I recently blogged about Vancouver's newest startup, arcalife and I had the chance to ask its Founder, Paul Taylor a few questions about how he got started. I think it's always helpful, inspiring and fun to learn from those people who follow their passions and make their dreams a reality.
How do you begin a startup, other than the idea?
For arcalife, after I had the basics of the idea locked in, I started by brainstorming my vision of the end state of the business, then switched to thinking about what the customers would want to see I order to get us to that point. After that I thought about brand and who the idea might appeal to. Name is a tough one for internet businesses, with so many domains already owned. Name and brand combined are important, even early on in the business. If you can’t find a name that you really love that’s within your budget, you can do a lot by really thinking about how to build your brand around what you have and integrate the two pieces effectively.
Do you have investors?
Our last round of funding was Friends and Family, although we do have some investors that don’t fall into that definition.
How do you generate revenue?
We have several revenue streams ; we have a tiered membership model including free and paid membership, services and ads.
Any advice for entrepreneurs?
No, but I have some for anyone thinking about becoming one. When you first come up with an idea it’s a little like an egg, and it’s shell is easily broken. There are plenty of people around that have blunt instruments capable of shattering that egg. So early on, keep it safe and incubate it carefully. Once the chicky is ready to emerge it’s time to show it the world and expose it to new experiences, it’s part of the maturing process where it becomes something that will ultimately fly – if you know what I mean.
What would you do differently or the same?
I would outsource my development again and I wouldn’t be concerned about doing it early on. I would start my SEO / natural search work earlier.
Do you listen to investors or VC's about advice or how important is gut instinct?
I try and listen to everyone and then make the best decision I can, based on the variables my head can absorb. A good support network of advisors is critical to your success and it helps to have investors or VC’s in that circle of advisors. At the end of the day you have to be comfortable with the decisions you are taking, as it’s only you that really sees the impact on a day to day basis.