Is selling your business your retirement fund plan?

Canadian small and medium business owners put their companies and their investments at risk by not having a structured succession plan

Is selling your business your retirement fund plan?Canada’s small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are unprepared for the coming wave of business ownership transfers, which will be driven by the retirement of baby boomer business owners. Within 10 years, Canada’s SME sector will undergo a transfer of wealth, estimated at $1 trillion to $4 trillion. Yet, as of this year, as many as…

There is only one way to meet a venture capitalist

If you can't make your pitch within 10 minutes, however, you're not ready

There is only one way to meet a venture capitalistHow you approach a venture capitalist (VC) can be the difference between receiving a quick glance or gaining direct attention. It can be very tempting to cold call venture capital web search results or chase down a harried VC at an entrepreneur event. While those attempts may work, it's a low probability tactic and just…

Service with a smile: the simple formula for success

Four tips to transform the customer service your business offers

Service with a smile: the simple formula for successI don’t usually eat at Wendy’s, but last week I was in the Phoenix airport and I was famished. Instead of lunch, I’d escaped from the conference I’d presented at and hiked Camelback Mountain. A few hours later, I was waiting for my flight home. I’d eaten a small meal at a neighbouring restaurant with…

How to put a value on your technology startup

Attributing value is a source of countless rolled eyes, smacked foreheads, arguments and sometimes outright failure

How to put a value on your technology startupWhen a new company is launched, the odds are stacked heavily against the entrepreneur. It is stacked especially high against the tech entrepreneur. University of Tennessee Research tells us that more than half of all new businesses fail by the end of year four but only 37 per cent of technology businesses remain operable by…

Risk and reward: accept that failure is part of business success

How often does fear of failure prevent us from beginning? We dwell on the fact that others might think less of us if we make mistakes when we should plunge on

Risk and reward: accept that failure is part of business successI remember the first time I really bruised my business ego. I was 21 and had convinced a bunch of investors that my idea was the next big thing. For months I built the product, pounded the pavement and found buyers. It was really hard work and after a while I began to realize that…

The necessary perils of entrepreneurship

Real value does not come from the idea alone. Great ideas without execution are empty roadside soda cans

The necessary perils of entrepreneurshipThere were nearly 900 people seated at round tables alternating small talk with bites of chicken. The ballroom was glamorous, the chicken was dry and few paid attention to the joke-telling emcee. "My wife says that if I don't give up golf, she's going to leave me. I'm really going to miss her! Har har!…

Key to your business success: consistency and congruency

When customers know that you're going to be consistent or reliable, and congruent or true to your word, they want to do business with you

Key to your business success: consistency and congruencyLast week, I didn’t write an article. I could give you all the excuses in the world. I was travelling, I had meetings, my dog was eating my printer paper. They’re all true, but the real reason is I had a man cold and just couldn’t write. Outside of holidays, it was just the second…

All venture capitalists are not created equal

Some entrepreneurs who complain about their venture capitalists remind me of that guy who gets mad after buying a car without first performing his due diligence

All venture capitalists are not created equalMost times, raising capital is a tough haul. Endless pitching, grueling due diligence and an enormous commitment of time and money is usually required. But once in a while there is a company that rises up and grabs the attention and the imagination of a swarm of venture capitalists (VCs) in a relatively short period…

Beware the bad investor

Here are a few warning signs that you may be falling into the clutches of a bad investor

Beware the bad investorIn an ideal scenario, your deal has attracted such interest that you have the luxury of choosing your investor. Most entrepreneurs are not afforded this luxury and will often need to take the investment dollar that is offered. This I understand. Raising money for emerging companies can be incredibly difficult, so when money is offered,…

What to do if your startup is suffering Founderitis

Founderitis rips a blade across the throat of opportunity and buries potential in the soft sand of ego

Think of entrepreneurs as explorers. To survive and thrive, they have to confront an ever-changing world and wrestle with the future. If they don't, they die. They often do not and cannot know the exact course that they must take to successfully realize their vision, but they have the courage to leave shore anyway. You…