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6 Brilliant Business Tips From One of Canada’s Top Entrepreneurs

Want to know what it takes to run a thriving business? Rajen Ruparell, co-founder and chairman of Canadian mattress brand Endy, as well as co-founder of Groupon International, reveals the six strategies of successful entrepreneurs.

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Endy co-founder Rajen RuparellPhoto: Courtesy of Endy

Rajen Ruparell reveals his best advice

When it comes to turning a business idea into multi-million-dollar sales, Rajen Ruparell is the master. As the co-founder and chairman of Endy, the Calgary-born and Toronto-based entrepreneur introduced mattress shopping to the realm of e-commerce and revolutionized the way Canadians shop online. Now the country’s fastest-growing retail company (it is forecast to exceed $50 million in revenue in 2018), Endy’s success—according to Ruparell—boils down to the simplicity of its concept. “The simplest ideas are generally the ones that take off because they have the easiest adoption curve,” Ruparell says—something he maintains holds true in business. Whether you’re thinking of opening your own restaurant or simply launching an eBay shop, here’s what Ruparell wants all budding entrepreneurs to know.

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Endy mattressPhoto: Courtesy of Endy

1. Know your product—and your target market

“When presented with a new idea, I immediately take the perspective of the end user,” says Ruparell. “When we launched Groupon International [after the acquisition of my previous company, CityDeal] I was actually a core user of the product. I had invested all my money in the business, and was looking for a value-conscious way to discover new restaurants and experiences. It’s all about understanding the core motivations, and favouring the street over the boardroom. In a boardroom, it’s easy to sing a new product’s praises. It’s all very theoretical. On the street, in a user’s hands, you can actually test a new product and see if it sticks.”

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Young startup brainstorming sessionPhoto: Shutterstock

2. Surround yourself with passionate people

“I always aim to bring into my circle those that are world class at their craft, and deeply inspire me to think differently,” says Ruparell. “It’s unbelievable what can be achieved as a collective, when you put a bunch of experts or talented people in a room. I also love when those around me push back and voice their opinion. None of my closest partnerships have ever been without conflict. It’s usually a clear indicator of their passion and intensity and leads to long-term success.”

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Problem solvingPhoto: Shutterstock

3. Solve problems in three steps

“I don’t believe that problems are insurmountable, even if they may seem that way when you’re in the thick of them,” Ruparell says. “When it comes to solving any problem, I follow three simple steps. First, I identify the root cause of the problem, and approach the issue from the ground up. Second, I give the problem some space, and come back to it with a new perspective after taking a step back. The third and final step is to get a fresh set of eyes—if I can’t solve it from the root, or find a solution after taking some space, I’ll tap in on those around me.”

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Stressed out woman at workPhoto: Shutterstock

4. Recognize that failure is your most important teacher

“I have failed hundreds of times, and the first time is by far the hardest,” says Ruparell. “I encourage all entrepreneurs to recognize that failure is part of the journey; understanding that it will happen again and again is a prerequisite to any level of success. It’s about being self-aware and knowing that everything will be okay, and that you’ll learn from it. Think of the entrepreneurs who have inspired you—it’s unlikely that any of them were successful from the day they launched their first business. All great entrepreneurs have one common trait: resilience.”

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Networking eventPhoto: Shutterstock

5. A dependable network is better than a huge network

“For me, it’s not about the number of contacts you have—it’s about how engaged you are with your close network, and how much you’re willing to help them,” Ruparell says. “I’d rather have 20 great people who I can lean on, and who can lean on me, than collect thousands of names and emails and never keep in touch. Networking is like a friendship; it has to be a two-way street. Otherwise, your ‘contact’ is just another number in your phone.”

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Young entrepreneurPhoto: Shutterstock

6. Stay grounded

“I’m thankful every day for the opportunities that have come my way, knowing that I’ve been incredibly lucky in everything I’ve experienced,” Ruparell says. “Gratitude is so important—as is staying motivated. I still work every day to ensure those that work with or for me are able to experience the opportunities that I have been afforded at a relatively young age. Having a young son, I’m even further motivated and inspired to push boundaries and continue learning as the world evolves.”

Next, check out more business tips from the cast of Dragons’ Den.