As most entrepreneurs know, the road to success is not always paved. It’s often a winding, rough, treacherous path that knocks you down and kicks sand in your face. You have heard the age-old adage, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Running a business is challenging.
So really, what is the key to surviving the journey? As always, researchers and scholars suggest pitfalls to avoid. But it isn’t always as cut and dried as “understanding your cash flow” or “having a great business plan,” although both are great suggestions.
Statistics say that most businesses fail within the first five years of operation. Did you ever wonder what the thriving ones are doing that the failing did not?
NLOWE, in its 20th year, is celebrating many achievements, but none are more pertinent than highlighting some of the long-time members and pioneering women in business who’ve shown exactly what it takes to shine in the business world throughout the years.
Barb Genge has been running Tuckamore Lodge in Main Brook on the Great Northern Peninsula for 31 years. Tuckamore offers first-class, luxurious Scandinavian-style accommodations and exemplary year-round outdoor experiences. Winning numerous awards and accolades over the years, Barb was inducted into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame in 2013. Barb is also a founding board member of NLOWE!
Linda Yates and her partner David Hayashida have been operating King’s Point Pottery for 25 years in King’s Point (Green Bay area). Their one-of-a-kind pieces are created using a unique salt/soda kiln, the first of its kind in the province. Linda and David have also received numerous awards throughout the years, including the designation of Best Craft Shop in Atlantic Canada in 2013.
Both Barb and Linda admit there have been challenges. Barb notes that rural living comes with deteriorated road conditions, limited wireless internet and cell service, and lengthy application processes, but that the uniqueness of the area is its own selling feature: “We have three UNESCO sites on our doorstep, in addition to ecological reserves, parks, and an abundance of whales, icebergs, and other breathtaking scenery.”
Remoteness has caused some challenges for Linda and David as well. Creating and increasing tourism traffic in the region was their biggest challenge: “We have invested a significant amount of volunteer time in our region, which has influenced the development of this area as an anchor tourism attraction.” Through developments such as the Alexander Murray Trail, the Humpback Whale Pavilion, and the King’s Point Heritage Society, King’s Point has secured its position as a vital tourist attraction.
Barb and Linda are living evidence of the fact that businesses can survive and flourish in the province. They both attribute their longevity to a number of factors, including hard work, passion, and strong teams.
When asked for words of wisdom or tips to share, Barb stressed the importance of creating a compelling web presence and also being involved locally—“Be a political player, join organizations, make partnerships, and share knowledge . . . knowledge is money.”
Linda’s words of advice: “Work on your weaknesses . . . that’s working smart.” She also says that being passionate and working hard are key to longevity (along with, of course, the support of family, friends, and colleagues).
Both offer important messages and both are pioneers in bringing success and innovation to rural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. And the great thing is that these women are only getting warmed up!