[Ep#393] Passion & Business: A Roadmap to Success

Passion & Business: A Roadmap to Success

Our host Annemarie Cross sits down with an incredible guest, Mike Fata, who grew his company to a staggering $100 million in annual revenue. Together, they explore the critical elements that drive growth, the importance of knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and how to build a strong and balanced team.

Mike shares his invaluable insights on building a positive company culture, the power of simple systems, and the benefits of aligning your business with your passion. Plus, he offers valuable advice on finding and leveraging mentors, the importance of personal branding, and the role of systems in both business and personal life. Get ready to take your entrepreneurial journey to new heights with this roadmap to success.

Let's dive in!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode: 

  • How to efficiently create your minimum viable community for your business. 
  • Aligning your personal passion with business to build world class success  
  • Finding the best mentor to expedite your growth 


WATCH NOW (and check out the Resources and Episode Highlights below):


Jump Straight to these golden nuggets:

[00:00:32] Passion-driven entrepreneur shares success strategies on show.

[00:05:49] Think big, sell more, expand wisely.

[00:09:41] Passion fuels business success; align your interests.

[00:11:30] “Critical: Know your strengths and build team”

[00:16:22] Clear growth plan, budget, reporting, meetings, onboarding.

[00:18:21] Importance of systems for business success.

[00:22:56] Founders can cause chaos, need operations expertise.

[00:25:18] Mindfulness essential for identifying strengths and weaknesses. Seek appropriate mentorship in areas of need. Internalize insights and adapt for success.

[00:28:27] Differentiating mentorship and advisory work. Importance of finding the right fit and long-term support. Importance of setting up proper contracts.


Topic: Understand your strengths and weaknesses

  • Performing a personal SWAD analysis helps entrepreneurs identify their areas of expertise and where they need support.
  • Knowing one's strengths and weaknesses also helps entrepreneurs make appropriate hires and build a balanced team that can overcome diverse challenges.
  • Surrounding yourself with experts in areas you are weak in is crucial to building a balanced team.

Topic: Cultivate a strong company culture

  • A cultivating a strong company culture is the heartbeat of success. It shapes your brand, motivates your team, and attracts loyal customers. Don't underestimate the power of culture in driving your business forward.
  • As your business grows, your role as a founder evolves from manager to being the keeper of the culture.
  • Define your mission statement and core values to create a positive and cohesive work environment.
  • Lead by example and become the keeper of the culture as your team grows.
  • Set clear values, and create a positive work environment that fosters growth and collaboration. Remember, strong culture breeds success.

Topic: Embrace systems and adaptability

  • Systems drive efficiency, but it's important to find the right balance.
  • Implement lean management processes and regularly review and adjust your systems to ensure clarity and effectiveness.
  • Leverage technology to automate workflows and reduce manual tasks.
  • Implementing effective processes and workflows creates efficiency, consistency, and empowers your team.
  • Quality management systems lead to consistency, success, and growth.

Topic: Personal branding is key

  • Embrace low-cost marketing through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Storytelling is crucial for connecting with your audience, regardless of your product or service.
  • Passionate entrepreneurs know that culture starts at the top.
  • Authentic storytelling, social media presence, and sharing your journey with your audience will help build trust, attract new customers, and make your mark as an entrepreneur

Topic: Finding the right mentor

  • Be cautious when hiring a mentor. Ensure it's the right fit and have contingencies in place to exit if needed.
  • Mike suggests protective measures, such as considering formal arrangements, so both parties are well-aligned for a long-term journey.
  • Find someone who can commit to the long-term journey and set yourself up for success.
  • Seek out experienced advisors who align with your vision and values. Their insights and guidance can fast-track your personal and professional growth.


  • The Founder's Personal Brand: “The founder's personal brand is an opportunity for low-cost marketing and it's really all about storytelling.”

— Mike Fata 00:08:1300:08:16

  • Finding Your Passion: “If it's your passion and you can align your business with your passion, the same can be true for service businesses… It's more than just money. That's his passion.”

— Mike Fata 00:10:0500:10:10

  • The Importance of Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses: “For founders that are just starting out, it's really important to do a personal swad analysis and understand what your personal strengths and weaknesses are.”

