The best way to learn something is to learn it from someone experienced and Garry C.Bizzo is one of them. A man who's been in business for over 12 years, author of several books, and mentored over 1000startup businesses.
Gary C. Bizzo shares his experiences with us so you can find out what skills you need to start your own business and succeed.
Please tell us a little bit about your company?
I’m a business coach/mentor specializing in startups and small business. My area of expertise ranges from strategic management to branding and social media. We have mentoring packages available as well as a special program called CEO for Hire where we take over your company for a period of time, revitalize it and give it back to you once it’s fixed. Besides mentoring we also get into financing, e.g. Joint ventures, business plan development and creating social media strategies.
What is your background and how did you get interested in startups?
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 12 years old. I ran an ad agency for 20 years and in 2000 took over a program that supported entrepreneurs through training and financial support. I love the energy young entrepreneurs can give me, and I like paying it forward.
What are some of the projects you are working on right now?
Power Productions Corp is a workshop production company producing retreat’s for men. We produce workshops from Vancouver to Boston. Our goal is to help men in society ‘be the man the world needs’. I’m working on a medical marijuana project in Toronto and a couple of financing projects. I am also working on a couple of export deals to China at the moment primarily in the area of foodstuffs. I have mentoring clients from Asia to Africa. I usually connect via Skype.
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to start your own business?
When you do a SWOT analysis, you will find out what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are and ways to mitigate them. As an extrovert, you will be in a better position to aggressively operate your business. A good financial mind is great to have, but you can use an accountant if you are not strong in this area. Being able to see the ‘big picture’ is important but you also must be able to visualize the journey to the end result.
Is it better to start a business with family, friends or strangers?
I’m a type ‘A’ personality, as such, I tend to be aggressive. I don’t think I’d like to put myself in a position with my family or friends where I would be in a position of authority. The theory goes that when you are looking for investment money you seek friends and family first but I think it’s a mistake to work closely with family. They say a good way to ruin a friendship is to go into business with each other. I think that is very good advice.
What are the most powerful actions to increase employee productivity?
I believe in a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) where specific roles and goals are defined, and the employee is totally accountable. Rather than babysitting an employee, if you make them accountable and treat them with respect they will ‘buy into’ your corporate philosophy. A second powerful action is to give the most productive employees a ‘piece of the action’. It doesn’t have to be a significant amount but shows that you value the employee and will give them an incentive.
What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?
The book that defined us as entrepreneurs is The EMyth Revisited, written by my friend and #1 Business coach in the world, Michael Gerber. Gerber explains how the entrepreneur fits in the business and how systems will help the business process and growth. My Book, “How to Start a Successful Business – the First Time” was written to give my clients and others a common sense approach to starting a business; from picking a business name to branding. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss explains how you can work anywhere and redefines retirement.
What advice can you give for starting a business in general?
It is absolutely imperative that a startup has a business plan to provide direction, milestones, and a benchmark to compare where you are and where you should be. Secondly, as your business grows, if you feel you are losing control – ask for help. Many businesses have gone under because the owner was loath to ask for help.