Aug 10 2010

Business Advice From Successful Entrepreneurs

Published by at 5:07 pm under Business,Vancouver

Ever thought about starting up a business and selling it two years later for $20 million? Here’s how you might get started.

From an article I wrote for SFU Business on BC entrepreneurs who presented their big ideas at a New Ventures BC seminar series:

One key theme of this year’s seminars was planning to succeed. When you put together your business plan, according to seminar presenters, don’t be skimpy with the details.

“Many companies can describe where they want to be in five years, but less can describe what they’re going to do to achieve this in the next year and a half,” says Rocketbuilders’ Thomas. “To plan well before you go to market, you have to have good market research.”

So what do you focus on? First, “how big is the marketplace?” Thomas says. “Is it growing? What are the trends? How do you divide it into segments?”

Understanding the customer pain that your product will solve is also key. And get a handle on how people normally buy your kind of product.

What about capital? How do you get investors to show you the money?

First of all, maybe you don’t need pesky investors getting their hooks into you after all. “Bootstrap,” says Vancouver-based angel investor Dr. Basil Peters. Dr. Peters was an Adjunct Professor of Engineering Sciences at SFU from 1985 to 2000. “The most spectacular start-up business models started with no capital. Most companies today really don’t need very much capital.”

“Plenty of Fish got started in an apartment,” he points out. “MetroLyrics (the online lyrics database founded by SFU Business EMBA graduate Alan Juristovski and undergraduate Milun Tesovic) started with no capital and is probably worth tens of millions of dollars. The world has changed. You’ve got resources even if you’ve got no money.”

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