What goes perfectly with a luxurious car? A sleek outfit accentuated with an eye-catching watch… obviously. If you’re driving a gem, you might as well look the part. And by eye-catching we mean a watch worth more than the car itself (at least if the vehicle in question is a Rolls Royce).
Even though not many people can afford such impressive statement pieces of jewelry, high-end watches are a great treat for wearer and spectator alike! The complexity of the mechanisms and their designs are worth the admiration they receive from people from all over the world.
What price range are we talking about? A typical Rolls Royce is priced well over $200,000. The brand’s “entry-level” model is worth around $250,000, which according to many is totally worth the luxury and quality. In other words, if a watch carries a price tag of over $200,000 you can expect nothing but the best — it should provide value equal to or even beyond its vehicle counterpart.
Read on to find out more about the top 5 luxury watches worth more than a Rolls Royce:
1. Vacheron Constantin, Kalista — Worth $11 Million
There’s no point in holding back, so here we go — the Vacheron Constantin Kalista is not only one of the most beautiful watches ever made, but also one of the most expensive. Worth the impressive $11 million, this watch is sure to make people stop and stare. Are you ready to do some calculations? The watch is worth 44 entry-level Rolls Royces, which can only leave us saying “wow.”
Vacheron Constantin is the oldest manufacturer of luxury watches, and so the fine and breathtaking Kalista fits perfectly into the brand’s long list of beautiful timepieces. The watch is encrusted with 118 emerald-cut diamonds and took 6,000 hours to make. Created in 1979, this piece remains one of the finest examples of the greatness of Vacheron Constantin!
2. Breuget No. 160, The Queen — Worth Over $30 Million
One of the most mysterious watches to ever exist is also one of the most valuable and expensive. Partly constructed by the famous watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, The Queen was in fact, made for a real queen — Marie Antoinette. Unfortunately for both, the timepiece consisting of 823 pieces was finished after both the maker and its intended owner faced their demise.
Nonetheless, the famous piece of art — produced with 18-karat gold and sapphires — has made history on its own. The watch was stolen by an international jewel thief but then resurfaced 25 years later not far from where it had been last seen. Currently resting at LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art, the pocket watch’s story and price is worthy of a no-funding-spared full-length feature movie.
3. Patek Phillipe, Caliber 89 — Worth Over $5 Million
Billed as the world’s most complicated timepiece, this watch is as close to perfection as you can get. The Patek Caliber 89 is truly a modern miracle. It has more than 30 complications, which makes the timepiece the most complex mechanical watch ever to exist. Worth more than 25 Rolls Royces, it’s truly a sign of status to wear one of the 4 existing watches of this kind.
Plus, thanks to its 33 complications, this watch does mch more than simply tell the time. The features list goes on for miles (well, not really, but the scrolling from the list to the photo and back does, since we can’t get enough of seeing this amazing watch): the Patek Caliber 89 has century, decade, year, and month displays; split second hand; time of sunrise and sunset; thermometer and many more features that will keep you entertained and hopefully on time.
4. Patek Philippe, Ref 5016P — Worth $762,000
Introducing another great timepiece from the Patek family, the Philippe Ref 5016P is the first watch on the list to go under a 7-digit price number, but it’s an amazing piece nonetheless. Let’s begin by noting that, in fact, the P in the Ref number actually stands for… platinum! After all, what else can we expect from a timepiece worth more than a quarter of a million?
Consisting of 506 pieces, this wristwatch is made from the most expensive precious metals — platinum and gold. The timepiece’s features include a tourbillon, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date hand, and a moon phase display.
5. Audemars Piguet, Royal Oak Grande Complication — Worth $560,000
Audemars Piguet has been praised for the unique, state-of-the-art Royal Oak Grande Complication piece. Worth over half a million dollars, the watch features a titanium case, glare proofed sapphire crystal and caseback, ceramic bezel and much more to make this a standout among high-end watches.
The wristwatch’s perpetual calendar will be accurate for so many years that you and probably a few of your successors won’t be among the living to witness its first deviation. The Royal Oak Grande Complication also has white gold applied hour-markers and a light silver-toned inner bezel ring — details you won’t be able to resist.
Investing in a High-End Watch, Investing in Your Future
High-end watches among others and a range of personal valuables, including precious metals and jewelry are among the personal possessions you can use to take out loans. We all know the investment quality such image-boosting items possess and why not use them to fuel a business idea or personal venture if/when you need them.
Zillidy offers loans against valuables such as high-end watches. The online application process is quick and effortless. After an expert assessment of your watch, the loan capital will be transferred into your account. Since safety and professional handling are among the top priorities for ZIllidy, you can rest assured your items will be kept in the best possible environment until you get them back!
Have you ever purchased a high-end watch? What’s your recommendation for a valuable and enjoyable investment?
Do you have gold or silver you’re not sure what to do with? Making the decision to invest in precious metals is easier compared to when you have to part ways with it. And turning a profit from your initial investment is tricky. There are many possible avenues, but with all of them the key is timing.
Then again, why should you part ways with your gold or silver bars, jewelry or coins in the first place? If you’re not developing an unhealthy attachment to “your precious” metals, it’s smart to stay on top of re-investment options at all times in order to get the highest possible ROI.
In that line of thought, check out 3 ways to make full use of your gold and silver today:
1. For Those In Need of Capital: Use Your Investment as Collateral
A wonderful way to receive funding for any business venture or personal need is using your precious metals as collateral. After all, this way you not only keep ownership of your gold and silver, but also get capital you can further invest in a venture.
Companies like Zillidy offer a variety of small business loans and personal loans against collateral. Gold and silver are only some of the personal possessions, which qualify for such a loan. What’s great in this case is that you can receive the loan without having to go through financial statement records or credit score checks. The process is quick and effortless — the application is done online and after the assessment of your possessions, you receive the capital immediately.
If you’re worried about the safety of your gold and silver, you shouldn’t be. Your items will be handled by professionals and it’s guaranteed that you will receive them in pristine condition after repaying the loan. Furthermore, the collateral is stored in a completely safe environment to avoid any mishandling. After all, gold bars and silver demand to be kept safe and sound!
