S2E3 – Real World Example: Hiring for a Startup

By | Season 2, Episode 3, Wish Group, Bootstrap | One Comment

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Welcome to Boot Strap: Insights for the Self-Funded Entrepreneur with Frank Cianciulli.  My name is Matthew Ley, and I will be your host.  On season two of Boot Strap one of the things we said we were going to do is look back at some of the most popular episodes that elicited the most engagement from you.  Our first episode, “People and Hiring Best Practices,” talked about what type of employee you should be looking for when starting a bootstrap startup.  And one clip brought up a lot of comments, and we’re going to play that clip for you right now.

“Anyone who has ever been through The Wish Group or met Frank has probably heard him say at one point in time, that Frank prefers ignorance on fire to knowledge on ice.”

So comments like that, and Frank, I mean you echoed them later in the series when you said that one of your big Frank-isms is that you prefer ignorance —

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  On fire.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  — on fire to knowledge on ice.  But you know, when you talk to people out there about the current employment landscape, a lot of these people are coming in with not a lot of experience, or younger, and we hear a lot about how they’re just different.  It’s hard to find that diamond in the rough who is going to succeed this way.  Do you got any experience or any examples in the last maybe two years of someone who this happened with?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  We do, we do.  And you know I just want to preface that by saying, you know, a lot of people at our generation and older will always say that, you know, the new people coming up, or you know we talk about millennials, don’t have that fire.  It seems to be missing.  And I can’t comment on that because I don’t have a reference point 30 years ago to compare.  But I will say we’ve, you know, a great example is a guy we had that, you know, relatively young, but no B2B experience, didn’t understand anything about our product, but you know, you meet with him, and I’m sitting across from him, and I’m looking into his eye, and I just know there is the fire.  There is a hunger for knowledge.  And he wanted to grow and learn.  And you know it’s hard not to take a chance when you find someone like that.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Right, and I’m assuming you had opportunities maybe to hire from competitors at this stage.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Of course [sp].

Mr. Matthew Ley:  You’re not an early-stage startup anymore.  So what happened?  How long ago was that, two years ago?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yeah, about two years ago, yeah.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  So you know, talk to me about his first year, you know, what happened in that year and maybe where he’s going to [sp].

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yeah, and typical — and that sometimes, you know, especially in a startup you think oh, do I go with a guy that has the experience, that maybe has a book of business he can bring over?  But you kind of know that they’re not going to be stars.  And so, but with this guy so you knew year one it’s all about learning, learning the products, getting comfortable on the phones.  He definitely wasn’t afraid of the phones, which was excellent.  That’s what you want in sales guys.  And then year two it really — I mean he had some success in year one, but year two is really where he started coming into his own.  You know, and just recently he said he’s never made more money in his career, and by year two, and in year three we’re looking at this is a guy that, without question, would have outperformed any senior guy that I would have hired.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah, so you’ve got to be pretty happy with that, two years to that level.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  We love when that happens.  That’s like a professional sports team drafting a young player that turns into a star within the first couple of years.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  How does he feel?  Like what — is he — I mean is he a kind of guy that’s really into what’s going on in the company?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Oh, he’s become a cultural warrior.  He’s taken on so much leadership, as well, where you think hey, some of the things that he does, taking ownership over calls, I mean man, the guy is even coordinating our office move this past month.  These are some of the things I would have hoped my veterans would’ve kind of jumped all over, but you know the thing with ignorance on fire, especially once they then acquire the knowledge, is you’ve got a cultural warrior.  You’ve got an all-star.  So really great companies have to have that kind of — I call it a farm system, where you’re incubating your own talent.  And there’s more loyalty there, too, as well.  I mean I know everyone’s always afraid of having those kind of people being a flight risk, but there’s ways to maintain and to retain those people.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah, and I mean it’s one of the reasons why you lose anybody out there is when either side feels there is an inequity, right?  As an employer you don’t feel like they’re doing their job, and as an employee they don’t feel like the company is giving back the effort that — to the effort that they’re putting in sort of thing.  You brought it up.  It’s constant growing concern, right, when bringing in entry-level employees there is a knowledge that, you know, they’re in an entry-level.  They can easily jump to another entry-level for maybe $5,000 more, or closer to home, or on the subway line, or whatever it might be.  Are you — clearly you’re still hiring entry-level employees in different businesses.  What are you doing today to ensure that, you know, they grow into like this guy that you were just talking about?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yeah, and I don’t know that I’ve got, you know, the answer that will solve that problem, although I can share our experiences that have helped us.  You know, I don’t know if it’s just a millennial thing.  I think people of all ages, you know, when you’ve got a hot job market and people and recruiters are calling them, and it feels good when someone wants you and is offering you more money.  That being said, what I’ve learned with even millennials is that if you show them a path to how to grow, because oh they feel entitled, and they want to be VPs immediately, no they don’t.  They don’t.  But they at least want to see a path, and so that’s something we’ve been doing as well.  We let them know exactly what’s expected and where they should be in year one, and what the behaviors and what success looks like in year one versus year two and year three, and what the leadership potential — some people aspire to leadership, and that’s great.  As long as they can see that you’ve got a plan and you recognize that skill in them, then they’re vested to stay.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Right.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  You know, and then obviously pay them as you go.  Again, I hate to use those sports analogies all the time, but if you’ve drafted a rookie and he’s been a star, you know, you sign him to a cheap entry-level contract.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yes, exactly.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  But then you’ve got to pay him.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah, you’ve got to pay up when he comes of age, right?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Exactly.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Or, you know what, be ready to let them go.  And in some businesses the economics of it doesn’t justify having a lot of those high-priced players.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  That’s right.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Doesn’t mean they didn’t help you for two or three years, and you know, going to be happy for them to go off somewhere else and be successful.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  And you know what, there’s something to be proud of that, as well.  You know, I mean like every business we’ve had people that have moved on to great opportunities, and I’m proud of that.  I mean, if we were able to help, you know, shape that person’s skills and careers and help them realize their goals and dreams and indirectly help their families, that’s what’s wonderful about being in business and being an entrepreneur is that’s your way of giving back just in itself, creating employment and helping shape people’s lives.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  And that’s actually — you know, a lot of you out there, we know those are you, people who have come through The Wish Group, because a lot of you left comments in season one.  Okay, next episode we’re going to get back to some of your questions and the stuff you were talking about, and again, a lot of questions about finance, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to dive in on basically how to set up your financial organization.  Do you DIY?  Do you bring someone in?  Do you use a rental player?  All that and more on the next episode of Boot Strap.  Until that time, guys, keep it lean.  Share this with your friends, family and loved ones, or anyone you think might be interested.


