Category Archives: entrepreneurship

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Sketchnotes: Small Business Forum [Enterprise Toronto]

Click on the images to see larger versions. Enjoy!

Keynote: Dani Reiss, Canada Goose

20121016 Small Business Forum - Canada Goose - Dani Reiss

E-commerce in Canada – Drew Green

20121016 Small Business Forum - ECommerce in Canada - Drew Green

The Power of Networking Tactics – Bobby Umar

20121016 Small Business Forum - The Power of Networking Tactics - Bobby Umar

Find Customers, Keep Customers – Marie Wiese

20121016 Small Business Forum - Find Customers, Keep Customers - Marie Wiese

Open Rates, Clickthroughs & Conversions – Javed Khan

20121016 Small Business Forum - Open Rates, Clickthroughs, Conversions - Javed Khan

Closing panel: Where to Find the Funs to Grow – Marissa McTasney, Erica Ehm, Roy Pereira

20121016 Small Business Forum - Where to Find the Funds to Grow

Like these notes? Check out my other sketchnotes and visual book notes. If you’d like to find out whenever I post new business/tech-related sketchnotes (typically once a week), sign up for just sketchnote-related notifications or subscribe to my blog (includes other posts). Enjoy!

Sketchnotes: ENT101: Lived It Lecture – Bruce Poon Tip (G Adventures) on Social Enterprise

Click on the image for a larger version of sketchnotes. This talk is part of the free MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 series (webcast and in-person session every Wednesday!)

Feel free to share this! You can credit it as (c) 2012 Sacha Chua under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada licence.

20121003 Entrepreneurship 101 - Lived It Lecture - Bruce Poon Tip - G-Adventures

Missed the first session? Check out my sketchnotes for Finding and Validating Your Idea (Keri Damen).

Liked these notes? They’re fun to do and I’m happy to share them. I learn, other people learn, everyone’s happy! If you want, you can set up some time for tea/hot chocolate/Skype/Google Hangout (or e-mail me your thoughts), tell me what you’re interested in, and help me in my quest to learn how to get really good at connecting the dots. =)

Looking forward to sharing more notes next week!

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Sketchnotes: ENT101: Finding and Validating Your Idea, Keri Damen

Click on the image for a larger version of sketchnotes from today’s talk on Finding and Validating Your Idea. This talk is part of the free MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 series. Feel free to share this! You can credit it as (c) 2012 Sacha Chua under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada licence.

Entrepreneurship 101 - 20120926 - Finding and Validating Your Idea1

UPDATE: Here’s the video.

Like this? Interested in business? You’ll probably also like my sketchnotes of The $100 Startup. Check out these other sketchnotes, or search them in my public Evernote notebook. Enjoy!

Sketchnotes: The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

Chris Guillebeau’s new book The $100 Startup was released just yesterday. Here are my notes! Click on the image to view a larger version.


The book is packed with clear, practical advice and backed by concrete, diverse stories from successful microbusinesses around the world. It’s not a very deep book (don’t look here for step-by-step instructions, thorough analyses of case studies, or hand-holding through the business startup process), but it’s an enjoyable read. I’ll probably find myself referring to it a lot for inspiration and ideas. If you like this book, you’ll probably also like The Lean Startup (see my notes). Enjoy!

Check out more sketchnotes or read about my ongoing experiments in business. I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s the text from the image to make it easier to search for: THE $100 STARTUP Chris Guillebeau What you love to do What people will pay for passion + skill + usefulness = success benefits features Ex: happiness widgets Expand your opportunities by reusing your skills in different ares. Most people want simplicity. Don’t give them unneeded details. Some businesses are easier to start. consulting information products You don’t have to be an expert yet! Action Planning Don’t wait for perfection. Start and learn along the way. Invest time into growing your business. Learn how to offer, hustle, launch… “Franchise yourself” -partner -outsource -spin off a different biz scale up You don’t have to build a huge business. Make one that’s the right size for you. Where to find opportunities -marketplace inefficiency -new tech or opportunity -changing space -spin-off or side projects Decision-making matrix Impact Effort Profit Vision Idea Idea Market before manufacturing Test your idea Failsafe: offer refunds FAQ: objection-squasher 25 cents Make your first sale ASAP. Great confidence builder. Other useful parts: 1-page business plan 39-step launch checklist 1-page promotion plan + web resources Like this? Check out my other notes @! – Sacha Chua Twitter: @sachac

Getting the hang of making time for business development

This week, I’m taking Monday afternoon off, and all day Friday. The client wins because we can spread the hours over more time, and I win because I can invest in building more capabilities. In the future, I may limit myself to working at most 32 hours a week on any particular engagement, and maybe even dropping down to 24 hours a week if the rhythm works out well.

