Our Invisible Empire was founded as a playground for entrepreneurs. We offer a wide range of services under one roof to support small businesses across Alberta. We wanted to create a support system for small business owners in hopes of evening out the playing field and helping them compete against the larger companies and their resources. We do everything in our power to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive in hopes of supporting growth in the small business Sector.
Tell us about yourself?
I was very blessed to be given an opportunity to come off the tools and start working in management at a young age. My mentor, at the time, had founded a retail service business that provided a widespread training ground. I worked very closely with him for nearly 10 years. This provided me with the platform to learn and sponge almost every area of business as a whole. From outside to inside sales, operational management, financial data tracking, forecasting and budgeting, marketing, scaling and expansion, and the list goes on. As the business scaled to multiple cities and provinces, I was given the opportunity to grow with the company and eventually became a shareholder and occupied the role of General Manager. This fueled my experience in scaling and expansion, which ended up becoming my favourite part of business. My wife is a CPA Accountant and was on the fast track to management at her firm at the time. We realized that our combined experience covered so many areas of small business that we decided to found Our Invisible Empire together in the hopes of helping small businesses fight back in the heavily competitive Alberta market. We would love our children to have a variety of career options open to them 20 years from now, and that won’t happen if we are all working for Amazon! We figured that if we can even slightly contribute to the rebound and future growth of the small business sector, then it will all be worth it in the end.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
That is a loaded question. I would give myself so much advice that we’d run out of time going through it all! We are human, and we are not perfect. We made numerous mistakes throughout the first year, and I wish we could go back in time and have a do-over.
Cash Flow Management is crucial. Most entrepreneurs get caught up in their vision and making things look pretty, and we tend to overlook that the business’s bottom line profit has to be the main priority. Self-awareness and discipline are key, as well. It can be a bit of a wake-up call when you realize there is no boss and no direction coming from the top anymore. Finding ways to continuously motivate yourself is a skill set in itself. I would definitely go back in time and teach myself some things I know now.
What problem does your business solve?
There are very few we cannot solve or haven’t solved throughout the first three years. We are so heavily active in all areas of small business that we don’t really encounter problems that can’t be solved. But then again, I’m weird that way. I don’t think unsolvable problems exist in business. Can you be self-aware enough to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and ask for help in the areas you need help? Are you willing to put the hard work in to ensure your business continues to succeed? Can you pivot and make significant changes when your business requires those changes? Too many entrepreneurs turn a blind eye to the problems within the business because the work involved in solving those problems is outside their comfort zone. That’s where we have the most effect, taking the areas of business that they don’t have time for or don’t know how to do off the owner’s plate so they can focus on running the operations of their business. Small business owners are very close to their companies, and that can be difficult in itself. Especially when it comes to acknowledging the existing problems and that you might be the one causing those problems. Sometimes, it just takes a different point of view to unlock that overwhelm and see it clearly.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Our inspiration comes from so many different areas, but it all revolves around helping people. Our Invisible Empire launched in June of 2020, so we have operated in a pandemic and a recession for the majority of our time in business. We want to help anyone who is struggling with their business and assist future entrepreneurs through the gruelling startup process. If we can help guide them through the process and utilize our resources to make it dramatically easier on them, then there is a better likelihood that they don’t end up part of the failed business statistic that is running wild right now!
What is your magic sauce?
We haven’t come across anyone doing exactly what we are doing right now. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist elsewhere. I’m just saying we haven’t stumbled upon it. The main components that have contributed to our growth is that we have taken almost all services in-house at our offices in Calgary. This gives us the opportunity to provide services at a dramatically discounted rate, which gives the small business a fighting chance against the larger companies’ resources. We also partner with companies on minority equity percentages to align our interests with theirs. If we own a part of the company, then it doesn’t benefit either party to force unnecessary costs on the business. Our goal is to increase the profit of your business and nothing else. We are not trying to force unnecessary marketing retainers, bookkeeping fees, or any of the other services a small business would have to take on to compete in our current economy. If we are not certain it will contribute to the profitability of the business, we have no interest in spending unnecessary time or money on it.
How can people get involved?
Visit our website or connect with us on social media to join our mission of raising awareness for more Canadian small businesses.