S2E2 – Funding Options for a Bootstrap Startup

By | Season 2, Episode 2, Wish Group, Bootstrap | No Comments

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Welcome to Boot Strap: Insights for the Self-Funded Entrepreneur with Frank Cianciulli.  My name is Matthew Ley, and as always, I will be your host.  On this, the first [sic] episode of season two, we’re going to dive into one of your big questions from last year, and that is how to get your funding right when you are a bootstrap company.  Frank, when I hear funding I think banks, I think angel investors, venture capitalists, none of which makes me feel like it’s a bootstrap.  What do you mean when we’re — what do they — you talking about when you say funding in this environment?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Well, I mean, you know, getting access to any amount of money that can allow you to launch and survive until you can drive business.  So yeah, everything you mentioned are different forms of financing.  I think most people believe that banks would be there, you know, if you have a great idea, where they’re not.  Banks typically do not fund — the most brilliant idea you can come up with, banks do not fund for that.  Banks give you money when you don’t need money anymore.  So for the most part, whether in Canada or the US, you’re tied to your own capital, friends and family or what we call angel investors or venture capitals.  And again, venture capital for the most part, at least in the last few years, has been geared towards technology.  So again, most people that got really great business ideas but aren’t really as sexy still struggle to get access to capital.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Right.  And you’re doing a bootstrap business, so you might be using your credit card, your mom’s credit card.  I mean Jeff Bezos started his business in his parents’ garage, right?  He had that first server sitting there.  What recommendations do you give to someone?  They’re out there.  They’ve got an idea.  Like when you started, they knew they could be successful in an industry.  How do you decide whether or not you go out and get a — go for, you know, a couple million dollars and cash up or do it, you know, much more bootstrap?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Well, rule of thumb is always, you know, get as much money as you can whenever you can.  That being said, a lot of entrepreneurs want to keep a lot of their business.  So the more money you go and raise when you don’t have any revenue yet, as people observe if they ever watched Dragons’ Den or Shark Tank, is the more of the business you give up — because they say well, your business has no value.  Well that kind of sucks.  The whole point of building a business is so you can have equity in it and own it.  So that’s why I’m more of a bootstrap guy and say listen, I don’t want to take anyone’s money unless I absolutely need it.  So every dollar’s got to stretch a long way.  So as far as in my case we did raise some money with friends and family, but only as much as we needed, and ultimately the real access to our capital, and which most people should really focus on, is sales.  Sometimes you can do a lot of presales even before you launch your business, and we can talk about that.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  So presales before you launch your business, so you’re — I guess you’re out in beta or something, or you’re just kind of getting started?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yeah.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  And then you use that money to fund, I guess, what you do next.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yeah, I mean if I were, you know, if I had an idea, and you know I wouldn’t necessarily wait to raise money, rent an office, hire some people and then start my prospecting.  There’s no real reason in most cases you can’t at least get that proof of concept and have some customers say hey, listen, this is an idea I’m thinking of.  This is how I think it will help your business.  I’m going to be live on this date.  Can I count on you at least at that time to come and talk to you and really, you know, get you into beta or actually buy my service?  That will give you an indication of how quickly you’re going to come out of the gates and give you a better idea of your actual performance or pro forma going forward.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  But isn’t sometimes that’s a problem, you know, in many cases the more you sell, your cost of goods sold go up, your infrastructure needs to increase, and then you get into a situation where you’ve got to pay people a lot of money?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yep, and now we’re talking about another great — that leads into another great source of financing is your vendors, which is, you know, not always easy, especially if you’re a startup because, you know, the suppliers might not know whether you’re good for the money.  But oftentimes you would be surprised, especially with startups.  You’ve got suppliers that are big enough to support you because they see the potential that you’ve got, so it’s going to be a — you’re going to be a big piece of business for them.  They might extend you 60- or even 90-day terms, and that helps a long way because then if you sell something hopefully you can get paid by your customer before you actually have to pay your supplier.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  And I would — when you started and you had vendors when you started [unintelligible], right?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  I did.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  I imagine you had, you know, a real conversation with your vendors about where you were at —

