Interviewing Toronto Entrepreneur: Dale Niman
Welcome to our Friday Feature: Toronto Entrepreneurs segment, where we bring you insights, experiences, inspiration, and advice from prominent entrepreneurs in the Greater Toronto Area!
We’ve interviewed prominent business leaders who have been kind enough to take the time to share their experiences with us on what it’s like starting their very own business (and nurturing it as well)!
We believe that these stories would be valuable to other aspiring or established business leaders. On behalf of TorontoEntrepreneurs.ca, we hope that you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed creating it! Feel free to share this story with your networks.
Introducing Toronto Entrepreneurs: Dale Niman, Founder of Kibono
Company name: Kibono
What does your company do? Provides small business owners and self-employed individuals with an online, pay-as-you-go, self-administered health benefits platform where we assist them in turning their eligible routine medical expenses into a business expense to write-off from their business income. In the end, using your business to pay for your routine medical expenses incurred throughout the year.
Year launched: Working on for past couple of years - launched in 2018
Number of employees: 3
1. How did you get the idea to start your business?
We learned about HSAs (Healthcare Spending Accounts and PHSPs (Private Health Service Plans) early on in the insurance field as we are both insurance brokers. We started to promote and sell them to clients and would use other companies. Problem we found cost and efficiency related. We realized we could compete via providing a much cheaper alternative and an online solution that is simple and easy to use from the customer’s perspective.
2. What's the best/worst thing to happen since you started your business?
Best Thing – Connecting with people who really like the platform and appreciate us creating this, receiving praise from people who want to use it. Worst Thing – Ransomware Virus Attack on our office computers – I know it is not related in any way to entrepreneurship but wow, that really was a stressor for weeks. Ensure cloud backups, external backups, be on top of it to save you the hassle and stress!
3. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur? Balancing everything – day to day work in the insurance field, working on side projects such as this, and balancing personal life. A lot needs to be managed in a given day and can’t get down on yourself so easily because of the overwhelming amount of things to do or the hill that you feel you need to climb. Put in the work each day and try to progress in some way.
4. What are some lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Being organized is critical – it is very easy to get caught up into day to day admin duties, have to organize your thoughts, personal life, and work life – finding balance sure, however, not falling victim to the automatic day to day habits and continuing to push forward whether that be connecting with more people face to face, or constantly looking at ways to build and improve upon what you have.
5. What are the best parts about entrepreneurship? Two words. Flexibility. Freedom.
6. What has been your most effective form of advertising? For now it is word of mouth, and a lot of face to face meetings. We have also done seminars for insurance brokers so they can promote the concept to their clients. In the near future, social media marketing will be crucial.
7. What goals have you achieved for your business so far?
Having a functional, easy to use online platform that works and having companies and individuals use it smoothly, in the end – creating something that has worked! Additionally, seeing how far we’ve come. From an idea and discussion, meetings, and then applying it into a program that we can start playing around with.
8. What are your goals for your business in 2019?
Releasing Version 2 that builds upon the platforms foundation, start pushing social media marketing to build more of a presence and build the user/client base.
10. What upcoming projects are you working on? Social Media Marketing, Version 2 of Kibono Website, Animation (videos/content that can help explain the platform and promote it further).
11. What trends are you seeing in your industry?
A lot of online presence and focus on e-business – so there are a lot more competitors entering this space, our goal is to continue to develop the software and platform to ensure the program is simple, functional and easy to use along with maintaining our position as a low-cost leader within the HSA (Healthcare Spending Account) space.
12. What business advice would you give yourself if you were to start all over? There is no perfection, focus on day to day improvement and small wins, don’t allow the idea of something being perfect in order to get it out there (into the public for instance).
13. Last but not least, let’s end off with a fun fact! What might we be surprised to know about you?
We are huge Toronto Maple Leafs Fans! HUUUUGE!
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Many thanks to Dale for sharing his story with us! Stay tuned for our next featured Toronto Entrepreneur!