2. For the Adventurous: Invest in Trading
Both silver and gold are traded in dollars and cents per ounce. We’re currently seeing a period of high gold trading. Other high-traffic months for gold also include February, June, August, October and December. The peak times for silver trading are different and they include the following months: March, May, July, September and December. These peak months are identified based on volume of trading and open interests.
Something to be noted before you even begin to consider gold and silver trading is that the activity involves substantial risks and is not suitable for all individuals. In order to succeed in the market, it’s crucial to have in-depth knowledge on the processes of trading. That being said, people who are careful and know what they’re doing can win substantial profits, even if they’re not experts.
Gold and silver trading platforms include the online GCI trading website, which operates commission-free with low margin requirements. Another good option is FOREX’s platform, which allows you to trade spot metals and forex seamlessly. Tip: always select trustworthy platforms and be extremely cautious with the difference in terms.
3. For the Sentimental: Use Your Precious Metals for Something Special
Who says an investment should be always business-centered? Naturally, as the economic environment is becoming more stable by the day, many can find other uses for their “rainy day” investments.
You can use your gold and silver to craft a special jewelry for your loved ones for a wedding, graduation, birthday or other important event. Design a ring yourself, and see the sentimental value of your precious metal grow exponentially.
You can also cash-in the valuable metals and use the money to make a donation. Supporting social causes has been proven to make you feel better about yourself and boost your life satisfaction.
Overall, making a difference with the capital you can exchange your gold and silver for is something that reflects good not only on yourself, but on the projects/businesses you are involved in.
What will you use your gold and silver for? Let us know in the comment section below!
Using personal loans to get through tough times or take advantage of a sudden opportunity is a reality of modern life. That doesn’t mean finding the perfect loan for you is an easy task, far from it.
You need to make sure you trust the institution you are acquiring the loan from, know exactly how much you need, and what the funds are for. So, get a leg up and check out the top places to look for personal loans in Canada:
Personal Loans: What Should You Know Before You Apply?
To maximize your loan’s potential, you should be aware of all the specific terms. That way, you can select a personal loan that is suitable for you and your situation. Compromising can lead to problems down the road, so choose carefully!
Your options range from alternative finance methods, such as collateral lending to traditional bank loans. Of course, the terms and conditions, interest rates and many other factors change and vary between the loans, thus you need to match those specifics to your wants and needs.
After all, everyone uses the loan for different purposes, whether it’s for a new car or a house, to cover outstanding bills, or to fund a holiday. There’s a funding method available to match each specific need.
1. Personal Loans Against Collateral
With alternative finance gaining popularity and becoming more mainstream, people are increasingly turning to these options. At Zillidy, we offer personal loans that are secure and quick to obtain. With our approach, you can acquire the financing you need to achieve your dreams by using personal valuables as collateral.
Brilliant for planning your wedding or special event, funding important car repairs, or acquiring an investment property, these loans are easy to get and have very flexible terms. Furthermore, you can rest assured that Zillidy has been trusted by many individuals and businesses over the years!
Why is the process so easy? First and foremost, you’re not required to provide any financial statements, credit checks, or waste time completing lengthy loan application forms.
All you need to do is describe the personal possession you’ll use as collateral (all done online for your convenience). This can include jewelry, precious metals, luxury watches, or anything similar. If you like our preliminary offer, we’ll send you a pre-paid envelope and schedule a Fedex pickup at your house or office.
Once we receive and approve your collateral, your loan will quickly become available in your bank account. It’s that easy!
The personal loans offered by CIBC are some of the most popular in Canada. But what exactly makes them so popular?
Among the advantages of the CIBC Personal Loan are that you have the ability to lower your interest costs by making frequent payments or pay the loan in part or full without any penalties. The secured loan (against the equity in your home or other assets) benefits you by providing lower interest rates. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to speed up the process by applying online.
Also on offer is the CIBC Personal Car Loan. It caters to the needs of those looking for a way to finance the purchase of a new or used car. The terms are a bit different than a standard personal loan.
You have up to 8 years to repay it with weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly installments. The minimum amount you can borrow is higher than the standard loan – $5,000 compared to $3,000. Furthermore, this loan also gives you the chance to skip up to two payments yearly.
3. TD Canada Trust Personal Loans
TD Canada Trust is another one of the most trusted Canadian banks. The personal loans they offer are another good option for those in need of funds of up to $50,000 for personal use. What you get from TD Canada Trust’s personal loan is funds suitable for a variety of uses including investments, purchases, renovations, and more.
One unique aspect of these loans is the option to create your own repayment schedule. In other words, the term (typically between 1-5 years) and the amortization are specifically set up to fit your needs.
You also have the chance to select between fixed and variable interest, the first being ideal for structured payments and the latter perfect for those ready to take a risk and probably pay off their loan faster.
Have you used a personal loan before? Share your experience and recommendations in the comment section below!
Financing your business ideas should be easy, and it should help you achieve your goals quickly and efficiently, but is it doing that currently? The problem is that there are funding options that you might not know of, and consequently you might be missing out on acquiring the funding you need.
To succeed as an entrepreneur you need to always be a step ahead, using the right tools and resources to find the perfect way to sustain your business and expand it. First and foremost, make sure you know exactly what you’re aiming to achieve — this will dictate what type of funding will work best.
Once you’ve got that part down, check out the top online resources for Ontario business funding and carefully select the right financing method to support your business.
Resource #1: Business Guides from Canada Business Ontario
The business guides available on the Canada Business Ontario page are some of the best resources for staring an Ontario business available online. This should be your first step in exploring what types of finance and business loans programs are available to you and your firm.
The guides are specifically aimed at entrepreneurs and small businesses and include valuable information not only regarding funding but also about wage subsidies, taxation, women in business, and even how to operate your new company.
In order to quickly navigate through the different options, you’re given a brief overview of each link so you can decide whether the information will be relevant to you or not. Some of the business guides, which might be of value to you, include the following:
Financing a Business Guide
The Financing a Business Guide provides you with an overview of the financial methods, which are often used by small companies and startups. Furthermore, you will receive guidance for specific tasks you might need to complete in preparation for your financial applications. Such tasks include preparing a business plan or doing market research.
