Keith Ippel’s top 5 tips for your Island business success

On September 27, 2018 LIFT is hosting its third PitchFest event. This event features six Vancouver Island entrepreneurs pitching for prizes to a panel of four judges, and kicking off with a keynote by Keith Ippel, founder and CEO of global startup school Spring Activator. Afterwards, our #WeAreYQQPartyCrew will be hosting another signature “definitely NOT your Dad’s networking event” party.

I interviewed our keynote, Keith Ippel in 2017. This is a re-post of that interview with some additional notes at the bottom. FMI about PitchFest3 and to get your early bird tickets click this button…

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I’ve asked Keith to keynote because I think his value-focused approach to business will resonate with business owners in our region. He’s a four-time serial entrepreneur, and currently the CEO of Spring Activator, a global startup school based in Vancouver. Over the past 10+ years, he’s been an advisor and a mentor to many startups in tech, non-tech, and non-profit sectors. In three years with Spring Activator he’s helped over 300 aspiring entrepreneurs launch over 150 “impact” (social, environmental) businesses, some of whom have reached $1M in sales in that time.

Top 5 tips for startups success

Keith’s fun to be around. I’ve interviewed him several times over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to working more with him and with Spring in the coming months. LIFT and Spring have put together an agreement where LIFT members (aka LIFT VIPs) get a 30% discount on Spring courses. More on that later. For this interview, I asked Keith about his top five things every entrepreneur needs to do to ensure business success.

1. Speed

That doesn’t mean running around like a chicken with your head cut off. It means having a plan A, plan B, and a plan C – and then moving as fast as possible within the bounds of plan and structure to make sure that you’re ahead of the competition. Every business idea has 16 competitors. Those who execute well will win.

2. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses

As leaders, we need to know where we are strong and passionate. But it’s just as important to know the things that we’re not good at. This enables us to build a team of people who have complementary skills and frees us to focus on the most important things. Sometimes the team is in-house. Sometimes they’re consultants. Sometimes they’re advisors and mentors.

3. Spend as little as possible

Time is money. In our early days, we need to be really tight with our budgets, because we want to maximise the amount of time we have to prove that there’s a market for our product or service. We maximise that time by making our money go further.

4. The five Ms: market, management, money, momentum, magic

We need to know explicitly who our target market is. We need to know how to invest in the team that will grow our business. We need to know how to make and raise money. We need to show traction, both to our customers and to the people we’re working with. And the magic? It’s how we’re unique to customers, how we’re different from everybody around us.

5. Learn about “no”

It’s important to know that “no’s” have different meanings. With customers and partners, we can’t take no for an answer. We’ve got to dig deep, understand why people are saying “no,” so that we can get to a “yes.” On the flip side, we need to learn to say “no” to ourselves. We need to use “no” to protect our time so that we avoid distractions and stay focused.

LIFT Special Events: Free tickets when you’re listed on the Vancouver Island business directory!

If you’re a LIFT member, you get free tickets to most of our Special Events (the exception is our Festive Cheer community fundraiser). To sign up for LIFT membership, list your Vancouver Island business on the Island’s only social media-powered directory at

What are #WeAreYQQ parties all about? Here’s a video sampler from our September 2016 #WeAreYQQ PitchFest & Party by LIFT Community Partner Island Soul Films…

Want more information, ideas, and stories about startup success?

Check out 11 Entrepreneurs Stories – Inspiring People That Found Startup Success.

@hanspetermeyer on Twitter and Instagram