Innisfil has developed a lot in the last few years. The town has given birth to some incredible startups and is now offering unique opportunities to entrepreneurs and residents by being one of the most technically advanced towns in Canada. One such entrepreneur is Joy Adams, the founder and CEO of Covenant Wealth, with whom we had a chance to sit down and talk about why small businesses need all the help they can get. The director of South Simcoe Community Startup is all about mentorship. It’s the one thing that every business needs to give themselves the best chance to succeed.
The Changing Scenario
Innisfil has changed over the years. Despite being a small town, it has attracted some major names and is known as one of the most technologically advanced towns in the country.
“I moved from Toronto to Innisfil in 2012,” she starts by mentioning how the community wasn’t active back then and why she needed to move from time to time to downtown Toronto to do some networking.
“In doing that, I just really got involved with the startup communities in Toronto, and mainly startup Canada,” she adds.
Watching startups struggle made her realize the importance of a community and this was the start of the South Simcoe Community Startup.
“I just took that idea to the town of Innisfil and they kind of validated what my thoughts were,” she recalls. “That was in 2017, and from there we started with small meetings and over time, it just got larger and larger.”
Luckily for the organization, the Town of Innisfil Economic Development came on board and became their main sponsor. Now a big name, the organization is working to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and resources.
“We are a catalyst, just bringing all the stakeholders together,” she explains.
The organization works with all kinds of startups with the aim to make more successful businesses.
“There’s been a lot of innovation here in Innisfil. And we’re seeing it throughout the entire community, from our town council, all the way to our business community.” says Adams.
Advice for Startups
The success rate for startups is pretty low. According to Forbes, about 90 percent of all new startups fail within the first five years.
“A lot of people come to us with this problem,” Adams says. “Most of them perform no market research. They just had an idea they had access to and they just sort of went ahead and opened their businesses without doing the research.”
Adams suggests every business to spend time on market research.
“Research is the key, you know, just having a business plan. To me that is the primary tool that every startup should have,” she emphasizes.
Researching the Market
Unfortunately, not everyone knows what market research means. It is not only about what’s selling or what’s in demand. It includes a lot more. The main purpose of market research is to know if your idea ‘will’ sell and if ‘yes’ then at what ‘price’ and ‘how much’. It also includes studying your competitors and potential challenges and planning accordingly. Market research isn’t about estimates. It gives you real figures collected via different techniques. Based on the nature of your business, you can search on the web, look at primary research, or perform real market research. A SWOT test can also be a good idea. It can help people know their strengths and weaknesses while painting a true picture of opportunities and threats.
“Having a good idea doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a market for your idea,” warns Adams “Some ideas should really be hobbies.”
Not Easy to Convince People
Adam thinks it is hard to convince people to spend money on research, especially when they’re low on budget. Such conversations can be hard since most people are not interested in criticism.
“Some people are offended. I have had people just kind of block me from their social media. But, that’s okay.” she explains.
Adam’s plan is to use her experience to stop people from making the same mistake she has made. She, however, thinks that there are no bad ideas, just “bad execution and bad timing.”
Don’t Be Afraid of Seeking Help
Adam agrees that it can be hard to find the right help. Plus, some people are afraid of approaching others for ‘mentorship’. She hopes that her endeavor will motivate more people to ask questions.
“Just a few months ago, we brought back the concept of peer and peer mentorship – having aspiring entrepreneurs being paired up with more experienced entrepreneurs; it’s a way of just reducing startup mistakes,” she says while explaining what she is doing to ensure people get the help that they need.
She talks about the changing environment and how Covid has only impacted the economy but also the business world. We have seen a number of businesses shut shop due to the changing situations. Adams believes that in such tough situations, a mentor can prove to be very helpful. However, she agrees that finding the right mentor can be hard especially since people are different.
You Can’t Always Succeed
Adams thinks there is a need to look at the picture from both angles. Entrepreneurs don’t always succeed. Even big names like Mark Zuckerberg and Vince McMahon have failed projects under their belts. On your part, you must do your best to succeed and be able to identify projects that are riskier.
“Failure seems to be like a key component of the startup journey. Entrepreneurs fail dozens of times before they actually get it right,” she reminds listeners.
Get Ready for the Future
The pandemic has messed things up and the market will take a while to recover. In addition to this, we also have to face changing regulations.
Adams talked about the changing regulations, the role of her community, and what you can do to stay afloat in this interview.