The guide also points out specific programs you might be eligible for, including the following:
- Canada Small Business Financing Program: Provides the sum of $500,000 for you to start, expand, modernize or improve your startup or small business.
- Ontario Community Futures Development Corporations: Оffers eligible startups up to $150,000 to grow your startup in specific areas in Canada.
Grants, Subsidies and Contributions Guides
There are guides to Grants, Subsidies and Contributions for businesses in two areas in particular: Agriculture and Arts and Media. The main reason behind this narrow focus is that both areas have very specific funding needs.
- Agriculture Guide: Within the agricultural industry, the specific funding needs are the following: there’s the need for constant technological upgrade and equipment change, in addition to constantly changing weather patterns that affect the produce.
- Arts and Media Guide: Within the arts and media business environment, because of the wide range of business types that are included — online media, radio, TV, dance, theater, galleries, and others — it’s hard to find and synthesize the different funding available.
If you want to start a business that falls in either of these two categories, check out the relevant guide, which will help by pinpointing the specific financing options available to you.
Technology and Innovation Support Guide
Technology is one of the greatest business sectors in Canada at the moment. Why? Because you would be able to access funding on a great variety of layers — from Government funding to provincial support.
The Technology and Innovation Support Guide will give your business in-depth information about the different options of funding available for projects aiming to improve existing technology or ones designed to discover new and innovative solutions and practices. The different funding programs available could benefit your business from its development through to expansion or even minimize certain cost.
In addition to the program overviews, the guide includes information about tax credits, which will help you figure out if you would be able to save on your taxes! The guide includes a variety of links and support (from external online resources to contact numbers) for the different layers of financing methods available.
Resource #2: Canada Business Network (CBN)
The Canada Business Network is yet another great source of information about valuable financing for small businesses. The network recognizes the struggle entrepreneurs face when starting or growing out their business, and so, they’ve made the effort to simplify the process and help you out. Want to achieve your dreams? With CBN, you’ll be one step closer.
The Canada Business Network’s website is divided into categories based on the different funding types available to Canadian businesses. They include the following:
Accessing equity financing
Equity financing is a great option for those of you who wish to stay out of debt. The Accessing Equity Financing section gives you an overview of the things you should take under consideration when searching for an investor. Furthermore, you will learn how and where to meet such investors and the ways you can negotiate the levels of control they will have over your business.
Crowdfunding has been receiving increasing attention from the media and the general public recently. Within the Crowdfunding section of the CBN you will learn more about the platforms you can use to fund your startup. In addition, the Canada Business Network provides you with specific Ontario crowdfunding platforms and helpful guidance.
Resource #3: Extra Alternative Financing Options for Small Businesses in Canada
The financial guides presented above focus on the two main types of finance your business can benefit from — government financing and alternative financing. Since the latter is gaining momentum and hype we would like to provide you with a couple more options worth exploring.
Why? We believe that alternative finance is extremely suitable for small businesses because of the (likely) better terms and conditions in addition to advantages like speed and convenience.
Asset-Based Loans (Against Personal Possessions)
Zillidy is part of the asset-based loans movement, offering small business loans, which can help you secure the future you’re aiming for. Why is Zillidy perfect for small companies? First and foremost, the small business loans we offer don’t require any credit checks or financial statements, which, as a young company, you might not be able to provide. Secondly, your personal possessions are cared for by professionals, so you’ll receive them back in pristine condition at the end of the loan period. Last but not least, the transaction is simple and straightforward!
Invoice Financing / Factoring
Another method suitable for new businesses of any size is invoice financing. How does it work? You apply for funding that covers your outstanding invoices. You get assessed on the quality of your customers, without having to provide any financial background statements or credit checks. Again, this is a perfect option for startups, which lack extensive financial records or assets.
What kind of business are you interested in starting in Ontario? And what’s your biggest hurdle? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
What’s harder than coming up with an innovative business idea or product? Finding the right type of finance to fuel it, commercializing it, and wasting no time in finding the resources to help you do so!
Maneuvering through all the different finance options available to businesses in Canada is a hard task due to their sheer volume. It’s no wonder that choosing innovation funding, resources, and support programs, suitable for your needs, might end up bringing on the worst headache of your life.
Don’t despair though, because the Concierge Service, a new Government of Canada program, is here to help you out by providing the personalized guidance you need. Learn more below, and see how you can use it to help your business succeed.
The Concierge Service: What You Need to Know
Since small and medium-sized enterprises are among the main drivers of Canada’s economic growth, the government body has realized the need to stimulate them and help them grow in an effective way.
A comprehensive “one-stop shop” for all of the different federal innovation programs was an outstanding task just a few years ago. But many businesses were clearly struggling with understanding and accessing much of the Research and Development funding available to them.
As a result, the Canadian government designed and put in place a single access point where you can get detailed information and advice to help you navigate government innovation support programs.
It’s called the Concierge Service.
What do you get out of the service? Based on your company’s needs and specialization, you will receive personalized guidance to help you identify and access federal and provincial government programs that support innovation.
Your guide to innovation has been in place since December 2, 2013 and since then it has managed to help a variety of companies excel in what they do. Whether you’re looking for programs that give you access to funding, new global networks, or equipment, all your business innovation queries will be answered in a personal and convenient manner.
Personalized Assistance Made Possible: Get Involved to Boost Your Business
You will receive personalized assistance from the very second you access the Concierge Service. You can get in touch through a variety of channels: the program operates online, phone and in-person services to make sure everybody has access to the guide. Once you’re in, you’ll get paired with an expert adviser, who will guide you through the process and help you select the right programs for your company.
Wondering if your business qualifies for the Concierge Service? If you have less than 500 employees and you’re a Canadian entrepreneur searching for the right way to commercialize and expand your business, the program could be your “golden goose.”
At an age where information is one of the most valuable commodities, the Concierge Service will help you reach your desired innovation objectives quickly.
How can you get started? You can reach your Concierge adviser via the program’s website or by phone at 1-855-534-8433. Furthermore, if you leave your contact information via the service’s online form, they will contact you in a timely manner. In a nutshell, if you need help with identifying and accessing all the different government programs which can help support your innovation business, personalized guidance is just a step away!
Funding Your Own Business in Canada
Is funding a problem for you? If your business is not looking for growth through innovation, the Concierge Service and the government’s Research and Development programs might not be the best fit for your company.
For companies with different aims and goals, there are a variety of alternative ways to finance your endeavors. You can work with companies like Zillidy, which offer asset-based lending for startups and small businesses in Canada. The items you can leverage include personal possessions such as precious metals, watches and jewellery. What’s more, the assessment period is short, so you can receive your funding quickly without the need for long application processes or complicated paperwork.
Have you already tried the Concierge Service offered by the Canadian Government? Let us know how it’s helped, or what you’re still looking for in the comment section below!
Are you looking for ways to manage your money better so your financial results improve quickly? If you don’t have enough time to properly focus on your financial matters or you feel like you lack the expertise, hiring an outside accountant could be the answer to your problem.
There are a number of benefits to hiring an accounts. Most importantly, by using a financial expert, you will be making sure that your business is not losing any money due to preventable issues. In particular, an accountant can help with your tax assessment and returns. Plus, they’ll give you great advice on how to manage your finances better and they’ll connect you to other businesses which can help you reach your goals.
Overall, hiring an accountant has a brilliant return-on-investment (ROI) thanks to the added value you’ll receive from their network connections and financial guidance. With a professional side-kick to take care of your finances, the sky’s the limit for your business strategy.
Without further ado, here are 5 of the top accountants for small businesses in Quebec.
1. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
Over the past 60 years, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has become a household name not only in Quebec, but all throughout Canada. With over 2,000 employees the company is one of the largest accountancy firms offering a full array of financial advisory services.
Pierre Lapointe and his team of professionals have been at the center of Quebec’ socio-economic development, providing accounting services to businesses of all sizes. Their “instinct for growth” has been developed over many years, so you can be sure your business will be effectively stimulated to grow. Furthermore, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s promise is to provide practical and customized solutions that will enable your company to confidently pursue future business ventures.
2. Lachance Parent
Known for its excellent customer service and customer-centered approach, Lachance Parent has secured a top place in Quebec’s accounting industry. The firm is extremely committed to your success, measuring theirs by the goals your company reaches under their guidance. The financial assistance you will receive comes from a team of technically experience and continuously trained professionals.
Lachance Parent’s personalized services range from basic accounting such as audits, reviews, compilation and preparation of financial statements to financial planning and tax services, among others. The company’s website is a wonderful source of accounting information, even featuring an online interactive financial calculator.
Оne of Canada’s top 10 largest employers of chartered professional accountants, Mallete‘s size and accreditation are among the main reasons behind the company’s success. The firm’s Quebec office is proudly embracing Mallete’s slogan — “With you when it matters” — and offers accounting services to a variety of clients in different market segments.
The first Quebec branch, then called Boulanger, Fortier, Rondeau & cie, was founded in 1941 and has stayed among the top accountancy firms in the province ever since. The company is known for providing innovative accounting solutions tailored to customers’ present and future needs, as well as for its social and economic contributions, which aim to improve Quebec’s community.
4. Russell Bedford
Russel Bedford is one of the most international and widely-recognized accounting companies on this list. With offices throughout Canada and a worldwide network of associated firms, you’re guaranteed to receive a unique service and an undoubtedly professional opinion. The firm’s excellence is rooted in their understanding the big picture and applying detailed local expertise.
Russell Bedford is located within the heart of Quebec and offers an excellent local financial experience “with a global perspective.” The one-to-one meetings and customer-centered approach guarantee you will build a trusting relationship with your accountant. You’ll be able to reach your goals, just as Russell Bedford’s past customers, which come from many different markets and industries, always have.
Another big player in the accounting industry, PwC, and its Quebec city office won’t disappoint those looking for top-notch accounting services. The team of highly skilled professionals led by Thomas Bouchard provide brilliant guidance and professional accounting services. The company offers everything from financial reporting to tax planning.
PwC’s clients range from huge private corporations to small and even family-owned businesses. This, in turn, guarantees that the professionals at PwC will understand your problems to the smallest detail. If you’re looking for an accounting company with a bulletproof reputation, then PwC is your obvious choice.
Nourish Your Business Through Accounting and More
Since hiring an accountant is a brilliant return on investment, you should consider the ways in which you can finance such business relationships. Small businesses are increasingly using alternative finance methods to fuel ideas and stabilize their overall performance.
In fact, using Canadian business loans from companies like Zillidy is an easy and business-friendly way to finance business strategy improvements, such as hiring an accountant. With us, you can apply for flexible loans against personal possessions quickly and securely.
Have you used accounting services in Quebec before? Let us know your experience and results in the comment section below.
In this third and final part of our interview with Sal Virani, we discuss the Canadian startup scene and the world of alternative financing. Sal goes into detail on how he’s financed businesses and the many land mines awaiting anyone who tries to do the same. He knows them well (he’s stepped on a few), and we hope his experience can help you on your business journey. If you missed the previous parts of the interview, check out Sal’s thoughts on best startup values to adopt here and on what defines success here.
Zillidy: How do you feel about Toronto (or other cities/provinces) as emerging hubs for startups?
Sal: I’m effectively an outsider in Canada now. I left Vancouver because 10 years ago it was trying to act bigger than it was and was very cliquey as a result. When I go home to visit family, my old friends tell me it’s still quite segmented and there’s a lot of posturing. I’ve been advised against doing a Leancamp there because Leancamp requires separate communities coming together, and a local leader who’s willing to do the legwork to draw them together. It seems that those conditions aren’t there in Vancouver yet. Or at least, they’re not obvious when comparing it to London, Nairobi, or Sofia. That said, I see a lot of great stuff happening in Vancouver and Canada as a whole. There are some great social enterprise and accelerator programs. I increasingly see startups that are notably Canadian. Looking back from across the pond, there’s a growing number of companies worth noting. Then, from a pure metrics perspective, it’s great to see Toronto arise as a top contender when Startup Genome did their research on different startup communities.
