As an entrepreneur a lot of things you will learn is from the school of hard knocks

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • July 4, 2012 12:23 PM EDT
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Herve Jolicoeur had a successful career as a financial consultant and trainer with Bank of America, and was also teaching finance and economy classes at two universities when he decided to switch and start his own business.

Herve Jolicoeur had a successful career as a financial consultant and trainer with Bank of America, and was also teaching finance and economy classes at two universities when he decided to switch and start his own business.

"As a very young person, I always had an aspiration of owning my own business, big or small." Before moving to the US at the age of 10, Herve grew up in Haiti where his grandfather had a restaurant, and that's what inspired him to follow his passion for business. Herve believes that deep inside every person there is an aspiration of building something, building their own business.

"The vision I've always had is do something that you love and the rest will fall into place. My strength has always been working with people, my strength has been in training. I'm pretty knowledgeable in that area and always had an aspiration to spread knowledge."

In 2005, after having accumulated a vast experience in the corporate world, Herve entered into a partnership and started offering trainings to companies' employees. That partnership didn't prove to be the best long-term decision, and in 2010 Herve left to found Performinx. Now Herve is consulting with small businesses that want to grow and he offers trainings to companies' employees.

Herve believes that the biggest asset a company has is its people. With Performinx, Herve developed online tools that can calculate return on investment in human development, online assessments, and training tools to help employees grow professionally.

"As an entrepreneur a lot of things you will learn is from the school of hard knocks, it's through experience," says Herve. He went through two business schools, holds an MBA degree from St. John’s University in New York, has been teaching finance and economy for 13 years, has business consulting experience in the corporate world, and is now running his own business.

Some of the things that Herve recommends if you want to start your own business are:

Have personal savings. You will need ways to finance your company. When you think of opening a business you have to project that you'll have to keep finances tight for about three years. Most of the time it takes 3 to 4 years for a business to flourish and to take life.

Make contacts. It is very helpful to have good contacts you can reach out to. The very first few clients of your business will probably come from referrals. For example, on Wall Street many associate partners leave a company and go start their own investment bank company. They are likely to become successful because they left with a bunch of contacts.

Surround yourself with like-minded people. Stay away from negative people, people who are not going to support your efforts, because what you are trying to do is hard enough. You want to be surrounded with people who believe in you, who support you, and people who could share ideas.

Partner with the right people. Partnerships are like marriages. Finding the right partner is essential. It would be miserable if you partner with the wrong person; and it can be very helpful to partner with the right people because they may bring different expertise and you can also keep each other motivated.

Never count on a deal until the contract is signed. If you are talking to a prospect, until you have a contract signed do not take anything for granted. Many times I dealt with prospective clients and it looked like a sure thing and I am ready to go buy the yacht, then the deal doesn't go through. Maintain your professionalism and always proceed with the relationship in that way. While you are pursuing to get a contract signed, continue working with other prospects and projects until you secure the business. Don't drop what you are doing.

Find ways to keep motivating yourself. You will have to work hard and sometimes you start doubting yourself and your idea. You have to keep reaching in and pulling out the belief that it is all going to work out, that you have to stay on course.

When it comes to Haiti, Herve has a personal goal.

"I believe that for a company to be successful they have to invest in their people. You can take a step further. For a country to be successful they have to invest in their people. A company, or a country, is as good as its people. Long term I'd like to either fund or actually start institutions that can further the development of citizens there. I would like to start by opening up a computer school, I think it's a skill that is essential," concluded Herve.

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