What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Business — How It All Started | Part One

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Business — How It All Started | Part One

By: David Waizel
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Lead Image Designed by David Waizel

As a student, you may have thought about wanting to become an entrepreneur, have an idea for a business, or are curious about entrepreneurship. Throughout the past year, I’ve started a small studio called Studio Kleio with the help of SFU Venture Connection’s incubator and eCoop (entrepreneurial Coop) programs

This is a very honest account of the success, downfall, and possible redemption of my venture Studio Kleio. I've summarized the most valuable pieces of advice I can give you, but I realize there is a lot to this story, which is why this will be told in a three-part series. If I can give you even the tiniest help or insights from my experience, I’ll be satisfied.

I want to preface this by saying that I am by no means an expert on entrepreneurship, which is why this is simply an account from a student like you who that has gone through this experience and has some tips to share. While I may not touch on every subject or theme regarding entrepreneurship, I hope that I can give you some insight into my experience of trying to start a venture during my undergrad.

How It All Started

A little over a year ago, five of my friends from an IAT/Business entrepreneurship program that used to be called “Business of Design” that is now known as “Make Change Studios”(BUS 338) , were on the brink of deciding our final project. Half of us had been working on a project related to tea and family connections, whereas the other half, the one I was in, had been working on a project regarding the SFU Gondola.

“3… 2…1!” our prof said, “Make a group!”

Just like that, everyone split up from our old projects. Another friend and I joined the tea set group, and that was that. I guess you could say that was the moment our venture began.

For good or bad, Studio Kleio was born out of a school project. Whether that’s how your venture starts off or not, choose your partners wisely. Starting a venture is not another school project as your co-founders won’t be gone after 3 months or after receiving a letter grade. This is for real.

Once we had formed a group, we applied for the opportunity to work in the Venture Connection Incubator program.  Their help and support over the past year have been quite frankly amazing. If you are an SFU student and thinking of starting your venture I would highly recommend checking them out.

If you’ve taken an entrepreneurship class or listened to Kevin O'Leary talk, you’ve probably heard something like this many times, “To start a company you need to be solving a problem for somebody.” To understand our full story, I need to talk about the problem Studio Kleio was attempting to solve.

The Problem We Were Trying to Solve

Oftentimes the stories, connections, and memories that we have fade away once a person pass away. Worse yet, many stories go untold. I’m sure you’ve either experienced or know of someone who lost someone special. You may have lamented not spending more time with them connecting and listening to their stories. Studio Kleio uses our skills as designers and storytellers to allow stories and memories to transcend time and connect family members and friends in the process.

How, might you ask? Well, through family documentaries, interviews, and curated albums. Our services tell and capture the story of a special someone through the experiences of those around them.

We may not escape death, but perhaps we can capture our legacies in life. Not all of us are famous like Kobe, may he rest in peace, where we have every minute of our lives captured by society. We normal folk must make an effort to capture our lives, and sometimes it can be difficult. That’s where we intervene and make it simple for you to call us up and have us do the heavy lifting: the interviews, videography, design, editing, and everything else to give you a lasting heirloom. 

We named our company Studio Kleio (after the muse of history) and it all began in September of 2019. The five of us were set to begin! Over a year and a half has now passed, and through all the trials and tribulations that we’ve gone through we only have two co-founders left, and we’ve experienced a complete switch in what we are doing. Check out the next post to learn about my advice from the mistakes we’ve made as a company and what I’ve learned from them.

The key takeaway I want you to get from this first part of the article is that being in school allows you to work with a lot of different people on many different projects. This is extremely valuable if you have an entrepreneurial mindset because it allows you to build relationships and partnerships that could flourish into a venture. Once you’re out of school, it can be a lot harder to find people that have the time and drive to start something with you.

Beyond the Article

  • If you’re interested in learning more about the Venture Connections Program, check out their website here.
  • Check out Part 2 and Part 3 of David’s Blog Series, “What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Business”
Posted on February 22, 2021