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Success: Why and How

David Sung of Nicola Wealth Management shares secrets on competing

Sandy Huang
Sep 25th, 2012

David Sung, president of Vancouver-based Nicola Wealth Management. Photo courtesy of the Vancouver Sun. 

Since 1994, Nicola Wealth Management (NWM) has been specializing in providing financial planning services to entrepreneurs and business owners. Despite focussing on a relatively small niche of a highly competitive industry in challenging economic times, NWM has been thriving. As a business consultant, I’m always intrigued by success stories like these, so I contacted President David Sung to see whether he’d share some insight.
Nicola Wealth Management’s path to success
How has NWM been so successful in a very competitive field? Sung begins his explanation by quoting former GE CEO Jack Welch: “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”

Success tips for health and wellness professionals from Michael Desrochers of PainPRO Therapeutics

Sandy Huang
May 2nd, 2012

Michael Desrochers of PainPRO Therapeutics. Image courtesy of Michael Desrochers. 

Michael Desrochers has experienced unconventional success. While battling a serious addiction, he enrolled in a treatment program and was inspired by the role massage therapy played in the process. Deciding to take control of his life, he registered at the West Coast College of Massage Therapy and began on his path of helping people through healthy living. 
Desrochers now holds a Bachelors degree in nutrition, is a registered massage therapist, and is also a registered orthomedical health practitioner. Starting his practice in 2003 at the Coal Harbour Natural Health Clinic, Desrochers has since opened a second location and has plans in the near future for an affiliate location and a third corporate location.

Business advice from Matt Mickiewicz who turned his hobby into multi-million dollar businesses

Sandy Huang
Mar 24th, 2012

Business advice from a pro: Matt Mickiewicz, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Sitepoint, 99designs and Flippa. Photo courtesy of Matt Mickiewicz.

Matt Mickiewicz has valuable business advice. To say that he experienced success in a short time would be an understatement. At 27, he co-owns three multi-million-dollar internet companies: Sitepoint, 99designs, and Flippa. Mickiewicz’s history of success began in the late ‘90s when, as a high school student, he started creating websites as a hobby.There was a lack of readily available  information about internet design and Mickiewicz saw an opportunity to turn his knowledge into a business.

Sitepoint, formerly, started in 1998 with the goal of educating web developers and designers. 2008 saw the launch of Sitepoint spin-off 99designs, which gave designers the opportunity to sell their work online to a wide range of clients. In 2009, Flippa was created as an online auction marketplace for web designers and sellers.

Building business success with collective wisdom: Karen Flavelle of Purdy's Chocolates

Sandy Huang
Jan 23rd, 2012

Karen Flavelle, the president of Purdy's Chocolates is a successful woman and business leader.  What could be sweeter? Photo courtesy of

Even for a successful woman and business leader, Karen Flavelle has an enviable track record. The president of Purdy’s Chocolates, a fixture of households in Western Canada since 1907, Flavelle was a finalist for Business in Vancouver’s 2005 Influential Women in Business award and has sat on the boards of the Retail Council of Canada, BC’s first Business Laureate Hall of Fame, BC Business Council Board of Governors, Canadian Association of Family Enterprises (Personal Advisory Group Chair), Confectionery Manufacturing Association of Canada, International Council of Shopping Centres (Provincial Retail Chair), Retail Merchants Association of BC, and Young Presidents’ Organization (BC Forum Chair, WIN Regional Chair, WIN GCC Chair).

How Cross Border Communications’ Elena Verlee blogged and tweeted to success

Sandy Huang
Dec 16th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Diane Read Photography.

Elena Verlee didn’t intend to become a serial entrepreneur when she started her public relations (PR) consulting practice after moving to Vancouver in 1997. Beginning with this “temporary” project, Verlee has since become a self-described “accidental entrepreneur” who has built a seven-figure business and sold two companies for six figures each. Currently, Verlee is the founder and managing partner of two very successful PR ventures: Cross Border Communications and PR in Your Pajamas

Verlee’s successes include:

2011 - Forbes’ list of “25 Most Influential Women Tweeting on Entrepreneurship”

2011 - The Rise to the Top, “35 Female Visionaries You Need to Know” 

Trail Appliances’ second-generation owner Mike Broderick on growing a family business

Sandy Huang
Nov 21st, 2011

Photo of Mike Broderick courtesy of Trail Appliances.

