Laurier Alumni Share 4 Things Every Young Entrepreneur Should Know
Ryan Burgio and Sourov De graduated from Wilfrid Laurier’s Economics and BBA programs respectively in 2005. After working in the marketing consulting and brand management industry in Toronto they moved back to Kitchener-Waterloo to launch a new venture with David Chilton ofThe Wealthy Barber and Dragon’s Den. Once the launch with Chilton was complete, Burgio and De founded Stryve Group which is now a 5-person marketing firm that implements marketing programs for clients like Intel, Xerox and TD Bank.
Ryan and Sourov have built a unique value into their business from the get go – to always stay pragmatically ahead of the curve. Stryve Group has been making this happen since they started in 2008, which isn’t surprising for a team who is focused on lifelong learning!
For a lot of the young entrepreneurs who are currently starting a venture in school, or shortly thereafter, Ryan and Sourov have been in your shoes not to long ago. Knowing this Ryan and Sourov decided to come back to share 4 things they thought every young entrepreneur should know before starting a business of their own.
1 | You should be prepared to come up with a lot of business ideas in order to have a good business idea.
One of our favourite quotes is “3 for 4 is better than 2 for 2”. In your entrepreneurial career be prepared to come up with a lot of ideas before you find THE idea that turns in to a viable business. For example we spent 7 years bouncing business ideas off each other, our peers and our mentors in casual conversations before we landed on the idea to start Stryve Group. Entrepreneurship became a mindset for us before it turned into a career path. We must have brainstormed nearly 100-125 business ideas and briefly mapped out how they would work before we settled on our current business model. How do you come up with business ideas? It’s simple; first think about solving a consumer problem. Next, aim to get educated on solutions to that problem by reading up on it and talking to others about it. Finally, figure out if a business can be built from the solution to this problem. If so, get to work and make it happen.
2 | The world doesn’t care if you tried REALLY hard… Results matter.
Let’s be honest, we’ve been babied as generation Y’ers. We’re a generation that got participation medals and a pat on the back for just showing up. Some of the best advice we received early in our careers is that “you’re responsible for your own success”. It’s our responsibility as young entrepreneurs to wake up every day and say to ourselves “how can I be better than yesterday”. Success happens when you do 5 things each week to make yourself better or push your entrepreneurial idea a little further. Ask yourself “who do I need to call this week to push my entrepreneurial idea further?”, “how can I get a website launched that features my entrepreneurial idea?” and “how can I partner with someone to make my entrepreneurial idea happen?” Don’t expect that your business will be an overnight success and tons of people will buy what you’re selling almost right away. Although that does happen sometimes in the start-up world, you’re better off preparing yourself to get a lot of people’s feedback and constantly refining your business model so that it gets better every day.
3 | Don’t complain.
It’s better to just accept that things aren’t always going to be perfect and problems will arise in any business venture you’re involved with. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, calmly focus on finding a solution.
4 | You can do it, get started today.
This one is self explanatory. When we started our business we were in our mid-twenties and we funded our business from the small amount of savings we had. A lot of people told us to “get more experience” and to build up more capital before we ventured into the entrepreneurial world. The truth is that there is never going to be a “perfect” time to start a business. When you’re young, you won’t have the “perfect” amount of experience but you’ll have the most energy you’ll ever have in your life and fewest amount of life commitments to worry about. When you’re older, you’ll have a lot of knowledge, experience and industry contacts however you may not have the time and energy to build a new company. The best thing to do is to get started in entrepreneurship in some way as soon as you can. Start with small entrepreneurial projects on the side in addition to your regular job, when you start to see traction with those entrepreneurial ideas make a decision to move out of your regular job and into your entrepreneurial career fully when it financially makes sense.
Laurier Alumnus ’05
Laurier Alumnus ’05