Allan Isfan is a co-founder of FaveQuest, a young start-up. This blog covers start-up topics.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


ten reason for launching a startup NOW!

I was privileged to have been invited to speak to a group of entrepreneurs last night. The group was taking part in OCRI's entrepreneurs edge program. This program consists of five half days of intense training lead some of Ottawa's top entrepreneurs.

I was asked to talk about my experience at Catena Networks (where I cut my startup teeth) and FaveQuest, my new venture. Startups are much harder than you would think but also more rewarding than you could imagine. I did my best to share the highs and lows, including mistakes that I have made along the way and any words of advice.

I closed the talk with my top ten reasons why now is a perfect time to launch a bootstrapped startup or revector and recharge and existing company. Here are my top ten reasons (some borrowed from others):

10. Opportunity to demonstrate your skill and tenacity
-most people don't have the courage to bootstrap a company in this climate
-you have to be compelling to get partners and paying customers in this climate. If you do, it says something significant your team.

9. Tighter teams
-if your team sticks together in the tough times, you'll emerge extremely tight
-don't forget, if you're an entrepreneur you'll be doing lots of startups so building tight teams that stick together from one startup to another is a big deal

8. Focus
-you don't have the luxury of goofing around and build "wouldn't it be cool if" type concepts
-that is not to stay that you shouldn't test different things and experiment to see what works and what doesn't

7. More people available
-nuff said

6. Market disruption
-the market is experiencing a major disruption which creates opportunity

5. Less competition
-many startups will drop off, especially if they don't know how to be frugal
-large companies have been cutting so heavily, they are in a frozen state from a major innovation perspective

4. Frugal
-this economy teaches you to be extremely frugal. This will serve you well when things rebound. Furthermore, you frugality implies you can massively undercut your competition.

3. Lower Costs
-you can get equipment for cents on the dollar, rent office space for much less than you would in boom times and salaries are much more reasonable.

2. Forced to test the market
-if you are relying on revenues for operations, you don't have the choice but to go sell and close deals. that means you are very close to the market

1. ? I'll leave this one to you

What do you think is the # 1 reason your company has a better chance of succeding because you started it in a down market?

Looking forward to your thoughts.



Link to Entrepreneur's edge info (

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Anonymous Michael McKay said...

I Allan,

Sorry I missed the talk.

I'd say the number one reason to start in a downturn is that it gives you time to prepare, develop, innovate and build relationships. In a booming market, speed is critical and expensive. Delays in time-to-market can be killers. In a down-turn, you have more time to prepare your business and customers for the booming times to come. Then, when the market is ready to buy, you will be ready to sell in volume.

11:47 PM

Anonymous Rick O'Connor said...

Hi Allan,
I enjoyed your talk at the dinner and I've covered it on my blog here.

My view of the #1 reason is "money". In these times having the whole team focused on staying the course and driving for money generating products and services goes a long way to creating a successful venture.

12:15 PM


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