Precious cargo: CEO transported from hard worker to hotshot
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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