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Absolutely.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  — so they recognized the importance of maybe not being your bank, but of extending you those types of terms.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Well, it kept me — you know, when we were late they kept calling.  We’re not your bank.  In our case we actually made them partners.  You know, we actually made them partners in our business.  Therefore they were tied to our success, and they, you know, they got value out of helping us or being our bank, so to speak.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Right.  But that is an interesting form of funding, right?  You find a strategic partner, they get a piece or whatever for it, and as a result you can alleviate some of those cash stressors [sp] early on.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  I mean there’s two components to basic business, right?  You’ve got to become profitable.  But sometimes even if you’re — because some entrepreneurs say oh my God, I’m profitable, but we’ve got no money.  So there’s two components.  There’s being profitable first and foremost, and then cash flow.  But if you’re consistently profitable, obviously cash flow will catch up.  But while you’re getting started you’ve got to walk the fine line of both.  So obviously trying to collect money as quickly as you can is important.  That sometimes gets neglected when you’re out there trying to just sell and survive and grow your business.  You kind of forget about collecting, or you don’t have the process in place to collect that cash flow quickly.  But there’s other ways to stretch, right?  We talk about vendors giving you maybe some extra terms.  Credit cards are popular that way, you know, because you get an extra 30 days, give or take, if, you know, if you’re able to pay certain expenses to your credit cards as well.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Perfect.  Well, part of that is the discipline within finance, and I would recommend if you haven’t seen it that you check out our discipline episode from last year.  But later on this season we’re going to get into how to structure your finance organization in a bootstrap startup and answer some key questions there.  But next week we’re going to go back.  Last week — last year one of our most popular episodes was the — I think it was episode one, actually, people hiring and hiring best practices.  And you said some things about the type of people you like to hire in a startup, which really resonated with everyone.  And so we’re going to do a deeper dive on next week’s episode.  Until that time, please leave your comments below, share this with your friends, family or loved ones, and keep it lean.


