Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Entrepreneurs for all Seasons

Busy, interesting week coming up.
On Saturday and Sunday I will be attending GrowthCamp, PROFIT Magazine’s weekend retreat for the CEOs of the Hot 50 Growth Companies (see previous posts). I’m looking forward to seeing friends from last year and meeting some of the new winners I’ve interviewed on the phone.

On Monday I will be at the Enterprise Toronto Small Business Forum, where I am moderating the noontime Entrepreneur Panel. (Admission free. Click here.) My panelists are:

Margaret Sarrasin, who started MJ's Fine Foods Inc. in 2000. Within 10 months, the distribution of Margaret's Artisan and Santa Fe Flatbreads expanded from local specialty shops to national grocery chains.
Henrique (Henry) Sia of Golden Valley's Food Outlet Inc., a wholesale and retail outlet of specialty food products imported from the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Shasha Navazesh of ShaSha Bread Co., an Organic Artisan bakery that combines ancient techniques with innovative methods to produce nutritious, organic sourdough products. (Shasha was very generous about sending us free samples when I was at PROFIT magazine, so I am looking forward to thanking him. His flatbreads got us through a lot of late production nights.)

I’ll be asking my characteristically impertinent questions:
* Did you have a business plan when you started out? How much does your business resemble that plan?
* What’s the worst business advice you ever received?
* What has been your worst moment in business? What got you through it?
* As an entrepreneur in Toronto, what are your impressions of:
* the business climate in this city?
* the banks?
* City Hall?
* our transportation infrastructure?

Shasha himself suggested a few interesting questions I will try to include:
• what was the most effective way you promote your products into the market?
• what do you think consumers are basing their buying decision on these days?

And on Tuesday I am moderating a private seminar for a client featuring Brian Luborsky, CEO of Premier Salons, which was Canada’s Fastest-Growing Company in 1997. He’s a great business strategist who has gone from success to success, so I am looking forward to hearing about his latest adventures and lessons learned.
I’ll blog all I can.

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