Professional Development

Before you build, connect with your customers! Customer validation explained

Before you build, connect with your customers! Customer validation explained

Think of customer validation as you create tech products as akin to "Call Before You Dig" when you build a fence for your yard! It's an important step that turns the unexpected into a crystal clear map, but it's a step that a lot of people forget about or rush through because it seems like a hassle. 

Our Program Manager, Shay, sat down on Facebook Live and talked all about why customer validation is so crucial and gave some tips on how to go about it. Check out the video below!

Create your content marketing strategy!

Create your content marketing strategy!

Deciding which marketing efforts will have the most significant impact on your audience can be difficult, especially when you have to put it all together into a comprehensive plan. The heart of a comprehensive content marketing plan is finding the sweet spot where your desired call to action matches a valuable learning experience for your audience. 

So how do you decide which content to use and how do you put it all together? Our Marketing Manager, Stephanie, sat down on Facebook Live and went over the steps she goes through when she works on content marketing plans and tactics for Startup Edmonton!

Building Your Dream Team

Building Your Dream Team

We know surrounding yourself with the right people can be make-or-break for success when starting a company. We also get that it can be daunting bringing new people on board; you are now having to hand off some of the responsibility of this thing you built from the ground up, so the trust factor is crucial. It's a balancing act between finding the right talent and ensuring those people also fit the culture. Since we know finding the right people for a job can be challenging, our Community Manager, Lauren, sat down on Facebook Live with Testfire Labs founder and CEO, Dave Damer, for a Q&A all about how to build your dream team!

Recommended Listen: Getting to Burstiness

Recommended Listen: Getting to Burstiness

With all of my travel the last few weeks, it's been a great chance to catch up on episodes from some of my favourite podcasts. In WorkLife with Adam Grant: A TED original podcast, he explores what makes for great teams and working environments by going to some of the world's most unusual workplaces. 

In one of the best episodes, Adam goes to The Daily Show to sit in for a day to see what it takes to harness the power of group creativity in high-pressure situations. We've all sat through brainstorming sessions where at the end it seems like the least attractive, most safe ideas float to the top, and, frankly, it feels like mediocracy is rewarded. 

After listening to The Daily Show team chat about their workflow and relationships to one another, Adam uncovers four essential elements to improve creativity and innovative results from your time working together as a team. 

How to start building your web or mobile app if you don't have any technical skills!

How to start building your web or mobile app if you don't have any technical skills!

Getting started on a tech-enabled product, like a web or mobile app, can seem impossible if you don't have any technical skills. You might be asking yourself, why bother even starting with your idea if you have no clue how actually to make it!

Don't cut yourself short! There are lots of tools and tricks you can use to build a prototype that will help you gather more information about your customers, figure out what part of your product you should focus on making first, and even help recruit a technical co-founder or team members. 

Stephanie sat down on Facebook Live and went through ways in which non-technical founders can get started on building their product even if they have no technical experience. Take a look!

Three Reasons Why You Should Share Your Product Idea!

Three Reasons Why You Should Share Your Product Idea!

Putting your ideas into the world can be terrifying, especially if you're an entrepreneur and you want to build a product, team, and company! Sometimes it can feel like you need to have everything perfect before you tell anyone about your idea. 

If you have spent countless nights thinking about how you’re going to make your product, who your customers are, and how you will get the whole thing off the ground, we have one piece of advice for you... start talking about it! 

The #1 Mistake Founders Make When Pitching Investors

The #1 Mistake Founders Make When Pitching Investors

Pitching to investors can be daunting, but mastering the art of the pitch is essential to gaining access to capital. Being on your game is important when you have investors that hear from 40 to 50 companies a month. Having glitches in your pitch can cost you lasting relationships with people that otherwise could have skyrocketed your success.

Tiffany sat down on Facebook Live and talked about the #1 Mistake Founders Make When Pitching to Investors. Stay tuned to the end for a bonus piece of advice that's easy to start work on today. Check it out below!

Need help pulling together a deck and lots of practice? Join us for Preflight 3: Tell Your Story starting on April 18.

Let's Talk About Grants!

Let's Talk About Grants!

I sat down with Amir Reshef, CEO and Co-Founder of dealcloser, to chat about his experience with applying for funding through government programs at the provincial and federal level.

Amir and his team have a healthy perspective on how to make the most of this type of funding. Three big lessons he shares: 

  1. You need to have a plan to move forward with and without the funding. Being able to show your funding representatives how much more you can do with funding vs. without funding is one of the best ways to build your case. 
  2. Relationships are still key to securing government funding and grants, but they are a lot different than your relationships with investors. With a government program, you can't influence the timing cycle and you're often not dealing directly with the decision maker. 
  3. Government funding of any stripe is a massive responsibility and that's why it's a labour intensive process to apply and report on what you're doing with it. Amir does a great job reminding everyone that your startup is being trusted with taxpayer funds because your efforts will benefit the larger economy. 

Check out Stephanie & Amir's full conversation below. Scroll to the bottom for some interesting insight to how it feels to hire talent and pay them more than what you earn as founder! 

Lessons From SXSW

Lessons From SXSW

Earlier this month, I had the chance to go to Austin, TX as a member of the SXSW Global Advisory Board for the Accelerator Pitch event. In last weeks' Facebook Live session, I shared my top three takeaways from the conference. 

South By Southwest dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. 2018 marked the tenth anniversary of the SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event. 50 companies in ten categories, selected from hundreds of applications, receive coaching and then pitch live to a panel of judges and a live audience. 

One of the best parts of taking part of a massive global conference is hearing all of the questions from entrepreneurs from all kinds of startup communities. More often than not, the questions asked to panellists are the same ones we hear every day. And now, I have some fresh perspectives, tools, and resources to point you! 

Recommended Listening: Learn To Unlearn - Masters of Scale

Recommended Listening: Learn To Unlearn - Masters of Scale

There is something about a podcast that brings the experience of an entrepreneur to life in a way an article, book or even video lacks. Hearing their voice full of the tone and expression brings focus to crucial moments and lessons in short bursts. 

Masters of Scale, from LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman, sets out to describe and prove theories that explain how great entrepreneurs take their companies from zero to a gazillion in ingenious fashion. It's my favourite podcast, and Episode 15 is one of the best!