Top 3 Tips for Starting Your Own Business

January 14, 2015 | Toronto
Contributed by Jordan Whelan

We asked alumnus and Toronto entrepreneur Jordan Whelan for his top three tips for people starting their own business. Here’s what he had to say.

Know the difference between an idea and a business model.

Once you answer the question of whether or not there is an addressable market for your idea, you must then move on to your business model. Some of the biggest companies have a revenue model largely unseen by the public. For example, many believe McDonalds is in the business of fast food when its largest focus is having one of the world’s strongest real estate portfolios. Think long and hard about what business you are really in. It might surprise you.

Nothing matters more than sales.

Besides acting as the best proof of concept metric, sales are everything in a business. Too many new businesses exhaust their capital on things that don’t matter. Get the cash in the door fast whether that’s in the form of deposit requests for services or pre-orders. If you focus your energy and capital around other facets of the business your burn rate will run off the charts.

Don’t do it alone.

Starting and growing a new business is one of the most psychologically gruelling experiences, with extreme psychological highs and lows. Worst of all, all the odds are against you. Statistically, 90% will fail. If you must go it alone, get a mentor that knows your industry.

Note: When choosing a business partner look for one whose skills do not overlap with your own. Otherwise there will likely be an evident skill deficiency in the business. The most important skills are in the arena of sales and finance. The rest can be learned quickly.

Jordan WhelanJordan Whelan is an entrepreneur who oversees several companies in Toronto including Our Paper Life and Grey Smoke Media. His latest e-commerce venture, Framestr, allows users to get paid cash for sharing products among friends.

Jordan was recently profiled in the Toronto Star.

Follow Jordan on Twitter: @thetryguy



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