Our Achievements & Lessons Learned in 2012

REfficient wins silver at Lion's Lair

REfficient won silver at Lion’s Lair, Hamilton’s premier business competition.

As I reflect back on our year at REfficient, there are so many things to be thankful for on many different levels. It has been a tremendous year full of lessons learned, discovery and growth.

We wanted to share with you some of these achievements, but also what we have learned as a company and some of the insight I’ve gotten as an entrepreneur.

Some Achievements – by the Numbers

Here is a sampling of some of our numbers which we are proud of.

  • 10 Canadian provinces/territories where our customers reside and make a difference, as well as
  • 24 US states and
  • 6 other countries on Continue reading

Feeling Overwhelmed? Five Tactics for Entrepreneurs to Get Back On Track

REfficient CEO Stephanie McLarty interviewed

Opportunities are great, but what do you do when you become overwhelmed?

A few weeks ago I blogged about REfficient reaching a tipping point, which has led to a number of great things. We had market awareness like never before, higher conversion rates and new found opportunities.

Yet I also talked about the dark side – things were taking a toll on me. I was feeling overwhelmed. I was having trouble sleeping at night. I was struggling to keep up.

Thankfully I have regained balance and am no longer experiencing the stress I did a month ago. Here are five things which I did to gain some perspective and get back on top.

Take some alone time

The first thing I did was to step away and take some alone time. I took two hours, had a cup of coffee (well, two), and disconnected. Continue reading

Reaching a Tipping Point – What It’s Really Meant

Tipping points are reached with critical mass, when momentum starts to take over.

Tipping points are reached with critical mass, when momentum starts to take over.

I feel like we have reached a tipping point in the last two months.

The first clue was when I met random new people at events and they had actually heard of REfficient before. Yes, “actually” because they could recount specifics about the company. They knew we were an online marketplace for businesses, and they would mention where they had seen us – in the newspaper, in a magazine, or just through word of mouth. It became clear to me that we had established a market awareness we did not have before. Continue reading

Lion’s Lair Showed the Transformation Underway in Hamilton


Lions Lair Finalists

Lion’s Lair finalists await the decisions of who won the business competition

Lion’s Lair last night was truly a celebration of business in Hamilton. Yet the business competition with $100,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs was more than just a celebration of business. The night was proof that the transformation of Hamilton is well underway.

Hamilton has been known for decades as a steel city. As you pass over the Burlington skyway bridge and get a vista of Hamilton, you would think that it still is. As the steel industry has declined in recent years, Hamilton has been searching for new industries and a new identity. Last night, Lion’s Lair confirmed that other sectors are playing an Continue reading

REbillion – Wouldn’t it be cool if…

REfficient Inukshuk

A signpost at REfficient – an inukshuk made from old server parts

A few pivotal things have happened over the last week.

It all started when I was talking with one of the City of Hamilton’s staff. He asked me what REfficient’s “big hairy audacious goal” (BHAG) was. The term was made popular in the book “Built to Last” and refers to the long term inspirational (and almost impossible) vision that companies set as a guide. We had realized early on that we wanted to create the “world’s sustainable marketplace”, but we’ve also evolved a lot since then. I realized I hadn’t thought about our BHAG recently. The conversation planted a seed.

Then I heard Frank O’Dea, Founder of Second Cup, speak at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce convention here in Hamilton. Frank was alcoholic and homeless during his youth in Toronto, and turned his life around through what he realized were three simple things. Continue reading