Ever since I was young, I’ve been told that in order to reach my full potential I should look to start my own business. Since then, I have been looking at day-to-day problems as opportunities in need of a solution. I like to look at it as, “One man’s problem is another man’s opportunity.” My father Lev and I have previously worked on a number of different projects together, when one day a problem presented itself right in our own family home. It was an opportunity hiding in plain sight. Squeaky floors and stairs! After numerous failed attempts at finding a good existing solution to our squeaky floors, Lev decided he would invent his own. It didn’t take long to realize that this was the business opportunity we’d been looking for!
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
By far, the most noteworthy challenge that we’ve faced is changing people’s minds.
It is amazing how hard it is to break through people’s pre-existing convictions. In our case, potential clients simply did not believe it’s possible to repair a squeaky floor. Until we get there, we understand that potential clients are being told by their realtors, contractors, handymen, family and friends - that the only way to permanently silence their floors is to replace them. When we come along with a revolutionary solution, most people respond with cold scepticism. Because of this, one of our top priorities now is public education in order to help debunk these pre-existing ideas about squeaky floors and further establish us as a trusted brand.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
It is almost a prerequisite for a risk-taking move such as starting your own business or pursuing an invention to be met with doubt and criticism. After all, if it felt safe someone else would have already been doing it. People are only completely sure of something once they see that it works, so the only way to get there is to make it happen!
Fortunately for us, we were able to involve different members from our family and friends in different capacities. This practice solidified a group of supporters around our business. We couldn't have done it without their help and faith in us.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Our clients. That sounds like a cliché, but when we faced the lowest, most difficult times of our business, our desire to help people kept us pushing on. Sometimes the only thing that’s kept us going was the thought that if we quit, we’d leave people stranded without a solution to their squeaky floors. We take great pride in restoring a sense of comfort in people’s homes. Now that we are franchising our service, my motivation has increased even further, as we will finally be able to reach people outside of our immediate area.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
There are hundreds of small lessons that we've learned along the way that would have been helpful to know ahead of time. The one guiding lesson is to be patient. Building the foundation to something of quality requires more development time than you can imagine when you first start out; especially in a brand new space like floor silencing, where no one has operated before.
Oh yes, and I wish I knew that sometimes trial-and-error is simply the only way to progress!
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and/or internationally?
They say “if you want it done right, do it yourself”. This is perhaps sound advice, but it is not scalable for a business. My advice is to “lead by example”. You are the head of your organization, everyone on your team looks up to you as the guiding light to how your organization should be run. No amount of words, instructions or training can shape your business better than leading by example.