This week’s episode of Dragons’ Den featured the best and brightest young entrepreneurs from across Canada, and it was fantastic. Shining examples included Julian Marchese, a 14-year-old financial whiz kid who successfully day trades after school, Nathan Blok, a 17-year-old competitive racer selling ad space on his Formula Four car, and Julia Kirouac, a 23-year old nutritionist who’s developed a line of healthy, vegan, gluten-free snacks. Arlene Dickinson summed up the mood in the Den when she said, “I feel good about the future of this country knowing it’s in the hands of entrepreneurs like you.”
My favourite pitch of the night came from two grade nine students, Daryn Pancer and Cole Zeldin, who did not get a deal. Their company, “Heads Up,” is based on a Bluetooth enabled baseball hat they invented. The Dragons’ loved the innovation, but not the product, and encouraged the kids to keep on designing and developing.
The point that hit home for me is when Arlene said, “Not every idea is going to be a home run. Maybe this isn’t the one – the key is to keep trying.” Could any words be truer for the entrepreneur? How many ideas have we had, things that we’ve tried, that haven’t gone as planned? Or worse, flopped altogether?
When Danielle and I meet a super-successful entrepreneur, we always ask how she did it. More often than not, we learn that her successful business isn’t her first kick at the can.
Last week Danielle and I met a mompreneur working in a direct sales company. She oversees 150 sales associates and is making a pile of money. When I congratulated her on her success, she was quick to admit that this is her fourth attempt at direct sales. Imagine – trying once and failing, trying twice and failing, trying a third time and failing – and then picking yourself up and trying yet again. But the focus of our conversation was not about her past failures. Rather, and I truly believe this, we talked about how all of her past experiences are the reason that she is where she is today. She has leveraged all of what she has learned – the good and the bad – and made sure to apply it correctly this time around.
So if at first you don’t succeed, sometimes it’s a matter of trying again. As for all those Canadian student entrepreneurs – whether they got deals or not – the future looks bright.