If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

For Erica Nieuwenhuis, a business owner who dreamed of striking out on her own as a child, the desire to be her own boss has led her through a lifetime of successful growth. Starting out as an employee of Bio Sculpture Canada, a provider of premium beauty and wellness products, Erica realized her dream by stepping into the role of acquisition-entrepreneur, with the purchase of the company.

Erica explains, “I dreamed about running my own business from about the age of six. My made-up games usually involved starting up a business of some sort. I suspect I was always destined to be an entrepreneur; it was just a matter of finding the right product.”

Prior to acquiring Bio Sculpture, Erica worked for the company for several years, learning the day-to-day aspects of the business—lessons that would serve her well down the road.

Beginning in 2009, I was fortunate to immerse myself in various aspects of the business, fulfilling roles in both sales and marketing. Then in 2017, I became a second-generation entrepreneur taking over the business from my parents. By that time, Bio Sculpture Canada was well established, successfully supplying many salons and spas across Canada with a robust operational team in place.

Stepping up, and stepping into the role

From the outside, purchasing a successful business might seem fairly straightforward, but for acquisition entrepreneurs like Erica, assuming the leadership of a thriving business comes with its own unique set of challenges.

Unlike a start-up entrepreneur whose role evolves as processes develop over time, acquisition entrepreneurs find themselves suddenly in control of a multitude of already moving parts.

“Nothing can prepare you for running a company, other than running a company!  Stepping into the role of owner and CEO, presented a steep learning curve that put me instantly in charge of a thriving business where the decisions I make have real consequences. Developing functional expertise across a wide array of topics, managing pre-existing customer and employee relationships, and implementing my vision for the business took hard work, patience, and perseverance.”

The challenges of scale

Once Erica had passed this trial by fire and had a handle on the current state of the business, it was time to set her sights on growth. Here again, Erica found herself confronted by a new, even larger set of challenges to overcome.

“The challenges faced by small businesses are well known, but the even bigger challenge lies in scaling your business to transition from a small business to a medium enterprise. To stay alive and relevant a business must be scalable, but that comes with many new challenges.”

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

For Erica, scaling up from a small business to a medium-sized enterprise meant building on the values she’d learned as a second-generation entrepreneur, and understanding how to motivate her team. It also meant learning to deal with issues quickly as they arose.

“I grew up in a household of entrepreneurs who taught me the value of hard work, persistence, and dedication. Still, I understand that not everyone wants to work 16-hour days, so my leadership style is collaborative and casual. It’s important for me to talk to my team every day. I like hearing about their progress, successes, and failures, hearing out their ideas, and bouncing ideas off them. I don’t want to wait until a bi-monthly sales meeting to find out about pressing issues. I would rather deal with issues daily as they come up.”

Along with tackling challenges head on, another growth factor Erica attributes to the success of Bio Sculpture Canada is the desire to learn and continually improve. Internal mentorship of new employees plays a role as well.

“A driving force in my own life is a quote from Maya Angelou I’ve often shared with my employees. ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’ It serves as a poignant reminder to have the grace to forgive the mistakes we have made in the past and focus on doing the right thing moving forward.

I’d like to believe I’m a good leader who inspires my team. I know I sometimes get it right, but there’s always room for improvement! I also rely on the more experienced members of the company to mentor new members of the team.”

Positivity pays off

By taking such a balanced approach to business and striving to keep an open mind to new ideas and processes, the Bio Sculpture Canada is poised and ready to take on explosive growth in the wellness market.

“The global wellness market is estimated to be worth more than $1.5 trillion, with annual growth of 5 to 10%1”. Thanks to our hard work and the positive brand awareness we’ve built, we have more requests for our products and services than we can accommodate. Above all else, we’re a friendly happy bunch—we are selling beauty and wellness products after all!”

Top 3 pieces of advice I would give to other female entrepreneurs:

  • Never sell yourself short. Believe in yourself! Your unique perspective and skills contribute to the diversity and vibrancy of the entrepreneurial landscape.
  • Pursue your goals with determination, and don't be afraid to carve your path in the business world.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and stay committed to continuous learning. 

How TD helped Erica on her journey

From personal banking to business, Erica’s relationship with TD has helped her grow Bio Sculpture Canada into a thriving success.

I’ve had both business and personal accounts with TD for over 25 years, during which time I have used many of their products. They offer a range of business banking services including chequing, saving and investment accounts as well as business credit cards.

They also offer great service. As an example, we’ve recently migrated our cash management solutions to TD Commercial Banking and the dedicated support we received has been indispensable during the transition. Over the years we’ve had access to fantastic relationship managers who offered personalized advice and guidance based on the unique needs of our business.”

How TD can help

Are you looking to grow your business and need someone to provide advice? Book an appointment with one of our Business Banking Specialist today.

TD is also helping and providing complimentary access to Fundica, an easy to use AI powered search engine that provides relevant government funding recommendations based on your business situation and needs.