S2E1 – Funding Options for a Bootstrap Startup

By | Season 2, Episode 1, Wish Group, Bootstrap | No Comments

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Welcome to Boot Strap: Insights for the Self-Funded Entrepreneur with Frank Cianciulli.  My name is Matthew Ley, and as always, I will be your host.  Today marks the start of season two of Boot Strap.  That’s right; we’re back.  We had a lot of really positive feedback and a lot of questions from all you entrepreneurs who have been watching.  Some of the key questions we hope to answer this year is more of a dive into the finance side of being a bootstrap operation, as well as giving a little more color, some stories about Frank’s last 15 years in business that informed some of the ideas we shared with you last year.  All right, with that out of the way let’s get started.  Frank, thanks for having me back for Boot Strap.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Well, it’s great to be back.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  So we did get some great feedback.  What are the things that you heard after we released the series last year?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Well, I heard a lot of positive feedback, and what was most reassuring and exciting was the varying, you know, people from all different types of backgrounds that gave me some feedback, whether it was, you know, an entrepreneur who was just kind of getting off the ground, or someone who was scaling their business very quickly, to very large business owners got some value out of it.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  We even got some from employees at other companies.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  We did, and/or, you know, I’d be interviewing a candidate for a role at Wish Group and say oh, you know, I caught those videos and it was really — you know, I shared with my spouse, or my friend, or a gentleman who runs [sp] a business.  So yeah, it was great to hear that people are getting value because that’s the whole point.  We’re hoping someone gets value out of these.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Exactly.  You know the one thing I heard — I mean I talked to our PR guys, and they were talking about how this really is unique.  There’s a lot of talk about entrepreneurialism in this country right now, but the idea of how to do it bootstrap was something that they had not really seen.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yeah, and I think — and I think we mentioned it in one of the episodes early in season one, was that, you know, there’s no such shortage of experts or reading material on the internet about tech startups or some of these exciting crypto currencies in AI.  But for most business owners, I would say 90%, 95% of them, you know they’re out there bootstrapping it.  You know, they’ve got some similar challenges of cash flow and how to manage and find good people and how to generate more sales.  They’re not out there doing multiple rounds of finance.  So it’s not as sexy, but it’s very relevant.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Exactly.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  So I’m glad that, you know, I’m obviously glad that people see value in that.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Well the other big feedback that I got personally was on just how bright and maybe awful my socks were last year, so I’ve tried to tone them down for this season.  Now let’s get started with a bit of a broad question.  There is a lot of talk about entrepreneurialism in Canada.  What do you think is the state of affairs?  Is it a good time to start a business in this country?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Well, I’ll say that it’s never been better.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Okay.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  You know, I still feel that Canadian entrepreneurs are frustrated with the lack of governmental support, not only government support, but from banks.  Everyone complains about the banks, in general in the investor appetite in early-stage companies isn’t quite where, you know, we need it to be, at least compared to the US where there’s lots of capital.  But it’s improving.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Okay, so [unintelligible] the government is sort of getting on board.  I mean we have heard some, I guess some moves they’ve been making that are going to affect small business that seem anti-employer, but you feel like they are backing the entrepreneur, or they’re ready to get involved maybe?

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  You know, I don’t want to get into my opinion on the government.  I really think there is a lot of room for improvement there.  But what I am seeing improvements, which I’m happy to see, is in the venture capitalist community.  Still very small compared to the US, but growing.  We are now starting to see many more entrepreneurs that have successfully scaled and exited their businesses that are turning to mentorship and let’s call it becoming venture capitalists themselves, which that was the trend that began 20, 30 years ago in Silicon Valley.  That’s what has made that such a hotbed.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Right.  There’s been some formalization of this, as well, like incubators.  I’m not sure if MaRS counts.  I think there some government involvement there.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yeah, MaRS is a good one [unintelligible].

Mr. Matthew Ley:  But there is more of that Silicon Valley type, you know, shared spaces or whatever they might be.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Yes, and that’s also very encouraging because with Silicon Valley, you know, obviously there’s so many venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, but they’re not money guys.  They’re not bankers.  These are gentlemen that have, you know, sold their businesses for billions of dollars.  So you’re not just getting money.  You’re getting access to their contacts.  They’re obviously brilliant guys that have done it before themselves, and they’re entrepreneurs at heart.  That’s in their DNA.  So when you get funded in the Valley from a venture group that they’ve all been on board to these great startups, that they invested early in the companies like Google.  Your odds of success go way up.  In Canada historically it hasn’t been there.  Even if you are accessing early-stage capital it’s maybe friends and family that don’t really know anything about business; they just want to support you.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Exactly.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Where so now we’re getting these entrepreneurs, and they’re also packaging it up in some great programs.  CoFoundersLab comes to mind, Creative Destruction Lab comes to mind because you’re basically getting a brain trust there.  So you’re getting access to capital, but they’re also putting you through a boot camp and coaching you and helping you how to scale your business beyond just providing some office space, which is also valuable.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Right, yep, and that’s not dis — I mean, that’s not dissimilar to The Wish Group.  I mean you’re not just putting seed money in, but you’re helping young entrepreneurs basically get their businesses off the ground.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  Exactly.  So you know obviously at Wish Group we’ve done very well at starting up companies and scaling them very quickly.  So we provide a nice infrastructure for you to do that, from whether it’s finance, marketing, IT, and most importantly access to our clients and our brilliant leaders, such as yourself because iron does sharpen iron, and it’s always better for a young entrepreneur, as they are out there embarking on their entrepreneurial journey, to be able to mentor and speak with someone who has already walked through the minefield.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  Yeah, and as a young entrepreneur I’ve said it many times on this show and elsewhere, couldn’t have done it without that, just like most people can’t do it without some sort of funding.

