David Segal is best known for bringing radical innovation to a 5,000-year-old product category. As the co-founder of DAVIDsTEA, he grew the brand from a single store to a $200 million retail giant, completely redefining how people consume tea in Canada. He left DAVIDsTEA in 2016 to pursue a new entrepreneurial dream — bringing healthy fast food to consumers. Since Mad Radish launched in 2017, the brand has opened seven locations in Ottawa and Toronto.
David stopped by our office to share some of the lessons he’s learned from his own entrepreneurial ventures on the roles that luck and hard work play in success, and how others can escape what he calls the worst fate in business — business purgatory.
Surviving Business Purgatory
Business purgatory is a state in between success and failure, where every day is a battle to make ends meet. Several businesses land here at some point, whether at the start or the end. While watching a business fail is always hard, says David, honest failures can make you stronger but business purgatory is a never-ending struggle.
So, how do businesses find themselves in purgatory? It’s either because of the product, people, or ego, says David.
Watch the video below to hear David give examples on how each of these manifested in his businesses, and what he did (or wished he did) to address them.
Are entrepreneurs lucky or smart?
“Great entrepreneurs are smart enough to know when they’re getting lucky,” says David. And, smart enough to know when they’re not getting lucky, he adds.
Of course, luck plays a part in business success, says David. What’s really the make or break in success though is how you manage your own psychology. This is something David still struggles with today. It’s about managing panic when it’s not going well, having the flexibility to change things up when needed, and knowing how to double down and not run around in a million directions when its going.
Hear him speak more on the topic below: