Episode 37: Facing Your Fears: Failure is Only a Beginning, with Cindy Webster

Cindy Webster started her career with Deloitte and worked in public accounting from 1987 until 2000. As she interviewed for partnership, she realized that she and her husband Scott were having a hard time finding work life balance while raising four young children. Cindy decided to leave Deloitte and join her husband Scott in their business, Scholar’s Choice.

Scott and Cindy had purchased Scholar’s Choice from Scott’s parents in 1998. Scholar’s Choice sells educational toys and teaching aids to parents, teachers, schools and child cares through catalogues, through their website and through 20 retail stores. Cindy joined the company with the focus of sales. She enjoyed working with people and building relationships so she focused on improving their catalogue sales with Schools, School Boards and Child Cares. They already had a controller who had been working with the company for over 25 years so she did not want to eliminate that role.

The transition from Public Accounting and working with peers to working in your own business was significant and not always easy but it did allow Scott and Cindy the flexibility they needed to raise their four children.

After a fraud in 2009, Cindy took over as the Chief Financial Officer. Due to the fraud, Scholar’s Choice had to restructure their business and had to go through the equivalent of Chapter 11 in Canada. The company negotiated a settlement with their creditors and then continued operating. At a high, the company operated 27 retail stores and now have 20 retail stores across Canada, two catalogues, one for schools and one for child cares as well as a website – www.scholarschoice.ca.

There have been many hurdles to overcome including health issues, negotiating financing, the volatile dollar and the general economic climate. Scott and Cindy have stayed the course and are stronger for it.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Dealing with cash flow issues, economic crashes, and business restructuring — what to do when your business goes wrong
  • Why you should always have business insurance, especially covering the principle members of your business
  • How to expand a business through integrity and transparency
  • Why it’s important to speak directly to vendors and clients and get ahead of any rumors
  • Why you should know your company’s numbers — and why you might not
  • How to develop a message that speaks directly to customers
  • How fear and tenacity can be valuable emotions in the pursuit of stability and success

Ways to contact Cindy: