Last week, Carol Leaman, president and CEO of Axonify, dropped by MaRS to share some of the key lessons she’s learned throughout her career as a serial entrepreneur as part of Entrepreneurship 101’s Lived It Lecture series.
Carol’s journey began when she was 17 years old and was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her answer? “The CEO of my own company.”
Axonify is a human resource startup that uses gamification to help employees learn about their company’s new products and services.
Here are the key takeaways from Carol’s talk.
- You can’t force the market to expand. When she worked in the virtual reality space, Carol learned that you cannot force the market to expand. This realization led her to partner with her main competitor in order to squeeze out the rest of the competition.
- As a CEO, never stay with a company that acquires yours. Culture is important and it’s something that Carol lives and breathes. She stayed on after her previous company was acquired, but quickly realized that she and the new CEO had very different ways of thinking.
- Never give up a chance to network. You never know who you will run into or who they might know.
- Think through what could go wrong. If you start a company with friends or family members, be sure to consider what could possibly go wrong. If you don’t have the right group together and something goes amiss, relationship issues may get in the way of fixing problems.
- Don’t delay finding paying customers. The sooner you can make a dollar—or more!—the better off your company will be, even if it’s not “perfect.”
- Be willing to shift. Move your company in the right direction by paying attention to what is happening in the market. You need to be willing to shift if something isn’t working out.
To hear more of what Carol had to say, check out the video below.