Building the Blueprint: Early Steps Towards Long-Term Business Success

Shane Murphy: Don't get too hung up on that initial idea. Get the business going, get out there and you'll,

you'll find the uh, the full value after you have those discussions and remain open to.

you are listening to the Business Leadership Podcast with Edwin Frondozo

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening biz leaders. Welcome to this special episode of the Business Leadership Podcast, which is brought to you in collaboration with RBC.

This is the Growth Unlocked podcast miniseries designed to guide business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs through today's dynamic business landscape.

Today, we have the pleasure of hosting Karen Grieve Young, Executive Director of Futurepreneur, and Shane Murphy, CEO of OWNR, along with co host Don Ludlow from RBC.

Our conversation will revolve around the essential early steps for aspiring entrepreneurs, the broader outlook of entrepreneurship in Canada, and the pivotal role of business planning for long term success. This episode is a treasure trove of actionable insights.

Whether you're kickstarting or advancing your entrepreneurial journey, proudly presented by RBC, let's dive into the Growth Unlock podcast. Here we go.

Edwin Frondozo: Great. Let's start off by introducing our guest, Shane. You're an entrepreneur yourself. You're the co-founder of Founded Technologies. I'd love it if you could tell us a bit about your experience over the years, your personal entrepreneurial journey, and how you leverage your experience when shaping OWNR strategies, products, and services in your role as CEO.

Shane Murphy: For sure. Yeah. Thanks, Edwin. It's great to be here and to join this chat with you. The short version of my story was, my career really starts when I was a young corporate commercial lawyer in Toronto. And I was enjoying the work. I thought it was a really rewarding career, but I saw a few things.

One that I. The legal industry was changing very quickly, and technology was being used in new ways, and there was an incredible amount of room for disruption within the law as a profession. So that got me thinking. And then another thing was that I I really love working with entrepreneurs and small business owners, and every year I progressed as a lawyer. I became more and more expensive, and it was more and more difficult for small business owners to hire me as their lawyer. So putting those two things together I started thinking about how can I leverage technology and how can I leverage my passion for small business owners to build something new that would really allow small business owners to get top-notch service in a way that they could afford, in a way that was accessible.

Jumping ahead a few years, I left law and started a technology company, which was called Founded Technologies. And it wasn't an easy road or an easy transition, but eventually What we found a lot of demand for was the service of incorporating small businesses, so very early stage businesses. Often the first thing they needed from a lawyer was the, just the process of getting incorporated, getting the business formally structured. So instead of going to a lawyer, we said we could build technology that would allow them to do that themselves to the same standard as a. So we did find some great product market fit and grew the business. Served a few thousand entrepreneurs. One of the best things that happened was we developed a great commercial relationship with RBC often because the next question an entrepreneur would have after they were incorporated was, where do I go to get great banking services for my new small business?

Where do I get the financial support I need? So building that relationship with RBC was great for, for us because, We have then could provide more value. And then over the years, and especially once the pandemic hit and there was even more demand for online services, it just made sense for us to join forces with RBC.

So we were required in 2020 we joined under the umbrella of OWNR, and that's as we're currently operating as OWNR within RBCx, which is the tech and innovation platform within RBC. And yet to jump to the present day. It's we've just grown the business every year. We've currently served over 140,000 Canadian businesses, so really serving a lot of Canadian businesses and helping them.

Edwin Frondozo: I guess over to you, Karen. I'd love it if you could share and maybe tell the listeners if they haven't heard about Futurpreneur yet who you are and how the organization helps young aspiring business owners today.

Karen Greve Young: Absolutely. I'd love to start because of who we're with today with future prayer's, origin story. In 1996, RBC was one of two financial institutions who realized that young entrepreneurs launching Main Street businesses were vital for Canada's economy and were just too risky to really fit naturally within the banks risk profile for lending and put money aside to start a nonprofit. That became Futurpreneur. It was Canadian Youth Business Foundation for years and we rebranded a few years ago. The whole idea is how do we help young age 18 to 39 entrepreneurs launch businesses. Some of them might grow huge majority Nicks, Skip The Dishes, Goodfood, smart sweets. There were lots of household names that were and major Canadian brands that were originally supported by Futurpreneur. There're also our food trucks, chocolate companies, personal fitness trainers tailors who are Futurpreneur clients. All of them needed money and mentorship to get started, and that's where Futurpreneur comes in.

We have money and mentorship up to $60,000. From Futurpreneur and our partners at the Business Development Bank of Canada, paired with up to two years of mentorship offered to entrepreneurs right as they're launching their business. And this money, it's non-dilutive financing.

