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 Cameron Taylor. Taylor is president and CEO of BOATsmart!, a Toronto-based online boat safety training and licensing service. OUTDOORsmart Inc., which owns and operates the BOATsmart! brand, was ranked #274 on the PROFIT500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2014. We asked Taylor to explain what makes his entrepreneurial life so rewarding.

Question 1: When did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

I started cutting lawns when I was 12, so I had a taste of entrepreneurship early. When I took my first job at 14, I realized immediately that it wasn’t for me. I’ve always thrived on challenging and succeeding without a safety net, knowing it was up to me to succeed, and learning how to take advantage of opportunity. Inspiring others to share in your vision is ultimately rewarding.

Question 2: Who is your entrepreneurial role model, and why?

Steve Jobs. He’s the ultimate growth hacker and was always driven by passion and vision. And he did it with stubbornness and style.

Question 3: What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your business?

Not everyone on your team is wired the same. As an entrepreneur in a lean start-up, you’re doing everything. Embrace and savour that. However, once your business and your team starts to grow, you’ll need recognize that not everyone you bring onboard will be built like you.

That’s a good thing. You don’t need more of you; you need more of not you. Truly tap into what drives different people on your team, learn from them and build intrapreneurs that know how to make awesome decisions without needing to have their hands held.

Question 4: What is the hardest thing you’ve had to do as a business leader?

Learning to say no. When you’re growing your business, you naturally want to take advantage of every opportunity you can in order to drive growth, sales and valuation. But laser focus delivers more to the bottom line than trying to capture every dollar. If you can’t define the consumer problem and your offering in two sentences, you’ve got a problem. It’s taken me a while to learn this, but saying no is more powerful than saying yes.

Question 5: How do you prioritize your time?

I’d like to say 50/50—a balance of life and business. But the reality is more like 50/50/50. The extra 50% is always about moving forward. Really everything is just integrated. If you’re disciplined to seamlessly do your best across everything in life and business, it all works.

Question 6: How do you define success?

With a clear vision and clear objective.

Question 7: What excites you most about your company’s future?

The whitespace. And seeing what my team can do.


Have you recently reached a big milestone in your entrepreneurial career? Would you like to answer our 7 Questions? Email us your pitch.

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