Friday, October 17, 2008

7 Deadly Sins

My speech to the Toronto Business Development Centre on Wednesday night attracted a capacity crowd of apprentice entrepreneurs to talk about The Seven Deadly Sins of Startups.

What are the seven sins? I thought you'd never ask.

1. Assuming that anyone wants your product (the importance of market research – and not falling in love with your product or business)

2. Overlooking your financials (Not knowing how much you're selling and spending is a recipe for disaster)

3. Misunderstanding the point of your business plan (Hint: it’s not for the bank, it’s for you)

4. Not raising enough capital (more entrepreneurs need to do a better job of sourcing cash)

5. Thinking that “If you build it, they will come” (AKA, no, one website does not a global business make)

6. Neglecting risk and underestimating the power of insurance (risk management is your most important job!)

7. Trying to do it all yourself (no entrepreneur is an island: they need advisors, mentors and trusted peers).

After my presentation, we had a lively Q&A session. At least half the questions revolved around insurance. I found many people have no idea where to even get started finding out what they need in this complex and fast-changing market.

There’s huge opportunity out there for any insurance provider who can get its message through to small business.

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