In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we invited Strategic Coach clients to share their secrets to success. The fourth in the series is written by Rob Saik, founder and CEO of Agri-Trend in Calgary, Alberta.
Everyone can pinpoint a moment when they’ve stumbled upon words of wisdom that altered their life path. Like a key opening a lock, it’s as if something just clicks, and all of a sudden, everything makes sense.
I fondly remember the words that were a game changer for me: “Build your own brand.”
These words came from Jack Donald, former president and CEO of Parkland Fuel Corporation, Canada’s largest independent marketer of fuels.
I was forty-one at the time, and I remember sitting next to Jack in awe. I had come to a crossroads in my career, not sure if I should take the harder route and go out on my own or merge with another company, and the wisdom he shared gave me the courage I needed to take the next step.
Our conversation about establishing a personal brand, even with the temptation of falling under a larger corporation, had a profound impact on me. I realized the importance of constructing a brand that would maintain the integrity of my vision. I built a brand, and a culture, and I’ll always defend it.
Agri-Trend Inc. was built and grown with a concentrated effort on extending my personal vision of the perfect brand. It was about much more than a logo to me.
I asked myself, “How do our clients feel? What tone does our company set with them? What is the culture around the brand? Is our team proud of what we’re doing?”
Regardless of who we’re collaborating with, we wanted our own message to stand out. We’re about fun, professionalism, pride, and, all in all, being a cutting-edge firm.
It’s important to me to be true to myself and my passion. My business revolves around who I am as a person, and I’m focused on creating value extending far beyond my company to the broader community by being a champion for agriculture.
My decision to trust my gut and listen to the advice from my mentor allowed me to grow Agri-Trend to meet my personal values—a good indication that success aligns with who are we internally. It’s a lesson in life and business.