Using passion as a rationale for starting a business doesn’t necessarily mean it will be successful. In some cases, it can even be considered naive — an endeavor that’s unlikely to succeed in the competitive world of business, where margins and profits all have to be taken into consideration to determine viability.
Dave Doble found a way to make it work. His trick? Balancing the driving passion for the business with a practical execution strategy. This tempered approach was key in growing Doble’s educational publishing company, Classroom Ready, into the successful business it is today.
Classroom Ready is an educational publishing company that prints newsletters covering emerging topics in science, math, and current events for students in grade five to 10. The company’s goal is to help young learners, teachers, and parents by providing curated and packaged learning resources that take an unbiased approach.
Doble created Classroom Ready from a medley of experiences. He was first a student who, despite a thirst for learning, understood the struggles and setbacks that can arise for some young learners in the education system.
He went on to become a teacher with the Surrey School District who worked to enhance the learning experiences of students suffering learning difficulties. Finally, he became an entrepreneur with a desire to merge his teaching background with business. From learning how to push through challenges in the classroom and in his business, he adopted several key mantras that would become the foundation of his beliefs as a business owner.
For one, he learned that while passion is important for allowing creativity and ambition to carry you through your journey, it needs to be tempered with practical strategies for managing your finances.
“Yes, you have to have passion, but you also have to cash flow the business idea,” Doble said. “Ask yourself: ‘How do I bring in income? What are all the costs associated?’ Be honest with yourself about what your resources can and can’t do. Cash flowing your idea can tell you if your business will be good or bad from the start.”
For another, he said that success requires having an open mind and a willingness to set aside your ego to learn. “Work on your business, not in your business,” he advised. Despite acknowledging that spending long hours solving problems and overcoming challenges is a large part of running your own business, he has learned that a bigger perspective also needs to be taken.
“You have to be persistent and you have to surround yourself with positive people. Learn as much as you can from other entrepreneurs and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Doble stressed. “Value the people you work with. You can’t do [business] alone.”
He emphasized the importance of not limiting yourself to one way of operating and pointed out that knowing your limits and seeking help from others will only further your financial and personal growth. Moreover, not being afraid to ask questions and learning from other experienced entrepreneurs was what gave him the insight he needed to shape Classroom Ready into a company that is not just thriving financially but also has a positive company culture.
Another reason Classroom Ready was able to become so successful was because Doble encouraged his employees to exercise their unique talents and gave them opportunities to grow their skills to the best of their potential.
It is now commonly understood that a positive, open-minded company culture ensures stronger teamwork and more productivity. Doble recognized this early on. Not only did he aim to help teachers, students, and parents through his work with Classroom Ready, he strove to empower the people he works with — employees and business partners alike. His success was built on passion and practicality, but it is also credited to the investment he made in his social network. “I wanted to install a dream in the people I work with too,” he said, smiling.
Doble’s passion for learning and empowering others remains the driving force behind the growing success of his company. Classroom Ready’s publications are used by approximately 900 schools in Canada, the U.S., and internationally. Their various newsletters and math programs have been reported by teachers as a great resource for kids at all levels of learning.
What’s next for Doble and Classroom Ready? They’re not afraid to dream big in their continued service to families and school communities. They’ve partnered with big names like Staples and are looking forward to turning exciting ideas into reality in the near future.