Growing Entrepreneurial Spirit

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Far-reaching consequences of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 bitterly show how uncertain is the life of employees. You may have worked for a company for the last five, ten or even more years, but suddenly you just are redundant.

That is why having entrepreneurial spirit is so important: whatever happens, you are able to take responsibility for your own financial future. However, entrepreneurial mindset and the skills needed do not come by itself; they need to be developed. One day I met a great example of starting already in young age.

I was walking on the streets of Toronto deeply in thoughts about my new understandings of banking business. Suddenly somebody asked:

"Would you like some free travel advice?"
"What?" I turned around and saw a boy some ten, eleven or maybe twelve years old, sitting on garden chair and smiling to me. There was also a small table, some books and another chair.
"Would you like some free travel advice?" he repeated.

Now I was sure that I had heard correctly, and made a quick decision to play with this time. (Normally I'm rather cautious as I tend to think that there are no free lunches.) So I replied:
"Yes, why not," and sat to another chair meant for "customers".

The boy asked where I'd like to go. I was slightly confused and asked in turn whether it should be within Canada or could it be anywhere in the world.
"What kind of climate do you like?" was the next question. I said that something that is warm but not too hot.
"O, I know a perfect place for you - Canary Islands. Currently there is hot, but in March-April it should be ideal."

He took out a book of Canary Islands, full of colourful pictures, and quickly introduced me my possible destinations. Although it was sometimes a little difficult to follow what island he is talking about, I was surprised about his knowledge. (I also tested him, asking questions like "What is the most popular island?", "How can I go from one island to another, and what could be the approximate price range?",

"Can I gross this island by foot?", "How high is this hill?" etc. He either knew the answers, quickly found them from the book or said more diplomatically that he thinks this or that.) He also asked what I like to do and when I said that my hobby is hiking, he showed me the possible hiking routes. Then we discussed the transportation to Canary Islands.

"Unfortunately, there is no direct flight from Toronto to Canary Islands," he said. I noted that this is not a problem for me as I'm any way living in Estonia. Another surprise: he was able to discuss the possible routes starting from Tallinn (later it turned out that his grandmother was from Estonia, and he had just visited my home country).

I want to point out some of the phrases he used:

"This is the difference between me and travel agency."
"So, there are pluses and minuses."
And finally: "Now you have to be an honest customer: are you a satisfied customer or not?"
All of them are clear signs of professional customer service.

I was not just satisfied. I was amazed ... I was really amazed. Not only because I got so much information while spending nothing but a small amount of my time, but more importantly: I learned how entrepreneurial spirit and the skills needed are being developed already in young age.

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