Life’s not fair – especially when you’re an entrepreneur

Sep 28 2016

Well, Sage did it again! They delivered an outstanding customer event – Sage Sessions in Toronto – and the highlight was definitely the keynote speaker.

Manjit Minhas spoke about leadership and entrepreneurship and left the audience with tangible nuggets they could actually use! If you are one of the few people who hasn’t heard of Manjit Minhas, she is the co-founder of Minhas Breweries and Distillery.


She launched her beer at the ripe age of 19 in Alberta, Canada, with her partner and brother, Ravinder Minhas. Together, they gave the big boys a run for their money, becoming the first successful company to enter the Canadian beer industry in many decades. Currently, she has over 90 brands of beers, spirits, liqueurs, and wines. Her products are sold in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia as well as in 43 states throughout the USA and 15 other countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. Manjit is also a mother, beer baroness, and Dragon (CBC Dragons’ Den fame).

At Sage Sessions, she shared her story and key lessons for entrepreneurship – we hope you’ll be as inspired as we were when we heard her message!

It all started in 1993 when Manjit was only 13 years old. Her father had just been laid off from the oil and gas industry when the province of Alberta, where they lived, went through some changes regarding privatization in the liquor industry. Her dad jumped on the opportunity and opened his own liquor store, starting with one but quickly followed by two more. Manjit grew up working in the family industry and having her dad as her mentor. Then, as Manjit grew up, she and her brother determined that they could start their own business, supplying liquor stores, restaurants, and bars. So they launched their own distillery – when she was only 19 years old!

Our team member, Jazz with Manjit!

She believed that to be successful, you must have people around you that believe in you – both in your business and in you personally!

Key lesson #1: Everyone needs a mentor.

Key lesson #2: To be successful, you have to be cautious, courageous and conservative.

Key lesson #3: Life is not fair. And when you face obstacles – because you will – don’t give up. If Manjit had, she would never have expanded her business into Ontario.

Key lesson #4: Live within your means in both your personal life and your business life. This truly helps you sleep at night. Manjit advocates keeping as little overhead as possible and not spending money on things that are not needed. Another tip she shared – which she mastered in her travels to India – was negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Never, ever take anyone’s first offer! There is always an element on which you can negotiate – if it isn’t price, it may be payment terms, shipping costs, etc. The more negotiating you do, the better you will get at it!

Key lesson #5: Find your passion. Stick to things you know a lot about. If you’re going to sell things, be passionate about learning about what you’re selling. Find something you’re passionate about and do it as well as you can. Pick one or two things you really love doing. Finally, follow all these instructions and avoid distractions – there’s no need for plan B because it only distracts from plan A!


So, in summary for all entrepreneurs – and I really think she means all people – here are the 5 lessons Manjit Minhas believes in:

  1. Find a mentor
  2. Have the courage to succeed
  3. Life is not fair
  4. Spend what you earn and nothing more
  5. Find your passion

Manjit ended her speech by reminding all participants to take the stairs. Why? Because there’s no elevator to success! (Better get out those sneakers!)


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