Start Up Blog

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 11, 2012

This was just so brilliant I had to re-post it here in its entirety. The 12 most powerful words in business from Ragans PR daily.

Office conference rooms, cubicles, corner offices, and common areas are crammed with business jargon that dulls imaginations and saps creativity.

Many powerful words for business have nary a thing to do, directly, with industry.

1. Why

Polite push back can temper groupthink. Ask why “things have always been done that way.” Or ask why it didn’t work the last time you tried it.

2. Show

People like proof. They want to see things with their own eyes. It’s human nature. In trying to reach and win customers, clients, colleagues, or management, show your ideas with examples. Draw an analogy, give an anecdote, paint a picture. Help them see what you see. Show them, and they’ll be more likely to get it and get on board.

3. Goof

Trying something that didn’t work, as long as it wasn’t impulsively foolish, dangerous, or illegal, can be regarded as the trial run or first draft.

4. Reflect

Breathe, pause and collect yourself before you send an email while angry, take criticism too personally, or speak when emotion is clouding your judgment. The repair work required after you lash out is wasteful, unproductive, and inefficient.

5. Do

Sure, market testing and focus groups have their place. But business success takes action and plenty of doing.

6. Listen

Hearing is a function. Listening is a skill. It takes practice. But it yields immeasurable dividends. Extra points if you listen, consider alternative options and critical feedback, and adjust course because of it.

7. Learn

The staggering pace of growth in social media shows how essential it is to learn all through life. Learning can mean formal training, of course. But learning also happens by staying nimble enough to act when opportunities appear.

8. Open

Being open-minded—open to change, open to being wrong, and open to new possibilities—can lead to new products, new clients, new markets, and entirely new ways of doing business.

9. Respect

Civility eases differences among humans. When I was an editorial writer, my colleagues and I would gather each morning to discuss the official position the Cleveland Plain Dealer would take on the most controversial topics of the day.

Politics, religion, social issues—you name it. It worked well largely because the group was civil and respectful. And our boss was an awesome leader who made sure the discussions stayed that way.

10. Lead

Leading is much more powerful than managing. Think about it: You manage problems. You manage bills. Or you manage just to cope. Leading, on the other hand, is nuanced, customized, and inspired.

11. Fail

Fear of failing keeps people from doing all sorts of things: Piping up at a meeting with an idea, starting a business, or taking other risks. Failing is really an inevitable part of taking risks. And taking risks is an inevitable part of a strong business.

12. Regroup

After failing, it’s important to learn what when wrong and how to do it better next time. This is the true secret of missteps. Through the lessons learned in the aftermath, greatness can emerge.

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Our writing really matters

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 26, 2011

This guy put some effort into writing the words that appear on his website. The result of his writing is around 10,000 people shared it with their friends. Read it.

www.alittlebitofsomething.co.uk

The words we publish matter a lot.

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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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An advertising lullaby

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on December 29, 2010

Some more brilliance from George Carlin. For marketers and entrepreneurs alike it’s a great reminder of the value of language and how that can be used to create a benefit perception in peoples minds. Although, I’d recommend the picture we create is one of authenticity. Enjoy!

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Alternate words

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 23, 2010

The words we use shape our behaviour. They even create bias, prejudices and potentially create a subconscious blue print for our strategic thinking. So in the spirit of solutions – I’ve list some new and better ways of saying old words.

Old word is Target. Replacement word = Audience.

A target is something we shoot at, aim for and maybe even kill. We care not for them. We care about us, and try to dominate them to bring home food for the night. An audience is a group of people we try to impress. We ask for some time on the stage (permission based), give our best performance and hope they throw flowers, not rotten tomatoes. If we do particularly well they’ll ask for an encore (supporting product to buy?) and tell their friends to come see the show.

Old word is Consumer. Replacement word = Person.

A consumer devours everything in their path. By defining people as such we subconsciously want them to mindlessly fill their life with stuff. We are not asking them to think, or consider, just act. We care not how the item bought for consumption is used and whether or not it enhances our world or theirs. It’s a production and factory mentality which is quickly becoming outdated.  A person has feelings, emotions and aspirations. We are people, while they are consumers. The ‘we’ are people mindset is far superior to the ‘they’ are consumers view. It will take us much further and we’ll go there together.

Old word is Retiree. Replacement word = Projecteer

Retiring is an industrial revolution hangover based on physical labour taking it’s toll on men an woman. We must stop and rest in our final days because we having no energy left or have become less useful (in a physical sense) to the industrial machine. It was invented because the hours people have worked since the industrial revolution is beyond what is meant for humans. A Projecteer is what will replace the concept of Retirement. In fact, retirement will diminish as passion projects and life long idea work rises. We will be projecteers with specialist skills which are valued and revered as we gain in years and experience. Our mental faculties will flourish with improvements in diet and medicine and older generations will reclaim their position at the top of the human hierarchy.

Old word is Demographic. Replacement word = Tribe.

The problem with demographics is that a teenager is no longer a teenager. A teenager is a goth, an emo, a surfer, a skater… The same can be said for any age group or geographic locator. We are no longer definable by statistical clustering. Our values and attitudes are less likely to be defined via demography, but the tribes we move in, which now very often include people from disparate backgrounds and ages. The net enabled us to find the tribes we really belong to.

Old word is Non-profit. Replacement word = Social profit.

It’s nothing short of insane to have the word non-profit associated with organisations that build positive social outcomes. The word profit isn’t exclusive to financial output. Actually the word profit comes from the latin ‘Profectus‘ meaning to ‘make progress.’ The financial element was added much later. In this sense organisations providing social progress should move quickly to communicate the social profit they are making and in doing so remove the negative connotations that come with the word ‘non’.

Smart entrepreneurs shape peoples thinking with the words they use.

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How to win a debate

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 2, 2010

Winning a debate isn’t about proving the other party is wrong. It’s about proving you are right. In fact it’s about proving that you are more correct, even a little bit.

Then, by inference the other party must be wrong.

Although that’s a nice tip, debating is hardly the approach we need in any part of a startup business. The best advice we can give here is to never enter a debate, and let the other party believe they are right. Startups are about building relationships, not sabotaging them.

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Kevin Rudd & getting stuff done

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 24, 2010

As most of you will know former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was ousted this morning by his deputy Ms Julia Gillard.

It was a whirlwind event that seemed to start and finish within 24 hours. Though, upon deeper consideration the evidence of such an event was mounting. During the media frenzy last night I made a tweet which is full of relevance for this blog and every entrepreneur. I thought I’d share it below.

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Everything to everyone

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 15, 2010

We live in a wordy world. It seems there’s a new acronym, piece of business jargon, or self defining adjective emerging every minute of the day. It’s easy to get caught up in the language, the jargon and forget what business and startups are all about:

Building stuff. Buying something for $1 and selling it for $2. Having a laugh along the way.

Keep it simple. Don’t try and be everything to everyone.

With all this in mind I’ll hand over to George Carlin – and yes, this video is worth every second of the 3.56 minutes it takes to watch.

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Customer empathy

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on January 26, 2010

My cousin recently purchased a new home. For most of us such a large financial commitment is quite overwhelming.

During the settlement process Chris had a discussion with his conveyancer about the impending transaction and the issues in his mind. His conveyancer said:

“Look, I know this isn’t the type of thing you do everyday, but I do. And I’ll make sure it runs smoothly and you get looked after.”

Such a simple statement showed terrific empathy. It built confidence in the service provider, and eased the mind of the customer. It’s this type of language which creates conversations and can set apart entrepreneurs.

Language matters. What language do you use?

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