In the May 27th FP Executive Podcast, MaRS Entrepreneur-in-Residence Ron Close (also an Executive Entrepreneur-in-Residence at The Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario) talks about his entrepreneurial journey and his work at MaRS helping entrepreneurs build their businesses.

Ron started his career working in management positions at large companies but later followed his entrepreneurial yearnings and built an internet business with a couple friends. The company began with three people building a business plan in his living room looking seriously at the option of mortgaging their houses to help raise money. By the time they sold the company several years later, it had grown to 185 employees and was making $30 million in revenue.

One of the lessons he learned (and encourages other entrepreneurs to remember) is to be your own critic and de-risk your plan. By looking at different scenarios and how they would affect your business, you can identify the critical risk factors and economic vulnerabilities in your business plan in order to think about ways to de-risk it. One way he removed some risk was by raising money from an industry partner.

In addition to identifying key performance indicators to watch carefully as you build your business, he notes the importance of providing full context to your employees about the business (i.e. having open communication and communicating to them about what is important, what is working and what isn’t). With this information, it’s easier to leave people to do their job because having the right context will enable them to know the right questions to ask and achieve their goals.

Get more insights from Ron’s interview, originally for National Post’s BusinessCast podcast here: “Jacoline Loewen of Loewen & Partners Inc. talks to Ron Close, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at MaRS, for FP Executive”.

Keri Damen

Keri leads the strategic design, development, marketing and expansion of cutting edge business programs in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, marketing, HR, management and leadership at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies. See more…