So it's a loan, it's interest only in the first year. So they have a year to get their feet under them before they have to start paying principal payments back. And it really, for a lot of the kinds of entrepreneurs we support it's what they need, it's what they need to get going. And we have in our 27 years supported more than 17,000 young entrepreneurs across the country in every province and territory, in communities of all sizes, rural, remote, big cities. And I'm particularly proud of some of the programs we've developed in recent years to help entrepreneurs get going. We have the RBC funded Rock My Business series where we realize that a lot of entrepreneurs come to us before they're really ready to launch, and they first, they start with an idea and they might need some time to, to work through that idea, and then they need a business plan. So we've rocked my business idea, rock my Business Plan, rock my Business Cash Flow as a workshop series funded by RBC, delivered by our team to help entrepreneurs get to the point where they're ready to apply for that money and that mentorship, that financing. And then we have a tailored program in the pre-launch stage for Cal O Peaky win, which means growth and Cree for indigenous entrepreneurs. And that's some of the work we've done in recent years, creating tailored programs. Particularly for indigenous entrepreneurs and black entrepreneurs who just starting a business is hard for everybody. It's harder for some communities than it is for others. And those are two communities facing barriers. And we were incredibly grateful that when RBC made its hundred million dollar commitment to black led businesses in 2020, which was a really bold commitment. The team at RBC came to future preneur to see if we could partner in delivering part of that commitment, and that's exactly what we're doing.

Our Black Entrepreneur Startup program, I. Launched in 2021. The very next day after we launched the first black entrepreneur Sean Raymond, out of out of the Duke, Alberta, got his loan and his mentor and off to the races. And, in the first couple of years alone, over 300 entrepreneurs supported through that program. So national scale delivered regionally by team members with lived experience. Those core building blocks, money and mentorship that young entrepreneurs need to start and succeed. That's what we do.

Edwin Frondozo: Don, it feels like OWNR is more relevant now than ever with the entrepreneurial aspirations and activities running strong in the Canadian economy. I know RBC recently did a study on entrepreneurial trends. Is there anything interesting that you could share with with us, with the listeners today?

Don Ludlow: Yeah, certainly Edwin and of course RBC runs periodic surveys of Canadians and entrepreneurs just to make sure that we're really staying on top of what's top of mind for them and aware of any, trends that are developing. And our most recent survey revealed some really interesting insights around the factors that are driving different generations to to dip their toes in entrepreneurship and become business owners.

For example, having reached the pinnacle of their careers many Canadians see small business ownership as a logical next step for them to continue to grow professionally. About two thirds of Canadians and business owners say that they peaked in their role or their job at work and business ownership was really the next step to help them thrive.

And that actually increases to about 71% when you're talking those that are 35 to 54 years of age. As well, 8 in 10 Canadians say they're motivated to be an entrepreneur to live in a way that's a little bit different than what they can get in the corporate world. Finding freedom and flexibility uh, is really important for Canadians and aspiring entrepreneurs, really being one's own boss. And that seems to be our driving force behind

much of this trend.

In fact the vast majority of people that we surveyed, Canadians or small business owners said that um, the mean incentive for entrepreneurship was to be one's own boss. That was 94% of the people that we surveyed said that.

And Shane, I'm wondering, for those that are aspiring to entrepreneurship looking back on your own experiences, what are some of the common

challenges or pitfalls that people encounter along their journey? And uh, and how did you overcome them?

What, what advice would you have for others?

Shane Murphy: Yeah, thanks Don. I think my, the advice I keep coming back to when I look at my personal journey is to tell entrepreneurs not to fall in love with their business idea, especially not early on.

in the startup world, we always talk about pivoting and that's become a real buzzword to pivot.

But what it really means is just being open to new opportunities and seizing those opportunities as they arise. In my personal journey, we really were focused on those legal services and incorporation services, which continue to be a great value driver for us. We were totally oblivious to the idea of bank value when we started the business and that connection between incorporation and bank value.

The only way we uncovered that whole, mountain of value that was inherent in our business was by reaching out and talking to other people. It was, when we built those relationships and had the discussions, it became quite obvious that there was a valuable synergy there. Within that advice, there's also, you just have to. Get out of your shell and talk to others, talk to other entrepreneurs, talk to people in the business world and find, people who've done similar things and people who on the surface are doing something totally different. 'cause you might find those connections there. But when you have those conversations and really branch out, that's where you can see, seize the opportunities that are available. And if you need to pivot your business model that's great. But it really goes back to the first thing I said, which. Don't get too hung up on that initial idea. Get the business going, get out there and you'll find the the full value after you have those discussions and remain open to.

