George Gill is the founder of GILL Media and the GILL Solutions Management Group of companies. GILL Media, like all of George's businesses, was been built out of a need as opposed to a master plan.
George began his first business at the age of 18, starting a fast growing Canadian retail chain that subsequently failed in 1998. George learned much from his failure, though, and started GILL Technologies as a result soon after.
We had the chance to talk with George Gill about this experiences as a business man, and what he has to say about entrepreneurism.
What were you like in college, were you as hungry then as you are now?
In college I was a little bit of an odd ball. I would show up to class in a half suit with suspenders; ready to throw on my tie and jacket, and bolt after class to a sales job. I knew very clearly from a young age that I wanted to run to companies, and I believed the best education would come from the field of sales.
What is your take on college in 2012? Many successful entrepreneurs are skeptical of how much college actually prepares students for the real world. Would you advise an entrepreneurial-minded youth to go to college today?
Excluding specialized careers, such as being a doctor, lawyer, etc. that require a degree for the ability to practice, I believe that post-secondary education gives you two good things and one really bad thing. It expands your network and outlook of the world and it nurtures your ability to research and organize. Those are the two good things. The bad thing hinges around false expectation and what people assume it gives you. From a hiring perspective, having energy, action and experience speak louder to me than a degree to me. Oh...college can also can be a great time...so that's a plus too!
Was their a turning point in your life, an event that led to your current career?
All of them, but mainly the challenges and failures. They made me stronger, wiser and more determined.
What are your three tips for Success?
1. Set definite goals and measure your progress. 2. Take time to think, deeply. 3. Make a decision, then make it right.
After all of your achievements, success and resulting financial comfort, what motivates you to wake up in the morning and work harder than everybody else?
I have to prove to myself, and only myself that I have done all I can do. Fortunately that list keeps growing.
What are the hottest market, tech, or social trends that you think have the best potential for an entrepreneur to capitalize on?
Anything that makes life easier for people. I'm biased around technology, but the fact is that new isn't what matters; rather, what the benefits are and "Is there a market is?" is what matters.
Have you had any setbacks that almost discouraged you from the risk-filled world of entrepreneurship?
Yes, a business failure in 1998. In fact, I went to work for the corporate world for the first time since I was 19 because of it for 3 months. The surprising thing was that I held out so long before jumping back in the saddle!
What advice can you give a young entrepreneur who is in the midst of turning a concept into a business? What are those first critical steps that need to be taken?
Who is the market and why will they buy it! Don't waste time on all the things that keep you busy before you know who will buy it. Not focus groups either. Have someone pull out their credit card and say how much. Then you know you have a business.
What is most important aspect of a company that determines its success?
People and leadership.
What plans do you have for your career that we would have never suspected?
I want to push the limits of technology and business growth to levels unheard of in the past for small and medium business and from that develop a new business model worth duplicating.
How do you plan on expanding your business, keeping it relevant in the future ?
By not following the crowd; rather, leading through innovation. Generally if everyone is already talking about it, its probably not the path you want to go on.
5, 10, 50 years down the line when you’ve achieved everything you aspire for today, where do you see yourself?
Watching my kids achieve their goals – and helping them a little when I can.