Erin Green and Marni Sky understand the importance of a great business match. When the two entrepreneurs were introduced by a mutual friend, “we connected really well,” Green says.
The women, who are now business partners, quickly discovered they both had backgrounds in marketing. (Sky had worked at several large agencies with accounts like American Express while Green had worked for Lululemon Athletica Inc.). Both had the same work ethic, the same vision for a new business and soon, the ability to finish each other’s sentences. “We just had a spark from the get-go in terms of our,” – Green says – “chemistry,” Sky finishes. Their business, Maven – Business Matchmakers, which launched on June 1st, is built on the premise that “people do better work when they connect on a personal level,” Sky says. “There is better teamwork.”
Maven matches small businesses with highly skilled experts who can take a business to the next level. Maven’s network of professionals features freelance consultants and boutique agencies in Toronto that specialize in a variety of fields including public relations, human resources, distribution, capital funding, and IT system management. Meeting with Green and Sky doesn’t cost a small business anything. Maven earns revenue by taking a cut from the vendor side but only if a deal happens. “It’s a win-win for our clients because it costs them nothing to tap into our network but for the vendors, it’s a win-win too because they don’t have to pay us unless they actually get a job,” Sky says. When it comes to deciding which experts will be included in Maven’s network, Green and Sky use a rigorous screening process, which includes gathering testimonials. So far, the network consists of about 100 experts, with half a dozen in each category. With Maven, small businesses and startups get expert advice without needing to hire a full-time employee. “This way they get to stay lean. Our people parachute in and parachute out,” Green says. And businesses don’t need to spend a lengthy amount of time searching for the right expert. Maven takes care of the search for them. The process begins with a free consultation where a client meets with Green and Sky. “We help them streamline and prioritize their needs,” Sky says. “Most small businesses need anywhere from three to five areas massaged and that’s where we tap into our network and see who would be a great fit,” Green says.