It’s no secret that building a startup is a massive undertaking. At Harvest, we’ve been fortunate to experience this exciting journey alongside many passionate entrepreneurs who challenge industry norms and upend entire categories, from finance to agriculture to energy, and more.
Through the Harvest Growth Program, our resident experts have helped dozens of founders build go-to-market strategies, pitch decks, and financial models, as well as recruit world-class talent to join their teams. Together, we’ve pulled out all the stops to prepare startups to take flight.
Our Growth Program delivers on a simple yet important mission for the Canadian tech ecosystem: to accelerate the launch and growth of innovative startups across the Prairies by unlocking access to world-class growth services.
Yet, we’re only scratching the surface. Since launching our Growth Program services last year, we discovered an important pattern: a lack of readily available tools for early-stage teams, and the foundational knowledge needed by founders to build high-growth, scalable companies.
That’s when the light bulbs went on. What if we could give bright-eyed, trailblazing tech founders an edge by curating an ongoing collection of must-use templates, checklists, guides, and a directory of special offers and startup programs, all in one place? And make it all readily available for free.
Today, we announce the first step in the evolution of Harvest Builders. We’re thrilled to launch our Growth Essentials, free resources and tools across finance, fundraising, marketing, business development, and talent management, just for startups. All hand-picked and carefully curated by Harvest’s resident experts.
This marks our first move towards bringing together Canadian entrepreneurs and tech leaders through a Harvest Membership. A membership that creates more value for our ecosystem by connecting founders with industry experts, mentors and peers, and builds community together. Startup founders can soon count on an even greater variety of content and resources for any stage of growth and business need.
More on Harvest's Growth Program evolution and our new membership plans will be announced in the coming weeks. But first, let’s explore Essentials.
All your Essentials, all in one place
Startup teams often struggle with where to start and how to get their hands on the resources they need to launch, grow, and scale their companies. And we don’t blame them. With overwhelming to-do lists and a race against the clock, they may not always have an advisor in their corner, helping them distinguish the nuances between a marketing and sales plan or the pitch decks, legal docs, and the employment agreements they’ll need just to get out of the starting gate.
Luckily, our team specializes in many different areas covering several important bases. We know how to find stand-out talent and build world-class teams. Several of our resident experts are entrepreneurs themselves, having raised venture capital before, and understand what investors are looking for. And our marketing and creative teams know how to build brands and campaigns that resonate with customers and achieve the KPIs that investors care about most.
Through our growth services, we realized that we had a habit of referring back to the tried and true – the best practices, templates, and checklists we’ve used in previous roles to launch and scale some of North America’s fastest-growing tech companies.
So what’s included in Essentials?
Whether you’re a first-time founder or serial entrepreneur launching a new venture, joining Harvest’s Growth Program through our Essentials Membership empowers you to take charge of your company by accessing free tools that make it easier to build your business.
As the name suggests, our Essentials plan covers all your startup basics and centralizes mission-critical resources across multiple business areas.
When you create a free Essentials account, you’ll get immediate access to your member dashboard, making it easy to find what you’re looking for, and includes a variety of:
- Growth guides
- Offers, credits, and rebates
Did we mention that Essentials is completely free? We believe vital resources like these should be made standard for every entrepreneur – setting an equal playing field for founders as they prepare for the sprints and marathon ahead.
Now let’s dive into what kind of tools you’ll find starting today.
Show me the money. Or rather, show your investors. As a founder, you’ll often be asked by investors to see your financial models and Pro-Formas, and it’s because they want to better understand the flexibility and scope of your business model.
Financial models allow you to create a forecast for future business decisions. Through scenario planning, you can “stress test” different changes to pricing, employment models, sales plans, and other inputs.
Some of our financial templates include:
- General capitalization table models or “cap tables”, which can help you calculate the stakes of available ownership and outstanding securities.
- Marketplace financial model templates, which can help you calculate how ownership stakes may change with each successive financing round.
Some of our finance guides include:
- The ABC’s of Startup Finance. We cover the ins and outs of keeping your business alive. Learn the basics of bookkeeping, financial modelling, startup equity, and more to become self-sustaining.
Pitching investors is one thing that entrepreneurs hate most about starting a company because it can often be confusing and dispiriting. But telling your unique story should be one of the most enjoyable milestones on your journey to success.
Our pitch deck templates empower founders to tell their story in the most effective way, covering all the key elements that make a lasting impression. From expressing “the why” and market opportunity through to the ask, our templates guide you through making a cohesive pitch.
Some of our fundraising templates include:
- Pitch decks for Seed and Series A rounds.
