As an entrepreneur, if youâ€™ve been around long enough you realize, aside from the obvious idiosyncrasies common within the various worlds and industries that are occupied by many start-up entities, the nuances between them are as vast as the oceans and in many ways as unique as their respective ecosystems.
In a business environment largely accustomed to the exposure of start- ups, particularly in â€˜entrepreneur heavyâ€™ Alberta, successes and failures are almost becoming commonplace with muted celebration being the norm.
However, our culture is contrarian. So the fact that our humble start-up, Catch Resources, having gone through 18 months of positioning, is now atÂ the acquisition stage is no small feat and certainly worthy of some internal recognition if not celebration, as most entrepreneurs can attest.
The fact we established our start-up within an industry that exists within various states of turmoil reflects a desire to expand our intellectual and entrepreneurial capacity more so than falling under the generally perceived notion that, â€œIt would be impossible to break into the oil and gas industry if you are not from within, so why bother.â€ We decided to bother anyway.
Statistics show that most start-ups are born within a single contemplation. Ours was no different and unfolded as a reflective thought. This one arrivedÂ on a bitterly cold February weekend, as we were contemplating how we might transition from a previous business and parlay our experience into a new-to-us industry.
On a reflective note, one of the fantastic treasures about being an entrepreneur is, at certain junctures, you are afforded what is essentially a blank canvas.
During this reflective time, we were fortunate to be provided our canvas, and over the course of several months, we painted and hung it on the wall (so to speak). We continually added opinions from others, particularly our co-founders. Time and again, we repainted the canvas until finally arriving on what our remarkable business journey would be this time around, including the industry and how we were going to develop the entity.
It is prudent to emphasize that during this stage, one should never, ever, under any circumstance, underestimate the incredible opportunity you have at the moment of conceptionÂ to establish future building blocks for something remarkable.
The fact we elected toÂ start a business withinÂ an industry that is somewhat staid (to say the least), requires buckets of cash, and has enormous technical requirements, meant we might encounter significant obstacles and push back from within. To counter that possibility, we spent an exorbitant amount of time and effort on the little things. We definitely had, and still have, a big picture outlook. However, we felt instinctively our long-term success would hinge on how detailed we were at building the foundation of our company. As opposed to simply adding industry specific talent for the sake of shoring up our management team (as an example), we wanted to appeal to lenders and brokers. While the former approach works extremely well for those who have built oil and gas entities in the past and who may be P.Eng or P.Geoâ€™s, we felt strongly, given our limited experience within the industry, it did not seem wise for us to duplicate that model.
With the â€œwhatâ€ and the â€œwhoâ€ now well in hand, we focused our attention on templating our entry strategy. During this process, there were several nuances that quickly emerged. Many of these remained specific to starting a business in an industry that is not a core competency. Item one is the reinforcement a business is still a business no matter what industry or sector you elect to pursue. The second is no matter how many obstacles or barriers to entry an industry or sector may present, itâ€™s always really helpful to remember item one. â€˜Basic Principles of Businessâ€™ generally apply and adapt to all businesses regardless of how much you may or may not know about the sector personally. If you understand this fully, it will allow you the confidence to build the technical team and expertise required to maneuver within it at your pace and criterion.
As mentioned earlier, we spent the first full year outlining how to enter the industry and tried very hard to consider all variables and barriers. From that vantage point, we built our existing strategy, which for the most part has come to pass as a solid â€œfirst time entry into the industryâ€ game plan.
Working from the guidance of our core strategy, we have achieved milestones, experienced accomplishments, and overcome setbacks overÂ the past 18 months. Some have been minor and some not so minor but all have been appreciated and recognized for what they are: a step in the right direction based on our corporate and board-aligned strategic â€œFOCUSâ€.
Our team knows there is much heavy lifting yetÂ to come, specifically, the conclusion of our primary asset acquisition and completion of our Mutual Fund Trust, both of which will fulfill our commitment to be generating revenue by 2015.
Until then however, I wish you true happiness, fantastic health, and outstanding success in all your endeavors.