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IS IT TIME TO LAUNCH YOUR BUSINESS? Calgary entrepreneurs talk about taking the leap with their ideas “Get key factors in place such as a solid idea that you’ve formulated into a business plan, get aligned with a mentor who can help you navigate the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and establish relationships with key advisors such as legal, banking, accounting and finance (yes, that is a shameless plug). Then at some point you just have to take the plunge. Frankly, if we hadn’t jumped in headfirst we’d probably still be sitting around talking about how great it would be if we started our own business.” Randall McRae, partner at McRally Accountants & Advisors,

“I think the most important thing is not to sacrifice on quality by rushing to meet an ambitious launch date so build yourself a little breathing room. You expect to be ready six weeks from now? Set your opening for eight weeks time. A customer’s first impression will be the most important, so give yourself the best chance to get it right.” Eric Boudreau, owner at Escape Capers YYC,

“Analysis and perfection can take forever. When to launch? Do it now! Seek input from your customers about how to build your business as you go. Create momentum. Play. Experiment. Adjust as necessary.” John Orian, founder of Play at Creation!,

“When your passion is all you think about day and night, and you have put together the framework and have taken it for a test run. There is never a perfect time to start something new, but there is always right now!”

Matthew Shannon, president of Matthew Shannon Consulting Inc,

Elizabeth Harris, independent employee benefit advisor and co-founder of HB Consultants (, says entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid to launch during an economic downturn. “It’s a great time to launch a business. There may be less competition in your field, products, office space and staff may be more abundant at lower costs plus interest rates are still low. Start small and work from home as long as you can, but the most important thing is to just start!” P HO TO PROV IDED BY : E L I ZA B ET H H A R R I S

“There’s no sure-fire way to pick the right time with pin-point accuracy, if there was, it would be easy to be successful, it’s not. Aside from being lucky, you can use some forms of validation for your product, service or idea. One way to validate is to seek out industry leaders or experts and disclose the idea in confidence to them, their feedback can be critical in determining interest and possible adoption. For a lot of ideas, the best way to start is with one customer, iterate, add another and grow — this works really well if you’re bootstrapping and can also reinforce the product as you grow.” Kevin Franco, CEO of Enthrill,

“Many of us develop and hone our business skills for many years by running businesses while we are still in school or while we have a more secure cash flow from a job or partner/spouse. Eventually, we take a leap and quit our jobs to focus more of our time and energy on building our business. The triggers are different for everyone. For some it will happen at a certain cash flow or sales level, for others when financing can be secured and for others it is when a significant event takes place such as a layoff or changing personal circumstances. Keep your eyes peeled for the opportunity: luck is no accident!” Laura Bechard, business coach at Bexco Business & Executive Coaching,

“If you mean ‘when should I quit my day job and commit myself 100 per cent to the business?’ my answer is as soon as you’ve proved that there are enough people out there who want what you’re offering and they can see that you’re different from others in the business, and as soon as you have the resources and emotional support to survive for 12 months. If you mean ‘when should I actually start building my dream and actively planning to bring it to reality?’ my answer is why haven’t you started already? What’s holding you back?” John Breeze, co-founder and COO of It’s All About Connecting,

“I believe that every business, business plan, marketing plan etc. should be backed by proper market research. You will know when it’s time to launch your business based on your findings. The data never lies!” Lisa Genovese, president and CMO of BottomLine Marketing,

“When you are properly prepared is what many would say. But when does a new business ever feel ready? One of my coach friends likes to say, massive action trumps planning every time. I understand what she means, but I feel it’s a balance of having thought through every possibility for preparation that you can on your own, asking for feedback from those who have experience and ensuring the foundations are set up well. There is no such thing as being 100 per cent ready so when you feel confident you can treat customers the way they want to be treated and are bursting at the seams to launch, it’s time.”



CAPITAL IDEAS UPCOMING EVENTS JANUARY 22: BIZCHAT WEBINAR: BUSINESS MANAGEMENT This webinar will provide you with an opportunity to ask questions about business planning in an online group session. ■ Where: Online ■ When: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ■ Admission: Free. More info at JANUARY 27: MISSION: SHIFTYYC EVENT – SHIFTING YOUR CAREER PATH Recognize if you’re in a career rut and how to jump out of it. ■ Where: John Fluevog Flueseum, second level (207 8 Ave S.W.) ■ When: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. ■ Admission: Free. More info at, search “shiftYYC” For more great events, visit calgaryevents


How do you maximize and manage growth opportunities while still delighting existing customers and team members?

Trina Lo, CMO of FreshInk Communications,

“There is no one right time. Of course, you can conduct research and do studies and look at algorithms to try and find that perfect opening for your business. However, sometimes you’re forced to be your own boss. I started my writing company after I found myself without a job in the volatile newspaper industry. I wanted to stay in Calgary so I created my own job with an idea that had been bouncing around in my head for more than 10 years. Opportunity knocked right then and there and I opened the door. When launching a business there will always be uncertainty – that’s the only thing you can be certain of.” Lea Storry, owner/writer of Family Lines,

The above answers are in response to a question posed by Wellington Holbrook, executive vice-president of ATB Business. Here’s his take: “Being an entrepreneur comes from within. And that means the right time is when the little voice inside your head tells you that you can’t wait anymore to get this moving. Being smart and thoughtful about the timing of your business is, of course, the right thing to do. But a better question than when to start might be what’s the reason you shouldn’t get started right now?”


Even in this challenging economic climate, there are still opportunities to grow your business. Which is why Angela Santiago, CEO and owner of The Little Potato Company wants to hear from you: How do you maximize and manage growth opportunities while still delighting existing customers and team members? You can answer the question in two ways: Open today’s Capital Ideas email if you’re a member or visit We’ll publish the best answers, along with your business name and website address, on Jan. 28.

Is your business ready to launch? When: Jan. 28, noon to 1 p.m. Where: Glenbow Museum (130 9th Ave. S.E.) RSVP at


Join three Calgary entrepreneurs to talk about the steps to launching a business and learn how they got their ideas off the ground. Tickets are free, and a light lunch will be served.

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Is it time to launch your business?  

Calgary entrepreneurs talk about taking the leap with their ideas

Is it time to launch your business?  

Calgary entrepreneurs talk about taking the leap with their ideas