What drives entrepreneurs? What caused them to start their first startup, and what pushes them to keep going? To find out, we ask some of Canada’s most successful serial entrepreneurs 7 Questions.
In this instalment, we talk to Andreas Wiatowski. Wiatowski is CEO of Silo Wireless, a broadband service provider that has beaten the big telecomm companies at their own game by focusing on smaller rural markets. Thanks to impressive penetration in the Ontario towns of Brant, Norfolk and Oxford, Silo Wireless ranked #82 on the PROFIT500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2014.
Silo Wireless, which launched in 2007, is not Wiatowski’s first venture. He was previously the owner of Digitech Consulting, a technology consulting firm serving SMEs. We asked Wiatowski to explain what makes his entrepreneurial life so rewarding.
Question 1: When did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Growing up on a farm in a rural community, I learned at an early age what it meant to work for yourself. My parents not only operated a dairy and pork operation but they also had and excavating business, and my mother had a dog kennel. I think the lifestyle and the sense of self sufficiency was engrained at a very early age.
When I was done high school I went through a number of employment opportunities and found that I did not enjoy working for someone else. Although I did a good job for my various employers, I always felt that I was not reaping the rewards for my efforts and often, my ideas were not taken seriously. Being an entrepreneur has allowed me to shape my own destiny and I wake up every day excited for the next adventure.
Question 2: Who is your entrepreneurial role model, and why?
My father and mother. They taught me to work hard and that I could do anything that I put my mind to. Most of all, they encouraged it!
Question 3: What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your business?
Our business growth has required us to recently introduce business systems to automate many processes. If we had such a system in place since day one, it would have not cost us so much money to implement a new system and the change management involved around it. Paying a little more upfront for a business system will save you thousands of dollars when moving to a new system.
Question 4: What is the hardest thing you’ve had to do as a business leader?
Having to dismiss an employee that has been with you since the beginning is the hardest thing you can do. Sometimes, in order for your business to grow, you have no choice but to make this choice.
Question 5: How do you prioritize your time?
I make a list of all actionable items from most important to least. I have a visual task management app that I review and check off completed tasks. If I have any actionable items come up at any time, they are added and reviewed and prioritized again. Very rarely is the list ever empty.
Question 6: How do you define success?
To me success is defined by making a difference in the lives of others and at the same time making a living doing something that I am passionate about. I have found that the financial success follows and in turn you are able to give back even more to your community.
Question 7: What excites you most about your company’s future?
The Internet is our main product, and it has become an integral part of daily life at home and work which has created sustainability and stability. We have been a fixture in the communities we serve for almost eight year, and our current and future customers see us as a stable, strong company that innovates and provides a much-needed service.
We embrace change, so when new technology becomes available, we quickly research and trial the technology to see if it will enable better options for our customer base. This ever changing, fluid environment keeps us current, relevant and excited!
MORE SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS SHARE THEIR INFLUENCES AND STRUGGLES:
- The Entrepreneurial Life of BOATsmart!’s Cameron Taylor »
- 7 Questions with Emad Rizkalla »
- 7 Questions with Jacquelyn Cyr »
- 7 Questions with Bill Redfern »
- 7 Questions with Margot Micallef »
Have you recently reached a big milestone in your entrepreneurial career? Would you like to answer our 7 Questions? Email us your pitch.