Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with John Reese, founder of Table Nine Coaching, located in Victoria, BC, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Table Nine Coaching provides support, guidance, and accountability for small-to-medium-sized business owners who are not getting from their businesses and their lives what they want and deserve. I work primarily in the hospitality sector - restaurants, cafes, craft breweries, wineries - bringing structure, simplified strategic planning, and building admired company cultures. My customers are both established companies and startups that have become 'stuck', where owners and staff have become frustrated and where return on investment is not at sustainable levels.

Tell us about yourself

I have been a hospitality industry professional for 33 years. Table Nine Coaching came to life six years ago as I identified a considerable need in our industry to provide support to business owners who are working so hard yet getting little of the emotional or financial return for efforts. This is a lonely place to be for business owners. Although it sounds a little cliché, it really is about giving back to the industry and meeting owners and management teams where they are. I have seen and experienced a great deal - good, bad, and ugly - throughout my career, and I know just how hard it is to turn your passion into a meaningful business. Working with owners and their teams, seeing the 'lights go on', and providing clarity of direction inspires hope, and that feeds me! It is remarkably rewarding to see people get back on track and start making forward movement is what drives me. It is a privilege to be let into a business and to help breathe life into it.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have had the pleasure of working on a number of projects where the situation was dire. The team was able to look hard in the mirror, see what needed to be done and go out there and turn things around. It is so gratifying and a real honour to work with such dedicated individuals who have committed to their dream, taken on the risk, and given their lives to the success of their businesses. Beyond that, I count it as a considerable accomplishment to continue to be self-employed and do the work that I do.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There is always the pressure of the unknown, and navigating two years of the global pandemic has been very hard. I have not encountered anything like it in my 33-year career. There are always uncertainties, stresses, pressures, and the risk of things going sideways, but COVID has been an industry-changing event. Sure, it has affected my earnings here and there, but more importantly, I have witnessed the impact on clients, and it has been very difficult to witness. I am confident that positive changes will result from these hard times, but the specifics of what this looks will look like are far from clear.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be fully committed. You cannot succeed if you are not prepared to dedicate your whole self to the enterprise, at least for the first five years.
  2. Have a well-defined Vision, Mission, Core Values that define your culture. Without a healthy and strong culture, you will not succeed. State your intention on the world!
  3. Have a formal plan - long-term, medium-term, annual, and quarterly. Establish your direction, focus on top priorities only, avoid distraction and build momentum. Just keep moving forward.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Small business is the foundation of our communities, and owners are remarkable people - passionate, hard-working, and dedicated. I continue to be in awe of the great contribution these people continue to make and the sacrifices made to that end.

Where can people find you and your business?

Table-Nine Coaching - Restaurant & Brewery Consulting
Table Nine works with small-to-medium sized business owners and leadership teams in providing structure, strategic planning facilitation, accountability and on-going guidance to the end of achieving deserved success.

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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