Don Ludlow: Karen how does Futurpreneur help young entrepreneurs uh, get their businesses started , get going and maybe avoid some of the uh, the, the challenges or pitfalls that uh, the chain and others have encountered on their uh, their journey.

Karen Greve Young: Yeah, it's a good, it's a great question and, to some extent the pitfalls and obstacles are different for different businesses, but there are some common threads, and the one that Shane mentioned, which is so key, is you can't fall too in love with your initial idea. There's the the Iki guy framework, which is a brilliant one, which is what you wanna find is that intersection of what you love. What you're passionate about, what the world needs, and what someone will pay you for. And I think often entrepreneurs have two or three of those, but not all four. And that's where some of those pivots come in. And you might start off with something that you that you love, you're passionate about, you think the world needs. But the world wants it for free, and that's actually where our feature burner team comes in. That's where that rock my business idea and rock my business plan workshopping comes in to help entrepreneurs talk through their ideas and flesh them out, and it's so brilliant that. That RBC funds these programs, 'cause they're really high touch, they're really intensive for entrepreneurs to work with, networks they wouldn't have access to otherwise, to work through some of these iterations before they launch. And then we have a whole team of entrepreneurs and residents and client relationship managers who work with entrepreneurs on their business plan and their cash flow to make sure they're realistic, by their nature are optimistic. People who believe in the art of the possible and are excited about what they can do, that's amazing. And then they're running a business in the real world. So we try to make sure that they're ready for that real world. If you have a business plan and you want to go into a regulated sector, You need to actually have the whatever, credential, certificates, certifications to run a business. And we help answer some of those questions upfront. And then the other thing that Shane mentioned is not to be alone. Not, talking to people. We have people both on our teams and connecting entrepreneurs with other entrepreneurs to really helps them. It's such a lonely journey. think it's even lonely for people who start with co-founders, but it's really lonely for solo founders. And so if you can create that network around you and have the kind of the future printer family around you getting started, it'll increase an entrepreneur's likelihood of succeeding.

Edwin Frondozo: Over to you, Don, I mean, beyond. Those official steps of creating a business and separating those business and personal finances, what are some of the early steps that entrepreneurs should probably prioritize when setting up their business to ensure of their long-term success?

Don Ludlow: Yeah, Edwin, so important to uh, get started on the right foot.

and that starts with getting your finances in order right at the beginning. And to help you figure that out. We would say there's probably four key questions that, that you've gotta ask your ask yourself.

And the first is like, how much do I need to start and get things going? And, and you've gotta consider everything in there that that your business might need to get off the ground. Whether that's, gosh, the cost of a website, insurance staff, inventory, raw materials, signs and of course working capital.

So you gotta add it all up and figure out, okay, what do I need to get going outta the gates? Then determine how much you actually need your business to make. You've gotta, you've gotta generate enough from this business to leave you in a secure financial position. So do up a budget and a forecast, and that'll tell you whether or not you can really get by on the business that that that you're planning.

Next ask yourself, are your personal finances in order? Knowing how much you need to have on hand for your existing financial commitments on the personal side without running your businesses down to zero or taking on unnecessary debts are really important. And that'll tell you whether or not you're ready right now for full-time entrepreneurship.

And then finally ask yourself where are you gonna get the money to fund your new business? If you've got a great stash of cash set aside already, then then you may be in a good spot. However, you may need to work a bit longer to get that startup capital or just do it as a bit of a side gig until you've got some momentum going before you can really make it your your full-time full-time job.

Those are all, really critical questions. For a business owner to start before heading along that that entrepreneurial path. And by getting that right from the start, it really lays the foundations for long-term success. The good thing is there's lots of tools and resources available to help entrepreneurs do all of that. To plan, establish, and and grow their business. We've got a great resource called the RBC Small Business Navigator site. There's all kinds of tools and resources in there to help you figure that stuff out and do the planning. So check it out. I know, I know. Uh, entrepreneurs and our own clients uh, just love it.

And then, there's other considerations too that you've gotta get right from the the outset such as . The type of business structure that you're gonna adopt. And so Shane, when it comes to deciding how you're gonna set up your business, whether that's an incorporation a sole proprietorship how, how does uh, how does an entrepreneur figure out what what structure is right for them?

