GoForth Founder & President Leslie McGeough on Startup Canada Podcast

By Samantha Garner | October 13, 2018

GoForth StartUp Canada Podcast

GoForth’s President and Founder Dr Leslie McGeough was proud to be featured in a recent Startup Canada Podcast episode. Host Rivers Corbett talks to Leslie about her journey from academia to entrepreneurship and how she’s working to educate entrepreneurs around the world.

Here are some highlights:

“I spent fifteen years in the trenches teaching and researching. During that period I came aware of a real need in Canada for a solution to deliver small business training across the nation.”

“In my research I found that access to small business training was one of the key factors associated to sustainability and longevity, that would make the difference between success and failure.”

“I just listened, that’s what good entrepreneurs do. You have to be prepared to pivot when you have to pivot.”

You can listen to Leslie’s interview here.

Thanks for having us, Startup Canada!

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Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, Entrepreneurship News, GoForth Institute News, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

How to research your customers

By Samantha Garner | October 6, 2018

business customers

Who will you be selling to? Selling to everyone is highly discouraged, since everyone has different wants and needs. Instead, it’s best to decide on target markets – groups of customers who share similar characteristics that you can market to more effectively. It’ll save you time and money, reduce headaches from trying to please large amounts of people with different needs, and it can make the difference between a successful business and falling flat right out of the gate.

Gathering market research data is a crucial step in the business planning process. Market research is used to determine consumer opinions, industry trends and competitor stats.  It’s used to gauge consumer interest in new products and service offerings and to establish a list of prospective customers. There are a number of ways to go about collecting this data, but we’ve developed a free, step-by-step guide on how to use one of them – CANSIM.

Check out GoForth’s free guide to navigating Statistics Canada’s CANSIM database, and start the process of understanding your ideal customers today!

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The six types of entrepreneurs

By Samantha Garner | September 29, 2018

artist entrepreneur

There are many types of entrepreneurs in Canada, and we like to think of it as a spectrum of activity. Are you already in business and curious what other entrepreneurs like you are up to? Are you thinking of getting into business and wondering what your options are? These are six of the more common types of entrepreneurs – which one (or combination of several) are you?

Home-based Entrepreneurs

Home-based entrepreneurs are usually self-employed, working by themselves or with only a few employees. As the name suggests, their businesses are based out of their own home or in a home office. These entrepreneurs love flexibility and autonomy, and having the freedom to do things like arrange a child’s dentist appointment or take the family dog for a walk at lunchtime. These companies typically don’t have a storefront, street advertising signs or customer parking.

Examples of home-based businesses: Bookkeepers, event planners, and freelance writers

Online Stores and Marketplaces

Online or e-commerce entrepreneurs run their business online. They use IT and communication technologies to support their business activities. Their businesses can provide a service or sell a product through a website.

Examples of internet-based businesses: Etsy, eBay, and travel bloggers

Lifestyle Freedom

Lifestyle entrepreneurs create a business to further personal goals instead of make a lot of money. These entrepreneurs may pursue a cash-generating hobby during their spare time or create a business around one of their interests. Their businesses simply help their founders support a lifestyle they enjoy. These businesses can be run full- or part-time. Lifestyle freedom entrepreneurs are usually not concerned about high growth, and usually have only a few employees.

Examples of lifestyle businesses: Starting a home-based business to be closer to family, or building a coaching business off an existing photography skill

Mountain Climber

Mountain climber entrepreneurs usually run large companies employing somewhere between 20 and 500 people. These companies are often very fast-paced and experience high growth rates. These ventures often develop and produce the latest technologies and innovations. Most start-up activity involving high potential entrepreneurs is technology and internet related. Access to funding is often easier for high potential companies.

Examples of mountain climber businesses: Quickly growing technology companies and large internet technology businesses

Venture Capital

Venture capitalists invest in ventures, through managerial and technical expertise as well as with actual money. Venture capitalists are very selective about which companies to invest in, and as much as 98% of firms seeking funds are rejected. Aside from individual angels and venture capitalists, venture capital firms also exist.

Social Entrepreneur

A social entrepreneur measures success by the impact that he or she has on society. Highly passionate, the greater good of the community is their primary interest and they create a business to provide solutions to social issues. These entrepreneurs are also called non-profit or philanthropist entrepreneurs. Funding for social entrepreneurship typically comes from non-profit organizations, foundations, governments and non-governmental organizations.

Examples of social entrepreneur businesses: KickStart International, or a business that tutors at-risk children.

What type are you? GoForth’s leading Canadian small business training video program has useful tools to help all entrepreneurs succeed!

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Topics: Entrepreneurial Inspiration, GoForth Institute Small Business Training, Small Business Tips and Advice | No Comments »

Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | September 22, 2018

small business accountingWe hope you’re enjoying the first few days of fall in Canada. Why not cozy up to these entrepreneurship articles we’ve recently enjoyed?

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Who should your small business’ founders be?

By Samantha Garner | September 15, 2018

small business founders

The decision of who should comprise your founding team is an essential one for entrepreneurs. After all, it’s been said that venture capitalists and angel investors would rather invest in a first-rate team with a second-rate idea than in a second-rate team with a first-rate idea.

It’s very important for the success of your small business that you surround yourself with a first-rate founding team – those people who will help you actually get your business up and running. Don’t duplicate the skills that you already have yourself. The members on this team must be experienced, bright and worthy of being part of your company. The size and responsibilities of the founding team will differ across industries and company characteristics. 

So, what makes a good founding team for your small business? Look for the following qualities:

Experience

How great will you look if the person in charge of your financials can’t explain to investors the logic behind your projected sales figures? Understand what skills you’re after, and look for people with enough experience to give your small business the best chance of success.

Smarts

Look for people who are bright, driven, and are able to eloquently express what they do for your business. And as the founder, it’s wise to know when to listen to those around you and take their advice – let their knowledge work for you!

Personality

Personality clashes could have serious negative impact to the health of your business. You’re going to be working very closely with these people for the next little while, so make sure to reduce the risk of major friction. You don’t all have to be best friends, but do everyone a favour and make sure you all share similar goals and values.

The right amount of people

Does your business need salespeople? How many? Is it possible you don’t need any at all? Different businesses and different industries demand different things. Evaluate what your small business needs right at the beginning, and determine how many people can fill these roles.

Passion

Each member of your founding team should be so passionate about your small business that they’re excited to talk about how great it is and how it’ll work. After all, that’s a huge chunk of pitching to investors, isn’t it? Look for people who take your small business idea as seriously as you do.

A great founding team is one vital component in the successful launch of a small business, so be sure to take your time, do your research, and trust your instincts!

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