Start Up Blog

How to invest $1500

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on December 29, 2011

Invest it in yourself. Go to local Melbourne (Y Combinator) Statup site Adiso.com and book a flight to San Francisco.

Spend the next month working on your best idea startup idea.

Get a working prototype, or do those updates you’ve been talking about for the last 6 months on your current startup. Get it in shape.

Book meetings with VC’s, write up a schedule of where all the events are, startups weekends are and build a calendar of people to meet, things to do and actions to take while in Silicon Valley. Ask some locals who’ve been there and done it.

Get your spiel tight. Know how to pitch in 1 minute. With no slides, just your voice box.

Make sure your spiel covers what it is, who it’s for, what it disrupts, and the final revenue model. 

Go there, pitch and win (or lose). But you’ll win regardless. You’ll win with knowledge gains and contacts made. Get excited, have a story to tell, get 2012 off to a fast start.

Didn’t you know it’s an Aussie gold rush over there?

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The art of pitching

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 31, 2011

I had a catch up with a well known pitch doctor yesterday. He reminded me of some of the most important factors, and regular mistakes we make while pitching.

Biggest mistake: Wasting time talking about ourselves. They already know enough about us, or they wouldn’t be in the room. The right amount of time to allocate talking about ourselves is close to zero.

Biggest Opportunity: Leave some questions unanswered. (counter intuitive I know) This creates the opportunity for real conversation. When we converse, we see how each party thinks. It also enables us to determine if we have the right chemistry to work together.

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The truth about small fish

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 30, 2010

When starting out or chasing new customers on an existing business it makes sense aim for smaller players first, to build confidence, and get a few small wins on the board…. right?

The problem with thinking like this is that it makes life harder and less profitable.

The truth about small fish, is that they are harder to catch than big fish. They’re more elusive than the big guys and are often much harder to convince to invest their money in whatever we are selling. With the small fish the decision is often about whether they should invest their money or not. The advantage of the big fish, is that the investment funds are usually allocated, it’s more a question of doing business with company A or company B. From a  revenue perspective it’s far wiser investment of time to court a customer whose decisions to invest are already made.  A $10,000 customer is harder to get than a $1,000,000 one.

The other factor worth considering is our reputation. If we become successful selling to the small players, we’ll be seen as a small solution provider.  But if we land a big one it gives us a license to knock on other big doors. When the investment is time, its worth chasing the bigger reward, and the truth is that it’s often an easier sell job.

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Do you believe?

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 1, 2010

Mick Liubinskas told me an amazing story about belief when we caught up recently. I just had to share it here.

‘A journalist was sent to Niagra falls to cover a a dare devil high wire artist who had claimed he would walk across the Niagra falls on a wire. The journalist arrived and met said dare devil and spoke to him. Then the dare devil commenced the task.

He completed it without fail and upon return the journalist congratulated him, but then went on to say that he thought it was a fluke. That he thought he was really just lucky, and that he did not believe he would be so fortunate if he tried again. So the dare devil then grabbed a chair, called over his assistant and asked her to sit in it. He then carried her in the chair across the Niagra falls to prove it wasn’t just luck.

The journalist, then apologized, and said that now he really believes. The stunt man then retorted, if you really believe you’ll get in the chair.’

You might be wondering how this story relates to startups or your business. But Mick was telling it in relation to Venture Capitalist and selling ideas. I thought it was a great analogy to share with people who claim they are with you when you feel there is some doubt.

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How to pitch

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 20, 2010

There is more good than bad in these hilarious Ali G pitches to Venture Capitalists.

What to look for:

  • His tone of voice and pausing when speaking.
  • His reliance on talking. There is no powerpoint.
  • Taking them on a journey. Story telling.
  • Simple visuals. Having samples / props.
  • Supreme confidence

I’d seriously recommend this video on how to pitch versus most other examples we see on the web so long as we understand the context.

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Startup School – 1 seat left

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 2, 2009

I’m very excited that Startup School Melbourne is this weekend. We still have a single seat left which is currently being warmed by this guy….

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But we’d love to replace him with you. And if you need any more convincing then I’m pretty sure I’ll have done the job once you finish reading this blog entry.

Firstly – here’s a list of topics we’ll be covering in detail:

  • Idea Generating
  • Creativity in business. Creative thinking
  • Raising Capital
  • Art of Pitching
  • Legal tips, shortcuts and administration
  • Successful outsourcing (digital & production)
  • Building an international work force
  • Cash flow for startups & budgeting
  • Simplified project management
  • Personal & business branding
  • Selling like a guru
  • Generating PR and media
  • Building a Team

All of which is fully documented in a take home working manual so you’ll leave knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. Like I have.

We are also being joined by Yvonne Adele – Globally renowned Creativity and ideas guru!

You can’t learn this stuff in school, books or at University. And I should know as I teach Marketing at Melbourne University. You also get me as an on going mentor as a Startup School graduate with unlimited help in your start up. Which is incredible value give what most consultants (with less real experience) charge by the hour.

We are holding the event in the groovy boutique Lindrum Hotel. Where the space is great and the food and espresso is awesome. I tested it.

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All of which is included in the price. You’ll be one of 10 people in an intimate learning environment. Not in a room full of people.

If that’s not enough , Startup School comes with a money back guarantee to blow your mind. I can say this because I know the 2 days will.