“I increasingly see startups that are notably Canadian.” Tweet this!
Zillidy: How did growing up and working in Canada shape your thoughts, experience, ideas, etc., about entrepreneurship?
Sal: My dad’s an African-born Indian. That community is, from a Western perspective, “naturally entrepreneurial.” He’s an accountant and a pretty shrewd businessman. I grew up the typical son of an immigrant, working hard, no allowance, with the expectation that I should be successful.
I consider this pretty typical for everyone in Canada actually — the finger-wagging and brow-beating that comes from being an immigrant’s child. Then I left Canada because I found the Vancouver startup scene at the time to be kind of “big fish small pond” for me. I went to London to experience a bigger city with a broader historical connection to the rest of the world. That was around 2003. Of course, since then Toronto has turned into a truly global startup city.
Zillidy: What about if you had grown up in the US instead?
Sal: I don’t think I would have had a similar perspective on Europe and other parts of the world. Those seem more relevant and available from Canada. Now Leancamp has run in New York and San Francisco and I’ve helped American businesses expand into Europe. From that, it seems clear that I wouldn’t have the same perspective of business.
American businesses tend to grow in America and then expand overseas somewhat clumsily, treating it as an extension of America. That’s natural when you have a strong downstream venture capital industry, and a 300-million-person local market that’s largely homogeneous. In Canada, you get an international sensitivity which allows you to better adapt your strategies for different circumstances. From Canada, it’s easier to see that if you want to go global, the end game won’t be played on home turf.
“In Canada you get an international sensitivity which allows you to better adapt your strategies for different circumstances.” Tweet this!
Zillidy: How have you financed your startups in the past?
Sal: I’ve had some very negative investor experiences in Canada, though that was more than a decade ago so I think things have improved a lot. I’m generally someone who’s pro-revenue in terms of funding. I learned that from some great Canadian role models, too. Richard Lau, who started namesdirect.com, and Dejan Mirkovic who brought me into Cityfone and the world of startups are still angels on my shoulder.
There are certainly cases which warrant equity funding and seed investors, but those are overemphasized. Equity funding is often inappropriately selected and people don’t realize the strategic limitations it imposes on their company. It often becomes a big distraction from the actual business. It’s a great thing that there’s all these cheaper and more effective ways to get tech companies off the ground, to get them to profitability and financial independence. Yet, we don’t see those being utilized as much since most people will choose to go to an accelerator. They go because that’s what they’re taught is the only credible thing to do.
When it comes to either equity or debt funding, I think you need to be responsible, by which I mean you need to investigate and talk to people who have gone down that funding path before to understand the risks, and what to watch out for. You need to talk to people about their good and bad experiences with investors or debt before you make your decision. There are a lot of mines to watch out for.
Zillidy: What kind of alternative financing are you hearing about these days?
Sal: There are a bunch of crowd-funding alternatives. I know less about Canada, but in the UK you have Seedrs and Crowdcube which are like Kickstarter but for equity funding. Kickstarter is turning into a powerhouse for startups that follow an open source strategy. Ghost is a great example there. There are also some interesting factoring invoices in the marketplace — they’re P2P platforms that find suitable matches to finance your invoices.
There are cool little funding projects similar to The Awesome Foundation and these are similar to thousand dollar grants you give to small projects. They may seem irrelevant, but these small starts are often where big businesses come from. Many big successful businesses started as side projects. This scenario – when you’re certain you’re going to get specific payments in the near-term but need a bit of cash to get you through to that point – is a good use for Zillidy. There’s a clear financial reason to use collateral-based debt there.
For more established companies, invoice-based lines of credit are also very interesting since factoring invoices can be very expensive and can be all-or-nothing. Factoring is a very coarse instrument; it’s like a sledge hammer. Whereas a line of credit based on something like accounts receivables sounds much more cost effective, because you can apply it in a more controlled way, like a paring knife.
Zillidy: What was the process you went through to determine the right financing source? How did you find financing?
Sal: When my UK startups weren’t working, I burned through my savings accumulated from previous successes. I also had very good credit, so I started to use it for my business. That was a mistake. If I had focused on the fact that the lack of revenue was telling me the business was going to fail, I wouldn’t have gone into debt. That was expensive and irresponsible debt. I was trying to convince myself that my idea was going to work, in spite of the data. In the end, I went into debt to prove to myself I was right. The result: I was wrong and in debt.
“In the end I went into debt to prove to myself I was right.” Tweet this!
There’s a lot of ego in startups. A lot of people advise you to be persistent and not to listen to the naysayers who tell you that you’re wrong. But your business itself, in particular whether your customers are paying you, is a very strong indicator of success. Everyone tells war stories after the fact — and we only hear about the successes after hard-headed tenacity. We don’t hear about the failures. If you’re that wrong, it costs you more than money. It costs relationships, friendships, your real life. That’s the real cost of debt gone wrong, having to work out of it is brutal. So it’s all about being responsible with these financial instruments and putting emphasis on how your business is performing. Financial instruments require financial assessments to drive your decision making. If I had let that company die instead of taking on debt, not only would I have saved all the time I invested into supporting it, but I also wouldn’t have lost another year or two of my life working out of that debt. Ultimately, I would have arrived at my successes sooner. I was a year into the business when it failed, and the debt cost me an extra three years of my life. The experience was valuable, but in retrospect, I made it four times more expensive.
Zillidy: Taking into account those experiences, how do you finance now?
Sal: For the last 10 years, everything has been independently financed. Basically, I’ve grown through bootstrapping or customer revenue. You can check out Parts I and II of our interview with Sal here and here. What do you think about Sal’s insights and experiences? Let us know in the comments.
You need a reliable and trustworthy bridge to cross over a river. The same can be said about getting a mortgage loan.
