infome sent out its first invoice the other day. In getting to this point through pickmylunch.com.au I’ve learnt a few things, I thought I’d share them:
- Do something useful. It seems obvious, but it is so easy to get caught up in cool ideas and grand schemes. All you need to do is do something useful for someone. Businesses want more customers and customers want a good deal.
- Keep it simple stupid. If you’re going to be useful, people need to be able to use you. It’s tough for them to use you if they don’t even understand what you’re doing in the first place. For businesses, “we bring more customers to your door” and for customers “we get you a good deal on lunch”.
- Get yourself noticed. Placing massive red lunchboxes with our website on them around North Sydney, often accompanied by a glamorous blonde girl handing out discounts, has played a huge role in getting to this point. By making ourselves stick-out, we made people double take, point fingers and take notice of us. Don’t be afraid to be a bit outrageous. (I loved it when I put the boxes next to some suits handing out pamphlets and the suits didn’t even get a look-in from passers by.)
- Talk, talk, talk. The more people we talked with the more we improved the business model and the offering. Go and talk to someone. Now.
- Stick at it. It’s easy to hang up the boots when you’re facing a bit of adversity. It’s easy to move onto the next exciting thing. I’m learning to push through these sorts of things, pushing through is leading to rewards.
- It’s all about the journey. I’ve been saying to myself, I should have reached this point earlier. However, the more I look back, the more I trace my steps, the more I realise that each and every step along the way has been essential in getting to this point.
- It’s an internal battle. What’s stopping you from getting that next customer? What’s stoppping you from looking at new partnerships? What’s stopping you? Well, you. You are both the greatest asset and the greatest obstacle you have.
These are the things that have stood out the most. I hope you can take something away from them.
The Mobile Enterprise Growth Alliance (MEGA) is going to hold an information night on July 9th. MEGA looks like a great opportunity for people looking to turn their idea into a business or just take their idea to the next level.
mega is a workshop lab that incubates ideas for mobile content and applications and associated platforms. Working with many of Australia’s leading mobile and digital commercial experts, ideas are developed through a series of industry-led workshops before being pitched to a panel of investors, telcos, broadcasters, and industry mentors.
Our simple goal is to grow the entrepreneurial and creative capability of Australia’s mobile, digital and cross-platform industries.
Unfortunately, I’d love to be attend and undertake the MEGA course but I will be quite busy with infome. Going off and trying to create another mobile startup at this point doesn’t seem like such a good idea! =D
I’ve just been voted in as the President of the Young Entrepreneur’s Society for FY 2008-2009.
The main initiative I’ll be focusing on is creating and running a business planning competition in the first semester of 2009. Sydney University is in the heart of Australia’s business capital so it has every reason to aspire to have the best business planning competition for an Australian university.
I’m also looking to get people interested in starting their own business or running a business together on a regular basis for an informal coffee and chat on campus.
As per usual we will be running events to do with starting and running a business.
If you’d like to present to our 400+ members or get involved with us (non-students are more than welcome) then please contact me.
I very interesting article that reflects on the ‘failure’ of a startup has been written up: http://www.informationarbitrage.com/2008/07/monitor110-a-po.html. It’s a great read.
It also makes me wonder, maybe I should try harder to make things “fail” quickly rather than trying to make them succeed?
E.g. What can I do today to see if this idea/concept/product/service doesn’t work in the market?
We had a great event today, everyone there enjoyed it – Mike Zimmerman from Technology Venture Partners (TVP) certainly gave a good talk.
Mike gave the aspiring entrepreneur’s from Sydney University an introduction into how Venture Capital actually worked, that is, how does Mike’s company TVP make money. Mike then went on to talk about how VC fits in with other forms of investment, how to reach one, what a VC expects in terms of returns and more.
There were some great questions thrown Mike’s way from the students. It was great to see people so interested in startups and VCs.
I hope this event gave some students an insight into one way of finding investment for their startup.
Thanks Mike – I hope you enjoy that bottle of wine… I had trouble not drinking it myself.
Just the other day I had a coffee (well I had a glass of water and Mark had a hot chocolate) with Mark Rimmer from RaveAboutIt. I’m not going to say much about RaveAboutIt because the site and Mark do a better job of it.
What I will say is that Mark is a very friendly guy, with a lot of passion and focus on what he’s doing. I’m looking forward to seeing what RaveAboutIt gets up to over the next few months.
It’s an unfortunate day to day if you read Smart Company’s ‘Entrepreneur Tim Pethick shuts innovation business‘.
Yesterday was a sad day for entrepreneur Tim Pethick as he closed the Australian office of innovation company Whatif!
The founder of Nudie had joined Whatif! as managing director six months ago and had high hopes that he could not only grow the innovation consultancy but also to use the agency to spearhead an innovation agenda in Australia.
He says the issue was that the global board deemed Australia not exciting enough as a marketplace.
“Australian companies also expect to get half a million innovation projects for $50,000. The innovation ambition exceeds their willingness to pay.”
He also believes that Australians do not focus on innovation output. “They think of the cost not the new lines of products and services or the new revenue.”
I suppose if I look at the Australian start-up scene maybe this is right, or maybe its just that we don’t have the amount of people places like the US have.
Maybe there is an opportunity to change this?
Last night I attended a presentation by Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Realestate.com.au (RE), Simon Baker in Sydney’s MLC Center. You can read the flyer over on BSI’s site.
It was a truely interesting talk that Simon gave. I like short posts so here is what I took out of his talk:
- In the internet business where you are the “middle man” it’s important to focus on the ones that are paying you. That’s all well and good you say. However, when asked why Simon thought RE has beaten it’s competitor, domain.com.au, Simon stated that it was because RE focused on real estate agents, the people that paid (their customers), and getting the agents to put their properties up and pay for it. Domain.com.au on the other hand spent a lot more time and resources capturing the minds of the end-user. By capturing the agents, RE in turn captured the agents customers.
- Simplify your products. When Simon started with RE there was over 40 ways of selling the one product, by simplifying and focusing on 1 product RE became easier to understand and sell.
- Simon was asked “I noticed you didn’t talk about the website, the features of the website or anything like that, why?”. In reply Simon said “And that’s exactly the point.” Beautiful pages, brand new technology is no substitute for paying customers and good reason for people to use the site.
Each of these points sunk home with me because in both of my ventures I’m tackling exactly the same problems.
This morning the Sydney entrepreneur group for OpenCoffee had a great guest speaker Mike Culver. Mike is an evangelist for Amazon’s Web Services and seeing as I really haven’t investigated Amazon’s new services I decided it would be worth attending.
What Amazon has looks amazing although I’m not sure I need to tackle it just yet. At the end of the day though, it would almost be silly not to take advantage of the scalability and low cost they offer. Mike explained their offering exceptionally well.
This isn’t much of a post, I know, but thanks to the people that organised it.