Start Up Blog

Every-preneur

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 17, 2011

Today I tweeted a little thought that we are all becoming entrepreneurs:

and then Jason asked me this:

… and here is what I think.

I think it’s great that we are entering an age where everyone can play. The richness of human life comes from the social fabric and the variety in personality and experience. When people enter a commercial world it’s impossible for their experiences, views and values not to emanate into their business. So the net result is a wider array of rich ideas and systems which can benefit real people rather than demographic aggregates. Smaller cohorts can be nimble and focus on pleasing the few. Some may even end up pleasing the many. The net result of the new low barrier world is a richer place to live in, both socially and economically.

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TED talks – What the world needs

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 11, 2010

This talk by Hans Rosling on population growth in the world is incredibly insightful. It goes for about 10 minutes and is worth the investment. His contention is that raising living standards in the poorest countries is the only way to reduce population growth.

Another thing I love is his presentation method and props. Very engaging and a method all entrepreneurs and marketers should consider. Enjoy!

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The truth about digital offshoring

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 13, 2010

BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are the buzz word in business for good reason. In the good news for us small entrepreneurs is that access is no longer limited big players. The internet has made it possible to have a global work force from launch date, and the same cost advantages that multinationals have had since they started exporting labour to China and other parts of Asia since the 1960’s. Anyone can do it now.

Before you worry about the ethics of ‘off shoring’ there’s some stuff we should know. Exporting labour overseas is ethically sound. It is beneficial both to the recipients and the providers of such work (us). The average computer programmer earns around $1000 a month in India. In the USA and Australia it’s more like $7000 a month. Unethical? Not really. The $1000 a month versus the average in India of $85 gives new information workers in India and very high standard of living.

When we inject money into developing economies we are increasing the living standards not just for our employees, but for their economy in general. In addition we have the option to pay them above market rates to create strong loyalty. We have the option  treat our people well and create important cultural exchanges and relationships.

Other peoples time is what we must leverage for startup success. A simple business fact time immemorial. Only now we have both currency advantage and access. The issue of moving jobs overseas is a crock. We live in a global age, an internet economy. We all buy goods everyday from overseas. Geographical barriers simply wont exist shortly. So we should just get on board. Protectionist attitudes are outdated. No one is sending kids down mines with digital offshoring. If local people are getting put out of jobs, then they’ve been earning too much for what they’ve been doing anyway. Their outplacement is inevitable.

Startup Blog says:

• Outsourcing is available to everyone, not just powerful companies
• Off shoring improves living standards
• Off shoring is ethical and important culturally
• We must embrace it, or get left behind. There is no choice.

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ABC 7.30 report – Virtual Offices

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 5, 2010

I was fortunate enough to feature in a story on the ABC 7.30 report this week. The topic was on virtual offices and digital offshoring. My business rentoid got a nice little plug which is a bonus on a non-commercial channel. The opportunity arose from this newspaper article I was in on the topic in the Sydney Morning Herald. Which goes to show media exposure also has a compounding effect for your startup as well.

Although the story and offshoring in general has it’s detractors (unions love the status quo, unless it involves profit increases they want a share in). I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve worked with talented people in developing markets.

  • My team get paid more than they’d get locally.
  • I’ve helped team members get more work, and mentored them in building their own businesses.
  • I like investing in developing markets because improves living standards.

It’s our job as entrepreneurs to create positive situations with tech innovations, and there’s no doubt in my mind having an overseas team does this, while building a business with beneficiaries locally (employees, revenue, community) as well.

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Q & A – New Media and Small Business

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 30, 2009

I was asked to answer a few questions at a talk I gave last week at the Nationwide Networking Event. It was aimed at Small businesses with the topic about new media and the advantages of being small. I thought it was a nice snippet of ideas worth sharing here.

Q: What type of changes can we expect from media in 2010 and how do we need to prepare for it as business professionals?

A: Media will fragment further, it’s increasingly like fashion with new ideas appearing daily. The art of value, like with fashion is by going with the classics and choosing the right style for the brand you want to build. Match your environment, by being involved in the right channels.

Q: Where do you see the role of the blog in the future?

A: Increasingly important. Blogs are a trusted source, because bloggers become, or are an expert on their topic of choice. This is because all good blogs are topic specific. And people want to deal with experts.

Q: What can we expect from the evolution of twitter and our capacity to use it as a marketing medium?

A: If we use it as a marketing medium we’ve already lost. It’s a conversation…. Conversation can turn into business, but it is primarily a conversation. First we need to be a resource. A resource to others, from which we can build trust and valued relationships. These may eventually lead a business relationship.

Q: What trends are coming from America that we need to be aware of?

A: Trends are global now. We don’t have to look overseas to see it. Things arrive simultaneously. It’s not like it was 20 years ago where our friends return from sojourns overseas to tell us all about the cool things they saw, and we have to wait for them to appear in our market a few years later. Now it’s on our desktop the day it happens. This is been further facilitated by web tools such as Springwise, Twitter and Youtube.

Q: How do we (small business people) benefit from the changes in the media landscape?

A: Barriers to entry have been removed so anyone can play. But it requires a long term consistent effort. New media requires a low financial investment, and large human capital input. Where as old media requires a large financial investment with little human effort. At least now we have to choice. In addition large companies have been (so far) pretty bad at using new media. It creates an advantage for us.

Q: How can we better utilize technology tor reduce our costs and increase our profits?

A: Shift from being doers, to becoming project managers. Outsource where ever possible. It’s easier now with all the tools we have at our disposal like elance and skype. Why do we even need an office? Is it because we need to, or because we don’t trust the people we work with?

Q: Your blog has 50,000 readers a month, how did you do that?

A: Two simple things. One blog entry every day. Staying on topic (entrepreneurship / startups). Then wordpress and Google did the rest. It’s not a trick, it just takes consistent effort.

Q: What is the meaning of micro brand building and how would it be relevant to soloprenuers?

A: Build your personal brand first. That’s the first part of micro branding, becoming known for something. Having a skill you can share with others. Then eventually cross fertilize to your business brand.

Q: What are the simplest things we can do to build a micro brand?

A: Have a tight focus area of interest. Share our lessons honestly and openly. Frequency of output.

Q: How do we protect our brands?

A: Not with IP and legal stuff…. Most of that is a simple waste of money.  We protect it with customers, innovation and reliability.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to those of us that need clients and need them quickly?

A: Cold call. Not on the phone, but turn up and talk.

Q: What books have influenced  you?

The Cluetrain Manifesto

The Purple Cow

The art of the start

22 Laws of marketing

Q: What marketers / speakers have influenced you?

A: Steven Wright (comedian) he taught me how to flip my perspective for alternative solutions.

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