Rajinder Mann was born in a small village in northern India, in the state of Punjab. Being raised in a large family of nine siblings and being the youngest he was blessed to receive the love and support from his family. Rajinder clearly recalls the struggles and long hours he worked farming, with little automation and relentless heat. These early years shaped his work ethic and drive for improvement. Rajinder enjoyed school and excelled in both high school and college. Rajinder knew that his education would create a path to success.
At twenty-one, Rajinder moved to Canada, and soon after, married his wife, and together they relocated to a small town Fort St. James, British Columbia to create new opportunities for themselves. Rajinder spent nine years working at the local sawmill – an experience that helped pave the way for future professional success.
Rajinder fulfilled his dream of starting a business while his wife stayed home to raise their children. His company, All American Cedar Supplies, saw extensive growth in the late 80’s and 90’s as he carved his way into the Surrey roofing and lumber supply market.
His unwavering confidence, undaunted determination, and hard work led to creating successful established companies capable of tuning into and serving the needs of customers. And it is Rajinder’s positive perception of every situation that continues to drive him forward. To date, Rajinder has established and grown multiple successful businesses from cedar roofing to a diverse range of real estate development projects over the decades.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I worked at a lumber mill in Fort St. James for a time. While processing trees the potential in the industry for products and uses became obvious to me. I made it a point to study the market and realized there was a shortage of suppliers selling cedar roofing supplies, and only one notable company in Surrey, BC selling cedar roofing supplies. This paved the way for competition. From there I opened a company with a focus on cedar roofing and supplies.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every morning begins the same. I rise at 5 am in the morning for deep prayer. Once I have completed prayers I enjoy breakfast and go on to work. After lunch it is important to meditate. This keeps me alert and energized. The combination of early rising and focus on spiritual priorities keeps me productive from early. I end the day with exercise, prayer, organizing and planning for the next day, and spending time with my family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I get clear and committed about a given idea. Once I’ve settled on what needs to be done, I don’t sway to another idea or overthink the project. From there it’s a matter of taking consistent and intentional action. Overthinking is often the biggest hindrance to bringing ideas to life. Knowing what you want to accomplish then taking solid steps forward ensures those ideas become reality.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The pandemic put a lot of pressure on commercial spaces, especially hotels and office units. I am mostly excited to see a recovery taking place as more businesses are back on their feet, new businesses emerging, and that means new opportunities.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Meditation provides clarity of mind for me. I find that after I meditate I am at my best, feeling re-energized and more effective for the remainder of the day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
To focus on commercial real estate development. Although I have completed several commercial projects over the years, focusing more on commercial development earlier in my career would have been a better way to go.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That’s a tough question. I’m not sure that I have a solid answer for that. Everyone has their own opinion and thoughts about all sorts of things.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I believe in living a good lifestyle which includes meditation and prayer. It is a powerful tool, that provides clarity for making decisions and is re-energizing.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Taking big steps forward made the company grow. I did not shy away from an opportunity just because it was challenging or might make us extend beyond our comfort zone, into a new venture or development. We moved forward, learned, and applied those lessons. You must be willing to take big steps, make big opportunities, and be take a risk to grow.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I engaged in a few partnerships which encountered different obstacles. These were beyond anything we wanted which led us to go our separate ways. Projects I’ve engaged on my own have been most successful.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Find an industry you are interested in and be the best at it. I have a bias towards Real Estate Development, and the need for good real estate projects never diminishes, so if you can find a way in, do it!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It wasn’t 100 dollars, but the best recent purchase was a new set of suits. It is always good to wear something you feel good in.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My phone is the most useful technology I have. It keeps me connected with the important people in the company and community, and with my customers. It is an asset and always available in my pocket.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Reading is helpful to learn and expand your knowledge and skills. It doesn’t matter what you read, make time to read when you can!
What is your favorite quote?
“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” Peace Pilgrim
- Keeping a clear mind and positive thoughts opens the way for productivity and effective decision-making.
- Meditation is a great tool, it’s a crucial part of keeping thoughts clear.
- Research to practically understand your market well and where you fit in, to mitigate your risk and you’re your company grow quickly.
- Recognize when you out of your comfort zone, up against a challenging opportunity, and take the leap, chances are you will move forwards, not backwards.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.