The hardest part of a project

At some point in your academic life, someone of a higher authority who had the ability to make your life at home a living hell had forced you to do a dreaded pro-longed version of homework. It was called *drum roll* a project! And while being in 7th grade and having accumulated a rainbow of swearwords to associate with your teacher’s name, what you didn’t realize is that school projects actually do you more good than bad.

Okay that may seem obvious. But the reality is that school projects teach you a very important lesson about life and that is how to follow through a plan an execute.

There is nothing harder in any project than getting the actual shit done. Graduate students have performed prolific studies on team dynamics and project management to address why humans have such difficulty getting things done. This disease, affectionately named the hope creep, does not discriminate. It gets the best of us and all a successful entrepreneur is someone who managed to beat the hope creep in one aspect of their life (I say that because chances are that entrepreneurs have a vast list of things they wish they could tackle, but hope creep ends up eating that list). The only way to be good at executing and following through is to do what everyone does if they want to be good at something – practice.

Practice by engaging in small projects with your community. Practice at school by taking arbitrary research papers to real scientific-method research (okay this may be only for the business students who have to write ‘white papers’ that are purely based on anecdotal research and hold no real statistical value in terms of generalization and conclusion). Practice at home by turning an old piece of furniture to one of your artistic masterpieces. The important thing is that you practice. You’ll become better at making things happen and those around you will notice.

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How to be Resourceful

Starting a business will do funny things to your wallet. Notable symptoms include empty bill slots and an increase of credit cards (maybe even a few that you roll over occasionally). In fact starting a business will change your perspective on how you spend money. All of a sudden $5.00 Starbucks coffees seem like a luxury and hair cuts seem like something you can continue to put off… you know at least till you turn over your first dollar. For me, its attempting to avoid the dentist for as long as my personal hygiene monitor can take…which isn’t for much longer.

Being creative and stretching your dollar is one of the pillars of being a good entrepreneur. Its easy to spend all the money in the world to start a business, but it’s proof of poor management of resources. If you can get creative and hustle, chances are your efforts will take you a long way. Injecting more money into marketing does not equate to acquiring new customers; some of the more effective marketing tools have come in the form of social media, which is completely free. Figuring out the ropes does not require an MBA; instead you can get a wealth of knowledge from the right mentors at the price of a few coffees. We are lucky to live in a generation where not every business requires large investment capital to begin, and technology has made it even easier for individuals with passion and a flare for execution to jump the hurdle of finance.

So while I cannot crowd fund my dental cleaning…I’m sure I can convince my dentist that with my customer loyalty (over 20 years!!) he can let one cleaning slide : ]

#TheBuzzEvent at Canvas Lounge

                                                                                               

I checked out my second Buzz Entrepreneur Event at Canvas Lounge in Gastown a few nights ago with another partner of springboard.  It took place the evening after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals when thugs ruined Vancouver’s beautiful downtown core.  Since the overwhelming majority of us Vancouverites were sick to our stomachs as a result of this idiocy, I honestly wasn’t expecting the greatest turnout this evening.  But not to my dismay, the venue was already packed before the event even started.  This goes to show how dedicated entrepreneurs are when it comes to meeting one of their own, even in light of a disastrous aftermath like the one that occurred just 24 hours prior.

Like many entrepreneurs and startups, my team and I view minglers like the Buzz Entrepreneur Event as one of the single most important marketing tools for our business.  The opportunity to build a connection with another individual, and possibly one day bust a prosperous business idea wide open is invaluable.  George Moen, president and founder of Blenz Coffee, and one of the many influential guest speakers of the evening, mentioned these encounters during his speech.  He called them “loose connections” and said that it’s within one of these relationships where some of the greatest business opportunities can flourish.  He goes on to describe how entrepreneurs cannot succumb to relying on just social media, text messaging, and emails as the main forms of communication with one another, because they can never replace the trust created by face-to-face relationships.

After hearing George’s speech, I took a look around the room and wondered what valuable loose connections might possibly be born as a result of an encounter at this mixer.  There were designers present, like Gabriel of Blue Lotus Creative who does graphic, or Ken of Dream Designs who specializes in residential and commercial.  Or there’s Darren of Degredient, a truffle distributor, and even Bryson Chow, a Kitsalano chiropractor who was rocking a bow tie!  Is it possible that one of these individuals pledge forward together on a new initiative? Maybe.… maybe not.  But an opportunity would certainly never arise if none of them made the effort to come out to this event.

You can never really tell what potential relationships might come to fruition as a result of events like The Buzz Entrepreneur Event.  But what I do know is that my team at springboard will continue to take advantage of these opportunities, and look forward to every chance to connect with a fellow entrepreneur or even better, a potential business partner.  After all, this is our community and it’s up to us to keep it buzzing!

Breeding Entrepreneurial Opportunity

The evolution of the Internet and Social Media has provided an incredible innovation in the oldest and most effective form of advertising and promotion known to man, woman and child: Word of Mouth.  The everyday consumer now has the power to potentially reach billions of people to convey their own personal opinions immediately, within minutes, all from the power of their phone, tablet or laptop!  That’s some reach!

Businesses (big, small and everything in between) better be on their best behavior!  Word of mouth has always had the power to make or break a business’ reputation.  Now combine that with a tech savvy consumer and ridiculous advances in technology and now you’re potentially being watched by Big Brother and 6 or so billion of his little brothers and sisters.  Daunting, to say the least.

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Passion is the True Difference Maker

“Belief fuels enthusiasm, and enthusiasm explodes into passion.” I’ve never been big into famous quotes, but I came across this quote the other day from the great football coach Vince Lombardi, and this one made an impact on me.  It’s partially because I’m a big sports fan, but it’s definitely more because of how relevant it is for Springboard’s success.

Crowdfunding as a concept would never be successful if people didn’t believe in the projects they’re supporting. You see, first and foremost people actually need to buy into ideas.  For example, if a songwriter didn’t believe their lyrics, people would never feel their song.  And if a coach didn’t believe his pep talk, his team would never get fired up.  Similarly, a project would never raise funds if sponsors didn’t actually believe in the project owner and their  passion to succeed.

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What’s in an idea?

Originally posted in March 29th

Last night myself and one of the other founders of springboard attended a networking event in Vancouver called Ideakick YVR; it was the second networking event we had attended in 4 days, the other being The Buzz Event.  These two events couldn’t have been farther apart in approach and desired outcome, yet both were equally important to our company. Why?

The Buzz Event, hosted by Joseph Richards night club, is best described as… the place to be seen by, and meet with, Vancouver’s Entrepreneurial Mobile.  Those whose stars have risen and those on the cusp of doing so.  To frame it another way, it was a socialite party, but with actual goals in mind.

Ideakick was far less glamourous. Pizza and beer, literally.  Held at The Network Hub, a very cool spot just outside of Gastown, Ideakick is best described as a think-tank.  It was amazing to see how a group of strangers can all come together in support of an idea.  For those of you out there with an idea you’d like to test, Ideakick is the place you want to test it.

Our goal for these past two events was to get people, specifically entrepreneurial people, talking about springboard.  Both events provided us with the opportunity to do so in very different ways and that is what made each event so valuable to us.

So what is in an idea?  In the case of The Buzz Event, Ideakick and springboard, it is the power to motivate people to achieve their dreams.