“I’ve learned that everything changes. Always. We’ve all heard the business maxim, ‘What got you here won’t get you there’—but there’s more to it than that. Every industry is constantly changing, whether it’s retail (something I think a lot about), transport, health or finance. Technology is improving so rapidly that the rate of change is drastically increasing. The best businesses and the most thoughtful entrepreneurs are constantly challenging their own past assumptions. They are in a perpetual state of change.”
Robert Herjavec | Founder and CEO of Herjavec Group & Star of ABC’s Shark Tank
“I learned that I need to think bigger and believe more in our ability to compete on a global level. They say ‘success’ makes you complacent. Our company has become the largest information security provider in Canada, and we were proud of that—perhaps too proud.
This year was all about looking beyond our borders and expanding to the rest of the world, notably the U.S. and U.K. As I always say: Sometimes the key to winning is to show up. We can’t be global if we are not there.”
“One of the things that was reaffirmed for me in 2014 was the value of taking risks and trusting your instincts. G Adventures was approached by the Inter-American Development Bank [IDB] to assess Haiti’s tourism potential. We had previously considered offering tours in Haiti following the earthquake, but had visited the country and deemed it unready for tourism due to the lack of infrastructure and accessibility. My gut told me it was the right thing to do this time. As a social enterprise with more than 24 years of experience, we recognize the positive impact and economic benefit tourism can bring to local communities. So we sent a team to Haiti to make the assessment on behalf of the IDB and discovered a unique culture with a huge voodoo scene, a modern art community, delicious Creole food and stunning natural highlights. This motivated us to be among the first to offer a culturally focused experience in Haiti, and I’m glad we did. The risk has paid off. Our first departure in February is basically sold out.”
Bruce Croxon | Founder, Round 13 Capital & Former CBC Dragons’ Den Star
“This year, we’ve done five deals. Miraculously, all five look like they’ll be good investments. But raising funds to do bigger deals has been slower than I thought. I preach to entrepreneurs that when you want to get something achieved, you have to be prepared to grind and grind, and to hang in there. The theory of mine that nothing comes easy as an entrepreneur has been put to the test this year, and I’ve had to walk my own talk.”
Sean Wise | Assistant Prof. of Entrepreneurship, Ryerson University; Host of OWN’s The Naked Entrepreneur
“I teach startups how to start up, with a focus on the lean startup methodology. In 2014, I learned that more companies should adopt this approach to agile growth. In the last six months, most requests I have received are from large companies looking to innovate like startups. While surprising, this makes sense: Startups learn to make something from nothing with few resources. More and more large companies are trying to innovate while keeping their core businesses growing.”
“This year, I have learnedthe power of a pivot, and that courage and trust underlie every success. I’ve gone from construction to kids’ toys to now serving as a ‘wingman’ in helping corporates and creatives start up the businesses they want to live the lives they want. No matter where I travel around the globe in this new venture, every entrepreneur I meet speaks about keeping themselves ahead of the competition by having the ability to adapt, embrace and execute; using courage; and trusting that what they are doing is the right thing. I have found this very true in 2014 and will continue to show up with trust and authenticity in 2015.”
Read the full article in Canadian Business magazine or the links here.
Part 1 and Part 2
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