Saeed Torbati is a natural entrepreneur, having created both Ontario Green Savings — which was listed as one of Canada’s fastest-growing startups in 2019 — as well as the En7rprnr system, a platform providing entrepreneurs with online training to help them start, evaluate, execute, develop and build their businesses.
Born and raised in Iran, Saeed Torbati moved to Canada at 18 years old. He enrolled in the Electromechanical Engineering-Robotics program at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology and graduated with honors in 2012. After graduating, he began working in the green energy sector as a sales representative. He decided green energy was his passion and inspiration sparked.
Saeed Torbati, destined to become an entrepreneur, attended Harvard Business School and earned an Associate’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Studies. Currently, he spends his time between Ottawa and Toronto. His company, Ontario Green Savings, has grown to become a leading smart home rental program provider, bringing energy solutions, smart home, and automation to approximately 8,500 customers in Ontario. In his free time, Torbati enjoys sports, particularly boxing, which he tries to do once a day.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
To me, there is no more noble calling. It has always been about filling gaps that I believed were missing and ultimately helping people. After graduating from my program at Algonquin College, I realized that there wasn’t a service that offered both green energy and technology. It was really exciting for me to be able to create Ontario Green Savings to bring affordable and efficient green technology equipment options to low and medium-income families.
Through my experience, I have also found there aren’t a lot of resources that are easily available to those who have great ideas. They want to start their own businesses, but they don’t know where to start. My goal is to fill that hole with the En7rprnr platform and book, which involves a module approach to teach others how to launch, grow, and maintain their businesses.
What does a day in the life of an entrepreneur look like?
If you are a successful entrepreneur, ideally, every day is different, presenting new sets of challenges and opportunities. For me personally, the only aspects that usually stay the same are my morning and evening routines. I split my time equally between Toronto and Ottawa to manage my multiple businesses. I try to keep a list going of daily tasks to help me stay focused, but those tasks vary from day today. I usually have different meetings each day with the managers from my different businesses as well as meetings with other companies to create relationships and seek additional business opportunities. Every day is something different, so it makes my life exciting and unique.
How has Ontario Green Savings grown from its early days to now?
It was through word of mouth. I told some friends that I was starting the company and right away they thought it was a great idea and wanted to sign on for leases of products. They, in turn, told more people, which led to more business and we just grew from there. I think the best companies are the ones that grow through word of mouth.
Why is it important to support up and coming entrepreneurs?
They are the next generation of leaders. New entrepreneurs have many bright ideas that bring forth innovations and improvements. If you aren’t supporting those ideas, you aren’t supporting the overall growth of the economy and innovation.
What traits do you believe any successful entrepreneur needs to have?
Other than hard work and dedication, I think that entrepreneurs should be willing to do anything to make their business succeed. They need to have grit and creativity to find creative solutions to any problems they may encounter. I also think that successful entrepreneurs should have good listening skills. As I said previously, it is important to be aware of what is missing in terms of services and where your business can fill that gap. You can only get that information by listening to those around you. Once you actually build your business, the listening shouldn’t stop. You need to be aware of what your customer base and clients are saying to be able to improve your business and be aware of what your team is saying to strategize new and improved processes.
Why is building a positive company culture important?
First of all, it is important to build a business that people want to work for. If you have employees that tell everyone they know how much they love working for your company, it builds credibility in your brand. Beyond that, an engaged and happy team is a more productive one. As the owner of a business, if your team culture is positive, you know that your employees want to see the business succeed just as much as you do. They represent the company proudly and will do their part to make the company better. If you have a poor company culture, no one will want to be involved in improving processes and you’ll have high employee turnover.
What is one thing you think entrepreneurs can do to make them more productive?
For me personally, it’s all about the morning routine. Start your days early and create some sort of routine that you perform every morning that motivates you to get on with your day. I start my days around 5:30 a.m. and I get a workout in and meditate for 10 to 15 minutes. It really helps me get ready to tackle the day.
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