5 keys to small business success

Kefiplant was launched when Chantale Houle left her father's family business to start her own venture and fulfill what she fondly calls her "life mission" of improving health through herbs.

Choosing entrepreneurship as a career path is one thing. But if you want to truly feel proud of what you're doing and achieve your full potential, you need to make sure your decision is aligned with what you're really interested in.

Chantale Houle's 5 keys to entrepreneurial success:

1. Passion

For Houle, there's no doubt she's a born entrepreneur. That entrepreneurial spirit really took hold, though, during the many years she worked with her father, who owned a hardwood flooring business. She also learned from her dad that self-employment requires passion. The business was a constant source of motivation for him.

2. Interest

Her father's obvious passion for his work caused Houle to question her own path. "Even though my work with him was interesting and I had a great job, it didn't excite me like it did him. I decided to take a one-year sabbatical to think about my future and ask myself the right questions."

3. Innovation

She'd always been interested in herbs, but also in emerging herbal innovation, including food applications. In 2004, consumers didn't have nearly as many healthy choices as they have today.

"I could already anticipate the market's needs. I quickly saw the development potential of kombucha."

4. Persistence

Houle's first 3 years in business were devoted to research and development, with the help of a scientist she hired in Europe.

"He really coached me in the scientific basics of fermentation, but also in herbal health. I continued the work on my own, doing a lot of reading and research, teaching myself what I needed to know." Through trial and error, she always kept in mind that innovation required originality.

"I wasn't a scientist myself, but I had a different way of looking at things, and I drew a lot of strength from that. I was more focused on the consumer, on their questions and health concerns. I also instilled this development vision in my team, which I think has really paid off."

5. Self-confidence

Clearly, Houle's vision has been successful. In 5 years, the business has been recognized twice at the  - External link. This link will open in a new window.OSEntreprendre gala and sales have increased 100 fold. And with the current expansion, the next 5 years promise the same kind of growth.

"Winning the OSEntreprendre award has meant a lot. I feel so proud and the recognition has been really great. The prestigious award has given us renewed energy and confidence in our life's mission of improving health through herbs. Just wait, you haven't seen anything yet!"

Business profile

Owner: Chantale Houle
Business name: Kefiplant
Type of business: Manufacturer of certified organic fermented herbs for businesses
City: Drummondville
Employees: 30
Website:  - External link. This link will open in a new window. kefiplant.com

The 21st OSEntreprendre Challenge will end with the Desjardins Grand Prize Gala on June 12, 2019 at Palais Montcalm in Quebec City.