The Beginning Of Apex
Prologue – I want to first say that the past 10 Months have been life defining for myself. However it is truly the people that I have met and been able to connect with that have landed me in one of the most thankful times of my life. This first blog post admittedly got away from me, reading it now hah it became a bit of a novel, for that I apologize (I thank you if you make it all the way through.) I think though that it is important (whether you be a potential client or my mother) that you know my story as a business owner, why I chose this type of business, and most importantly; acknowledge the people that have helped me out in ways I never thought possible throughout this journey of launching a business. This initial blog post somewhat blurs the lines of personal and business, because I believe it is important to show the personal story, so you can see my personal vision for the business.
Apex Valet Service – A close friend and colleague said “wouldn’t it be cool if we own a valet company?”
It was while enjoying a frosty beverage at Crabby’s downtown, that a good friend suggested it would be cool to own our own valet company. We had all worked a long shift and were winding down together. Many times conversation directed towards reviewing the interesting things that occurred while doing valet, that day (and other days.) We had all worked together for about a year and were good friends outside of work. It was one of those conversations where, you’re still not sure who said it, and to me its not overly important, because I look at it as we said it as a team. “wouldn’t it be cool to have our own Valet company.” The discussion took off about the management, sales, requirements, costs and It was an in depth long conversation. I had recently achieved a supervisory role at the Delta and I love the work we do and the people I work with. It was this brain storming and team atmosphere that prompted my realization; that this idea, this random conversation between friends, could be a reality. What became clear and truly important, is that this business could make a positive impact on the lives of my friends, and potential connections.
So, shortly after, one afternoon I registered for a Business Number and Name. ( How I got and decided on Apex is another post) It was a slow process and I had no idea where to start. About a month later and with little progress accomplished I took a solo trip to Vegas. I needed a vacation, Vegas was cheap in March and its probably the capital of Valet Parking. ( Perhaps somewhere in Dubai would classify having more I don’t have actual stats I’m speculating)
When I returned to London, I was in a very positive and motivated, state of mind. (My brother thinks it was all the O2 they pump into the casinos.) I think being on my own, meeting and experiencing a place like Vegas gave me a new sense of perspective. I finally accepted that I loved working as a Valet, and that I had a rare opportunity to not only build a career parking cars, but follow a passion I had recently discovered.
I have always been a leader, I love the idea of being positive role model and have always tried lead by example. This is when I started devoting the time and energy into launching Apex. I did some research and figured out what it would take to start – Insurance (and by direct correlation, money)
My mother showed me a program she heard about while at a conference called Futurpreneur. I investigated, it sounded pretty amazing – Low interest funding for prospective entrepreneurs (Ages 18 -39 ! ) Business plan template and sample questions, I was assigned a rep. that worked in London, (Tiffany Roschkow, Thank you!) and was in charge of finding me a mentor that I would meet with on a regular basis throughout the program (2 years.) I was also assigned a Client Relationship Manager ( Marcus Wolfe, Thank you!) who was in charge of helping me through the business plan and loan application process. I learned a lot throughout this process and I am grateful to have found this program. I tell any young prospective entrepreneur I meet about the positive life changing experience that Futurpreneur provided.
The application was smooth and everything was falling into place, except for one thing – Insurance. (recurring theme here hah) I needed the Insurance quote to get the funding. I also needed the financial backing, business bank account ( and an insurance company that would even look at new valet company) to get an insurance quote, kind of a catch – 22, no?
There are always going to be roadblocks in the way of achieving your dreams. All I can say is that a positive attitude, a little hard work, devotion and general friendless can go a long way. I had the motivation and research, but still no direction and parts missing to be able to launch.
Enter Greg Plante – Owner, Imaginative Group, Windsor Ontario. I am truly honoured to know this man and he helped me beyond compare. He is one of the smartest, hardworking, goal/detailed oriented, value driven and imaginative individuals I have ever met. He started his company 11 years ago, because he had a passion for photography and wanted to make it his career. He did just that – Imaginative Group is a full service business marketing firm, that basically does 90% of things I need done. ( Print, logo, domain, promo materials, marketing ideas.) The most important thing he did for me was believe in my idea. Everything happens for a reason, and trying to get the right door open requires assistance and connections. He said to me “ My insurance broker, who is out of Windsor, she is a super driven passionate person, I think she would like something out of the box like this.”
