Top 24 Under 24: Chris Petersen, The Small Business Advocate
Chris Petersen makes our Top 24 Under 24. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
Business administration student Chris Petersen has worked for a big company, small businesses, and non-profits.
Now, the 23-year-old Vancouverite hopes to find a way to bridge those sectors, not only starting up his own small business — possibly in alternative energy — but also hoping to help family enterprises and start-ups gain skills to become more efficient and successful.
“I'm a really big fan of small businesses,” he said. “Owning a business gives you the freedom to do what you like, and it also allows you to change things faster.”
Petersen took part in the Vancouver Board of Trade's Leaders of Tomorrow program, and until last year he was vice-president of business development for Enactus BCIT, a group offering free courses to small business owners to share such skills as marketing, administration, and infrastructure.
He thinks business could learn much from the non-profit sector.
“I've seen a lot of small businesses so busy chasing another dollar, but they forget to pay attention to customers or what's going on in the market — actually helping people,” he said. “At some point you have to say that's what your business is for: to make someone's life better in some way.
“We asked the businesses that came into the courses, 'Who's your target market?' and they'd say, 'Everybody could buy our product.' But you can't market to everyone, it's very inefficient. We've since seen huge improvements in a lot of those businesses. It was really impressive.”