Friday, May 20, 2016

What’s in a bottle? A livelihood for a small businessman

Bohdan Dolban
Bohdan Dolban started thinking about his own business when he was just in grade school, when he saw his mom pay the paper delivery man. Soon enough, Bohdan started his own paper delivery route, a business that kept him busy for the next five years. He liked the freedom it gave him.

“Unlike my friends,” Bohdan recalls, “I always had my own spending money.” In fact, until he got married and decided to buy a home, he never needed to borrow money. Of course Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was more than happy to help Bohdan out on that count.

Soon after he purchased a home, he lost his job as a sales agent with a big multinational company. This was quite a shock for a diligent and hard-working man like Bohdan. Through no fault of his own, he found himself short of money for the first time in his life. He knew he had to do something fast. As luck would have it, he heard from a friend that someone was selling a small distribution business – specializing in the distribution of plastic, glass and metal packaging for the food processing and industrial materials industries. This got Bohdan thinking again about his earlier dreams of owning his own business. And better still, his last job was in a very similar line of business. Now he could marry his experience with his desire to run his own business.

Bohdan Dolban was born in Toronto in 1967. His parents came to Canada from Lemkivshchyna, his father Ilko is from the village of Kolochava and his mother Daria is from Pavloma. The Ukrainian National Federation of Canada brought his parents together when they first met at the UNF Hall – no doubt many have a similar story to share!

Bohdan is a graduate of Ryerson University (Business management) and Sheridan College (Business Corporative Administration). After graduating, Bohdan landed a job with Consumers Glass and after a time was transferred to work in the United States. Bohdan witnessed many glassmakers shut down as consumers started to prefer plastic packaging. Sensing the need to adapt, he found a job with a plastic packaging maker Graham Packaging. The loss of this job was the catalyst to starting his own business.

Bohdan’s long-term clients are located across Canada and the U.S. Among them are such industry leaders as Castrol Motor Oil and Transcan. In the decade and a half since he started the business, Bohdan is always looking for new product lines and new opportunities to grow his business. He is currently talking to a pomegranate juice maker from Iran and planning to enter the biotechnology sector.

Being a natural salesman, Bohdan noticed a long ago that people prefer to buy from someone who is pleasant and a good communicator. Bohdan believes in being natural and honest and he remains himself whether at home or at work. He employs modern technologies like tele- and video-conferencing, which simplify his communication with hundreds of his colleagues, but he values face-to-face communication too.

Bohdan believes that the secret for success in business is to be in the right place at the right time with the right product at the right price. This means being out among people as much as possible, for example, “in the past,” he says, “golf would help me grow business relationships a lot. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find time for golf, so now I can only find time to go two or three golf times a year.”

Bohdan also makes sure to support charitable projects and believes in the old adage: “What you give away to others, will come back to you a hundredfold”. He regularly gives to the Help Us Help The Children foundation, supports St. Joseph’s Church in Oakville and different causes in Ukraine. He is an active member in both Plast and UNF.

Bohdan believes in the saying that he heard in his youth: “Your own business even in the worst case is always better than working for someone else”.

“Anyone, who wants to start their own business, but is hesitating, needs to take that into account,” advises Bohdan. “And never forget your family. My business takes a lot of energy and time, but everything I do is dedicated to my wife Marusia and my daughter Talia.”

Razom Media

Bohdan Dolban: 905 891 1485,

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