Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in consultancy but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Wood of Ottawa Consultants, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Ottawa Consultants is a consulting firm that typically works with small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. We work in many different capacities, including helping guide our clients with financial consultation, marketing assistance, public and media relations, government relations, social media, e-commerce development, event planning, as well as the buying and selling of small businesses.

Tell us about yourself

Before the pandemic, I was a fifty-percent partner in the largest event rental company in my city. I started the company in 2010 with a friend. Come March 2020, I had to lay off all 23 full-time employees as the company lost 97% of its gross revenue. During this time, I became the voice and face of small businesses across Canada, meeting with elected officials at all levels of government. I would be asked to attend meetings with the Office of the Prime Minister through Ministers at the Federal and Provincial levels. I would ask all the small business owners not only in my city but across the country if they wanted to join and hold over sixty roundtables with top-ranking elected officials for support. The media in Canada, the UK, and Australia picked up on my efforts, and I was a frequent guest on all television and radio stations.

In October 2021, I sold my shares in the business and decided that there were still many small businesses that were going to need assistance recovering from the pandemic, and that is why I started the consulting firm. Every day I stay motivated because this business is about helping people who have dedicated their entire lives to their businesses and their families that support them.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have had many accomplishments that I am very proud of over the years. As a current part-time college professor, I hired former students right out of school to join my staff. I gave them careers in the industry they wanted to work in. That would be my biggest accomplishment.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

For many people, one of the hardest things a small business owner has to overcome is a deep understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. All of us have them but realizing what they are can only help your business grow and move forward. We can't all be experts in every single aspect of running and owning a business, so make sure you know when you need to reach out for assistance from professionals that specialize in various tasks and aspects of operating a business. The most important would be accounting and finances.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

My top three tips for anyone wanting to start, run or grow a business today would be as follows. Understand cash flow and money. Understand the money you are making today may not be available tomorrow. Understand the impact of taking out loans and how they will help or hinder the growth of your business. Spend money wisely. Secondly, do not hire family members in the company. This is especially true in a partnership. The number of challenges this can create between owners and staff could be surprising. Lastly, enjoy every moment. Work hard. Celebrate your staff and be involved in the community that your business is in. If you support your community, your community will support you.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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