When it comes to our economy, where does B.C. stand? Is this the promised land, or no man’s land? How are today’s economic conditions going to affect our jobs, our savings or our decisions for our future? Resources, technology and all these different sectors are evolving around us and affecting our economy and our lifestyle choices.
In partnership with CKNW, Vancity Buzz is on board to put our economy under the microscope during the second instalment of Putting B.C. To Work.
Vikram Vij is the successful owner of a small food empire that all started in Vancouver 20 years ago. Vij joined CKNW’s Mike Eckford to talk about entrepreneurialism and his own journey to success.
“Entrepreneurial spirit should be like a river. It should always be flowing in different directions. You have obstacles in your path, but your final goal should be that ‘I need to reach the ocean.'”
Vij’s plan was to be a Bollywood actor, but when that failed he decided the next best thing was to be a chef, “because at 5:30 when the curtains are drawn, we are there performing.”
At the time, Vij never thought he’d be here today talking about his many projects, but 20 years ago he did have the vision to bring awareness to the cuisine and the culture of his country.
Vij believes that entrepreneurial spirit lives in all of us, whether it be to build a big business or a small one.
“We all have that spirit that says, ‘I want to dance to my own tune, to my own music.'”
When he started his first restaurant in Vancouver 20 years ago, it had 16 seats and a break even of $100. If he sold $100 a day, he was going to survive. Some nights he only sold $96.
On building a business: It’s not a straight line
“It’s a crooked line… one step at a time, remaining focused, not selling out your soul. And on top of that, helping out other people who are around you.”
On putting people to work
“It is the most crucial thing to do, because they are, at the end of your day, your backbone. They are the ones who are going to be carrying your name, carrying your flag, and saying, ‘we work for this organization.'”
Business owners must take care of the people they work with, and that equality is important. Vij’s staff can each whatever they want at the end of the day, and have a glass of wine too. When talking about the various front of house roles, he says it’s important not to have a hierarchy.
“Have it in your mind, but do not show it… I still welcome people into the restaurant by opening the doors for them. I still bring out appetizers for them. And I still clear plates and take orders.”
Listen to the complete interview with Vikram Vij:
CKNW’s special series, Putting B.C. To Work runs until April 26. Follow along on Vancity Buzz as we continue to post interviews throughout the series and tune into CKNW AM 980 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.