Despite just having been named Quebec student entrepreneur of the year by the organization Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship, Concordia student Adam Haroun is willing to spill his secrets to success.
“Talking to successful people helps sharpen your skills,” Haroun said, singling out his own business mentor, Fabienne Fredrickson, as a major reason for his success.
Fredrickson and Haroun speak once a month on the phone and he just came back from meeting her in Stamford, Connecticut.Â Haroun suggests all young entrepreneurs get coaching. He said it helps them to create a niche, find a target market and expand their business network.
Originally from Ottawa, Haroun moved to Montreal to do his undergraduate degree at the John Molson School of Business.Â He started his first online company, The XFactor Agency, two years ago while going to school full-time.
He said the XFactory Agency is about helping businesses brand their product, market their services, establish an online presence, and create a website – not simply about developing a logo. His agency attracts companies of all sizes, and from different regions – ranging from Canada and the United StatesÂ to Slovenia. In the past year the company has seen a 605 per cent growth, for which he credits both his mentor and Concordia.
Haroun said that Concordia gave him the tools to venture into creating his own business. He credits his experience with Concordia’s Students In Free Enterprise team, a chapter of the international SIFE group which promotes student involvement in the community as a method of developing the skills to become business leaders, for helping him to develop and giving him the extra push to create the XFactor agency.
“Being able to represent Concordia and Quebec is an honour and a privilege,” Haroun said.
Other advice given by Haroun is that “success leaves clues.” He added that going to seminars and schmoozing with successful people gives young people an edge in the business world.
Haroun also emphasized that making contacts helps, but you also need to find the right price for your service. This year he changed his company’s prices from an hourly rate to a package price. He found once he established a format to sell his product he created a focus, and his company’s size exploded as a result.
Going to school and having a business is hectic, but Haroun said that because he attends online classes and has tutors he is able to do well.
“Cool thing is that with a laptop and cell phone,” Haroun said, “I can go anywhere.”
Haroun will now be competing at the regional championship in Toronto on March 18, with a $1,000 prize on the line. The three regional winners will then face off at the 2011 ACE National Exposition in Toronto on May 11, 2011. The Student Entrepreneur National Champion will receive a $10,000 cash prize and go on to represent Canada at the Global Student Entrepreneur competition.