Notes to a Startup

Daryl Hatton Entrepreneurship

Here are a few pieces of advice I offered to a new start-up company in Vancouver in response to some questions they had about taking on outside investment. I thought it was worth sharing… 1)      Regardless of whether we went with a debt (based on future earnings) model or an equity model, would we need to create an official board of directors, or can we just have an advisory board? We’d prefer the latter, so we can avoid all the governance issues.  As a private incorporated company, you are required to have a Board. Not having one doesn’t avoid governance …

We picked a good time to start a business

Daryl Hatton ConnectionPoint, Entrepreneurship

Rob Lewis recently wrote a TechVibes article on the dismal state of venture capital investment in Canada. It seems that the VC investment model is under severe pressure and many tech businesses can no longer enjoy the benefits of VCs doling out easy money to their startup. We don’t see this as a huge threat and, in fact, believe it is an opportunity. Frankly, VCs made some stupid, follow-the-leader investments in the late 1990s. If one invested in a certain type of Internet application, a bunch of others jumped right in with similar (but not visionary) companies in the hopes …

I’ve heard there is a recession but I’ve decided not to participate

Daryl Hatton Entrepreneurship

Apparently the economists and other experts who, as a group, failed to predict the biggest recession in decades now feel qualified to predict it will last a long time. They were wrong before and they are probably wrong again. We need to avoid the trap of believing them, holding back our businesses and our lives and causing the recession to deepen and lengthen. We can control what will happen if we play “our game”, not “theirs”. Let’s ignore all the negative news, maintain our optimism and continue to run our businesses and live our lives with gusto. Tell everyone you know that you’ve heard there is a recession but you’ve decided not to participate. Share your stories of positive, anti-recessionary things happening in your business and in …

Ready, fire, aim?

Daryl Hatton ConnectionPoint, Entrepreneurship

When is jumping on an opportunity prior to fully planning out a scenario a smart move? I’m thinking about this because last week the opportunity presented itself to acquire the services of a good development team and I jumped on it. One of my potential executive advisers questioned whether or not I was pulling a “ready, fire, aim” maneuver given we are not absolutely clear about the buying motivation and needs of our target market or even which of the potential target markets we want to focus on first. To me, this gets down to a question of tolerance for …

Be careful what you wish for…

Daryl Hatton ConnectionPoint, Entrepreneurship

This post was originally made on the ConnectionPoint blog November 27, 2008… I little while ago I bemoaned out loud the lack of progress I was making at building out the technology for the FundRazr business concept and wished I could speed it up a litle. Fast forward two weeks and I’m scrambling to stay in illusionary control of a software development team juggernaut that is rapidly outpacing my ability to keep them “fed” with development specs. It is a great example of “Be careful what you wish for – you may just get it. Then what???” While I wouldn’t take back …

When one is truly committed…

Daryl Hatton Entrepreneurship

We have been doing some in-depth research (good work Nat!) on our potential market and finally see both the massive opportunity in the market and the breadth of competition we face. While the second aspect is certainly frightening it was also very reassuring; the existence of competitors who are more than just startups proves the existence of a market. Our original hope was to find more of a “green field” with fewer competitors and hopefully therefore an easier time for our startup company to establish a presence. Unfortunately, there are not as many big “green fields” around any more and the ones that are there tend …