Brian Titus used to defuse underwater bombs for a living. A little dangerous? Sure. But the former navy lieutenant and self-professed risk taker says the work prepared him for his next venture in life; starting his own business.
His turning point came while watching a television show about two brothers in Fredericton, N.B., who had given up law careers to start their own craft brewery. Brian always had a taste for unique beers and he was intrigued. He drove to Fredericton the next day to talk to them.
“As I drove back to Halifax that night I was writing my business plan in my head,” he said.
The first few years were filled with long hours and hard, back-breaking work. “There were times when I would sleep at the brewery. I delivered every keg of beer that I had cleaned. I did the sales, the installation of the equipment, and all the invoicing and paperwork.” He also had to work with the provincial government and a lawyer to change the rules so he could sell his beer. Now, Garrison Brewing Company is thriving with a great waterfront location in downtown Halifax offering 13 different beers and seasonal specialties.
Titus encourages everyone to go after their career goals but cautions that you need to go into business with your eyes open.
“The first step is selling yourself and being realistic to see if you have what it takes. The second step is selling everyone around you so they become believers too.”
From bombs to beer. Now that’s what I call a turning point.
- After seeing how rich you’ll be if everything goes right, re-run the budget in the negative & see if you’re still interested.
- Boil your business and product pitch down to 30 seconds — after that you start to lose peoples’ attention.
- Find a patient mentor, someone who can keep you grounded and give common sense guidance.
- Be prepared to adjust your plan quickly — it’s the beauty of owning a small business.
- Don’t second guess once you’ve committed, just get it done!