Mr. Frank Cianciulli:  You got it.

Mr. Matthew Ley:  And that was a big question that you guys had.  So what we’re going to do on the next episode of Boot Strap in season two is we’re going to dive in on funding.  We’re going to hear from Frank and learn how he funded his first business and some dos and don’ts of funding a bootstrap startup.  That’s all the time that we have today, so make sure that you comment.  Let us know what you think.  Any questions that came to your mind, we’ll be answering those, as well as share this with your friends, family or loved ones and keep it lean.

How to Avoid Mid-Career Regrets

How to Avoid Mid-Career Regrets

By | Wish Group | No Comments

Are you living your best life?

If you’re not sure, use my blog about 5 Steps to Define Your Own Success to evaluate what matters to you and how you’re working to achieve your own version of success.

Once you know how to define success in a way that is meaningful to you, you can use your Success List to guide your career decisions.

Whether you’ve been working for years, or are just getting started, regrets can always set in.

We often think about the “what-ifs” and convince ourselves that the grass is truly greener in another job, but this isn’t always true.

Really quickly, I’ll go over the most common mid-career regrets:

  • Not Designing Your Own Life: Listening to other people’s advice instead of your own desires.
  • Not Investing in Yourself: Take the time to invest in your knowledge, health and soul.
  • Missing Out on Moments: A Work-life balance doesn’t always lead to happiness, think through the moments of your life that you’re happy to be at work, and the moments you want to experience outside of work.
  • Not Being Authentic: Being too focused on other people and how you are perceived instead of learning more about who you are and what you believe in.
  • Searching for Happiness Instead of Creating It: Learning about your authenticity will help you learn how to create happiness in your life.
  • Letting Fear Prevent Change: Doing your research and thinking through decisions is good, but letting fear keep you from making that leap is not a risk you should take.
  • Not Addressing Toxic Situations and People: Time is your most valuable asset and spending it in situations or with people who don’t build you up is a waste of your valuable time.
  • Being Trapped Around Money: Save up a cushion of savings that can last you 6-9 months of unemployment to help temper the fear you may have around changing your career. 

My Tips to Avoid Mid-Career Regrets are:

1) Continue to strive for growth

Even if you love what you’re doing, at some point you are going to have to put in hard work. It might be work that challenges you mentally, physically or emotionally, but it will challenge you.

You may think you want an easy job, or just to turn your hobby into a paid gig, but waking up each morning and looking forward to the day ahead often comes from experiencing continued growth through challenges.

Even something you love can become difficult when you turn it into a job, because when you do an activity all day long and depend on it for survival, the playfulness can disappear quickly.

Continue to strive for grow in your career in personal, professional, and spiritual ways.

Personal growth can come from trying to be early into work on a regular basis, or getting along with a co-worker who knows how to get under your skin.

If you’re a workaholic, personal growth can also come from learning how to find a better balance between your work life and life outside of work.

Professional growth can come from a mentor, and if you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend seeking one out.

Related: Bootstrap – Why Mentorship Matters

Professional growth can also come from company lunch-and-learns, reading books or blogs about topics you’re interested in knowing better, going to conferences, or enrolling in continued education courses.

Spiritual growth can come from starting your days with gratitude and meditation, or finding time at work to have a quiet mind to centre yourself.

Whatever your personal journey is, you can make room for spiritual growth in your career.

 2) Take More Risks

Naturally, our brains are designed to keep us safe. Taking risks of any kind can feel dangerous, even if the “danger” isn’t as real as it seems.

Our aversion to take risks is our brains way of trying to maintain a status quo, keep us in our comfort zone and feel safe. However, it is also what causes us to be stuck, resist growth and thus fall short of meeting our full potential.

Do your research and seek out advice from mentors/peers/family you trust, but in the end you need to make your own decision based on what you know is right for you.

When we ask for other people’s opinions they sometimes project their fears onto us in a bid to keep us safe.

Being authentic and designing your own life may not come easy, but part of living your destiny and not your shadow career is being able to live with and even embrace uncertainty.

