By Deena Douara
Noah Maislin and Marko Lindhe don’t pretend to be passionate about minute-taking. But they are clearly passionate about good business.
“If we saw a niche for basket weaving in another city, we’d learn the ins and outs of that and sell baskets,” says Lindhe, co-founder of Minutes Solutions.
Maislin says he’s always had the spirit in him. From selling magazines at camp to his peers, shaving kids’ heads, and helping his uncle sell shoes at a flea market, he seemed destined to run his own company. Years later, his Dalhousie University professor would agree, nominating him for an entrepreneurship award, which he won.
The opportunity he eventually discovered was in minute-taking: primarily for condo board meetings, but also for non-profits, law firms, professional organizations and associations. “Every corporation needs to take and keep minutes, by law,” he says. More recently, Minutes Solutions has started offering meeting newsletters and summaries and will soon be offering training webinars as well.
Maislin explains that not having proper minutes can get boards into a lot of financial and legal trouble, and relying on a board member to take the notes introduces bias and essentially removes a contributing member of the team. “It’s easy to skew minutes and either forget to incorporate important items, or incorporate items that shouldn’t be included.”
While contracting out minute-taking is the norm in Toronto, Minutes Solutions is expanding into southern Florida, where they spotted a significant opportunity after visiting family there.
With the business growing rapidly, Maislin brought on his old friend Marko Lindhe, who he first met as a kid when they played hockey together. As linemates for the Toronto Colts, Maislin says Lindhe “always stood out to me as a natural leader.”
“You don’t remember a lot of kids at that age but he popped into my mind every once in a while because we shared a genuine bond.”
The two lost touch until a mutual friend reconnected them when they were both studying at Dalhousie, and they seemingly haven’t parted ways since.
The pair say they complement each other well. “We both have very similar mentalities. We don’t always agree on everything but we challenge each other,” says Maislin. “And we want to see each other succeed.”
The two acknowledge that they are not the typical type to start a minute-taking business and say they enjoy the reaction from other entrepreneurs at Enterprise Toronto’s Starter Company program.
“We consider our business a vehicle that allows us to create innovative ideas and put them into play right away. Our passion at end of the day is about developing and expanding business and being in control of our own destiny,” says Maislin.
Lindhe says he first noticed the Starter Company program for the grant associated with it. He noticed that mentorship was involved as well and says they were “open minded, open to criticism.” What they got out of it though exceeded their expectations. Learning something in theory in university was far different than learning something they “could literally learn in class and then go apply within an hour.”
They found a lot of “analogous references,” with their program peers and uncovered a lot of best practices they could replicate for their own industry. “It’s a huge tool for resources,” says Lindhe.
Just being able to ask other entrepreneurs about funding sources, accountant rates and recommendations, common speedbumps – “really puts you in a position to elevate yourself.”
“That’s the power of being in a room full of like-minded people.”
Additionally, they say Andrew Patricio, the Starter Company program’s leader, is knowledgeable, frank and fun to be around. “He inspires the people around him and ourselves to grow,” says Lindhe.
“They put us in a position to really push us to that next level.”