If you have an awesome business idea, but the thought of creating financial statements or writing a business plan makes you want to head for the hills, you my friends are most certainly not alone. That’s why GoFullSteam, a startup based in Halifax, Canada, is on a mission to make the life of budding entrepreneurs and small business owners a whole lot easier. With its suite of handy, user-friendly tools that take the pain out of pitch decks, business plans, and those pesky, but oh so crucial financial statements, CEO Emily Richardson, CTO Deepika Agarwal and Director of Community, Ben Boudreau are on their own path to success. Founded just a year ago, GoFullSteam, like many other startups, has had its share of ups and downs, and they’ve learned a lot along the way.
WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR BUSINESS COME FROM?
After working with several young technology companies, Emily couldn’t shake her interest in building a business from scratch; she just needed to find the right idea. The ‘aha’ moment came from reading a magazine article. The author encouraged aspiring entrepreneurs to start with subject matter they already know, and build a business around that, rather than learn something entirely new and then turn it into a business at the same time. Looking back, that great advice helped Emily focus on her accounting and financial modelling expertise, which evolved into what GoFullSteam is today.
WHAT’S YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH?
GoFullSteam gives entrepreneurs the information they need to build better businesses. From your elevator pitch to your financial plans, our free tools help you create the most important pieces of your business in just a few clicks.
WHAT’S THE BEST LESSON LEARNED THUS FAR?
It’s not about what you make; it’s about how you make people feel. In our case, we thought entrepreneurs would flock to our new financial planner for its speed and ease. While those are definite selling features for some, the real value for our customers has been the confidence and comfort they get from finding a tool that speaks their language, and simplifies what can be a very stressful process. The real power in what we’ve done is making entrepreneurs feel welcome, supported, and encouraged.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS?
We had a really successful launch in our home province, Nova Scotia. There’s been a huge push here to improve the local economy and a lot of talk about the role entrepreneurs and startups can play. We decided to break down some of the barriers that stand in the way of new businesses by making our platform free for all local entrepreneurs and it resulted in great media coverage, new partnership opportunities, and a healthy spike in sign-ups that has carried through ever since.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
Launch first, fix later. When you’re just getting started, launch something before you think you’re ready. Seriously. Even if it’s not perfect, getting something out into the market gives you the chance to test the assumptions you’ve made, and get the customer feedback you need to build a stronger product, service, or business in the long run.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF?
Entrepreneurship is uncomfortable. The sooner you get comfortable being uncomfortable, the more open you’ll be to new and creative ways to move your business forward. This is easy in theory. It’s harder in practice when you get so stuck on one way of moving forward that you stop considering other options.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Our plan is to keep exploring new opportunities and partnerships that will get our tools in the hands of the entrepreneurs who need them most. Then, behind the scenes, we’ll be upgrading some of our existing products, and building new ones to make sure we’re the first place people turn when they have a new business idea.
Done is better than perfect. The sooner you put your product or service in front customers, the better. You get the crucial feedback you need before you spend too much time and money going in the wrong direction. Yes, it’s incredibly uncomfortable, but your business will be so much better for it. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Thanks to the GoFullSteam team and good luck!