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02/23/2023

Pharmpreneur of the week Jaiveer Singh: "Make sure you have the opportunity to pivot when things aren't working."

As I've evolved as an entrepreneur, one thing I've realized is how important it is for the long term to make sure you take time for your continued development, both mentally and physically.
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Jaiveer Singh

Snapshot:

Jaiveer Singh is an entrepreneur and the CEO of Mint Pharmaceuticals. Over the past decade,

under his leadership, Mint has emerged as one of the country’s leading generic pharmaceutical companies.

He is also an active early-stage investor passionate about supporting fellow entrepreneurs in building differentiated and high-quality businesses, and he currently serves on several boards.

In 2017, the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada named Mr. Singh its Distinguished Associate of the Year for his contribution to the advancement of the community pharmacy industry. In 2020, he was recognized by BNN Bloomberg as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

Education:

BSc. Carnegie Mellon University

MBA, Columbia Business School 

What excites you about being an entrepreneur?

Creating goals and working towards them in a way that requires you to think creatively and be resourceful is very satisfying. Even better, if you’re fortunate enough, you have the opportunity to recruit, work with and lead a team of talented individuals who are passionate about the same objective. There really isn’t anything else like it. 

How do you define success?

Initially, it is objective financial targets. These are based on quality data and forecasts and when you’ve achieved them you’ve reached financial success.

But then there are also other metrics and questions that really matter, such as, What is our impact on our industry? Are we becoming increasingly relevant? Is our portfolio offering more relevant? Is our contribution to the overall industry greater year over year? Is our company a better place to work year over year?

Mint Pharmaceuticals has averted 17 national drug shortages in Canada on 12 different critical medications since 2014. This speaks volumes to our ability to develop products that address needs in our marketplace and our best-in-class supply chain. Since 2019, we’ve been consistently recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies by Deloitte and CIBC. These achievements make the whole team very proud, and as an organization we’re always setting exciting, impactful and measurable goals for ourselves.

Lastly, as an entrepreneur you also must look at success on a personal level. Are you taking steps to make sure that you remain healthy physically and mentally and can do this long term, in a way that means you want to keep doing it, with the right energy and intentions? Success is not a snapshot in time, it is a fluid journey that requires you to be forward-looking while consistently executing in the here and now.

As a successful entrepreneur, what continues to drive you?

You periodically have the opportunity to pause, recalibrate expectations and work towards solving new problems/addressing more relevant market needs. The ability to set your own objectives/goals and scale them with your resources and all the learnings you have gleaned from both your past wins and failures is powerful and motivating.

What are the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur?

People associate entrepreneurship with having complete freedom over your own schedule and that is sometimes the case, but I’ve found that at various stages of our business’ evolutions, inevitably, critical events outside of your control will require your time and energy and that this will likely impact your work/life balance. Whether it's regulatory/supply chain challenges, time-sensitive corporate developments or key personnel issues, it’s important to be able to take these moments in stride and push through.

As a younger entrepreneur, it can also be difficult to find a peer group that you find relatable. One of the ways that I overcame this was joining YPO. I was fortunate enough to be able to join YPO in a relatively short period of time and was placed in a forum group which has provided great mentorship and support to me over the last decade. 

How do you manage work/life balance?

As I've evolved as an entrepreneur, one thing I've realized is how important it is for the long term to make sure you take time for your continued development, both mentally and physically. On a certain level this is just self-preservation, but it’s also about being able to put your best self forward in every situation.

In my case, I pursue hobbies like tennis, attending basketball games and travelling. I also support other entrepreneurs and creatives through programs such as HXOUSE and spend time with family, friends and on the relationships that matter most.

What books/resources do you recommend for every entrepreneur to check out?

 Two good reads: 

  1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  2. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William M. Thorndike, Jr. 

What advice would you give to colleagues who want to become entrepreneurs?

On a very practical level, and just generally for any business, keep your burn rate low and be prudent with your cash. Make sure you have the opportunity to pivot when things aren't working so that your business can live another day. There are many valleys of death in the early stages of a business. It's important to have enough runway and ultimately find a sustainable way forward.

You should go down the path of entrepreneurship if you truly feel compelled. If your heart is in the work, it’s a truly rewarding and invigorating journey.

 

 

 

 

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