Kim and Dan Muddiman, owners of the Clearwater-based business NEST Timberhome & Design, opened their doors in 2006. As professional foresters interested in construction and design, they wanted to explore the opportunity to do more with their incredible local forest resource and enjoy the benefits of being self-employed.
“Being self-employed has afforded us the ability to be flexible on time off to better take advantage of family opportunities.”
NEST Timberhome & Design provides structural heavy timber frames and components and non-structural accent timbers for homes and buildings. Their process includes designing, cutting, and pre-finishing the timber elements at their Clearwater shop, then installing the product at the client’s building site.
When it came time for the Muddimans to grow the business and acquire new skills within the field of timber framing, the opportunity to join the Taking Care of Business Membership (TCOB) was the assistance they were looking for.
“It seemed like a welcome opportunity for support – running a small business in a rural area can be kind of isolating, and often as business owners we are so busy taking care of the immediate day-to-day business we forget to focus on our own needs and that of the business moving forward,” Kim said. “This support was the nudge needed to bring those considerations to the forefront.”
Funded by Pacific Economic Development Canada and delivered through the Community Futures BC network, the Taking Care of Business Membership platform provides professional support to businesses, enterprising not-for-profits, and individuals exploring entrepreneurship throughout British Columbia. Community Futures Thompson Country services rural communities such as Avola, Barriere, Blue River, Chase, Clearwater, Kamloops, Little Fort, McLure, Pritchard, Sun Peaks, Vavenby, and Westwold.
“Accessing training can be quite costly, especially when based in a rural area,” she said, and that is where Community Futures and the TCOB initiative are collectively facilitating small business owners.
The TCOB initiative of Community Futures British Columbia (CFBC) was developed to provide support, including new strategies and skills to B.C. businesses and non-profits impacted by natural disasters. CFBC received $5.5 million in federal funding, allowing companies like NEST Timberhome & Design access to valuable workshops, reimbursement of up to $5,000 for business-specific training, and ten consulting service hours.
With the membership’s funding for business-specific training, the Muddimans were able to further their education, ensuring they are up to date with the latest developments in the industry and could learn from the experience of others.
“The training we received definitely impacted the future vision for our business by opening up new paths of opportunity both within our traditional field of timber framing, but also in the emerging area of energy-efficient construction,” she said. “Skills gained from timber framing intensive courses allowed us confidence to tackle more complex timber frame structures, making sure we are appropriately trained in equipment operation for timber frame raising makes our operation safer.”
When asked what advice they would give those wanting to start their own business, “Be prepared to keep on learning as you go! Seek out opportunities for mentoring and networking.”
If you want to learn more about the Taking Care of Business Membership, Julie Kimmel, the region’s ambassador, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.