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It was early Summer 2018 when I reached out to hundreds of individuals online — friends and strangers alike — to ask their thoughts on the current Caribbean entertainment landscape in Toronto. If they were happy with the current state I wanted to know how they affirmed that satisfaction, or in the case of dissatisfaction, what alternatives they turned to for relief.
This exercise was the first stage in testing the belief that Toronto’s Caribbean entertainment scene was ready for new blood. This idea had actually been living in my head for over 5 years but I was only now prepared to pursue it. In early 2018 I decided to enroll in a business “accelerator program” to adopt some discipline and framework on how to proceed, plus to have my ideas and solutions poo-poo’d on by scores of critics, CEOs and business leaders who’ve walked the path before.
“Lean startup” is the de facto methodology taught in most/all accelerator programs, startup workshops, etc. and is also taught in post-sec “Entrepreneur 101” programs for those undergrads wishing to work for themselves out of school. One cornerstone of the Lean methodology is the concept of Validated Learning, which basically asserts that the elements of a sustainable business—i.e. your product/service is the right one, for the right person, at the right time—can be measured and improved. Gone are the notions of decision-making based on “I feel like it’s true”, “But my grandma liked the idea”, or “We just need to believe!” (ps. this post is not a commentary on the power of prayer).
It’s from there I began the steps to test my theory that I and other like-minded individuals¹ have a strong desire for change in the status quo² of entertainment options in Toronto’s highly-motivated³ Caribbean culture market.
- did others actually think this way, or just my own wishful thinking?
- who says anyone asked for change? maybe there’s little/no demand
- even if true, who says your “change” is even the right solution?
These are just a few assumptions that have to be treated as gateways before moving full steam ahead with a business vision. If you’re thinking this sound tedious in the vein of “lots of work before actual work” then you’re right; that’s exactly what it takes to develop a sustainable business model. In truth, the core purpose of any startup is the search for a working formula that is designed for growth (scale).
It’s important for any startup/entrepreneur to appreciate what that means to them and how far down that road they go. Not everyone is interested in being a millionaire (shocker, right?). They’ll have to decide where on the spectrum their comfort level lies; whether a small 5-person operation or reaching for the stars, Amazon style.
While chasing my own model, you’ll hear about my own learnings here and on social media!
observer, talker, general provoker