ENTREPRENEURSHIP

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					               ENTREPRENEURSHIP
                   SASKATOON                    BY ROSHAN HOOVER
                           Interviews with entrepreneurs in our community


INTRODUCTIONS BY
PREMIER LORNE CALVERT AND
BRAD WALL, LEADER OF THE SASK PARTY
>> TABLE OF CONTENTS
  A Message From The Premier of Saskatchewan………..pg.2
  A Message From The Official Opposition…………………….pg.3
  A Message From The Editor………………………………………….pg.4

>> THE INTERVIEWS

  Monica Kreuger, Global InfoBrokers……………………………pg.5
  Quinn Magnuson, 1-800-GotJunk………………………………….pg.15
  Jeff Braid, Braid Flooring…………………………………………......pg.21
  Brent Banda, Banda Marketing Group………………………...pg.26
  Jim Yuel, PIC Investment Group…………………………………...pg.32
  Ryan Smith, DIY Webhosting…………………………………………pg.41
  Jayesh Parmar, Picactic E-Tickets……………………………….pg.45
  John Cross, PhilomBios………………………………………………….pg.50
  Marion Ghiglione, Handy Group of Companies…………..pg.57
  Russ Marcoux, Yankee Group of Companies…………….pg.63
  Brian Hnatiw, Ecol Laser and Ecol Direct……………………pg.69
  Concluding Remarks……………………………………………………..pg.76




                                                          1
                          >> A Message From The
                          Premier of Saskatchewan




On behalf of the Gov ernment of Saskatchewan, I am pleas ed to
welcome readers to Entrepreneurs hip Saskatoon.

Saskatchewan has a reputation for business ex cellence, and is hom e to
some truly remarkable entrepreneurs and bus iness operators. These
people hav e helped provide the im petus for our thriv ing econom y, and
contributed significantly to our province’s quality and way of life.
Entrepreneurship Saskatoon prov ides ins ights from 12 s uch innovativ e
individuals , and is a fine resource to examine the nature and succes s
of entrepreneurs hip in our prov ince.




Lorne Calvert
Premier of Saskatchewan




                                                                       2
                         >> A Message From The
                         Official Opposition




Congratulations on producing the “Entrepreneurs hip Sas katoon” e- book
and for the tim e and effort you hav e put towards this project. As a
former sm all business owner and econom ic developer, I am a s trong
proponent of Sas katchewan’s entrepreneurial s ector. As des cribed in
my econom ic paper “The Promise of Saskatchewan – A New Vision for
Saskatchewan’s Economy”, our province has m uch m ore to offer if we
can s tim ulate further entrepreneurial activity.

Through ideas s uch as introducing entrepreneurship as a career option
to high school students , we can work towards es tablishing a stronger
enterprise development s ystem in Saskatchewan. Entrepreneurs are to
be comm ended for the risks they take by inv esting great am ounts of
tim e and money in purs uing an economic dream in the hopes of
creating a s uccessful business venture that will thrive for years to
com e. Thank you to all of the entrepreneurs who hav e contributed
their stories to the “Entrepreneurship Saskatoon” e- book, and for the
crucial role they have in Saskatchewan’s growing economy




Brad Wall
Leader of The Official Opposition
                                                                      3
                ROSHAN HOOVER, B.COMM
                >> Editor/Interviewer
                >> PrairieHomeListings.com


Firs t and forem ost, I would like to thank all the interviewees who took
tim e out of their day to s it down with me and let m e badger them with
questions regarding their early days. Your answers hav e been
inform ative and ins ightful. Your time has been truly appreciated. It was
highly encouraging to find success ful business people so kind and
accommodating. This reass ures me of the type of people who live in
our city and province. I’d als o like to thank friends and family for
helping me edit and put together this e-book.

Putting together this e-book has been a rewarding, inform ativ e, and
ins piring experience. As an em ployee in a start- up and a part-time
entrepreneur m ys elf, it has been of high interest to know how people
start som ething from nothing and build it into s om ething bigger than
they thems elv es m ay have initially envisioned. It als o was of high
interest to put a face to the private sector.

The following interviews showcas e ev eryday people in our community
who believ ed in s omething enough to take a calculated risk and go for
what they wanted. These people hav e had to persev ere and have
more than enough faith in their product/service and thems elves. I hope
you, as the reader, find this informative and inspiring.



Sincere Regards ,


Roshan Hoover, B .Comm.

                                                                             4
          MONICA KREUGER, CEO
          GLOBAL INFOBROKERS
          www.globalinfobrokers.ca
          www.praxisinternational.ca
          www.ventureforward.ca


1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
  My parents didn’t own any bus inesses so I can’t say I grew up with
  an exposure to entrepreneurship. We were a pretty traditional
  family; my dad was a professor and my m om stayed at hom e to
  rais e my siblings and I. Howev er, m y dad was a trailblazer in what
  he did. He was a theology profess or who thought outside the box.
  For ex ample, he wrote the first book supporting wom en in the
  Lutheran m inistry and he initiated the process to bring the Lutheran
  Sem inary to Saskatoon. B oth (of thes e) were controversial mov es. I
  guess in today’s terms , you could s ay he was an intra-preneur,
  always leading change within the organization. I admired what he did
  and I know now that he was a major role model for m e.
  I als o don’t remember ever thinking I would own my own busines s
  and yet I was always m aking and selling articles like beaded
  jewelry, baked goods and clothing in order to earn ex tra incom e. I
  loved the jobs where I had a great deal of independence and
  could m ake m y own decis ions. I loved s elling. Thos e were
  probably the roots , but I nev er recalled thinking I would own a
  business.
  School also had an effect in a way. I ”accelerated” in primary s chool
  and finished grade 12 at the age of 16. After one year at University,
  I realized I was not ready for post s econdary s o I m oved out,
  trav eled, and worked for a year before going back. I was
  determined to pay m y own way through s chool and not rely on m y
                                                                       5
  parents. I didn’t have to, but I wanted to be s elf-sufficient. I then
  went back to University, completed a criminology degree where I
  thought I would s ave the world (and didn’t), got m arried, and mov ed
  to Toronto (m y hus band was accepted into R yers on), where I
  worked for Statis tics Canada.
  I decided early on that I would learn as m uch as I could while with
  the governm ent and be out within 10 years . I m oved jobs every 12-
  18 m onths so that I could gain the “big” picture of the departm ent
  and curb m y feelings of restless ness.
  What I noticed during m y tenure was that there was a s ignificant
  amount of information that I knew would be v ery helpful to business
  people if it were available. So when we mov ed back to Sas katoon, I
  des igned and tested a Bus iness Information Centre concept, which
  subs equently becam e the Canada Business Service Centers.
  Alm os t 10 years to the day, I decided it was tim e to take what I had
  learned and find a way to help bus iness-owners acces s inform ation
  to make better business decisions. I rem ember having an
  overwhelm ing need to have a pers onal direct im pact in the world,
  something that was not possible within a bureaucracy. I knew there
  was a gap I could fill and I needed the freedom to do s o. B oth m y
  hus band and I had faith it would work.
  It took a good 2 years to build a solid business m odel, m aking lots
  of mis takes on the way, but the foundation of our Entrepreneurs hip
  Training and Coaching programs was laid in 1991.
  Since then we’ve helped 600 busines ses launch. That’s a reward in
  and of its elf.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspiration for you?
  Initially my dad, but m y hus band’s fam ily is very entrepreneurial as
  well. They had an attitude of “let’s go do it”. Our firs t experience in
  business was opening Saskatchewan’s first Cibachrome pro- lab. My
  hus band had graduated with a degree in film and photography at
  Ryerson and wanted to apply that in a practical way back hom e. H is
  parents pitched in with the day-to-day operation and m y parents
                                                                         6
  prov ided s ome start-up funding. We learned the practical side of
  running an operation by just doing it.
  I now have a bev y of people I look to for advice. These are
  people whom I trust and respect s uch as m y accountant, lawyer,
  close busines s associates , and m y husband/partner.
  I think it is really im portant to hav e m entors in your life, even if you
  are not in business.

3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
  It’s part of the experience and actually, a necess ity if you want to
  excel. I m ay get a stomachache when som ething hasn’t turned out
  as I ex pected it to, but I have always believed that failure is a
  place to learn. I promote the fact that our first busines s was less
  than s tellar. We didn’t do enough market res earch or learn how to
  manage before we opened or build enough networks. But as we
  made m istakes, we talked to others , reev aluated our approaches,
  and learned.
  Our s econd business , Global Infobrokers , was built upon the less ons
  we learned in the firs t. Failure needs to be looked at as a place of
  opportunity. I was talking to a v enture capitalist recently and he
  said that in the US, if you haven’t failed at some point, your
  management capacity is questioned. In other words, you need to
  understand what it m eans to fail s o that you have the capacity to
  make better, more inform ed decisions in the future. We need to
  embrace failure even though it may hurt.

4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  That’s a good ques tion and one that I ask m y university
  Entrepreneurship students each year as part of their dis cussion
  forum. I personally believ e m ost people have an inherent des ire to
  be independent and that as we grow and become part of a
  society, we los e s ome of that independence. Som e howev er, nev er
  los e that des ire, ev en if they work for s omeone els e. When
  opportunity is dis cov ered, they will take adv antage of it with ferv or.
                                                                                7
  Others will v enture out on their own but with less ris k or perhaps
  with s everal partners . Still others will be happiest working for
  someone else – all types are needed to m ake a s ociety function.
  I do believe that there are certain personality types that go into
  certain types of businesses . Some will develop low key enterpris es
  that will nev er sus tain m ore than one or two people. Some
  personalities are high energy and want to grow s omething huge and
  fas t. Others like to work collaborativ ely in a joint ownership
  situation.
  In the end, while I believ e the environment has a s trong influence on
  how entrepreneurship manifests, I believe the traits that lead to
  entrepreneurship are there when you are born.

5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  Comm itm ent. P ass ion. A connection to a network of people who are
  in and s upport business .
  An entrepreneur needs to be willing to “liv e with less ” in the s ens e
  that they need to be able to let go of the lifestyle they may hav e
  become us ed to as an employee or expected to step into as an
  employee. Then, they need to be able to stick it out for as long as
  it takes for the bus iness to succeed which may be 3+ years. Very
  rarely will a s tartup hit their goals right away. They need to make it
  pass the hiccups. So m any people jump off the boat too soon.
  They don’t quite hav e the fortitude to stick it out long enough.
  I als o believ e you need to love what you do – not neces sarily all
  the things that need to be done, but love what you do. There is no
  point in s tarting a business without the pass ion for its purpose.
  And you need to build a network. Ev en though running a business is
  a s olitary journey in some ways , you cannot succeed without being
  networked to your clients, suppliers , peers and supporters.

6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
                                                                         8
Well, one of those times was when I decided to quit a gov ernm ent
job with 4 young kids at hom e, and start a bus iness. At that tim e,
people jus t didn’t quit a permanent governm ent job on a whim. I
questioned m y decis ion at times during the first year but I als o knew
intuitively that it was the right.
Deciding when to clos e our firs t com pany was als o difficult becaus e,
while it wasn’t failing, it just wasn’t going anywhere. We had to
decide which company to focus on becaus e we had 2 companies
then. I learned then that knowing when to quit is also im portant.
When we took our Entrepreneur program online, s tarted developing
the coaching side of the business and looked at the international
application of this program – it was exciting and challenging. That
whole bigger vis ion piece was a decided cons cious effort to s tep
outside our comfort zone or ris k going stagnant as we had in our
firs t bus iness. Once again it was a choice.
Our lates t v ersion of s tepping out of the com fort zone is the
establis hment of our international entrepreneurship high s chool,
Praxis International Ins titute. We had planned to locate in Bruno,
howev er the facility we were going to m ove into was s old and we
had to s tart our search ov er again. The news was dev astating.
We know that when one door clos es another opens but that didn’t
make it any eas ier. We looked for s everal months and nothing was
com ing together. Then my husband remem bered a place he had
seen at the beginning of our journey.
Halfway to Regina, the eco-v illage at Craik had developed lots that
could be purchased if the owners agreed to erect eco-friendly
buildings. Here was a comm unity where people were stepping out
of their com fort zone in order to build their comm unity, lessen the
eco footprint and build s elf-sufficiency. We m et with them and v ery
quickly realized we were on the sam e path and that Craik was the
place we were to be.
As a res ult, we’re starting with a s traw bale building to hous e 12
students. We intend to eventually be off the grid and living off
natural foods grown by the s tudents . We are m uch happier with this
new vis ion for our s chool but we wouldn’t hav e been here if we
hadn’t kept mov ing forward.

                                                                        9
  I think that “throwing in the towel” happens when people get
  overwhelm ed in the process of working in the bus iness rather than
  on it. They get into rhythm , start to earn m oney, earn a liv ing, and
  before long it becom es a rut. Then when s om ething dis rupts the
  pattern, it is much harder to find a new way becaus e the capacity
  to v ision has been muted. It becomes easier to throw in the towel
  than to find a solution.
  We need to find ways to get busines s owners unstuck and out of
  the rut so they can find their pass ion again. You can hire wonderful
  people to do the doing. The entrepreneur should be visioning.

