Sharma Immigration Consultancy uses digital presence to re-establish itself
In the middle of the pandemic, Amit Sharma relocated his consultancy Sharma Immigration from Brampton to Welland. “I got my license in 2019 and, by December, I was working on my website branding and all that stuff,” he says. “In March 2020, I was about to finalize the office, but then the pandemic came.”
Being at home with his young family got Sharma thinking about moving out of Brampton. In August 2020, they bought a house in Welland and he went back to the drawing board on his plan for an office. He managed to find a space in downtown Welland and convince the property manager to divide one of the shops in half so it would better suit the consultancy’s purpose. In April 2021 he finally opened Sharma Immigration.
“I didn’t know how it would turn out,” says Sharma. “Would I be able to survive in a new place?” He was skeptical but he also had faith in his business.
For Sharma, it’s personal – when he immigrated from his hometown of Chandigarh, India to Canada, he was the first in his family to do so and the family’s first entrepreneur as well. He knows firsthand the experience of immigration and he also knows the horror stories. “There is lot of misinformation in the market, people don't get the right advice… there are dishonest people and scammers who just want to cheat people out of their money,” says Sharma. “I want to give them the right direction so that they can fulfill their dreams, whatever they’re thinking.”
But it’s bigger than just faith, Sharma has invested in his business. “I feel that it’s all about how you market yourself and how you build the customer relationships.” Many of his clients come to Welland from Brampton specifically for his services.
He says both the back-end and the digital marketing side of his business got a boost when he connected with Digital Main Street, a program which combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners like Google, Shopify and Mastercard among others to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future.
He applied for the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant and received it, using the money to purchase a computer and software to run the firm. “We did the 360-degree photo for Google too,” says Sharma. He’s also put some effort into digital marketing to help establish the firm.
Sharma says now that his immigration consultancy is easier to find on Google, he’s hearing from more new clients. “The customer base is going up and things are working out here,” he says. “We’re looking for someone to do dedicated social media and brand building but it costs a lot.”
His customers are still predominantly coming through word of mouth, many from past clients in Brampton. But he’s looking forward to working with more clients in the Niagara Region. “I think this digital marketing thing will help me in building a local presence.”