Can becoming an entrepreneur help you achieve a well-balanced life? That’s the view of Jacques Théorêt, owner of three Videotron stores. After working in human resources and labour relations, with a brief foray into politics, a major event in his life caused him to start questioning his career choices.
“In my late thirties I had cancer,” explains Théorêt, who hadn’t previously had any reason to face his mortality. “That led me to realize that I wanted a different lifestyle.”
So he pursued a number of projects, including becoming a Videotron franchisee in the early days of the telecom industry, since he was fascinated by the modernity and growth opportunities offered by the tech industry.
Aware that the life of the entrepreneur often leads to a lot of stress, Théorêt found on the other hand that starting a business gave him a better quality of life.
“Work has always been a very important part of my life,” he acknowledges. “Thinking about it all the time and always staying in the loop about what was happening operationally was easy and came naturally to me.”
“But now it’s me who decides what my schedule is and how I spend my time,” he continues. “So I can take time to go play golf down south in the winter while staying informed about my team’s activities and taking part in meetings with employees, for example.”
His facility with entrepreneurship also comes from his background. He believes that his experiences are what made him a better entrepreneur. “Not just in terms of stress management,” states the man who’s experienced his share of tense electoral campaigns and has even had to negotiate a few collective agreements. “Whether it’s through marketing or relationships with employees or customers, I’m interested in understanding human behaviour.”
Adapting to the market
Théorêt got started in telecommunications at a time when the Superclub video store chain was undergoing big changes. “I had to take on areas that were either underdeveloped or had no development at all and turn them into performers,” he recalls.
In his opinion, the key to success when developing new markets is knowing how to adapt. “Telecom businesses evolve very quickly,” states the entrepreneur. “And not just in terms of technology, but in the changing needs of people.”
“The foundation for building loyalty and a long-term relationship is listening to every customer, whether residential or business, in order to understand their particular needs and operational realities,” continues Théorêt. “You need to be able to offer each client a customized solution.”
Good listening skills are the main qualities he looks for in employees. “It’s not necessarily loudmouths who succeed most in business.”
Having a solid foundation
According to Théorêt, another prerequisite that’s essential for starting a business is having a solid foundation, whether through technical knowledge, an academic background in the subject, or simply resulting from experience.
“People have a very romantic view of being an entrepreneur, but it’s anything but sexy,” jokes Théorêt. “People believe that when you’re young, you have nothing to lose, but actually I think you need to make sure you’re prepared and well organized.”
“We basically use the services of local entrepreneurs. I naturally tend to work with people who experience the same challenges as we do every day, who understand our needs and issues.”
Théorêt manages about forty employees spread across three areas: Laval, East Montreal, and Suroît-Salaberry.
Over the years, he’s naturally built relationships based on trust with the local communities surrounding each of his outposts. “We basically use the services of local entrepreneurs,” he states proudly. “I naturally tend to work with people who experience the same challenges as we do every day, who understand our needs and issues.”
A local plumber, for example, will pay more attention to the impact a water leak could have on store operations, a situation that might have less significance for a big-name chain.
“We’ve developed a certain interdependence and solidarity amongst ourselves,” Théorêt concludes
December 15 2022, By Videotron Business