This was the first light, I was put in contact with Kristy Sauve with Alliance Windsor Insurance Brokers. She, like Greg, believed in me and wanted to help me find a company to insure me. This experience taught me an invaluable lesson about business and what people were talking about with the phrase “it’s who you know” Kristy was super patient with me, walking me through the entire process. I learned and accepted a lot of things through the process. I can now say I understand why certain things work the way they do, most of the insurance companies I had approached before this wanted to see 3 years of the business running with no accidents.. again big ole catch 22. I was however fortunate enough that I was positive throughout the experience and rather then giving up or getting angry, I was able to face the problems that arose by asking “what can I do?” It ended up the fact I had been a Valet Attendant and in 2 cases in a supervisory role (with no accidents) I proved my experience, my knowledge, and allowed Apex to be considered insurable. Aviva agreed to take me on as a client, and I appreciate the opportunity.
From there its been a slow – yet busy few months, Ups and downs on my part of progressing the launch of the business. However I met many great people networking over the past several months and I thank each of them for the countless advice, help, work, perspectives they have offered. This part is for you, If I missed you, think its not I didn’t appreciate what you’ve done..my fingers are going numb.
Acknowledgments ( by order of appearance )
The most important person in my life:
Mom – Thank you for everything you have ever done for me. You’ve always been a true inspiration to me, a role model of what it is to be a hardworking, positive, happy, and understanding individual. You are both literally and figuratively the reason I am where I am today. I am so grateful for everything you’ve done for me, thank you.
Followed closely by of course; my old man. Thank you dad for teaching me many practical skills and imparting wisdom that I could only learn to appreciate when I grew up and smartened up. Most importantly, thank you for letting me boot around our driveway and property in a Chevy Blazer at age 10, and making me learn standard at age 12 In a Chevy Tracker.
My parents raised me in the middle of nowhere, not a lot of activities.. a lot of farmers field and bush. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its perks. I am thankful and take very seriously my ability to drive and my love of people; this is because of my amazing parents.
My Sister and Brother in law and my amazing nieces and nephews – We have a unique and interesting family dynamic and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Becoming an Uncle at 10 helps put things into perspective. I grew up quick having an older sister and brother, but for this I am thankful. Having you Tara and Adam in my corner has always been a source of light for me. I know that if I ever have an issue or need advice I can always get it from you! Seeing the life you’ve built together and the amazing family you are raising drives me towards my goals. Tara you have been the best big sister anyone could have. You have the soul of a saint, and uncomparable wisdom that has helped define me and truly understand the world. Oh and by the way, our relationship with our mother is unparalleled. I cherish you both!
Denny, quite literally my brother from another mother. You know how I was talking about that family dynamic? Im glad we have been able to foster a relationship in the last 3 years. Denny you’ve always been my idol (since you are my big brother) and being able to connect with you and grow as brothers has been amazing. You helped me with the side of the business id never be able to do (numbers) and frankly if it weren’t for you, your ideas, your hard work – Apex wouldn’t be here right now. Thanks Bro.
My entire crazy, amazing family- You know who you are, because it’s all of you.. You’ve all helped define me, and help me grow along the way in big and small ways. That’s what family is for, and I am so grateful to be a part of a crazy amazing family.
Scott Levere, Manager in Kananskis and Mentor. You were my first real boss Scotty, and I learned so much from you. I truly appreciate the opportunity you gave me at the golf course in Kananaskis. You unknowingly set me on my life path, and you always knowingly believed in me, helped me through many personal issues and never gave up on me. Thank you Scott for being an amazing mentor I will forever call my friend.
Jeni Schweighardt – Life is a journey and it’s the people who end up in your lives that set you down a path that you may have never known possible. Jeni, if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be here. You are an amazing person and I am so grateful we both ended up somewhere in our lives – Happy.