7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?
  Certainly. When I let people know I was quitting m y job to s tart a
  business, there were lots of raised eyebrows . But I hav e never
  been overly concerned about what other people think about m y
  decis ions unless they hav e s om ething cons tructiv e to say. I also
  know that lis tening for real wis dom is important, even if it is buried
  in a negative comm ent. Often, we as entrepreneurs don’t listen well
  because we are s o pass ionate about what we are doing that we
  sometim es can’t see s traight. B ut we need to lis ten and filter out
  the things that may actually be useful to us . We should be listening
  to people, customers , and bankers. We should welcom e their input
  and keep our ears open.
  If you hav e an open m ind to continuous learning you will be
  successful - I don’t care what career you choos e. Entrepreneurs
  should never think they know it all - we should always challenge our
  knowledge, techniques and skills.

8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  When I’m in a place where I’m stuck, I just keep putting one foot in
  front of the other, even if I am not s ure if I am making headway.
  Som etimes it’s just a day or two of not feeling confident about what
  I’m doing and s om etimes it is a bit longer.
                                                                        10
  I talk to people who hav e been through s imilar s ituations. I find that
  if you take your s elf out of dark places, step outs ide and engage
  other people you s top focusing on the dark.
  I continue to focus back on what we believ e our purpose is in
  business and what we are meant to accomplis h. Keeping focus ed
  on the bigger picture can help smaller is sues com e into pers pective.
  We play the “worst case s cenario” when things are tough. We take
  the situation and play it out to the worst possible conclus ion, ask
  ourselves if we can live with that, and then m ove on. It m akes
  achieving s uccess much more access ible when you know you can
  live with the wors t cas e s cenario.
  I als o look out for a good s tory about s uccess or a motiv ational
  saying. I was at a luncheon where Peter McKinnon, P res ident of the
  U of S, was speaking. H e was talking about the beginnings of the
  univ ers ity and how, when the Univ ers ity Act was passed in 1907 ,
  “There was no University, there was no student base, no buildings,
  just a v ision.” When I look at the university today, it shows how
  much can be done with persis tence, vision, pass ion and comm itm ent.
  That helps me go forward too.
  As entrepreneurs , we often think we should have all the ans wers
  and we hav e to change that perspective. There are m any others
  who have pass ed before us and who are with us today who have
  been through tough times. We need to stay connected to them and
  to their less ons .

9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  I often think we’re operating on v ery old ideology where bus iness is
  somehow all about capitalism and the pursuit of profit at the
  expens e of comm unity developm ent and s ocial res ponsibility. We
  see political parties erect their platforms often on the divide
  between business and s ocial concerns. I think this is s o far from
  reality that it s houldn’t ev en be a dis cus sion item in our m odern
  tim es. If we look at Saskatchewan (Canada is not m uch different),
  97% of businesses have fewer than 50 em ployees and 75% have
  fewer than 5.
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      We are in the land of sm all busines s and while profit is part of the
      profile, we as business owners liv e and breathe and rais e children
      in the very com munities we own business es in and therefore we
      have a stake in m aking sure we are contributing well. Our
      employee is our neighbor and we work in v olunteer organizations
      and think of our em ployees as part of our fam ilies. Of cours e there
      are thos e that aren’t like that but in the end, without business es
      operating, employing people, doing v olunteer work, and yes , m aking
      profit, comm unities would die.
      Saskatchewan is a fabulous a place to do business . Yes, there are
      regulatory and perception iss ues that hav e to be changed. We
      have to learn to celebrate s uccess as the norm and not be
      res entful of it. We should be pus hing the s uccess factor.
      I think that others now perceiv e Sas katchewan’s bus iness climate as
      changing for the better. The creation of SAINT 1 and the
      Entrepreneurship Foundation of Saskatchewan 2 is ev idence of this
      change. O ther centers have had angel networks and div ers ified
      venture capital for a long time and now we have thes e tools in our
      prov ince. I think we s hould build on thes e s uccess es and reward
      them.
      I als o know there are many people in the comm unity who would
      love to help new bus iness es get s tarted. It’s not about how much
      they might make by helping, but about giving back and helping
      someone else get s tarted in busines s .

10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs ?
      It’s an old phras e from a book, “D o what you lov e, the money will
      follow.” I think that was a turning point for me when I chose to s tart
      Global Infobrokers. I no longer loved my place of employm ent and
      felt there had to be a better way to live and work. A colleague
      gave m e the book and it m ade a lot of sens e.

1
    http://ww w.saint.sk.ca/
2
    http://ww w.efsk.ca/
                                                                            12
  And when you start with the passion, you’ll attract the right people to
  you. As I tell new entrepreneurs, when you start a business , your
  network is going to change. More and more entrepreneurs will
  enter and replace thos e who are em ployees . Why? Because you
  need the s upport of other entrepreneurs – they can relate to your
  decis ions , successes and vis ioning in ways that an em ployee can’t.
  My clos es t friends/m entors are other entrepreneurs and thos e that
  support entrepreneurs hip. I didn’t plan it that way, but it did happen.
  Be prepared for that and welcome it. It’s part of the community
  building you need to do.
11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  VER Y (im portant). There are many opportunities to learn and as I
  mentioned before, entrepreneurs should build in a budget for
  learning opportunities if they wish to stay fresh and ahead of the
  market. It helps to keep an entrepreneur out of the rut because
  new inform ation is constantly being learned.
  I have sev eral books I would recom mend although m os t aren’t
  considered bus iness books. Roger Van O ech writes the firs t two: A
  Whack on the Side of the H ead and a Kick in the Seat of the P ants.
  These are great books to help you s tay creative. The nex t book is
  written by William Arntz, B es y Chass e and Mark Vicente called What
  the Bleep do We Know? Again – another book to stimulate and
  challenge what you know. The 4 th is an eas y to unders tand
  business book written by Stev en S. Little called the 7 Irrefutable
  Rules of Small Bus iness Growth. It’s simple, actionable, and doable.



12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  We believe that we are here to make a difference in the world.
  Profit has nev er been the most important m otivator for us . It’s
  something we obviously plan for, don’t get me wrong, but we are

                                                                        13
motivated at a m uch deeper lev el, as I believe many entrepreneurs
are.
Our primary purpos e is to facilitate s elf sufficiency – to help people
achieve their dreams , whatever they are. While we hav e done this
through the v ehicle of entrepreneurship, our philos ophy ex tends
through much of the v olunteer work we do as well as our product
offerings.
At the root of s elf s ufficiency is a belief in s elf. Many of us do not
have a clear understanding of our capacity to im pact the world
around us. We hav e com e from s ocieties that often reward
standards rather than innov ation and if we don’t fit the s tandards,
we feel we m ay not “m eas ure up”.
We believe that by providing a learning env ironm ent where people
can carve their own paths to knowledge, each person realizes that
they are not only capable of learning but als o of creating, thinking,
analyzing and at the end of the day, able to achiev e their own
dreams .
We are here to shake up the old, create the new, and in turn help
others do the s am e.




                                                                        14
          QUINN MAGNUSON, Franchise Partner
           >> 1-800 GOT JUNK?
           >> http://www.1800gotjunk.com


1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
  To be hones t, I don’t rem em ber having an entrepreneurial spirit
  when I was younger, bes ides the occasional lem onade s tand. It
  didn’t come to m e until I was in a band in the late 90 ’s. I had a
  knack for marketing the band name and the band itself. It was fun. It
  was fairly succes sful. O ur band was probably in the top 3 cover
  bands at the time (in Sas katchewan). Our nam e was “H UGE”, s o it
  reeked of marketing opportunity. Our merchandise sold as much as
  we got paid to play.

  When I as an education student at the UofS, I put on events with the
  student ass ociation. The idea of putting together something that
  people wanted really interested me. My family isn’t entrepreneurial
  and I have no real bus iness background whatsoever. It boils down
  to being pass ionate about something. It’s bringing som ething you
  really lov e to people. That’s what succes sful entrepreneurs hav e:
  Passion.

  To me, the business world and entrepreneurs hip s eems like a gam e.
  It’s like athletics. Kirsten (wife and business partner) and I went to a
  U2 concert in April 2005 in Vancouver. On the flight back, we
  realized our liv es were boring. We needed change. We looked into
  a Tim H orton’s , but it was too ex pens ive. We both lov ed home
  renovation and design. We kept s eeing the 1-800- GOT-JUNK? truck
  on thes e hom e renovation shows. Soon after, we heard the CEO of
  1-800-GOT-JUNK? speaking on John Gormley’s radio s how. The
  com pany’s story im pressed us s o we looked into it. They wanted
                                                                        15
  franchise partners, s o I s ent an email jus t for the heck of it. The
  gam e had begun. We then had a phone interview. They inv ited us to
  Vancouv er for another interv iew. We knew we could say no at any
  point, but the gam e had es calated a little bit. We wanted to s how
  them we were the right people. We got a call after we returned to
  Saskatoon. They lov ed us and wanted us to be franchis e partners .

  We were shocked, I still had a contract teaching and m y wife had
  to leave her job at the (photo) studio. Howev er, we decided to go
  for it. Taking the risk was a sign that we were ready for s omething
  different. We knew we could make it work. If you’re an
  entrepreneur, you want s ome risk to see that you can conquer it. It’s
  like going down the black diam ond s ki-hill course for the first tim e.
  You m ake it through and you want to do it again.

  Som e people see opportunities and make them obs tacles. O thers
  see obstacles and create opportunity.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspiration for you, both in your personal life and public
   figures?
  I never had one person I looked up to and wanted to be like. I had
  a few athlete role models, but mainly for attitude and persona. I
  could take alm ost any profes sional athlete and us e them as a role
  model. It’s about being the bes t at what you do.

3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
  Failure is when you quit. There are days when you have ‘crisis of
  meaning’ m oments . For ex ample, when we quit our jobs we were
  like, “Oh m y god what hav e we done?” You s tart out with
  uninform ed optimis m, that giddy ex cited feeling that you can do
  anything. Then you becom e “inform ed” and some pessim ism sets in.
  You eventually level out. We base ev erything on ‘Faith, Focus, and
  Effort’. It’s not neces sarily faith in terms of s pirituality, but just a
  belief you can do it. I just don’t like quitting. Maybe it’s from m y
                                                                               16
  athletic background. The quote I always go by is “Failure only
  happens when we quit”. There are s o m any people who don’t
  realize how clos e they are to succeeding when they give up. You
  als o have to hav e a little bit of ego, not arrogance, but enough to
  believ e you can do it.


4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  I was thinking about this the other day. Everyone is born with the
  (entrepreneurial) s pirit in him or her. Passion is something ev eryone
  has. What is it that you lov e to do? What would your dream job be?
  One guy s aid he was doing a business just for m oney, I told him he
  probably will not las t too long. Youth now get to pick and choose
  what they want to do with the labour market. Entrepreneurs are not
  born and they’re not m ade. They are dis covered.

5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  ‘Faith, Focus and Effort.’

  There are lots of people spinning their wheels. They think they are
  doing things the right way but they don’t believe in it. Tim e
  management. I find m yself s cattered at tim es , and I’m working on
  that.

  Marketing is our lifeblood. You have to work on your business like
  your life depends on it. Hav ing s aid that, you hav e to run your
  business and not let it run you. Right now, I feel like the bus iness is
  still running me. I need to be delegating m ore.

  Think of ‘Faith, Focus and Effort’ as 100%. If your faith is 90 %, and
  focus is 90 %, and effort is 90 %, (you multiply thos e) you have 72.9%
  efficiency. I know that s eems like an odd equation but you need to
  striv e for 100 % across the board.



                                                                             17
6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  Which one should I pick? This goes back to what I was saying about
  ‘cris is of meaning’ mom ents. Do you s ay I can’t do this anymore, or
  do you say tom orrow will be different?

  In the first 6 m onths, we had an incredible em otional roller coaster
  ride. We had really high highs and really low lows. Then my field
  advisor told m e, ‘This is normal and it will take tim e to level out.’ You
  can’t m eas ure things day-to-day. It goes back to saying that failure
  is when you quit.

7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that ?
  Ignore them and s tay away. B e polite. Don’t have people around
  who bring negativ ity to you. When we were on the streets wav ing,
  we had kids go by and make fun of us. Now people aren’t laughing.
  Mos t people aren’t risk takers. Surround yourself with ris k takers
  and people who hav e ov ercome the odds.

  When we talked to other entrepreneurs , you realize you’re not
  alone. It brings perspectiv e. There are people who hav e hit rock
  bottom and found their way out. You get to hear their experiences.


