These were the words of Samantha Brown, owner of Silver Star Swag, one of three speakers at the “Managing Risk and Reward” seminar, hosted by the business management and entrepreneurship program on March 17.
Brown, who said that she attended a similar event after buying a company in 2005, told the audience that she spoke to a woman attending that event and had complained that no one in Ottawa seemed to be creative.
“I had to go through a self-branding exercise. Before i could get my business out there, I had to know what I stand for. People remember me because of my brand, my personality. When I go to events, I make sure my people are there,” Brown said.
“Getting your name out there, making sure people know what you are about, is the first thing that will help you get ahead in the business world,” Brown said.
Along with Brown, Jeff Scobie, associate vice president of information systems at Giant Tiger stores, and Vivek Raju, director of sales at Kivuto Solutions Inc., answered questions submitted by students based on managing risks in business in order to gain reward.
According to Vivek Raju, in order to build a successful business, networking, connecting with people and speaking out is the first step to moving ahead.
“You never know who you are going to meet. Never under-estimate the power of an assistant. Everyone in a business is important and every contact counts,” said Raju. “When you work in sales, you are still building relationships, working to build trust with clients. Try to find common points with them, get to know every client better.”
Darren Gunther-Smith, an electrical engineering student who attended the event, explained that if there was one thing he took away from the seminar, it was that networking was the most important step to starting a business.
Gunther-Smith, although not in the business management program, plans to start work on his own business, along with a few others, over the summer. By attending the event, he feels a lot more confident in his endeavour to become a business owner some day.
“Because of the seminar, I’ve started to get a team together, just myself and a few of my friends. I know where I want the business, and my brand, to go in the future.”