Views / The In-Credibility Factor

Precious cargo: CEO transported from hard worker to hotshot

Ajay Virmani came to Toronto from India in 1975 with a strong work ethic and a vision.

He washed windows, fixed car mufflers, then sold vacuum cleaners and life insurance.

But he found his true calling when he got into transportation management and quickly turned a struggling air cargo company around. With an opportunity to go out on his own, Virmani didn’t think twice.

“I thought, ‘I’ve got enough contacts in business.  If I make $150,000 a year, I’ll be happy.’”

That was in 1990 and today Cargojet is Canada’s air cargo leader doing 200 million a year in sales.

Virmani says the key to being a successful entrepreneur is to never underestimate yourself and to believe in your skills.

“Take risks, be stubborn, dream and have a sense of purpose when you get up in the morning. At one point I had two mortgages on my house. I paid one credit card to another.  Risk-taking ability is the biggest thing an entrepreneur can have.”

The final word from the award-winning entrepreneur?

“Ask yourself, are you going to be a follower or a leader?”

Spelling it out

Ajay Virmani’s secret to success:

•    S. Sense of purpose

•    E. Educate yourself

•    C. Creative ability with your ideas

•    R. Responsibility — be accountable

•    E. Excellence — anything you do, do it well

•    T. Time management

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