Interview with Brian Oliver Francis, Founder of Creative Ideals

Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!

Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.

Can you tell everyone your name, please?

Brian Oliver Francis

Tell me about your education?

In the 80’s I went to Central Technical High school in Toronto Ontario, Canada where I majored in Architectural Drafting. In the 90’s I went to George Brown College in Toronto where I studied Microcomputer studies.

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

Knowing the difference between people who are friendly and people who are your actual friends. Friendly people are mainly lovely and polite to you because they have to be. Either they’re stuck working with you in the same company or their friendly because they’re hoping to gain something from you. However, soon as they’re no longer working with you or realize they have nothing to gain from you they quickly disappear like a puff of smoke in a wind storm. Your actual friends, however, aren’t hanging around because they’re forced to work alongside you in the payroll, and they have nothing to gain from you because perhaps you’re broke and lack connections they need to get ahead in life. These people genuinely appreciate you and will support you when need be, and you will do the same for them even when there is nothing to gain. Knowing this has taught me how to stay connected with lots of people for business while keeping a small group of real friends. In the end, I keep it real with everyone. No faking it.

Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?

I had the pleasure of making friends with one of the world’s most successful people in the clothing industry. His name is Don Green, co-founder of Roots Clothing. Don is a down to earth, very smart, innovative, no-nonsense businessman, that has a great work-life balance. He values family, friendships, and health as much as he did the success of his company. He taught me about the importance of being flexible and making sure always to change to help become successful.

Thank you for providing a background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.

What is the name of your company?

Creative Ideals

Where is your company located?

Maple, Ontario in Canada. 45 minutes north on downtown Toronto.

What services or products does your organization provide?

Creative Ideals provides a customized Event Planning and Marketing service. We create an event and marketing plan that will attract our clients target audience, and help promote their business. Our clientele includes but is not limited to the Health and Fitness Industry, Financial Services, Tech Industry, Real Estate, Car Dealerships, and Restaurants.

What problem is your business trying to solve?

We are trying to solve, “nobody is buying my products or services” problem. We believe the best way to attract clients is by providing them with a great experience so they will associate that experience with the clients brand. We all want happiness, whether it’s feeling happy from watching a 2-hour comedy show or 4-hour event. So we create events that we believe will provide people with the most enjoyable, creative, professional, and memorable experience imaginable. They will go to work on Monday and talk about the brand that gave them a great experience.

How is your business unique against your competitors?

Creative Ideals is unique and has very few “direct” competitors. Most event planning companies don’t plan events for clients with a marketing strategy in mind especially the way Creative Ideals does it. Our most recent client is Popeye’s Supplements who was an exhibitor at another one of our events and that Popeye’s store owner said, “I have been to many gym openings, and they’re all boring, but this is the best gym grand opening I ever been to.”

Photo credit: Brian Oliver Francis

How did the idea for your business come to fruition?

Creative Ideals is currently in its 3rd phase of evolution. For a long time we were a part-time entertainment production company then an email marketing website ad company, now a much more successful Event Planning and Marketing company. I’ve been a part-time entrepreneur since I was a teenager and finally got tired of working and making someone else rich. So I took all my work experience and discovered a way to use it to help companies create a great impression on potential clients.

Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?

Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.

What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?

1. Your business idea should solve a problem. The purpose should be about helping others be successful and happy, and not about you getting rich. If you’re doing it because you love it and it will help people, the money will come…eventually.

2. Don’t fall hopelessly in love with your business idea. Give it a really good try and if it isn’t working, if it’s completely failing after a long time (1-year max) don’t stay in it like a bad relationship. Change it, evolve or get out altogether. Perhaps there is something else you’re good at that will be a much better business idea.

3. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded entrepreneurs especially successful ones. Being around negative people will bring you down. Being around people who aren’t entrepreneurs who tell you your business is excellent even though it’s terrible is not good either. You need to be realistic.

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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