Monday, September 26, 2005

Why do entrepreneurs do what they do?

You'll never find a better explanation than that delivered by Shasha Navazesh of ShaSha Bread Co. at our Entrepreneurs' Panel at Enterprise Toronto's Small Business Forum today. A professional pastry chef who started his own artisan bakery to produce nutritious, organic sourdough breads, Shasha is remarkably passionate - and eloquent - about what he does.

As moderator, I asked the three panelists to tell us the worst business advice they ever received. Shasha recalled that most of his friends and family told him not to start his business - it was just too hard, they said. Someone in the audience asked how he found the courage to ignore all those warnings. Taking the risk was just part of his lifelong dream, said Shasha:

"In the depths of our personal being is that drive to experience and learn in this life. So it’s beyond just having a business – it’s about how you conduct your life...
"Are you going to sit on the wayside, or are you going to get your toes wet or go in the water and swim? Some of us sit and watch from the wayside, some of us dip our toes, some of us just dive right in."

Shasha had another bon mot, about how entrepreneurs learn. “We learn more from our mistakes than anything else. When you go the bank, if you have already been bankrupt once, they give you a loan much quicker. Because the second time it’s personal. This time they know you know what you shouldn’t be doing.”

More highlights when I have more time.

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