UI_logo_002In the months following my departure from my permanent job, while prospecting potential customers, I was setting up servers; in order to develop basic services to sell. I contacted Adrien Claude Bance, an old colleague I met while working at Fusepoint, to help me with the configuration. I met with several potential customers around the region of Quebec with little luck. The ball began rolling in the month of July 2006, which also happened to be the month of my birthday, when I got a call from one of my contacts. I was asked if I was interested in conducting Satisfaction Surveys for Videotron, a Canadian Cable Company. In that moment, it didn’t matter that I had never worked in a call center environment or that my operations were limited. I was convinced that I was going to offer the best survey solution that ever existed! On July 28th 2006, I had a meeting with the Vice President of Operations at Videotron to show him how I was going to deliver our services. A couple of days later, early August, I got the green light, and was told that our services needed to go live by September 11th 2006. With an incredible amount of work needed to be accomplished and a line of credit almost at its maximum, I took on the task. The challenge was just beginning….

The following day, finally being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I told my wife the entire story on what had transpired throughout the last few months. As much as she was angry and disappointed that I had lied to her for so long, and for something so important, she understood exactly the reasons why I did it. She acknowledged that, had she and my family been aware, the likelihood of me leaving my job to start a company, especially considering all of our responsibilities, would have been slim. In that moment, an incredible sense of relief and a surge of positive energy ran through me and I was ready to start putting together the pieces that would allow me to start operating Utopia Image at a different level.

There were 3 major parts to assemble in order for my solution to be offered: an office, call center agents and a survey software solution. The first two parts were time consuming but not really difficult to accomplish. I found a fully furnished office in Laval (Qc., Canada). Not having to do any renovation work or make any initial capital investments in a telephone system and office furniture, helped me save a lot of time and money. I then hired 10 agents, trained them and had them ready to start working as of September 11th 2006. The hardest part, and most crucial to our success, was coming up with the survey software. With my line of credit running low, I could not afford to invest in a very expensive software solution. While working towards my bachelor of law, I met a fellow law student who was also a software developer. He was able, in a very short time, to deliver an initial solution enabling me to get the project started with little capital investment. Utopia Image’s launch was being executed effectively and as planned. When September 11th 2006 arrived, the team was ready to launch our services. Initially, there were some technical issues with the software and IT infrastructure, but we were able to effectively resolve them as we progressed in delivering our services.

In retrospect

What I experienced from April 2006 to September 2006, was without a doubt a perfect example of what Life is all about for me: The opportunity and privilege we all have of experiencing what is available to us to the fullest extent. Challenging and taking a chance on my dreams gave me the opportunity of working towards realizing my full potential. If you don’t do it in this lifetime, when will you? Entrepreneurs view failure differently from the majority of people. We see it as an additional building block, helping us define who we are and build better and stronger projects in the future. Failures and successes are experiences that are used differently but hold equal value.

There are a couple of very important pillars that helped me secure and deliver our solution effectively. The first was the relationship I had with the contact who introduced me to Videotron, and his belief that I was able to deliver a solution that would help Videotron gain a strategic advantage. The second is that having never worked in a call center, I brought forth a very unique perspective in my solution, in contrast to most of my competitors. The third was simply luck! Finding the right office space and someone to help me develop my survey software in such a short period enabled me to deliver on time. Finally, and maybe the most important one of all, is that I surrounded myself with people who sincerely wanted Utopia Image to succeed. Therefore, a lot of credit must be given to Videotron and to all of my initial employees, including Adrien who joined me full time when Utopia Image was officially launched, in September of 2006.

Next: Frozen in time (2006)