The owner of six Videotron stores, Jérôme Brien went into business in 2001, with his father Jacques’ guidance. Six years later, the mother of his children joined him in his ventures. From the opening of his first franchise, under the Microplay banner, at age 21 to the group’s new shift toward business clienteles, the North-Shore native overcame several challenges.
One of the most recent challenges he had to face was ensuring the family business’ continuity while dealing with a number of changes following the passing of his mentor and first business partner last April.
A strong business executive
“If he were still here, my father would say that I’ve been running the show for 20 years, but he was a big part of it all,” explains Brien. “We used to share the weight of our decisions and the success of our business; now, it’s all on my shoulders.” He hopes he can live up to his partners’ and suppliers’ expectations.
“I quickly became my own boss,” confides Brien, who set up shop in Terrebonne, Blainville, Boisbriand, and Laval. “I’m still curious and look at what others around me, namely partners and competitors, are doing. I look for best practices to put into place.”
Even though you’re creative, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run a tight ship! “Between the financial reports, the taxes to be paid to the government, and the different documents to be processed each day, my life has become very routine.”
Daring to take risks
To go into business, however, Brien says you need a fair share of recklessness, and you can’t be afraid to take risks. “Yes, it’s important to make informed decisions, but don’t overthink it, or you’ll just be going around in circles.”
That’s what drove him to open his first Microplay store and Videotron franchises, and eventually to start transforming the network. “We’re aware that we’re buying a concept that works, but no one can say for sure that it will meet its objectives,” says the businessman. “Somethings can be predicted, but there are imponderables.”
He recalls a restaurant venture that ultimately failed, early in his career. “On paper, it worked, but I needed to take the risk to know for sure!”
Trust as a leitmotiv
Brien also makes it a point to have a trusting relationship with his collaborators; to him, that’s the key to becoming a successful businessperson.
“I don’t have the skills or knowledge to do what most of my employees do,” admits the businessman. “It’s important to be able to count on people who are highly skilled in their respective fields; it means everyone can focus on what’s important and move forward with their projects.”
Other than surrounding yourself with the right people, staying confident in your abilities as a businessperson is also indispensable to face unpredictability and uncertainties.
Weathering the storm
The Terrebonne native evokes moments of despair experienced by several businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The first few weeks were spent wondering how we would make it,” he recalls. “After 20 years in business, it’s important to stay rational and look at the big picture to know what areas to focus on to come out on top.”
Brien also fondly remembers the mutual support the father and son duo gave each other in times of doubt. “I now need to look within to find what motivates me.”
The lack of recognition can sometimes feel heavy. “When you decide to go into business full time, you lose that pat on the back you would otherwise get,” says the business executive, who makes sure to show his employees his appreciation, “Whether or not you’re successful, at the end of the day, you only answer to yourself.”
“We’re moving toward a renewed store concept where we will reposition ourselves in each of our territories in order to serve this new category of customers.”
- Jérôme Brien
A new learning opportunity
Particularly attached to the North Shore, Brien welcomes Videotron’s new approach to business clienteles in the region. “The opportunity to work our business differently is very exciting,” he enthuses. “We’re moving toward a renewed store concept where we will reposition ourselves in each of our territories in order to serve this new category of customers.”
He already sees a new learning opportunity. “We’re recruiting for different types of employees who will be on the field; I will need to learn to provide a different kind of support.”
July 2022, By Videotron Business
5 December 2022
Transforming to move forward
The owner of several boutiques in Laval and the Laurentians, William Bellerive made his first foray into the business world at 24 years old, nearly 27 years ago. He tells us about his journey and how he successful overcame various challenges.
16 January 2023
Education: 4 tips for improving your technological capabilities
Technology is currently one of your institution’s biggest competitive advantages. In fact, you already successfully deployed a few of the technological elements in your long-range plan a few years ago. But are you ready for what comes next?
17 November 2021
Education : effective, safe technological tools across the board
The pandemic catapulted the adoption of new technologies in schools. Given the urgency involved, not all tools were implanted effectively, however. The time has now come to connect more and, more importantly, to connect better.