The Canadian Youth Business Foundation has selected 30 dynamic young Canadian entrepreneurs to form the official Canadian delegation at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit (G20 YES) in Nice, France on October 31-November 2, 2011. The G20 YES is an annual international summit that brings together dedicated and influential entrepreneurs of the G20 countries. Michael Wahl is a Canadian delegate.
Why I became an entrepreneur:
Definitions Fitness Company was founded by me, Mike Wahl, and my business partner Mike O’Neil. We each hold a masters degree in health and fitness and I am working towards my PhD in medicine. Upon meeting both of us were perplexed by the lack of application of science in the commercial market. Additional to the lack of proven scientific methodology, no particular product aligned all the variables critical to individual long-term success, what we call Power-Living.
Definitions and its customers work together to create a seven-habit plan and goals, and a personal injury protection plan. Definitions provides customers with support and education as the plans are executed, which yields powerful results, a lifetime of wellness and significant long-term benefit.
Definitions defines Power-Living as: Maximum energy to perform all life’s roles as you define them” (work, play and family)
Started in 2003, Definitions Wellness Safety Services and Definitions Fitness and Lifestyle Studio form an industry-leading wellness company that specializes in Power-Living for individuals and companies. Definitions services two distinct client groups: personal training clients at its St. John’s-based fitness facility and major industrial and corporate clients including oil and gas entities, production plants and office settings in both Canada and the United States. Definitions wellness personnel travel directly to the worksites including offshore oil and gas establishments and office settings to improve the wellness and safety culture of the organization.
My best moment as an entrepreneur, my success:
I have had several life changing moments in my career. In an industry where every day, you help people overcome obstacles in their health, you really get an appreciation for what is important. I have watched individuals transform their health as a result of our staff’s guidance and that happens all the time. One significant and rewarding moment in my career was when we were approved for major ACOA funding to expand our business to the USA. This process involved a company audit, developing a major proposal and many meetings to determine if our goals were feasible and if anyone else was doing what we were doing. Gaining the funding not only opened the door for future growth but also reinforced the unique and innovative nature of our business. That is a feeling that many entrepreneurs aim for. It gave me the drive to stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of the opportunity we were given. We haven’t looked back.
My next challenge:
Definitions is poised to expand into both the North Sea, and further within the Gulf of Mexico and western Canadian markets through our relationships in the oil and gas industry. Furthermore, during a phase of economic downturn, Definitions plans to market through the media its successes and potential costs-savings for companies. To experience growth in a sector which has effectively defined the recession indicates that the validity and the sustainability of the Definitions product.
With this growth comes the need for procedures, quality control and training. Fortunately, Definitions’ work in the industry has exposed it to the standards which major companies must adhere to and as a result, we have developed many of the protocols and automated products necessary to secure stable growth. This pre-emptive development was an expensive endeavour to embark upon. However, it was recommended by the companies we serviced an important in order for them to promote us to their other regions and divisions.
In order to offer sustainable employee and long-term job satisfaction, Definitions believes strongly in the ‘promote from within’ philosophy. Definitions takes trainers through various steps of employment from simple café duties to training clients, working in corporate environments and industry and finally contract management positions or innovation roles. This allows greater room for growth and clearly states for those starting within the company that good work will be rewarded.
To address the human resource issues associated with international commerce and service, Definitions has been busy automating their system in the culture creation package known as our Wellness Safety Program (WSP). This system acts as a ‘tool box’ for each Definitions employee and dictates a specific timeline for the various wellness initiatives and services we offer. This automation allows for quality control in our offerings and the implementation of a proven system for culture creation at the work site. This all comes at a lower cost for the client and less human resource demand from Definitions. Through appropriate marketing and communication, this program provides a solution to the present gap in health and safety internationally. Definitions believes that this program, carefully designed from years of experience in the offshore business, will become part of any industrial site, offshore establishment or vessel.
Personally, I am preparing to begin my thesis this fall and plan to complete my PhD by next December. I have an amazing wife and we plan on starting a family soon as well. Someday I plan to step back from the business either through a third party acquisition or by creating effective systems and developing staff to take my place and finish my career as a professor.