Turning Adversity Into Opportunity

Small Business Canada

Taylor Lindsay-Noel Founder – Cup of Té is a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Toronto, Ontario Canada. Twelve years ago she was a Canadian national gymnast but in 2008, under the direction of her coach, she had a devastating accident that instantly paralyzed her from the neck down for life. Since then Taylor has persevered through adversity and has received a BA in Radio and Television Arts from Ryerson University. She is currently balancing being a motivational speaker, podcast host, disability advocate, and owner of Cup of Té Luxury Loose Leaf Teas.

You have many feathers in your cap- a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, disability advocate and podcaster. How do you manage to find time for yourself?

At times it gets difficult to balance everything I’m doing, but I’ve always been someone who likes to be busy. Additionally, I feel blessed to pursue so many of my different passions while transforming them into making money. It’s a win-win situation for me.


Diversity and inclusion are positive steps for any business organization. Do you believe diversity drives better business outcomes?

I think diversity in 2020 is imperative for a business to thrive. When you have different upbringing, perspectives, and voices in the room, you can ensure that your business is inclusive from its groundwork and can reach a broader audience, only amplifying your potential business’s success.


Your story is indeed inspirational, but as they say- heroes need heroes too. What or who was the source of your motivation?

I was lucky to grow up around so many strong examples of powerhouse women. Seeing women like my mother overcome so much in her life as an immigrant propelled me to realize how privileged I am to be Canadian. I’m a firm believer that when women come together and support each other, we are unstoppable.


Being a black female entrepreneur, you must have closely observed the world of startup ecosystems. Do you think that things are still more challenging for women in business?

I think that things are more challenging for women in business, but they are not impossible. I think too often we get into the mindset that because it’s harder than we shouldn’t even try, I’m hoping to prove through my example that great things can happen once you block out others’ voices.


Being a black female entrepreneur, you must have closely observed the world of startup ecosystems. Do you think that things are still more challenging for women in business?

I think that things are more challenging for women in business, but they are not impossible. I think too often we get into the mindset that because it’s harder than we shouldn’t even try, I’m hoping to prove through my example that great things can happen once you block out others’ voices.


Have you always credited social media for the success of your brand? Would you say that e-commerce businesses are heavily dependent on social media?

I genuinely believe that an e-commerce business cannot survive without social media. Our Facebook and especially Instagram pages are the reason why we’ve gotten into so many rooms. It is your modern-day business card, and it is often more important than your actual website. Your social media will either sink or float your business.

The ongoing pandemic has been particularly hard on small businesses or niche startups. How much do you think niche startups or small businesses have been affected since the beginning of the pandemic?

I know the pandemic has had a massive effect on small businesses, either for the better or worse. In particular, I think that this has been an opportunity for e-commerce businesses to thrive as everyone has been making the shift to shopping online but being online does not ensure your success. As a business owner, one of the most significant assets you can have is the ability to pivot and be creative. Therefore, companies that realized this very early are probably the ones that are still around today.


Did you design any unique survival strategy for your e-commerce startup to live through the pandemic?

We took an extra effort to ensure that the website was straightforward to navigate, especially for people who might be newer to e-commerce platforms. Taking the time to make little tweaks was imperative to making the shopping experience enjoyable for everyone.


What challenges do you think to lay ahead for the small businesses in a post Covid19 world? And what is your advice to small businesses to overcome any of these challenges?

I think some of the challenges lay in learning how to diversify in a post-COVID-19 world. If your business is
currently brick and mortar, I feel more focus needs to be on figuring out how to transition to a direct-to-consumer format. Additionally, e-commerce businesses may find a lot of success in establishing wholesale clients to further their business and reach.


A message for our readers?

My message to your readers would be to start. Many businesses and entrepreneurs never get off the ground because they are afraid to take that first step. Also, expect to make many mistakes along the way, I learned that it is just a part of the entrepreneurial journey and that one mistake is not indicative of you failing in a business. Take each mistake as an opportunity to learn and do better! That’s what makes a great entrepreneur.

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