8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  You hav e to run your business not let it run        you. That’s where I feel
  I’m not com pletely m entally fit. Sometimes to      be m ore s uccessful, you
  have to do less. I thought if I don’t work 24        hours on my busines s I
  will fail, but you’ll kill yourself if you do. You   got to take time for
  yours elf.

                                                                              18
9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  My pers pective is that we s till hav e a small town mentality. A lot of
  people are trying to break through the glas s ceiling to be like
  Calgary and Vancouver. We’re still caught between driving a tractor
  vers us a nice car. If you think and act bigger than you are, you
  probably will become that and people will think you are. Sas katoon
  seem s content to be status quo. We need to start to com pete like
  the bigger centers. The way you present yours elf in bus iness , the
  way we carry ours elves is key. We’re poised for that with this
  boom that’s happening now. We s hould pus h out our chests a bit.
  We need the right people to lead us through it, people who want to
  play with the big boys. We have s o much potential. In s ports you
  always want to play the team that’s better than you, v ers us a team
  you know you can beat. That’s what we should do as a province.

  I think Sas katchewan bus iness people face a lot more adversity
  here. Calgary up until 15-20 years was a cow town. Then, oil and
  gas came along. We do have to try harder and prov e s om ething. In
  the next 20 years we’ll be poised to do that.

10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs .
  I think the bes t piece would be nev er quit. In the last year and half,
  a lot of our success has to do with our pas sion. Our CEO told us
  we hav e a pass ion for people and what we do. You should be on
  an em otional high when you los e and when you win. If you don’t
  invest m uch of yours elf, winning is n’t as enjoyable. You need to
  have that enthusiasm and fun and tie it in to what you’re doing.




                                                                         19
11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  I think the bible of entrepreneurship has to be Good to Great by Jim
  Collins and The E- Myth by Michael Gerber. If you’re fully immersed in
  a business, you learn day by day. You’re continuously learning. As
  long as you’re awake, you’re learning. You get it from different
  areas. Books allow you to check yourself to see how to im prove
  and s ee what you’re doing right. When you find that other people
  have done things and ov ercome things, you realize it’s poss ible.

12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  The word profit does n’t really come into our vocabulary. If I think
  about profit, I get dis tracted. It gets me off m y plan. If the team
  keeps looking to the nex t gam e, you’re going to be all mes sed up.
  You got to be focus ed on the road right ahead of you. I lov e to
  see the num bers of cours e, but for me, it’s more the recognition. We
  want people to recognize us as great people and a great com pany
  prov iding great service. I love hearing people s ay, “We lov e your
  com pany.”




                                                                      20
               JEFF BRAID, PRESIDENT
                >> BRAID FLOORING
                >> http://www.BraidFlooring.com


1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
  I have never viewed m yself as an entrepreneur for s ome reas on.
  My first ex posure to business was in my father’s bus iness. He was
  a partner in a family bus iness along with his brother. The thinking, at
  least in that busines s, was m ore to do with s urviv al rather than
  building an empire and perhaps branching into different ventures.

  When I was 13 or 14 years old, I worked as a deliv ery boy for the
  Winnipeg Tribune. My route was managed som eone m y age who
  took on various routes and had others like m yself working for him!
  Now that is what I call ‘entrepreneurial’.

  I got into m y own bus iness (Braid Flooring Ltd.) quite by accident. I
  was attending University and took a summer job driv ing a truck for
  a new flooring contractor in Winnipeg. I always wanted to do the
  bes t job poss ible and liked the money that I was making and it
  seem ed an eas y decision at the time to work full time rather than
  returning to Univ ers ity. I s pent nine years with that firm and learned
  much about all as pects of the bus iness including ins tallation, s ales ,
  and management. When the opportunity to open a Sas katoon
  branch pres ented itself in 1979, I jum ped at the chance.

  When the m other s hip ran into difficulties in the mid eighties, I had to
  make a decision as to whether to continue on my own or to look
  for s omething else. Thos e were scary tim es for both m y wife and
  mys elf as it m eant hav ing to re-m ortgage and liquidate som e other
  assets to com e up with the money to carry on. B eing on m y own
                                                                           21
  opened my eyes in s o many ways about operating a business
  where ev erything was on the line. It’s am azing how it tends to
  sharpen the s enses . I am not s ure that fear is one of the motiv ating
  factors in owning and operating an entrepreneurial organization, but
  it certainly was for m e!

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspiration for you?
  My dad and m y brothers were perhaps m y greates t role models in
  that they always gave their bes t efforts in whatever they were
  doing. H ard work and persev erance were ex pected no m atter
  what. The other big influence in m y working life was m y cousin, the
  owner and operator of the first flooring bus iness that I worked for.
  He was not particularly well educated, but he knew how to sell. He
  used his pers onality to gain a huge advantage. He was highly
  organized and extrem ely good with people of every ‘walk of life’.
  He showed m e that in bus iness you have to be able to s ell. If you
  can do that effectiv ely, the other s kills either will follow or can be
  acquired.


3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
  As I m entioned earlier, fear has always been a motiv ator for m e.
  Quitting was never an option, so even during s ome difficult tim es it
  just meant that m ore effort was required. Once you attach your
  nam e to an enterprise, it is even harder to s imply walk away.
  Although ‘flooring’ was not m y fav orite industry, I was determ ined to
  see it succeed. There was a s ens e of responsibility to my family
  and for selfish reas ons , m y many friends and acquaintances.

4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  I believ e that it is a little bit of both. Your life ex periences definitely
  shape how you think and how you do things . A fear of failure is not
  neces sarily s om ething we are born with. It is a reaction to our
  experiences and our environment. I believ e that som e of us have
                                                                             22
  an innate ability to relate well to people, som ething that is ess ential
  in s ales and m anagement. D ifficult pers onalities do not lend
  themselves to being front- and-centre everyday, trying to win over
  cus tomers that hav e other options.

5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  A bus iness owner m ust be dedicated to his enterpris e. It takes a
  great deal of courage and energy, particularly in the start up phase.
  That is when you cannot s kip a beat; your com petitors are watching
  closely to s ee how you do, as are pros pective custom ers . In our
  business, people want to buy from s omeone they know. When I firs t
  arrived in Sas katoon I did not know anyone. R ather than s it on m y
  hands waiting for a custom er, it was essential for me to get out into
  the comm unity, to m eet new people and to get inv olv ed wherev er
  poss ible in comm unity activ ities. Making cold calls is not for
  everyone. As tough as it was som e days though, it had to be done
  and done well.

6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  The only tim e that I seriously cons idered doing s om ething different
  was at the time that the business which I was a sm all shareholder
  of, was about to fold as a result of problems in other centers. It
  was during that time that m y wife and I had to take s tock in where
  we were financially and how much ris k we were willing to take on.
  Banks were rather risk- adv ers e at the time s o we really had to put
  everything on the line. The other los s we would have experienced
  was all of the work that had already gone into m aking the business
  a success in Sas katoon.

7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?

                                                                              23
  My wife was m y greates t s upporter and m y friends were not far
  behind. They were encouraging at every s tep of the way even
  during s ome rather tough economic times in Saskatoon.


8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  There is no s ubs titute for a good diet and lots of exercise. When
  things get stres sful, anything physical that gets the heart rate up for
  an extended period is helpful. It is actually quite am azing how much
  better we feel by trying to s tick to a regular physical routine.

9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  I have liv ed in Saskatoon for over twenty-s even years and there is
  no ques tion that our biggest as set is the people. The s econd
  biggest ass et is the South Sas katchewan Riv er!

  I particularly admire many m embers of our business comm unity who
  have pers evered des pite a provincial governm ent that often is at
  odds with policy designed to encourage growth. That has created
  an env ironm ent wherein business owners hav e to really ‘try harder’
  than our counterparts in other prov inces . There hav e been a great
  num ber of enterpris es that hav e s ucceeded, despite gov ernment
  policy.

  Saskatchewan has long been know for the num ber of its Univ ersity
  graduates that hav e been wildly successful not only in Canada but
  all ov er the world. Now we are starting to s ee a turn around at all
  levels. Saskatchewan graduates are returning to Sas katoon in
  res ponse to rising activity levels in every s ector. In addition, m ore
  of our younger people will not find it neces sary to m ove west in
  search of greater opportunities.




                                                                         24
10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs.
  Business prov ides people (our customers ) with s olutions to their
  problems . If there are not problems to be s olved there’s no
  business. Custom ers can be very demanding and s om etimes it is
  neces sary to remind ours elv es that without them, we have nothing. I
  recall a conversation with one of m y mentors where I was
  com plaining about how difficult a tim e I was having in dealing with a
  particular individual. He reminded me that if that cus tom er did not
  exist and did not hav e needs to be met, I would not have a job!

11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  I have read m ost of Stephen Covey’s books and found them to be
  a s ource of great advice bas ed on sound principles along with a
  strong basis in m orality at every level. Another book that inspired
  me to rethink and retool is Good to Great by Jim Collins . That is a
  really fine read if you find yours elf getting s tale as it gets the
  adrenalin flowing and prov ides a s park of enthusiasm.

12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  The desire to s ucceed and grow is essential to continuing in
  business. The desire to improv e m ethods, find new and innov ative
  products, and be an indus try leader cannot be underestimated.




                                                                        25
                  BRENT BANDA, MBA
                   >> BANDA MARKETING GROUP
                   >> http://www.BandaMarketing.com


1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
      I didn’t come from a bus iness background while growing up, but I’v e
      always felt and wanted to be independent. After graduating from the
      UofS with a Major in Marketing, I began working for a v ideo
      production company. I began to see a market for marketing plans
      while introducing our s ervices to small busines ses . I noticed many
      small businesses did not hav e a s olid plan in place when I asked
      them if our s ervices would fit in their marketing plan. I wanted to fill
      that need and was m otiv ated by the independence of being self-
      employed.

      2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
         inspiration for you?
      I’v e had s everal form al mentors. For the last 7 years , I was a
      Proté gé in the R aj Manek m entorship program. I was m atched with
      members of the s enior business com munity (which is the purpos e of
      the organization). I purposely switched each year because I had
      different things I needed to dev elop in m y background. I’ve
      maintained relationships with all of them.

      On an informal mentor basis , I v olunteered ex tensiv ely in the
      Saskatoon business comm unity. I got to know fairly establis hed
      business people. An example of m entors hip in an informal s etting is
      watching how people make decisions. While on the NSB A 3 board, I

3
    http://ww w.nsba-sk.com/
                                                                               26
  learned from sev eral of the board m embers . I watched how they
  critiqued a decision before it was passed. To learn how other
  people think is very im portant. It im pacts on how I m ake decisions.


3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
  There are different degrees of failure. Som e people aren’t
  com fortable with making an error. It’s comm on in business , becaus e
  you’re making decisions on incom plete inform ation on a daily bas is.
  It’s not as cut and dry to s ay failure is good (since you learn from
  mistakes).

  If you make ten decis ions in your day, you can’t give all of them
  your complete attention. You keep m aking decisions , you make
  mistakes, you learn.

  There’s also the difference between small-scope decisions and
  large-s cope decis ions. Obviously, it is not good to m ake a large-
  scope decis ion without getting help from s om eone who has been
  through it before.

4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  If I had to pick, I would s ay most are born. Howev er, like anything,
  you can learn. People who are comfortable in an entrepreneurial
  situation hav e s omething inside them , which makes them com fortable
  with risk. They don’t lov e ris k, but they can s ee the opportunity
  ahead and are comfortable with the downs ide.

  It can happen in a corporate and sm all business s etting. P eople who
  are entrepreneurial will build things out of nothing. They will put
  things together. They will do as m uch as they can and pull it
  together. They aren’t necessary detail people, tech people, or
  visionary. They’re hardwired to think that way, but experience
  teaches and you can learn.


                                                                           27
6. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  That’s not an eas y ques tion. Every s ituation is different. I think I’m
  conservativ e by nature. If we’re trying s omething new, we test it
  firs t. Whether that is a focus group or a small test market, we fav or
  small s teps.

  You hav e to be comm itted. There are s o m any things to ram ble on
  about, but one thing that com es to mind is being practical. You hav e
  to look at how things will unfold, m ake a series of sm all steps to
  move it forward and hav e the willingness to get it done.

  Som etimes you don’t know if people will buy into or it not. You can
  see it, taste it, feel it, you don’t know the s cope or details , but you
  just know it will happen. That ability is developed through
  experience.

  You als o hav e to be able to roll with punches as things go astray.
  You can be sure they will.

6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  We followed the typical start- up model. Our firs t year in business ,
  we los t m oney. We broke even in the s econd and m ade m oney in
  the third. I was struggling to keep things afloat in the beginning. I
  had positiv e feedback from clients, but I didn’t know what proper
  fees to charge or how to set up a cons ulting firm. Things were v ery
  tight. Pers onally, not having cash flow to pay rent was a challenge.
  We’ve paid all our bus iness bills right from the s tart, but the last
  person to get paid is the owner. I s truggled with that.

