Tell your story – ‘Quickly’

People are very time poor, or maybe just a little impatient. Regardless of which it is we have to be able to tell our story quickly.

Vanguard Investments do it in 2 seconds. Click here to see how they do it. (Watch the animation)

Even this chart below tells the story on long term ‘index’ investing. Of which Vanguard are the founding forefathers.


The recent downturn is a best a ‘blip’.

How long does your startup story take to tell? Here’s a tip – we’ve got a few seconds at most.


Your worst nightmare

From a competitive viewpoint, imagine for a moment that our worst business nightmare came true.

Maybe Google decides to enter our market space. Or the Coca Cola Company launched a beverage with the same consumer benefit we’ve been bootstrapping. Or large company X decided to compete against “us” head on.


Well – you’d be surprised how that feels. How it makes us react, and how it very quickly changes our perspective on what is the most important element in ‘winning’. In competing effectively for our share of wallet.

All of a sudden many of the projects we are investing our time on seem far less important than they were yesterday. Maybe that front page redesign can wait, maybe the shiny new web 2.0 buttons are a little less important. Maybe our packaging will do for now and quite possibly every project we have on the agenda, excluding customer ‘centric projects’ can be put on hold.

Here’s an exercise worth doing with your team. Act as if. Act as if it has just happened. Have an ‘emergency session’ with your team on how you’d react if a more well resourced, financed and well known competitor came to play. Build your battle plan. Once your battle plan is drawn up – throw out your current business plan and work on that instead. Because they are coming, especially if your startup is in a fertile consumer territory.

After the intital fear, most entrepreneurs just get inspired, get angry and get on with it. A good scare never hurt anyone.

Steve – founder

Belief – from ‘Tribes’

I took this quote from Seth Godins latest micro book Tribes:

“Do you beleive in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy”

This resonates with me because it will motivate us to find solutions that ‘non believers’ will be too inept, apathetic or bored to uncover.

Entrepreneurs ought launch something they beleive in conceptually, not just financially.

How to ‘Pitch’ workshop

Below is an elevator pitch ‘workshop’ I gave for the ‘Agents of change‘ entrepreneurs club of  Melbourne University. The video below is the one of 6 x 10 minute videos. The first (the one below) includes an ‘example’ pitch I did for rentoid – then has ‘alot’ of questions and answers. The last of the videos, workshop 6 – all of which are here has some ideas on great pitcing practice.

It’s kind of long, but the largely due to the discussion afterwards!


Watch this

Next time you have 30 minutes available – instead of wasting it watching TV, watch this instead:

It’s a keynote speech from one of the 37 Signals team. It’s the perfect reailty check for web startups and gives some great perspective on stuff like:

  • Your chances on being the next facebook / Youtube
  • Why a million dollars is better than a billion
  • Why selling stuff, gives you more chance of success than giving stuff away
  • How to win small
  • The truth about viral marketing

It’s really funny and enjoyable too. Start up blog says: get on it.


Don’t be like Georgie

English football savant George Best was once asked what happened to all the money he earned as the worlds greatest player. In classic Georgie style he responded:


“I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars, the rest I just squandered.”





If we’re in an early phase start up or we’ve just made bank, the principles don’t change. If you can control your spending, you can control your business and your life. It’s easy to justify expenditure at either end of the business spectrum. A start up can convince themselves they’re investing for growth. Likewise, a booming business with big profits can fly first class and hire private yachts to impress clients themselves.


Quite often over spending is due to a real lack of creativity and an inflated ego.


Startup blog advice is this: Cash flow is vital and by being creative we can ultimately conserve cash flow, yet generate similar results.

Why everything matters

Here’s a list of things which actually do matter:


Our diction and vernacular

Our personal presentation & dress code (Doesn’t mean a suit, but to wear what we wear well, have a sense of style)

The way we engage people and treat them

Our smile and attitude

How neat  and organized our workspace is

Being on time

Our posture

Knowing our next steps every day

Making sure our technology is in working order


All these things and others, matter all the time. Not just the day you have to do it right, have the big VC presentation or the day you’re meeting your biggest customer. 


And here’s why – they’ll become habit. Good habits. And when things are habit, they’re performed much the same way – time and time again.


If we do them well when it doesn’t matter, we’ll do them well when it does.