Overcome what could be a business disaster by tweaking your business plan, overcome self-doubt, and focus on the positive.
Sid Hayek was born and raised in Lebanon. When the war broke out in 1974 his parents decided to leave Lebanon. By 1976 the family migrated to Ottawa, Canada and reunited with aunts and uncles who were located in Ottawa. Over the next year and a half, Sid’s parents worked as he began high school. They managed to purchase a grocery store which became the family business. The business was open seven days a week from seven to eleven. His parents ran the business during the day and Sid and his older brother managed the store after school. When the family decided to move to Vancouver, they sold the grocery store and opened a restaurant. After two years they were searching for new opportunities.
By 1986 the family opened a bakery business. Sid managed the business and was fundamental to the growth and the success of this business. This business has stood the test of time. For more than thirty years under Sid Hayek’s leadership, the bakery thrived and experienced tremendous growth and expansion. Its humble beginnings started with five family partners in the business. The location was a forty-five hundred square foot building which eventually would become a seventy-five thousand square foot facility, employing over two-hundred employees. The family bakery was sold in 2016.
Today, Sid Hayek is an investor of real estate, mortgages and in the stock market. As an entrepreneur, he partners in a variety of businesses.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
One morning my brother and I were having breakfast pitas outside our home. My mother tasted it and said the pitas were horrible. After quite a long pause, she suggested opening up a pita bakery here. We have always lived our lives in family businesses. We thought it was something we consider. The idea was my mothers. We brought the idea to fruition for my mother.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Running the bakery consumed a lot of my time. As an investor, my time is my own. First thing in the morning, I have water, coffee and work out. After I shower, I start my day by prioritizing a list of the things that have to be accomplished for the day. I read emails and catch up on world news and the stock market. I have several opportunities as a business partner in many businesses. At the end of the day when my list is complete, I evaluate the day and consider what may need to be improved or focused on.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I treat an idea as a business. You have to look at all aspects of the idea to make a good business. Market size, for example, was a measuring point for us. For the pita bread business, we questioned how many people were eating pita bread, who were our customers, what was our market, who was our competition, what are production costs and selling costs? And continuing to ask those kinds of questions. You want to know what will make you better than your competition. What should follow is a business plan. Before you spend any money you do your due diligence by testing the market and speaking with big buyers to see what the viability of the product may be.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Looking towards the future what excites me is autonomous cars. I think it will be on the market within the next ten years. It will be much better for the environment. It will lower emissions. I am excited that when that day comes you’ll be able to order a car to pick you up in the mornings and get you to work stress-free. I believe it will make roads much safer all around the world. Individuals will benefit immensely. If you don’t have to purchase a car, it will save not only the cost of the car but it will save on the gas, insurance, the maintenance and the upkeep of ownership. I think it will be much better for the world. The technology is there they just have to fine-tune it.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Exercising and fasting are a beneficial habit that I practice. They clear my mind and release day to day stress and tension. It is what keeps me feeling one hundred percent.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to delegate more and invest early. Start investing while running your business. When you delegate tasks you have the time to research other opportunities rather than being consumed by a single business. Owning a business doesn’t allow the time to research and invest your money properly. We made money early on. That is when I should have made my money work for me. I could have invested in real estate, the stock market, bonds or mortgages. I am doing that now, but I should have done it much sooner. We started our first business with five people. We expanded too two-hundred employees. Learning to delegate was my biggest challenge.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Well, they do now, but I originally said that social media will get some people in trouble!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would recommend that we be more grateful. I find we are consumed in day to day things we forget truly what you have. And we concentrate on the things we want. The things that you want are not important. It is the things that you have that are important. You need to reflect on life. Be grateful for the things that you have. Whether it is your kids or family and friends, being healthy, not requiring financial help, whatever it is be grateful and appreciate all that you have.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our business growth came from our product and our market expansion strategy. We saturated our market which was British Columbia. Our expansion extended into the U.S., Alberta, Manitoba, and back. We also expanded our product line. We built relationships with buyers and were able to introduce our new products much easier.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We had a business plan when we first started the bakery. It was on a much larger scale then we were used to. It didn’t compare to a grocery store or restaurant business. There was a lack of capital on the start-up. Six months into it, we had not made the inroads to larger buyers that we had projected. Self-doubt set in and we were wondering what we were going to do. I know all entrepreneurs go through this at one time or another. We started focusing on the solutions rather than the problem. We revisited our business model. Instead of going after the larger buyers, we focused on restaurants and supermarkets. It was a much easier market to penetrate. Within two to three months we were out of the red. Four months later we landed a distributor who took our product to chain stores. We overcame what could have been a disaster by retweaking our plan, overcoming self-doubt, and focusing on the positive.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I believe that autonomous vehicles will be here sooner than later. I would consider catering to those people who will have that extra hour in the car. Find a compatible cappuccino maker or a convenient make-up station. Do a business that will allow people to do things as they are being driven to work.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best hundred dollars I recently spent was taking my wife out to our favorite restaurant. We had an uninterrupted date-night. Together we reflected on our lives, and how grateful we are to have healthy kids, great friends, and close family. It keeps us close. Happy wife, happy life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Google. It is the information hotline for everything. If I need to size-up my competition or just see what they are up too, the information is at my fingertips. It is extremely useful.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I read a lot of business magazines. They all offer up-to-date information and they all focus on different aspects of doing business. My two top magazines are Forbes and Money Magazines.
What is your favorite quote?
“To be a successful you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart”. By Thomas J. Watson.
• Before you spend any money, you do your due diligence by testing the market and speaking with big buyers to see what the viability of the product may be.
• Reflect on life. Be grateful and appreciate all that you have.
• Overcome what could be a business disaster by tweaking your business plan, overcome self-doubt, and focus on the positive.
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.