The Power of Belief

I forgot my parachute when I finally made the leap into entrepreneurship   All I heard were Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous words “I believe … I believe… Now is the time …”

Entrepreneurs believe.  We believe as we power through the doubt and the many naysayers so we can follow our passion in our hearts and heads.  “I believe … this is the best idea. ever.  I believe I can build a company.  I can sell.  I can create jobs.  I can because I believe and I will.”  Sound familiar?

I believed as I dove head first into the food industry where I had no business being in.  Armed with little knowledge and no experience, somehow not knowing what I didn’t know became the catalyst for courage in my beliefs.  I knew no fear.

Year 1 quickly became 2, then 3.  We grew and grew until we were looking at Year 12 and when the unthinkable happened.  Our bread-and-butter client of ten years wiped us out with no notice. We were one of many small business vendors de-listed by the big grocery giant when they decided to streamline their distribution and forgot to tell us they didn’t need us any longer.

The cash suddenly stopped flowing.

Without a parachute, we landed hard. SO hard.  I wrestled  with the “why’s, how’s, and what next’s”.  Exhausted, I turned to a good friend who said, “ There is a way out albeit a painful way out.  Everybody deserves a second chance.”  He was right.  Now ten long years later, I have the clarity and trust to believe once again.

4 thoughts on “The Power of Belief

  1. This is a beautiful piece! As someone with entrepreneurial aspirations, I can definitely relate to being a ‘believer’. Entrepreneurs must have the ability to dream because that’s what makes them excellent visionaries.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Nivit. Dream, dream big, dream often. Canada needs visionaries – nimble, compassionate, and believe in the greater good. We are in good hands with you, the #SmartNextGen.

  2. Great article Jean. In my mind, there is a polarity with belief on one end and “reality”, perhaps on the other perhaps. Entrepreneurs do well with a bias toward belief. This helps them not only to start something, but also to keep powering through obstacles along the way. That said they need to be aware of the impact of this bias, so as not to lose touch with reality.

    (I’m a huge fan of polarity management in general – here’s a good book that covers the basics: https://www.amazon.ca/Polarity-Management-2nd-Identifying-Unsolvable/dp/0874251761)

    The other key takeaway for me is that customer diversification is vital for small businesses. Easier said than done, when you’re a small business with a big customer I know, but small businesses need to explicitly assign resources away from the golden goose and towards other channels / customers to reduce margin pressure and overall risk.

    1. Thanks, Ian. It’s a tricky balance between big dreams and cold cold reality. So many pieces need come together to increase the probability of success. Attracting capital for producing hard goods is challenging, maybe more challenging than in tech. As a small business, the question of how much to scale and when to scale is always the million dollar question. “If I had a million dollars …” 🙂

      You’re so spot on you can’t run a business with one golden goose. We had a few of them and one by one, they also “flew” at a time when we were looking to automate but again, does the cart come before the horse or vice versa? Timing is everything. At the end of the day, as you know, the pressure and risk fluctuates with the high and low tides of cash flow. Ian, I really enjoyed your helpful comments and will check out your book referral. Thank you again for sharing and hope you will re-visit our blog again.

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