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.
Since purchasing his first franchise in 1996, he earned valuable experience in retail, restaurant, construction, and real estate management. “My parents weren’t entrepreneurs, but my father always encouraged me to work for myself,” remembers Bellerive.
That’s what motivated him to work in a video store when he was 17 and still in school, eventually studying business administration in university in hopes of starting his own business.
Strategies for going into business
Bellerive quickly found an opportunity to make a name for himself at the company he worked for, and where the lease agreement between the four shareholders was not fixed. “There was no succession plan,” explains the Laval native. “So I showed up with my business plan and made them an offer.”
He recommends that young people thinking of going into business go work in an industry they feel passionate about. “Most entrepreneurs don’t have successors. One strategy entails integrating a business and bringing solutions.”
A continually evolving sector
As the telecommunications sector was going through a major overhaul, Bellerive took the opportunity to explore other horizons, such as real estate and restaurant management. “When you work in technology, your business model has an expiration date, but you don’t know when that is,” he explains.
When the Le SuperClub stores began being converted into Videotron stores and residential services emerged, Bellerive decided to return to Videotron full-time. “I saw an opportunity to develop a new market, a new business segment,” says he who can never have too many projects. “The business opportunity came to be.”
To him, this is by far the most interesting segment. “Videotron is a huge company, but it still allows entrepreneurs to grow a business and get closer to SMEs,” Bellerive says. “As a businessman myself, I’m in the best position to understand the needs of other entrepreneurs seeking to grow.”
“Employees can fine-tune their skills (as can I!), and it’s a good way to generate new sources of income that will have an impact on our community.” This new segment led him to make a shift in terms of management.
“Employees want to be a part of the decisions,’’ Bellerive rejoices. The businessman believes that surrounding yourself with the right people is the key to success. “Going at it alone is very stressful.”
“Employees want to be a part of the decisions. I believe that surrounding yourself with the right people is the key to success. Going at it alone is very stressful.”
Preparing his own succession
Few entrepreneurs have the ability to let go. “There are always some underlying concerns,” says Bellerive. He therefore came up with the idea of sharing the reigns to ensure not everything falls onto his shoulders. He then started considering whether one of his collaborators could become a potential successor, who would also contribute to the company’s development.
“It’s so much easier with two people. Alone, I’m not sure I would have made it,” acknowledges the entrepreneur in reference to the pandemic.
The health crisis helped him realize that he needed to learn to contend with unplanned scenarios and situations beyond his control. “And the longer you’re an entrepreneur, the more you’re faced with challenges of all sizes!”
December 5 2022, By Videotron Business
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