In 1980, armed with an education degree and some retail and customer-service experience, Mike Broderick moved to B.C. and opened the first B.C. Trail Appliances store along with his brother, Peter. The pair did everything from sales and moving appliances to delivery and cleaning the appliances.

Years later, in 2011, Trail Appliances employs 800 people, with Broderick overseeing eight B.C. locations and 250 employees. The company has experienced double-digit growth in the past several years. In May 2011, Broderick opened Trail Appliances’ ambitious 26,000-square-foot flagship store in Vancouver.  

Trail Appliances is a true family business. Patriarch Jack Broderick worked in his own father’s business before launching Trail Appliances in Alberta in the ‘70s. All six of his sons, including Mike, pitched in along the way. Today, there are 22 family members working for the B.C. and Alberta operations. 

Macdonald Realty CEO Lynn Hsu: From humble beginnings to extraordinary success

Sandy Huang
Oct 20th, 2011

Ms. Lynn Hsu (second from right), winner of the title Person of the Year in Chinese Business. Photo courtesy of Chinese Business Chamber of Canada

In 1985, while raising a young family, Lynn Hsu began her real estate career despite being a new immigrant with limited English and no social network.

From 1987 through 1989, Hsu was the number one salesperson for Western Canada at a large, national real estate firm. In 1990, Hsu bought Macdonald Realty; at the time a single office in Vancouver’s Westside. Fast forward 25 years and Hsu is heading Western Canada’s largest real estate brokerage firm, with over 1,000 realtors working in 20 offices across British Columbia and Alberta. Macdonald Realty’s reported figure for gross sales in 2010 was $4.7 billion.

Hsu has been honored many times for her achievements, including:

• 2008, 2009, 2010 - The largest company owned by a woman in British Columbia

(Business in Vancouver)

• 2007 - Person of the Year in Chinese-Canadian Business Award

Global Currents’ Beverley Pomeroy's success fueled by giving

Sandy Huang
Sep 28th, 2011

Photo courtesy of

Global Currents is the ultimate “momtrepreneur” success story. In 2007, Beverley Pomeroy started PincGiving, a peer-to-peer pledge website that enabled online charitable donations. In the four years since, the company rebranded as Global Currents and has grown by 20 per cent every quarter. Through her work with Global Currents, Pomeroy has moved into grant prospecting and grant writing, advocating via social media, and founding the Life On Purpose online television network. 

Her many projects have led to speaking engagements at the UN Informal Regional Network, Social Media for Social Good, SXSW, Social Venture Institute, and the Transatlantic Forum in NY. She has been recognized for her achievements by a number of prestigious organizations:

-Top 40 Under Forty recipient (2009)

-Finalist for Stevie Award for Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs (2009)

-YWCA Women of Distinction Award: Entrepreneurship and Innovation (2011)

Frogbox entrepreneur Doug Burgoyne leaps from one business success to another

Sandy Huang
Sep 10th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Frogbox

In 2008, Doug Burgoyne quit his high-paying corporate job and co-founded Frogbox, a Vancouver-based eco-conscious company which supplies reusable boxes for the residential moving market. With no experience in the industry, Doug, along with his partner, launched Frogbox, expanded into the U.S. in their first year, established three corporate locations within two years, and earned two high-profile investors via a successful pitch on the popular CBC show Dragons’ Den.

Just three years after inception, Frogbox have 19 locations and plan to expand into over 50 U.S. cities in the next two years. 

When I first met Doug at a business event, Frogbox was a year old. I was impressed by his strong business sense and in-depth understanding of branding and marketing. I also found him downright likeable. As a business consultant, I have worked closely with many business owners, and had no doubts that Doug would be successful. 

Arnold Leung's Appnovation Technologies defies the startup norm

Sandy Huang
Aug 24th, 2011

Courtesy of the Business Development Bank of Canada

In 2007, a 22-year-old Arnold Leung, having just graduated from university, founded Appnovation Technologies, a computer application development company specializing in open source platforms. Despite having very little business experience, it only took Leung two years to lead Appnovation to generating $2.2 million in revenue, and three years to expand to 30 employees.

If you own a small business or know someone who does, then you’re aware of the heart-wrenching stories of young entrepreneurs who spend years fighting tooth and nail to make ends meet. The all-too-familiar pattern of sleepless nights, 70-hour work weeks, and the pressure of delivering on pay day. Then an anomaly like  Leun shows up and you just have to ask, “how the heck did he do it?!”

The accomplishments of  Leung and Appnovation are envied by even seasoned veterans: 

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