Welcome to Part Three of the “Everything You Need To Know About Starting A Business” series! Building a business from the ground up can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve consulted with experts who have overcome the very challenges you are facing today. Brent Colby, Marketing Director of FundQI, shares his experience helping grow a business aimed at helping financial aid for students.
What was the reasoning behind starting your small business?
For Zuberi Attard, Founder of FundQi, the mission to help students afford a post-secondary education is a personal one. As Black marginalized at-risk youth who overcame a period of homelessness, Zuberi knows the important role scholarships can play.
“I always knew that I wanted to go to university, but a university education seemed like a dream rather than a plan. What changed my life forever was winning $50,000 in scholarships so that I could continue my studies. Once I graduated, I knew I had to do everything I could to help others not only afford their education but to realize that their dreams are within their reach. Education changed my life and it’s my goal for every student to realize it can change theirs and that they can afford to go to post-secondary.”
What were some of the major challenges of starting your business, and how were you able to navigate them?
Building a software platform is not cheap by any means. As non-technical co-founders, it was very difficult to find and vet the right technical people to bring on board to build our product. We had our vision but we did not have the skills required to actually write the code for the platform. We went through many different developers before we finally found someone fit to be CFO for sweat equity.
Is there a specific quote that motivates you as a small business owner?
My favourite quote is “Just do it.”
At the end of the day, all you need to do is take action, and from that, momentum will build and things will start happening.
Do you have any insight you’d like to share with anyone thinking of starting a business?
It sounds cliche but – don’t ever give up no matter how many times you fall. I like to compare starting a business with my favourite sport – Freestyle Skiing.
In freestyle skiing, one of the most rewarding feelings is learning and mastering a new trick. However, learning new tricks does not come easily. Becoming a master of a new trick brings much pain and frustration. I have witnessed incredibly talented skiers lose their cool, get injured, and even fully question their abilities, all in the name of learning a new trick. At the end of the day, to learn that new trick, you will fall many times, get hurt, and wonder why the hell you are even doing this in the first place. Then, just like that, after countless failures, you find yourself riding away after successfully landing the new trick, realizing all the pain and frustration was worth it. This feeling of success after many failures is unmatched.
The same goes for entrepreneurship. When attempting to build a business, you will get knocked down, be pushed to your mental limits, and be forced to make plenty of sacrifices along the way – just while trying to make it all work. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that you must get comfortable with failure before you get a taste of success. Failure and pain is the price you pay when chasing success, on or off the hill. It’s all in the name of the game.
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