Second Closet’s Mark Ang says entrepreneurs must focus on the right problems at the right time


At the latest TechTO, Mark Ang, co-founder and CEO of Second Closet, stopped by to discuss how entrepreneurs can focus on solving the right problems at the right times during the initial stages of their startup journey.

Second Closet launched with the goal of targeting people who may not have storage space available, such as people who live in apartments. The company, which closed a $500,000 seed round in July 2017, focuses on picking up and storing people’s items in Toronto and the GTA.

“It’s really an opportunity to keep our whole team up to date because all our team has autonomy and purpose in terms of what they’re doing.”

“There’s a lot of things that startups experience in the growth phase. These things are temporary, like not finding the right talent at the right time, saying yes to every piece of business even when it’s not really pushing your company forward…One thing you sacrifice is work-life balance,” said Ang. “It’s important to understand pains that are temporary so you don’t dwell on them too much. You don’t invest your time and resources into resolving them to a huge extent, because these are things you’ll outgrow as long as you’re focused on the right problems to solve.”

Ang also explained his own company’s approach to tackling different challenges. He said that Second Closet focuses on something called a “True North,” which allows the company to remember its vision, set goals and deadlines, and give its entire team the opportunity to learn what is going well and what isn’t as each team member works on different tasks.

“It’s really an opportunity to keep our whole team up to date because all our team has autonomy and purpose in terms of what they’re doing,” said Ang. “It’s an opportunity to see if sales is stalled, how do we push that along? If engineering has encountered a problem, it’s an opportunity for our entire management team to contribute and be part of the discussion.”

For the entrepreneurs in the audience, Ang stressed the importance of finding a strategy that helps them get through positive and negative weeks and staying honest through the process.

“How this boils down to actually working is if you’re honest with yourself,” said Ang. “If you’re not honest with yourself, it’s really difficult for you to lead a team properly and encourage them to be honest with you so that you can actually build a proper culture, a faster-growing team, and one that can encounter and tackle problems head-on.”

Watch the full presentation below:

The next TechTO takes place on August 13. Get your tickets here!

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.