Idea2Delivery will run a multi-episode web series this fall looking at Taste This Deal, a family coupon company that also pledges to give 20 per cent of its proceeds to charity.
"We want to educate other entrepreneurs on what it takes to start a business; it’s something that’s really needed because everyone is all over the board," says Wendy Mayhew, the founder of Idea2Delivery and an entrepreneur who has been in business 25 years herself.
The initial idea came to her in 2008, but like many companies Ms. Mayhew says hers went through a few fits and starts before smoothing out. The first firm that agreed to be profiled backed out in 2010. Sponsors were slow to come on board due to worries about attracting an audience on the web, but through persistence she eventually signed TD Bank, Rogers Communications and Ceridian Canada, among others.
But she says the wait will be worth it for the series, which will provide a comprehensive resource for young firms that are looking for guidance in their initial days.
"So far we have three episodes filmed: how important it is to do a business plan, the legal aspects of what you should do for your business structure, and the different kinds of financing."
Along the way, Ms. Mayhew drew time and time again on her personal network for help.
Among others, Bruce Firestone, a prominent presence in Ottawa real estate and the head of incubator Exploriem.org, provided the initial introduction to Taste This Deal. James Smith, a partner at LaBarge Weinstein, gave advice on legal matters.
"I think Wendy used effectively the paradigm of the reality television program to highlight content that may have been delivered in the past in a two-dimensional way, either through a seminar or blog materials or static materials," Mr. Smith said. "It's just a way more effective way to communicate substance through storytelling."
Himself experienced with young firms – Mr. Smith just billed his 10,000th hour working with them – he said the key to early legal success is to make sure a company isn't "overlawyered at any given time." This drives decisions behind whether to issue preferred shares or to create a shared capital structure, for example, he said.
"Make sure you’re doing the right thing, and ultimately don't do anything that really narrows your attractiveness to any particular audience, whether that be customers or investors."