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Every time I interview a successful young entrepreneur, I ask what their secret is to achieving so much in such a short amount of time. The answer is always the same — networking.
And Gavin MacMillan had to agree. He turned his flair bartending skills — the ability to flip bottles and use pyro techniques while bartending — into his own business called Bartender One.
“Word of mouth is the best form of advertising,” says MacMillan, “Every time you talk about your business you are creating an instant sales person.”
MacMillan's venture started in 2002. He was flair bartending at a nightclub downtown when one of his patrons asked him to bartend at a private party.
“I said yes without really knowing how I would do it,” he says. That event resulted in four referrals and began the first tier of MacMillan's bartending business.
In 2005, MacMillan was Canada's top ranked bartender at the Legends of Bartending World Championships in Las Vegas. He has been featured in music videos, on the Travel Channel, A&E, City TV's Breakfast Television, Bar and Beverage and more. He can be seen on recent world championship DVDs, and continues to train and compete with the world's finest bartenders.
After a wave of media exposure, MacMillan began receiving calls asking him how one can learn to do what he does. With that the second tier of his business was born, and he hasn’t looked back since.
But wouldn’t it be great if all those young up-and-comers had a place to meet and fuse their skills? Well, there is.
“Junior Chamber International is an organization of young professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs ... who are looking for additional professional development and experience in leadership, project management, entrepreneurship and training,” says Jann Vandermeulen, vice-president of JCI in Toronto.
Tomorrow, MacMillan will be sharing his story at a JCI event. The event is an opportunity for people to network and create valuable contacts.
MacMillan became involved with JCI because he found it attracted a lot of like-minded people.
“I'm hoping to give people a little inspiration,” he says. “Not everyone realizes that everyone else is going through the same things.”
Louis Trahan, president of Last Minute Training Corp., is a member of JCI and the committee for this project. His business contacts have helped him secure the right speakers and venue for this event.
“Networking can open doors that you didn't know were closed,” he says. “Having a strong network will help you find opportunities before they become public giving you an advantage over others.”