Throughout time, the entrepreneurial spirit has been tried and tested. Through recession and uncertain times entrepreneurs have found a way. Their courage to take on risk has given us an optimistic future, with more choices, and a more comfortable life. Now enter March 2020, the global pandemic that created the most uncertain times of our lives. Businesses were forced to shut their doors, turn away customers, and hunker down for the better part of the next 15 months.
For many, this was beyond discouraging; it was a nail in the coffin. For Saawan Logan and Linda Cheung this was simply yet another challenge they were determined to overcome. The first bottle of North Water completed production in early March of 2020, and never slowed down. Throughout the course of the pandemic they were able to place their product into the hands of well over 600 customers. When asked about what it was like to go into operations and be hit with a pandemic mere weeks later Saawan stated “I’d be lying if I said it was scary as in the beginning we only thought it would last a few weeks. As months rolled around, fear began to set in; but there were never any thoughts of quitting or giving up”. When asked for advice she could give to anyone that is feeling like they are fighting a losing battle in starting their own business “You cannot give up when things get tough, you have to have a long-term mindset and keep going”.
It begs the question, what truly defines an entrepreneur? Is it simply creating a public offering, is it having a never say die resilient attitude, or is it having the courage to take on risk when nobody else will. Saawan gave a quote “an entrepreneur is crazy; they have to be. You have to be crazy to truly think that somebody wants whatever you are making.” All jokes aside, Saawan believes that what truly defines an entrepreneur, is the choices they make. The choice to try. Even if it means the trial leads to failure. “Better to fail while trying than to never have tried.”
In trying times for North Waters operations, they have been forced to become hyper focused with creating consumer value. Asking customers to pay for a premium product in a time when money is seemingly tight can be difficult, but when both parties know that they are buying value and not just a bottle of water, common ground can be found.
As the spring ends and summer begins, the pandemic is showing signs of residing. People will once again be outside, going for dinners, and interacting with each other on a more regular basis. It is a time where local businesses will finally be able to thrive again. For the team at North Water, this is a period of great optimism. Having been able to grow their enterprise in the toughest of times and steered their ship through stormy waters, they finally have signs of smooth sailing ahead. For most, this would signal a period of relaxation, a time when one can finally sit back and take a breath. The mood at North Water is in fact quite the opposite. Every day there is a consistent and urgent effort to push the company further and further ahead. Connecting with customers, helping in the community, and pushing to offer North Water products to more and more Canadians.
There is of course a lesson about the entrepreneurial spirit to be learned here. It shows that you cannot wait for success, you must create it; in good times and bad.