I started my third company in 1991 at the age of 23. That's the company I would go on to run for 27 years.
It wasn’t always easy. In fact, I spent the first several months beating the pavement all over downtown Toronto looking for leads. I visited the reception desk of every major company in the office towers just for a chance to meet with the decision makers of each business. Instead, I was constantly being dragged out of each building by security. This went on for months. I was putting in the work, like any good entrepreneur who believes in their business. But it wasn’t working. Something was wrong with what I’d been taught about how to succeed. had a business plan that looked smart on paper, but planning had been the easy part. Finding sales, or as I like to call it, “getting bums in seats,” proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated.
By my eighth month in business, I was down to my last $500 and we were near to closing our doors.
I was more determined than ever to make it, but I had absolutely no idea how I’d pull it off. To say those days were difficult would be an understatement.
It was then that I saw entrepreneurship for what it is—appealing and glamorous from the outside, but often painful, risky and ego-bruising in practice.
As I watched my university friends climb the corporate ladder, I wondered whether I had made the right decision to open a business instead of getting the standard corporate job. Was my risk of entrepreneurship going to pay off?
I know it’s hard to believe, but the world didn’t always have the internet. The first tasks a new business does today is establish a website, build a social media presence, and establish online credibility. When I started my business in 1991, the internet wasn’t an option. So, I went with what was available to a cash-strapped entrepreneur at the time, and that was to look for as much free press as I could get.
And what do you know—it worked.
As I said, I was down to my last $500. Unless something changed, and soon, I would have to close my doors. It was my last gasp of air.
I approached the local and national newspapers and radio stations. My angle was that I was a young, recent university graduate who started a business bringing new voicemail technology to Canada.
Within just one month, I was in at least five national newspapers and radio stations, and many more local magazines and newspapers.
The phones started ringing.
Between my non-stop sales efforts and newspaper articles, the business grew.
By 1999 the business was doing well. The stock market was doing well. And then the dot-com crash happened in 1999, and I lost over 60% of my investments.
During this period, I had started a software company in the dot-com sector, and needed access to capital to expand the business. With my investment portfolio badly damaged, and the software ﬁrm needing cash to expand, I tapped the venture capital markets. I found that not only were other investors spooked by dot-com ﬁrms, but many had also been hurt by the stock market correction, so access to cash was quite limited.
I didn't want to invest my depleted cash reserves back into the dot-com ﬁrm, so I reluctantly closed the software division and refocused on the telecom company.
Thankfully, the telecom business continued to expand, and profits were healthy, so for the next few years, I focused on building the telecom company. I also decided that I wasn't going to invest the profits myself. This time around, I needed help.
I spoke with many investment advisors. I searched the Internet for investment philosophies that entrepreneurs could follow.
I didn't find anything other than the traditional investment advice (stock/bond split) which I wasn't content with, so for the next 8 years I invested the cash very conservatively in secure money market GICs (T-bills), and decided that I wasn't going to get caught again in a stock market correction with no access to cash.
And then 2008 happened. Ka-boom. We were faced with the biggest financial disaster in decades. The capital markets closed down.
I had lots of dry powder (cash) ready to go shopping. It also happened to be the same time I came across the 2000-year-old "bucket strategy" that I'm going to share with you.
And how did I do this?
I realized I had to fundamentally change how I conducted my business, and I implemented a set of day-to-day and step-by-step processes to make it all happen. Part of these processes are something I call The Bucket Strategy. Implementing the Bucket Strategy will lead to maximizing profits and personal wealth.
I’m going to share these secrets with you in my books, blogs, and videos.
So, join me, and we’ll help you kick ass.
There are a few blog posts I think you might be interested in reading. My Journey Post Business Sale as I Sail Into a New Harbour