If you know that it is time for you to move on, to learn something new, to change your career direction or to start your own business, you will not be fulfilled until you take action.

 3) Make Lateral Moves for Happiness

As a society, we are obsessed with climbing the corporate ladder.

Sometimes moving sideways, onto a new ladder, will bring you much more happiness and fulfillment.

Take time to look up; where is your career heading, and does that bring you excitement or apprehension?

Searching for happiness at the top of a corporate ladder can lead you to become disappointed and cause you to miss out on important moments in your life.

So every 1-3 years, take some time to consider how far you’ve come, the path that you’re on, and where you want your future to go.

A lot of people make career decisions without knowing what they’re working toward. If you make a decision that is only based on moving “up” you will most likely experience career regret.

Take the time to consider the type of work that plays to your strengths, develops some of your weaknesses and work that energizes you. Find ways to add more of that in your work life, and you will experience less regret.

Time you enjoy spending is never time wasted.

Sometimes it’s okay to take a step backward or sideways to get to a happier place.

 4) Consider Your Overall Wellbeing

A work-life balance doesn’t exist, we bring work home with us emotionally and physically.

Sometimes we spend so much time working it feels like we never go home at all.

Do you know why you’re working?

Is it to make more money, or is it bigger than that? While we do need money to support ourselves and our families, being trapped around money can keep us from making changes to get away from toxic situations or investing in ourselves to move towards a more authentic life.

There will be pros and cons to every job you have, in whatever career you’re in.

Weigh them carefully to understand what matters most to you.

In the end, your career path, your success, and your happiness depends on you.

Use your definition of success and your personal Success List to guide your career decisions.

Even with all of this knowledge, you may still find yourself feeling some mid-career regrets. Just know that your time has not been wasted.

You can learn valuable lessons from every experience in life, and mistakes do not lead to failure unless we fail to learn from them.



Ready or Not, You are Leading by Example

By | Wish Group | No Comments

That old saying, “do as I say, not as I do” isn’t going to cut it in business.

As the CEO, boss, and/or manager, your employees, associates and clients learn how to act from the examples you set.

“Serious leaders understand that, both by design and default, they’re always leading by example.” (Michael Schrage, HBR)

While you have worked hard already to get yourself into a position of leadership, you cannot slack off while your teammates are watching.

Refusing to lead by example alienates your people from you, feels like a betrayal for them, and decreases morale.

Setting a double standard of asking for more from your team than you ask of yourself will quickly build a team who resents each other, refuses to go the extra mile, and lives for the weekends.

Accepting your position as a leader and leading by example sets the tone of your workplace, encourages passion, loyalty and trust among team members, and ultimately develops future leaders.

Leading by example builds trust and makes people want to follow you because people are more likely to follow those they trust.

If you are in a leadership position, you are responsible for the morale of your team. “The culture of an organization is set by its leaders, and if those leaders are not consistent with their positive messages, both explicit and through their actions, it impacts the culture.” (Kevin Dee, The Eagle)

You need to lead your team toward success by being the first one to go the extra mile. “It’s difficult to resent managers who roll up their sleeves and wade into the trenches when they need to, and who share the same sacrifices their teams do.” (Victor Lipman, Forbes)

Refusing to lead by example is a quick way to lose loyalty and reinforces higher turnover. Employee retention is one of the biggest issues in Human Resource management. Taking the time to build trust among your team will help you even more in the long run.

To understand how strong your current leadership is, ask yourself how you lead by example and write down a few concrete examples.

If you find it difficult to think of examples, don’t be discouraged. Start today and consider how you can build your team up through your actions.

Leading by example takes practice, but that extra effort will pay off by helping you build a stronger team and a better company.

Get Your PR Right

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Get Your PR Right

Early in the beginning Wish Group didn’t have a Public Relations (PR) strategy. We did what we could and bootstrapped our way through.

In our first venture, we were partnered with Tony Lacavera of Globalive and he was recognized as #1 on the PROFIT Hot 50 list.

That was such an inspiration and I saw Tony get a lot of PR from that recognition.

So that’s my first tip, apply for awards.

You may feel like you’re not big enough to win an award or doing enough amazing things to stand out, but you could be pleasantly surprised.

Learn how to apply for awards because things like the PROFIT list have you competing against companies that started in the same year as yours, and they measure growth as a percentage instead of purely revenue.

Over time we have learned about a lot of other awards, such as Greatest Place to Work, Best Employers, etc. While we’re bootstrapping and don’t offer a lot of perks, we realized that what we do offer here is better than other companies.

