Daniel Menard is a seasoned business professional and senior executive based out of Carignan, Quebec. With over thirty years of industry-related experience, Menard has taken on an extensive range of leadership roles for both local and international companies. By utilizing a dynamic and profit-oriented approach, Menard develops comprehensive strategies to help businesses achieve optimal long-term growth.
Daniel Menard attended the Canadian Forces College, where he focused on military and international studies. His twenty-six year-long military career provided him extensive travel opportunities and many overseas experiences. His journey also led him to obtain a Master’s degree in International Management from the University of Quebec.
After his military service, he looked for opportunities in private industry and joined the international division of GardaWorld, a private security company based out of Dubai. Menard ran one of GardaWorld’s business units in Afghanistan and grew that business substantially, from $19 million to $50 million within twelve months. Specializing in cost strategies, he was subsequently promoted to run the region of the Middle East and North Africa. As a highly motivated professional, Daniel eventually took over as Senior Vice President for operations of that division and spearheaded various acquisitions. While the opportunity was incredibly challenging, Daniel also notes that it helped solidify his professional growth.
After moving back to Canada, Menard took on the position of COO of Groupe Robert – a supply chain company initially focused on transport. His goal was to transition the company from a family-run business to a company that could handle additional growth. Menard also served as the CEO of Octasic – a technology company with a security focus based in Montreal.
With an impressive talent for business operations including, budget planning and forecasting, Daniel analyzes the competitive landscape to ensure that product offerings align with customer requirements. As an ambitious individual, he is always looking for the next professional opportunity.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I have been taking some time off and enjoying quality time with my family while I look for my next challenge. I want to use my executive management experience to provide a vision and build a team within a company that will drive it towards growth. This can be done by focusing on increasing market penetration and possibly expanding through mergers and acquisitions.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
While my typical day has certainly evolved, I have always tried to maintain a sense of structure. I enjoy walking up early and taking some time to myself. Typically, I will either read or meditate and find the time to incorporate some exercise. I also like to plan my day, I find that it enhances my concentration and increases my productivity.
Once in the office I will focus on emails before communicating with my team. In the afternoon, I always try to dedicate time to long-term goals such as the next quarter or the objectives for this year. Is the vision still accurate? What’s happening? Where are we looking for opportunities on the sales side or on the development side? I try to reserve that time for planning so that I’m not stuck just looking at the trees and not seeing the forest.
How do you bring ideas to life?
For me, I like to spend some time contemplating my next step. It can be really easy to be side tracked with your company’s daily operations, but it’s also important to value innovation. I take the time to analyze what works and what doesn’t. From there, I execute a comprehensive plan of action.
What’s one trend that excites you?
New technology excites me because it creates space for you to do other things and to be more efficient. It excites me to read about it and to see how it can be incorporated into our activities. I look at the processes that we do right now that are manpower intensive and consider how technology can produce better results. I am a result-driven person so it really does excite me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have a quick review process that enables me to learn and adjust quickly. There will be things that you do that would be very, very successful but there will also be things that will not be. When something is not successful, I do not just move onto the next thing. It is important to learn from it so I can see what we need to adjust as a company to have a better approach. Are we trying to keep a vertical alive because it’s been around for a long time? Perhaps it is time to eliminate that vertical. It is important to learn and adjust quickly. I call it a quick review process and it has been a key to my success.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say it is not about working hard, but it is about working smart and always being results-driven.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
If you tried a new variety of apple every day, it would take more than 20 years to try them all. It is surprising when people hear that, but experts believe there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I think it comes down to empowerment. People want to be empowered. People react really well to empowerment and to decentralization. If you do this from a structural perspective, then by default you motivate people, they will not only react really well, but they will give you a lot more than you were even expecting.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
A clear understanding of the competition really helps. You look at their offering and find out what really is missing. That will be a way for you to be able to adjust your own offering. You can easily pick up the low hanging fruit if you can easily adjust and provide things that nobody else is offering and that your clients are either asking for it, or that you know will be something that clients will be jumping all over.
When we have applied this strategy, it has really helped us to grow in many different business units and regions when I was with GardaWorld in the Middle East and Iraq and even when I came back to Canada and suddenly the messaging was different and the clients were also very surprised. Oh, you are offering this? Yes, we are, absolutely. These are really the low hanging fruits that you must jump very quickly on.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure was not realizing that the company was operating in silos and certainly missing a regional perspective. I’m thinking about my time in GardaWorld. There was a lot of cross-selling and optimization of strategies that we had been missing, simple things like optimizing the supply chain when you have two different countries that are side by side, but right now they’re just operating in silos, and really, it would be much more cost and time-effective to have a complete overview of this.
We realized this and changing it became part of our growth. We took a bit of time to ask questions. What are we doing right now? Where are we doing it right? Where are we not optimizing this? This is when we created the position of Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, and in that position that I took off on, we were able to quickly fix all weak points in the business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
With the amazing growth that we see in all electric vehicles of any type of thing, I think that there are tons of opportunities right now on things like battery management or even battery disposal.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
That’s very easy. The best $100 I recently spent was on an iRobot called a Rumba. It’s a vacuum robot. You can program it and then you don’t even have to bother thinking about vacuuming anymore. It’s all being done for you.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I discovered very quickly in Dubai that a good customer relationship management (CRM) software was a capability that we needed. Salesforce was the one that we were using, and I’ve been a big fan since.
A good CRM that is fully integrated with your sales, but also captures additional data, is very helpful. You can also track things like production data, statistics, client surveys, and all kinds of different things that really help you to gain a better understanding of your client base. It can help you see what you are doing or what you are not doing. It may show you that you are spending too much time on one aspect of your process that you are already doing well on, but not enough on another. All of these things are extremely useful and make it a very powerful tool.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One that I recommend is The Machine by Justin Roff-Marsh. It’s a book about the sales function. However, it’s a book that really is very disruptive in the way that he approached all of this. It talks about some of the constraints on sales management and it challenges everything that was in place from a sales process in the past. It’s a good book on sales in today’s world, proven systems for growing sales, and how you can make your sales more consistent. Lots of books have been written about sales functions and how to improve them, but this one I think is particularly interesting.
What is your favorite quote?
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin.
- Empowerment and true decentralization are powerful tools that are really available to anybody.
- Give yourself time to think about tomorrow so you don’t get stuck on day-to-day activities.
- To grow, think about what your competition offers and see how you can improve upon it.
- Stay agile in your thinking.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.