Mortgage brokers are, in a similar sense, the bridge between you and the perfect personal loan for your specific situation.They make sure you are aware of and understand all the conditions of the loan and that you don’t miss any important detail that can come back and surprise you later. Just like a bridge, your mortgage broker gets you right through to where you would like to be.
We understand the importance of a good mortgage broker who doesn’t only get the job done, but who also makes sure you know exactly what’s happening and makes you and your financial health a priority.
Here at Zillidy, a Canadian company that offers business loans, we’re always there to support your financial and business ventures. We understand how time consuming it is to find the right broker and the ideal financing options, so if you’re not sure which mortgage broker to choose in Montreal, here are 5 of the top Montreal brokers who you can trust to guide you through an otherwise difficult financial process:
Multi-Prêts is one of the best-reviewed mortgage agencies on social media in Montreal. The professionals at the company are dedicated to saving you time and money off your mortgage loan. One of the most important factors that make Multi-Prêts a top broker in Montreal is that they are not affiliated with any lender — thus, the firm truly helps you select the best loan specifically for your situation without bias.
The company works with a wide range of lending institutions, over 15 of the most renowned and trusted financial leaders. Through the company’s high volume of transactions, you are guaranteed to secure an exclusive rate, lower than what traditional financial institutions can offer you.
2. Mortgage Architects
Jason Zucherman, the man behind Mortgage Architect, is a certified Quebec mortgage broker. He is also part of one of the biggest mortgage firms in Canada — Hypotheca Mortgage Brokers. His promise is to always provide you with the highest quality of assistance and guidance. His clients report a high level of satisfaction, which accounts for his wide success and his high place on this list.
Since Jason always receives rate changes and term modifications information in advance, you’re ensured to receive the best interest rate possible. Having spent the past 5 years in the real-estate and financing field, Jason is a professional with well-rounded expertise you can trust. He is always prepared to serve his customers and cater to their needs, meaning that with Mortgage Architects you’re sure to have a great experience while securing your mortgage.
3. Landmark Financial Group
At Landmark Financial Group, you’ re promised to receive detailed and well-explained information regarding the home financial transactions you might have in mind, along with a list of all your possible mortgage options. As one of the most trusted and knowledgeable Montreal mortgage brokers, the team at Landmark Financial Group provides a variety of mortgage services in addition to a mortgage calculator, which you can use on the company’s website.
Moreover, Landmark’s team can help you out with your mortgage application so that you don’t miss any required documents or pieces of information. And that’s in addition to guiding you through the application and post-application process so you feel secure and supported at all times. Thanks to the firm’s one-on-one service, professionalism, expert advice and great availability, the team indeed stays true to their slogan: this company, indeed, “serves you better.”
4. True North Mortgage
True North Mortgage has one of the most interactive approaches to the mortgage broker services. The firm, which has offices all across Canada, offers its services in person, online and over the phone. The company values of “honesty, purpose, loyalty and charity,” have led them to become one of the top mortgage brokers in Montreal.
Located within Montreal’s city center, True North Mortgages allows you to visit their office even without a set appointment. All of the company’s mortgage brokers are paid a set salary, guaranteeing that you will receive an honest and unbiased service catered to your needs. Discovering your best option and offering the lowest possible interest rate is True North Mortgage’s goal. The success of the Montreal team of qualified professionals is evident from the favorable reviews on the Good Mortgage Bad Mortgage platform.
5. North East Mortgages
Terry Kilakos and his team are some of the best known mortgage agents in Montreal. The team’s determination to guarantee the lowest interest rates and best conditions has secured North East Mortgages a huge number of satisfied customers. The firm’s working engagement with over 20 financial institutions is sure to both save you a lot of time and give you a variety of options.
Your mortgage options offered through North East Mortgages may include offers from conventional lenders, alternative financing and private lenders. You will then receive the needed guidance in order to secure the perfect option suiting your particular situation and needs. Terry Kilakos’ team has a great reputation, supported by their proven expertise and their numerous media appearances.
Have you used a mortgage broker in Montreal before? Share your experience and review in the comment section below!
One of the greatest advantages of the modern internet age is the ability to work from anywhere. Today, this is manifesting itself in the Digital Nomad movement.
The stars of this sweeping trend are mostly young technology professionals trying to combine work and travel into a unique lifestyle. They’re on a never-ending quest for the best internet, the most beautiful weather, and the lowest cost of living.
And digital nomad-ing is catching on as general trend, with many blogs and podcasts addressing the ‘how to’ aspect of the lifestyle. When winter comes, the search for a more pleasant climate can certainly resonate with the average Canadian tech worker, just as much as the rest of the world’s citizenry.
So, armed with a small business loan from Canada to cover the initial costs of getting set up, maybe it’s time you took off to experience a new way of living. There’s never been a better (or an easier) time to see the world.
Here are a few top destinations for today’s digital nomads:
Be a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai, Thailand
How exactly does a city come to be praised as a top digital nomad destination? For Chiang Mai, it’s by combining its status as the culture capital of northern Thailand with great weather, unbeatable prices, and excellent food. With an estimated monthly living cost of just 800 Canadian dollars, it’s not hard to see why 281 digital nomads have registered living there on the authoritative Nomad List blog.
Although, while the tropical climate may attract you, perhaps you’re worried about being in a place so unfamiliar? No worries, we’ve got you covered…
Be a Digital Nomad in Honolulu, Hawaii
Bringing together the convenience of living in the USA with the climate which Hawaii is justifiably famous for, Honolulu is becoming the USA’s most popular digital nomad destination. It may be pricey compared to Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe, but the lightning fast internet (30mbps) and stunning location more than make up for it. There’s even a budding co-working movement you can jump onto. Plus, you can’t really beat the satisfaction of telling everyone back home that you’re living and working in Hawaii.
Be a Digital Nomad in Sofia Bulgaria
With a low cost of living, internet speeds topping 32mbps, a burgeoning startup scene, good venture capital, and easy access to the rest of Europe, Sofia is quickly making a name for itself as a digital nomad destination. If hiking a 7,520 foot peak in the morning before getting down to business in a hip and a modern co-working space sounds perfect to you, Sofia should be a real contender for your next digital nomad destination.
