Starting a new business may be a turbulent, stressful time, but for Al Norman, being a mentor to young entrepreneurs has the opposite affect on his life.
“It certainly makes you feel better when you’re helping someone achieve success. It’s kind of a stress relief,” he laughs. “If you’re having problems in your company, or your own life, but you’re getting this satisfaction from helping someone, it takes away a bit of that stress.”
A long-time mentor with both CYBF and the Regina Chamber of Commerce, Al says he really enjoys seeing the passion and enthusiasm of entrepreneurs. But he cautions that sometimes, enthusiasm can get the better of the inexperienced.
“I had one fellow who had his product stolen from him,” Al remembers, thinking back. “He was far too open with his product, which was something I had warned him about, and he was excited when someone else was excited about the idea. When it was stolen, that was the end of that particular business. He gave up too much information and the other person reverse-engineered it, and since that person had the money to develop it, he lost his product.”
But despite some occasional bumps on the road, Al says he treasures the time he spends as a mentor, watching hard work and perseverance become a steady business, and a dream realized.
“It’s fun to be around these people with all their drive and ambition. It really gets your juices flowing.”