  In terms of pers everance, it’s a reality check. You hav e to make a
  decis ion. Pay off your bills and quit, or pus h through and continue. I
  picked the latter obv iously. I think ev ery business has had times
  when they ques tion whether this is the right thing to do.
                                                                              28
7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?
  An engineer told m e that our target market of sm all bus inesses has
  no money to pay for a m arketing plan (after telling him what I was
  doing). It was excellent criticism , because it was true. I didn’t listen to
  him then, but it was obvious that we needed to m ove up market.
  Now, clients are us ually 20 years in business es. They are establis hed
  and they can pay proper fees for a professional service firm.

  Going back to the engineer who s aid I was targeting the wrong
  clientele. Now I know he m ay not know ev erything about cons ulting
  or marketing cons ulting, but he had a point. You should lis ten to
  people. It doesn’t mean they are right, but their perspectiv e may be
  valuable.

8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  Exercise and m aking sure I have adequate pers onal time hav e
  always been a great way for me to handle s tress.

9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  I’v e done som e work in other provinces and the states , and I think
  some of the m ost com petent people in busines s are from
  Saskatchewan. It’s not eas y here. There are s om e businesses in
  booming economies where the revenues run high in high times , but
  are the first to go bankrupt in bad times. Sm art businesses will
  evolv e and do what it takes to make it through hard tim es.

  In Saskatchewan, demand rarely exceeds s upply. You hav e to take
  care of your customers. You have to be m ore cautious . It breeds
  com petence.


                                                                            29
     Saskatchewan’s economy is based on ex port of natural resources .
     We are export-oriented becaus e we can surv ive in an outside
     market. We hav e the com petence to com pete in m ore competitiv e
     markets

     In terms of perception to the larger centers in Canada, there’s
     certainly a negativ e v iew on smaller centers . Being rural ads to that.
     We hav e m ore credibility with a firm in the s tates than other centers
     in Canada. They can’t judge you when they don’t know where you
     are from . They judge on ex perience and expertis e, not on location.
     It’s eas ier to sell our s ervices in Seattle than Toronto.

     You read in news papers about the traditional, “Woe is me” attitude.
     Perhaps it is true compared to other centers , but it’s changing. I see
     an extrem e amount of optimism in the bus iness comm unity and ev en
     in the general comm unity. P eople aren’t as concerned about the next
     dis aster and are m ore optim istic about the future.

     We still don’t hav e the s ame optimis m as bigger centers, but that is
     due to the rural background. Our province is changing from a
     com modity base to m ore v alue-added s ervices. You hav e m ore
     control when you s ell a value-added product, and that perhaps
     influences people’s views on life here.

     Saskatchewan Check- Up 4 stated that in the last 2 cons ecutive years ,
     more people with post secondary education m oved to
     Saskatchewan from Alberta than the revers e. People still think there
     is this big out m igration, but Alberta is now m ainly getting population
     from other centers.

     People are mov ing back becaus e of career opportunities . Sure,
     there is affordable hous ing, but the people I speak to want to raise
     a family in a healthy population and not a center with growing
     problems due to ex cessiv e growth. P eople tell m e they have better
     jobs since mov ing back.



4
    http://ww w.icas.sk.ca/saskatchewan_check_up.htm
                                                                            30
10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs?
  “Nothing sm artens you up like losing money”. I think it’s a famous
  quote, but it’s true. In bus iness , everything is financial. If you make a
  mistake, you rarely make the sam e one again.

11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  Becaus e we’re a consulting firm , we subs cribe to trade magazines.
  Everyone here is encouraged to read up and learn. It’s part of the
  way we do things. We hav e a staff meeting every 2 weeks where
  we bring an article that will help us in our projects and generate
  new ideas.

  There are so many how- to books but I don’t      agree with dictating
  business by one given book. I enjoy reading      biographies or reading
  snapshots on different busines s people. I am    currently reading Peter
  C. Newman’s Titans , which profiles corporate    Canada and the
  families behind them.

12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  Building som ething from scratch m otiv ates m e. This occurs in two
  ways. P rim arily, I'm referring to our own company. We're constantly
  working on building the strength and productivity of our s taff,
  growing revenues, es tablishing our reputation in the community, etc.
  It's rewarding to see Banda Marketing grow and ev olv e. Second, it's
  rewarding to help our clients launch products. They are also growing
  their own business and it is rewarding to be ass ociated with the
  evolution of thes e companies.



                                                                           31
            JIM YUEL, CEO
             >> PIC INVESTMENT GROUP
             >> http://www.PicGroup.ca/

1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
  I grew up on a farm where you were ex pected to work without
  pay. Farmers are entrepreneurial by nature. They have to be. They
  take risks with a reas onable level of caution and thought. I
  rem ember getting $.50 to $1 in spending money (when I was young),
  but that was it. It was ex pected that you were going to work the
  summer. In the winter, you’d go to s chool and hav e your farm
  chores to do. Later, when I was a teenager (14 years old), I s aw
  there was a need to fix the roofs of barns and granaries (as m any
  were leaking). I s tarted offering that service, ev en though I didn’t
  know m uch about fixing roofs. Even then, I had that desire to create
  something on my own. I figured if you jus t s top the leak by plugging
  it s om ehow, the job was done. When I left home, I didn’t do anything
  entrepreneurial for four to fiv e years.

  I got into a shift work job at a chemical plant where I would have
  tim e off during the week. Ins tead of getting another job on thos e
  days off, I started a number of little businesses. I s tarted a canoeing
  outfitting business, (s upplying tents , canoes, and all necessary
  material to take a cam ping and or canoeing trip) but quickly got out
  of that becaus e the price people would pay didn’t m atch the cost. In
  addition, no one cared to return the canoes in the condition they
  were giv en in.

  Later, I began s elling s porting goods out of m y basem ent. That
  business actually started to thriv e after four to five years and I
  should have opened up a storefront. Howev er, I was still working m y
  job at the chemical plant, s o that was a no go.

                                                                        32
      I then looked at building a hotel/res taurant com bo up at a Chitek
      Lake R esort. I purchased a piece of crown property from SER M 5
      (Saskatchewan Environm ent and Res ources Management), which was
      then called Departm ent of Natural Resources. I did m y ass essm ent,
      looked at the demographics, and realized it was too risky.

      Two to three years later, I saw an opportunity at the chem ical plant.
      We were producing product mainly for the pulp mill in P rince Albert,
      but we would always have more than they could consum e. I thought
      there was an opportunity for a distribution company to market the
      excess product. That’s how Prairie Indus trial Chem icals Inc. was
      born. It was later s hortened and changed to PIC Inv estm ent Group
      after we s eparated our companies.

      I’v e always been entrepreneurial in m y thinking and I’ve always been
      willing to take risks , not s tupid risks , but calculated risks.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspirational figures for you?
      Well in the early years , m y dad obv ious ly (as he ran the farm ). H e
      believ ed he could do anything if he s et his mind to it. H owever, as I
      got s tarted with P rairie Indus try Chem icals , m y biggest role m odel
      was Les Dube of the Concorde Group. H e was v ery kind to me
      right from the beginning. He was v ery helpful to m e and nev er told
      me I was doing s om ething wrong or anything like that. He was
      always v ery helpful and willing to s hare adv ice. I always felt like I
      could go to Les for direction. He definitely was the mos t s ignificant
      role m odel within the (Saskatoon) community.

      Outside the comm unity, believe it or not, was Conrad Black. H e was
      one of the people I read a lot about and was im press ed with his
      vision and negotiating skills . How he put together what he did in the
      beginning was very s hrewd and took a lot of people skills. I always
      thought he was the type of individual who could teach people a lot.


5
    http://ww w.se.gov.sk.ca/
                                                                              33
  This was of cours e, before he went to court.

3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
  To me, failure as an entrepreneur is giving up. I haven’t experienced
  failure, as I’v e never giv en up. I’v e m ade rational decis ions to
  dis continue v arious things/enterprises . But I’ve never really felt
  failure as an entrepreneur. One thing I’v e heard Les say is, “You
  take the lem ons and make lem onade with them.” You don’t fail if you
  choose to do it a different way.
4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  I think it’s two-fold.

  I think people are born with or without an entrepreneurial bent.
  You’re born with or without the adventurer s pirit and ris k m entality.
  That is a s omewhat significant determ ining factor in m y opinion.

  Your home life and upbringing is als o very s ignificant though. The
  firs t point I s ay becaus e I’v e s een v ery success ful entrepreneurs
  com e from a hom e life where one parent was a teacher and the
  other was a nurse. There was no entrepreneurial m otiv ation in the
  household, but that person always had that bent.

  I don’t believ e you can m ake entrepreneurs. The gov ernment
  believ es that. They think you can take 100 people from diverse
  backgrounds and m ake 100 entrepreneurs out of them. You can’t do
  that. I’ve seen too much money thrown at organizations trying to do
  that. I don’t believe it’s possible. No ques tion though, your home life
  is an influence.


5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it passed
   the start-up phase and flourish?

                                                                             34
  You hav e to completely believe in yours elf and the product or
  service your selling. You got to believe in that. You need
  persev erance. It’s helpful to have a thick s kin. If you get ups et
  every tim e som eone says something negative, you better keep your
  gov ernment job or whatever. You’re going to get lots of negativity.
  Alm os t any entrepreneur, if they get an idea, their friends and (or)
  family will try and talk them out of it, trying to conv ince them it’s a
  bad idea. They don’t m ean to negativ e, but they aren’t of the s am e
  nature. They think the risk is high and don’t want to s ee the pers on
  hurt. You got to look at that after reasonably ass essing their
  argum ents. If you really believ e in the product and your ability to do
  it, then you better be prepared to deal with that and the reality that
  your competitors aren’t your friends . They don’t hav e your best
  interests at heart. It’s best to unders tand that from the beginning.

  You m ust have pers everance and the willingness to m ake sacrifices.
  The recognition you may hav e to go right to then end of the rope
  to get out of the s tart- up phas e (is important). I’ve seen a lot of
  entrepreneurs hav e a lot of early success and let it go to their
  head. They los e track of their focus.

  I think s om e entrepreneurs giv e up too s oon, but I think they realize
  what they thought what was pos sible is not really possible. For
  exam ple, I inv ested a lot of m oney in a fellow in the res taurant
  business. H e had a narrow m arket. We told him this was not a big
  enough city for this to work. H e had to ex tend his product line. H e
  refus ed to listen. His idealis m got in the way, s o we cut our loss es
  and walked.

  You hav e to be flexible and be prepared to adapt. You can’t m ake
  the same mis take twice.
6. Can you give me your thoughts on Perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  I always believ ed in pers everance. It was how I got to the
  management position at the chem ical plant. Once I started m y
  business, it was what kept m e going after accounts that s eemed
                                                                          35
  unattainable. The bes t exam ple was the town of Humboldt. The town
  forem an was totally comm itted to my com petitor. H owever, I
  continued to call on him every m onth when I m ade m y rounds. I
  would leav e him a pen and note pad with our bus iness number on it.
  Eventually, after s everal months , I started arriving around noon and
  taking him for lunch. We would talk about his family, the econom y of
  the town, anything ex cept m y product lis t. Finally, after nearly a year,
  he called in an order for product. He became our mos t loyal
  cus tomer, mov ing to LaR onge and then to Tis dale, and taking us as
  a supplier, along with him. I learned that an account that is difficult to
  take from another, would be equally difficult for anyone to take from
  you. P ers everance pays !
7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?
  I just went ahead and proved them wrong. P eople are entitled to
  their opinion. I had a brother- in-law who had a significant am ount of
  money in various RRSP ’s and s avings . I offered him 50% equity in the
  com pany for $10, 000 . He thought it was too ris ky and didn’t do it.
  The pers on who did inv est, I bought him out s om e 4-5 years later
  for just under $500,000. That was a good inv estment for $10 ,000. If
  someone does n’t believ e in your plan, find s om eone who will. If you
  let it eat at you, it will just create problems.

8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  Tough ques tion! My mos t difficult period was June 1984 when Bank
  of Nov a Scotia pulled our credit and gave us 90 days to m ov e our
  accounts. Long s tory but sim ply put, we had a big loss in 1982 and
  all of Wes tern Canada was in a m ajor recession. The need to
  address what seemed like an imposs ible situation “increas ed m y
  mental fitness ”!
9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
                                                                           36
We hav e bus iness es acros s Canada and it’s not much different (in
Saskatchewan). H owever, the public perception in Saskatchewan has
been extrem ely negativ e for m ost of my 31 years of being in
business. Saskatchewan bus iness es have tended to keep a v ery
low- key profile. They preferred to pretend they were barely m aking
it. The public perception in Saskatchewan is, “If you’re s uccess ful in
business here, you m ust be a crook and you must be cheating
someone.” That’s ingrained from the 70 years of s ocialism plus the
early 30 ’s , when the depression was on and the big com panies
were bas ed in eas tern Canada. It was CN, CP R ail and the big
retailers. They were all big corporations that were s een to take
advantage of the small Sas katchewan busines ses (the farm ers). That
perception has been pas sed on from generation to generation.

