aziz-panelAziz Amiri has three pieces of advice for anyone wanting to start a business.

  • Be part of a mastermind group – mastermind group generally have members from a number of different organizations and skillsets. They come together periodically to exchange ideas, help each other and learn from each other.
    Be friendly – People do business with you if they like you. Keep that in mind when dealing with customers
    Business is Relationships – Say it three times and never forget it.
    Amiri spoke at the Toronto East Local immigration Partnership small business forum an Oct. 17, representing the SBA and as a business leader in the immigrant business community.

Now an extraordinarily successful Scarborough business person, Amiri came to Canada 30 years ago with $150 in his pocket. His first Canadian job was washing dishes. His entrepreneurial journey has seen him work as assistant chef, working in a warehouse, opening a convenience store and a Sears franchise delivery service.
For 26 years, he has built a family manufacturing business, Prompt Assembly and for the past 10-15 years has explored his passion in real estate broker specializing in development projects.
“I see Scarborough as the place of prosperity and possibilities in Toronto,” said Amiri.
He believes to be successful, you need to do an honest assessment of your personal strengths and weaknesses, and choose a business that aligns with your abilities.
“When I was talking about having a convenience store I thought it would be the easiest thing to do. Two months on I realized the personality a convenience storekeeper needs I’m not that person.
“I’m someone who is active visiting people, but all those qualities I have was suppressed while I was sitting in the store.”
Amiri has always enjoyed the freedom of being an entrepreneur.
“When you work for yourself you create opportunities for yourself. You choose the people who work with you and work for you. This is the part I’ve come to know – I’m not a good employee.”
But he doesn’t agree when people say “the sky’s the limit” within an opportunity.
“Your own thought is the limit,” said Amiri, emphasizing you are responsible for your own success or failure.
“In this era of business and you feel you are an entrepreneur, you are a risk taker, you work under stress to do what it takes to be successful. Your challenge every day is against yourself.”

Amiri offered a number of other important traits for a business.
• If you are not planning you will fail. Of course planning is leadership. There’s no one else in the business to blame.
• Not understanding your customer
• Not having a unique value proposition.
• Not engaging the customer
• Not having good leadership or communication, financial skills.
“A lot of people say a lot of capital.  which I don’t agree. All you need is a good project.”
It’s his success which has given Amiri his great joy to give back to his community. He is active in business associations and promotes business and prosperity in the Afghan community in both Afghanistan and Canada.