In celebration of Ownr’s 2nd birthday, we touched base with some early customers to see how they are doing as seasoned entrepreneurs. We wanted to share our chat with Mark, because of his courage to share learnings and mistakes alongside his success. We hope it will benefit you as you prepare and launch your business.
Have you ever surfed on a calm lake? With a motorized surfboard from Mark’s business, JETSURF Toronto you can! We featured his story nearly two years ago. He’s still the same guy who believes ‘Don’t work for the man. Be the man!’, except that he’s now more experienced at running a business, and is at a critical stage to scale his business.
How’s your business doing and what’s to come?
Mark: My business has expanded greatly. When we started, we only distributed to parts of Canada and now we service customers nationally. The number of our products has doubled. We are introducing a few new lines and neat accessories next year, including electric boards in addition to the current suite of gas-fueled boards.
Have your biggest challenges changed overtime?
Mark: I still have the same challenges of short summer seasons and balancing my time, while there are more things to juggle as the business grows. However, we’ve gotten into a good groove with the seasonality. For example, during the winter seasons, we undergo training and visit facilities to upgrade everyone’s knowledge and prepare for peak time.
One of my biggest challenges now is to raise capital to grow the business. Getting a business loan in my experience has been quite different (and more challenging) from getting personal loans.
Knowing what you know now, what advice did you wish you had before you started a business?
Mark: I wish I was more diligent in separating personal and business finances from the start. This can be tricky as personal loans and assets often are the lifeblood of a start-up. Some business decisions need to be made quickly to take advantage of potential opportunities, so personal and business finances can get mixed very easily. I wish I was more disciplined in separating the two.
The other advice I wish I had is the importance of financial organization. As a small business owner, I need to wear many hats. When I’m so busy focusing on sales, marketing, and customer service, bookkeeping and tax planning often seem less urgent. But it’s important to stay on top of financial organization, as putting this off can create more work and stress when tax time comes.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Mark: It’s great that Ownr cares to know how my business is doing, and I’ve been enjoying several Ownr Perks. For example, after my incorporation with Ownr, I opened a business bank account and credit card at RBC and used Wave through Ownr perks.
If you want to get in touch with him, you can find him here:
Facebook: JETSURF TORONTO
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