2 Crucial Lessons We Learned Building a Small Business During a PandemicPosted by Guillaume Bourque on
We wouldn’t be 100% honest if we say that the last three years was an easy journey. Because it really wasn’t. In fact, it was one hell of a ride. And it still is for us and a lot of people reading this blog post.
As entrepreneurs, we quickly learn to plan according to different potential situations. We try to figure out in advance, different outcomes to problems that can potentially occur. In other words, we try to make sure that everything is under control. That’s until a global pandemic hits you…
Just like anybody on earth, we were deeply affected by this global phenomenon. Sure, it did affect our day-to-day business and made it significantly more difficult to get access to the basic goods we need to keep our business up and running. But the more important impact it had on our business, is how it changed our way of approaching our business, and life in general.
As we celebrate Haumana’s third anniversary, we wanted to share two valuable lessons we learned across our current personal and professional journey of managing our small business, Haumana. These lessons are not only for entrepreneurs who currently run their business, or anyone looking to start a business. We firmly believe that these lessons can be applied in any aspect of life. That’s why we wanted to share it with this straight from the heart text, as a thank you gift for our 3rd anniversary.
1. Results are great but the process is better.
We all heard this entrepreneurial motivational speech a thousand times. “Create your own business, be your own boss and live the lifestyle you truly want right now!” There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to achieve these goals. We, ourselves, also want to be able to live the lifestyle that we want, while having the most positive social & environmental impact possible. We all start our business endeavours for a reason. And these reasons are personal to everyone.
But there’s one important lesson we learned throughout our three years: Enjoy the process, not only the results.
Throughout the years, we always thought that it’ll be easier later on, when we’ll achieve a certain kind of growth, or when our bank account will have THAT amount of money in it. Just like in life in general, when we think that it’ll be easier when we’ll have that promotion, or when we’ll be able to move in a bigger house.
The reality is that it doesn’t get necessarily any easier (or better) once you achieve these goals. We always face some challenges, we always face uncertainty, and there’s no guarantee that success will stick with us for the rest of our life. Neither is it guaranteed that a new job, a college degree, or a new house will bring you success and happiness.
So, what should drive us to continue along our path? For us, it’s the authentic love of the process. We try not to hold our happiness to expectations of what we want tomorrow to look like. Instead, we try to appreciate every little moment of what we truly love doing: Demonstrate that businesses can have a positive impact on our communities and our environment. Of course, it is a constant work in progress (we’re humans too!)
2. You can’t control most things.
If there’s something we learned throughout the last three years, is that we don’t control a lot of things. We clearly didn’t have in mind when we started Haumana, that a global pandemic was about to hit us. Or that a global shortage will be caused by a 400m container ship stocked in the middle of the Suez Canal. Clearly, that’s not something you write down in your business plan. However, these moments, or let’s say these challenges, helped us understand something truly important: You shouldn’t try to control everything. Because you simply can’t.
When we looked back at the last three years, we noticed how little prepared we were for some challenges we had to face. We literally had no idea that these challenges were lurking. Even if we did spend a tremendous amount of time figuring out what could go wrong in the near future. And let’s be crystal clear here, we’re not only talking about crazy external problems, like a global pandemic or something. We’re talking about much more “realistic” problems, such as machinery failure, or water damage caused by water pipes issues. Even if we had wanted to foresee these situations, the real consequences were often, much more (or sometimes less) important than what we had thought initially.
That being said, we found out that there is only one thing that we can seriously control when this kind of situation occurs. And this is our mindset. When the pandemic hit us, we, just like a lot of small businesses, lost several opportunities to make our brand shine in the different trade shows organized throughout the country. Which also results in the loss of a major revenue stream. Quite an impact, isn’t it?
That is what we said to ourselves in the beginning. However, we hadn’t realized at that moment that the pandemic was also helping us, by democratizing e-commerce within the food industry across Canada. Indeed, buying groceries online wasn’t the thing it is today, neither was ordering energy bars on the internet. The pandemic helped accelerate this new trend. And as a company selling exclusively online, it helped a lot. And the only reason we were able to understand this luck we had, is that we change our mindset towards these challenges. We learned to embrace them and accept the fact that we can’t do anything to stop them from happening. After all, the sun eventually shines after the storm!
We are extremely grateful to be here today sharing these personal and professional lessons with all of you. We know that we are truly fortunate to live in a world where we have all the infrastructure and all the support from you, our beloved community.
Haumana turns 3 years old this week. 3 years of complete improvisation, adaptation, resilience, and constant learning. 3 years of testing both our personal and professional limits. It’s been a hell of a ride so far. But we couldn’t ask for a better life experience. Let’s enjoy, together, every little moment that life throws at us.