Startup Idea Generation

This is the second of my crowd sourced blog entry ideas as suggested by Aj Kulatunga. Aj wanted some basic suggestions on how to develop an idea to start a business.

First of all I start by saying, the idea is not nearly as important as people think it is. The problem with a new idea is that we need to go the effort of education people, building a new supply chain and inventing demand. Sometimes ‘selling potatoes’ is a better option. That said, I’ve been asked to give inspiration for idea generation – so here are the Sammartino methods.

The law of the opposite:

Equal and opposite version of existing successful products / markets / services.

Not from here:

Bringing stuff from elsewhere to this market and positioning it as such. Usually imported or licensed version.

The Nth:

The more intense version of something. More power, ingredients, recognition. The Nth degree. For example red Bull is really an Nth version of coca cola. More intense energy hit. Hummer is also an Nth 4 wheel drive / SUV.

Idea Borrowing:

Local versions of overseas success. Quickly adapting successful ideas for overseas markets. Although these days you have to be very quick. That said, it is easier to find them out via websites such as springwise.

The unexpected version:

Eg Extreme Sour Lollies

Selling Potatoes:

Nothing new, existing idea, existing industry, with large existing demand. But must have low barriers to entry. But do it better, try harder, with amazing customer service levels.

Gourmet / Natural version

Has happened a lot in the grocery / supermarket categories. Entrepreneurs have taken advantage in categories like Juice and yogurt.

Extraction method

Take a tiny part of a successful and existing business and just do a micro niche of it. Twitter is this for Facebook. Just taking the status update part.

Danger of trophy IdeasThis link


Your friends & family don’t care

Seriously, your friends and family don’t care about your startup. They don’t have to. Sure they might pretend to care, but mostly they’ll wish you luck and get on with their lives.

Of all of my family members, only one has ever listed an item for rent on my website At first this surprised me.  I thought that having a very broad target audience, they’d like it and get involved. They didn’t. So why we feel the need to seed our new startup with family and friends is beyond me. It’s really a waste of time. If they don’t like what we do, we’ll be offended. If they don’t buy what we sell, we’ll be offended. The feedback is less like to be honest than from a stranger. And most of all we are not going to get rich selling to our family and friends.

Startup blog advice is this: Go direct to your real market. Family and friends rarely, if ever, hold they key to startup success. So why delay the start of said success by launching to them?


Startup Survival

In nature, with every second something lives for, it’s probability of continued life increases exponentially.

The lessons for startups is simple, do the stuff that keeps you alive longest. And the most important thing we can do for our startup is keep our costs low. Low cost operations gives us the advantage of time. And time is the most important asset when it comes to working out our business model. Not capital, not technology, not employees, not research. Just time.


Don’t be this person.

I had this discussion yesterday. I walked past a hole in the wall cafe. (Tiny cafe which serves take away and stand up coffee in inner city area)

Friend: Wasn’t Joey going to open a business like that?

Me: Yeh, I remember him talking about it before I had even seen one of these in the city.

Friend: What happened to it?

Me: I don’t know, I guess he just didn’t get around to it in the end. Got distracted.

Friend: That’s a shame, looks like a good little business model. What’s he doing now?

Me: He’s in the same job.

Friend: Oh. Ok.

We keep walking …

hole in the wall cafe

Don’t be Joey. It at least try and fail. The old job will be waiting for you if you have to return.

Picture 117

Startup School this November

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 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

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 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 or feel free to give me a call {0438 779 566} for more info. Be quick it’s limited to 10 people only.



We need each other

I used to think my skills base limited the areas of business I could play in. I remember thinking back to the dot com boom in the mid and late 1990’s wishing and dreaming that I could some how be involved in the excitement, the fervor, and yes, maybe even the money. But I wasn’t a programmer, a digital designer or media player or a venture capitalist. I was merely a marketing manager trapped in the industrial complex of consumer goods. The bust came and I was quietly happy that peoples paper fortunes and egos got busted too. Which in hindsight was not a nice way to think. It was built on jealously, lack of knowledge and immaturity on my behalf.

dot com boom

Since then I’ve learned this: The type of skills we have matters far less than the fact we have a skill set which is valuable.

Translation: We don’t need to be a technology gurus to be operating or starting up in the technology space.

Maybe we are good at sales, marketing, raising capital, managing and motivating a team, project management, accounting. All of these skills will be needed in whatever business we start or are involved in. What matters is that we can add value in the chain somewhere which takes us from idea to revenue. Where we sit in that chain isn’t as important as we think. What really matters is being able to create the value chain.

It’s a rare combination indeed for a person to have tech genius and business brilliance. Fact is we need each other. We couldn’t have succeeded at rentoid without the business heads or techies collaborating. I wish I’d known this 10 years ago.

Sure it can be an advantage to startup in an area where we have expertise. It can be an incredible way to keep our costs low. But it’s not necessarily a barrier to entry. If we want to success, we’ll have to build a team in any case. And building a revenue infrastructure is what we ought be focusing on as entrepreneurs.


How to be remarkable – Mr Price

Do stuff that people just have to tell their friends about. This I am about to do.

On Monday I had the pleasure of being invited to a restaurant for lunch with colleagues. The place is called Mr Price. It is run by Mr Price himself.

Upon entering you know you are about to have a different experience. An experience which is extremely unlike any other restaurant meal. The decor and mixed demographic alone is evidence of this:





As you can see from the photos above it could well be your favourite Aunties or Grandmas. But it’s Mr Price. And what Mr price does is open his restaurant (home?) in North Melbourne at lunch time only, 5 days a week. He only serves who ever gets the four tables he has – that’s it. Each table gets served once. He decides what to cook that morning which will include 1 entree and 2 main meals. if you don’t like it – too bad. (Believe me you’ll like it).

Mr Price comes out and greats your personally and provides you with the menu of what is available on the particular day. It will be given to you on a hand written piece of paper which he writes himself. He has very neat hand writing. He’ll have a nice old chat and is a very well spoken articulate man. Once you choose your meal, he retreats to the kitchen to cook it. Oh, he’s also the waiter.

At the end of the meal he comes around the tables and has a little chat. It was during this time that he told us that he likes to sleep in and after doing the dishes, he shuts the doors and goes home until the next day.

Mr Price is a nice guy. Mr Price provides an experience. Mr Price isn’t like other restaurants. Mr Price is remarkable.

What are you doing to make your startup remarkable?