01/04/2017 04:48 EST | Updated 01/04/2017 04:48 EST

Wisdom: From Entrepreneurs, For Entrepreneurs

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Reflecting on this past year in business conjures up the same extreme gratitude that the other 22 years of Borden Communications has for me. Without triple-good clients and colleagues, also in relentless pursuit of running good businesses with strong, successful results, I wouldn't be in a position to do and support this good work.

Our small (but mighty) team has grown as individuals and as a group, but the journey that we take with our clients is truly, and deeply the most satisfying, eye-opening aspect of our daily grind, and can always be classified as a strengthening and energizing exercise.

We take great pride in helping our clients tell their stories through our work together, and enjoy sharing our Interviews with Mosquitos series.

As we move into 2017 together, full of hope and determination, we have selected a few highlights from a few of our 2016 interviews to share that you can carry forward.

On doing stuff + making change:

"Find your passion, educate yourself on the issue, align with like-minded leading organizations and individuals, and get started. Doing something - dare I say anything - is the real test. Believe in your power, Lead by example. See the ripple effect in action. Make an impact, even at the most personal or local of levels, and then scale it. Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good or feel daunted in the face of mammoth challenges or a crowded cause landscape. The world needs YOU to be the change." - Erin Schrode, Turning Green

On the grit of life:

"My awareness of the sacredness of life grows all the time. I think that everything is sacred, but that we are too rushed or busy, or too tied to technology to see this. Even almond butter and honey, on a really good rye, is sacred. The grit of life, and challenges offered by the big and small difficulties are sacred too. It is often in the mindful engagement with life that sacredness is lifted up."  - Jinks Hoffmann, It's All God, Anyway: Poetry for the Everyday

On critical thinking:

"I always think it is more important to ask questions than it is to have answers. Once you get an answer, it should lead you to a more complex question. To me, a person who can think of something in multiple ways and from diverse perspectives, is more knowledgeable. If we think we have an absolute answer, we probably haven't looked deeply enough. As far as who has the answers, well, I think everyone does, from their unique perspective. You just have to be willing to listen to their responses." - Debbie Donsky, educator and principal in York Region

On growth mindset:

"There is learning in every experience. Change your attitude about your presumed outcome and simply ask yourself, what did I learn from this experience?"  - Debbie Donsky, educator and principal in York Region

On healthy foundations:

"Everything starts with the soil. I once read that the top 6 inches of soil supports all life on earth. So when we're sourcing food, we need to first ensure that the soil has been left in the same or better state then it was before." - Mario Fiorucci, The Healthy Butcher

On innate intelligence:

"I've learned how intelligent and fun human beings are, and how creative people can be, even if they have never been to school and can't read or write. We have an innate intelligence and that can be channeled to create massive positive change in the world." - Erika Vohman, Maya Superfoods and Maya Nut Institute 

On feeling good about your food choices:

"Focus on what you can eat, not what you can't, and find a community for support. People have lots of opinions around food and they aren't always informed ones. It makes it harder to follow your diet if you have to keep defending it (and it can be a bit annoying to your friends if you are always talking about it)." - Colleen Kavanagh, ZEGO

On tequila + karma:

"One should remember, tequila treats you the same way you treat it, if you aggressively slam it back it will get mad and return the favor." - David Ravandi, 123 Organic Tequila

On customer acquisition + retention:

"How do I find customers? Mostly through word of mouth. That's all we really care about. We just focus on trying to do a really good job for our present customers." - Alex Billingsley, Mama Earth Organics

On making cold calls:

"Sometimes we hear back and people are really engaged and love it and it leads to a new retailer, and other times, we'll drop off samples and not even get a thanks, but no thanks. You definitely have to have thick skin and be willing to put yourself (and your product) out there." - Andrea Orazi, The Chufa Co

On putting in the hours + effort:

"I think that successful entrepreneurs are almost always working. A new entrepreneur needs to be prepared to  work as many hours and days as is needed to get the jobs or work done that will allow for enough momentum and capital to create sustainability. An aircraft uses about 70% of it's fuel getting off the runway and to cruising altitude - a new business is no different!" - Peter Neal, co-founder and co-owner of Neal Brothers Foods 

On building community:

"You reap what you sow and your community is only as strong as you make it!" - Peter Neal, co-founder and co-owner of Neal Brothers Foods 

On doing meaningful + good work:

"It is wonderful and always the best option IF you can make it happen. Many of us don't get that luxury for many reasons. But if you are in a position to make a choice between simply earning a paycheque for something you don't love or perhaps making a little less and doing what you love then that is always the best longterm way to find ultimate happiness in my view." - Peter Neal, co-founder and co-owner of Neal Brothers Foods 

On supporting local + eco business:

"It's more than just about job creation. By using our products, you are also helping to reduce the amount of pesticides being spread across our land.  I would love to see more Canadian companies come out with eco-certified products using Canadian-grown organic ingredients. In addition to offering healthier products, they would also be converting conventional Canadian farm land that is currently being sprayed by pesticides to wholesome organic farm land. We, our bees and the rest of our environment would all benefit from more Canadian organic land." - Alain Menard, Green Beaver

On recognizing + celebrating wins:

"I'm not going to lie, there are times when things can appear overwhelming but knowing that I am working towards something bigger and seeing our impact, from a customer thanking us for helping their lingering sore throat to teaching a new community about the cause to being able to use some of our proceeds to fund important research, the only thing more gratifying than seeing your hard work come to life is watching the other people who are positively affected by your efforts."  - Carly Stein, Beekeeper's Naturals 

On the pleasures + benefits of gardening:

"Simply being active, being outside, getting a little dirty, the sense of pride and power from tending a living thing from seed to plant to taste." - Rachel Kimel, The Bowery Project

On accepting guidance:

"[We turn to] Our mothers, our community, our friends, books and sometimes we resort to wine! We also believe when you become a mother, you develop an intuition. A "mother's intuition". It's really important to trust yourself." - Mira Heitz, The Bump to Baby Show

On passion + drive:

"Do what you have a passion for because to be successful you need to be single-minded and put in a lot of hours. While I would love to credit my brilliance, I know the successes experienced at Pure + Simple is more the willingness to be all in.  As Thomas A. Edison said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." Prepare your personal life so that you can dedicate yourself to building your new business without any emotional conflicts. Love and care about your clients and staff.  Because they are the foundation of your success." - Jean Eng, Pure + Simple

On using social media:

"Like any tool, it depends on how it is used. We all develop relationships with everything that we participate in and with. It is not enough to simply place blame, or categorize as "good" or "bad", but we need to ask more meaningful questions, such as, "What is my relationship with this tool? What is it giving me, and at what cost?" - Yashar Khosroshahi, MINDSHIFT Ninja

On looking for rainbows + unicorns:

"If you're looking for easy, you'll never find extraordinary. Doing great things requires jumping over hurdles, crawling through the mud, and rolling up your sleeves. Although it's not easy, it's definitely worth it, and you can be blissfully happy with your work - it's all about perspective." - Lisa Borden, Borden Communications

Here's to your individual and our collective health and meaningful happiness, The Power of Yet and getting on the Right Bus, together in 2017.


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