The Canadian business community is full of inspiring entrepreneurs, accomplished CEOs and insightful business owners striving to create long-lasting relationships and provide the best products and services to all Canadians. As an up-and-coming small-business owner, it’s important to learn from top business people in the country. We compiled a list of the top Canadian CEOs, entrepreneurs and small-business owners sharing their best pieces of advice with young small-business owners striving to make it in their industry and one day become a top Canadian business mind of their own.
Alexander Fernandez, CEO and founder – Avigilon
Avigilon is a high-definition surveillance solutions manufacturer and Fernandez’ best piece of advice comes from a book he values to this day written by Dale Carnegie. Fernandez continues to skim this book for inspiration but the one quote that will always stick with him is, “To do something great, you need to lean on the learning that comes before you, as there isn’t enough time in one lifetime to personally learn everything.” Fernandez values this quote in business because it allows him to remember he doesn’t, and shouldn’t be asked to, know everything – this quote helps him delegate tasks and gain insights from other members of his team.
Mike Cordoba, CEO – RAMMP Hospitality
Cordoba’s RAMMP Hospitality owns two restaurant chains in western Canada – MR MIKES SteakhouseCasual and The Pantry. One piece of advice stuck with Cordoba throughout his entire life – the leader of an organization must out-work everybody. From the kitchen manager to a CEO – the authority figure needs to set the tone for the rest of their staff in order to achieve the results they desire. Cordoba also advocates the importance of learning about the skills each member of the team presents and discovering the best way to utilize those skills.
Tracy Redies, CEO – Coast Capital Savings
As the second largest credit union in Canada, Coast Capital Savings and Tracy Redies have a lot to live up to. On her rise to the top, Redies learned one thing about being a leader that she’ll never forget – the best leaders inspire average performers to perform beyond expectations. Redies says she feels it’s important for her staff to feel like they are part of something important and meaningful. She motivates by encouraging and supporting employees to reach above and beyond their potential.
Ian Telfer, Chair – Goldcorp Inc.
With constant fluctuation of the price of gold, the piece of advice Telfer shares makes a lot of sense – don’t try to solve tomorrow’s problems today. By overlooking today’s problems you can drastically impact tomorrow’s problems and, at the same time, by fixing today’s problems you can minimize or eliminate tomorrow’s problems. It’s important to live in the now.
James Shepard, CEO – Canfor Corp.
Shepard learned this early in his career when he was forced to take a pay cut as a middle manager at Finning International. Before accepting the pay cut Shepard was told, “Nobody gets out of this thing unscathed. Everybody’s got to give.” This lesson stayed with Shepard and he implemented the same series of salary cuts across the board when he started at Canfor in 2007.
Gordon Campbell, Premier – British Columbia
Campbell’s long-lasting advice came from his mom when he was just a young teenager. She told him, “We live in a place where you can do just about anything you want, but no one’s going to give it to you. You have to work until you finish the job.” This type of hard-hitting advice serves as a nice kick in the pants for plenty of small-business owners complaining about rules and regulations instead of doing whatever it takes to work around them.
Peter Dhillon, CEO – Richberry Group of Companies
The single most important thing to remember on your way to the top, according to Dhillon, is to never hold a grudge. Burning bridges is not an option in the business world – you never know who you’ll run into or be forced to work with again. Although, Dhillon does admit, it will be one of the toughest things to do, he also references the old saying – “If you’re not a good person on the way up, the fall down will be much faster and there’s no cushion to break your fall.”
Make sure to check back with the Vistaprint blog for more insights into the small-business community. As you continue to grow your small business, keep in mind the advice above – these are current business leaders throughout Canada and have gained invaluable experience during their careers that everyone can learn from.