Written by Andrew Seale
Michael Singh’s initial vision for Dr. Liquidator was to develop a new auction site to sell liquidated electronics and accessories. But a chat with his advisor at Summer Company, a funding, mentorship and training program jointly run by the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario, convinced him otherwise.
She asked why he would divert his efforts towards building a new auction site when existing channels like Amazon, Newegg and eBay had already proven successful for him.
“(She said) if you're already doing so well in these other sales channels you should just focus on that,” says the University of Ontario Institute of Technology software engineering student. Without that advice, Singh suspects his business might’ve gone in a different – less fruitful – direction. “I’m really happy I followed that advice.”
Singh’s business savvy has evolved since he first got the idea to start a business liquidating electronics and surplus goods. “I consider myself a pretty frugal individual I always try to look for the best deals,” he says. “I always wondered how (liquidators) were able to get the items at such a low price but still profit.”
He began digging around for information on the business model and realized he could emulate it, but he lacked the resources to start his own liquidation business. That is, until a friend told him about Summer Company.
“One of my friend's brothers had signed up for Summer Company when it first started,” says Singh. “He kept telling me to sign up because it was a great opportunity… I kept procrastinating until this year.”
Finally, despite his lack of business experience, he decided to make a leap of faith and apply. He was accepted.
“I didn't know where to start,” he says. (But) they helped me to clearly define my business and business plan,” he says. He also learned how to identify his target market and sell to those consumers as well as navigate the world of advertising and marketing. “The funding I used for startup expenses like advertising, startup inventory and my website.”
He’s since turned his focus (at the advice of his advisor) from his website to pre-existing sales channels and plans to continue Dr. Liquidator while pursuing his software engineering degree.
“It still requires a lot of of work but now that I have a clearly defined business operation, it’s easier for me to handle,” he says. “When you start your own business, there’s a lot of confusion… especially if you don’t know what’s going on – Summer Company laid out the path for me and I followed it.”