Howev er, the s ame perception was held in Alberta. They ev olv ed
under a different political clim ate. That clim ate didn’t focus on
perpetuating the m yth. It was of the benefit to a s ocialis t
gov ernment to perpetuate the m yth. The m ore they could convince
people that governm ent s hould run business rather than the guy next
door, the better chance of them getting re- elected.

Having s aid that, ov er the las t decade, things hav e changed
dramatically. A new generation of young people who are better
educated and more entrepreneurial exists today. It’s a com bination
of the Internet and the broadcast media. P eople are ex pos ed to
things all around the world. They know it’s different els ewhere and
know it can be different here. You have a v ery different minds et
from the under 40 crowd. I find it a very ex citing province to be
doing busines s in today. There’s this energy and excitem ent for
business now and people are proud to show their s uccess ins tead
of being s ham eful for it.

I als o don’t think the larger centers have better business people. I
think we have a Saskatchewan adv antage. If you’re com peting
agains t s om eone from a bigger center, they don’t take you
seriously, and you can us e that to your adv antage. There hav e
been many times when I’v e gone into negotiations and got the upper
hand by playing that card. H owever, It doesn’t work that way in the
U.S. They don’t know Toronto from Saskatoon.
                                                                       37
10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs?
  Buy low and s ell high. I’v e always told people to think v ery hard
  before giv ing a discount. For ex ample, if you mark som ething up
  100% that cost $1, you sell it for $2. If you discount that item 50%,
  you’re back to $1. You’re then selling at cost. You have to believ e in
  your product and charge a fair value for it. If you have to dis count,
  you don’t think it’s worth that.

  Many years ago, we acquired a little business in Calgary that
  manufactured an array of cleaning products. They had 8 products.
  We then broke down the costs and the overhead costs . Out of 8
  products, we dis continued 3 products. Of the rem aining 5, 2 of them
  were doing v ery well. We left those alone. The other 3 were very
  marginal, break- even products. We kicked up the price 80% and
  notified the cus tom ers. We figured, “If we don’t sell, we wouldn’t
  make them . If we do s ell them, we’ll make m oney.” Interes tingly
  enough, after all the s quirming from customers , they all paid. They
  were s till getting a good deal.

  If you dis count, you giv e the perception that it’s (your product or
  service) overvalued. If you do it for a promotion, in m y experience,
  people will take their loyalty els ewhere after the prom otion is done. I
  think it’s best to do that with one product if you have a setting
  where it brings people in to see what else you have to offer. If so,
  there’s a likely chance they will com e back for the other products.
11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  I’v e read a lot a different books , I find a lot of them are very
  simplis tic and don’t deal with the details of starting som ething.
  They’re m ore m otivational than anything els e. Not many giv e anything
  concrete to learn from . I think you should be learning something
  everyday. We have a standing rule in all our companies. We s ay
                                                                         38
  any employee can take a course and after success ful completion,
  we will reimburs e the cos ts. It doesn’t hav e to be referenced to
  what their job entails . Anyone who has initiative to take these
  classes and learn som ething is improving their v alue to the
  organization. Informally, I think ev eryone should be learning and
  attem pting to learn s omething ev eryday. It keeps your m ind s harp
  and involved.

  Mentors hip is very im portant. I think it can make the difference from
  succeeding and not s ucceeding. H owever, this is the cas e only if the
  person wants to learn from it. My son has had various mentors in
  different sectors and it’s been invaluable to accelerate his learning.
  I’v e tried to provide guidance to 10- 25 people over the years. All
  have been s uccess ful, not just because I was inv olv ed, but I believ e
  I accelerated the process for them.

  A good mentor who is es tablished in the comm unity can open a lot
  of doors for young entrepreneurs. Getting the contacts is key in
  starting. I’v e got a lot of satis faction from being a m entor.


12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  To liv e and die by your own decisions, as opposed to hav e
  someone else to tell you how to do things. It’s the ability to control
  your own destiny. In fairness , I’v e always tried to ins till in my
  employee group a similar attitude. We need to get the job done, but
  I give them the freedom to reach that goal their own way. It doesn’t
  have to be my way.

  To be hones t, I was never m otivated by the m oney. When I quit m y
  job to s tart this company, I was a s enior person in charge of
  production and had m any people reporting to me. If you excluded
  the m edical practitioners , I was making a wage that was probably in
  the top 3-5% (in the prov ince) of income earners. I was m aking very
  good money. I had 4 weeks v acation. I could take a day off
  anytime as long I got things done.

                                                                          39
I had piles of people who told m e I was crazy when I was quitting
and starting the bus iness. Howev er, I didn’t want to be doing the
same thing over and over for the next 35 years. That was a scary
thought. I wanted to be able to do things on m y own. I wanted to
use my own ideas and thoughts , gam ble with them and see what the
res ults were. It’s the independence, the ability to m ake your
decis ions , and mov e forward with your own ideas.




                                                                 40
            Ryan Smith, Owner
             >> DIY Web Hosting
             >> http://www.DiyWebHosting.ca



1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
 D.I.Y. Web H osting was form ed in 200 3 when I was 23 years old and
 working towards com pleting m y University degree. As a com puter
 programm er I hav e always pictured mys elf creating m y own product
 or serv ice rather than working for a large software company.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspiration for you?
  There are a num ber of webs ites on the Internet for owners and
  employees of web hosting companies to network and s hare
  inform ation with each other. I hav e learnt a lot from m y discussions
  with other business owners and it has helped m e to s hape m y
  com pany and adapt to changing needs and m arkets . O ne of m y
  personal role m odels is Kev in R os e, founder of Digg.com and
  Revision3.com, as he is an Internet entrepreneur that I can really
  relate to.

3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   entrepreneur?
  I feel that the s uccess of m y bus ines s reflects upon m e personally
  so it is ups etting for m e when custom ers cancel or switch to another
  hos ting company.



                                                                        41
4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  Som e people are born entrepreneurs while others are incredibly
  talented at what they do and a bus iness creates itself around them .

5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  It is crucial to find your niche in the beginning and really know who
  your potential cus tomers are. D .I.Y. Web Hosting started as a niche
  hos ting company, m ainly m arketing our services to bands and
  musicians . From the start we knew who our customers were and
  were able to s eparate ours elv es from other hosting com panies who
  did not cater specifically to that audience. From there, word of
  mouth has helped to ex pand our customer bas e and target m arkets.

6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  As with everything in life there are always problems and somehow
  we struggle through them . While D.I.Y. Web H os ting has been rapidly
  growing since it was founded, there have been m any sleepless
  nights where I hav e wanted to rip out m y hair or jus t get a day
  job. H aving a s erv er blow up on a Monday morning while the
  phones are ringing off the hook with angry cus tom ers is never fun.
  You just have to deal with the problem the best you can and nev er
  look back. The angry cus tom ers often call back the next day
  thanking you for dealing with the problem s o promptly and
  professionally.

7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?
  Fortunately, m y company caught on and expanded v ery rapidly s o I
  did not really ex perience this. If anything, m y friends and fam ily
  were s urprised and impress ed with how quickly m y company grew.
                                                                      42
8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  I take tim e to enjoy the things that I love. Due to the nature of m y
  business I get to enjoy a lot of free personal time since my
  business is highly autom ated s o it is nice to take a break from
  things when I can.

9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  I have definitely witness ed a lot of custom ers and com panies
  wanting to s pecifically deal with a Canadian hos ting company, s o I
  have made sure to adv ertis e our services as s uch. Since we hav e
  cus tomers located in nearly ev ery country in the world, adv ertising
  that we are a Sas katchewan bas ed business has not really helped
  us as m uch as declaring that we are a Canadian company.

10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs?
  Try to find a niche in your m arket so you may know who your initial
  cus tomers are and can more easily advertise your s erv ices to them.

11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  In the technology industry continual learning is a requirem ent and is
  crucial to the s uccess of your company. I s pend a large part of m y
  day res earching, tes ting new applications , and learning m ore about
  my indus try. I would recommend s om eone with thoughts about
  entrepreneurship to try to find a s ocial networking or community
  forum website for owners of your type of busines s as it is a great
  place to communicate with your peers and learn m ore about your
  industry.
                                                                           43
12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  As a technology enthus ias t, I am always excited to play with the
  latest gadgets and s oftware. Web hosting is m y hobby and
  pass ion. The profit is jus t a nice perk!




                                                                       44
           Jayesh Parmar, CEO
           >> Picatic.com E-Ticket Services Inc.
           >> http://www.Picatic.com


1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
    start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
    you to entrepreneurship?
  Business for me was not s cary, as I com e from a fam ily of business
  people, including my grand parents , parents, uncles , etc. In high
  school I was in Junior Achievement. In Univ ersity I started up B oom
  Music, now in its 10th year. I us ed that as leverage to s tart
  Picatic.com. With Picatic.com , I wanted an opportunity to have a
  global m arket.

  I s ee the Internet as the future of business and I want to be on the
  cus p of innov ation. With Boom Mus ic I really only had the population
  of Saskatoon as a base market. You hav e to realize (s tarting a
  business) is not as scary as you think. I hav e 5 m ore businesses I
  want to start.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspiration for you, both in your personal life and public
   figures?
  Celebrities are fas cinating, but I jus t don’t know them. My role
  models were m y fam ily, because I’ve seen exactly what they’ve
  gone through. I’v e s een their hardships. I’ve seen their success .
3. Can you explain how you perceive failure?
  Failure as an entrepreneur is when you make the s ame mistake
  twice. I don’t encourage m istakes. There is ‘theory’ and ‘real-life’
  learning. You can get theory learning from University but not ‘real-
                                                                          45
  world’ (learning). Mentors will help you in life learning. A failure is
  trying to get a different reaction from the sam e action.
4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  I think it’s a s kill. Entrepreneurs aren’t adv ers e to risk. They want to
  take on challenges , and think of ways to get around dead ends.
  They don’t think, “Oh no, what am I going to do?” They think, “H ow
  do I pursue?” It’s almos t like a gam e. It is something you are born
  with, but it is som ething you can dev elop. I think our s ociety
  dev elops a lot of job takers. Society tells us to go to s chool and
  get a good job. When it com es tim e to learn about risk, you’re less
  likely to do it, because people get so set in the s ecurity of a job
  field.
5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  Firs t and forem ost, understand that failure is okay. Two, be s trong
  enough to identify your weaknes ses. It’s like leading a s hip when
  you’re not a jack-of-all-trades . Find s omeone who is good at your
  weakness and bring him or her on board. Entrepreneurs hip is about
  guiding and directing. It will take 12 hour days, not being s cared of
  no sleep, not being s cared of shaking hands , and thinking outside
  the box. You mus t be confident in yours elf, comfortable to put
  yours elf on the line, because you just believe in yours elf that m uch.

6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  I don’t think I’v e ever felt like throwing in the towel. There are tim es
  when I’v e felt dis couraged. “Failure is not an option.” When I feel
  dis couraged, I know I hav e to work harder. I think, “This isn’t
  working for m e.” I adapt and then find another direction. It’s like
  anything els e in the world. You’re going to hear s ome no’s. You
  refine your pitch and approach, and the no’s will becom e yes’s. Jus t
  work harder.
                                                                            46
7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?
   The doubts have not really been there. Well, there may hav e been
   some doubts. P eople don’t s ay it, but you can feel it. That motivates
   me. They are in the cheap seats. They s it on the sidelines
   com menting on what other people are doing. There was a guy who
   made m ini- umbrellas as a garnis h for a drink. How weird is that?
   How do you think he felt when his friends found he was quitting his
   job to do that? There will always be people who make comm ents
   who have nothing better to do. On the other hand, there will always
   be people giving the thumbs up.

   There’s a difference between a nays ayer and positive criticism . If
   someone is telling you to adapt, then take it as a com plim ent. If
   they tell you, they’v e done you a fav our. It’s hard for people to
   confront the organization providing the s ervice or product. You can
   change from feedback.

   We’ve changed a m illion things s ince we started Picatic.com. If you
   think you know it all, you are going to fail.

8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
   Phys ical activity. I make sure I hav e pers onal tim e. An investm ent to
   my company is m aking sure I have time away from it. I also try to
   find people smarter than me. Good business people hire people to
   do the running around for them . They als o hire people smarter
   than them. Mentorship is incredibly im portant. They (m entors) don’t
   have to be older than you. It’s like vision. P eople in your staff who
   are younger can see innov ation.
9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?

                                                                            47
       I could write a book about this. It is changing, howev er I think
       Saskatchewan still has a ris k-adv ers e attitude. It’s a socialist-job-
       taker environm ent. “Who did you step on or take adv antage of to
       get where you are?” Bus inesses will create jobs to make a bigger
       taxation base so (the government) can have more socialist- type
       jobs , better roads, etc.

