Susan has over twenty five years experience working in municipal and provincial governments in senior level positions, including as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). In 2007, she decided to start her own independent consulting business and she continues to operate it from her home in beautiful Muskoka. As a result of her experiences as a CAO not being able to find the services she needed, she saw the need for her new website – muniSERV.ca – a one-stop location that helps municipalities and professionals connect.
FREE for municipalities to use, muniSERV lets municipalities search for the consultants and other professional services they need from our searchable database. The database categorizes the service offerings of our professional members so municipalities can quickly and easily find the professional services they need, saving them time and money while offering a wider range of consulting and servicing options – and ultimately more competitive quotes.
muniSERV is also Canada’s newest online solution for consultants and other professionals to connect directly to their municipal clients, find work and expand their businesses. There is a free Basic membership for consultants/professionals or enhanced paid memberships depending on their needs.
Our Q & A with Susan Shannon
What Inspires You?
What inspires me is my passion for local government. I still have contracts and work with the CAOs, City Managers and Directors of Human Resources from Ontario’s large urban municipalities, so I am still very much in tune and understand first-hand the issues and the budgetary constraints municipalities face. I showcase muniSERV at municipal conferences and it always inspires me when I see municipal representatives getting excited about this free tool. That’s also what keeps me always searching for other solutions that will help both our municipal and professional members.
As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?
I am most proud of the fact I have already witnessed, that the service I’m providing is helping both municipalities and consultants/professionals. I am extremely proud that we have been able to attract municipal and professional members from across Canada in our first year! This proves to me that there is a need for this tool. And, I am delighted when I hear that a consultant’s website has seen improved SEO optimization by becoming a muniSERV professional member, or when they let tell me a municipality has found them from the site. That tells me the site is working the way it should for both our professional and municipal members.
What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?
My advice to other aspiring small business owners is, if you have a passion and an idea, do your research and then go for it! As much as I have enjoyed working in municipal and provincial governments, there is nothing that is more satisfying than working for yourself and watching your business grow right before your eyes. Be prepared though, that there will be long hours (but you will enjoy them more), and there will be both encouraging and discouraging days from time to time.
But in true entrepreneurial spirit, I think those discouraging days only serve to make you want to dig in harder to try different approaches in order to succeed.
What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
We have an exciting second year coming up. I am currently working on a number of collaborations that will enhance the muniSERV site and the services provided, for both our municipal and professional members. We will also be working on adding more municipal members from across Canada and we are always looking for more consultants and professionals to set up profiles in muniSERV. When they do, it helps municipalities find the services they need and it helps our professional members get an opportunity to showcase their services directly to their target market – municipalities.
So if you offer or would like to offer, consulting and/or professional services to municipal clients or if you know of someone who does, feel free to set up a profile or spread the word about muniSERV.ca – A Real Business Solution for Both of Us!