Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in digital marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kunal Desai, CEO of Branding And Promo, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Branding And Promo is a full-service marketing agency headquartered in Toronto, Canada. We were founded in 2002 and had been serving customers across Canada and the United States for more than 20 years.

We specialize in SEO, Pay-Per-Click Campaigns, Web Development, Digital Marketing, Branded Merchandise, Displays, and Print & Promotional Products.

Tell us about yourself

I have a Master in Financial Economics from the Rotman School of Management & the University of Toronto. As I transitioned from a successful and lucrative career in capital markets into the unknowns of entrepreneurship, providing marketing services to firms in the Canadian financial sector was a natural starting point. I was fortunate enough to add the telecommunications & healthcare sectors to our list of clients. In 2017, we acquired MCTR Digital Marketing and, with that acquisition, expanded into the retail and healthcare sectors and also expanded our footprint in the US. Mario Russo, the founder of MCTR Digital Marketing, agreed to join us as CTO and partner. Six years into our merger, our company and partnership are stronger than ever, with a robust portfolio of clients.

Nothing weirds us out. It only enhances our interest. We are obsessed with preparing and managing the controllable so that our clients can manage the uncontrollable and be ready for anything that their business faces. We focus on making continuous marginal improvements and hold each other accountable. We are selfish for our client's success. We take great pride in the trust and long-term relationships we have built with our clients.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Creating things. Executing. Bringing ideas to life. A lot of the work we do starts with ideas. We take great satisfaction in starting with an idea and then going out there and executing it and delivering the customer's vision. The excitement of seeing our clients' reactions make all the effort and challenges worth it, and it never gets old!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Isolation is probably the hardest challenge of being a business owner. In my role, all the accolades go to my team, clients, and vendors. The fault, blame, and losses are all mine. As owners, we need to be mentally strong to survive challenges such as business cycles or, worse - shocks such as the pandemic while also continuing to deliver a high quality of service and maintaining the morale and enthusiasm of our team and clients.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Learn to work on your business, not in your business. It took me a lot of time to learn this. Unless you are willing to sacrifice everything and question everything you've known, starting or running a business may not be the best.
  2. It is, but it isn't about the money. Chasing money will lead to burnout. Focus on excellence and your core values.
  3. Keep evolving. Change is always happening and in today’s fast-paced world, it is more important than ever to remain agile and continue growing.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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