Applying for awards is also a good process to go through to set goals for your business as you grow.

You might have blinders on while you’re working away in your business, and awards can help you feel good about where your business ranks amongst your peers. It can help you validate that what you’re doing is working.

Awards are also team activities, and winning them has a positive effect internally for your team. This in turn benefits your customers and clients too.

Once you start winning awards and getting some PR, it can become more of a domino effect.

Another Tip for Bootstrapping PR is Give Back.

We’ve done some things for our community without having PR in mind, but they ended up generating a lot of positive PR for us.

Growing up as a business in Liberty Village has been great, and the community has helped us grow. We wanted to do something to give back to our community, so we created an event named Calling on Liberty.

The event showcased a lot of local Liberty Village artists and raised money for the local community.

Just Tell Your Story.

You might think no one cares to hear what you have to say, but you would be surprised.

People want to hear what you have expertise on.

Get Digital and Social.

The newer digital and social media world can be intimidating, but it’s an amazing medium for telling your story.

Connect with your audience.

Even doing a video series like Bootstrap and sharing clips will help you get your story out to more people.

I wish I had started my video series years ago!

We are living in a very content centered world, and you’d be surprised about how many well-known magazines are hungry for content you can deliver.

Just get started somewhere.

For this episode of Bootstrap, click here: http://wishgroup.ca/s1e12-get-your-pr-right/


Wish Group Ranks No. 286 on the PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

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TORONTO, ONTARIO (September 14, 2017) Canadian Business and PROFIT today ranked Wish Group No. 286 on the 29th annual PROFIT 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Published in the October issue of Maclean’s magazine and at CanadianBusiness.com, the PROFIT 500 ranks Canadian businesses by their five-year revenue growth.

Wish Group made the 2017 PROFIT 500 list with five-year revenue growth of 207%.

“It is never easy to earn a spot on the PROFIT 500, but this year’s applicant pool was the most competitive yet,” says Deborah Aarts, PROFIT 500 program manager. “This year’s winners demonstrate the resilience, innovation and sheer management smarts it takes to build a thriving business today. Canada—and the world—needs more entrepreneurial success stories like these.”

“Wish Group is honoured to be on the PROFIT 500 ranking for the sixth year in a row,” said Frank Cianciulli, CEO and Chairman of Wish Group. “Wish Group’s success is founded on our ability to foster an entrepreneurial culture, to attract, develop and focus not just on being a leading provider of the key services, but to embrace our own achievements which we feel is crucial to the success of our clients.”

Wish Group continues to provide best in class business solutions using multiple award winning companies. These companies work collaboratively from an open office space in Liberty Village as well as several offices nationwide. Their continued focus on the dedication, respect, flexibility and efficiency that defines their corporate culture has never been stronger. Over the years, Wish Group has built a community of leadership amongst its employees – allowing for great results in helping clients improve communications, attract and retain a world-class workforce and achieve first-rate financial results.

Wish Group is a collection of companies anchored by entrepreneurial passion, run by hard work and growing because of integrity. We continue to focus on becoming the premier business solutions provider in Canada by providing diversified services to Canadian clients across industries.

About the PROFIT 500:

For 29 years, the PROFIT 500 has been Canada’s most respectable and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Developed by PROFIT and now published in Maclean’s magazine and at CanadianBusiness.com, the PROFIT 500 ranks Canadian companies on five-year revenue growth. For more information on the ranking visit PROFIT500.com or CanadianBusiness.com.

About Canadian Business:

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving and most-trusted business publication in the country. It is the country’s premier media brand for executives and senior business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada’s business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. Learn more at CanadianBusiness.com.

About Wish Group:

Wish Group is a collection of companies anchored by entrepreneurial passion, run by hard work and growing because of integrity. We continue to focus on becoming the premier business solutions provider in Canada by providing diversified services to Canadian clients across industries. We strongly believe our people are the single greatest resource to success. When you combine great ideas with great people, you have an unstoppable force. The energy of our ambitious team combined with proven leadership excellence creates a cohesive organization that focuses on providing exceptional service to our business clientele.

67 Mowat Ave Suite #411,
Toronto, ON M6K 3E3
Email: jorchard@wishgroup.ca
T: (416) 640-9768 ext: 9768

An Exponential Mindset Sets You Apart and Drives Growth

An Exponential Mindset Sets You Apart and Drives Growth

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An exponential mindset isn’t focused on making something better, it’s focused on making something different. (How to Create an Exponential Mindset by Mark Bonchek)

Most people have incremental mindsets that believe in minor improvements, but people who have exponential mindsets believe leaps of improvement are always possible.