       Entrepreneurship is being embraced now. Organizations like SYPE 6
       are prom oting it. If there is a new business , you have to really
       prov e yourself. In Saskatchewan, they might as k if you need money
       to borrow. In Alberta, they ask how can I inv est? They (Alberta) are
       not s cared of early adoption. Once that changes here, it will help
       new busines ses get started. You alm ost have to prov e yours elf
       outside of Saskatchewan, and then come back for s omeone to take
       you s eriously. It’s an uphill battle, but Saskatchewan is a good tes t
       market. If you can sell here, you can sell anywhere. O ne thing is if
       you’v e built up s olid relations hips, people are loyal to you here. All
       in all, it’s moving in the right direction.

       You s hould s tart in Saskatchewan and diversify. The bigges t joke in
       Alberta is , “What do you call any site manager in Alberta?
       Saskatchewan boy.” We’re hard working people. We com e from a
       background that hasn’t been eas y. We didn’t fall into money. Not
       yet at least.

10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
    received and would pass on to up-and-coming
    entrepreneurs?
       The bes t piece (of advice) is (creating and maintaining)
       relationships . Als o, I believ e m y s taff com es first before anything.
       They are equal to the customer, but the staff really m akes the
       com pany m ove forward.




6
    http://www.sype.ca
                                                                                    48
11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  Continuous learning is very im portant. You hav e to be innovativ e and
  keep m oving forward. If you are jus t sus taining, you are m oving
  backwards. Someone els e will come and get ahead. You always
  have to think about the future. You s hould never be okay with the
  status quo. Make it better, faster, sm arter. Work harder.

  Power of Wow - Ron Morris (local book) and the m ovie called The
  Secret. I don’t take it to heart, but I like the ideology behind it. (It’s
  about) being a vis ionary and seeing what you want. I was using it
  and never realized it.

12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
    entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
   The challenge.
   It’s s tarting s omething new. It’s s eeing som ething come from nothing.
   It’s powerful, and it feels like I’m doing s omething with m y life.




                                                                               49
            John Cross, Chairman
             >> Philom Bios Inc.
             >> http://www.PhilomBios.com


1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
  I always had entrepreneurial themes in m y life. My father, ev en
  though he was an engineer always had entrepreneurial am bitions.
  My brother was in agriculture and he was a busines sman. There are
  these little genetic linkages.

  My entrepreneurial spirit flouris hed in the early 1980’s . I m oved (to
  Saskatoon) in 1975 with my wife and loved it here. We s aw all these
  wonderful opportunities in Saskatchewan. My lov e was agriculture
  and that was the foundation for s tarting P hilom Bios. It was a totally
  new concept of using microbial technology to increase farm er’s
  yields and profitability. The major driver was to bring incredible
  value to growers. If you can’t bring v alue to your cus tomers, don’t
  even start (a bus iness ). I was conv inced from the beginning that we
  had technology that would enable to us bring great v alue to
  growers.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspiration for you?
  Even from elem entary s chool, I had a teacher who changed m y life.
  Here was a guy who opened m y heart to the beauty of m usic. He
  encouraged me to be aware of what’s around me. I had people like
  that all through my life.

  My first boss when I mov ed to London, O ntario was always bubbling
  with ideas. Always asking m e for m y ideas , not caring how crazy

                                                                        50
  they might be. When I was at PO S (Pilot Plant) here in Saskatoon I
  started to really be interes ted in starting something from nothing.

  I’m not as ham ed of s aying, “I don’t know”. A lot of people are
  ashamed to as k for help due to their ego. If you’re genuine about
  asking for help, people will bend over backwards to giv e you what
  you need. All thes e people helped m e along the way. Without help, I
  don’t know how you’d do it. That em otional support is important.

  My wife was v ery s upportive and s he used to ask me why I worked
  so m uch. I jus t thought it was a barrel of fun. I lov ed it. It’s about
  taking advantage of opportunities that other people don’t take.

3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
  Two things : Adopting a plan that is inadequate, or not getting the
  neces sary help to execute your plans . You can have the best
  strategic plan, but if you don’t execute with diligence and
  com mitment, it’s nothing.

4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  Both. Som e people say entrepreneurs are just risk takers. I believe
  that’s wrong. They hav e the ability to ass ess the ris k and not take
  crazy risks . They take calculated risks.

  Success ful entrepreneurship demands a dis cipline of being truthful.
  It’s a dis cipline of rigor. It’s getting all the information you need to
  make sure the plan is right, and the intellectual resources to execute
  the plan. You can’t do it all alone. You need help. The whole idea of
  an entrepreneur being a lone cowboy riding off into the s uns et is
  rubbis h.




                                                                         51
5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  You hav e to believe in your plan. If you don’t hav e m oney you need
  to get it from people who do. That takes credibility and planning.
  The plan has to be believable. You have to stand up in front of a
  venture capitalis t and be truthful and sincere. You have to hav e the
  dis cipline to execute the plan.

6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example of when you felt you were about to throw in the
   towel but didn’t?
  My partners and I pulled s om e cas h together from the bank. With
  that m oney, we got a lawyer and an accountant to help organize a
  public offering for $5,000,000 in 198 2. Howev er, 198 2 was the 2 n d
  worst year in the century to try and rais e money. In October the
  interest rates went off the charts. It was unbelievable. I took adv ice
  from s omeone who didn’t know what they were talking about. We
  struck a deal for a lim ited partners hip, which ess entially giv es
  investors a fairly large deductibility for the research portion of their
  investm ent. However, it failed.

  We were in 1983 without any money. People told m e to declare
  bankruptcy and m ove on. I didn’t want to s tart and quit jus t like that.
  Why would we s tart and then quit? I couldn’t do that. Anyone can
  give up. You can’t jus t quit. Then a m iracle happened. A s tockbroker
  of the s ecurities firm we were working with lent m e $200 ,000 with
  nothing more than a handshake. No interest, just the expectation he
  would get it back. Why would a guy do that??

  That (first) deal we brokered put us in debt $34 2, 000.

  In thos e days there was an imm igrant inv estm ent program where
  people could buy a Canadian pas sport. A lot of people in H ong
  Kong in those days , in anticipation of Hong Kong reverting back to
  the Chines e in 1996, were looking to get pass ports in cas e they
  needed to leav e.
                                                                          52
  So we went to H ong K ong for a week and made pres entations to
  several doctors and came back with jus t over $500,000 in hand.
  We then went to the v enture capital firms (BDC, R aw Bank Capital).
  In 198 5, we closed our firs t priv ate placement of about 2.5 million
  dollars.

  My wife was s upportive. You will only get s upport if you really s how
  belief in what you are doing. If you don’t believe in it, don’t do it.
  We had 2 kids but we believ ed in what we were doing.

  It all com es down to if you really believe it, do it, come hell or high
  water. We hav e come a long way and none of that would have
  happened if we didn’t persev ere and asked for help.

7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?
  Back to the exam ple of 198 2/198 3, when we were really in a box.
  Like not declaring bankruptcy when people told m e I s hould. I jus t
  kept telling myself we could do it. It helps to pray at tim es. You
  have to hav e inner comm itm ent and strength to keep doing it. I read
  a lot as well to give m e a view of the world.

8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  I love reading biographies. You need encouragem ent from people
  who you can bounce open ideas off of. If you‘re clos e-minded,
  you’re an idiot. You need to be open-minded. You need to partner
  with people who know more than you.

  Mentors hip is very im portant. “Rat sweat” is a condition where you
  wake up at 3:00 am in the m orning and you realize you’re over
  com mitted. What do you do? You can’t do it alone, you need help.
  When you’re a billionaire you can be as independent as you want.
  When you’re poor, you need help.

                                                                             53
  Mentors hav e to believe and trus t in you as well. There needs to be
  mutual respect. There’s no shortcut to success . You’ll only get
  support from your network if they know you’re s erious.

  It’s tough, but the rewards are beyond m eas ure.

9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  It’s a very s orry story. We m oved here about 32 years ago. We
  couldn’t understand the inferiority complex that was going on here.
  People told m e about the m emory of the dirty thirties. Howev er, it’s
  still here! We don’t have to take a back s eat to anyone. We hav e
  the best kids in the world here. There’s a sense of entitlement here
  because of the political history.

  We’ve nev er been pro-business . There’s this fals e promise that
  tom orrow will get better. It will only get better if we m ake it better
  today. My s ens e is that there is a breeze of change. The
  gov ernment has been able to recognize that we need to create the
  wealth before you can see the wealth. We (now) have thes e people
  consuming wealth before it’s created.

  There is a change going on. I giv e s ome credit to the gov ernment.
  The old thinking does n’t work. You can’t throw away your principles ,
  but we need people to create the wealth and that’s in the business
  com munity.

  There are people that hav e m oved out of Saskatchewan. Howev er,
  there are a lot of people who are still here who believe in this
  prov ince. This is God’s country. Why would you want to liv e
  anywhere els e? The m ajority of the people want the minority
  (bus iness people) of the people to do m ost of the work.

  You can’t let the bastards weigh you down. You can’t let the bullies
  win. Som e people who hav e extrem e left-wing ideas want to use
  other people’s m oney. B e aware of wealthy s ocialis ts, they’re a
  menace.

                                                                         54
  We don’t tell other people about our success. We are too modest
  here. Paul Martin (TEC) said, “If you’re making a pot with a bunch of
  lobsters , and one gets aggressiv e and clim bs out, the others pull him
  down.” We got to ov ercome that.

  We hav e two of the largest mining companies in the world
  headquartered here. We hav e half of the arable land in the country.
  We don’t really talk about thes e great things too much.
  We’re great at com ing up with ideas and putting them in action, but
  we’re poor at marketing. We s hould be competitive globally. There
  is an express ion that goes , “You can’t be globally competitive
  globally unless you are globally com petitiv e at home.”

10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up-and-coming
   entrepreneurs?
  Get your pers onal life in order. If you drink a lot, or do drugs or
  gam ble, you won’t make it. Bus iness s uccess requires ev ery ounce
  of spiritual, emotional, and mental energy. You don’t hav e to be an
  angel, but if you get that together you will be s uccessful. It’s all
  about people, s o you can’t be a jerk. Truly understand what your
  priorities are. Ask yourself, “What am I really good at, and what do I
  enjoy doing?”

  I found the book What Colour Is Your Parachute very helpful when I
  was making m y career transition in 1980. You have to find what
  you’re good at. You don’t have to be all things to everyone.

  The challenge is to be innov ativ e. It happens when your mind is
  stim ulated to what is going on around and you are learning new
  things , including unrelated things. I’ll give you an exam ple: H enry Ford
  cam e up with the idea of the production line after visiting a
  slaughterhous e and s eeing the carcasses on the line. He took
  something and applied it in a totally different way. Learning is
  important.



                                                                           55
  You hav e to hav e empathy for people and unders tand their needs
  and wants. I hav e a pair of moccas ins on m y office wall to rem ind
  mys elf to walk in other people’s s hoes, to em pathize with people.


11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  It is highly im portant. Built To Las t by Jim Collins changed my life. I
  recom mend it. I m ostly read biographies. I read the econom ist. It
  gives a view of the world on politics , book reviews , s cience and
  technology.

12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  It nev er was the m oney actually. No money can com pensate for the
  18-hour days . My purpos e in life is to be us eful. I can talk great
  lengths of m y s piritual beliefs, but in a nuts hell, it’s to be us eful. The
  recognition and feeling that I’v e been us eful m akes it all worthwhile. I
  make mistakes, but life is a classroom, it’s all about learning. We
  know s o little, s o that’s why we need help. My drive is to be useful.

      It was 12 years before we made a profit. Our concept was s o
  strong and we were able to convey it to our shareholders . When I
  tell that to comm erce s tudents , they are horrified. We got a lot of
  help .

  The bes t thing a farmer can hear is , “That’s a good crop”. When I
  get a call from a farm er telling m e that our product really helped
  him out. That’s what it’s all about.




                                                                              56
                  Marion Ghiglione, B.SC
                   >> HANDY GROUP OF COMPANIES
                   >> http://www.sohandy.com



1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
      My husband Barry wanted to s tart a rental bus iness becaus e the
      thought of owning s om ething and getting incom e from renting it out
      appealed to him. Maybe he’s the true entrepreneur. He was the one
      that thought we could do it. We started with v ehicle rentals in 198 2
      and that’s what we call our education. It was n’t the right thing for us.
      We mov ed into equipm ent rentals in 1983 and into special events in
      198 9. I concentrate on running the s pecial ev ents s ide, but we do it
      all together.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspiration for you?

      We hav e m ade a lot of connections over the years. Initially, we firs t
      connected with other rental s toreowners. We belong to the American
      Rental Association 7 . When we’d go there (to events ), we’d m eet
      people from all over the world. There are many people there who
      have been in business longer than us and hav e been mentors to us.
      There is a lot of opportunity to network and get coaching. The
      association now has an official foundation that has a m entoring
      program. We’re inv olv ed with it as m entors.



