A team is everything. You can only get so far alone. Having a solid team in place can take your business to a place you never even realized.”
In that respect, she takes her own advice, and corralled her own “A-Team,” with specialties in marketing/communications, business strategy, adult learning, and tech. “We all put our brains together and come up with well-rounded solutions to help organizations with a full capacity of things within their business.”
In recent news, she’s worked with non-profit organizations, and created programs for the black community, where she said many do not have access to consultants “to help them be more efficient and get larger grants and funding.”
In 2021, she was part of a research study called Foundhers, where they examined black female entrepreneurs in the for-profit and not-for-profit space. “It highlighted that there are a lot of significant barriers for them to access capital. A lot of them said that it was business upscaling, mentorship, networking, confidence building, things like that that inhibited them from getting funding,” she said. “Having those mentors and people like me in those spaces to help them streamline, or people willing to donate those funds, is something that they are lacking.”
To help mitigate the problem, her team created an online platform to highlight black female entrepreneurs in Canada, who are actively seeking funding.
As a final word of advice for any entrepreneur, she underscored that, just like knowing the importance of a plan, a plan cannot be executed without a team leader that knows what it takes to lead.
“Great leadership is leading by example, not being afraid of getting down and dirty with your team, and also providing opportunities for them to learn and grow,” she said. “I ask clients and my own team: ‘what are areas of growth you want to see in yourself and how can we help you achieve that?’”
Dave Gordon | Contributing Writer