Who are you?
Say What! Communications is a creative brand marketing agency. We have been building in Markham and around the world since 1992. Our business is based on ongoing brand relationships with a diverse mix of large to small b2b & b2c organizations.
Why Did you start your business?
I started Say What! in April '92 to be able to provide personal and direct creative attention to brands that we love and respect.
What makes your business unique?
We only work with brands we love, with people we respect, and for products and companies that we truly believe in. life is too short not to believe in what you do or to work for people you don't want to.
What's the biggest mistake you've made with your business and what did you learn from it??
We have ventured into several no core adventures... one was the creation of a local coffee shop business model. For six months we developed the business plan and the funding, create the brand, found the location, designed and built the coffee shop and opened in a big way.
The business model was simple, create a coffee shop approach that could save small town main streets focused on becoming a cultural hub for the community, artists and musicians. We achieve all our objectives but for one year, this all encompassing venture distracted us from our core business and did not financially match the efforts. We sold the whole brand after a year.
what big goal do you have for your company and how do you plan to achieve it?
Our goal is to continue to create long term creative relationships with a growing number of local entrepreneurial companies. We are doing this by joint venturing with customers and the business community to demonstrate who we think differently.
what advice or tips do you have for people wanting to start their own business or follow their dreams?
#1 - Have a plan... and do as much research as you can and then double it... running your own shop is stressful, challenging and can be very rewarding.
#2 - Surround yourself with a solid base of non-industry advisers (accountants, lawyers, money smart people, marketing brains, technology geeks...) it is important that you focus on what you are the best at and get support at what you don't know or don't want to learn...
#3 - Most important is be brutally honest with yourself... if no one thinks it is a good idea, step back and make sure it makes sense to you and that it is an idea you can live with 24/7 for the next 5 years...
I've been doing it for 22 years and have seen every side of running a business... it's fun but my boss can be a prick at times... and don't take yourself too seriously.
be brave and be smart!