7
    http://ww w.ararenta l.org
                                                                             57
      Locally, we are involv ed in a group called TEC 8 chaired by Paul
      Martin (not the prev ious P rim e Minis ter of Canada). We work
      together with other bus iness owners in non- competing industries and
      dis cus s various iss ues. There is a lot of group m entorship there.

      In addition to TEC, we are inv olv ed with Saskatoon Chamber of
      Comm erce 9, NSBA 10, and the Raj Manek Mentors hip 11 program.
      We’re working as mentors now, but we will continue to learn from
      people around us.

      I don’t know how you’d live without m entoring. You can learn in
      school, but when you get out here it’s different. Unless you hav e a
      good sounding board, s omeone you can trus t, it’s tough. It has to be
      with non-competing indus tries.

3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
      It’s not acceptable.

      Howev er, failure is when you can’t go on anym ore. There hav e
      been all s orts of iss ues in our history. There will always be times
      when you think, is that it? That being said, failure is n’t an option.
      There is always a way. There is always a way to do it.

4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
      I think they’re born. There are probably s ome who are made.
      Howev er, I believ e way more are born. I think entrepreneurs tend to
      go through projects that aren’t successful. True entrepreneurs could
      fail in one v enture, then come back and reinv ent them selves in
      something completely different. When you read about people, a lot
      of them didn’t do it right the first time. They just figure, “This didn’t
      work out. Let’s turn around and do s omething els e.”
8
  http://ww w.teconline.com/
9
  http://ww w.eboardoftrad e.com
10
   http://ww w.nsba-sk.com/
11
     http://www. manekmentorship.sk.ca/
                                                                               58
5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  Determination, persev erance, a belief you can do it, confidence, a
  dream.

6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  Rent- a-Wreck. It was a franchise and we as sum ed it would be a
  safe business. H owever, it didn’t work out v ery well. When you
  invest a lot, you have a lot of debt and you hav e to dig yourself
  out of a hole. That was a challenge. That was our education like I
  said earlier. Trus t in yours elf, believ e in yourself and you can do
  anything. When you trus t in som eone els e who doesn’t hav e his or
  her dollars on the line, it’s different.

7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?
  No, I don’t think pers onal acquaintances or friends were an issue. I
  think it’s the doubt you hav e in yours elf. What s om eone else thought
  didn’t m atter to us. It’s what you felt about yours elf. We were
  probably harder on ourselv es than anyone els e was.

  No one really said we couldn’t do it. If they did, we wouldn’t hav e
  listened. You hav e to hav e your research done. You hav e to hav e
  some knowledge and s om e ability to make a good decision.


8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  Family support. We are a husband/wife team. We s upport each
  other. One of our mentors at the tim e was an accountant. H e was
                                                                           59
  helpful. You’v e got to keep looking forward. The dream s till has to
  be there. You can’t dwell on past mis takes. You learn from them,
  that’s your education, but you can’t dwell on them. You have to keep
  looking forward. Most entrepreneurs are positiv e people and can
  see the good in things (as long as they’re not looking back). That
  optimism will help them get out. Mentorship has been invaluable.

9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  It’s getting better. When you consider we’v e been a million people
  since the 1930’s. We haven’t had that growth in energy. We haven’t
  reached the global m arket, the global econom y. I think that’s
  changing now. Things are definitely changing. Saskatoon’s population
  has grown and I think it’s becaus e of the entrepreneurial spirit here.
  Regina is the capital, but is more of gov ernment town, s o there is
  less entrepreneurial activity. They hav e head offices there and we
  only hav e a few here. We struggle without having enough head
  offices here. H owever, it hasn’t stopped entrepreneurs from starting
  up here and growing bigger. In the last 5 years , there have been a
  lot of companies that have seen som e m ajor growth and s om e
  exceptional growth. They’re going to be the future m entors in this
  city.

  They stuck it out all thos e years , kept going, had the dream , and
  didn’t giv e up no matter what the government did. The attitude that
  was shaped rev olv ed around not caring if the governm ent
  supported us or not. “If they don’t help, we’ll go ahead anyways.” I
  think Saskatoon has changed and will continue to change. I think
  Saskatoon will bring Saskatchewan with it.

  We do have to work harder here. To grow a bus iness in this
  environment, it’s bas ed on relations hip building. You got to know
  somebody and they hav e to trus t you.

  In Alberta, it m ay be eas ier to start, but there’s als o lots of
  com petition.


                                                                         60
10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs?
  I don’t know if m y hus band would approach this differently, but I
  would say the bes t adv ice we got was from our accountant. We’d
  have to get a loaner computer from them (you didn’t buy a
  com puter then, it was too ex pensiv e). He worked with us to design
  some inform ation s ys tems that would help us look at our business
  financials more accurately. If you know what your dollars and profits
  are doing, then you know you’re doing it right (or wrong), you know
  how to m ov e forward. That was the initial knowledge that was s o
  important. B eing introduced to cash flow statements , profit and los s
  statem ents and balance s heets was invaluable. B efore that, we just
  thought it was jus t profit. All this data is a picture of what you’ve
  done. It’s historical, but it really helps you m ove forward.

11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  When you hav e a dream , you get s omething going, and after that,
  it’s just building. You can keep building. Education wise, when we
  were really busy, we jus t ran the bus iness. We didn’t have much
  tim e to read. Howev er, once we had good s taff in place. We
  started to learn how to manage the business and to learn to think
  strategically. When you’re in the middle of everything, you jus t can’t
  do that. Mentorship is of cours e important. I’m going to finis h m y MB A
  next year. You should always be learning.

  As to books , there’s so many out there. When you read books , it’s
  good to dis cus s them together with other people. In the rental
  business, there are groups called BAG (B usines s Analysis Groups )
  groups. You get together with others in your industry (non- competing
  locations ) and we drill down on s pecific is sues.

  I would say a lot of it is general reading. When you talk about
  learning, there’s s o m uch now. Good to Great and Firs t, Break the
  Rules are books that come to m ind. There’s s tuff you may not need
                                                                          61
  from an entire book, but there’s always s om ething that really grabs
  you and you hang on to it. Maybe it solv es a s pecific issue for you.

12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  We want to enrich the lives of everyone associated with Handy
  Group of Com panies. We want to make it so ev eryone can have
  the best life poss ible doing the things they love to do. Opportunities
  to grow, fair wages , enrichment. We all need to grow and feel good
  about ours elv es. Ev eryone is different. Som eone may take a week
  off skiing, s omeone will want take a class. Whatever they think is
  important. You want them to bring their bes t to the company too.
  You als o want them to be doing s om ething they’re really good at,
  not s omething they’re not.




                                                                       62
            Russel Marcoux, CEO
            >> YANKE GROUP OF COMPANIES
            >> http://www.Yanke.ca

1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
  Upbringing has a role to play for sure. The amount of independence
  and responsibility that is ins tilled in you in your form ativ e years is of
  high importance. We had 12 kids in our fam ily on a dairy/grain farm.
  We were taught to be independent and res pons ible. Thos e are
  ingredients for the entrepreneurial s pirit.

  I always was interes ted in equipment and trucks. I always wanted to
  driv e one, but nev er had a v ision for owning a trucking company.
  After convocation I decided to farm. My brothers wanted to farm as
  well, but there was n’t enough for us to do on the farm. We bought
  a grav el truck, then a highway tractor and started hauling agriculture
  com modities. We worked as owner/operators for other companies.
  We didn’t like the experience s o we decided to start our own from
  that point on.

  It was a challenge to get into the bus iness, as there were many
  licenses you needed. It was v ery res trictiv e at the tim e. Now
  everything has been deregulated.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspiration for you?
  Without ev en realizing it, I had learned from ev erybody I interacted
  with. I hav e a strong belief in building networks. More often than not,
  I’ll come out of a meeting or function with the s olution to a challenge
  I’m having. It’s am azing what can com e from a sim ple convers ation.
                                                                            63
  I’v e never had a form al mentor. In hindsight that would have been
  great. That would be a recommendation I would give now. We
  learned from many mistakes . There’s high v alue in going to a mentor
  to avoid the pitfalls that m ay appear to be short cuts.

3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
  If you gav e it your bes t effort and didn’t accom plis h your goal, it’s
  not a failure. It’s an opportunity to learn and probably grow. When
  you go to s chool, you are taught that if you don’t get over 50% you
  fail. It’s ingrained in us. If it’s an opportunity to learn, it’s not a failure.
  We’ve made a lot of mis takes. Som e out of ignorance, s om e out of
  not taking enough tim e to calculate and form a s trategy. When we
  were in our formativ e years , we were 100 % focus ed on taking
  opportunities as they cam e.

  Now, we are much m ore strategic and analytic. At the lev el we are
  now at, we couldn’t operate any other way. For me pers onally, it
  was a lot m ore fun in the early days when we were getting started.
  We got s tarted in the industry as the agriculture industry was
  booming and creating a whole new marketplace for trucking. You
  have to m ake m istakes to really grow and learn. D on’t be afraid of
  mistakes or a challenge because you fear you may not s ucceed.

4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  This goes back to the upbringing I m entioned earlier. There may be
  an element of genes and chromosom es. H owever, I still think the
  majority factor is in the upbringing.

5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  Pers everance is a trait definitely. If you hit a wall, it’s a m atter of
  how you rebound. I think luck som etimes has a role. The hard tim es
  taught us a lot more than the good times.

                                                                                64
6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  I’v e never been at the point where I felt like throwing in the towel.
  There have been a couple of very stress ful times where we grew
  too fas t and were under capitalized. We had to do s om e creative
  financing and make s om e quick adjustments . For ex ample, los ing a
  cus tomer that accounted for 20% of our busines s in a tendering
  process was a hard less on. It taught us to spread out our risk. We
  learned to turn down business from customers becaus e you don’t
  want to be overly ex posed.

7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you? How did you
   overcome that?
  Well, being the unclaim ed leader in the com pany, I hav e been
  Pres ident/CEO ev er since we form ed the company. When we hit
  some of those tough times , it was a matter of s itting down and
  seeing where we are and why we are here and making s ure we
  aren’t here again. There was no real visible s howing of lack of
  confidence, but m aybe it was jus t as much as ques tioning m y own
  confidence and ability. I nev er had pressure from my partners , who
  happened to be m y brothers. Howev er, because of m y role and
  pos ition, I put a lot of pressure on m yself. We had invested a lot of
  blood, sweat, and tears on this company.


8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  I had to internally challenge m yself. You can’t ignore the problems,
  you hav e to face them head on and figure out a solution.

  There are thresholds of growth. I think it’s im portant to s tay on top
  of that. That’s where good outside m entoring or cons ulting comes in.
  I’m not a big consulting fan, but expertis e is necessary. R ecognizing
                                                                           65
  pitfalls prior to proceeding is crucial. Proper hom ework, including
  professional adv ice, can s ave you lot of time and money.

  We had m any years where we grew 100% each year and many
  where we did 50-60 % growth. So we thought we were OK, but you
  need to build the infrastructure for each level of growth methodically
  and take that s tep back to analyze what you need to s upport the
  next level of your growth and development.
  .

9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  Our head office is s till in Sas katchewan even though les s than 5% of
  our busines s com es from here. Ev en less now, since Weyerhaeus er
  closed. With technology now, we can communicate with our
  cus tomers with no problems. We do have a significant trav el budget
  due to our location. That’s one restriction. H owever, It’s a great
  environment for people and culture.

  Overall, it’s not been a good environment for busines s dev elopm ent
  and increasing opportunities for trans portation needs. There has n’t
  been a lot of div ers ification that has created a need for
  transportation. The whole business philosophy of the province needs
  a renewal and to capitalize on natural advantages that include our
  raw materials and in the v alue-added areas where the real job
  creation is.

10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs?
  Som e of the best adv ice I got was from reading books m ore than
  individuals. I’ve learned a lot from other people but can’t really
  pinpoint a s pecific exam ple. Something that has stuck with m e m ore
  than I realize, cam e from a v ery s uccessful business pers on from
  Winnipeg. H e s tarted a garbage pick-up bus iness and ended up
  selling it to s omeone els e for a very tidy profit. The pers on he s old
  it, in turn s old it to a national, and m ade even m ore. I thought he
                                                                          66
  would be frosted, but he s aid I don’t know anyone who went broke
  from m aking a profit. The idea is not be too greedy. It’s been
  relevant to m e in m y business .

11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
  I go through s tages when it comes to books. O ne in particular is
  Built To Las t by Jim Collins as well as the s equel called Good to
  Great. We used that as a springboard to understand the im pact of
  culture. Great com panies that withs tood the tes t of time all had a
  strong culture that was built on v alues. People that work there know
  what the com pany s tands for. The only way to create culture is by
  your actions. I can’t over emphas ize the change in our direction
  after creating the mis sion, vision and core values.