Be a Digital Nomad in Kigali, Rwanda
You could be forgiven for not giving Rwanda’s bustling capital much of a thought when considering locations for your next home base. But, after recovering from a genocide in the 1990s, Kigali seems to be under a spell of new initiatives and innovations. With its low cost of living and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, the city is fast becoming a model for the rest of Africa. There’s even a new tech innovation hub ready to bring you together with the country’s best and brightest. Check out one digital nomad’s blog Living in Kigali for insider tips and inspiration.
Be a Digital Nomad in Prague, Czech Republic
With its blend of the historic and the modern, Prague is an excellent choice for any nomad looking for old world European charm without breaking the bank. Monthly living costs can be under 1,200 Canadian dollars, while internet speeds often top a blisteringly fast 40mbps. But if you want to take it slow, or give yourself some time to come up with your next great startup idea, the winding cobblestone streets of the old city are always just a step away. Once you’re ready to put your idea into action, there are great co-working spaces and accelerators ready for you to jump into.
Be a Digital Nomad in Penang, Malaysia
If you’re looking for affordable prices in combination with old-world European flair, Penang and its historic Georgetown quarter (a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2008) may be the perfect Southeast Asian digital nomad destination for you. Full of great places to work and relax, Penang offers a more hip and stress-free alternative to the hustle and bustle of Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lampur. Just be sure to prepare for hot weather and slower-than-average internet speeds.
Be a Digital Nomad in A Coruña, Spain
Unexpectedly affordable by Western European standards, this city perched on the Northwestern coast of Spain is earning its status as a digital nomad hub. A Coruña is a little-known city boasting great surfing, top-notch seafood, and good internet speeds. It’s not surprising that travelers have found it easy to fall in love with. And if you’re in need of some inspiration for your next big idea, a visit to Spain’s National Museum of Science and Technology might just do the trick.
How to Get Started on Your Adventure
While being a digital nomad may not be right for everyone — maybe you’ll discover you rather like being grounded — it’s undoubtedly a fantastic way to see the world, learn more about yourself, and make a living in the process. We’re living in an age of increasing travel and technology use, so why not take advantage? In the meantime, check out some tips for inspiration and let your imagination start running.
If you’re a digital nomad, or perhaps are considering it but have some reservations, let us know about it in the comments.
In Part 2 of our interview with Sal Virani, we discuss the 5+ companies he’s founded, how to define success, and how to avoid getting bogged down in startup dogma and recipes, plus much more.
If you missed it, check out the first part of our interview here to learn more about this Canadian-born startup mentor, how he got started, and why he calls himself an “entreprenerd…”
Zillidy: What was your first startup?
Sal: Depends what you call “first.” When I was a teenager I ran BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems), a precursor of the internet, and I had a computer store with 6 employees. But my first real business was Hotelicom, in Canada. It provided guest based IT services to the hotel industry, and it’s still going strong today. That was actually more than 10 years ago. I’ve also done online scuba gear e-commerce, an e-mail service provider right before gmail, then a bunch of failed hotel related businesses in Europe.
Zillidy: You’ve built 5 startups. How did they do and what did you learn?
Sal: With Hotelicom, in the early days between me and my cofounder, I was seen as the smart one and he was seen as the sales guy. One lesson there was that I did everything by the book, I followed best practices to the letter. He, on the other hand, was willing to jump on an opportunity, which didn’t fit the strategy. But the actual direction of the company ended up being one of the strategies he took up. I was too focused on being “right” according to startup hype and business best practices at the time.
I was too focused on being “right” according to startup hype and business best practices… Tweet this!
With Divetank, my scuba e-commerce play, there were two big lessons. One was being really sensitive to the feelings of the buyer. That led to so many opportunities to maximize conversion rates. There were all these techniques we developed to give us a stratospheric rise in terms of sales. People worried about the wetsuit fitting or getting a deal, these mindsets ended up being critical. But we didn’t end up focusing enough on inventory and that killed us in spite of our outstanding sales. In that case it was a myopia in terms of what we were good at instead of stepping back and looking at the business as a whole.
With Geekmail the biggest lesson was to choose your co-founders very wisely. Do your due diligence. Even if you think you know them, ask. Talk to people who’ve worked with them before and you’ll learn things, which may dissuade you, and rightfully so. It’s one of the biggest decisions in a business. It’s one of the most permanent decisions you can make. Tread lightly.
Choose your co-founders very wisely… It’s one of the most permanent decisions you can make. Tweet this!
I tried to launch Hotelicom in London with Corneroffice, but the biggest lesson there is that most market research and competitive analysis doesn’t prove real demand. So, in that case, after doing research on the hotel industry in the UK, it seemed that in terms of business centers and wifi option the UK was tracking almost exactly 3 years behind Canada.
But the business failed in spite of that market gap. The main reason was that in the UK hotels have so many different issues to deal with, which have nothing to do with IT. Older buildings, higher turnover, language issues, etc. Therefore, the managers are usually much busier.
Most market research is supply-based, rather than demand-based. A gap in supply is not the same as unmet demand, which is what really matters. You have to understand what everyday life is like for your customer, and assess whether what you’re offering is so great that they’ll actually make time for it. The thing to look for is that they’re making time already — in some way — to find themselves a better alternative. Without that, even if you offer something they say they want and which is superior, it might not get you anywhere. That cost me most of my money.
Market research and competitive analysis doesn’t prove real demand
Aroundthecorner failed because it was far too complex. The advantage of simple businesses is that there are only so many factors to get right to make the business work. The more factors you have, the more chances there are that one aspect can kill the business. In that case it was a 3 sided model.
In a simple business you sell something and get paid. You can make a two sided model with customers and sellers. In this case it was a 3 way advertising play with hotels giving me space to sell to advertisers and the guests being advertised to. I needed to get all of those right at the same time.
In retrospect it was too complex. It was great on paper, I was winning prizes for startup pitches, but the business was too complex. I equate this to when you let a 3-year-old make a sandwich. They have lots of great ideas, and put everything on it. And that makes a disgusting sandwich that even they don’t like. Entrepreneurs are the same. We often turn a lot of good ideas into a bad idea.
