Certified financial planners Marlene Falcon and Thuy Lam are in the habit of providing advice and information. But as small business partners, they’re just as open to receiving guidance as they are at offering it.
In 2006 their curiosity led them to the York Small Business Enterprise Centre (YSBEC). Back then, both were self-employed consultants working for a large financial services company. They were eager to develop their client base and took advantage of YSBEC’s free workshops and one-on-one business consultations.
In 2014 Falcon and Lam joined forces and launched their own financial planning and consulting firm, Falcon Lam Financial, in Aurora. The firm specializes in providing consulting services to small businesses in York Region. In 2016, with their business growing steadily, Falcon and Lam decided to tap into YSBEC’s resources once again.
“We met with a consultant and were really impressed with the information she shared with us in less than an hour,” says Falcon. The consultant told them about a number of government programs that support small business expansion.
She directed them to YMCA’s Employment Services, which assisted Falcon and Lam in recruiting a business development manager. And because Falcon Lam Financial qualified for funding through Employment Ontario, the government picked up a portion of that new employee’s wages for a period of time.
Falcon and Lam have also applied for financial assistance through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant program. They plan to use these funds to help cover the costs of training staff in the use of social media. “Every little bit counts when you’re growing your business,” says Lam.
The business partners appreciate having an objective third party to bounce ideas off of. They’re often in touch by phone or email with their YSBEC consultant, who has visited them at their office in a time crunch. “She goes out of her way,” says Lam. Once, for example, when Lam was playing phone tag with a potential community partner, the consultant expedited the conversation. “She actually got on LinkedIn and introduced me to this person. That’s when the connection finally happened!” she says.
Like most savvy entrepreneurs, Falcon and Lam make it a point of cultivating business relationships and networking. Lam volunteers on the Aurora Chamber of Commerce events committee. Falcon helped relaunch the Aurora chapter of Green Drinks, an international network that brings together environmentally minded individuals for refreshment and conversation. The group is a good fit with Falcon Lam Financial’s socially and environmentally conscious values.
The two partners also frequently consult YSBEC’s website to see what upcoming seminars, webinars and other events will help them in building their business. Last summer, for example, they attended a YSBEC-sponsored workshop on talent recruitment, employment law and social media.
This year Falcon Lam Financial will very likely move into a larger office in Aurora and, at the suggestion of their YSBEC consultant, Falcon and Lam plan to invite the media to their grand opening. They also expect to add two fulltime financial planners to their team and hire the services of a videographer.
If these two go-getters have their way, their plans will surely become a reality.
You can learn more about Falcon Lam Financial and continue following this local York Region success story at falconlamfinancial.com