Mike Lalonde

BC Business Magazine - - Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 -


In the past 18 years, Mike Lalonde has been un­em­ployed for ex­actly one night, when he was 25. It was Jan­uary 2000, and Lalonde had what he calls “a lit­tle fall­ing-out” with his pre­vi­ous em­ployer, a land­scap­ing com­pany. He de­cided to go it alone the next morn­ing, so he put a truck on his credit card, bought some tools, printed busi­ness cards and hit the road.

“Ev­ery day, if I didn’t have a job to do, I’d drive around to ev­ery con­struc­tion site I saw and met peo­ple and handed out cards,” re­mem­bers Lalonde, who was born in Mon­treal and moved to B.C. as a teenager. “After a few years we started to get known in cer­tain sec­tors, and word-of-mouth was def­i­nitely a big thing, and it kind of snow­balled from there.”

To­day, Sur­rey-based com­mer­cial land­scaper Blue Pine En­ter­prises has about 150 em­ploy­ees. “There were grow­ing pains the whole way,” Lalonde says. “We dou­bled ev­ery year for five years, from about five em­ploy­ees to 10 to 20 to 40 to 80. From 2003 to 2008, it was on the edge of chaos ev­ery minute of ev­ery day; that’s the only way I can ex­plain it.”

Lalonde, who stud­ied busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion at Univer­sity of the Fraser Val­ley for two years be­fore drop­ping out, says he knew lit­tle about run­ning a com­pany, but he fig­ured it out on the job. “When you’re do­ing it and it’s cost­ing you money, you learn real quick,” he notes. “Within a cou­ple of years, it was ob­vi­ous that this could be a very vi­able busi­ness and I could grow it to a cer­tain point. I didn’t know back then it was go­ing to be this big, but it is, and there’s no end to it.”

Asked if he has any ad­vice for en­trepreneurs, Lalonde keeps it sim­ple, as he al­ways has: “Work your ass off, be hon­est to ev­ery­body, and find good peo­ple and treat them like gold.” —N.C.

What is your def­i­ni­tion of suc­cess? Hap­pi­ness. Af­ford­ing the time to spend with your fam­ily and friends. Af­ford­ing to do what­ever you want, when­ever

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