Small businesses and startups can never get enough help. With all the things that can happen in a short period of time, getting help from a friend or professional to control the situation is only logical. This week we sit down with an entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurs, the founder of SME Strategy Management consulting, Anthony Taylor.
1. Who are you? Tell us about your business and what inspired you to create it.
My name is Anthony Taylor, I’m the principal consultant and founder of SME Strategy Management consulting.
Vancouver born and raised. I started doing the lemonade stand thing and worked my way up through 4 different businesses and startups.
After my last business partner ripped me off, I started SME Strategy to help other business owners with the things they didn’t know so they can reach success more quickly.
2. What kinds of competitors or substitutes are in your way and how do you plan to stay ahead?
There are many consultants and coaches out there, but I’d say my biggest difference is the fact that actually I’ve owned businesses, and understand the practical challenges that my clients face from the ground up. (In addition to my on paper education)
Most consultants come from corporate or other big firms before they start something themselves. I started from experience with my own money, and then use that experience to help my client with their projects.
Compared to bigger firms that only take on “boiler plate” projects, we’re more nimble and can assemble a special team to help our clients get what they want, even if it’s challenging and never been done before.
3. How has Vancouver’s rising startup community played a role in the development of SME Strategy Management?
The start up community and attitude of Vancouver provides a great environment to launch your business, to learn and grow, and then take it to that next level.
We have so many great businesses and entrepreneurs coming up out of Vancouver it’s going to be crazy in a few years; it’s certainly going to put Vancouver on a different level.
4. What core problem is your company specifically solving and/or what’s the main value you provide?
In organizations, the goals and motivations of the department heads (Marketing, Finance, HR, operations, etc) might be different than those of the organization as a whole.
We also find that communication in those companies could also improve to communicate potential challenges and opportunities within those functional departments.
As facilitators, we help organizations and their management teams put
“all the cards on the table” so the company can make their strategy with the most complete information and the entire team’s support.
Our project division helps companies that know what they want, but don’t know how to get it; we create and implement strategies to help them get what they want.
5. How did you end up becoming an entrepreneur and what challenges did you personally overcome to succeed?
I’m from Vancouver, that’s what you do! I always knew that I wanted to work for myself.
As far as life challenges go, I’ve had my share. Friends and family doubting you, un-successful ventures, getting ripped off, being called by a tax agency saying you owe them 250k, my dad died when I was 20 and my younger brother passed away a few years ago, both from cancer.
That’s the journey, and challenges happen. I consider myself fortunate that I have the opportunity to do what I do; many aren’t so lucky.
6. What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
If anything it’s Jay-Z and people in Rap music. Those guys are living in some tough places and in tough conditions. They just put the work in, and make the most of their situation.
7. What Vancouver celebrity/influencer would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
I’d love to have Peter Legge on my team. He’s a class guy who’s had some great mentors himself, plus he’d motivate me to keep dreaming bigger and work harder.
8. If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?
“It’ll be ok, but you knew that already” and “Get a Lawyer to do it, trust me”
9. What are some accessible resources used and winning habits you have developed to learn and grow as an entrepreneur?
Small business BC, and local networking events were gold.
I started working out of a co-working space called the HiVE (www.hivevancouver.com) and having a legit place to work, to host events and take meetings made a huge difference.
As far as habits go: planning your day with timelines and objectives is crucially important. Also, always be learning. You’re never too smart.
As the adage goes: “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room”
10. What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
Get active and get involved. There is no substitute for practical experience. Do what makes you happy. You only get one life, live it with no regrets.
*End of interview*
Anthony has been very active in the Vancouver business community and is a great person to know and have as a sounding board. If you’re starting to get into entrepreneurship or are already a small business owner looking to take things to the next level, Anthony can help. It’s great to see entrepreneurs create startups to help other startups, just another testament to Vancouver’s thriving startup culture.
*Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to paul(at)vancitybuzz(dot)com to explain why you’re a fit.