Credit: Michele Romanow on Twitter
Michele Romanow angry 30 the aforementioned year she was accustomed a armchair on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. It’s a arresting accomplishment because that her business career began nine years beforehand aback she started a zero-consumer-waste coffee boutique with two adolescent Queen’s University students.
So began the activity of a consecutive entrepreneur, as Romanow went on to alpha a cardinal of businesses, including a caviar fishery, one of the country’s bigger e-commerce sites and a couponing app.
When she’s not advance in advancing Canadian moguls, Romanow acts as the admiral of Clearbanc—another aggregation she co-founded—which seeks to accommodate alpha entrepreneurs with allotment that doesn’t crave a claimed guarantee.
Recently, Romanow was in Vancouver as allotment of Clearbanc’s affiliation with Intuit Inc., the banking software aggregation abaft programs like Quickbooks and TurboTax).
BCBusiness bent up with Romanow to ask her about the alliance, as able-bodied as her favourite Dragons’ Den presentations.
Why did Clearbanc accompany forces with Intuit?
We’re both actual amorous about baby businesses and allowance entrepreneurs abound and succeed. We allotment the aforementioned eyes of allowance entrepreneurs abound and abound through assorted altered accoutrement and sources of capital, so that was absolutely the acumen for that.
As Canadians banks alpha to accessible up their abstracts to accoutrement like Quickbooks, do you anticipate the banking industry in Canada is about to see a above overhaul?
I anticipate there’s aloof about a ton of changes accident in fintech overall. Looking at the aftermost 10 years and the abolition of all the big media companies, bodies accept placed a lot of big bets on fintech in the abutting 10 years. Consumers will appetite to accept admission to allotment their abstracts with assorted providers. It’s absolutely never fabricated faculty that your coffer should be abstracted from the means you’re accounting; those should consistently feel jointed and feel easy.
Hopefully all of this makes activity easier for entrepreneurs, whether it’s accepting basic from Clearbanc or accomplishing added seamless accounting. It’s adamantine enough; no one becomes an administrator because they say, “I can’t delay to do my books.” That’s not the primary reason, so annihilation we can do to accomplish it easier is abundant better.
Speaking of Canadian entrepreneurs, what’s your cardinal one allotment of admonition for those aggravating to alpha a business here?
I anticipate my bigger allotment of admonition for new and ambitious entrepreneurs is consistently to alpha now. It never feels like the appropriate time to alpha a business. Lots of bodies appear on Dragons’ Den and say, “I’ve been cerebration about this for 10 years.”
The world’s afflicted in 10 years! It’s that, and again I anticipate it’s blame yourself from planning to execution. Businesses are congenital by 5 percent abundant account but 95 percent execution, so blame yourself into consistently affective faster than others, architecture faster than others, that absolutely leads into your adeptness to innovate, because you’re seeing the bazaar acknowledge faster.
Did it booty you a while to get acclimated to actuality on TV and actuality adequate in that environment?
I absolutely hadn’t done television before. I had no aspirations of accomplishing television per se, but it’s like annihilation abroad as an entrepreneur: you aloof affectionate of dive in bound and apprentice from your mistakes. On TV you get to watch your tapes and bulk out aback you allocution too continued and aback they cut you out and how soundbites work. You affectionate of iterate your way through it, and the CBC admired me, so they brought me back.
You’ve started and invested in assorted companies. Is it adamantine to become an able in altered fields in a bulk of weeks?
I anticipate that there’s a action to starting a aggregation area you absolutely accept to accept that there’s a absolutely altered approaching than the one you’re seeing today. So the botheration is that aback you appear from an industry, you accept all these altered biases, like “Well, we’ve consistently done it like this,” or “We’ve consistently apparent things like this.”
Fundamentally that attitude absolutely prevents you from actuality innovative. And bodies balloon aback you start, what a big advantage it is to not accept any bequest systems. One of the affidavit it’s so adamantine for the banks to move advanced is because they accept actuality that was congenital 40 years ago. You don’t get the affluence of architecture from blemish today; you accept to body on behemothic bequest systems.
Facebook wasn’t invented by a bi-weekly editor. Tesla was not invented by an auto controlling that came and started a new company. All of [Richard] Branson’s businesses were absolutely new to him from the beginning. So I would absolutely altercate that you accept a amazing bulk of acumen advancing in, alive how to be an innovator, alive how to breach bottomward barriers, and alive how to do things bound and how to get ally and absorption aboriginal on than absolutely the ability of the industry.
I anticipate that if we [at Clearbanc] had appear in with a aggregation that had been a coffer for years, we would accept artlessly done things the way they were done previously. That doesn’t beggarly you don’t accept to apprentice fast. You accept to apprentice abundantly fast. You accept to do a ton of reading, ask absolutely adamantine questions and acquisition the appropriate bodies to allocution to. But that’s your job, and that’s the fun allotment of actuality entrepreneur—figuring out what’s been done ahead and how you can body article better.
They were two engineers that came on and had congenital a ancestor padlock. You apperceive how padlocks are air-conditioned annoying? You can’t bethink the aggregate number, and I consistently aberration out because I anticipate I forgot the cipher and I’ll never get my actuality back.
So they put a fingerprint sensor on a padlock. You can either accessible it through your touch, or Bluetooth if you accord addition abroad permission to accessible your lock. Aback they came on the appearance [in 2016], they had done one crowdfunding campaign. And today, they’re accomplishing bisected a actor dollars in sales per month. It’s an amazing product, and its done air-conditioned well. That was absolutely memorable for me, aloof because I anticipate it’s been a absolutely acknowledged pitch.
My antic is consistently that tattoos accept a 10-year shelf life. These guys absolutely congenital from blemish a acting boom that lasts for three weeks and it looks absolutely like a absolute tattoo. The ink is in your skin; it’s air-conditioned cool. You can accomplish your own custom design, or they accept bags on their website. It was a abundant product, and I bethink aback they did the angle they brought out some actual attractive guys with tattoos, so it was funny in that way. But amazing product; it’s been an absurd investment.
Everyone’s wants to apperceive what’s in his or her meat. So they do a box every ages area you can adapt it based on what you appetite to baker for your family. But they antecedent from all bounded farms and it gets delivered to your door. I anticipate they were absolutely memorable because Mark the co-founder is so fiery. He’s not accommodating to booty no for an answer, and aloof had actual able conviction. He was so assiduous about it, and I anticipate that’s a abundant affection of every entrepreneur, aloof never actuality afraid.
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