  We’ve changed from v iewing people as costs to viewing people as
  investm ents. It’s a total s hift in thinking. Our com petitors can buy the
  same trucks and trailers and for the most part, access the sam e
  technology. People are our major competitive advantage. It’s our
  people that deliv er on our comm itm ents. That’s what m akes the
  difference. Why not inv est in your bigges t com petitiv e advantage?

12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
  Firs t of all, profit has nev er driven m e. I don’t think that’s totally
  uncom mon for an entrepreneur. I found out the hard way that profit
  is pretty important. Profit is to a business like food, water, and
  oxygen is to a person. They aren’t the purpose of living, but you
  need them to live. You need to make money, but if that’s what you
  get out of bed for, you’re living a s hallow existence.

  For me, it’s the opportunity to see a goal being achieved or
  materialize and see an em ployee grow and develop. Those are the
  things that get m e up in the m orning and get me ex cited to get to
  work. At the end of the day you hope to m ake m oney, but it’s not
  the driving factor.
                                                                            67
            Bryan Hnatiw, President
             >> ECOL LASER AND ECOL DIRECT
             >> http://www.ecollaser.ca



1. Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you
   start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led
   you to entrepreneurship?
  I don’t know if I hav e an entrepreneurial background as I went to
  SIAST for industrial electronics after high s chool. It (the cours e) was
  attractive because) there was good job potential. H owever, at the
  tim e of graduation, a recess ion was taking place here. There
  weren’t a lot of jobs. I started the business when I was 21, by
  buying a toner cartridge recycling franchis e. It wasn’t too different
  from m y education and was easier to justify to my parents. I could
  fill in as technician (if needed) and es sentially buy a job. The
  franchise provided a road m ap, which was v ery useful. My dad’s
  twin brother ran hotels and s mall bus iness es for a lot of his adult
  life. The fact that he was working for him self ins pired m e.

2. Who have been your role models, mentors, or other
   inspirational figures for you, both in your personal life and in
   public?
  There are various people for different reasons. There are the
  mentors you can’t really touch. Thes e are the people you read
  about in biographies , such as Rudy Juliani and Jack Welch. I think
  some of the bes t learning you can get is by reading people’s
  biographies. You can also learn from people who liv ed disas trous
  lives . You learn what not to do.


                                                                              68
  Locally, you have to look at som eone like Jim Yuel. To s ee what
  he’s accomplis hed and how he s tructured his business (is educating).
  Tim B urns is s om eone who is low-key and owns s everal bus inesses.

  One other local exam ple is Kenny Achs. H e’s a very accom plished
  guy who’s probably one of the biggest land dev elopers in the city.
  He owns Midwes t D evelopments and Meridian Dev elopments . Once a
  year, I can take him out for lunch and I’ll tell him what’s going on in
  my bus iness. He’s a m ulti-millionaire ten tim es ov er and he’s at the
  right age where he can tell me what I s hould be learning. Mentors
  are s o useful.

  As I get older, what I look for in people is not jus t accomplis hments,
  but their character. Some people whom I adm ire are m y cus tom ers.
  When you’re younger in bus iness , m ost people around you are
  older. P eople tell m e that one of my strengths is to lis ten and do
  what people say. I was fortunate to take a leadership role when I
  was younger in business . P eople here like to help each other out,
  whereas in another city, it may be m ore cut throat.

3. Can you explain how you perceive failure as an
   Entrepreneur?
  The healthy way to deal with it is to get the lesson from it. It’s
  natural to feel emotional about it, but you hav e to look at the less on
  that is there. If you can’t control your thoughts, you can beat your
  self-up pretty bad. You have to break it down. It’s not done till it’s
  done. I had a recent v enture, which was a dog, and lost some
  good money. I had to reverse engineer and look at the learning
  less on. It’s tough to train your brain that way.

  Education doesn’t come for free. You pay thousands to go to s chool
  or in a v enture that doesn’t pan out. You better learn s omething. We
  got ours elv es into some financial dis tress a few tim es in our
  business. We slacked when things were going well and we didn’t
  think cash was important anym ore. Then all of sudden it hits you and
  you’re in a bad situation. You can’t get cocky and arrogant.


                                                                         69
  Again, with failure there is a seed of opportunity. When it happens,
  it’s tough as hell, but dwelling on it won’t get you anywhere. There
  could be all this m oney in front of you, but you could be caught up
  dwelling in a failure. You as k any s ucces sful person and they’ll s ay it
  was n’t a cakewalk.

4. Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why?
  That’s a tough one. Intuitively, I don’t think ev eryone is an
  entrepreneur. I used to think that everyone could be becaus e I
  never cons idered mys elf a s uper bright pers on. If I can do it,
  anyone can do it. The reality is that 50% aren’t s uited to it due to
  their pers onality type. I think anyone can learn it if they really want
  it. They have to hav e a true s trong desire. I think I have the right
  personality to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t have the skills (at the
  tim e). I had to learn those as I went.

5. Can you explain the traits/skills you need to make it pass
   the start-up phase and flourish?
  I’m sure a book could be written about all the people who were s o
  close to s uccess , but gave up too s oon. It’s all about persis tence
  and courage. You hav e to keep going forward even when you don’t
  want to get out of bed becaus e you’re s o depress ed. You just got
  to keep going and m ake it happen. You got to have motivation to
  keep improv ing. That being s aid, you can be pers istent doing the
  wrong thing over and over again and that’s not good. You have to
  keep looking at new ways to improv e.

  I think a real key is to be focus ed on sales and m arketing. The
  owner should be a good sales pers on and put the dollars out on
  good marketing. You take two similar products and one is better. If
  you can get the wors t of the two to market faster, it mos t likely will
  do better than the one that is constantly trying to be the bes t
  before getting to market.




                                                                           70
6. Can you give me your thoughts on perseverance and an
   example when you felt you were about to throw in the towel
   but didn’t?
  In my 5 th month of bus iness , m y expectations about going to m arket
  were unrealistic. I had a retail s tore, but it targeted corporate s ales
  and wasn’t a shoe store (for regular consumers). I was losing
  $2000/m onth and I got to the point where I was like, “I can’t do this
  anymore”. I kept talking to m ys elf and started talking to other people
  and they s aid you’re almost there. I s pent the day s elling and
  focus ing on the input not the output. I didn’t stay in m y office crying.
  I was out m eeting people and s elling. Then, one month in January,
  our sales doubled. The next month also doubled. It was a miracle. I
  went from no money to a real business. It gav e m e the s ens e of
  confidence that it could be a real enterpris e.

  The s ame thing happened when I started the direct mail bus iness. I
  did it a little sm arter and tested it firs t. We made $40 ,000 that one
  tes t year so it s eem ed like a good idea. So I went and did it. I
  financed it with com pany money, which was a m istake. The
  equipment and s taff cost m ore than I expected and that $40 ,000
  didn’t cut it anym ore. My partner and I then decided we were going
  to hav e three presentations a day with decision makers . “We do
  that for a few months , we’ll get the s ales”, I said to m ys elf. We
  were doing that for a while and then again, a miracle. We got a call
  with a really big contract. It was n’t a direct res ult from the
  presentations, but doing those pres entations got the energy really
  going. P eople liked what we were doing. I had job offers and
  investm ent offers from going out there and making thos e
  presentations.

  You got to hav e a good plan, implem ent it, and get those results .
  You hav e to believe it. I really wanted to s tart a business . The
  winter before I s tarted the business , I was in unemploym ent. I
  couldn’t get a job, so I went to a ps ychic and s he told m e s he saw
  money in m y future. She saw a business coming. At the tim e, I really
  believ ed it. I pursued it and now our business is a $2 million
  business. It‘s the foundation of The Secret and Think and Grow R ich.
  If you believe it, you can do it. You got to have faith in the process .
                                                                          71
  The people m aking the most money are doing what m ost people
  don’t want to do.

7. There may have been a time when personal
   friends/acquaintances had doubts in you. How did you
   overcome that?
  You hav e to realize people are naturally jealous by hum an nature.
  When you’re s truggling, people will encourage you, but it’s funny
  when they see you do well. I rem ember hearing, “You can’t m ake a
  living selling toner cartridges”. Then, when you do succeed they s ay,
  “I could hav e done that”. If you fail they say, “Why did you do that?”

  You hav e to hang around with good pos itiv e people, people that
  haven taken risks . It goes back to the s aying, “Birds of a feather,
  flock together”

8. What did you do to increase your mental fitness to see
   things through when you were in a tough period?
  Phys ical activity. I know I get stress ed when I’m doing less. It’s a big
  stress reducer. Another thing is filling my m ind with the
  (motivational/educational) tapes and books. I love m y Brian Tracy
  tapes. If I go out and hav e a bit of hangov er on Sunday, Monday is
  a bear. B ut if I go for run, do some reading over the weekend. I
  com e in Monday like a warrior.

  When it comes to pers onal dev elopm ent now, there’s no price I
  won’t pay. I won’t go stupid and buy everything, but if I s ee
  something good, I will pay what it’s worth. When you’re running a
  multi-million dollar busines s and you get one idea from this book that
  you implem ent, it can make you $50,000.

  I’m careful with who I interact with. I know alcohol has a negative
  effect on m y m ental s tate and s lows me down. I’ve learned m y
  patterns now.


                                                                          72
9. What are your thoughts on Saskatchewan business and the
   public perception of business in Saskatchewan?
  I think s om e of the best entrepreneurs I know of com e from
  Saskatchewan. When I was in m y twenties , I was trying to do som e
  business in China and s ome of the brightes t people I’ve run into are
  doing busines s in Sas katchewan and/or hav e roots in Saskatchewan.
  I think part of it has to do with the demographics and the m arket.

  You don’t become success ful in bus iness in Saskatchewan on
  accident. You got to hav e the skills and the work ethic. A lot of
  people here have pretty close ties to parents who were pioneers .
  There was a s truggle that was good for people. It’s a great
  environment to do business . The challenge is that the gov ernment is
  the bigges t employer in the province. As a result, there’s always
  been resentm ent from and to the bus iness community.

  I finally got mys elf a decent vehicle. People react different to that.
  They don’t celebrate success like other bigger centers. Sas katoon
  business people are all about helping other bus iness people out. The
  (overall) attitude is changing here however. The housing market is
  having an im pact. The average hom eowner almost has a busines s
  on the s ide by valuating their house (for potential gain). There’s this
  entrepreneurial s pirit that’s been injected into the province. I think
  Saskatchewan will be a good place to be doing bus iness in the
  future.

10. What is the best piece of business advice you have
   received and would pass on to up and coming
   Entrepreneurs?
  I think a lot of it comes back to m entoring and learning from other
  people who are s uccessful. Try to understand what they are doing.
  Do what they do. It seems like I’m ov ersimplifying it, but it’s true.

11. How important is continuous learning to you and is there a
    book you would highly recommend to someone with thoughts
    about entrepreneurship?
                                                                           73
      It’s highly important to m e. Not only out of necess ity to keep pushing
      the envelope, but als o for m otiv ating purposes . It’s got m e through a
      lot of tough times. B rian Tracy and Napoleon Hill are big for me. You
      then hav e the classics like Jim Rohn, W. Clement Stone. Earl
      Nightingale has s ome good tapes . Stephen Cov ey’s material is great
      too. I just keep listening to his tapes over and ov er again. Think and
      Grow R ich by Napoleon Hill is one book I would definitely
      recom mend.

12. What drove you and continues to drive you in your
   entrepreneurial ventures besides profit?
      ‘Self- Actualization’ (Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ Theory) 12 .
      The m oney is jus t a m eas urement. I don’t know if I’m living that much
      better. I’m not really m aterialis tic. I do hav e a bigger house and a
      nicer car, but I’v e realized the things I really enjoy don’t cos t m oney.
      I enjoy sitting and reading a great book like Think and Grow R ich
      (Napolean Hill).

      I’m not in some bar s pending $15 per hour. When you get into your
      30’s and 40’s you get to thinking, “What am I doing with my life?”
      My wors t fear is not reaching m y potential. My bigges t gift to m yself
      is reaching m y full potential. Am I going to buy s om ething with the
      money from a big sale? I’ll probably put it in the bank or inv est it
      and not realize that gain for s om e years. There’s a balance
      between having an ego and being arrogant. Accom plishment keeps
      me going.




12
     http://en.w ikipedia.org /wiki/Maslo w's_hierarch y_of_needs
                                                                               74
>> Concluding Remarks
Saskatoon hosts many successful entrepreneurs and I’v e only
showcas ed a s mall num ber of them here in this e- book. I hope after
reading this , you hav e s een there is opportunity to s tart a business
and be s uccess ful in Saskatchewan. I hope you’v e als o gained s om e
insight into the m indset and thinking of thes e individuals . They are
diverse yet similar. They hav e all been able to take calculated risks ,
they’ve all been able to pus h through hard times and stay positiv e,
they all enjoy helping others get s tarted, and they all love being in
Saskatchewan.

Thank you for reading,




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