Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jacques Wong, Founder of PNC Learning Inc., located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We provide accredited continuing education and pre-licensing courses to the financial services industry.
Tell us about yourself
The business grew organically from people asking me personally for help with their insurance certification exams. As the demand grew, I knew there was something there, but I needed a way to remove the biggest revenue barrier - which was my own time/energy. So I took the curriculum I created and turned it into an online course. In the beginning, it was just a lifestyle business, so I was simply motivated by the need to earn a good living. Now, as the company has grown, my new focus and motivation are making sure my team grows and are successful in their own rights.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I don't know if this is the biggest accomplishment, but I sold the business for a good sum during the height of the COVID pandemic. But by far, the most satisfying is reading all the great reviews and feedback from students who have started a new white-collar career with our help.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is constantly learning new skills and sometimes feeling like you have nobody to turn to for help or advice. Ultimately, as the owner, the buck stops with you to make the final decision. And if things go wrong, you're the only one to blame, unfortunately.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make money before you spend money. Many people want to spend money on legal, insurance, office space, fancy marketing, launch parties, etc. before they've even brought in revenue. Bring in revenue first and take care of the rest later.
- Have an intense customer focus. What made Amazon so successful was its obsession with creating the best customer experience possible. It's hard for a company to fail when you have a great product that customers are dying to pay for.
- Build a flywheel into your business. I hate to go back to Amazon again as an example, but they probably have the best example of a flywheel or network effects out there. There are plenty of diagrams on Google, but the gist is that a great customer experience leads to more traffic to the site, which attracts sellers, which increases the selection available on the site and leads to a better customer experience. As a side benefit, this all leads to growth which leads to lower cost structures which leads to lower prices which leads to a better customer experience. Do you see how this all ties back into prioritizing the customer experience? A similar thing can apply to any business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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