Ron Funnell - Unfinished Business
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in our family retail business in Middlesex County, which laid the foundation for a career in Communications. I studied Broadcasting at Mohawk College in Hamilton and enjoyed a progressive career in Radio Station Management for nearly 3 decades before launching Unfinished Business.
Proud partner to Kim, Dad to Emma, Ethan and Queco and Father-in-Law to Taylor. Family is what it is all about. Mom is nearby in Ingersoll, my sister and her family in Oakville and my in-laws are all on the BC Coast.
Tell us about your business
I began this journey in 2019, officially launching Unfinished Business in the Fall of 2019. My focus has been towards the projects the larger contractors do not typically take on: Repairs and Renovations including Flooring, Door installations, Painting, Decks, Porches, and exterior work.
Has your business been impacted by COVID-19?
Yes. My business has observed each stay-at-home order. Challenging to say the least, but seeing the impact of Covid in 2020, I have been diligent in developing new customers and projects for 2021. In fact, much of my summer is currently booked.
I follow the protocols in place: Wearing a mask for all on site estimates and projects. I also social distance with customers.
What services have you utilized at the London Small Business Centre and how have they helped?
One of the 1st appointments I made when developing my business was to the London Small Business Centre to meet with Phil to map out my Business plan. Extremely helpful, I have found the London Small Business Centre to be a key partner in my business’ success.
I participated in the Scale Up Program, which I highly recommend for anyone considering a journey into the construction sector. The resources are invaluable for a start up.
What were some of the challenges you faced getting started and how did you overcome them?
With many new customers and various project types, time management and project management have been key to my success.
Quickly learning and accepting that you cannot do it all at once. It is important to recognize the challenges of starting up a business and the various levels of responsibility: developing business, accounting, expenses, marketing (keeping up on Social Media Marketing), providing timely, fair, and accurate estimates and so much more.
At the end of the day, a company has 1 goal: to serve the customer. When we focus on the customer, everything else falls into place. You can have great systems, marketing, supply lines etc., but without a solid customer base, you have no reason to have those great systems and tools.
As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?
We enjoy the outdoors and camping is high on our list. Spending time with family and friends and entertaining at home (when safe to do so) are highlights for us. Kim and I are both “foodies” and really enjoy the art of preparing a wonderful meal. A lifelong music lover, I have a vast Album and CD Collection and am working towards alphabetizing the collection.
If you could sit down with any business leader or industry expert, who would you choose and why?
Mike Holmes. No question. I have watched dozens and dozens of Mike’s shows and episodes. I love his no-nonsense approach to construction. Do it right, or not at all. Mike is a great ambassador for the trades.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received and why?
I would call it “Best Life Advice”. A veteran Account Manager who worked for me in Radio once said “Ron, in life we have 3 priorities: Our Health, Out Family and Our Career. In that order”. I have always remembered this as someone who, at one time would not hesitate to work 70-80 hours in a week, at the expense of my health and family That’s not to suggest hard work isn’t part of this business, I’m just more cognizant of the work-life balance today than I was in my 20’s and 30’s.
What is in the future for your business?
Short term: to get to the other side of Covid, to return to the point where business disruptions are nil.
Long term: to expand my company with 3-4 crews serving London. One day I would love to see my brand expand into other cities. There is an extremely high demand for versatile tradespeople, and there are many skilled men and woman out there looking for these opportunities.