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Growing your business: That’s a capital idea!

Growing your business: That’s a capital idea!

Posted on:  , 
Author: ATB Business & Agriculture

It’s a problem countless entrepreneurs face: how to manage expansion into new markets. At February’s Capital Ideas events in Calgary and Edmonton, six Alberta entrepreneurs discussed how they have made their businesses bigger and better.

Fouad El Masri of Visio Media, Gail Hall of Seasoned Solutions, and Sean Rayner of VETS Group led the panel in Edmonton, while Chris Prefontaine of Fratello Coffee Roasters, Carolyne McIntyre Jackson of Crave Cupcakes, and Andrew Chau of SkipTheDishes spoke to the Calgary crowd.

The February panellists delivered an in-depth look at the realities of an expanding business, and discussed what it takes to keep up with growth while maintaining the quality and consistency customers are expecting.

For Visio Media, an elevator advertising company, focus was the key to making the business bigger and better.

“Find out what you’re good at and be the best at it,” president and co-founder, Fouad El Masri, told the audience.

As many small business owners know, success and growth rarely come without taking some chances. As Gail Hall, owner of Seasoned Solutions Loft Cooking School and Culinary Tours, stated, “Entrepreneurs are a very special breed because you have to be a risk taker. It’s OK to start something new and once you realize that, you figure out a way to make it work”.

When discussing businesses that are becoming bigger and better, the VETS Group fits the criteria perfectly. With its roots dating back to 1921 as a one-man residential sheet metal firm, VETS Group has now expanded into a group of fast-growing companies.

When VETS Group’s owner, Sean Rayner was asked how he defined its market when he started and how he sees it now, he explained, “We spent a lot of time trying to learn what the market looked like and where the gaps were to identify how we could grow what we did to be better at it.”

When Chris Prefontaine, president of the Fratello Coffee Roasters, was probed on what he will not compromise on in his business he responded, “With our bakery and with our coffee, we’re just not interested in good...good isn’t good enough. We try our best to do things with excellence.”

Andrew Chau, co-founder of SkipTheDishes, Canada’s largest food delivery network, shared his experiences with receiving advice. “Our biggest source of feedback was our customers and learning from what worked and what didn’t to create a continual feedback loop,” he said.

Crave Cupcakes, now with six stores across Alberta and Saskatchewan, is continuing to expand with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. As for remaining relevant in the marketplace, Carolyne McIntyre Jackson isn’t worried about cupcakes going out of style.

“I truly believe that if you make something that is great, it’s not a fad and it won’t go out of style,” she said.

Capital Ideas is a monthly event held in Edmonton and Calgary that fosters an interactive panel discussion with some of Alberta’s most innovative and knowledgeable entrepreneurs. Each month, panellists address a topic of interest to entrepreneurs and small businesses. These events are excellent opportunities to network, learn insights, and get business advice for some of your most pressing challenges.

If you want to learn more about Capital Ideas, find an event near you, or contribute to the conversation, visit and

Be sure to register for your next local Capital Ideas event focusing on the topic “How do you turn great ideas into great products?” taking place March 18 in Edmonton and March 26 in Calgary.

Photo courtesy: Capital Ideas

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