Words from the start-up wise: How to move from struggle to success

As the publisher McSweeney’s so eloquently put it in the updated version of Jane Austen’s opening line for Pride and Prejudice, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of an internet startup to call his own.”

But what if you don’t have a good fortune? Do you shelve your great idea until you meet the benefactor of your dreams? Check out this excerpt from last week’s Entrepreneurship 101 session for tips from some start-up stars:

The session showcased the struggles and success stories of three Toronto-based Information Technology, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) start-up founders:

None of these founders had a rich uncle, nor special connections to capital, but after failures, pivots and iterations, all of them managed to make it. The session featured all three founders discussing the challenges and opportunities they faced in launching their companies.

Though each founder works in a distinctly different ICE area, they all offered a few pieces of collective advice:

  • Get buy-in from your spouse.  If you can’t get your nearest and dearest to be excited about your product, it will be difficult to convince external parties.
  • Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. It will consume you, forcing you to prioritize many aspects of your life around it. That said, you can’t be in two places at once, so don’t try to be. When at work you give it your all. And when you’re with your family, the same rules should apply: put away your BlackBerry and be with them.
  • Starting a business is a calculated risk. Know your limits, invest your own capital before you ask anyone else for funds and be prepared to kiss that money goodbye. And most importantly, if you lose that initial investment, do not charge forward blindly. Recognize that it’s time to bow out gracefully.
  • Be patient. Moving faster does not always mean moving forward. Take the time to learn from your customers and iterate in a way that creates value in your product.
  • The minute something goes wrong, FIX IT! Don’t let a bad decision continue to drag your company down; decide what needs to be done and do it!

See below to view the complete webcast and hear real-life advice from the experts, including what investors are looking for, how to grow your brand and reach the masses, when and how much you should share about your business (NDA concerns), what you should really be looking for when you’re hiring talent and when to leave your day job.

Meet the Entrepreneurs – Information Technology, Communications and Entertainment