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No one knows how to build a business better than the entrepreneurs behind some of Canada's most successful companies. These are their most powerful lessons.
Elaine Minacs (1945-2006)
Minacs Worldwide Inc.
See the opportunity in obstacles
What do you do when a marquee client offers you a lucrative, five-year contract — for a job your firm has neither the resources nor the experience to perform? Elaine Minacs would have jumped on the opportunity.
Minacs Worldwide started life in 1985 as The Employment Centre, a staffing firm. But when Ford of Canada asked Minacs both to staff and run its customer-service department two years later, she didn't even consider saying no. "[Friends] said I should stick with the staffing business," Minacs told PROFIT in 2004. "But I had bigger dreams. Good entrepreneurs are good at seeing opportunity, and I saw it then and there."
Indeed, Minacs eventually sold her staffing agency to focus full-time on business-process outsourcing, by providing call-centre, marketing and back-office administration services.
As the market matured, Minacs faced the threat of giant U.S. competitors. Her response? In 1999, Minacs took her company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange through a reverse takeover. By fiscal 2005 — Minacs' last full year with her firm before succumbing to cancer at age 61 — revenue exceeded $290 million. At the time, the company employed 6,000 people in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
"What often appears to be a challenge can in fact be an opportunity," said Minacs. "I've never been deterred by obstacles — they are there to be overcome." —KS
Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com