Data & Analysis

6 Habits for Entrepreneurs in 2017

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If you were anywhere near social media at the end of last year, you probably read the constant stream of hate for 2016. Some publications even so boldly proclaimed that 2016 was the worst year ever.

However, 2016 was a remarkable year for venture capital. According to preliminary 2016 year-in-year data, we saw record highs for venture capital in Canada.

Fintech also saw an impressive 2016 in Canada. Venture-capital financing in Canadian fintech was up 74 per cent in 2016; with Toronto and Montreal ranking as top global fintech centres.

We no doubt credit this success to investors who are continually taking risks and supporting new technology and early-stage businesses, but also to founders and entrepreneurs who’re propelling the industry with new and disruptive business models and disruptive new ideas, products and services.

With the worst year ever” behind us, 2017 allows us to look at what worked and what didn’t work in 2016; providing an opportunity to create new habits, establish new trends and approach business with a new energy and attitude. It’s a time to manifest new successes for the future.

The CVCA caught up with a few investors last week to ask their take on opportunities founders and entrepreneurs looking to scale in 2017 should adopt for a successful year ahead. Here are 6 areas identified as habits for entrepreneurs to adopt in 2017:


Stay focused, and challenge yourself to be epically creative within that focus. As entrepreneurs, we all get enamored with squirrel”, the perpetual shiny light that takes us off track from our primary focus. Staying focused on two to three key priorities for the year and challenging yourself to think creatively on how you can achieve, and exceed, those priorities is key for any successful entrepreneur.

Set Goals:

In a world where there’s typically much more to do than available time, resist the temptation to focus solely on day-to-day activities and front line tasks. Allocate a block of time each week to examine where the company is heading; its goals, challenges, and action items. Start with a couple of hours per week and grow the habit from there.

The Devil is in the Details:

Business, technology, and sales plans can quickly become out of date, and this is especially true for financial forecasts. Growing companies need capital, so ensuring that items financial partners will need to see to do a deal are kept current, should be treated as an ongoing responsibility.


Since human, financial, and time related resources are precious, seek ways to achieve more than one objective at once. Building a robust financial forecast model for a business plan, for example, can also be implemented on an ongoing basis for budgeting, forecasting, and analysis purposes. When the right people are in place, opportunities to work smart will rise to the surface.

Exposure Therapy:

Growing a company often requires expertise and ideas beyond that of a single entrepreneur or management team. Seek out a variety of perspectives of those who can bring additional expertise to the table; it’s a necessary part of fueling and successfully conquering growth. Start building your professional network now.

Keep your Ear to the Ground:

Managing a company can create distance between its leadership and where sales are generated. Take active steps to make these areas a priority: tracking industry developments and trends; understanding customer needs and how their business is changing; and keeping up-to-date with competitors and their offering.