When it comes to taking a concept from idea to full-fledged business model, Mark Endras, co-founder and CEO of TradeRev, has absolutely no fear. His Toronto startup leverages mobile technology to create an automated, used-car bidding platform for car dealers to bid in real-time on vehicles of their choosing.
Since the company launched in 2011, TradeRev has been expanding worldwide. It’s no wonder that Endras would have some advice on how to stay nimble in an industry rife with change.
Here, 3 lessons on how on steady innovation as an entrepreneur.
Don’t operate out of fear.
You’ve got to be brave and deal with the fact that you might fail. When we started TradeRev, we were defining brand new territory. People would tell us it was never going to work. They said, “You’ll never have the ability to create a market on a mobile phone. People won’t buy cars [on that platform].”
We had to stay firm; we had to think the market was going to do exactly what it’s supposed to do. We had to think we were going to pioneer this industry. You have to just trust your gut, see where the market’s going, and don’t operate out of fear. Then, once you start being successful, you have to be even more careful and block out the naysayers.
No matter how much success you have, you’re never finished.
No matter how much success you have, you need to keep working. Once you start being complacent, stop challenging yourself and stop being brave, you’re going to get trampled upon.
You have to keep innovating. You have to think that every day is your first day, and you have to keep reminding yourself that you’ve made it, but you really haven’t. Today’s the start of the next chapter and you’ve got to keep innovating. You can’t operate out of fear or worry, but that becomes much harder the bigger you get.
Find the right team and grow them with you.
You need the whole company to innovate because you can’t just depend on yourself. One of the biggest things for us at TradeRev was to really make sure that we diversified the team and really created a culture of innovation within our company. We wanted to make sure that we had the right people here.
We wanted to really make sure that we allow them to grow with us, and that started with getting them guidelines on our core values, like being brave. Being brave is all about innovation and taking a chance, being accountable to each other, having fun, and being honest with each other. Establishing those core values so that our team could make those decisions without having to ask a manager was key. It’s hard to make decisions, but it’s about creating that culture of innovation and surrounding yourself with very diverse people.