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There are lots of reasons start-ups fail, but one that I see far too often is the lack of industry experience. Industry experience can be summed up as having substantive knowledge working in the area of the planned start-up.

As an advisor, I have met with hundreds of budding start-ups and one of my primary questions to them once they have explained their idea is, “what industry experience do you have?”

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“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think”. This often repeated quote is regularly but wrongly attributed to Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and philosopher Bertrand Russell, all big thinkers in their own right. The reason for this is that they all had similar thoughts on the on the capacity or desire of humans to think, because thinking is hard work and most shy away from it.

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For newly minted entrepreneurs, the biggest priority is to generate revenue, any revenue in an effort to transition from struggling to profitable enterprise. To those of us who have made the crossing, we have more often than not sacrificed our own financial needs in order to create a proper fiscal foundation for our business. Because so few of us ever get investor capital, we are left to our own devices to fund our enterprises.

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A year ago, had you asked small business owners what 3 things could put them out of business?, I would have bet a pandemic would not have been on their top 10 let alone their top 50 things. But a lot has changed in just over a year. According to the CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses), it is estimated that 1 in 6 small businesses won’t survive because of Covid-19.

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I’ve been wanting to golf at a rural course for a number of years now. The reason is that this golf course now sits upon farmland that was once owned by two of my uncles. I had spent a lot of time of these farms as a kid growing up and I had only played the course once many years before and my memory suggested it wasn’t a bad little course.

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Work from home is not a new concept. People have been looking for any excuse to do so since the turn of the century. Initially, Friday’s was the defacto work from home day. It’s popularity was driven mostly to get a jump on the weekend, more so than trying to get distraction free time in order to get caught up. For evidence, just check the highway traffic on Friday’s afternoons during the summer, as people are fleeing the city.

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A few months ago, I finally did something that I had longed to do but just never got around to it. Not quite a bucket list item, but pretty close. That something was to drive a race prepared car on a closed road course. Calabogie Motorsports offers just such a program. The road course is just a hair over 5 kms that has 20 turns and enough of a straightaway to get you to question your sanity.

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Shrink to greatness is a phrase I’ve often had to use when working with clients. To be honest, it’s rarely received well by those I’ve had to tell because everything we read about how to be successful in business says you must grow. So, this contrarian approach can be a little challenging for the recipient to accept as it goes against everything they’ve been led to believe.

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What if, you had the chance of starting over? What if you could reboot your business? What would you do differently? Theses are questions that I regularly ask small business owners, especially when I come across those that are struggling, stressed out and unhappy.

The answers I get range from, “I’d hire better people” to “I would not have tried to grow so fast”.

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Burnout is one of the leading causes of small business failures. The thing about burnout is that it usually gets justified as just hard work. Of course, entrepreneur knows that being self employed is going to require sacrifices and therefore, burning the candle at both ends is the price of admission to a better life. To that I say, yes and no.Read More