No, it’s not priceless – it’s priced at $998.

It will be the best investment in your entrepreneurship education you’ve ever made. it will make and save you thousands. This event is a one off, there is no next chance. If you want to chat about it – call me on the phone number in the right hand side bar of this blog.

Click here to book now.

(Seats still available for Sydney 21st & 22nd of November)

See you on the weekend, Steve.

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Startup School just got better

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 16, 2009

For those of my blog readers already locked and loaded for startup schoolGood News.

For those thinking about coming long – Another great reason to join us.

The uber terrific Yvonne Adele from at Ideas Culture has just joined us for the 2 events. She will be facilitating and helping us out through the two days. But don’t think she’ll just be giving the intro’s and outro’s – she’ll be giving us her spin on creativity and ideas, as well as getting us pumped up, motivated and thinking. Which will also blow our minds!

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For those who don’t know, Yvonne’s business was recently featured in Springwise and has a list of credentials and testimonials as long as both my arms.

So, if you’ve been on the edge of booking startup school. Time to get moving. The Melbourne event is about to close the door with only a couple of seats left. And Sydney is filling quickly.

Feel free to contact me if you have any queries and want to chat in more detail about it on 0438 779566. Steve.

Startup School this November

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 28, 2009

If you’re planning a Corporate Escape or are an early stage entrepreneur. Then 2 day event I’m running is an investment worth considering. For a very simple reason: It’ll save you many thousands by not having to make all the mistakes I did before I got it right.

What stuff are we covering?

Content taught includes:
– Idea generation
– Idea validation
– Art of bootstrapping
– Setup costs / legal Tips & tricks
– Project / Cash flow management
– Outsourcing ( digital & production)
– Raising capital
– PR – Getting on TV, radio and in newspapers (all of which I’ve done before – see http://www.rentoid.com/about and scroll down)
– Social media tools
– Staffing & handling the growth curve.

All of which will be interactive – and busts the myths of success. You wont read the truth about this stuff in books because the truth isn’t shiny and doesn’t sell. All 10 alumni graduates get me as an on going mentor to help them startup and success like I have with www.rentoid.com.

It also includes food & drink for 2 days. It is $998 for the 2 days. It’s not cheap – bit it’s the real deal. A worthy investment with a money back guarantee to blow your mind.

Startup School

If you think it’s expensive – then think about this:

  • How much is 17 minutes of prime time ‘in program’ TV coverage worth? More than $500,000. I’ve done it and startup school will teach you how.
  • How much is full page spreads worth in National Newspapers & magazine worth?
  • How much did your last website cost to build? I built www.startupschool.com.au for $220 and I’m not a tech person, designer or a coder.
  • How valuable is knowing how to raise Angel and Venture Capital? Or even know the right people?
  • What about in market validation without the actual expense of launching?

The point is your investment will pay for itself many times over.

It’ll be running In Sydney and Melbourne for 10 people only. It’s pretty much a one off event. So if you want to come book or seat at www.startupschool.com.au or feel free to give me a call {0438 779 566} for more info. Be quick it’s limited to 10 people only.

Steve

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Why cash flow matters

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on September 21, 2009

Here’s a simple description of why cash flow is the most important financial measurement in business.

Cashflow positive means: More ‘actual’ cash money is coming in than is going out. It does not mean revenue exceeds expenditure.

Hence:

It’s impossible to go broke while your business is cash flow positive.

It’s possible to broke while your business is making a profit.

This is the most important financial fact startups must know and understand.

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Business Plan Template

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 28, 2009

It’s well documented that I’m not a big fan of business plans. Mainly because we live in a world of flux. But if you must use one – which I’ll call a 1 page mud map – then here’s a template. I’ve used this and I’d recommend it for ‘real entrepreneurs’ – that is non VC seeking bootstrappers.

What is it?
Describe your business or service in a single sentence. If you can’t do this, you don’t know what you’re doing.

Who is it for?
The audience who need or want this thing you’re about to create. Define them in whatever terms you please, demographically, socially, behaviourally, geographically. Just be succinct and tight in your clustering.

Why do they need it?
How is it better than the current substitute options?

How will they find us?
Where will we gain distribution? Maybe we’ll leverage a strong retail chain. A singular high traffic location. If web based strong SEO / brand awareness will be required. Maybe we already have an audience who we’ll bring a product to. This should be the most detailed part of the plan. It should include brand awareness activities and promotions. It still should only be a round 1 paragraph long.

Cost to build Version 1.0
Just estimate it – then double your estimate. Now this is the bare bones version, the absolute minimum required for launch. Outsource every element of production were possible, unless you are the major factor of production. Keep the cost low. It enhances speed, and reduces fear of failure and inertia.

Revenue Stream
There is no such thing as ‘Free’ – just a delayed revenue model. Ideas include: Sell item for price, Percentage of sales, memberships, premiums, selling advertising among others. Your plan is not finished unless you can answer this in a way your mum can understand.

Next Steps
These steps are related to launching the product. We stop typing and start prototyping. Here’s where we have 3-5 bullet points on how to get to version 1.0 The quickest possible route to being live in market. The steps to when you can out there and start selling & promoting.

That’s it. In fact you final plan should be as short as that we see above. Print it, put it up in your office and get to work.

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