Delta – There are countless people needed to be thanked from the Delta, but I wont get to all of them, know you have been a source of inspiration, advice and guidance each and every one of you. Delta has been my home for 2 years and I am truly grateful to have you all as my family. Tyler, Corey, Alysha, Pam, Jeff, Gerry, Kass, Mary Kate, Madi, Taryn, Tony, Katy, Mike. ( If I missed you I apologize, Do not take it as non appreciation everyone I have met at Delta has been a help) Many of you have been in a leadership role above me and knowingly or not I have learned invaluable lessons of team management, running a business, networking, and general gusto to keep perusing my dream. The Delta has been such an amazing employer that when I approached management about this idea.. They all wanted to know how they could help! I will never take this opportunity for granted, and will continue to work hard at the hotel. THANK YOU
Rob Plante and the whole team at Imaginative Group! I am so lucky to have found this company and these amazing people who have basically held my hand throughout this new and unknown process. Rob has the patience of Tibetan Monk and is laidback even when he has print up to his eyes. I am truly fortunate to have this company behind me they are amazing. I am just as lucky to be able to call Rob a friend for the future! Sweet car by the way ( GTI )
Dr. Kresimir Jug D.C- Gainsborough Family Chiropractic – London, ON – Dr. Kreso was kind enough to volunteer his time and signed up as a mentor through Futurpreneur. When the process of finding a canadidate came up, my criteria was simple. I wanted someone passionate, enthusiastic, and successful ( success as defined by my perspective.) I met Dr. Kreso and he was all of those things.. taken to the next level. I am so thankful that I met you, and I appreciate your patience and guidance through these slow going last 6 months. You’ve kept me focused, task oriented and made me think of my business and sales completely differently. – Market the product and the service not the price point. I look forward to the next year together being able to actually watch Apex grow. Thank you. P.S – I decided early on to see if Dr. Kreso would take me on as a patient and this as well has been a life changing experience.
Tyler Bryden – 65 Interactive, London ON. Tyler was literally the first person I ever connected with at a networking event. Futurpreneur not only help with funding but they bring young like minded entrepreneurs together to share ideas and create contacts. Every person I have met through out this process has seemed to have falling out of the sky, at the exact perfect time. Tyler Bryden was that for me, and so much more then a web developer. I am lucky you took on my project, as I am truly inspired by what you are doing with your business. Seeing you working hard, always meeting, finding new leads – ways to market yourself in London and I am so impressed. I am definitely trying to take a page out of your book. The proof does not lie either.. Look at this site!
Andrew Plumb – Legal Shield, London – Going back to how meeting people at the right time can change everything. Andrew Plumb and I met at a Chamber of Commerce networking event.I was nervous and not very good at introducing myself. Andrew helped me meet quite a few people that night, but more importantly I met HIM. I have never had the pleasure of meeting someone so laidback and positive. Passion and networking are this mans games and he loves the company and service he works for – Legal Shield. He has taught me in the short couple months that staying positive and networking are absolutely essential. Plus he has some of the best analogies and sayings ever. One of my favourite that I have taken to heart is Successful people build networks. It has resonated with me and I truly hope one day to be as content and successful as Andrew Plumb! (This man inspired me so much, I became a Legal Shield Associate.. not just because it pays well – but because I knew just how valuable watching and learning from him would be. )
Last but certainly not least. Leading up all of these acknowledgements were about all the people who have helped me along the way and basically put me on this path. I cannot with good conscience finish without mentioning the countless people I have had the extreme pleasure to meet, work with, and create lasting connections over the last 5 years. Now think me not sexist, as I have met many amazing women and worked along side and learned a lot. The reason I say the Boys is as such: I have created relationbroships in the last 5 years that have helped me grow as a young man. From Kananskis GC to Nakiska to DLAK to Delta London, the guys I have met and fostered relationships will have forever defined me as a person. Again.. if you are missed.. im sorry but, you know me.. Millsy, Coon, Dickhoot, Troyer, Reed, Tom, Hammy, Joel, Hizzy, Woomba, Jayboy #1, Spenny, Evian, Ryan Watters, Minatel, Lukey, Bakker, Goss, Scotty G, Gibby,Brad, Sam, Steve Downs, Bob Paley, Steve Howe, Hyuhn, Konstantin, Jayboy #2, Jim, Geoffrey, C.J, Frank, Don, Jack, Gary, Pat, Ian, Blake, Matty, TK, Jon, Chad, Franklin, Liam, Brian, Matt, Brandon B+R . You define yourself by others, you grow and shape how you want to be by the reflection of others.. You boys have been that hockey team I never had – and I wouldn’t change it for the world!
So this is it… Thank you for making it here (told you I would), It became a novel and I promise future blog posts will be topic specific, short, to the point; with a mix of satire, facts, and good clean humour.
This is the end.. of the beginning… for Apex.