Describe your business:
Sona Visual is a content creation & marketing firm, with a heavy focus on the Real Estate industry. Our team creates professional high-quality content to help businesses showcase physical spaces in the digital world. We get more eyes on the product, and set a memorable first impression for our clients. Our partners include Residential & Commercial Realtors, Venues & Hotels, Developers & Home Builders , however we also extend our solutions to other industries as well. We provide our partners with professional photography, video production, 3D virtual tours, drafting, virtual staging and licensed aerial drone media, among many other solutions. With a content creation team in-house, we also help small businesses leverage video production & photography to market their brands online through social media channels.
Can you describe the growth of your business between where you are now and where you started?
The company launched in 2013 with just one marketer & content creator (myself). Over the years, Sona Visual has grown to a team of 16 wonderful & talented people operating primarily in Calgary, Edmonton, and Canmore/Banff. We are now in the midst of expanding our team to Kelowna, Vancouver & Toronto.
Initially we started solely as a video production company, but as we expanded within the real estate niche, our expertise grew and we gradually added talent in a multitude of areas to support a one-stop-shop for our partners. We’re proud to say, we can now fully service our clients for all their visual content needs.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
Although there are many things I’m proud of, I would have to say I am most proud of my personal growth throughout this journey. Constantly battling new challenges has forced me to level up and heighten my ability to adapt. With the many changes in the market and industry over the years and challenges Sona Visual has faced, I’m incredibly proud of how we overcame them and continued to push forward as an organization.
This has played a major role in what I’m proud of next, which is finding and inspiring the right people to join our team. I’m proud of who we are, above just what we do. From our photographers in the field, to our administrative staff, everyone has put in so much work to get our company to where it is today. Our team genuinely cares about our clients’ experience, which I believe to be a primary reason for our success.
What is one of the most significant challenges that you have faced and overcome as an entrepreneur?
Over the years, I’ve had to overcome hundreds of challenges, however each challenge played its part in developing me, and the company, to who we are today. Although not one in particular, I think one of the most significant struggles was being faced with a multitude of consistent challenging situations, and learning the ability to effectively navigate through them by making quick and smart decisions. It was a mindset challenge, and having overcome the paralyzing effect of ‘surprise fires’ that need to be put out, I believe it has profoundly influenced how quickly I can analyze and find solutions to problems in all areas of my life.
What is your mindset when it comes to running your business?
I am always on the pursuit of growth and personal development, and never believe I have all the right answers. For this reason, I would say my mindset around how to effectively run my business has evolved over the years, and I’m sure will continue to.
One thing I believe that will remain constant is the notion that businesses are run by people to solve problems for other people. When your perspective on business is people-centric, it encourages you to focus on the experiences of everyone involved, from your employees to your clients. When your employees love what they do and enjoy their job, it translates into their work ethic. In effect, client experiences are elevated and they become loyal, not only to your service offering, but to your company as a whole. Albeit, you still need to ensure you have a great product.
What are you hoping to gain from joining EO Calgary?
I was introduced to EOA (now known as GROW) by my accountant, who’s also a good friend. Through that program I learned a ton, met some amazing entrepreneurs, and got the chance to learn more about EO. I’m excited both for the community of entrepreneurs spanning the globe and the opportunity to join an exciting forum. Surrounding myself with a cohort of successful entrepreneurs who share core values, and have very different experiences in life and business is extremely exciting to me. To learn, help, share and connect with Entrepreneurs in their own journey of accomplishments and mistakes, while collectively being there for each other as we strive towards our goals would be a rewarding experience. I wish I had known about this program years ago, as I really think it could have made a significant difference in my times of growth as well as doubt, when initially building the firm.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start and run their own business?
I had a tendency to want to solve all my problems by myself that preceded far before I got into business. I wouldn’t want to trouble anyone and ask for help. What I have learned over the years is that there are so many people who have gone through those same struggles and found ways to overcome them, and a conversation can be the difference between spending 12 months on solving a problem or 2 months.
Myself having gone through the initial phases of building a company, I’m always excited to share my knowledge and my experience to help other aspiring entrepreneurs. And the truth is, so are many others. So basically don’t try to do it all yourself – get out there and connect, and build a support network as you work on your business. It doesn’t mean it’s not going to be hard work or sleepless nights for years. It just means you’ll feel a better going through them, and hopefully avoid extra struggle in the process.
Also hit that first $300k and join GROW! 😉