Talent Development Centre

Are You Thinking Like an Entrepreneur?

David O'Brien By David O’Brien,
Vice-President, Government Services at Eagle

Several years ago I attended a business conference in the US and the keynote speaker, the Founder/CEO of a nationwide Pizza delivery chain, told the story of an early strategic marketing meeting he had with his internal team.  While reviewing advertising dollar spend through the months of the year, he noticed something that struck him as odd and asked something of his team: “Why do we spend so little on advertising in February?” to which his Ivy League educated marketing MBA’s responded “Because nobody buys pizza in February.” After an awkward silence the CEO’s deadpan response was ‘ well no kidding!”

A similar story of entrepreneurial opportunity can be told of the Czecholsovakian born Strategic entrepreneur looking at unsolved puzzleand ultimately Toronto-based one-time business owner, Thomas Bata of Bata Shoes. Before deciding on whether to expand his shoe empire to Africa, he decided on a plan where he and one of his other Senior Executives would embark on an excursion through the continent.  To assess the market, one would travel down the East Coast, the other the West coast and they would meet back in Canada and compare notes.  Upon returning, the Senior Executive basically said “It is hopeless, 90% of the population doesn’t wear shoes, the other 10% wear sandals. We will not sell shoes there.”  Mr. Bata listened and contemplated the Senior Exec’s observations before responding “This is the greatest opportunity in the history of our company, nobody wears shoes there!”

Two tales of how entrepreneurs view opportunity where many others do not.  What do these stories have to do with you? As an independent contractor, you are running a small business and, therefore, are an entrepreneur.  Logically, then, it only makes sense that you also think like an entrepreneur to continue to thrive and grow our business.  If you’re not already, here are just some great reasons to start today and benefits you’ll see:

  • You Will Seize More Opportunities! Like the two stories above, opportunity is everywhere. By thinking like an entrepreneur and grabbing those opportunities, you’ll keep a steady stream of work coming through the door.  For example, there is a lot of vacation in Canada during the dog days summer months of July and August, but clients have projects that don’t go on vacation.  This is a great time to respond to their requirements while others are sitting on the dock.
  • You Will Develop Long-Term Business. Thinking and acting like an entrepreneur means consistent marketing, developing solid business relationships, and living up to contractual commitments in a business-like way to deliver to your client. All of these will go a long way to sustaining and building a long-term business, as opposed to the higher risk path of jumping contract-to-contract.
  • It Will Protect You. Successful entrepreneurs have a marketing plan, website, home office, business plan and messages. These are all very strong indicators to CRA you are not an employee but are a business, and help to reduce your risk at tax time.

The stories above help remind us how easy it is to become successful and find opportunities, simply by looking at a situation from a different point-of-view.  When independent contractors look at themselves as entrepreneurs, they too open the door to many new opportunities.  Do you have an entrepreneurial mind-set with your business or do you just go from one contract to another and hope for the best?  What other opportunities have you reaped from acting like an entrepreneur?  Let us know in the comments below!

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