Shane Murphy: Yeah, it's a great question and it's honestly a question we receive multiple times a day, at OWNR. On a very high level, the reasons to incorporate a business come down to liability tax considerations. So to determine whether. Incorporating is right for you. It's going to depend a lot on where you are within your entrepreneur entrepreneurial journey. So if I just take liability for a second, I think we could all agree that starting a small business is inherently risky and you're taking on some, some risk when you are uh, setting out as an entrepreneur to start a business. The level of risk within your business is going to depend on a whole bunch of factors like how much money you're putting into it. What kind of industry you're operating in and all those other factors. So you'll have to look at how much inherent risk is in your business, and do you need to limit that risk on day one by, incorporating before you start operating? Or can you operate for a little while and look at incorporating in the. On the tax point, it's really a question of when will you see the tax benefits of incorporating if you have to withdraw every dollar you make as a business to support yourself personally, effectively flowing funds through your business to you personally, there's not going to be any immediate tax benefits to incorporating, because everything's going to land with you personally from a revenue perspective, but when you've grown to the point where you can keep some of your funds, Within the corporation and effectively reinvest that money on marketing, employees, equipment, whatever you need, then you will see some tax benefits. So to give a shorter answer, I think you'll have to say that, you can always start as a sole proprietor and look at incorporating in the future once you give some thought to To those liability and tax considerations. But if you're committed to your business and you know your business is going to be something you're operating for the long term, you might as well get it incorporated early because incorporation is inevitable if you're going to be deeply invested in this business over a long time. What I find is often entrepreneurs wait too long to get incorporated, which is one more reason why we're really. Proud of how easy and quick we make it at owner to get incorporated, so entrepreneurs can do it earlier through an online platform. And of course, if anyone wants any additional information about determining if incorporation is right for you or if you can proceed as a sole proprietor owners blog is full of helpful information that to help entrepreneurs make that choice, depending on their own circumstances, it's decision guidance on that decision. Sole proprietorship, incorporation, partnership, or other business structures that might be available to you.

[00:20:31] Business Plan

Edwin Frondozo: Addressing to you, Don, what would you consider to be really the critical elements for those who are looking to launch, when they're developing that business plan?

Are there any specific factors that are particularly essential to incorporate in a well-rounded business plan?

Don Ludlow: Yeah, for sure. And I think to start a well thought of business plan is really important in, in explaining to others and to yourself. What it's gonna take to succeed and actually writing it down, like it's great to think it through. Writing it down can make all the difference I think between success and failure.

And so when you're thinking about what goes into uh, a business plan, and this doesn't have to be a novel, but it should be, a really well organized and documented plan that outlines a bunch of things. First of all what do you think your business's strengths. Weaknesses, opportunities and threats are, this is sometimes referred to as a SWOT analysis, and you can put it on a grid and then it lays up pretty clearly.

Okay. Well, there, that's the environment I'm working in and, and kind of what I'm bringing to the table.

Next what, what are your, what are your distribution channels? How do you, how do you plan to sell distribute uh, the, the product or service uh, that you're, that you're providing to others?

What's the required equipment and resources that you're gonna need in order to to make all that happen? And then what's your marketing plan? How do you let people know about all this? What's a competitive environment look like? How do you stack up compared to others? Uh, how do you get word out whether that's advertising or social media?

And then finally, the financial component. Do up a budget and a cashflow forecast. And, doing all that from the start. Really uh, gets you going on the right foot. And it's important to periodically review this as well, at least on an annual basis, to see how you're tracking against your plans and how you need to evolve your plans based on what you are learning

and in order to to continue on that path of uh, success.

A business plan's not a static thing, it's a, it's a living document that you want to evolve. As you learn and and grow your your business, and it's never too early to uh, to start a business plan, start writing it down right now if you have a great idea, and then start building it out there.

And it can become a really important document to share with others and to help engage them and get support from them, whether that's uh, you know, uh, suppliers bankers. Other partnersthat you're gonna engage and work with in order to to help your your business succeed.

And, not only does it help articulate to others and clarify for yourself but it gives you a lot of credibility with others. And I think it gives you a lot of confidence. That you've thought things through and that you've that you're stepping forward in the right way.

Edwin Frondozo: That's the wrap is leaders. Thank you for joining us on this installment of the growth unlocked podcast mini series, brought to you in collaboration with RBC. For more details about our guests, Karen Greve Young, Shane Murphy. And the invaluable insight shared today. Head over to the website at You also find all the resources mentioned in this episode, linked directly in the show notes in the app you're listening to.

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Stay tuned for the next episode where we'll delve further into the foundation aspects of entrepreneurial success. Until then, keep pushing the boundaries and make every day a 100X day.

Salli: .

Thank you for listening to the Business Leadership Podcast with Edwin Frondozo.

Building the Blueprint: Early Steps Towards Long-Term Business Success
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