Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on September 30th, 2014

Yves Potvin: From an acorn does a giant tree grow.

58 year old Yves is the founder and head of Garden Protein International (GPI), a maker of vegetarian foods based in Richmond, Canada.

GPI's products are sold in 22,000 stores generating nearly $100 million a year in retail revenue.

Yves Potvin
Yves Potvin   Photo: latimes.com

But Yves didn't begin as a business mogul.

GPI's forerunner was Yves Fine Food, which Yves began as a producer of vegetarian hotdogs.

Why vegetarian hotdogs?

Because Yves loved hotdogs but realized they were made with dubious cuts of meat and were loaded with cholesterol. So he decided to create a much healthier non-meat version, a food he would enjoy eating.

But like most entrepreneurs, Yves began modestly.*

Having to closely watch costs, his first production facility was just 500 square feet, about the size of two office cubicles.

And not being a sophisticated businessperson, he soon got swindled by someone who sold him equipment that did not exist.

But Yves refused to give-up and by his fourth year in business had $1 million in sales and moved into a facility 10 times bigger.

In 2001 Yves sold the business and after a time digesting the lessons he as an entrepreneur had learned, in 2003 he invested his funds in starting GPI.

Today GPI offers a diverse menu of vegetarian foods and has found a growing customer base of what Yves calls himself, a "flexitarian," meaning they aren't 100% vegetarian but they want to eat healthier.

What advice for success does Yves offer us? "The No. 1 quality of successful people in business is perseverance. And I realized I'm a guy who perseveres."

As Yves has done, we can each pursue our dreams and when problems arise, we can persevere through them, as we not only strive to attain our goals but gain valuable lessons in the process.

Editor's Note: *In starting Yves Fine Food, Yves invested $5,000, got $10,000 more from his family and $25,000 in small business loans. To learn more about GPI click here, Or about Yves, click here.

In the next KazanToday: A bestselling author who didn't publish her first book until she was 48 years of age.

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