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?
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.
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.
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.
For those of my blog readers already locked and loaded for startup school – Good 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.