Meet Janet Tanguay. Janet is the Entrepreneurial Assistance Coordinator for the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce AND she owns her own business: Art n Soul, Inc. , where she is a creativity coach and artist Representative. As part of her business, Janet assists creative types in pursuing their goals and dreams by helping them create a brush with opportunity. “I help artists obtain gallery shows and sell their work in corporate environments.” She is also a mixed media
artist. “One of the reasons the Chamber hired me is that I am an entrepreneur. I’ve worked through the kinks in starting and growing my business and I can share those experiences first hand with the entrepreneurs in my program. I love the mindset of entrepreneurs….typically innovative, creative and risk-taking. I’m absolutely passionate about helping people start new businesses.”
Janet grew up in an entrepreneurial family. Her dad had several businesses, including a magnetic sign business, a snow plowing business, a maple syrup business and a concrete company. In addition to owning Art n Soul, Inc., Janet is the author of two children’s books: Be Bee and Dustbunnies Don’t Eat Carrots. In 2007, she was voted “Best Visual Artist” in the Times Union’s Readers’ Poll.
With her Chamber hat on, Janet designs and coordinates a 60 hour comprehensive training program for entrepreneurs. She provides one-on-one counseling to individuals seeking to start or expand a business and advises clients on where to find resources for funding a business. She assists with business plan writing, M/WBE certification and contract procurement. She also connects clients to a wide network of business consultants, attorneys, accountants and others that assist small businesses.
What does she love most about her job?
“I am passionate about inspiring people to pursue their business dreams and goals. I love watching an entrepreneur come into my office with an idea and then assisting that goal so that it comes to fruition.”
What is the biggest pitfall for new business owners?
“The biggest pitfall is not doing market research ahead of time and not having a solid business plan. Partnerships with the wrong person are also a big cause for concern. Another problem that arises is that entrepreneurs get so caught up in the day to day operations of the business that they don’t make time to network and market themselves properly.”
For those starting a new business, Janet offers the following advice. “Do a lot of research before opening up shop. Make phone calls to similar businesses either in the area you are looking to open or if your competition is reluctant to talk, do research in a similar size city in another market. Find out about pricing, demographics, sales, expenses and anything else that you might need to consider to get your business off the ground. Learn from other people’s experiences. I know of some restaurants and gyms that change hands regularly every year. This is probably a tip that this particular location isn’t working in some way.”
The Albany Colonie Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization that provides networking opportunities, health insurance programs, cost-saving benefits and many other services and programs. Janet explains: “The networking opportunities through the Chamber’s EAP training course are amazing. We have over 2,700 members. Many members are EAP instructors and offer great resources for entrepreneurs to get started.”