When he was 12 years-old, Brandan Ranaldi started building tree houses with his friend. A few years later, Ranaldi had his first summer of building decks as Ace of Decks Owner and President.
“Ace of Decks really just stemmed from a hobby. It wasn’t like I had this idea of wanting to start a company, then I went out and found something to build. I had a passion for construction and being outdoors, then that passion slowly grew from a job to a business. It was born out of a passion for woodworking,” Ranaldi said.
Coincidentally, one of Ace of Decks’ first clients was an EO Member, who suggested Brandan should compete in GSEA.
In the GSEA 2016-2017 season, Ranaldi made it all the way to the GSEA Canada Nationals with Ace of Decks.
“The whole experience was wonderful, but I would say the main outcome that I can accredit to GSEA was the shift in mindset from job to business, really transitioning from working in the business to working on the business,” Ranaldi said.
Additionally, being introduced to new business education and terminology, like setting one-year and three-year goals and discussing 10-year BHAGS at age 16 was pivotal for Ranaldi, as it is not taught in school.
Becoming an EO Accelerator Participant
After competing in GSEA, Ranaldi became an EO Accelerator Montreal Participant.
Throughout his time in EOA, Ranaldi was able to set goals and talk about them with a group of entrepreneurs every four months—what went right, what went wrong.
“We discussed our challenges, which often as fellow entrepreneurs in the same region starting businesses, we all have similar problems. It was great to discuss and share experiences with different people,” Ranaldi said.
The most difficult aspect of the balance between student and entrepreneur is having less time to work on his business, Ranaldi said. He often finds himself thinking about what he could be working on outside of class rather than paying attention to the class he is in.
“You have to be really efficient with your time,” Ranaldi said.
The Youngest EO Canada Bridge Chapter Member
Now as a 23-year-old student entrepreneur finishing up his last semester of civil engineering, Ranaldi is the youngest member of the EO Canada Bridge Chapter.
“I often feel like I have something to prove, and I want to prove myself,” Ranaldi said. “It is humbling to be the youngest member and to be around all these super successful entrepreneurs.”
Three tips Ranaldi would share with an entrepreneur beginning their journey are to just get started, approach starting a business like a scientific experiment and to set goals.
“Too often people have these ideas and they let them dissipate.” Ranaldi said.
He recommends starting with choosing a minimum viable product (your hypothesis) that you can test, rework and build upon.
Most importantly, Ranaldi said it is crucial to set goals for yourself.
“If I had to choose one aspect that I think brought us from where we started to today, it would be goal setting because without it, you’re lost. When you set specific goals, you end up doing little things on a daily basis that you might not even be aware of that are contributing to your goals,” Ranaldi said.
If there was one tool Rinaldi wishes he had as a young entrepreneur, it would be access to inspiring events like the ones available to EO members.
“It would prepare people so much better for life and really inspire them,” Ranaldi said.