Crossing the Chasm by Starting with Why

Covers of Starting with Why by Simon Sinek and Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

In the last 30 years, technological advances gave birth to a variety of consumer products that boasted they would change the world. The Segway was going to revolutionize pedestrian transportation. Blackberries and Palm Pilots were the ultimate portable communication tool, allowing people to stay  connected via telephone, text message, and email no matter where they … Continue reading Crossing the Chasm by Starting with Why

Paying Startup Employees: Hourly vs Salary

Wad of US $100 bills with text 'Paying Startup Employees: Hourly vs Salary'

Sooner or later, a startup must to begin hiring employees. First-time founders, or those without previous management or small business experience, may find this challenging. After all, where does one learn hiring strategies or how to build a employment package? Before hiring, founders must develop employment policies, such as vacation and benefits, and of course, cash compensation. Founders have two choices with respect to paying their employees; either an annual fixed salary or an hourly rate. Each option has advantages and disadvantages that founders must analyze before making a decision.

Why and How to Calculate a Realistic Market Size

Multicoloured segmented pyramid on black background

Calculating the size of a startup’s market is not a simple exercise. Its a delicate mixture of art and science with a little bit of pure guess work. It is even more difficult to be accurate when the product may pivot many times in a short period of time to serve a different segment of the market than originally conceived. However, a value for potential market size that is calculated based on validated assumptions and accurate references is something all startups should know.

Welcome to RainforestAB

Last week, I attended a talk from Jim Gibson about RainforestAB. Jim is a serial-entrepreneur, boasting a track record of “6 companies, 4 successful, 2 unsuccessful”. 66{619282be51f5e06c917124ae41f415ac9390bcfff58b1e631114068f34aec381} rate – not bad. Jim is currently serving as the the de facto leader/voice of RainforestAB, a movement working to improve the culture of innovation in Alberta. During his presentation, Jim shared the history of RainforestAB, and how interested people can get involved.

The importance of hustle in your startup

This morning, I had a really great chat with Adrian Camara of Paper. He shared some great insights about the importance of hustle, momentum, and velocity in business. In my time working as an Entrepreneur Advisor with Innovate Calgary and interacting with startups and the entrepreneurial ecosystem, I have learned that the one key ingredient to a successful startup is hustle. A great startup is constantly engaging customers and validating ideas as fast as possible.

3 Tips to Survive Startup Due Diligence Process

Successfully closing an investment round is the goal of nearly every entrepreneur. Having access to both capital and expert business mentors gives a startup the fuel it needs to scale rapidly. When seeking investment, most entrepreneurs focus on building a solid pitch that inspires confidence from investors and promises hockey-stick growth. While the pitch is crucial to earning interest from investors, most entrepreneurs lack understanding of the due diligence process that follows a successful pitch. Many deals fall apart because due diligence fails even though the founders delivered a great pitch. Read below for three tips to ensure your startup will pass due diligence, and close the investment deal.

Sales Skills Critical for Growing Startup Revenue

A recent post from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) describes 9 important qualities that all sales people should have. Sales skills are absolutely critical to the success of a startup. A product alone does not generate revenue. All companies require some sort of talented sales force in order to survive. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs that I encounter are hesitant to perform sales. The fact is that all founders are required to perform sales roles. Below, I highlight three sales skills that most of my startups clients fail to recognize, but are fundamental to closing deals and growing revenue.

Putting ‘Minimum’ in Minimum Viable Product

Many startups struggle with the concept of a minimum viable product (also known as an MVP). A number of clients that I work with believe that they need to have a perfectly functional and polished product before they show it to anyone. As a result, they will spend countless hours and significant amounts of money developing and refining their product without any input from a customer. In many cases, these entrepreneurs end up building something that nobody wants, and as a result, their startup collapses due to poor sales.

The Calgary Startup Ecosystem

The Calgary startup ecosystem consists of a large collection of government agencies, non-profits, incubators, and accelerators that provide various support and resources to start-ups. I feel a major challenge with the entrepreneurs in Calgary, particularly the early-phase ones, is that they find it difficult to find these ecosystem players and understand how they can benefit their startup.

The Importance of Product Design

Customers love products with great design. A product may work great and provide real customer benefit, but will struggle to gain momentum and marketing ’buzz’ if it looks unappealing. Therefore, the design of a product (or service) is just as important as its functionality and the value it provides to a customer. In fact, many customers presently expect products to be just as beautiful to look at much as they are reliable and functional.