Below is our recent interview with Bahamas – Barbados executive and entrepreneur, Bobby Genovese.
Q: Having been an entrepreneur for a number of decades and having started and led a number of businesses, what’s your advice for today’s young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business venture?
Bobby Genovese: Before you even start looking for a business to create, consider your knowledge, experience and skills. What would you be the most happy doing? And what have you been most successful at? Reach out to former colleagues who might have insight on your specific strengths. For example, I’m good at sales and had a way of making people feel comfortable, and was very determined to succeed. If you’re going to be successful in whatever path you decide, make sure you are passionate about it, and never take no for an answer.
Q: Do you agree that it’s easier to start a business if you’re in a niche market?
Bobby Genovese: It’s often better to think small when you’re looking at gaps in the market. The more specific your market, the easier it is to target it effectively. At the same time, you want to make sure that the market is big enough to sustain growth. Does the proposed market have an existing product base? Are the customers easily identifiable? In addition, niche markets can often be copied. For example, if something has worked in women’s clothing, it might also work in children’s apparel.
In 2013, we launched our own niche company, BG Signature, an exclusive luxury destination and vacation experience that includes private estates and polo clubs in the United States, Canada, Bahamas, England and Argentina.
Q: What methods do you recommend when seeking out new business ideas?
Bobby Genovese: Study existing trends in the market to uncover new opportunities. If everything is migrating online, look closely at options that have not yet been turned into a business. When you examine successful businesses, you will find that they are often the answer to a problem that was not previously solved. Online loan companies, for instance, have appeared to help consumers who have been turned down for a loan by the banks. Solving an existing problem will win customers and help you sell products.
Q: Do you have any other words of wisdom for young entrepreneurs?
Bobby Genovese: If you love what you do, then it will never feel like work. Building a new company and leading it takes a lot of work and there are plenty of obstacles along the way. Having passion for what you’re doing makes it a lot easier to overcome the obstacles that you will inevitably have to confront.
Q: You’ve been heavily involved with charitable organizations for many years. Can you explain why this is important to you?
Bobby Genovese: I believe that giving back is both a responsibility and a privilege. Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children leads the list of organizations that I have supported over the years. We have provided critical resources and support for their pediatric cancer initiatives. For example, the Boat Rally for Kids with Cancer, which I have chaired for many years, has raised a significant amount for SickKids. It’s the event of the summer in Muskoka, Ontario and shows how we can be successful in coming together for an important cause.