opportunity? grab it!

Speaking engagement YMCA Small Business

Ok… you’re ready…you have a great business concept. You’ve lined up the funding you needed, you’ve got a solid business plan that:

  1. You can believe in
  2. You’ve vetted and consulted with other business owners/business consultants
  3. A bank or a friend/ family member might provide funds against

You have a great location lined up and you're pretty sure you’re going to take it. You have all of the suppliers picked out for your inventory. And then….

A GREAT OPPORTUNITY STRIKES

  • Do you pivot?
  • Do you stay the course?
  • Do you investigate?

Boy oh boy, I would strongly encourage every entrepreneur to … Have a look... check it out… sniff the air… get as much advice and input (from other BUSINESS people/ BUSINESS advisors)… look at yourself in the mirror… and then GO FOR IT!

This is my  own ‘GREAT OPPORTUNITY’ story….

My friend and I started A Glass Act Student Window Cleaning in our second year of university. Our plan was to go around the neighbourhoods and drop off flyers and knock on doors to get residential work. After a week or so, we had lined up a lot of houses and were very pleased with ourselves as we were making great money, having fun and ‘being our own boss”!

A Glass Act Lads

One day, in our second week of being in business, it began to rain as we were finishing the first house. Then it began to POUR. So, we decided to head over to the university campus and see if we could clean windows for the businesses within the huge mall in the centre of campus - HUB Mall. Many of the merchants were keen and we set about washing numerous  store windows.

 The Opportunity:

After about the third store, a fellow walked by and asked if we were Premium Window Cleaning. I replied, “no we are A Glass Act. He then continued on his way. I looked at my partner and said “I wonder what he wanted them for” and proceeded to head down the mall and ask him. Well… he was the construction superintendent for the renovation that was underway (and nearly completed) of the over 800 student apartments in the mall. He said the other window cleaning company was supposed to have delivered a quote for the window cleaning of all 420 suites and hadn’t done so.

Hub Mall from the outside

Without missing a beat, I said “well we can certainly provide a quote for you”.

He said ok and proceeded to tour me through the MASSIVE building, showing us the various room configurations that we would be quoting on. Every unit had huge windows looking into the centre of the mall as well as big exterior windows that would need to be cleaned. I raced back to my partner and said… “OH MY GOD, you won’t believe what I just did”!

To make a loooong story short, we had 28 hours to prepare a quote for him. He gave us a master key, so we spent the next 18 hours crawling through every type of apartment. All through the night we had our window cleaning gear and we washed all of the windows and timed ourselves for every apartment configuration so we knew what each required for time.We then went home and for the next 8 hours we ran spreadsheets, wrote one proposal draft after another until finally…. At 3pm that day we raced over to his office and presented our quote.

The the next morning at 10 am, my phone rang…

 

WE GOT THE JOB!!

Oh shit…. NOW WHAT???!!??

We had committed to this MASSIVE project and we only had one week to:

  • Give our heads a shake
  • Set up a real company
  • Get insurance
  • Get registered with Revenue Canada
  • Buy a TON of equipment
  • Hire 7 staff members
  • TRAIN 7 staff members
  • Break into one of the suites and practice, practice, practice

The 'long story short' part:

We did it. We rocked it, we employed ourselves and 7 staff all summer, we screwed up a couple times, we hit road blocks, made bad choices, made good choices, had great staff, had  terrible staff, thought we’d never get finished, thought we’d lose money, thought we were Business Titans, thought we were insane (more than a few times).

Remember... We had only been washing windows for two weeks (less rain days)!

When opportunity knocks

ANSWER THE DOOR