Dreaming: the key to business success
Although today he’s a seasoned businessman, Serge Beauchemin has never stopped dreaming. As a mentor and investor, he now hopes to see a new generation of entrepreneurs flourish. We spoke to him to find out what led him to go into business—and what makes him keep trying to outdo himself.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Always. Since I was little I’ve been driven by the freedom that comes with it, and attracted to professional and personal independence. It’s still the ultimate trip—being 100% responsible for my decisions and my results.
My mom was perpetually short of cash. We lived in constant fear that we’d run out. From a young age, I had one personal and professional priority: put together enough capital to never have to worry about money again and be financially independent before I turned 40.
Life was good to me. I went into business at 22 and sold my company three weeks after turning 40. That’s pretty wild. At the age of 40 on the dot, I became financially independent.
As an entrepreneur, what’s your mission?
The mission of any entrepreneur should be based on a simple concept—serving others. An entrepreneur is above all someone who’s identified a problem they want to solve. Obviously, there are many ways to serve others. You can do it without any interest in getting rich, with a non-profit. Or you can choose a value-creation model, with a for-profit. This involves serving others while creating wealth for yourself and those around you. I found this second option more motivating.
Today I’m driven by a desire to make a difference. Helping Québec take its rightful place on the world stage. Providing a future of boundless opportunity for my children and grandchildren. I want to contribute to building a better world.
Is dreaming important in business?
It certainly is! It’s the foundation. When it comes to business, dreaming is the biggest motivator an entrepreneur can cultivate—dreaming of a better world, for themselves, their company, their community. It’s one of the greatest sources of motivation for any human being, but especially entrepreneurs.
An entrepreneur who stops dreaming is just operating on autopilot. Their fire burns out, slowly but surely. You have to keep dreaming big. Find a dream that stimulates you, that sparks your passions and makes you want to get up in the morning. If you have that, your life has meaning.
How do you protect your dream and keep it alive?
A dream can’t come true if you simply nurture it in secret. If you dream of having an athlete’s physique but never work out, it’ll never happen. You have to put a plan into action. It’s the same thing with business. To reach your goal, you have to work every day to make it a reality.
If you want to see your dream grow, you have to ensure your financial sustainability. First of all, it’s essential to sign contracts with clients and suppliers, and possibly negotiate volume agreements with them in order to benefit from the best prices. In this way, entrepreneurs protect their revenue and guarantee a competitive advantage over other players, which creates value for the company.
Second of all, entrepreneurs must safeguard their investment with comprehensive insurance. The more a company generates revenue, the more its value increases. If disaster strikes, all that value could go up in smoke. In my opinion, it doesn’t make any sense to not have insurance protecting that value.
People might think you’ve done everything you can do as an entrepreneur. Are there still things you want to accomplish? What are your dreams for the rest of your career?
There are so many things I still want to accomplish. Stimulating entrepreneurship and helping Québec entrepreneurs have more success and take their place on the world stage are part of a mission that is deeply important to me. That’s why I created alias entrepreneur•e, a networking platform for entrepreneurs and self-employed people that allows them to converse with their peers and acquire new skills.
It’s an extremely exciting project, but it’s a startup, with all the challenges that entails. Even at 54, I’m still learning how to do business online. Things evolve at an incredible rate. The world of business changes constantly. It’s so stimulating! It’s not in my nature to think that I’ve done everything and learned everything.