A person with an exponential mindset isn’t a pie-in-the-sky dreamer, they simply believe there is a different way of doing things that will change the game. This way of thinking may seem less practical than an incremental mindset, but the trade-off is seeing past limitations that hold others back. Incremental thinking puts a limit on what you think is possible.

With an exponential mindset, anything feels possible.

It takes work to develop an exponential mindset, but if you believe you can do it, you’ve already got a head start!

Working to develop an exponential mindset gives you an edge over your competition, and it helps keep you on your toes so that you can adapt with rapid changes in your industry.

Even if you doubt any technological advances are going to swoop in and change the entire way you do business, keeping your mind open to those kinds of radical ideas keeps you ahead of the curve.

“Take a leap now to immerse yourself in the future so you’re able to get the most out of what’s coming.” (Lorenn Ruster)

Intrigued by this idea and want to develop your exponential mindset?

Watch this Webinar with Mark Bonchek where he takes you on a guided journey to shift your mindset from incremental to exponential.

One Night Only, Canadian Soprano Resurrects the Ghost of Georgina Stirling, Newfoundland’s first Opera Singer, the “Nightingale of the North”

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Tonia Evans Cianciulli

For Release

Wish Group

One Night Only, Canadian Soprano Resurrects the Ghost of Georgina Stirling, Newfoundland’s first Opera Singer, the “Nightingale of the North”.

Wish Group, a collection of Toronto based companies providing diversified services to Canadian clients, is proud to present Canadian Soprano, Tonia Evans Cianciulli. As part of Wish Group’s dedication to Canadian arts, they will be hosting an encore concert of this world renowned Soprano in Twillingate, Newfoundland on Friday August, 25TH, 7:00PM at St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

The concept for this performance grew from the legend of the late Georgina Stirling, affectionately known in Newfoundland as the “Nightingale of the North.” Georgina Ann Stirling (April 3, 1867 – April 23, 1935) was a Newfoundland opera singer, known by the stage name Marie Toulinquet. Born in Twillingate, Newfoundland, she became a world-renowned prima donna who performed in opera houses throughout Europe and the United States; she was Newfoundland’s first opera singer.

Newfoundland born Soprano, Tonia Evans Cianciulli performed her concert at two St. John’s churches this past May. In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday and 150 years ago that Georgina Stirling was born, Reverend Joanne Mercer of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Twillingate, reached out to request Miss Cianciulli to return to Newfoundland for a one night performance in honour of Georgina Stirling. The evenings program features not only repertoire performed by the original “Nightingale of the North” but will also provide historical interjections about Newfoundland’s musical heritage. A special feature song will be revealed during the evening written by the late Newfoundland singer/songwriter Ron Hynes.

“Tonia Evans Cianciulli’s re-creation of the presence of Georgina Stirling coupled with her formidable knowledge of her music and performing style, shines a spotlight on a person long forgotten by some, or perhaps even unknown to many. Miss Stirling’s rich contributions to life in Newfoundland, enjoys a contemporary resurrection through the professionalism and warmth of Tonia’s performance. It was and will be a treat for us all!”

Douglas Dunsmore, Gower United Church – Music Director
Faculty of Music – Memorial University, Conductor of NSO Philharmonic Choir


Newfoundland born, Canadian Soprano, Tonia Evans Cianciulli has an extensive background and experience on the operatic stage and in classical music. Tonia has gained a reputation as well for her touching and inspiring performances at purpose driven events such as fundraisers, charity events, motivational seminars, and galas. Most recently, Tonia has performed solo concerts of operatic and cross- over repertoire at such events including: Annual Miami Ball in South Beach, MIAMI, Juvenile Diabetes Masquerade in OAKVILLE, ON, Toronto Police Chief’s Gala –Victim Services, BESTIVAL Music Festival in TORONTO, Ontario, and OMEY Projects Arts Festival in PORTUGAL. Tonia continues to tour her Nightingale of the North/Canada’s 150th Tribute concert across Newfoundland with upcoming dates this 2017 in Toronto, ON. Tonia holds a Bachelor of Voice Performance from The University of Western Ontario and continues to hone her craft in both Opera and Crossover in Miami with operatic coach, MANNY PAREZ and, Toronto with ELAINE OVERHOLT and BRIAN MCINTOSH (London). www.wisharts.ca