Canadian Entrepreneur. Founder @ Orchestra - helping small businesses with smarter marketing automation software. Manager of Sales Strategy. Previously management consultant and software engineer.
Learn how you can leverage the existing data that you have to get insight into your business. Figure out what your customers love about you and understand where you should focus your marketing dollars.
I have continuously helped executives and their analytics teams dig deeper into their data to build actionable strategies that ultimately result in revenue growth.
The first step to starting any business is validating the idea. Depending on what you're planning to make, ask around and see if anyone is already interested. And if it's not too costly/time consuming, absolutely make something and test it at the food festivals. Important thing is to keep testing until it's clear that your customer base is getting larger. Good luck!
The biggest question you'll have to answer at this point is whether you and the founder can get along. You've already highlighted issues with the founder but does this bother you? Are both your goals aligned and do your values agree with him/her?
In a previous experience, I brought someone on whom I didn't know much about - only that his skills matched what I was looking for. However, only after a few months, he decided to leave as he didn't agree with the new direction we were taking. Yet, there was never any opposition when the idea was first brought up.
The team is one of the most critical things at the beginning of every startup. You'll want to be in an environment where everyone is open, honest and can execute to the best of their ability.
I don't believe that this is your only opportunity - there are plenty of opportunities all around to those who seek it.