Tech Toronto: Finding Your Way Forward

Tech Toronto

We had an incredible opportunity to present FoundersBeta and moderate a session on building startups with Tech Toronto. We met many new faces and had some great conversations about managing your career during these tough times. Here are some notes from the event to take away:

1. Find your value-add when you have a conversation

This is especially the case if you are currently job hunting. “Spray and pray” is not even an approach any more. Figure where you can add value to the team or the company. What skills sets and competencies do you bring that is unparalleled?

2. Do something. 

The principle of doings something is such a key. When you do something you path will follow. My favourite quote from Persian Poet Rumi is

“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.”

By doing and moving we get progress!

3. Building Companies: Start small

I moderated a session chatting with Masih Mehdizadeh on building startups. One of the best ways to get started is start small. Thinking about building a company can be overwhelming so start small. As a matter of fact don’t start a company, start a project instead. Some of the best companies out there, started as a side-project. You don’t have to risk everything.

4. Get early validation 

There are a lot of talk in startups. It’s all blah blah! What you need is action and validation. Get early validation with users. I wrote a whole post on how to get started on this. Check it out here.

5. Paying customers is where it’s at 

Paying customers can show validation but repeated paying customers is the best. We do have to keep in mind that in some cases this may not apply to all startups. For example, if you’re building the next Twitter or content user-generate site. But at some point every startup has to make money! Find where the money is.

6. Keep yourself afloat 

Building a startup is a long-term game and you have to keep yourself afloat both physically, mentally, and financially. Whether it’s through a side-gig, consultation, or other part-time job find that source of income to keep going..

7. Get comfortable with failure 

Every project and every idea that you will have chances are there will be many fails. But who cares no one has heard about it anyway. Throw a “so what” in front of it. The more you fail the better but keep on launching and constantly change your game! Validate with launching.

8. What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get improved 

Duh! No kidding. KPIs for startups depends on what you are building but you have to measure something. Find that “north star”. For internet and software companies things such as active users, retention, and site traffic are some things to measure but let’s not forget sales!

And that is wrap! Have questions about starting a startup? Join the largest community of founders, innovators, and talent.

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Eric Rafat

Eric Rafat is a passionate founder with expertise in startups, building high-performing teams, and growth marketing. He is a top ranked tennis player and always up for a conversation about startups and tech. Eric also writes on

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