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Curran consultants couple a success
Team behind Curran & Associates share secrets to family business

Karen K. Ho
Northern News Services
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

For John Curran and Jugjit More-Curran, reputation is everything.

"My grandfather always said to me from a very young age, your name's the only thing you've got," John said.

Still, the power couple behind three-year-old consulting company Curran & Associates never expected to be awarded Business of the Year by the NWT Chamber of Commerce. "I was actually kind of shocked because I wasn't going to stay because John was out of town," Jugjit told Yellowknifer with a laugh. "It's great to be recognized by clients."

"That's the lifeblood of our business," John added.

The recognition comes after a lot of hard work and more than a decade of the couple living and working in Yellowknife after they moved here in 2003. "We're like everyone else, we came up for a year," John said with a grin.

Before they started their own shop, Jugjit took on human resources work at the Yellowknife Co-op and Discovery Air. John worked as a journalist at Northern News Services, at the NWT Chamber of Commerce and in marketing also at Discovery Air. But the couple said their abilities go far beyond that work experience. "I'm not just a writer, Jug's not just HR," John said.

The couple listed marketing support functions, quality management, systems improvement projects, strategic planning, human resources as well as corporate headhunting as some of the other services they also offer.

For John, winning the award validates the leap he and his wife took in becoming their own bosses. Three years ago, the couple had been approached by a few different groups that were curious about coming to work directly for them.

"They didn't necessarily have enough work to keep us busy full-time," John said, "But when you hear that from a few different people you think, 'Hmm, maybe we can piece something together.'"

The couple recently signed their 21st client. Projects vary from one-offs to longer involvements that require bringing other expertise.

And while many of their clients don't like being identified, the couple's company has done a lot of work with Dehcho Regional Helicopters for helping them with various community engagement strategies and future business development.

"It gave us a chance to stretch our legs in a lot of different ways," John said, citing community meetings in the Nahendeh part of the Dehcho region.

Jugjit cited the city's quality of life as why the couple decided to start their business here, rather than move back down south. "We're past the point of the long commutes," she said.

"Mind you, Yellowknife to Fort Liard is a bit of a commute," John added with a laugh.

When it comes to the future, John and Jugjit are focused on getting more projects they feel are 'good for the soul.'

Jugjit has also been approached by a few people about running in the upcoming municipal election. She said she's considering it over the summer, but strongly emphasized she is currently undecided on the matter.

"I want to talk to some people first," she said.

As for advice for other couples looking to make the jump into entrepreneurship, John and Jugjit said that it was definitely important to research beforehand and realize there is truly no one else to do administrative things like bookkeeping. "You can't neglect it," John said. "I think we've got it down to a science now," Jugjit said.

There's also the misconception that starting your own business means not having to be accountable to someone else. "Because instead of having one boss, you end up with seven or eight bosses at any given moment in the form of your clients," John said. "It probably wouldn't be for everyone."

Their only regret so far is actually pretty simple. "That we didn't find Yellowknife and the North sooner," he said. "It's been a great place for us," Jugjit added.

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