Building a business out of nothing isn’t easy. Scaling a business is a whole other animal, and you’re going to want Brodie weighing in.
Our Scale Up programs are designed to help tackle rapid-growth issues and promote future success through customized action and a curated team of mentors and experts who have the industry and business experience.
What makes our mentors so qualified? They’ve been there. They’ve lived the challenges, thrived in success and, most importantly, learned what leads to both of those outcomes.
We recently caught up with one of our mentors, Brodie Desimone, to find out more about what makes him so uniquely qualified.
Building a Foundation
Kelowna is like San Francisco 35 years ago. A foundation needs to be built in order to repeat San Francisco’s growth here. There has to be space for the entrepreneurs, a talent pool that grows over time and funding—that’s where the OKGN Angel Summit comes in. These need to be implemented in a way that continuously supports one another.
There are lots of benefits to working within a large organization, especially one that has a high-level standard of hiring. At Microsoft, I always felt like the dumbest guy in the room—which was a good thing. It encouraged me to dig deeper and work harder. It opened up a lot of doors for pursuing projects and professional development. No one hangs up the phone when you work for Microsoft.
Becoming a Mentor
I learned a lot about mentoring and how to put teams together at Microsoft. That was a key success—learning that you couldn’t be an entrepreneur alone. Before joining Accelerate Okanagan as a mentor, I was carefully choosing companies to work with on my own. Now, it’s more of a community-focused project of identifying the companies and curating the program. It’s introduced me to a lot of companies that I may not have chosen to engage with previously.
The Right Fit
You have to put the right mentor and entrepreneur together. I find I work best with entrepreneurs who know how to grow as an individual and who look at things in new ways. I often use the analogy of lenses. We’re born looking through the world with certain lenses and, as we grow, we layer different lenses overtop. Having someone who is self-aware enough to recognize those lenses, and break them, are the mentoring experiences I strive for.
A Unique Asset
I have expertise in working with SaaS businesses. It’s a specialized marketplace with specific measurements and licensing models that need to be looked at. I also have experience in funding and raising money, helping companies exit. Most companies looking for an exit put themselves in a position that leads them to get a lower buyout because they haven’t prepared for that eventuality.
Products Don’t Succeed, People Do
Earlier on, I focused more on what it was I was investing in. What I’ve come to realize is that you can have an absolutely amazing team working with an inferior product and still find success, but it’s really hard to succeed with the ultimate product backed by a bad team. Now, I weigh 66% of my investing choices on the team, their coachability and how they’ll grow.
Why I Mentor
Some people are coachable, others are resistant to it. Entrepreneurs tend to get distracted dealing with the fire du jour—they get saturated with what’s in front of them. Seeing someone light up, someone who gets it, someone who is transforming their business and seeing success, those are the proudest moments.
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