It’s easy to fall into the more familiar patterns of a 40-hour work-week – maybe even up to 44 hours if I invest the extra four hours in the client relationship by working for free. But it’s also valuable to spend time thinking about business, and it’s good to keep myself honest about what fits into the time that I have for work.

I think I’m going to love having the ability to manage my time like this. I schedule my breaks around the clients’ needs, of course, but my time isn’t constrained by vacation policies. As I get better at managing the schedule and as I build more flexible streams of income, I’ll have even more control of and responsibility for my time.

These chunks of time are challenging because they’re self-directed. No one tells me what to do or what to focus on. It’s easy to spend time reacting to people’s requests, but the real value comes from choosing what’s important to work on and making it happen.

What are some of the things I could work on?

  • I can learn new skills or improve the ones I have. I’m particularly interested in drawing, writing, and designing.
  • I can work on building QuantifiedAwesome’s possibilities by reaching out to people, offering help, and improving the system.
  • I can read books, share my notes, and draw more visual summaries.
  • I can follow up on leads or flesh ideas out into opportunities.
  • I can meet people and help others out.
  • I can brainstorm and plan.

There’s a lot I can do, and it’s well worth making the time to do so.

On why I don’t want to work on a tech startup (yet)

A friend of mine asked me if I’d considered creating a tech startup or advising one. The subject came up again when I was talking to another entrepreneur. With more and more tech startups hitting the news, it seems like the idea’s on everyone’s minds.

After reflecting on it during a few bike rides to and from work, I have a clearer understanding of what I want from these business experiments. A tech startup isn’t for me, at least not for the next few years.


I think of it as minimizing risk by learning only small chunks at the time. Working as an employee was like learning how to ride a tricycle. The company gave me a stable platform so that I could build skills, confidence, experience, and capital. I experimented with intrapreneurship and found that it worked well for me.

When I had reached my savings goals and picked a good time to leave, I started my own business. Two months in, I’m discovering that the path I took is just like graduating from a tricycle to a bicycle with training wheels. By taking advantage of well-established business models, markets, and concepts, I can focus on learning how to run my own business without simultaneously trying to create something new and tremendously risky.

Going from the employee world to the startup world would have been much more of a stretch. I think of startups like riding on a mountain bike down a rocky hill where you’re not quite certain the trail will get you all the way down or whether that promising fork up ahead actually ends up going over a cliff. Actually, it’s like riding a in a pack of mountain bikes where other people might make it easier to spot cool opportunities (ooh! look! waterfall over there!) but they could also crash into you and send you all tumbling down the hill. Too many things to learn at the same time, I think.

Startups might be something I eventually grow into. I want to be more confident in my ability to handle paperwork, manage cashflow, hire and manage other people (or coordinate with contractors, or delegate in some other way), and negotiate with clients and suppliers before I take on trickier challenges. For example, it’s easier to practise negotiating with clients than with partners. You can fire a client, but there are much bigger consequences if you have problems with your business partners. By learning all these business skills with the training wheels of well-tested business, I can get ready for riskier projects and ventures.

Sure, it would’ve been pretty cool to hang out at all these meetups and tell people about my new venture (making sure to use phrases like “minimum viable product” and “pivot”), but it’s okay to learn about business in this somewhat less glamorous but more step-by-step way.

Besides, most tech startups brag about their horrible work-life balance lifestyles. I think that’s partly the self-fulfilling image we have of what it’s like to be in a startup, and partly because people have to scramble so much to learn all these different things at the same time. I don’t mind growing a little more slowly if it means still being happily married. =)

So that’s why even if I’ve got web development skills, contacts, and business/design interests, I’m not working on a tech startup. Small steps first, and that’s all right.