By Rawan Disouky, Communications Intern at RIC Centre
Now that you have started a business, what’s next? We know it can be very overwhelming thinking about what comes after the windstorm. Networking, partnerships, growth strategies and following a realistic path are some examples. Although the process may seem intimidating, it can be made easier with the proper mentality and right guidance – a few things Bruce Annis, VP Sales and Marketing and co-founder of Knectek Labs Inc., a Toronto based smart home company helps achieve as a RIC Centre Volunteer Advisor.
Bruce was introduced to Axis Labs and made a profound difference while being their advisor. “Bruce has been absolutely instrumental in the success of our venture. He has been serving as an advisor to our team, specifically helping us launch our product into the custom install channel. Over the last year and a half, he has provided us deep insights into the industry, made valuable introductions with potential industry partners and provided constructive product feedback. It is safe to say that we wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for Bruce,”- Axis explains.
“My goal is to be productive with my client, ensure they are coachable, ensure there is a clear alignment on the scope and the timeline for the consultation and to add real value by being specific in terms of expected outcomes,” explains Bruce. “I gained a lot of experience at Logitech and BlackBerry setting up various distribution models across North America and globally which allows me to craft advise to my clients.”
Bruce reshapes his client’s perspectives, makes entrepreneurs think in real time, helps them execute their go-to market strategy, validates what they have, and allows them to build partnerships to help them grow sustainable businesses. He believes that networking and connecting people together can be a very productive way for clients to step into the right direction.
“If you agree that you can learn from failure I have a lot to offer! In some cases, I can provide cautionary advice regarding go-to-market strategy, in other cases I have direct leads and contacts to help with business development,” explains Bruce.
With more than thirty years of work experience, and two years as a volunteer advisor at RIC Centre, Bruce has been a great asset to his clients by guiding them through different chapters in their development process. Bruce specializes in areas such as consumer electronics, home automation, mobile, sales, marketing, strategy and channel development.
“Bruce is a uniquely valuable advisor at RIC. He patiently listens and seeks to understand the business market, and issues at hand. Bruce can draw from his own vast industry experience and knowledge to ask pertinent questions to promote constructive thinking surrounding the business.” Armand Raz, Founder of Fidure and a RIC Centre client has found value in having Bruce Annis as his volunteer advisor. “He is also an avid proponent of market research and reliable data to cut through the fog and formulate a plan tailored to our business environment. Even though Bruce is a volunteer advisor, he approached our business challenges with commitment. As a result, we’ve markedly benefited from his input,” Armand claims.
Being an entrepreneur himself, Bruce recognizes the struggles and is grateful to be able to help entrepreneurs and startups grow and accomplish their goals. “RICC provides a really gratifying networking forum that is productive for advisors as well as technology entrepreneurs. It is a great way to stay current on local trends and technology, and the people on both sides of the desk are talented and interesting,” clarifies Bruce.
For those who are trying to start a business or are struggling to run one, Bruce advises to ‘know thyself’. Personal objectives have to be aligned with your business plan both in terms of risk and lifestyle. “Also, halve your revenue expectations and double your product development timelines,” Bruce adds.
According to Bruce, volunteering with the RIC Centre is a win-win for the parties involved. Bruce has used the opportunity to participate in monthly Advisory Panels and Regional Forums to help many of his clients navigate through and after the windstorm.