— Mike Fata 00:11:4400:11:52

  • The Role of Trust in Effective Leadership: “My learning was, listen, it's my job as an executive as the as the chief executive of the business to show people where we're going, we're going from a to z, but how everyone's approach how they the management of how they get from A to Z can be different. And I have to allow that to happen and be conscious to know when the, you know, that the wheels are still on the bus and we're going in the right direction, but give that room because if not and you start to you start to micromanage or you can compromise executives and managers in a business real fast if you're trying to get them to do it your way and not allow them to to perform as they should. Yeah.”

— Mike Fata 00:14:3900:15:22

  • Onboarding and Growth Planning: “The most important thing is an onboarding plan to make sure that you give them everything they need…I go off of that 90 day plan…you should be able to know for sure within 90 days if you have that right plan and you have that right sequencing of events that we're reviewing and reporting. They're gonna have to own the plan and write it before that next.”

— Mike Fata 00:17:5700:18:03

  • The Importance of Systems: “But I think about just life in systems and as an entrepreneur, you need to have those systems.”

— Mike Fata 00:18:5200:18:58

  • Lean Management: “It's always a good idea to review and adjust any process, any system to see how can we just make this more streamlined and more clear-cut.”

— Mike Fata 00:21:1800:21:27

  • The Importance of Operational Savviness: “If you're not an operationally savvy person and you're more sales and marketing founder and you see all these great new ideas and new products and new services you can sell and you're out there doing lunches with your customers, you need a great ops or an ops finance person that can put the SOPs together, make sure the training's there, and really lock that down.”

— Mike Fata 00:23:0900:23:20

  • The Importance of Mentorship and Self-Reflection: “You need to internalize those insights and those lessons that you learn and then see what fits for you because you can't just listen to what someone else is going to tell you.”

— Mike Fata 00:26:5400:27:02

  • The Importance of Longevity in Mentorship: “But regardless they're both similar that what I've seen in bad cases is that entrepreneurs get excited as they do and at a stage in their business and they meet someone and they think that person's gonna be the perfect fit and have longevity to them.”

— Mike Fata 00:28:4500:29:02


1.What role does strategic planning play in the success of a growing business? 

Answer: Strategic planning helps businesses assess what is working and what is not, and allows for adjusting processes and systems to ultimately streamline operations

 2. Why is it important to align your business with your passion?

Answer: Aligning your business with your passion makes it easier and requires less effort, leading to a more fulfilling and successful entrepreneurial journey.

3. How can personal branding be a low-cost marketing strategy?

Answer: Personal branding, particularly through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, allows entrepreneurs to share their story and engage with potential consumers without large marketing budgets.

4. What are some practical ways to leverage systems in both business and personal life?

Answer: Implementing systems such as quality management systems in business and structured approaches to marketing and social media can ensure consistency and success in different areas.

5. How important is it for founders to seek out mentorship and support?

Answer: Founders can benefit from mentorship and guidance to navigate challenges and grow their businesses successfully.

6. What are the risks of signing long-term contracts with mentors or advisors without proper consideration?

Answer: Being locked into long-term contracts with mentors who may not be a good fit can be problematic, so it's important to have contingencies in place and consider the longevity and fit of the relationship.

7. Why is it crucial for entrepreneurs to know their own strengths and weaknesses?

Answer: Knowing one's strengths and weaknesses helps entrepreneurs make appropriate hires and build a balanced team that can overcome diverse challenges.

8. How can personal experiences and storytelling contribute to effective marketing?

Answer: Sharing personal stories and experiences helps engage and attract individuals who can relate to the entrepreneur's journey, thus building a connection and interest in their products or services.

9. How can founders balance their roles as both the source of chaos and the one who calms it in their business?

Answer: Founders can balance these roles by surrounding themselves with a strong team that can handle operational tasks while the founder focuses on sales and marketing, allowing for growth and success.

About Mike:

Mike co-founded Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods in 1998 and served as Chairman of the Board and CEO until 2016, then helped guide the strategic sale of the company to Tilray for $419 million dollars in2019.  

Since then, he has celebrated and supported other business ventures as an entrepreneur, investor, advisor and mentor

You can connect with Mike through: WebsiteLinkedIn |EMail | Instagram | Twitter

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