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Many years ago I hired Sharon Barwick for all my floral needs.  Flowers to mom on holidays, to friends as congratulations and to my then girlfriend (now wife) just to say I’m thinking of her.

Sharon was terrific, but she chose to sell her business about seven years ago to a young entrepreneur named Hazel Egerton.

I don’t know, but I would guess that Hazel was in her mid-twenties when she purchased the business.  I was a bit skeptical (as change always creates unrest), but I thought I’d continue using Barwick Designs until Hazel missed my expectations.

Hazel and her company have been spectacular.  She took what Sharon started and, in my view, built it into a spectacular small business.  I’m so impressed with her business that Hazel did all of the staging and flowers for my wedding.  Our guests were blown away.

So, I’m at once saddened that Hazel has decided it’s time to sell her company, but also excited for her with respect to the next chapter in her entrepreneurial journey!

If you are trying to find a small business to acquire I’d recommend considering Barwick Designs.  The firm has a terrific reputation to build off of and, I think, is in a terrific marketplace.  Weddings (one of her vertical markets) are big business and I think the right entrepreneur could take this business to the next level.

Visit www.barwickdesigns.com to learn more and give Hazel a call!

I’ve long been of the view that one cannot teach someone else to be an entrepreneur – I think you are, or you aren’t.  True entrepreneurs “figure things out” and often don’t need much in the way of handouts.  However, I do think that entrepreneurs can be taught to be better at what they do.

Case in point, while I understood what accounts receivables were when I started my second company, I didn’t understand that they needed to be managed.  IE: clients don’t always pay promptly (or at all) unless they are reminded.

It’s been a curiosity of mine that many entrepreneurs seem to think that raising capital (venture or debt) is the holy grail of success in early stage business.  I’ve seen many angel investors and mentors pontificate on this point too.

I disagree.

In Canada there are four primary sources of cash for companies (in order of desirability):

(1) Customers

(2) Debt lenders.

(3) Equity investors.

(4) Government grants, loans and tax refunds.

Businesses can only survive the long term if they have adequate cash from customers.

My advice to early stage entrepreneurs is to candidly assess the amount of time (opportunity cost)  they spend looking for debt, equity and government cash and determine whether that time is better spent finding customers.