Listen to the complete interview with Vikram Vij:
“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’.”
Vikram Vij is the successful owner of a small food empire that all started in Vancouver 20 years ago. He joined Mike Eckford in the studio to talk about entrepreneurialism and his own journey to success.
He says his 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”.
Vij says at the time he 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.
He 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, Vij says 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 dollars.
On Buiding a Business: It’s Not a Straight Line
“It is a crooked line…one step at 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 things to do, because they are , at the end of the 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’.”
Vij says business owners must take care of the people they work with, and that equality is important. His staff can eat 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.”
Vij will be at Local Leaders, a monthly mixer hosted by Small Business BC, on April 2nd.