- Due diligence checklist. Making sure you have all the right founding documents and materials to close investments in a timely manner.
- Non-disclosure agreements. Protecting sensitive business information between shared parties.
Some of our fundraising guides include:
- Pitch Deck Playlist for Founders. How to share your story from seed to Series A and beyond to ace your pitches at every round.
Developing a marketing strategy can be time-consuming, but it’s a necessary step if you want your startup to succeed. Knowing what to focus on, why you’re doing it, and when to do it is essential for your go-to-market and gaining early customer traction.
With a clear plan of action in place, you’ll be able to tell what’s working and what isn’t, as well as how much you should invest in your marketing based on the value you receive from it.
Some of our marketing templates include:
- Marketing Plan-on-a-page. Provides you with high-level details to get started and keep your team on track, from outlining your brand essence all the way to understanding your target audience.
- B2C and B2B Buyer personas. Understanding your audience, what their challenges are, and how you can develop a solution for them that resonates through your content and product messaging.
- Customer Journey Mapping. Knowing the path customers follow when deciding which brands to buy from will help you create a more accurate journey map. It also helps in planning the content you’ll need to better attract, engage, convert, and retain loyal customers.
- Brand and Product Messaging. Yes, these are different types of messaging exercises and we cover how to craft compelling stories for both brand and product to develop winning value propositions, brand messaging pillars, product positioning statements and descriptions, and more.
Some of our marketing guides include:
- Startup Marketing 101. A 10-step guide to the best startup resources in the marketing industry, covering the different types of marketing, brand, product-market fit, target audiences, famous startup case studies, and much more.
- Performance Marketing Basics. An 8-step guide to the best performance marketing resources to grow your startup, from breaking down a marketing funnel and understanding KPIs to lead generation, SEO, customer lifecycle, platform optimization, and much more.
Sales drive business. Its function is critical to your success, no matter if your company is in its earliest stage or experiencing rapid growth. When executed correctly, the right sales process can save thousands of hours and achieve significant increases in net profit.
Some of our business development templates include:
- Defining sales stages. Maps out the sales process, scope, and positioning from beginning to end.
- Sales plan. A step-by-step strategy that connects your company’s overarching goals and product with the people, resources, and capacities needed to execute the process.
Build a high-performance team by attracting and keeping the brightest and best talent. Startups need to prioritize the people function of their business to cultivate a culture that they’re proud of, and grow and augment each other’s productivity and performance.
We provide the resources to ensure you are setting your team up for success, even before they start.
Some of our people templates include:
- Offer letters. Provides a framework with important details such as compensation, stock options, termination clauses, confidentiality, and more.
- Onboarding checklist. Integrating new hires into your team and culture, and information you need to offboard employees such as the cancellation of benefits and payroll, and transfer of data.
Count on continuous free resources
All too often, a lack of go-to resources gets in the way of founders building high-growth companies. We’re making it easy for them to access an ongoing collection of free tools, compiled in one convenient dashboard.
As time goes on, we’ll continue to add more templates, guides, and checklists to our Harvest Member portal, as well as special offers and discounts from our partners and around the web. Additional resources, such as for product development and building an MVP are also being planned.
A sneak peek at what’s coming next
If our Essentials membership plan excited you, just wait – there’s more. We’re working on additional membership levels that include building a focused online community to host relevant discussions, virtual events, and publishing premium content including growth playbooks, case studies, and exclusive trends reports just for Harvest members.
Plus, we have other Growth Program offerings we’re also working on to strengthen (and educate) our tech ecosystem further.
These additional offerings will include hands-on learning and startup acceleration through interactive workshops and 1:1 coaching as well as custom strategy development through our existing growth services. Above all, our Growth Program will continue to connect our tech ecosystem through a variety of learning, mentorship, and networking opportunities with fellow founders, skilled talent, industry experts, and advisors.
Over the past year, we’ve seen too many founders struggle with the fundamentals of getting their business off the ground. In launching our Essentials Membership, we’ve hand-picked the best starter materials needed to get startups going. We’ve now logged 30+ and counting free templates, checklists, and guides, and we’re just getting started.
We’re incredibly grateful for the startup community across Canada and every one of the brilliant founders we’ve worked with. You’ve helped us realize the need to curate and consolidate all the templates, tools, checklists we’ve used together in one place.
We look forward to welcoming many more founders and industry leaders into our community by becoming a Harvest member, working together to build incredible things.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks when we announce more from our Growth Program and Harvest Membership plans.
Create your free Essentials account today to get immediate access to all our free startup templates, checklists, guides, offers, and more.