Zillidy: What did those experiences teach you about how startups should (and shouldn’t) use debt?
Since I’m talking with you guys at Zillidy, I want to emphasize a big life lesson for me here. At this stage, using debt to finance my business was a huge mistake. I thought that my experience and the fact that I could find credit was a good enough reason to double-down on Corner Office and Around The Corner. In retrospect, that was a bad combination of overconfidence, arrogance, and optimism, which prevented me from seeing what the evidence was saying: “you gave it a shot, and nobody cares.”
I used debt to buy myself time to get the business right. That was a bad move, because it truly cost me time, too. That money was used to spend more time on a bad business idea, and then, I had to spend more time after that to pay the debt off.
My rule of thumb now is that debt isn’t for early-stage risk, it’s a financial instrument for specific issues for established businesses. I’ll only use debt when I have reliable, paying customers, and where there’s a temporary cashflow issue to cross to get to a healthy, debt-free position again.
In retrospect it was too complex. It was great on paper, I was winning prizes for startup pitches, but the business was too complex.
For example, with Founder Centric, we’re growing quickly, but some of our bigger government projects pay months later. We might choose debt to grow our team to deliver, knowing we’ll be paid this year, and knowing that at the end of the year, we won’t need debt to sustain or grow anymore.
The big lesson learned from that experience was “go be helpful.” There’s a lot to be said for being helpful, doing the right thing, and seeing how you can get paid later. This can tell you where your business is because you’ll get people reacting to you and you can see where the interest lies. This is how Leancamp developed.
There’s a lot to be said for being helpful, doing the right thing, and seeing how you can get paid later.
I was eager to get Leancamp done to get back to Aroundthecorner but everyone was really interested in another Leancamp and nobody was interested in Aroundthecorner. Leancamp just started because I felt obligated to make it happen because I realized I was in a unique position to draw communities together. If I didn’t do it who would?
Then Foundercentric is still going and is finally a financial success. To some degree it only exists because I did the right thing with Leancamp, which I never actually profited from. But with Foundercentric, one of the things, which slowed us down, is that we keep treating it like it’s a startup, but it’s a service business. In a sense we like startups more, so we treat our service business that way. It’s like a lady dressing her dog up like a child, it’s kind of fun but sad when you see it from the outside. Thus, that’s how we see Foundercentric, we want to see it as a startup but it’s a service business.
Zillidy: How do you define success for a startup?
Sal: Depends on the founders, I define success for the founder first. It all comes out of that. I’m particularly adverse to people adopting other people’s recipes for success. The startup world is full of hype developed from investor’s definitions of success and not founder’s definitions. This leads to focus on things like acquisitions.
There’s an interesting phenomenon where the terms ‘acquisition’ and ‘exit’ have been conflated, almost unnoticeably. Exit used to refer to the point, at which the person who initially invested the capital gets it back. But now it’s starting to refer to an acquisition. That completely distracts from one of the best cases for a startup, because when it gets acquired usually most of the work or product of the startup is shut down.
I define success for the founder first.
Then what happens is the startups, which develop into business in their own right, so even in Canada there are a bunch of Hungarian startups, Prezi, log-me-in, etc. But all of those have effectively grown through private equity to be totally independent. Then, you have the whole world of bootstrap startups, which grow to tens of millions in profit but remain private. And all of these are definitions of success, which are ignored by focusing on acquisitions.
Zillidy: What’s your recipe for startup success?
Sal: I don’t believe in recipes. There are no recipes. Being somebody who was a very early champion of the leanstartup movement, I’m quite opposed to people who use that term to articulate some checklist or four step process. There are a lot of four step processes where the fourth is profit. Even after all this time few startups can claim those recipes as the source of their success.
I don’t believe in recipes [for startup success]. There are no recipes. Tweet this!
Leanstarup is great, but only as a set of principles. Inexperienced founders look for recipes, they want to protect their idea because they’re at a stage where they don’t have a lot of ideas. However, they gain confidence from someone who gives them a recipe. But if you look at people with experience, nobody puts value on ideas. The expression is that startups don’t starve, they drown.
You have too many ideas. Startups don’t get confidence from a recipe, but from evidence. Thus, I’d reframe the question “what skills are necessary for a founder to be successful.” What I’ve seen from teaching leanstartup to thousands of startups and working accelerators and university programs is that as much information as you can collect and be experimental, everyone slows down when it comes to decision making. Experienced founders are more comfortable making decisions in uncertain conditions. In fact, I’ve been collecting an e-book of what I call “decision hacks,” or prompts to dislodge you from inaction.
In a sense we like startups more so we treat our service business that way. It’s like a lady dressing her dog up like a child, it’s kind of fun but sad when you see it from the outside.
Zillidy: What are the most ridiculous and common reasons for business’ failure you’ve experienced or witnessed?
Sal: The biggest one is founders disagreeing. From what I’ve seen, in accelerators you’re in a pressurized environment where you have to increase your valuation 2 or 3 times in a few months and I’ve seen teams explode under the pressure. But that’s not the worst. The worst is actually death by paper cut. It’s the tacit disagreements where the founders think they’re agreeing but they’re not and it only comes to light later.
Something I learned from Luxor in San Francisco is the handshake rule. If one person makes the decisions, nobody needs to agree. If two people need to agree, you need two handshakes, for four people – six, and on and on. The number of handshakes you need, increases exponentially. So, the more people involved, the more chances there are for tacit disagreement, and the slower you make decisions.
If one person makes the decisions, nobody needs to agree. If two people need to agree, you need two handshakes, for four people – six, and more and more. The number of handshakes you need increases exponentially.
Remember to check the third and final part of ” Zillidy’s Interview with Sal Virani: Financing Your Business, in which Sal discusses the Canadian startup scene and the fast-changing world of alternative financing. Also, don’t forget to check out Part 1 of ” Zillidy’s Interview with Sal Virani: Canadian Born Startup Mentor“.
In the meantime, let us know in the comments — what do you think about Sal’s views on startup success and one-fits-all formulas?