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After three years, this is my last column for The Globe and Mail's small-business section.

I have written about dozens of startups and hopefully provided entrepreneurs and small-business owners with insight and information on what it's like to run a company, as well as tips on how to survive and thrive.

So why the decision to stop? It comes down to a need to focus – something I have written about on a regular basis.

For an entrepreneur, the ability to deal with the task at hand and the strategic vision for your company are key considerations. As my startup and small-business marketing company grows, it has become apparent that taking care of existing clients, pursuing new customers and capitalizing on opportunities must become bigger priorities.

There are only so many hours in a day, which means I had to make a decision on how to best allocate my time. It's a challenge for many entrepreneurs, who have to balance running their businesses – with the reality that it involves a lot of time and energy – as well as the need to continually shift strategic and tactical directions.

This is the "dark side" that gets lost in the excitement and buzz around entrepreneurship.

This column has been part of my own entrepreneurial journey, which kicked off when I started ME Consulting in December, 2009, after being laid off by PlanetEye, an online travel startup. Many of the columns have reflected the business lessons I have learned and the insight I have applied to my company.

At the same time, I have tried to shine a spotlight on the interesting and fast-growing startups that have emerged in the past few years. After watching so many people talk about wanting to be entrepreneurs, it has been exciting and encouraging to see them take the plunge.

It's probably one of the most exciting developments on the economic landscape, which has been plagued by volatility and uncertainly for the past four years. If Canada is going to thrive economically, entrepreneurs have to play a leading role.

Writing this column has been an educational experience and, in many ways, served as a great place to comment, reflect, highlight and talk about what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to strive for success.

Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups – Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.

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