Every entrepreneur, no matter what type, operates within a large business ecosystem. The key to entrepreneurial success is to create a smaller ecosystem that allows you to connect to and better navigate the larger one.
Too often, though, startups have limited knowledge of the ways in which key players and networks operate. However, as your startup gains value, it’s important to learn how to navigate the ecosystem. Why? Because according to Tony Redpath, senior fellow at MaRS, “attitudes change when money is on the table.” There is more to be gained or lost at this stage.
That said, here are 10 ways to better navigate your startup’s ecosystem.
1. Recognize that you operate within a smaller ecosystem (a subsystem, if you prefer).
2. Incorporate your company.
3. Do it right and get professional help.
4. Become a known entity.
5. Create a shareholders’ agreement.
6. Protect your intellectual property (IP).
7. Hire new employees.
8. Register your enterprise’s name.
9. Earn tax credits through the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program.
10. Do not:
Many of these steps can be done after incorporation because startups that are fresh out of the block don’t have any value (in venture capital terms), so the ecosystem is much smaller and navigation is less complicated. Your objective as an entrepreneur, however, is to create value for your company. So, once you begin to do so and there’s a bit of green on the table, shift gears.
Of course, there is much more to navigating the ecosystem, but don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by it. The process is part of building a structure for success. MaRS offers a variety of programs and services to help you through the process, including our Entrepreneurship Programs and online resources.
In case you missed it, check out the video of Tony’s lecture below.
Produced by MaRS Media.
Next lecture: Introduction to Entrepreneurial Management on Wednesday, October 23, 2013.
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